Thursday, June 30, 2011

Green: Spark, Mobile Solar Charger For Your Mobile Needs - One Step Closer To Self-Sustainability

This is a mobile blog but at times I also like to chime in on green tech as well.  And rarely do I get to talk about both in the same post.  And this is one of them.  Check out this solar charger bag, the Spark, that can charge up your iPad, other iOS devices, Androids, or other mobile gadgets.

The Treehugger post I got this from mentioned that it's for the iPad but I surmise it's their way of drumming up clicks (like I don't do this at all…tongue in cheek).  It provides power for so much mower than Apple's gears.  They mentioned other tablets and smartphones as well.  That's because it has a USB attachment that allows you to use it for various devices that can be powered/charged through this ubiquitous connection.

It's small enough with a 2 watt solar panel.  On an iPad, and probably an other comparable sized tablet, an hour in the sun also gives an hour of video playback.  

My initial thought about this was that it would be perfect for camping trip.  Then again, it would be perfect for just about any outdoor type of work or excursion.  At the same time, as a guy who likes to prepare for eventualities, this device could be critical in the event of a disaster and power is cut off.  As nice as the tablets are in providing 10-12 hours of battery life, once that power is used up, it's gone.  If the electrical grid is knocked out for some reason, well, this little guy could come in handy.  

However…there always is a however.  It costs $299.  It's not cheap.  On the other hand, given what it's capable of, the Spark could make a whole lot of difference.  

Having said all that, this is only a tiny step towards what I like as far as green power and mobile goes.  Self-sufficiency.  That's the kind of person I am.  I've bought a bunch of solar lamps and garden lightings from Ikea that I use indoor instead of out.  It's pretty awesome.  I was very happy with the small investment.

I think the Spark would be a right step in towards fulfilling this mobile/green vision in some settings.  It's good enough but I'm still looking at that solar setup that can powerful my whole house without breaking the bank.

If you're looking for something like this, the Spark is one of the best solar charger for mobile devices I've seen.  Honestly, I had expected this to cost in the neighborhood of $500.  And again, it charges all devices that can be charged through a USB port.

Source:  Treehugger.

Mobile Users Benefit If HP Licenses Web OS; Android And Windows Phone Could Take Big Hit

HP is talks with interested parties in licensing Web OS for their own use.  I wonder why HP would risk this move and who stands most to lose should this turn into a success.

First, when Palm introduced the Pre running the very first version of Web OS, a lot of people including myself though that Palm is back.  Then it ran up against the iPhone 3GS and a surging Android platform and that was pretty much all she wrote.  Now under new management, Web OS is getting another go with HP's deep pocket and a lot of programming and engineering power. 

I thought it was a brilliant buy.  HP would effectively create an alternative to Apple's iOS and iTunes ecosystem with a very impressive looking mobile OS.  As an Apple and mobile fan, you have to like what was coming from HP.  Printers, smartphones, tablets, and even PC would be running Web OS.  

So, even if HP manages to make Web OS a minor success, who stands to lose?  Android quickly comes to mind because of its large market share and the growing discontent with fragmentation among developers and concerns about malware.  HP will likely try to park itself just in the middle to claim some sense of openness while maintaining a certain level of control over Web OS and hardware developments at any third party companies.

HP's Web OS offerings are likely a plus for those Android users who like a higher degree of quality but are not willing to accept Apple's terms and control practices.  Web OS's stronger social integration will probably be very enticing for those who likes to stay connected to their friends as much as possible.

Microsoft's Windows Phone platform will likely suffer as a result.  It only commands 1% of the market and, yes, you can go down even further.  

As for Apple, it is likely to feel minimal impact in the immediate term.  If anything, increased competition from HP is something iPhone users welcome.   

Of course, we don't know the terms of HP's Web OS licensing terms yet.  That alone will determine just how strong of a competitor HP's mobile platform will be.  Do it right and we can see Android and WP take a big hit sooner rather than later.

HP Touchpad: Consensus Reviews In, Full of Potentials Just Like Xoom And Playbook

Reviews of the new HP Touchpad based on Web OS, which it owned after the Palm buyout, are coming out.  So far, most of the reviews I've read have been pretty brutal.  

Here's one from Gizmodo about it.  Now, Gizmodo have very personal reasons to be biased against Apple's iPad being how they're been embargoed from Cupertino over the whole iPhone 4 theft issue.  So, Touchpad should come out of the review smelling like a rose and then some, right?  Not so…the recurring themes in all the reviews seems to indicate that this is a beta device at best.  Heavy, slow, and no apps.  

More at Gizmodo.  I  think Engadget's review has a pretty good review.  Macworld's review isn't bad either.  Macworld is Pro-Apple but they also know a good thing (or bad one) when they see it.

Keep in mind that the Xoom review was better compared to the Playbook and, now, Touchpad.  In reality, hitting it out of the park as far as tech gadgets go like Apple did with the iPad last year is pretty rare.  Because of this, Apple has pretty much own the lion's share of the tablet market.  

And these tablets operate in very different capacities as well as philosophies.  

Apple's iTunes ecosystem is something you have to accept if you want to use an iPad or any other iOS devices.  And yes, it's closed with Apple retainning 100% control. Then there is Google' Android on the other end.  Though not as open as advertised, Honeycomb tablets offer a choice vastly different from Apple closed system.  RIM, with its Playbook, sits somewhere in the middle and may not be around if RIM doesn't turn it business around.

And HP's Web OS and Playbook?  Until recent reports that HP is in talks with various interested companies like Samsung about licensing Web OS, it remains to be seen just how HP wants to shape the future of Touchpad.  And this uncertainty is just as important a factor as are the reviews out there.  HP has the deep pockets and patience to make Web OS into something that can challenge Android and iOS.  And I think given time, Web OS has the best chance to offer both an ecosystem with some openness and still manage to keep out the weeds (malware).

Google Plus Success Depends On Privacy

Facebook is the biggest privacy violator out in the open.  Short of hacking into people's lives, Facebook has been notorious in getting users to share information that they thought would be only available to their "friends" and upselling it to advertisers.  With Google Plus, I hope Facebook finally get the nice hard kick in its "you know what".  However, for Plus to be a viable alternative to Facebook, it would have to be very discrete with user information and truly "do no evil" with regards to privacy.

Right now, it's off to a bad start.  See with Circles in Plus, users are able to control what information they share with their friends.  However, this morning, Gizmodo reports that the "resharing" feature is on by default allowing your friends to share your information.  I can see in some instances why Google would want to do this but not everything we put out there is for "resharing".

I've come to the realization that what we put out there on the Internet, to one degree or another, is quite public.  Some more than others.  However, what Facebook does is blatant "f-you" to its users and Google needs to pull back from that.  After all, it's copying virtually all of Facebook's features as well as its looks.  Given users assurance regarding their privacy is the only differentiator it has. 

Otherwise, why would anyone switch from Facebook?

As for mobile users, Android users have first tries at the native app for Google Plus.  I reckon the integration will be much tighter than Plus will be on other services.  As of now, Plus is sitting in Apple's app store approval purgatory.  It'll probably be approved.  And I know lots of us will be "checking in".  The "resharing" issue and other potential privacy land mines we don't know about yet could really make a diff between Plus being a Facebook killer or just another "Wave" or "Buzz" screw-up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Free 3GS Easier For Apple To Go After Low-End Market; And $299 In Prepaid Market?

Today, a report came out that Apple will be offering the iPhone 3GS for free with a 2-year commitment once the next iPhone is out and the iPhone 4 goes down to $99.  Right now, the iPhone 3GS can be had with AT&T for $49 with 8GB storage.

I reckon that a free iPhone 3GS could have internal storage even go as far down as 4 GB since iCloud will play a big part in helping stem the need for users to carry as much data with them as they do now.  

And going with the iconic 3GS is an easier route than trying to develop the mythical iPhone nano that just about every analyst and bloggers who spread these rumors have advocated.  After all, just as we are unable to sharpen down our fingers in the way Steve Jobs said regarding 7" tablets, a screen less than 3.5" isn't idea for touch use either.

Having said all this, we might be looking at Apple entering the pre-paid market as well.  A iPhone 3GS with 4GB can go on the market for $300-$350.  For those who do not want to commit to a two-year contract, this is a very good option.  Just recently, a comparable device, the Motorola Triumph, was introduced on the Virgin Mobile network for $299.  

