Saturday, April 30, 2011

Never Thought I See This Day

Last time we went out to dinner with a bunch of friends, it started off well enough but as the night went on, it devolved into. iPhone-fest, or a smartphone-fest (not everyone had an iPhone). Folks were texting, updating their social status or checking in, just gaming. A couple of folks even texted each other from different ends of the table.

It was partly why I gave up using my G1 and iPhone with data. I am using an iPod touch with an iSpot but its not the same as an integrated device like the iPhone.

But today, my aunt and uncle, as well as a few of their friends came to visit. I served them tea and they chatted. They had not seen each other for weeks now.

I left them for a while and came back to the living room. It was quiet. And it was a sight I never expected to see.

My uncle was playing Angry Birds on his iPad, my aunt was hacking away on her iPhone trying to solve a sudoku puzzle, another aunt was playing mahjong on her iPad, and another of their friend was playing who knows what.

I guessed I shamed them a bit with a comment or two about what they were doing (or not doing) be because they stopped.

Still, it was not something I expected my elders to be doing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

iPhone Really Coming In The Fall? Maybe (So, I'm Wrong) And It Might Be Good For Apple

There are a lot of expectations that Apple will release the next iPhone in the fall rather than the summer.  It truly defies what Apple has done in the past.  I myself have argued that Apple will stick with its annual update.  Now, we are a week from May and it doesn't look like Apple will be holding its annual April event to introduce the next iOS  So does this mean that I'm wrong and that we are looking a later date for the next iPhone release?  

Well, I came across this post from TUAW that articulated three points support the fall iPhone assertion.  I'm not afraid to admit that I'm wrong.  I'm not wrong...yet.

Three Reasons Apple Will Release the iPhone In The Fall:

First, the two iPhone models just got released.  What?!  That's right.  The CDMA iPhone was just released by Apple and Verizon in February.  It's now late April, 2.5 months ago.  And as you know, Apple sold 2.2 million of them CDMA models in about six weeks.  Not bad and more is likely to come as more folks get off the two-year contract train with each passing week.  

And then there's the new white iPhone that will go on sale tomorrow, 4/28/11.  How many more million of the white iPhone models will AT&T and Verizon, with a combined customer base of about 180 million users, sell?  Lots.  

With the CDMA iPhone being on the market for four months and the white models out two months when the WWDC comes around in June, it's like we're not going to see a new iPhone model for a while.  

The second reason the post brought up is back-to-school and synconizing with the rest of the iOS line-up, the iPod touch for the fall.  All of that makes sense.  And as a matter of fact, I think Apple might be onto something with respects to back to school.  Traditionally, Apple has a back-to-school program where a student can get a free iPod with the purchase of a Mac.  Now consider this.  You're Apple.  You want to hurt your competitors, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, LG, RIM, and HP, how would you do it further?

How about back-to-school program that includes iPhones.  Buy a Mac and get a free iPhone 3GS or $100 off an iPhone 4.  Heck, Apple might even be able to give the iPhone 4s for free.  

The third point they made is iOS update.  Provide developers at a "developer" conference beta version of the next iOS and release it in the fall, just in time for the traditional fall fresh that is reserved for the iPod.  Now, Apple can release the iPhone along with everything else.

I'll add a fourth reason.  Apple just sold nearly 19 million iPhones.  That's a lot of iPhones.  And by pushing the next iPhone back to a later date or at least put into the mind of anyone who wants an iPhone but might put it off because Apple won't to deal with a slowed iPhone demand due to anticipation of a new release.

All of those points above make a lot of sense.  However, if Apple should move the iPhone release beyond June, it will not make sense to do it along side the iPod touch update.  The iPhone and iPod touch separately cater to two different demographics.  Nevertheless, there is an overlap.  And give these hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of iOS customers the choice between the more expensive iPhone or more valued iPod touch with the same specs, they may go with the touch.  I happen to fall into this segment.  

If anything, Apple might release the iOS 5 to developers in June at the WWDC and then release the iPhone in August, six to eight weeks before the next iPod touch release.  

So, what do you think?  By August, the black GSM will be 14 months old, the CDMA six months old, and the white models four to five months old.  Perfect time for an update.  Still, June release is not out of the question yet.  

More at TUAW.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Location Tracking: Apple (And Google) Has Some Explaining But It's Probably Nothing We Need To Worry About

It's been confirmed through a photo that the President of the United States has an iPad 2.  Obviously, Mr. Obama is not the first head of state to use an iPad nor will he be the last.  And dozens if not hundreds of law makers also make use of Apple's revolutionary and "magical" (not my word) device in the course of service to the public.  And with the news that the iOS device, specially the iPhone, may be keep information about the whereabouts of the user in a file on the iPhone and iTunes profile, is this a danger or violation of privacy that we need to worry about?

No.  It's a concern.  If it's a bug, it needs to be fixed.  If there is something more to it than that, we should get to the bottom of this.  Google's Android, its openness is debatable, is not curated and, it soo, also record geolocation of its users.

To be fair, I like to see all mobile companies get an opportunity to defend this specific practice before we go nuts about it.  And I like to see Facebook explain their views in this matter as well.  It's likely that the social network, with a history of violating its members' privacy, will become a major mobile player, either as a content and platform provider or quite possibly as a mobile OS provider one day.

I do hope that if various hearings that being planned in the US, Europe, and South Korea are about getting to the truth and not to be used as an ax to grind for whatever political and/or economic reasons. 

Right now, I'm not worried  in the least.  Not with iOS or Android.  And if President Obama isn't worried, nor should you.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Watch For T-Mobile Moves To See if iPhone Is Coming

It's late April and there is still no iOS demo from Apple.  However, Boy Genius Report is showing off some pictures with a demo or engineering white iPhone unit working on T-Mobile's network.  Yes, this is kinda of like a rumor.  No one knows what this truly means and it opens the door for fun speculation.  

So, does this mean that the iPhone is coming to T-Mobile?  Well, let's just say that it will.  What we are not sure about is whether by the time the iPhone makes it over to T-Mobile, T-Mobile will still be called T-Mobile or it'll be called AT&T.  

