Sunday, July 31, 2011

Apple's Cash Helps Apple Grow More Cash And Put Distance Between It And Its Competitors

PC Magazine has a pretty good post that I've kept locked away in my Instapaper account for about a week or so that I finally got around to reading.  Then I reread it and thought I share it with you.  With $76 billion in the bank, which is simplifying things a bit, Apple had more cash available to it than the US federal government (until Congress passes the debt ceiling and budget deal worked out by Congressional leadership and the White House).  And instead of wastefully throwing it away as dividend, stock buybacks, or reckless buying up companies, Apple used it to help secure components and reduce costs.

First, Apple uses its cash to help finance building new factories that could build out new technology faster.  When new tech comes to the market, the cost could be prohibitive to adopt.  And because Apple can almost guarantee its that its devices, like the iPhone, will sell in great numbers, Apple can be sure that its investments in this manner is sound.  

Take the iPhone 4's retina display.  To this point, no competitor has been able to adequately compete on the same level or come out with an even greater screen pixel density.  PC World pointed out display technology in another manner:  the capacitive screen worked better on the iPhone because Apple had the tech a year or more before everyone else.

And once competitors gain access to technology that Apple previously enjoy exclusively for a period of time, Apple had prior deals that would allow it to continuously secure components at a discount.  After all, Apple had help financed ability of its suppliers to build factories.  

Here's the interesting part about the post.  PC Magazine acknowledge that Apple does, in fact, build premium devices with futuristic feels to it.  In the past, before the second-coming of Steve Jobs, before the iMac and the iPod, PC Magazine typically lead the charge that Apple's Macintosh computers were overpriced.  

Having said all this, one might say that Apple is pushing innovation forward in ways that fans, rivals, and supporters of its competitors could appreciate.

There is more in the post that I encourage you read if you like to know more about Apple's operations and why it is fighting so hard, as evident in the patent war, to protect its innovations.

Source:  PC Magazine.

Will iCloud Become Apple's Cloud OS?

iCloud, though the public has not seen it, has been regarded as Apple's newest weapon and its best hope to supplant the services offered by Google, Microsoft, and others.  It will be what MobileMe was meant to be.  And it could be Apple's final effort in trying to convince users that it knows what cloud computing is.

Even at this point, iCloud may well be nothing more than a glorified online storage for files, photos, and music.  But as with everything Apple, it offers pinpoint improvements over time and adds new innovative features and apps when they feel it has been baked well enough.

And it could be possible that as iCloud evolves further, it could merge with iOS and OS X further in the coming years.  Just as what we are seeing now, iOS and OS X share features and that could become more so with whatever OS comes after Lion

Google's Chrome OS is a vision that we could see future embedded devices head towards.  And though that could be challenged by Windows and OS X, there is support for this path.  Mozilla's new project "Boot To Gecko" is aimed at the smartphone but just as some earlier netbook makers were anxious to make Android their default OS, don't think "Boot To Gecko" will be used exclusively for mobile phones.

Obviously, this is merely my own speculation.  However, a cloud-based OS where features are "downloaded" and accessed by the user would core OS be updated by Apple more easily.  And then Apple can build apps around it.  I reckon this could also be more efficient.

It was from reading this Yahoo post regarding iTunes getting iCloud integration that made me realize just how important iCloud could become.  It won't be just the core apps like iTunes, iLife, and iWorks but Apple could extend integrations with more advanced features in future updates.

This could lead to faster boot times and smaller footprints for future iOS devices and Macs.  And moreover, Apple could offload heavy lifting by its server farms as well.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Russia Might iPad Use In Government

The Playbook from Blackberry received approval for use within the US government.  It was given FIPS certification.  And because the iPad was not, it appears that Russia could be looking at the Playbook or even an Android tablet with better security features.

It's likely that Apple will also try to obtain this certification but you can never really tell.  And given Google's interest in pushing for a more prominent role in government, Android could benefit greatly.  

We should know just how all this plays out eventually but this could be a huge victory for RIM.  And it needs every bit of help it can now.  And who will be the next to be certified?  Apple or Google?

Source:  BGR, Financial Post.

I Am Early For Dinner; Mobile Helps Diffuse Frustration

I like spending time with friends and families so generally when I am out, I leave some personal issues and worries at home. They get in the way of fun. I marvel at my ability to do this.

Being fashionably late, especially in Los Angeles, seems to be something that more people are taking to a whole new level. But with my mobile devices with most of the time, I have had something to do while I wait 15 minutes or half and hour while people I am having dinner with or just meeting up for coffee shows up.

And as I write this post, I am an hour early. Actually, no. The people I am having dinner with are an hour behind. Again, this is entirely fine with me. Most of the time, I am okay with it.