The Triumph, while it doesn't run iOS 4 or 5 and cannot fit into the iTunes ecosystem, it does have a faster processor and bigger screen.  So my thinking is that Apple can probably offer the 3GS at $299 for the prepaid market as well.  Given that Apple has a command to maintain a premium even at the low-end of the market, I don't see the price going lower.

Obviously, like you, I await his Steveness to dazzle us later this summer when the iPhone lineup is refreshed.

Source:  Appleinsider.

Note:  Apple has been very aggressive going after the tablet market.  Perhaps, it might do the same with the smart device market and really surprise everyone with new pricing entries.

Surviving on 200MB of Wireless Data A Month? How?!

I recently bit down and went with Verizon Wireless, sooner than I would have liked because of the issue regarding the carrier ending their unlimited data plans by 7/7.  Before that, I debated if I can survive on 2GB a month.  

I thought long and hard about it.  There could be some compromises, not major ones, but I think I would be able to do it.  However, there are two things that I have to consider as mobile technology improves to the point where living without unlimited data just would not work any longer.  But that's for another post.  

Here, I am wonder just how anyone could live on a montly allotment of 200MB or anything less than a 1GB from carriers like AT&T.  For me, that's just not possible.  

Then after questions a few people who used a variety of devices from the iPhone to Androids, it occurred to me that they are not necessarily using the way I envisioned mobile warriors should be using their mobile devices. 

I watch videos, chats via Skype, update tweets, and surfing the Web quite a bit through out the day.  I think I can take up to 2.5 GB a month under some circumstances but most stay within a range of 1.8 to 2.2 GB a month. 

What about those who are within 200MB?  Apparently, watching video is almost not an option.  Nor is heavy use of the Web or any app that would require a lot of data use.  That means no uploading or downloading pictures or videos through apps or e-mail attachments.  Facebook and Twitter use is as heavy as most users I talk to go.  

Fear of going over 200MB?  Hardly.  Not with the mobile habits I described above.  

And it'll be interesting to see how users react to their limited bandwidth once carriers allow video chats like FaceTime or Google's new social initiative become more ubiquitous and, hopefully, more popular.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ending Wireless Plans Propelled Me To Buy the iPhone 4 With Possible Upgrade Just Around the Corner

I finally broke down and went with the white Verizon iPhone.  I know what you're thinking.  The next iPhone is probably a couple of months away.  What are you think?  You call yourself a mobile warrior? 

Well, there are two reasons why I pulled the trigger on this one and they're both kinda related.  First, we've know for about a week now that Verizon is about to get rid of their unlimited wireless data plan.  For $30, it's all you can eat.  Some time after 7/7, that plan is going away and never to be seen again.  

It's kinda of what AT&T did just before the iPhone 4 came out.  The good thing is that as a new Verizon Wireless customer, I can grandfathered in for the 3G service and very likely also for the LTE service when I upgrade to an LTE iPhone or another one, like Android later on.

Secondly, I've decided to a good son and take on my dad and his wife's mobile plan.  I current have T-Mobile and where they live, there is like a three block dead zone for T-Mobile service.  However, Verizon works very well in their area and most places they go in town.

But all that together, I decided I oughta switch.  Oh, and there is one last reason why.  I cannot stand AT&T.  

So, what will happen when the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5 come out?  Well, I spoke to a Best Buy customer service rep when I went there to check out all the high end Verizon phones ( iPhone, Android devices) and she told me that the next iPhone won't be out until September and it will likely be just an incremental upgrade.

I'm pretty certain that she was probably given that information by Best Buy management or she went only and read all the different and, sometimes, competing iPhone rumors.  However, I did have to defer to her experience in the years working there and seeing the different upgrade cycles and assume that since she bought the rumors, there could be some weight to them.

Is an 8MP camera upgrade enough to entice me to upgrade even in September?  Probably not.  How about if the next iPhone has the newer dual-core A5 chip in it?  I think the A4 in the iPhone 4 is already plenty fast.  How about a 4" screen?  I'll consider it if it has a 720p resolution but still a maybe but not a definite for me.

Better battery life on the next iPhone?  Now we're talking.  I love to see the next iPhone gain the type of battery life that the iPad current has.  I like to see the next iPhone handle my moderate to heavy use and get me through the day without worry about find a plug or throttling back my mobile uses.  

Until then, I'm already in love with my new iPhone 4 and the iPod touch/iSpot combo is already feeling neglected.  I'm sure I'll find a way to incorporate them into my mobile work routine.  So, do you think I made a good decision getting the iPhone so close to an upgrade release?

Monday, June 27, 2011

No iPad 3 This Year - iPad 2 Backlog Still Immensely Popular

I'm going to say it again: Apple will not be releasing a new 9.7" iPad this year. There will not be any iPad 2.5 or iPad 3. Why? Just take a look at the backlog that still exist at Apple's online store in the US.

Then take another look at the iPad waiting period for Apple's online store in other countries. 1 To 2 week wait everywhere.

And if that's not enough, go to Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, three authorized resellers outside of Apple, and see if you can pick up the model you want. Chances are, you can't.

On top of that, the iPad controls nearly 90% of the global tablet traffic and 97% of the US Web traffic for the tablet market.

Still not enough evidence that there will not be a new 9.7" iPad coming out? RIM has cut back on orders. As have Acer. And tablet makers are said to be turning to Windows 8 to combat the iPad because Android 3, Honeycomb, has failed to catch fire with consumers.

Keep in mind that I said no 9.7" iPads. There is no reason for Apple not to release an iPod touch with 5", 6", 7", or even a 12" iPad (which I doubt anything beyond 10" is possible)this fall.

A smaller iPad or a big iPod touch is definitely within the realm of possibility. It would certainly help take some demand pressure off the iPad 2. And cannibalization of one Apple product for another isn't something that Cupertino is going to worry too much about.

So, no iPad 3. Not until late winter or early spring of 2012.

Pixar's Brave: $2 Billion At The Box Office Next Year

I watched Cars 2 yesterday. It was pretty awesome but you can tell it was catered to children under 10 or so. I'm just a bit beyond their target market but I still enjoyed it immensely. Heck, I spent $150 at the Disney store on Cars merchandise right after (for my nephews).

Still, it was no Toy Story 3. However, this new trailer for Pixar's upcoming blockbuster movie, Brave, that was previously shown on Cars 2 3D viewings, will put Pixar back on the path of breaking new grounds again.

It'll not only be Pixar's first fairy tale movie (recently Disney ventures into this realm has been dismal and Pixar is going to show them just how to get it right again), Pixar will go back to tell a new original story.

So, I'm going to call it. Pixar's "Brave" will bring in $2 Billion at the box office worldwide next year.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Great Look Nokia Phone, N950 - Would Be An Awesome Pairing With iOS

Here is a nice pic of the new N950 from Nokia.  It's is a slide-out keyboard style with an ample keyboard and higher resolution screen that you typically see on a screen of this size, 4".   Unfortunately, it runs Meego, an untested mobile OS from Intel.  However, imagine if it runs iOS 5 - yeah, it would blow the market wide open should Apple ever decide to release an iOS device with a physical keyboard.  

I've tried the portrait keyboard on the iPhone and Blackberry. Then there's the Android G1 that I used for more than a year.  Trust me when I tell you that the landscape with the slide-out keyboard is much better for those who still cannot get accustomed to virtual keyboard.  

Anyway, I'm sure Apple has considered released an iPhone with a physical keyboard but has so far decided against it.  Still one can dream.

Oh, did I mentioned that the N950 has a 12MP camera?  The iPhone 4 has a 5MP camera.  There is expectation Apple will upgrade the camera on next iPhone but I highly doubt a 12MP camera is in play. 

Hackers Showed No LTE iPad or iPhone Until 2012 At The Earliest

I think for people trying to out-wait Apple, September is looking more like the date when the next iPhone will come out.

No one know what exactly is going to be on this new iPhone as far as specs and screen size but it looks like there will not be any LTE iOS devices until 2012.  I reckon it'll probably be spring of 2012 when Apple upgrades the iPad once again.  I am in the camp that there will not be any new iPad coming out this year.  

More at 9to5mac.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Albeit Slower, T-Mobile Only Option For Unlimited Wireless Access For iPad

Guess what? I am writing this post from the iPad. Now, you know that I've done that for eons. Others have done this as well. What's different this time around is the wireless connection that I am using. Posting through T-Mobile's EDGE.

With the GSM 3G iPad model, I am limited to AT&T in the United States. There is T-Mobile but a couple of things prevent most users from using their iOS devices with T-Mobile. Most users. I like to consider myself as more adventurous when it comes to my mobile needs.