But there is a way to find out.  Just before Verizon got the iPhone back in February, there were signs.  AT&T made moves to try to lock in iPhone users deep into their contract, 12 months in, by enticing them with early upgrades.  Then also, Verizon made some moves with its cancellation penalties.  

Right now, I would look to see if T-Mobile makes similar moves that mirror what AT&T and Verizon did.  It is probably a stronger indication that it is getting the iPhone than some ambiguous pictures from Asia.

Note:  T-Mobile doesn't just operate in the US.  So I wonder if the photos in BGR's report are from other T-Mobile territories.

More at BGR.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Verizon Sold 2.2M iPhones - So Who Did Apple Take Sales From?

Apple sold almost 19 million iPhones.  3 Million of them went to AT&T while 2.2 million CDMA versions were sold on Verizon's network.  Two point two million of a 9 month old, albeit fantastic, mobile device.  Who's buy them and which company had the most to lose from the Apple-Verizon partnership?

Three Distinct Groups:

Let's examine who's buy these iPhones on Verizon's aging CDMA network that does not allow the user to talk and access the data through the 3G network at the same time.  My guess is that its a mixture rather than greater subset of anyone particular group.  With over three million iPhones activated with AT&T, it is suffice to say that plenty of people stuck with Ma Bell despite its reputation of spotty network.  I am sure a large segment of the market went with Verizon that defected from AT&T.  After all, more than a few stuck with them because of the iPhone.  The demand was bad enough that Verizon struck a deal with Apple despite its popular Droid line.

Also, iPhone is a whole new device in and of itself as far as current Verizon customers are concerned.  While Android has done very well on Verizon, it largely cannibalized many Windows Mobile and Blackberry users who wanted a modern mobile device with a modern mobile OS but were not willing to switch to AT&T to get the iPhone.  Let's just say as a T-Mobile customer who wants the iPhone but wasn't willing to suffer on AT&T, I know what I'm talking about.  It's why I went with the G1, the very first Android device, and haven't upgraded since.  These Verizon customers fell into the second group.

The third group is what's interesting.  No love but AT&T but subscribers who will tolerate Verizon.  I may count myself among this group in the near future.  As a T-Mobile customer, I might consider switch to Verizon later this summer should a new magical iPhone becomes available.  T-Mobile has been bleeding customers and a large portion of those 2.2 million iPhone users with Verizon were former T-Mobile customers.  And I reckon that if T-Mobile doesn't get the iPhone in 2011, more users will defect to Verizon.  Sprint's core number of subscribers should be pretty loyal but there are likely a few million users who, won't do this business with AT&T, are going to be fine with Verizon as their iPhone carrier.  

Who Had The Most To Lose:

Android has the most to lose and had had its momentum slowed.  Believe me when I tell you that Android Proper, not variants that have been commandeered by some carriers around the world, continues to grow beyond expectation.  While the Android platform probably saw a slowdown, Google does not necessarily have a lot to lose.  After all, it continues to deliver search and mobile ads to Verizon iPhone users.  In fact, Google may benefit more from iPhone users who are more likely to spend money than Android users.  

Motorola is probably a bit loser in all this.  First off, Xoom doesn't seem to be doing the level of business for Motorola as the iPad was, and the iPad 2 is now, for Apple.  2.2 Million iPhones potentially means quite a lot of Motorola-based Droids that were not sold.  This is especially harsh for Motorola given Apple's relationship with Motorola that dated back to when Apple used to make Macs based on PowerPC chips designed and manufactured by it.  Then there was that Rokr debacle that everything that was the iPod phone that didn't quite go anywhere.  Motorola had really turned things around with the Droid devices and it was the top dog until the iPhone came along on Verizon.  Things might get better with the new Droid but that is probably going to be short-lived after the next iPhone upgrade happens to come along.

What about others?  Samsung's Galaxy S probably has not sold well since news of Galaxy S II is just weeks away but the iPhone 4 probably did not help matters.  RIM has done well with the Blackberries and global growth has been good.  However, it's position with Verizon has been diminished greatly since Verizon turned its attention to Android devices after the Blackberry Storm failed to live to up expectation.  The iPhone likely ate into a lot of sales.  iOS devices will continue to erode RIM's place in the enterprise.  

Competition is great.  We are watching an epic tech war that was a lot like the one fought and won between Apple and IBM in the early 80s and then Apple and Microsoft in the late 80s through the mid-90s.  Apple is still involved as is Microsoft but there are more elements and players involved.  Google, Adobe, RIM, Samsung, HP, and RIM just to mention a few.  A lot is at stake.  And the winner has already been determined as far as mobile device tech is concerned.  

I look forward to seeing how the rest of 2011 plays out as the mobile war becomes more interesting with tablets getting into the mix.

Again, competition is great and we mobile warriors are winning so far.

GPS Tracking Information That Our Phones Store - Apple And Google Are Both Guilt

It's one of those things that I think companies know about and do but doesn't want to talk about it.  Keep tabs on their users is a gold mine for companies.  Companies like Google and Facebook want to be able to know what we're up to and how to best monetize that information.  Others like carriers might want to know how to best optimize their networks.  

So why does Apple want that information?  

It's too soon to tell.  Supposedly, this information isn't something new and have been covered in the past without fanfare until a couple of security "experts" decided to bring it to our attention.  

Personally, I'm not worried - not yet.  And it's not like this information is something that Facebook, which is a lot more dangerous to privacy, will ever get it.  

Still, I want to know why Apple is gather this information.  Supposedly, it could be a bug where information were not purged as it was supposed to.  And yes, Apple can ("is" to some) be evil so we'll need to watch this closely.  At least we know that they're not selling out info to the highest bidder like others who make their living off selling advertisements.

According to WSJ, Google is doing it as well.  So it doesn't make any better.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tablets: Post PC Computing? Is iPad Growth Too Fast?

Given how fast the iPad 2 is selling compared to the original iPad a year ago and the growth of the whole ecosystem that supports it, I wonder if the tablet market, specially one that is dominated by one player, is growth too fast.  And why is it growth so fast?   