I got a chance to update my calendars, fire off a couple of emails, mod a pic I tool this morning donating blood and write a couple of journal entries (both on my phone and actual moleskin notebook).

In recent years, I almost never leave home without something to distract myself with. Before the smartphones, I had my Palm devices.

And before that? I shudder to think about those time. I recall being frustrated a lot.

- Posted using Mobile Devices

Cases Leads To Redesigned iPhone; Could There Ever Be Another "One More Thing" Anymore?

iPhone cases has always offered a clue about what Apple's future plans for its mobile devices.  And while this is confirmation that Apple's next iPhone has a resigned shape, we cannot help but feel that there simply is no way for Apple to control information the way it once did.

Like when Steve Jobs one-more-thing'd us with the original aluminum Powerbook.  That was totally unexpected.  These days, we simply have to way for obscure Chinese or Vietnamese website to leak the information to seal the deal on whatever rumors we've been hearing weeks or months prior. 

So, I ask this.  Can there ever be another "one more thing" from Steve Jobs or Apple?

MacBook Air 11" - Good Enough To Replace the MacBook?

Apple recently moved to disrupt the laptop market by removing the white MacBook from public market and replaced it with the 11" MacBook Air. It seems to be as a big a deal as the the release of Lion, Apple's newest OS, and new hardware.

There was a few reasons for this. First, solid state drives are going mainstream. they are fast and has less moving parts that makes traditional hard drives more prone to failure.

Second, iCloud will supplant local storage. Gone are the nice big storage for music and video. Access to your media and files are all going to be on Apple's servers.

Third, the Airs are super thin and has no room for SuperDrive. Physical media like the DVD and CD-ROM are on the way out. Sharing videos will take place on sites like YouTube. And if you want to watch a video, download or stream it.

Fourth, reverse scrolling will be preparing millions ready for the tablets.

Put all that together and you can clearly see that Apple is getting rid of the old and ushering the next stage mobile computing.

The question is whether the general public will be receptive. I can see many people lamenting about the loss of the SuperDrive and smaller storage.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 29, 2011

Google Improves Tablet Search - Looks Really Nice, Especially Pic Layout

Google continues to do great work on the search front. And while it's debatable how some of their UI looks and feel, at least with search, they're doing pretty nice by me.

They've made the UI better for tablet by way of adding and move search buttons and drop-down menus for easier access.

On top of that, this is my favorite part. The image results layout has imrpoved with bigger previews so you know exactly what you're looking at. Continuous scrolling is nice and faster load time.

It may not seem like much but with tablets fast becoming mainstream devices for consuming media and text, it makes sense for Google to make it easier for us early adopters to latch on. Bing, your move.

Live Blogging A Jog

I ran 6.2+ miles yesterday. Applause. Thanks! It was fun and could have ran longer it or hadn't been for the fact that it wad just way too hard to see.

As I was running, I thought I'd do something fun. Live-blog the experience through Google+.

Okay. It was just a couple of pics of landmarks and some info about my run.

You can see here.

As you can see, I had some fun with it. Did some touch-ups of the pics, added zombies.

Again, it was fun. Gave me time between updates for a breather it two.

I hope to do it again. And maybe I'll find a way to make it more efficient.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Patent Wars And What Will Reform Do?

I'm trying to keep an open mind regarding this but patents are supposed to protect the inventors...when when Acer/HTC suggests that Apple should innovate rather than ligitate, I'm trying to understand their logic behind it.

I know that prior patents does keep competitors from using one's technology. And the way to work around it is to innovate or find an even better way to implement a trait or function.  

I think what Apple is doing is unprecedented so it's making a lot of people feel uneasy.  New rules and all that.  

From the patent reform information that I could find on the Web, specifically, Wiki, I can see why Google would want to push for it.  It seems that it would make it harder to bring patent suits while prolonging the process of litigation.  

And yet, many of the companies involved in the mobile patent wars, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle support the Patent Reform Act of 2009.  However, even a wider range of industries are against it.  Obviously, this isn't a left versus right kind of thing.  

Perhaps if there is to be reform of any sort, maybe Congress can enact one solely for technology based patents and industries. 

Given my interpretation of the Patent Reform Act of 2009, I found it surprise that Apple supported it since they're the only suing a bunch of Android device makers.  I guess Apple is more concerned about patent trolls while they remain confident while they remain confident that should such a legislation pass Congress and sign into law by the President, it would have no impact on the current patent war.

At the same time, I don't see such a reform offering incentive to innovate since it does little to protect certain inventors who are without the armies of lawyers protecting their patents from infringement.