See, the issue facing T-Mobile users from is that the 3G network and the iOS devices are not compatible. Hence, you're limited to EDGE speed even if you are able to get it work. Secondly, Apple has switched over to using micro sim cards. And those micro sim cards are not provided by T-Mobile.

So even if you're willing to go with the slower wireless speed, the sim card issue remains an obstacle. However, if you're willing to take the EDGE speed, you'll need to figure out a way to get your regular sim card into the micro lot.

So I went ahead and made the cuts. There are plenty of examples online on how to do this well. I read a couple and watched a few videos.

When it came time to do it, I ruined a couple of sim cards. I simply don't have the skills with razor blades. Instead, I figured out an easier way. Trust me.

A very pair of scissors. Yup. That's it. Cut around the metal part. Cut away the edges. Thats the easy part. Then there is some trimming the sim card into the smaller slot.

Make sure you it in the right direction. It didn't work the first time. I had thought I ruined another sim card. I took it out of the iPad and switched it around.

Whoola! Unlimited EDGE access.

-- Post From My iPad

Friday, June 24, 2011

Apple Issues More iCloud Information

Better kinda late than even later.  I'm talking about Apple's iCloud information about migration from MobileMe and for new users.

Just about everything so far has been as expected.  iWeb hosting and iDisk are gone.  But we now know that there will be web access for those who like to access their mail/calandar/contacts through a browser.

I can't say that I'm bitter about iWeb.  I've said before that I took an iWeb survey only a month ago.  It made it looked like Apple was soliciting information on my use and what I think can help them improve up on.

More at 9to5Mac, Apple.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Disruptive iPad Changing How We Watch Video Again; Putting Cable Companies In Hot Water

You know you're disruptive when other companies get sued because of the doors and possibilities that your product opens.

After Time Warner was sued and eventually settled over its iPad app that allowed subscribers to stream services they order, Cablevision is being targeted by Viacom for virtually the same reason.

This is pretty impressive considering that the tablet market did not exist 14 months ago.  And today, the iPad IS the tablet market.  After all, the iPad accounts for about 90% of the world's tablet traffic and 97% of the US market.  

It's likely we are seeing the beginning of a turmoil in the video subscription industry, namely cable and satellite.  Don't be surprised if these apps are the precursors to video-only services for live TV.

Source: Macrumors

T-Mobile Announces 1M iPhone Users On Its Network Hoping To Capitalize On Unlocked iPhone 4

1 Million T-Mobile customers are also iPhone users.  Most are still using pre-iPhone 4 devices but more than a few have taken the knife to their sim card and turned it into a micro sim to fit the iPhone 4.

It's interest that just now, T-Mobile is bring this up.  Why?  

The most likely reason is that Apple has begun selling unlocked iPhone 4 in the US and T-Mobile, while in the midst of a merger with AT&T, hopes to take advantage of the change.

If you think about it, that is about $90 million extra dough iPhone users pay T-Mobile each quarter to access 3G data.  And not only that, while we pay for 3G access, we only get EDGE because the iPhones does not run on T-Mobile's 3G network  

So for about $300 million a year that T-Mobile earns, it makes sense to advertise this seemingly insignificant figure.  Oh, and to make it easier on us, T-Mobile is working on securing micro sim cards so we don't have to cut up ours.

So attracting users who are willing to bring their unlocked iPhone over to T-Mobile is the reason why I think they've come out with this 1 million iPhone sub press release.  There has been no hard evidence that T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone this fall.

Source:  9to5mac.

$99 Tablet (Yup, That's It)

You've got roughly six months left until Christmas.  Enough time to change your ways. But if you remain naughty, Santa will bring you, it's not coal.  it's worse (Wired).

T-Mobile Announces 1M iPhone Users On Its Network Hoping To Capitalize On Sales of Official Unlocked iPhone 4

1 Million T-Mobile customers are also iPhone users.  Most are still using pre-iPhone 4 devices but more than a few have taken the knife to their sim card and turned it into a micro sim to fit the iPhone 4.

It's interest that just now, T-Mobile is bring this up.  Why?  

The most likely reason is that Apple has begun selling unlocked iPhone 4 in the US and T-Mobile, while in the midst of a merger with AT&T, hopes to take advantage of the change.

If you think about it, that is about $90 million extra dough iPhone users pay T-Mobile each quarter to access 3G data.  And not only that, while we pay for 3G access, we only get EDGE because the iPhones does not run on T-Mobile's 3G network  

So for about $300 million a year that T-Mobile earns, it makes sense to advertise this seemingly insignificant figure.  Oh, and to make it easier on us, T-Mobile is working on securing micro sim cards so we don't have to cut up ours.

So attracting users who are willing to bring their unlocked iPhone over to T-Mobile is the reason why I think they've come out with this 1 million iPhone sub press release.  There has been no hard evidence that T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone this fall.

Source:  9to5mac.

90% of Enterprise Hacked; Will Get Worse With Mobile

I'll make this quick and short.  A survey with disturbing results showed that 90% of enterprises have been hacked and they are losing the battle.

And it appears they're not learning from this because 60% of them had been breached at least twice.  Sophisticated malware as well as social engineering as key for such breaches.

It's just unfortunate that such a thing can be avoided but the education in this regard is severely limited.  And most companies are too scared to admit it's going on.

And the recent rash of Android malware will only make it worse as more enterprise users go mobile with their work.  

Source: InfoWorld.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Apple's Mac PC Are Gaining In Enterprise And Why It Could Be Good For You

Apple's PC share in the enterprise market is now up to 11%. That's nearly 21% growth from about a year ago.  All this is due to two reasons:

Halo effect from iOS.  iPhones and iPads have done wonders for Apple's Macs.  Companies figure that if iOS devices are this great, maybe Macs are just as awesome.  
Then there's the "bring your own" device to work scheme that more companies are adopting.  Allows for happy and efficient workers.  They are not forced upon them devices and PCs that are not elegant to work with.  

It'll be interesting to see where things go from here.  Apple has retained a foothold through its millions of dedicated users throughout the vast business spectrum.  There has some more effort on Apple's part to sell to enterprise but in the short-term, it will still be folks like us who continue to help Apple out.  

Aside from ourselves doing well, why would we try to convince others to adopt iOS devices and Macs?  Think of it this way.  People are apparently more productive since making the switch to Apple's gears.  What's good for your company is probably going to be good for you as well.  If your company or group does well, you can be looking at higher stocks if you get them as a part of your compensation.  Or you could be seeing higher salary or bonuses.  

Source: Cult of Mac.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hulu Got Offered For Sale - Not Google. So Who?!

Hulu got an offer for sales.  According to Business insider, tweets from CNBC and WSJ (they're very close to each other) indicated that Google is not the company that made the solicitation.  

So, if not Google, then who?  I know people want to think that it's Apple or Microsoft.  I doubt it.  Between the two, I'd said it's more likely Apple but even that's not likely.

I think Facebook makes more sense.  It has shown interests in video streaming with its own endeavors but I think they've largely been major fails.  

Also, in contention could be cable companies.  They're stuck in the Dark Ages of cable video and getting Hulu could also be a route for the company to avoid becoming dumb pipes for broadband.

Whoever it is, it figures going after Hulu is cheaper than buying Netflix and is a faster route to the living room to challenge Netflix.  

It'll be interesting once this deal is closed.  Can't wait.

Note:  As a mobile fan, I would love to see Apple or Google make the move.  That would be fantastic.

Israel Asks Apple To Remove App That Might Foster Violence And Hate

There is an app that the Israeli government is requesting that Apple pull from the store that they said is potentially fostering violence against Israel.  The app name is called ThirdIntifada.

According to the Yahoo News post, it is an Arabic term for varying degrees of uprisings against Israel.  I only said varying because, while I know a lot of it is violent, I don't know if all of it is.  Semantics aside, I do believe in the freedom of speech and religion to a point.  

Doing a quick check on iTunes, the app has received three stars with no reviews to read from.  Plus, just about everything is in Arabic, including screen shots so I have no idea what it's saying.  

The request to remove the app came from Israel's information minister to Steve Jobs.  

I am bringing this up because from Yahoo's post, I am not able to corroborate the claims.  I guess I have grown not to take anything we read at face value.  Could be the Yahoo post is as it says or that the AP writer is too lazy to doing any fact checking before posting this.  We've been examples of such in the past.

But if true, I sincerely hope Apple examines this issue carefully.  I think lots of governments and Apple competitors are watching to see just how plays out.