This year, it's been estimated that Apple will sell about 30 million iPads, quite possibly 45 million with a few really high-end predictions putting it at 60 million.  Let's just take the 60 million iPads for 2011 and say Apple manages to sell 60 million by 2013.  Sit back and take a look at those numbers.  That's a big big jump from 2010 to 2011, about 2x.  Then from 2011 to 2013, another 2x.  

By 2013, the tablet market as a whole may reach 100 million tablets.  Then where would it go from there?  200 million in another 24 months?  Here's where post-PC comes into play.  Something has to give.  That means laptop sales, with the netbook segment of the market having already collapsed, could suffer a cripple blow that it might not recover from.  Laptops, and some desktops, will still continue to have a place in society, in business for sure.  However, PC in homes will likely diminish greatly.  

In the early 2000s, Microsoft pushed the Windows Media Center, basically a customized Windows with added media software, as the center of a home entertainment system.  Obviously, even Microsoft's dominance in the PC operating system has not helped its push into the living room.  Instead, it has found greater success selling the Xbox. Now, Google is trying it hand with Google TV, so far, met with muted reception at best.  Even, Apple has largely failed to light things up with Apple TV.

And this is also one market that the iPad could potentially find success.  With the introduction of Airplay, the user can stream video and music wirelessly to accessories like stereo systems and HDTVs.  Yes, HDTV becomes just another accessory in the home.  Of course, to stream to the television today, you still need the Apple TV.  This is why there's rumblings that Apple may be looking to license Airplay to manufacturers.  (One factor that hardware makers do not have control over is the content.  Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Microsoft might be able to provide the architecture but without the content, it would be useless.  This is why an ecosystem like iTunes and what Microsoft and Sony has built out on the consoles will be very critical to their continued successes.)

And we come back to growth.  How much more growth can the tablet market, with Apple retaining a large piece of the pie, sustain?  If the tablet can take the place of game consoles and media centers, I would say it can continue to grow at its current pace for at least another decade.  

It also depends the evolution of apps and the nature of productivity on the tablets.  It is possible in ten years, a majority of mobile warriors from the corporate work carry around tablets instead of laptops.  

And to continue growing, tablets will need to a lot of help in the education market.  Yesterday, Tim Cook, Apple's COO, said iPad adoption in the education market has already reach a 1 to 1 parity with Macs. That is quite an impressive feat for a device that did not exist 13 months ago.  The iPad was just built for the k-12 market.  We'll see an explosion of iPads in schools in 2011-12 owing largely to the ease of use and plethora of educational apps.  The only folks who will be hurt by this are laptop makers and printers that print textbooks.  Maybe the early go getters in the backpack market can benefit from this shift in mobile computing in schools.

Still, a lot of moving pieces have to go the tablet's way for it to continue growing at the pace its at now.  Continued innovation followed by revolutionary thinkings about traditional computing and content distribution.  Amazon has gotten into the music locker business without the blessing of the studios and looks like HP might try to do the same.  We'll see how all this play out this summer.  If the stars align just right, perhaps we just might see 60 million iPads sold through 2011 instead of "just" 30 million.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Foursquare Execs On Apple Campus

It's late April and still no iOS 5 intro. Still, something is cooking over at Apple. And this is an example of what might be in store. Foursquare execs were found on Apple campus.

Would anyone just visit Apple for the heck of it? Maybe. However, there is a strong possibility that they had a meeting there. After all, checking into Apple campus is a pretty exciting thing considering all the wild speculations, even from myself, about Apple can transform MobileMe into.

Would you want a free MobileMe account with check-ins that might have special deals only for iOS users?

You bet I would!

Here is where things are interesting and it isn't just some random check-ins that some people do when they drive by randomly.

Erin Gleason, the public relations manager, checked in and mentioned she was moving into the next meeting.

Then the next location of the check-in was was at Apple. The check-in was done by Dennis Crowley, with Gleason present as well as Foursquare's business dev and partnership organizer.

Interesting, eh?

More at MacNN.

Note: Who is Dennis Crowley? How about the co-founder of Foursquare.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Competitors Make It Easy On Apple - Maybe Through 2013 or More

This was suppose to be the year that competitors put a stop to the iPad assault on the tablet.  Rather than anything that has taken the consumers by storm, the Xoom and Playbook are filled with reviews about the great potentials these tablet platforms possess.  Howeer, in the wrap-up sections, it's all been "when the updates come...".

I'm sure Apple's first mover position has advantages but it can't be all that.  Forget about the lack of lines at Best Buy or anywhere else in Canada where RIM has home-court advantage, what's disconcerting is that the executives at these companies are clueless or in denial.  

I'm generally upbeat about things but for the rest of 2011, I'm not about the tablet market.  

Here's one platform I'm holding out for that I think can still give Apple some competition.  HP's Web OS Touchpad. As long as they don't rush it out like Google and RIM did with theirs, they ought to have some awesome features that can light a fire on the tablet market.  

Apple will announce their earnings today and I do not anticipate great numbers for the iPad sales because of the issues of parts constraints.  I think this is an opportunity for Apple's competitors to reboot of sort.  

For Apple fans, let's be honest.  Competition would be good for us.  If not for the rushed jobs from Google, the Xoom should have a lot more compelling (100K rumored to have been sold isn't a bad number...just don't compare it to the iPad).  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

External Keyboards for the iPad - Not Necessary At All

I've been typing on my iPad for more than a year now. And I don't think I'm alone in saying that I like the virtual keyboard very much. Light touches and generally accurate if you learn to trust it. However, I think I am in the minority on this issue. It's not because there are most people who don't like typing on the iPad. Rather, it's because most people don't type on the iPad.

Either way, is there a need for those cases outfitted with physical keyboards that turns the iPad into a netbook?

First of all, I don't think I've seen one that I like. I don't like the Kensington rubber keyboard. It's, well, rubbery. And it's not the only maker of keyboard-combo-cases that use a silicone or rubber cover. There are also ones with hard cases but they are still far from perfect. The Zaggmate case has these side walls that, from the pictures, feel weird to me.