I'm just getting a feeler to all this.  I have much to research and understand.  I am tempted to get a patent bar just so I can understand what's going on.  (My science background allows me to do that.)

iPad 3: Separating Reality From Rumors; Possibility of a Smaller Tablet

iPad 3 is coming. It's not coming.  It'll have a high rez screen but it'll cost more than the regular iPad 2.  Oh, and Apple may or may not be lining up manufacturers to make it.

If you're a close watcher of Apple, the historical progression of rumors and such all tells us one thing.  There obviously is a successor to the iPad 2 but it will not be coming until Q1 of 2012 at the earliest.  

Right about now, Apple is ramping up production of the iPhone 5. That means for the iPad 3 to make a fall, even a late fall, debut, Apple will have to start production real soon.  And according Taiwan Economic News, to Apple is still finalizing suppliers to make it. Furthermore, does Apple really want to be concentrating on two brand new products at the same time?  

And let's not forget the annual iPod refresh as well.  

So, iPhone, iPod and iPad 3.  That's quite a lot in the mix.  Then there are some of the Macs that will need to be refreshed as well.  If anyone can handle all this, it would be Apple.  Still, an iPad 3 launch is an unnecessary move at this point.  

Speculations.  I think Apple might still surprise us with something brand new.  And addition to the existing product.  I think there is an outside chance but still a chance that we'll see a bigger sized iPod touch with a screen 5-7".  I'm going to make you come back later for what I think is strong evidence of this.

So in conclusion, no iPad 3.  But I hope I'm wrong.  I can sure use a higher resolution tablet, not that I've got anything to complain about my iPad 2.

With 28% of the US Marketshare and International Demands for the iPhone Stil Strong, Apple Continues To Dominate Profit

The last I heard, Apple had over 50% share of the mobile profit while only a quarter of the mobile device share.  And with Apple increase it's footprint this quarter, it would be pathetic if that figure remains the same.  Well, no worries.  

9to5Mac suggests that Apple could capture as much as two-third of the total mobile profit.  That's right, one company with a vast majority of the pie.

It was only 4 years ago that the iPhone was introduced and Apple was vying for a mere 1% of the total phone market.  At the time, many analysts thought that was an impossibility.  And at the time, Nokia had nearly sixty percent of the profit.  

After Apple came Samsung with 15% of the profit in mobile.  

9to5Mac has much more details and pretty graphs so I'm gonna make you click over to read up on them.

ATT Settling Self Up For Lawsuits?

ATT is looking at throttling unlimited data plan users.  It doesn't matter if the user is an Android or iPhone user.  Or any platform for that matter. 

This is coming from multiple sources on the Web so it could be ATT looking to trying to let the information leak, simmer a bit, and take the temperature.  

With the merger with T-Mobile on the line, it doesn't seem like a smart move to make at all.  By anyone's standard, this is a bad thing, my fellow mobile warriors.  And I'm talking about the throttling but you're welcome to throw the merger into the mix of this bad.

The other side of this issue I've got is that many bloggers seem to be taking in stride.  They should be pissed off.  All I know is that should Sprint get the iPhone, I wish there would be a mass exodus from ATT and Verizon. 

Sprint is now the last of the carriers that offer unlimited and unthrottled data plans.

iPhone 3GS for One Penny

I've bought quite a few Apple products refubished. My Powerbook was.  So Is my current Macbook Air. And even a couple of iPods as well.  They're top notch as far as I'm concerned.  So now, Cult of Mac is reporting that the iPhone 3GS can be had for one penny.

It's significant because the iPhone 3GS is a very good mobile device.  As a lower end mobile computer, it is good enough to give some high end competing smartphones a run for their money. On top of that, the battery life is better than most if not all Android devices out there.  

What this move by AT&T is essentially their way of clearing the stock out for you know what.  The next iPhone.  There was fear that Apple may not release an iPhone this year. There's always a chance of that happening but not a good one.  The recent increase in chatters as well as moves by carriers, like this one, seems to all of seal the deal on the iPhone coming in a matter of weeks.  

So, if you're looking for a nearly free iPhone, you cannot go wrong with the 3GS.  And it even runs iOS 5.  If you buy a lower end or even a mid-range Android phone today, there is no promise that the next Android update will run on it.  

Source: Cult of Mac.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Korean Carrier Confirms We Are Inching Closer To iPHone 5; No 64GB Model?

9to5Mac has a screen shot of Korea Telecom's fulfillment system that is more evidence that the iPhone 5 is, and I can happily say this, weeks away. Though, how many weeks exactly, no one knows.

What's interesting is that they've got a placeholder for the 16 GB and 32 GB. Is anyone hoping for 64 GB model?

There is also a third placeholder with two zero's so it's hard to discern more information about the iPhone 5's storage.