Source: Yahoo News.

150M iCloud Users? Basis For Apple's Social Network

RBC surveyed 1500 iPhone users and found that Apple may have 150 million iCloud users total, if you count in the number of iPod touch and iPad users.  Is that a lot?

According to figures provided by 9to5Mac, that's about 75% of Google's 200 million Gmail users and half of Twitter users.  It's no wonder Twitter is feeling pretty good about being integrated into iOS.  Still, all of these numbers pale in comparison to Facebook's 700 million users.

On top of that, iTunes Match could add $1.5 billion to the music studios and Apple's bottom-line.

That and in of itself is a pretty huge number.  Should apple want to leverage this along with its other social initiatives, iCloud could be the basis of a social network to challenge Facebook and Google.  Should this be the case, Apple can fold the fledging Ping into it and provide a better integration with FaceTime and iMessage.  And let's no forget Apple's photo streaming features.  

All of this can be done will protecting user privacy.

Source:  9to5Mac.

Versus: A New Series To Look At Present And Future of The Major Mobile Platforms And their Viablity

I'll be sharing with you my thoughts in the various mobile platforms
regardless of their sizes today and how they can survive through
tomorrow and even thrive.

I started thinking about this last night while listening to various
podcasts during my run yesterday. I think it's critical that we
examine where things are without getting too caught up in the various
fanboyism and take a good look at how things can turn out.

The iPhone 4 death grip was an issue but to this day, I cannot say for
sure if it was such a big deal. While Apple probably got a B- for how
it handled it, things could have turned out even worse for Cupertino.

Today, everyone is piling into RIM and its aging OS that runs on the
Blackberry. As far as I'm concerned, the Blackberry OS reminds me of
Mac OS 8 and 9 which was a patchwork that Apple desperately tried to
push out to compete with the better and faster Windows 95, 98, and
XP. Still, Apple prevailed and I like to see what are the chances
that RIM can rise like a Phoenix and remain a relevant mobile company

Also, Android with its never-seen-before growth has come to dominate
the mobile market. However, it's no secret that it is plagued by
malware as well as fragmentation.

And today, an analyst even believe that the release of iPhone 5 that
is like to be on multiple carriers including Verizon and Sprint could
not only further stem Android's share of thr market but begin to erode
its dominace in the US.

It'll be a fun look at the future. Maybe there will br a dark horse in
this fast evolving mobile war that comes out of nowhere and blindsided
even Steve Jobs.

Monday, June 20, 2011

WiFi Based Charging

This is something I can get behind.  uBeam - A wirelessbase charging system better than anything on the market with a farther range.  On one side, you plug into the wall socket an ultrasonic transducer and on the iPad, iPhone, or another device, an adapter. The transducer sends off an inaudible sound to the adapter which then converts the sound back into energy to charge your mobile devices.

How will this sound affect the human body?  I don't know if it will at all.  Even dogs will not be able to hear this.  And I've got a few more questions about it. Like how efficient is this system and how much it'll cost.

In the TUAW post where I found information, it mentioned that someone like Starbucks can install this and virtually free up the wall sockets.  

Source:  TUAW.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Next Gen Mobile Chips: Quad-Core Or Supercharged GPU? What's Best For Battery Life

The next step in mobile chips is naturally going to be more sophisticated and faster than the current chips that power the top line mobile devices.  Tegra 2 from Nvidia is making waves with Android smartphones and tablets while Apple's A5 chip powers its iPad and, probably, the next generation iPhone.  Both of these chips are dual-core running at 1Ghz.  Also powering these chips are powerful graphics units.  And while it took years for desktop CPU to go from single core to dual core and an even longer period of time for laptops, mobile device chips are made the move faster and there is already talk about quad-core chips.

So, I wonder what is better for overall mobile performance.  And how does that balance with the battery life?

At this point, I think the current chips are good enough for our mobile needs.  And in fact, the previous gen chips, like the single-core Qualcomm Snapdragons running at 1Ghz as well as the A4 chips powering the iPhone 4, are doing quite a good job.  Their performance supports one hundred percent of mobile needs.  And as far as handling top of the line iPhone and Android games, these chips has yet to show their age.  

For competitive reasons, the various mobile device makers has no choice but to continue to push the mobile tech envelope  At the same time, I think the older chips will continue to find a market in the low-end smartphone and prepaid markets.  

And since more operations are being off-loaded to the GPU for greater coding efficiency, I wonder if there is a need to hurry the jump from dual-core to quad-core.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for faster and better smartphones and tablets.  At the same time, I like to see that balanced against even better battery life.

The 10-hours we're getting from Xoom and the iPad are pretty good but I would like to safely get 12 hours out of them for the next gen upgrades.  And on the smartphone side, is there really such a thing as moderate use that many review sites like to say in their battery tests?  I think as society goes more mobile, today's heavy use may well be tomorrow's light use.  

Take the Atrix which is used to power an Android-netbook setup.  Also consider the ASUS Transformer  Both of these devices can lay claim to better battery lives only with the hope of the added battery in their respective keyboard accessories  That doesn't work for me.  

Apple allows mirroring through its Airplay implementation to a HDTV or monitor.  With a BT keyboard, we can be looking at a whole new setup for our future computing needs.  If the iPhone or iPad that is simultaneously used as a mirroring device and for wireless input, that has got to sap the battery life.  

It would be great to see the next generation mobile devices used in this capacity without much of a penalty to the battery life.  And used as a standalone device, go from today's 10-hours to 12-15 hours.  

So, it'll be interesting to see if these companies will try to increase the mobile processing power with higher core counts and/or GPU but hold the line for battery life at the current level or go with a smaller increase in processing power while pushing the envelope on the battery life.

Friday, June 17, 2011

RIM Buyout Scenario and Questions

RIM is now cheaper to buy than Yahoo.  Even with a twenty percent premium, RIM can be had for $18 billion – plenty of companies are capable of buy them out with just even the cash reserves on hand.  

Microsoft quickly comes to mind.  Intel.  Cisco.  Google.  Oh, and then there's the unlikely candid that is Apple. 

Three questions need to be asked about a RIM buyout scenario:

  1. Who's more likely to pull the trigger?  
  2. How would it change the landscape?
  3. And is Apple really not as likely to be a RIM suitor?
I think we'll know in the next few months just how likely RIM is going to survive and in what form.

Ani-Virus Maker Wants An Open Insecured iOS So They Can Sell Anti-Virus Apps

Kaspersky, anti-virus maker, thinks Apple ought to open up the iOS because it is concerned that Android is kicking the iPhone's butt.  That concern is heart felt if not for the fact that the iOS as a whole is a bigger mobile platform than Android (including iPod touch and iPad) and that its has not been able to make money off of Apple's success like other app makers are.

According to Kaspersky CTO, he's worried about Apple's walled garden being competitive with Android.  

Okay...dude, just come out and say it.  And open iOS means you can sell anti-virus softwares to users who currently don't have a need for it.  And open iOS means it'll be inherently more insecure, allowing a bunch of apps with malware to enter the app stores like what's going on with Android.  

Just, this week, Google removed 10 apps with malware alone.  What Kaspersky should be doing is to promote its services to Android users like myself worried the increasing malware threats.  Not trump up idiotic statements like the iOS needing to be open so it can be competitive.

Even Android blogsite, Phandroid is promoting the idea that Google needs to lock down the marketplace some more.  So, Kaspersky dude, better do what you can before Google makes you obsolete too.

RIM: Making Money Still, Worry Is That It'll Stop With Increasing Competition

Research In Motion, maker of the iconic Blackberry and Playbook (not as iconic), got clobbered yesterday as its stock is down more than 21% as of this writing.  As a publicly traded company, making hundreds of millions isn't enough to stem the ire of stockholders.  

I know, it's all about being able to compete in the marketplace and RIM's mobile gears are not doing so well.  And while the two CEOs reminded financial analysts during the call yesterday night, RIM is still very profitable.  However, the fear is that it'll stop making money all together if it doesn't get its acts together.

Increased competition from Apple over the years stunted RIM's growth and lead to losses of market share.  

While management has pleaded for patience until new products reach the marketplace, those based on its QNX operating system, investors and bloggers think it might already be too late.  References to Palm has kept cropping up during user commenters on various blogs as the financial call started.  

Also, the iPhone has made great progress into enterprise, the last of Blackberry stronghold and the halo efforts of the iPad has made the iPhone more of an attractive alternative to the BB.  Furthermore, these troubles at RIM could for IT to rethink their commitments to Blackberries.  After all, they need to keep an eye to the future.