Besides the fact that I haven't found the perfect keyboard with a case, I don't think I really need one. And I think more and more people are realizing that as well.

Once I get into a rhythm (and inspired), I can hack out a good page or two relatively quickly on the iPad. In coffee shops that I've seen, people using their iPads they type are increasing little by little.

For the rest, they seem to be using their iPads to consume media than actually doing work on there. For instance, while I was waiting for my car to be ready at the dealership today, there were quite a few iPads. Six that I could see. And everyone of them seemed to be reading or watching videos on them. No typing. They've got cases but they appear to be the standard Apple cases. No keyboards.

I'm not saying that there is no need for these keyboard cases at all. I'm just not sure they will have mainstream appeal for a major of the iPad market.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Efficient Wireless Sync And Streaming Takes Time And Valuable Battery Life

(This is a must read post from Apple fan, John Gruber on "Cutting the Cord".  It a very good analysis on why we're just are not to leave the PC behind when trying to get media onto our mobile devices.  I've offered a few notes myself below.)

One of the issues with regards to mobile is that a lot of them requires the user to still sync it with a PC.  Specifically, we are talking about Apple iOS ecosystem here.  Android, on the other hand, is all set to go once you get it out of the box.  Having said that, there is a distinct difference between activation and sync and loading up the mobile devices with apps and media.

To date and as far as I know, all Android devices are ready to be used once the user activates it wirelessly.  There is no need plug it into a PC first.  Simply type in your Google information (or set one up if you don't have one) and you're off to go.  And in the background, data is by synced.  

On the other hand, all iOS devices require that you put them into a PC and let iTunes do all the work for you.  It's why at the Apple store, they offer to get things up and going for you.  Simple as it is, it does take an extra step.  

Now comes the hard part of syncing that I think no mobile problem has solved.  Say you've got a lot of apps, music, and video.  What then?  Here is where iOS have an advantage that over other devices and why we still cannot cut the cord yet  

Say you've got 28 GB of apps and media you need to sync with your new device.  Or 60 GB if you've got a 64 GB iPad?  Let's take it a step further.  120 GB should someone come up with a device capable of hold that much storage.  You seriously want to sync all that from the cloud?  

And even if you want to, there is no way to do that just now.  Amazon just launched its music cloud storage (which I recommend everyone take a serious look at it).  Amazon is taking the first step towards a future some of us want.  Still, we are a long way off.  5GB from Amazon for free is nice but it's still a far cry from the 300 GB media library that I've got.  

And yes, Apple and Google are probably working towards their own cloud solutions for mobile users and I suspect that we'll stream most of the media should that day come.  But that is still a long way off until the solutions are robust enough.

So that's one reason why we're not ready for wireless syncing.  What's the other?

Wireless and Battery life.  Imagine trying to sync GBs of data.  One, never mind that carrier's monthly limitation would be in one day but the wireless networks simply aren't ready to handle the load of cloud storage.  So that means we'll be stuck on WiFi.  That means being at home or office.  That also means being near a PC.  And with Thunderbolt on Macs now, why would you use the slower WiFi sync when you can speed things up with a faster Thunderbolt connection?

Then there's the battery life.  If you're on a tablet like the iPad or Xoom that offers 10-ish hours, you might be okay with cloud syncing or streaming.  If you're on an power-hungry Android device, you can bet you'll be plugged into an outlet.  That horrendous 3 hours of battery life some Verizon Thunderbolt users are now getting?  Try living with two hours or less if you're on the LTE network while streaming an HD video.  

So when can we cut the cord?  No one know where Amazon is going with their music locker.  So far, Amazon has not received licensing from the music studios and it has said it does not require an additional agreement to offer it.  I agree.  But we still have to see what its competitors plan on offering.

Google is rumored to be close to offering its own solution.  And my money's on Google leveraging its massive cloud system that we already use for our webapps.  I've already got like 8GB on my Gmail that I don't use.  I can totally see Google easily offer another ten or even fifty GB of storage just for Android users.  

As for Apple, who knows.  Wall Street guys would have us believe they know.  My guess is as good as theirs.  At the end of the day, only Apple knows how they want to approach cutting the cord.  I know this about Apple's solution to this and cloud storage.  When Apple is ready to unveil it, it will be seemless and easy to use and tied into the iOS-iTunes ecosystem.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Do Not Track" Option Already in Firefox, Coming Soon To Safari

Most people don't know this but cookies are not just for monsters and children (or me).  They're trackers, simply no way of putting this delicately, that are probably following you wherever you go on the Internet

The Federal Trade Commission has called for online advertisers like Google to provide a mechanism for users to opt out of being tracked.  Personally, that's the stupidest thing I've heard of  Why should users have to opt out?  It's like Facebook all over again.  Give these guys an inch, they'll take a mile.

So Mozilla built into Firefox 4 a more comprehensive option to block tracking.  IE9 from Microsoft has it and Apple's Safari will soon join these two browsers with the feature.

So, if you don't like being followed, check out Firefox and IE.  From what I gather, it's not a perfected solution but it's a start.  Congressional action may be coming to help guard user privacy.  It'll probably have more bark than bite given expected intense lobbying from the industry but, again, it's a start

I'll get into how this works later when I have had a chance to check it out for myself.  

I do want to mention that Google is probably not happy about this. After all, knowing about everything they can about us is how they make money.  It's why many of its services are free.  Ads.  And Google does offer an extension for Chrome.  I thought I mention this because many in the media are suggesting that Google is alone on this issue.  (More on Google's own "Do Not Track" implementation)

Note:  One might say that it's finally good to have Apple on board with this.  

iPads Putting A Hurt On PC Sales

Acer's PC share took a huge dive.  Recesson?  Nope?  Intense competition from HP and Dell?  Not exactly.  But there was competition in a big way and it was called the iPad.  The top 3 PC makers in the world were hit and hit hard as both Dell and HP lost 2% and 3% respectively while Acer, who relied on netbook sales, has seen a dramatic collapse.