Then there's the tablet market.  RIM said it has shipped 500K units.  Immediately, many took that as a good sign.  But after sitting back to look at the wording, "shipped" does not meant "sold".  When pressed on this issue, one of the two CEOs said that RIM has no firm number.  But a moment later, he said that he was happy with the sold-through.  So which is it?  Now can RIM be happy about a figure they don't have?

Furthermore, layoffs are on the books.  And while many want the co-CEOs to be among them, it's not likely to happen. And it's beginning to look like if they're still in charge, a turnaround is less likely to happen any time soon.  Meanwhile, Apple will continue to eat away in enterprise.  

Just wait until Apple releases the next iPhone and, quite possibly, a budget version.  If you think things are bad now for RIM, you haven't seen nothing yet.

Apple Escalates Copycat Lawsuit Against Samsung; Sammy Needs To Also Watch Its Six For Nokia

Today, Apple escalated its copycat and patent lawsuit against Samsung, one of Apple's largest sources for parts used in its iOS arsenal.  The epic battle between Apple and Nokia ended earlier this week and it probably freed up a lot of resources for Apple to go after Samsung, which is really a shot a Google.

If anyone thought this would go away quietly, he or she could not have been any more wrong about anything in his or her life.  This battle will span continents and just about all other Android handset makers will be looking out for this.  Take the blatant copycat iPhone 4 running Android on sale at Sears.  (Doesn't seem like a bad device either.)

While I cannot see where Samsung has copied Apple, I'm not a patent lawyer so I cannot for sure.  Maybe a couple of devices but the Galaxy tablets?  Hmmm...

Anyway, Samsung could be facing a new foe in the courts if not the marketplace soon.  Nokia, reinvigorated by its win over Apple, could be looking for more.  And while Apple has yet to go after Google directly, Nokia probably doesn't have a problem with that.  

So while all the Android folks are looking at the Apple-Samsung dust-up, they need to be watching their sixes for Nokia.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unlocked GSM iPhones Show Why T-Mobile Sale to AT&T Should Not Go Through

Despite ATT saying that T-Mobile is good for competition, I just don't see it.  I'm not sure AT&T even tries to justify or explain that statement.  But if there is one example right now that shows we should be against this merger is the unlocked iPhone.
If you go out there and buy the unlocked iPhone, you can use it only with AT&T.  With a bit of an effort, you can get it work with T-Mobile by trimming your SIM card into a microsim card. 
However, you cannot enjoy the HPSA+ network that T-Mobile is calling 4G which theoretically is faster than AT&T"s on "4G" network.  While ATT is at 7.2Mbps, T-Mobile is moving towards 42Mbps.  Having said that, if you manage to get it working with T-Mobile, you are stuck on EDGE because of the difference in frequencies on which the two HSPA networks run on.
Now, here's the part you're waiting for.  Even if you decided against signing up for a two-year commitment with AT&T and get the unlocked iPhone 4 from Apple, ATT does not offer a lower and comparable voice and data plan.  AT&T reminds us that their high rates are because of the subsidies they pay Apple so that post-paid users won't have to pay for the $650 or $750 upfront for the 16 GB or 32 GB respectively.
By that reasoning, shouldn't AT&T offer a plan that costs less because an unlocked iPhone paid for it in full? 
The answer is no.  Which really puts the high costs AT&T charges users unnecessarily higher.  And that's okay.  That's just business. 
With an independent T-Mobile as it is now, a future iPhone that supports its HSPA+ network puts it in direct competition with AT&T.  And traditionally, T-Mobile offers better rates than either AT&T or Verizon.  In fact, T-Mobile does have better pre-paid deals than AT&T. 
A lot of us think that Apple is about to release an iPhone for T-Mobile this year.  I think once that happens, we'll see a lot of defections from AT&T to T-Mobile.  And you know what?  When that happens, I can't see how AT&T can explain why eliminating T-Mobile is a good deal for the average mobile warrior. 
What going to be the kicker is that if the number of iPhone users defecting from AT&T to T-Mobile is such a huge number that AT&T's immediate bottom-line is affected and is forced to provide better deals to stem the loss of subscribers, it will really put a galactic size hole in AT&T's arguments, whatever they are, that the merger is good for competition.

Jailbreaking Has Been Important To Android and Even More so For iPhone

Android isn't open.  Let's put that issue to bed.  What is awesome about Android is that programmers have access to the various builds that allow the community to build on top of it or, in some instances, stripping away skins that are for the most part, unwanted and give users something to rail about on their blogs or in forums. 


Once stripped, the native OS became more useful, faster, and took up smaller amounts of foot print.  Take my G1, it's running a customized Android 2.2.  This is a device that was left for dead by Google and T-Mobile.  This is the maiden device that introduced the world to all that is cool and great about Android.


And take HTC Desire which HTC on Monday said it was abandoning.  I wager my year's salary that through the community of Android programmers, the Desire will be a couple more Android updates long after HTC has moved on. 


And jailbreaking or rooting isn't just Android.  iPhone unlocking and jailbreaking is fast becoming an American geek past-time and, for a while, turned into a must-see cat-and-mouse game between Apple and a few determined hackers that are determined to pry open the walled garden.


And though Apple would never admit it, I think more than a few at Apple are happy that the home team lost.  This is especially evident in the iOS 5 where a couple of keep features like notifications came through as a JB feature. 


And then take WhiteD00r. Those are zeros, no "o".  After Apple has abandoned the iPhone 2G and iPhone 3G, this group of hardworking folks has found a way to give these older but still awesome iPhones new life – multitasking and folders quickly comes to mind but with also many missing features enjoyed by only by the latest and greatest, the iPhone 4.


If I'm Apple, I would hire this group of programmers in a heart beat. 


So as much as the carriers and device makers want to pretend these under-the-radar don't exist, they cannot ignore the impact that they have had on their mobile platforms.  And, I cannot wait until Honeycomb and iOS 5 gets their turn.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Apple's New Wi-Fi Routers Coming, Possibly With More Power And Functions Than Before

Wi-Fi routers are nothing we typical give a second thought about.  We get it up and working and pretty much forget about it.  Some people don't even change the admin password.  In the current models, Apple even stick in a hard drive for backup and file storage.  Now, Apple could be giving them the same insides as a typical iPhone or iPad.  

What would this kind of power be used for?  One possibility is iCloud.  It isn't a bit of a stretch here.  iCloud is the link that Apple hopes will propel us from beyond the desktop or laptop and relegate the PC to just another accessory from which we are linked to the iCloud.  And new powerful routers like the ones that Apple is working will enable that vision.

On a smaller scale, I would like to see these routers work as Apple TV as well.  It would go a long way in help iOS enter the living.  Imagine having a router, media streaming device, and a home cloud storage system all in one neat little box.  

And with my iOS devices, I would be able to access all that information remotely from iCloud wherever I am.

Source:  Appleinsider.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here We Go Again: Retina-Like Display For the Next iPad - Not!

Months ago, there was rumors that Apple could be looking to release iPad 3 later this fall.  That was even before the iPad 2 was even out.  Various factors were in play that contributed to that rumor.  After Steve Jobs called 2011 the year of the iPad 2, those rumors, which were burning like wild fire, was quickly doused.  Now, it's back.

Hidden within iOS 5 was indication that the next iPad will have 2048x1536 resolution, essentially four times the resolution of the current iPad and the one before that.  Really?!  

Look, I want this to be true as much as the next Apple fan but has it occurred to anyone that if it's in there, it could simply be Apple preparing for the future?  After all, Retina display for the iPhone 4 and future iPhones.  Retina display for the iPod touch and future touches.  So it is simply a matter of connecting the dots that Apple will also be increasing the resolution of the iPad.

But will it be for iPad 3?  Or perhaps iPad 4?  Maybe, not until iPad 6?  

Apple is known for preparing for the future.  According to the initial report, this resolutions was indicated in one part of iOS 5.  Twitter framework.  And so far, it has not been found anywhere else in the upcoming iOS upgrade.  What does this mean?

It likely means that the 2048x1536 display information should not have been there but it was left behind or inserted by accident.  And what it also means is that we simply saw evidence of Apple's foresight, to prepare for the future when they will upgrade the iPad screen with higher resolutions.  

Maybe I'm being overtly cautious about this new development.  And this is now a fact, not a rumor.  And there is definitely a large part of me that want to make the leap Techunwrapped, the site that first reported this Twitter frame where where large images were found, took - that the iPad 3 release will coincide with the iOS 5 release.  So how did they made this connection when only one small part, albeit a new and important one, of iOS 5 has information regarding a potential display with four times the resolution?

I don't know.  I believe Steve Jobs when he said iPad 2 will be the only tablet released by Apple this year.  Apple can barely keep up with demand as it is.  Why made matters worse with an even better iPad?  And like I said at the top, anything found in the iOS 5 could be just about Apple preparing for the future.  A future that doesn't mean next year but the year after that or further.  

Still, this is confirmation that at some point, we will have an iPad with a 2048x1536 resolution.  So, anyone care to speculate on the kind of hardware that'll be needed to power this awesome display?

Did Apple Lose To Nokia On Purpose So More Lawsuits Can Be Launched Against Android Foes?

When the International Trace Commission rules that you haven't violated someone's patents, that's usually a good step forward.  That is the case with the patent spat between Apple and Nokia - the preliminary ruling was in Apple's favor.  So why did Apple settle with Nokia and possibly paid them hundreds of millions and also future royalty payments?

Could Apple have simply "threw the game" so to speak to open the door for Nokia to go after the Android makers, an indirect shot at Google?  You know that "the enemy of my enemy" thing.  

We'll see in the coming months just how Nokia takes this victory.

Source:  Gigaom.

T-Mobile Should Take Advantage Of Opportunity Unlocked iPhones Present

Should the deal between T-Mobile not go through, it would need to be in a position to once again find a way to find to get back all those customers that they've lost.

Unlocked iPhones might be the ticket here. A great number of unlocked iPhone users remained with T-Mobile through the years because of the customer service and the fact that AT&T was unreliable.

T-Mobile should give anyone who uses an unlocked iPhone 4 on its network credit that will go towards a contract.

For three reasons. One, there users are going out there to buy their own devices, unsubsidized. Second, these iPhones will not run on T-Mobile's 3G network. And lastly, it'll help stem losses.

In fact, T-Mobile should offer an EDGE only data plan for anyone who uses an unlocked iPhone with a voice plan.

These are subscribers any way you put it. And right now, T-Mobile needs them more than ever, merger with AT&T not withstanding.

Note: I stream Netflix on my iPhone over T-Mobile's EDGE now and for a hiccup here and there, it works great for the most part.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch
And so it has begun. Apple started selling unlocked GSM iPhones in both black and white and in both 16 and 32 GB configurations. Regardless of the color, the 16 GB and 32 GB models are going for $650 and $750 respectively.

Everyone is asking why...just because they can now? After all, we are so close to Apple releasing their next iPhone update.

Here's my theory Right about now is when Apple usually introduces new iPhones. So perhaps their contract with AT&T is up. That's the reason.

Apple's multi-year deal with AT&T was probably more complicated than just giving Ma Bell the right to BR the exclusive iPhone carrier until Verizon started selling the CDMA version earlier this year.

Once June rolled around, it freed Apple to start selling unlocked iPhones in the US. Now, we have to see what happens when the new iPhones are on the market. Will Apple continue to offer the new updated iPhone unlocked or is there a deal in place with AT&T to lock them down for a period of time?

By the way, it appears that Apple is only selling this through their online store so far and maybe even through the Apple stores but not through other retail outlets. So I think the chances of AT&T offering a lower mobile plan for unsubsidized unlocked iPhone users isn't likely to happen. Figures.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Monday, June 13, 2011

Unlocked iPhone 4 at $650 And $750

Looks like it's really happening.  Apple will begin selling GSM unlocked iPhones some time this week.  Multiple sites have confirmed this so I figure it's okay to share them with you.

So far, there is very little known about them.  They will come in both white and black as well as 16 GB and 32 GB models.  Four total.

What does this mean for the US market?  It is difficult to say at this point.  Right now, potential iPhone owners can only buy iPhones through AT&T and Verizon Wireless by signing for two-year contact commitments.  Hefty costly contracts.

And since these are GSM models, anyone who wants to use the iPhone on on a more reliable network will still have to buy them through Verizon - for them, nothing has change.  However, AT&T customers will face the choice of signing up for a two-year contract just like before or buy the device outright for use.  What we don't know is whether AT&T will offer a lower rate monthly for owners of unlocked iPhone 4 since their devices are not being subsidized.  

At the same time, some people might be interested in buy these unlocked version for use on T-Mobile USA despite 3G incompatibilities.  Without 3G support, they will be left with EDGE speed.  Perhaps, to entice them, T-Mobile should reintroduce a lower priced wireless data access for EDGE only.  

The answers we are seeking is probably days if not hours away.  I am sure the Apple bloggers are working hard trying to uncover details from their sources.  

More at 9to5Mac, Macrumors.

A More Down To Earth Assessment of iCloud And What It Means for iPhone And iPod Users

iCloud is meant to put information at the tip of iOS users.  Literally.  Whether you're on the iPhone, iPod touch, or the iPad or a combination of all three plus a Mac or PC, Apple wants to make it seamless for the user to have the most updated information at their disposal.

In my previous post, I mentioned just how rosy the Techcrunch post was all clear skies.  This Engadget post kinda went the other way.

However, their conclusion is this.  Most loyal Apple fans will stick with iCloud and will find great use for it.  I agree.  I am looking forward to it with an abundance of caution.  

The bottomline is this.  Apple users, competitors, and its blog watchers are all anxiously seeking answers and trying to see it is as awesome as the WWDC keynote last Monday specified.  It will have a huge impact on iOS and Mac users.  Just about everyone who runs iOS 5 and Lion will be impacted by iCloud to one degree or another.  

iCloud competitors like Dropbox are gonna wander if they'll sink or manage to find a way to swim in this cloudy current.  It could be a good or a bad thing.  And competitors like Google, HP, RIM, and Microsoft are wonder if iCloud will having such a large pull that it'll draw away users towards Apple.  

iCloud: Don't Get Too Excited Until We See It In Action

This Techcrunch post paints really rosy picture for iCloud, setting the stage to conclude that all is lost for Apple's competitors, Google, Microsoft, and maybe even Facebook.

While I am excited by iCloud and its potential, there is just way way too many questions about it that Apple has not given us answers to.  It took an iWeb user to get out of Steve Jobs whether he needs to look elsewhere to host his personal website (yeah, iWeb is officially dead). 

So, I just have one word:  MobileMe.  

It works well enough for me but I signed on to it and dotMac for the last few years mainly because I expected more and more from Apple each and every single year.  

Until we all see iCloud work the way Apple intends it to and "it just works" for the rest of us, I'm gonna hold back on its praises.

Potential Unlocked iPhone Could Spark Another Mobile Trend

I was emailing back and forth with Dave the Mobile Sage about a rumor going around that Apple might start selling unlocked iPhones through AT&T this week.

And with phones continued to be carrier locked, it is possible that Apple's unlocked iPhone in the US could spark a rash of other mobile devices being sold unlocked.

I know that iPhones have been sold unlocked in other parts of the world for years but the US market is one of the biggest and most influential mobile market.

Suck unlocking could mean greater access to the latest and greatest mobile devices for users across markets. Right now, Apple and others stagger launches in different markets.

Take the iPad launch as an example. US users got it first but the reseller market is where the action's at whether we like it or not. And if Apple begin selling the next iPhone unlocked, totally expect a huge rush of demand for it from Asia where the markets typically trail US launches anywhere from 3 to 12 months.

And this could solve some demand problems. Take the Chinese launch of the iPhone 4 where hordes of resellers pushed out legitimate buyers. There was even word of a fight between a loyal Apple employee and unruly squatters. Maybe such problems can be solved buy unlocked iPhones.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Sour Taste Regarding Demise of iWeb

I am an iWeb user for my personal site, Greenjava, and the demise of it was confirmed last night when a user e-mailed Steve Jobs about it  When asked if he should look else where to host his website by the user, Jobs answered in his usual manner.  

Just a month ago, I took an Apple solicited survey on iLife and it directed me towards iWeb.  It was an exhaustive survey that gave me hope regarding Apple's plans for it in the future even as most blogs were already saying how it was already dead.

Keep in mind that iWeb is not Apple's first time getting into the web development market.  Remember Home Page from Claris before it became just Filemaker Inc?  Years later, iWeb was an unexpected surprise.  

And now without iWeb, that is Apple really saying?  After all, Apple fought a very public Flash war with Adobe and seemed to have won.  It's main weapon was HTML 5 and how it was better and friendlier for the Web.  