Acer's problem being netbooks exacerbated its fall but the market as a whole has taken a hit from the hottest new mobile phenomenon.  And let's be honest here.  Analysts and what-have-you will call it the tablet market but it's really just the iPad  After all, during this dramatic fall on PC sales, it was pretty much just the iPad owning 80-90% of the tablet market.

In the next 12-18 months, we'll start to see the iPad's share as a percentage of tablet sold (not pushed out to vendors) drop.  Then we can truly call the tablet market for what it is.

And in 12-18 months, I fully expect more shrinkage in the PC, specifically, the laptop market, as iPad and Android devices really take it to the PC guys.  

For instance, Acer's Inconia will debut in a couple of weeks for just $450 with similar specs to the Xoom.  And not only that, it'll likely drop to about $399 by Christmas.  

If you're an average Joe consumer looking for a secondary device to use for day-to-day computing, surfing the web, checking e-mails, updating your social networks, you're gonna want to pick up a tablet.  Plus, the 8-10 hours of battery life is a better bet when than the 2-4 hours you get on a low-end laptop.

And look for PC sales drop to accelerate as corporate drones are issued iPads in place of HP or Dell laptops.  And it's going to happen.  Why do you think HP in such a rush to push out the Web OS Touchpad.  Why do you think a "half-baked" Playbook from RIM with missing apps is going on sale in a couple of weeks?  

I think it's too early to call it but tablets in general are making a convincing case that it will replace PCs in homes and offices.

iTunes Points To New iOS Device Or Just About Apple TV - Or It Could Just Be An Innocent Error

Last night, the blogs started buzzing about a potential new iOS device or, possibly, the Apple TV that may soon get app support or access to the App Store.  Right now, it's being called a placeholder.

Since removed, it was designated "ix.Mac.MarketingName".

What could it mean?  Well, it mentioned "Mac" so could Macs be getting the ability, one that I have long advocated, to run iOS apps?

Or could it be just the Apple TV gaining the ability to run apps entirely?  

And maybe, just maybe, this was an innocent error in the coding.  I know what I want to believe this is but I'm not ready to get excited over it just yet.  Heck, it could even be about iPhone 5.

More at CNet.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Apple Puts Mobile Movie Studio Within Reach of Average Joe

With a prosumer camcorder, you can now make a relatively Hollywood looking movie.  But you'll still need a computer and the right software to put all your video together into a final product.

The prosumer camcorder has been relatively affordable now and Apple has just made it even more affordable to set up your own studio with the new 64-bit Final Cut Pro X coming in at just $299.  I don't know about you but I think it's an awesome deal down from the $999 that it used to cost.  

What's pretty awesome is the background rendering that is now possible.  Not just that, the new FC can offload some tasks to the GPU, giving the app greater performance and faster workflow.

I think the Final Cut Express was coming in at $299 to begin with.  

Why is Apple low-balling the software price?  To sell Macbook Pros that now come in quad-core variants.  Just as iTunes is there to help Apple sell iPods, iPhones, and iPads, I am beginning to believe that Apple will use its software library to help sell Macs and services.

Relax, new iPhone Will Come just As Expected in June or July

Here's why I think an updated iPhone will come at the usual update time in early summer. iPad 2 and competition.

The iPad 2 with it's dual core is out and it makes no sense for Apple to put off the next iPhone and fragment the iOS ecosystem with diff types or chips. That's a very important factor to consider. Simply put, Apple will not fragment the user experience.

The second reason, just as important, is the rest of the fast moving mobile competition.

Where are all these talks about the iPhone being delayed until the fall? Elementary, my dear mobile warriors. It's coming from Apple.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Number 10 In line But Still Nervous

I managed to get here at the Apple store just after four am. And I am freezing my butt off. But hopefully, this will be the last weekend for me to be doing this.

As a matter of fact, this will be the last week I do this. If I cannot get the model I want, I am just gonna order it online.

As crazy as this is waiting for a product that has been out more than a month, this will be a memorable moment in my life.

I am about three hours until some at the store tells us if we will be able to get the model we want.

And then maybe you won't have to read anymore posts about this. Well, not until iPhone.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Friday, April 8, 2011

Xoom Versus Iconia Versus iPad 2 Versus Stuff Not Even On the Market Yet

You might know by now that Acer will be selling its new Iconia tablet, 10" running Android 3, Honeycomb, exclusively through Best Buy.  It's basically the same specs as the Xoom except for the looks.  What would you get?  Sticking with iPad 2 or waiting on the Playbook or Touchpad?

Let's focus on the WiFi versions of the tablets here since the Iconia is WiFi only.  The WiFi-only Xoom comes in at $600 on sale now at Staples while the Iconia won't be available until later in the month.  And Acer has priced it at a low low $450 with 16GB of storage.  That is $50 lower than the base iPad 2.  But the iPad 2 is the iPad 2, the standard bearer of the tablet market.  

Of the three, which should you get?  Or wait?

Well, as I mobile fan, I'm gonna be getting a Honeycomb device for sure but when the Xoom came out at $800 with the 3G version, it was priced out of the amount I was willing to spend.  And the $600 WiFi only certainly had me thinking, my hands-on with the Xoom make me wait a bit longer.  Honeycomb felt rushed and beta-ish and running Android apps on it was kind of icky.  There are hardly any apps but what I did see showed promise.  Just hoping Google will hurry it up and release an update already.

Back to the pricing issue a bit. Iconia will cost $450.  See, I would have jumped all over the Xoom at $500.  So, here's what I'm thinking at the moment.

Acer gears tend to reliable to a point.  You really have to take your chances with their laptops. You love it or you hate it.  My experience with their gears is that they can make decent laptops but they feel cheap.  Very plasticky.  But at a good price  Motorola's Xoom feels sturdier and, without testing the Iconia, I'm very worried about how cheap it'll feel.  Let's face it, it comes in at $450 so expect it to feel plasticky.  And it does weigh more than Xoom and a lot more than the iPad 2.  

If it's value, I will just on a $500 Xoom in a heart beat. Come late April and the Iconia does somehow live up to my expectation, that's what I'm getting. And that's the Android part. 