Without iWeb or any other tool, Apple leaves users without an easy mean to develop for it.  Even when faced with the reality of iWeb and hosting coming to an end, I cannot believe that Apple is simply leaving creation of a personal page on the Web to the likes of Facebook and Twitter.  

Who Will Be Next To Get The iPhone? I Am Rooting For Sprint But Hope Every Carrier Get It This Fall

We know that Apple will be adding a new carrier or two in the US soon.  The candidates are obvious and if it's both, well then the argument is pretty much settled.  We're talking about Sprint and T-Mobile.  

But what if Apple decides to go with only one?  Should it be Sprint or T-Mobile?  

Before I get into it, I want to say that I have been a happy T-Mobile subscriber for 8 years.  Had been.  Their latest moves regarding "unlimited" data reminds me of the early days of evilness that AT&T went through to quantify what "unlimited" means.  It's false advertising and obviously, no one is doing anything about it.  

So, I'm gonna say that if Apple wants to add only one more network this fall, then it should be Sprint.  And I would happy go switch over.  And I know, chances are that Apple will only support CDMA on Sprint rather than WiMax.  But that's okay.  I'm fine with that.  

However, if T-Mobile does end up getting it, I'm gonna feel bad for Sprint but I won't get too upset over it.  For now, T-Mobile is still T-Mobile and it's not AT&T…yet.

Now, what about other carriers?  Metro PCS or Virgin Mobile?  My good friend, Dave the Mobile Sage, has an Android phone running on VM's network costing him $25 a month.  Yeah, I would consider that in heart beat if I can get an iPhone with them.  The $25 plan includes true unlimited data access just like Sprint.

Supposedly, we're getting new iPhones this fall, probably September.  Again, as a mobile fan, I hope Apple spreads the iPhone love to all carriers in the US – even the second tier or regional ones.  It is time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Apple's Messy Messaging And Video Apps

There's iChat from years go.  As it flounders, we gained Facetime last year.  Facetime was Wi-Fi only but that might change depending whether a carrier allows Facetime chat over 3G. And now, we've got iMessage coming to iOS 5 only.  And three apps don't work with each other.  

This post from The iPhone Blog summarizes the situation well.  For me, I think the best way to solve the situation is to allow iChat take over Facetime and iMessage duties on the Mac.  On the iOS side, Apple should integrate Facetime into iMessage for simplicity sake and to eliminate an extra and unnecessary icon.

More Sophisticated Voice Control Coming To iOS 5

One of the wildest rumors ahead of the WWDC last week was Apple incorporating more sophisticated voice control and a more buff Siri in iOS 5.  Well, as you know by now, we saw nothing about that from Apple.  While it was a fun rumor, it was just a rumor.  Until now.  Appleinsider is reporting a couple of screen shots showing new voice control tucked away in the developer release of iOS 5.  

It shows a important feature called "Mic on space key" which presumably means users can dictate to the iOS devices instead of typing the words out.  This evidence is important because right now, Google has put Android way ahead of Apple with much more sophisticated voice control features.  Even if the final version of iOS 5 does ship with some voice and dictation features, I don't expect anything revolutionary at this point.  

Also, we still have no evidence that Siri, which Apple bought last year, has been improved upon.  I had hoped that Siri would be a system wide integration with iOS 5.  Right now, I'd settle for even marginal upgrades.  

More at Appleinsider.

Apple Should See The iPod Touch As Serious Mobile Device, Maybe Even More So Than the iPhone

I have the iPod touch as you know and from an earlier post regarding its battery, you can probably tell that I use my touch as one of my main mobile device.  It's an valued part of my mobile workflow.  I almost leave home without it. At times, I cannot help but think that Apple is using the iPod touch as a way to introduce people to the iPhone, especially for those who cannot afford a two-year commitment that is required to own an iPhone.  And for kids in school, the touch is a great way to get them ready for the iPhone someday.  

Instead of seeing the iPod touch as a device to help Apple up sell users to the iPhone, I think Cupertino needs to reevaluate this and perhaps give the iPod touch just as much innovative and marketing attention as the iPhone.  

With the introduction of the fourth generation iPod touch with Facetime camera running iOS 4, this touch has has true become a mobile device with a lot of productive power.  Yes, it is missing 3G wireless access but it more than makes up for not having the need for the user to sign up for a two-year contract.  At the same time, it has the clear Retina display the iPhone 4 has and has similar specs on the inside as well.  In a Wi-Fi environment, the touch loses nothing to the iPhone.  

In fact, this is what I think Apple should do.  As with its back-to-school deal that gives each student a free iPod touch with the purchase of a Mac, Apple should expand this to everyone.  Apple should offer this to enterprise customers as well as individuals.  

iPod Touch Battery Life: 75 Min Skype Video Call; Apple Should Find A Way To Make Battery Life Even Better for 2012 Version

I spent all morning talking to an online friend on the other side of the world on Skype since about 7am this morning.  It was a Skype video chat lasted about 75 minutes which forty minutes in got disconnected but I quickly dialed back.  As you know by now, I'm obsessed with battery life.  How power did this call chew up?  40%?  50%?  

At the start of the call, I had read a little bit on iBooks and made a few queries about today's weather and the movie times for Super 8 on Siri.  In all, I had been using the iPod touch for about 30 minutes before making the Skype calls.  

In all, the call took about 33% of battery life.  

Is that good?  Well, it's better than I expected.  At the end of the call, I expected to see the battery indicator closer to midpoint of the icon than the  two-third point by my estimation.  

The reason I am sharing this is because I do have a full day until 5PM PST when Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals start.  Until I can safely get home with the iPod touch plugged into a socket, I reckon it should hold me over through the rest of the morning and the afternoon where two hours of time, I'll be watching Super 8. 

My iPod touch is the fourth generation model.  This is by far the fastest and most powerful non-phone mobile device on the market, Apple really has not done much to improve its battery life.  Given its thin form factor, Apple has done a great job even squeezing out the battery life out of the touch.  Impressed as I am, I cannot help but think that had Apple given the touch an extra millimeter or two, adding an extra half ounce to its weight, it might give us an extra fifteen to twenty percent more battery life.  

On Apple website, the iPod touch is rated at 40 hours of music playback and 7 hours of video.  The iPhone 4 has the same 40 hours of music playback and is capable of playing 10 hours of video on one charge.  Apple also states the iPhone 4 can provide up to 10 hours of Internet use on Wi-Fi.  Though no information is provide regarding the touch's battery life under Internet use, we can safely that it is nowhere near 10 hours.  I would say that it is 7 hours at best.

On top of that, I normally do not sit there in silence.  Even now, I am listening to a podcast and before, that, I was streaming Science Friday from NPR.  With such an use combination, it's likely I will would have likely achieve closer to 5 to 6 hours of battery life.  

I consider this decent for a device this small and light.  For a non-phone device, I think nothing comes close to what Apple has achieved with the iPod touch.  However, I hope Apple seriously bump up the battery life on the next touch update.  We are increasingly relying upon our mobile devices and smartphones for our daily computing and social needs.  

Be it Apple, Samsung, or Google, these tech companies need to realize that our mobile habits have changed greatly even from a year ago.  What constitutes heavy versus moderate use has to change.

Note: Even though iPhone's 6 hours of Internet use over 3G is pretty good, I would like to see Apple really bump that up to 10 hours somehow. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

iMessage Versus Everyone Else; Developers Has To Evolve Or Become A Wiki Has-Been

One of the best examples of survival of the fittest, evolutionary pressure, or natural selection can be seen in how the mobile market is evolving. And with the introduction of iMessage in iOS 5, due this fall, we are seeing a lot of changes, or talk of changes in SMS, and how others like RIM's messaging implementation will be affected.

iMessage is already being herald as a winner. In the past couple of weeks, I have tried a few multi-platform messaging apps that served well enough. However, as with anything Apple, they can encroach at any moment into an field or function, that apps served, not previously available in its OS.

Developers of Whatsapp, Kik, KakaoTalk, and probably a couple of dozens others face a difficult choice this fall. Innovate or attempt to survive on other mobile platforms and leave iOS mostly to iMessage.

Like I've mentioned before regarding iCloud's impact on other cloud storage solutions, incumbents like Dropbox can see a silver lining in this. Apple competition does not necessarily mean the end of the world. There are positive examples of how Apple helped competitors.

  • Just like the iPhone brought a lot of attention to smartphones.
  • iTunes made it okay to download music.
  • iOS-based Apple TV has been great business for Roku.
  • iPad has developed a whole new mobile computing market that Microsoft previously failed to ignite on fire.  While sales of non-iPad competitors haven't caught on, it is only a matter of time before Android, Web OS, Playbook, and even Windows 8 begin to serve as strong alternatives to Apple's tablet offerings.

I am sure there are a couple of other examples. I reckon iMessage will force many innovate. And innovate goes both ways, doesn't it? Apple has a history of developing a great app only to allow it to languish. Sometimes, they come up with an incredible update such as Final Cut or allow it to due a quiet death (I am beginning to think iWeb and Ping will go down the latter path).

What of Blackberry Messaging, BBM? Word on the blog street is that RIM will release an app for both Android and iOS. And WSJ reports that Google is working on their own multi-platform messaging app or reinventing gTalk to compete.

So, I think messaging platforms will benefit from the attention that iMessage is going to bring. Instant messaging could also get a second wind as a result.

Everyone wins right? Wrong. iMessage, BBM, Google's offering, and the other messaging apps as a whole will put a big dent into the SMS growth - a cash cow for the wireless cartels across the world.

I don't have to tell you just what a rip-off SMS is. And I am safely in the majority as far as this opinion goes. While analysts do not see a sudden torrential shift in the messaging market, I think they are wrong. Dead wrong.

I predict a huge drop in the next 12-18 months as the revenue from texting takes a big hit. Just like the app developers threatened by iMessage, the wireless industry across the world will need to change. Somehow, I don't see that happening. Maybe a few can move and innovate quickly enough but most will wake up one day and wonder just where their steady and reliable billions in SMS profit went.

iMessage is both good for the wireless industry and great for mobile warriors regardless of whatever mobile platform your smartphone runs on.

Lion's $29.99 Price Reduces Owning A Macbook By $190 Compared To A Windows Laptop

Google offers Android for free (for now since an Oracle win against Google could mean billions in damage and Google may have to start charging for Android) is an incredible strategy that hardly anyone else can duplicate.  It puts Microsoft in a bind with respect to Windows Phone 7.  And with Google offering Chrome OS for free, it could one day rival and put a dent into Microsoft's Windows revenue.  

However, that is years if not decades away and from the looks of things for Chrome OS, that just isn't going to happen at all.  But Apple may have taken a page of the Android strategy and offer OS X Lion for dirt cheap at $29.99 against Microsoft's $80 to $220 price range with a new copy of the Pro version at $200.

Could Apple have offered Lion for free?  The answer is yes but it doesn't have to.  It's about making a statement against Microsoft's dominance in the PC market and debunking the myth that Mac costs more than a PC. It sends a signal to buyers if future versions of Mac OS will be cheaper to upgrade than Windows.  

And this is the most important point of all. By reduce Lion's price to just $30, Apple has reduced the cost of owning a Mac $190 compared to a Windows PC.  

Apple can do this because its core business is both software and hardware and it makes most of its money through selling hardware.  Apple's Mac sale growth has outpaced the PC market growth every quarter for the last 5 years.  With this $30 Lion move, Apple has made sure that its win streak will continue for years to come.

Don't look surprised if the OS X upgrade after Lion comes in at $20 or the one after that at $10.

Note: Apparently, Forbes has a similar idea.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interesting Read On Twitter Integration with iOS - What It Also Means For Social Networking

Here's an interesting read on iOS integration with Twitter that was unveiled at the WWDC keynote on Monday. What was surprising was the deep level of integration that no one had expected Apple to do.  In one post I read, the blogger said Apple essentially gave Twitter  immortality Take the meaning as you will, this is a relationship that benefits both firms.

Also, I was listening to a podcast, 5 By 5, where John Gruber guessed that the relationship between Apple and Twitter is different from say Apple and Facebook, which is on the rocks, hence, its exclusion from iTunes, resulting in Ping's failure.

This came back to when Apple and Google broke their marriage.  Apple has learned from it.  Gruber said just as much and in the deal, there probably was a clause in which Apple would have the rights to veto any takeover of Twitter by another company or that Apple will have the first chance to purchase Twitter should the need arise.  Such a clause would provide Apple the confidence it needs to know that Twitter has no plans to become a competitor or be used by a competitor like Facebook, Google or Microsoft. 

Regardless, I can see some amazing things for iOS and the Mac from this.  Right now, the company with the most to worry about here is probably Facebook.  But relationship between Apple and Facebook can't be all that bad if is including fields in Contacts for Facebook (as well as a few other social networks).

Could Apple develop an app that serves as an umbrella platform for social networks the way Trillion, Meebo, or Adium does for the various instant messaging services?  Could that be what iMessage will one day evolve into?  Also, it would rock if we can tweet directly from iMessage as well.

iOS 5 is still in the first beta and I'm sure we'll see more about Twitter integration in the coming months.  The final version of iOS 5 will ship this fall, presumably with this year's new iPhone and iPod touch.

Source:  TUAW, Crunchgear

iOS 5, 1080p, And Apple TV As a Gaming Console

The following couple of points are what I've found most interesting from today's host of topics:

  • The iOS can display up to 1080p and even record at that resolution
  • And Apple TV is like to display video at 1080p should it get updated to using the latest custom chip used in the iPad 2.  Also, while we don't see evidence of this yet, it looks like Apple TV should gain some more apps and even access to the app store.
Knowing all this, I find it perplexing that this post from T3 automatically equate 1080p with 8MP.  By being able to record at 1080p, they assumed that this means the next iPhone will get 8MP.  While I sincerely hope that they are right, 8MP is still pretty new in the smartphone market.  Apple certainly does have an interest in making sure the next iPhone can go toe-to-toe with Samsung's Galaxy S II and giving the iPhone an 8MP camera would help for customers who only looks at specs to help them make puchasing decisions.

As for Apple displaying video at 1080p, it stands to reason that if the iPhone and iPad have the ability to put out 1080p, it isn't not a big leap to make that Apple will have the ability to do the same.  After all, Apple TV gains the ability to mirror what's on the iPad.  So at least with mirrowing, Apple TV allows users to watch video or play games on the big screen.  

However, this isn't my idea of gaming on Apple TV.  Consider what Nintendo is doing this week with Wii U and it's tablet like controller.  Now, add Apple's special magical touch to it.  That's Apple TV gaming for me.

More at T3, Cult of Mac.

Note:  Wii U has been given a vague 2012 release date.  Apple should have the second generation of iOS Apple TV out this fall.  If Nintendo's newest Wii console could be facing the Apple TV 2 if it's released between the first quarter and third quarter of 2012.  If it arrives in the fourth quarter, it'll likely be a Japan-only launch and it'll have to contend with Apple TV 3.

Speculation: Later Than Usual iPhone Launch Could Be A Back To School Thing

As expected, though disappointing nonetheless, there was no new iPhone announced on Monday at Apple's WWDC Keynote.  Steve Jobs did not reach into his pocket and pull out the next best shiny mobile device.  Perhaps, it pertains to something that Apple wants to do.  In past summers, Apple has a back-to-school deal that gives a student who bought a Mac credit for a free iPod or iPod touch.  Perhaps, Apple is trying to drum up sales for the iPhone 4, which despite being a year old, is still one of the best mobile computing device on the market.

If Apple does include the iPhone as a part of the deal, the iPhone 4 can continue to propel sales figures for Apple despite the lack of hardware refresh.  And this would give Apple a huge advantage over its competitors.   A back-to-school mobile deal is not something that easily be duplicated by its competitors.  Microsoft has given away an Xbox in the past but it is geared towards a subset of a PC market.  However, if Apple offered credit for an iPhone 4 with the purchase of a Mac, it means it'll be locking up a student for its traditional computing and mobile ecosystem.

How can Apple potentially implement this?  Apple provides the same credit it offered last summer for a free iPod touch, say $200, and have it apply to an iPhone 4.  So, essentially, Apple will give every student who bought a Mac a free iPhone if they sign up for a two-year commitment.  And since most students will go to college these days with a mobile device anyway, we are talking about millions of additional iPhone sales each summer without Apple lifting a finger.

iPod touch sales could be hurt but I think as far as profit margin goes, iPhone likely makes more money for Apple. There has also been suggestions that Apple should offered a $200 credit for the iPad 2 for students who bought a Mac.  Talk about killing off the tablet competition.  

If what I am speculating comes true and is successful, expect fall iPhone launches to be the norm.

Using Generative AI Has Given Me A New Appreciation For Siri and Excited For The Future of Apple Intelligence

I used generative AI this week to find the dimensions of a refrigerator based on the model number. I googled first because of muscle memory ...