Now, Apple's iPad 2. You certainly cannot go wrong with the iPad 2.  You're get a premium device for a very good price.  I see people going with Android only because they cannot stand Apple and its way of doing business.  Me?  I'm okay with that.  But that's me.  And as a mobile fan, I love what Google and Android represents.  Android, is and never was, "open".  But it's an alternative to the iOS dominion so that's good enough for me.

And with the iPad 2, you know you'll always get Apple's best.  Nothing like the perpetual beta feel you get from Google at times.  

As for Playbook and Touchpad, well, we'll figure out more about them as they come along but with Iconia coming in below everyone else, I think we are looking at a pricing pressure in the Android tablet market even before everyone else is out with theirs (HTC, Samsung, LG).  It won't impact the iPad at all.  But it might hurt HP and RIM big time if they don't adjust to the market quickly.

For us mobile warriors, the Iconia, whether you like Android or not, represents competition.  And you gotta love that.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Having Problem With Sling App - iOS Being Used To Sell Other Goods And Services

When Sling Media made available an app for the iPhone and iPod touch it was a game changer as far as I am concerned. With the Sling Pro, I was able to watch television from just about anywhere I can and when I wanted. I know of someone who has hooked up a DVR, a sat TV setup, and some contraption to stream video.

And the iPhone app worked well with the iPad. Until recently. There is a separate iPad version of the Slingplayer that requires a newer version of the Slingbox hardware. I don't get why that is?

I think it's shameless that the Slingbox Pro that was out only a couple of years ago cannot work with today's iOS player.

To say that it is irritating is putting it mildly. And if I wanted to use the regular iPhone app on the iPad or, heck, just on the iPhone, I am forced to upgrade the firmware as well. And I get the feeling that Sling is trying in a very sneak manner to get me to update the Sling. Just a feeling but a feeling nontheless.

I think the iOS is a great platform for companies to sell services. And with the mobility being such an important part of our lives, companies can capitalize on selling us services or, in this case, hardware to use the service.

I'm fine with that. But at the same time, they have a responsibility to make it easier to use the apps. And i'm not alone. Just look at the ratings and comments on the App Store about the Sling app.

Pure Speculation: AT&T Want T-Mobile To Sell More iPhone? If So, Maybe Next iPhone Will Be Unlocked

Here's a post from Daily Wireless that question adding spectrum as the reason for AT&T buying T-Mobile.  Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn't.  Maybe it's related to why T-Mobile is where it is at today and it all goes back to the iPhone as some blogs have suggested when it failed to first acquire the iPhone 

Maybe.  I admit it's a little Glen Beck-ish but hear me out.  

If the DW post, which questioned (like I did) the reason behind why AT&T wants T-Mobile, is not true, then what is the reason AT&T buying T-Mobile be about?  After all, T-Mobile's 3G network operate on the AWS band, which is why a 3G device that runs on AT&T's network will not work with T-Mobile's 3G network.  The two just don't mesh.  And if AT&T wants to convert T-Mobile's current 3G network into a wider LTE one, that might make sense but it's a lot of work.  Very very messy.

So if it's not about spectrum, what's it about?  And after all, T-Mobile's HPSA+ network seems pretty competitive already.

Could be this be about the iPhone then?  Economy of scale?

There are about 40 million or so T-Mobile customers who like the service but would want the iPhone.  Like myself but don't want to go to AT&T or Verizon.  Earlier today, I tweeted that knowing AT&T will acquire T-Mobile, after it has satisfied competitors and regulatory agencies, could Apple then potentially sell an iPhone in the US, unlocked for use on any carrier because AT&T would not care if people buy the iPhone for use on its network or T-Mobile?

One pitfall is that there is no promise that the next iPhone will work on T-Mobile's HPSA+ network.  In fact, if one can buy an unlocked iPhone for use on T-Mobile, it'll likely get only EDGE speed.  

Regardless of whether the next iPhone runs over 3G on T-Mobile or not, it'll do something that the future 130 million+ subscriber AT&T company wants: keep potentially lucrative users at T-Mobile happy.  For today's AT&T, those T-Mobile users will be its subscribers anyway.  

And keeping a large number of these high-paying T-Mobile around is better than losing them to Verizon.  

Crazy?  Yes.  Like the title of this post said: Pure Speculation.  

And yet, don't be surprise that when Steve Jobs unveils the next iPhone, he tells us that it'll run either on either the CDMA or GSM network and that it's unlocked.  However, I would be surprised if it works on T-Mobile's 3G network.

More at Daily Wireless.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Toshiba NAND Flash Memory Means Two Things - Good And Maybe Not So Good

It's been two cycles where the iPhone has not been upgraded to a higher capacity.  And with the just released iPad 2, the maximum storage capacity remains 64GB.  However, with the just released NAND flash memory, we could be looking at the next iPhone with increased capacity.  

If patterns hold, we could be looking at a low-end 8 GB iPhone 4 and a 32 GB and 64 GB iPhone 5 (I like iPhone 4G better).  And it also possible that we can see a midway upgrade with the iPad 2 in the fall or just before Holiday Season with the capacity of the iPad 2 increased.  

With the new memory, it affords Apple a greater flexibility than its competitors.  How would you like the  8GB iPhone 4 at $49 or $99?  Or with Apple possibly increasing the iPad 2 storage capacity while keeping the same price points, Apple can add a newer low end model with 16GB for $449 or even lower at $399.

And this, as a happy iPod touch owner, I do look forward to a 128GB model.  It'll go nicely with my iSpot should I decide against the next iPhone.

Those are the good news, albeit speculative on my part.  Now the possible bad news, depending on what you think.  

If the iPod touch does get an upgrade to 128 GB, we can be looking at the end of the iPod Classic.  The possibility is there because the Classic has not been updated since 2009.  After all, the iOS is the future.  The general target for the iPod touch are kids who want the iPhone and all the greatness of the iTunes ecosystem without paying for a hefty monthly fee.

My hope is that Apple will keep the Classic around with a higher storage capacity - there is a new 1.8" hard drive, also from Toshiba, with 220 GB.  Apple already pretty much owes the music player market and the Classic is important to make sure it continues to dominate the market.  But Apple does have a way of keeping off the old and obsolete.

Again, good news for the iOS devices and maybe bad news for the Classic.

More at MacNN.

Note:  I've set the future lower end iPhone at 8 GB because this will allow Apple to continue to differentiate the high-end iPhones and possible lower the price to $49 to attack its competitor at the low-end.  Perhaps, we'll see a 8GB iPhone 4 at $49 and a 16GB model at $99.

iPhone 5 Line May Continue To Be Long

Interest among kids, rather teens, could make the lines this summer, or fall, things to expect upon the release I'd the iPhone 5.

Currently at an all-time high, a survey by a Wall Street outfit has teens ready to march to Apple's mobile tune.

I guess the lines are pretty bad now for the iPad 2, I really don't want to see what the iPhone 5 lines are going to be in the US at Apple stores now that Verizon is expected to join AT&T in the iPhone rush (I still don't expect Sprint and T-Mobile have the iPhone this year).

Other than positive news about this survey, Apple should actively cater to this demographics. After all, the halo effect from the iPods and iPhones from the youth will mean sales for other Apple products and services.

Whether the future is the iPad or the Macbook, or a future MacPad someday, Apple should make sure iOS updates include youth-friendly functions. Twitter, Facebook, or double down on it's own social efforts.

Regardless, get ready to wait in lines once again.

More at Appleinsider.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Slow News Day At CNN or Mention Of iPhone Is Good For Clicks

CNN has a post dedicated to the iPhone 5 rumors on its frontpage.  Maybe I'm nearly the end of my work day and I'm tired so I'm not thinking clearly but I don't think there's anything wrong with that.  Just wanted to note it.  Maybe the mention of "iPhone 5" is a click-bait and I want in on it. 

Well, that's what I think why CNN put the post and link front and center.  Seriously.  That or it's really really slow news day and that the impending shutdown of the federal government isn't big enough of a draw (pushed to the left of the website) or that CNN sources doesn't think it'll happen.

Whatever the reason, what is not amiss is the fact that Apple's mobile strategy is now mainstream.  Technology, especially mobile tech, is no longer the domain of geekdom but that it belongs to society as a whole.  It's why there are long lines a month after the iPad 2 was launched, why it's sold out everywhere in the countries Apple has launched it, and why its updated tablet is the most sought after device on the Asian tech black market.  

Android may command the largest market share and RIM just barely continues to be ahead of the iPhone, but make not mistake that it is Apple that commands the mobile revenue and it is Apple's mobile vision that is and will dictate where mobile is headed.

More at CNN.

Virtual And Multi-Touch Keyboard - I Can Get Used To That

I fully expect for the keyboard to go away one day when someone develops an even better input apparatus to replace it.  Obviously, I'm not that someone so I have no idea what it is.  Can a multi-touch platform capable of displaying a virtual keyboard be it?  I know a lot of people will hate it but I think I can get used to the idea.

If you have an iPad or a smartphone like the Droid X or the iPhone that does not have physical keyboard, you're already using it.  Some people like it. Others don't.  I'm okay either way.  I'm faster on a regular keyboard but I grew up using a typewriter.  Lots of kids today will only know about multi-touch, like my nephews.

And Apple has been granted patents just to create a virtual keyboard of sort.  And one that could change patterns and shapes to the needs of the user.

One of the strange things, years after the various newer generation Star Trek shows went off the air, the glass displays that gave the officer control stayed the same.  If Star Trek the Next Generation was on the air today, each control panel or pad would work like today's tablets like the iPad that allows display of control based on the needs of the user.

That's what Apple is trying to achieve and something similar could well be the next Holy Grail to data input.  That would make mobile computing, especially tablets, another advantage over laptops and netbooks.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Futurize Your Macbook By Replace Optical Drive With SSD

One of the things I expected from Apple's fresh of the Macbook Pro in March was the exclusion of the optical drive, the DVD reader/burner, with something else that is more aligned with Apple's mobile vision. That did not happen.

However, GIGAOM has a cool post for those good with tools and taking apart computers to mess around with. Replace the drive with an SSD.

Now, this isn't like the older Powerbooks that Apple used to make in the 90s when you can just swap out one expansion solution for another. It doesn't quite work that way. This solution presented, for someone like me, is like brain surgery.

But I am sure many of you can give this a go. The total cost is about $400. At the end of the day, you get extra storage space, speed, and, as the writer said, great for developers. Me, I just like having more room.

THE FUTURE. Repeating what I said at the top, I thought Apple would have and could have replaced the DVD drive and use the space for something else. A natural option would be another drive.

Me? I would have loved to see another battery in its place. Yeah, I'm a total battery life guy. Longer the better. You can never have enough battery power.

For this option, there is no DIY solution like the SSD solution presented here. For the battery option, well, we'll just have to wait and see if Apple thinks battery life is as important as I think it is.

I'm guess Apple's more likely to replace the optical drive, and they will one day (probably next year), with more storage than battery. Hey, I'll take that too.

Until then, this is a DIY SSD solution looks pretty good.

More at GIGAOM.

First Post From IPad 2 And Initial Impression - Awesome!

This is the very first post I've sent from from an iPad 2. Feels and looks the same as any old iPad. Well, except for the camera facing me from the right and the Smart Cover that is propping up the iPad 2 at an angle for easier typing.

It's overcast in Pasadena, city about 10 miles or so northeast of Los Angeles. You know, where those Rose Parade is held each and every single year.

While this isn't a review, I can say that the screen is very good despite sitting here in the outdoors where I am at at a coffee shop. The overall feel of the screen does seem to be brother than the original iPad with the setting at 50% brightness.

Since I've passed along my iPad to my nephew a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would need to get reacquainted with the layout of the virtual keyboard but it's all second nature to me at this point.

And I only was able to get my hands on the iPad 2 yesterday, I cannot say just how fast it really is. With the original iPad, it was loaded to the rim with apps, musics, and video. So it's possible that it might have had an influence on the performance a bit. I did notice that the iPad 2 felt more responsive than the original iPad. And I thought it had been plenty fast already. In fact, I think both models felt more responsive than the beta-ish Honeycomb on the Motorola Xoom that I played with over the weekend.

And, with the extra memory, I like the fact that Safari is able to load websites in the background, and fast. Unlike the iPad, there is no delays in waiting for some of the more complicated website to load.

All in all, the iPad 2 a worthy upgrade. The extra memory and speed is going to make a big diff once Apple and developers come out with more features and productivity apps in future iOS releases.

For original iPad owners, my short time with the iPad 2 is telling me that upgrading from the iPad might not make a lot of sense unless you want to do a lot of FaceTime chats. The extra speed is nice but I don't know much noticeable it'll be for day to day use.

If you can find someone to pass off the iPad, like a child or spouse, and have some extra money to burn, sure, why not.

And if you want to jump into the tablet market, this is the iPad to get. But aren't sure or is intimidated by the perpetual line at the Apple Stores that you keep hearing about, Go after 10am when most of the Apple Stores are opened and the lines will be gone by then. Check it out. Play with it and changes are, you'll either be joining the lines or going home to order and wait 3-4 weeks for yours.

I don't know what Apple is going to do to top this with iPad 3. Retina screen? You might have heard that Apple might release an updated iPad in the fall. Not a chance. The iPad 2 is just this good. There simply is no iPad competitor that will come onto the market and give users the same experience and dazzle you with the magic.

I am first a foremost mobile tech fan and I do like Android but 2011 is all iPad 2.

Sent from my iPad 2

iWeb For iPad: It Would Blow the Roof Of For Mobile Users And Open Up A New Front In Tablet Productivity

iWeb is the way to go for simple folks like myself who want to create our own sites and manage it ourselves.  Apple has made that such easy, albeit a bit more restrictive than I would like.  It's why I also use Rapidweaver.  Now, news come that Apple has patented iWeb for the iPad.  The question I'm sure many are asking is if such an app will ever see the light of day.  Heck, I'll settle for even a glimpse of it in the darkest of alley.  Okay, makes no sense but you know what I mean.

I'm hoping Apple will make this happen.  There are a few things Apple has to do to make sure it works on the iPad as well as on the Mac.

I've been using iWeb in conjunction with MobileMe to run my Greenjava website, a depository of relevant news on politics, economy, mobile, and coffee.  It works.  Not great but much better than anything that I've come across. But I cannot do that on the iPad.  The thing that is so robust about other web and blogging platforms are that they are so versatile.  You can update blogs from anywhere on just about any platform.  I hope Apple provides a means for iWeb to do just that.

I thought that would come with version 3 of iWeb but as many people who use it as their main tool for Web work, we were sorely disappointed.  Very disappointed.  

And Patently Apple's news about iWeb patent is a good sign.  These days, any news about the iWeb is good news.   I don't know how this is going to work for the iPad.  My hope is that all iWeb files will reside in the cloud and we will be able to work on the files and update it on the Mac, iPad, or any other iOS devices like the iPhone.  A lot of times, I just want to update and post blogs.  I think it would be a no-brainer function for Apple to add to the next version of iWeb, be it for the Mac or iPad.

iWeb would be a very important app for the iPad.  It would be an important productivity tool that so far does not exist anywhere in the app store, as far as I know.   One of the thing that Apple doesn't have to do that Google has to is to create a model device for others to follow.  Just as Google has created the Nexus One and Nexus, and probably a Nexus tablet, Apple should create model productivity tools for other developers to follow.  

The iWeb would be a very important step in that direction.  

I like to see Rapidweaver come to the iOS devices, particularly the iPad.  What other Mac OS tools would you like to see come to the iPad?  

Saturday, April 2, 2011

iPad 2 Can Be Found In Stock But Selections Limited

I struck out again this morning at the Pasadena Apple Store. I take comfort in the fact that the iPad I ordered from AT&T is here. But given the demand among my family, I will probably relinquish it. I've got a favorite aunt who I want to surprise on Sunday.

Meanwhile, I checked around local area Apple stores in LA. Quite a few of them still have iPads in stock as of this writing. I don't want to give you hope because the quantities are limited and I encourage you to call around. For instance, the Glendale store has the 16GB White Verizon model but nothing else.

The Target on Colorado Blvd near Lake has the 64GB Black Verizon models.

None of them are the 16 GB white AT&T one that I want.

Still, if you're more open to other offerings, a little leg work and you should be able to get your hands on one. But you'll have to be quick.

Apple Employees Have A Certain Air About Them

Has anyone discussed this on the blog or anywhere else? Here I am at the Apple Store in Pasadena hope to even get a glimpse of the 16 GB ATT white iPad 2 that I have yet to be able to get for myself.

What is interesting about waiting in line today is that I have been seeing a stream of Apple employees walking by and into the store. And the sheer numbers is amazing.

I estimated about thirty people walking past us and into the store. I don't even pretend to know how many folks it takes to run a successful retail operation like an Apple storebut that is an awful lot of people.

Not only that, there is an air about them that is vastly different from the other employees just arriving at the other retail stores.

It's not arrogance. I've dealt with many of these Apple people in the past. And they are some of the nicest people who has not only a job to do but an strong desire to do their tasks well and provide the customers with the best help possible.

And it became pretty easy to tell who they were over time. They dressed differently even in their civilian clothes with the white earbuds as they walk by with the iced mocha or messenger bag.

I chalk this up to confidence that they were offering the line-up of products and for working with a very innovating company.

I cannot imagine such an atmosphere at other tech places like Frys or Best Buy. This is not a knock on the people working there but the smallness and more centralized set of products and services that Apple offers likely help foster this environment.

On another note, while we were waiting in line, we got some excitement when the a couple workers from a glass company were moving a glass display into H&M store next to Apple And shattered it.

Here's a pic of it. I'd show the line of people around me waiting foe the iPad 2 but that's probable getting old by now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

iPad and WWDC Prediction: Apple Will Upgrade Siri And Users Will Not Be Able to Choose Between ChatGPT or Gemini

At this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple is set to unveil major upgrades to its virtual assistant Siri. These enhanc...