Again, it could be just KT, like the rest of us, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the next iPhone and wanted to set the table for when it does arrive.

There is a bit of information at 9to5mac about the third placeholder I'm gonna make you click over to their website to find out.

Source: 9to5Mac.

Motorola Expected To Ship 1.3 to 1.5 Million Xooms Through the Rest Of the Year; How Will The Tablet Market Shape Up?

Feeling a bit numbed after looking at Motorola's numbers, this is worse than what I felt after seeing RIM's own quarterly result.  Now, Moto is saying it'll ship at most 1.5 million Xooms.

What more can I expect?  As a mobile fan, I had high hopes that Motorola can stage a comeback in 2011 like they did when they fell but came back with the RAZr phones.  

So, if this is how the flagship Android tablet is doing, you have to wonder just how other Android tablets can do up against the iPad, Playbook, and Touchpad.  

Doing some quick math and estimation here, I see the follow breakdown of the tablet market:

  • RIM can possibly ship up to 1 million Playbooks a month
  • HP can possibly ship  up to 500K Touchpads a month
  • Samsung can possibly ship up to 2 million Galaxy Tablets a month
  • Other Android tablet makers can ship up to 1 million tablets a month
  • Apple can ship up to 5 million iPads a month
Take some liberty with the figures, this is how I see the tablet market break down once all the dust has been settled.  The figures I've provided are based on monthly sales:

  •  Apple 7.50M 53.57% 
  •  Galaxy 2.00M 14.29% 
  •  Playbook              1.00M 7.14%
  • Touchpad              0.50M 3.57% 
  •  Other Androids       1.50M 10.71%  
  •  Others               1.50M 10.71% 
As you can see, based on the interest levels in tablets other than iPads, I've given Apple more than half of the tablet market based on some estimates I've been able to get from the Web for the next couple of years.  Maybe I've given some of the tablets more or less figure than they deserve.  And certainly, Apple numbers are probably too low (sorry, Apple fans).  

And yes, I've left out Microsoft.  Simply put, given what we see with Windows Phone sales right now, there just isn't not that interest in Microsoft's mobile OS.  While Nokia's entry into the market later this year could change that, an increase sales of Windows Phone devices does not translate into interests for Windows tablets.

Also, I based my figures on the 50-60 million tablets estimated to be sold next year.  My figure came in around the mid-point of that range.  As for the individual breakdowns, those are only my guess based on the most updated quarterly information on the Web.  Also, I purposely left about 10% for "others".  

I think my forecasts are pretty conservative when it comes to iPad sales.  In one recent report, Informa doesn't have Android challenging the iPad for market share until 2015 (MacdailyNews). This new estimate is considered a push-back from other estimates I've seen earlier that put 2013 when Android tablet volume will surpassed iPad sales.

I guess what I'm saying here is that until Google and its partners really push hard Android tablets or another platform has a breakthrough, even conservative estimates like mine has the iPad with a large share of the market.

Only 440K Xooms Shipped; I Had Held Out for 600M+

Motorola Mobility in their financial report reported by shipped only a dismal 440K.  Honestly, this is pathetic.  For the flagship Honeycomb device, Motorola and Google has really dropped the ball.

By now, I was expecting about a million tablets shipped a month.  And this figure is even worse than just 440K.  The number Motorola provided is shipped, not the sell through.  

I think it all hinges on Samsung now.  The Galaxy brand has a better following and should be able to do better.  On top of that, Amazon is rumored to be prepping up to 4 million Kindle tablets for the Holiday seasons.  

Hope of anyone with a fight chance against Apple's iPad comes down to Amazon and Samsung. 

Source:  Motorola.

Someone Finally Listened To Me! Apple Interested In Barnes and Noble, What will Google do?

I said this three years ago and again two years ago.  And when Borders started going out of business, I said it as well.  And finally, someone is listen.  BGR reports one of their sources has knowledge that Apple is looking hard at a Barnes and Noble takeover.

And it would make a lot of sense than BGR is suggesting.  These megastores have the room to accommodate Apple's expanding needs.  in fact, Apple could convert Barnes and Noble stores into super destinations for its fans.  And should Apple start to sell TV and expand its reach, it will need places to display them.  Current stores do not have enough room.

Furthermore, I like to see Apple save the brick-and-mortar book stores.  I think the two companies would be a perfect match.  

The question now becomes what will Google do?  Or Amazon and Microsoft?  Neither of these Apple competitors have the retail reach Apple does.

Did Windows Phone 7 Shrink Below 1% or Grew Big Time?

Is Windows Phone catching on?  Nielsen reports that Windows Mobile stands at 9% of installed base in the US.

In the last report, WP7 took 1%.  This time around, Nielsen did not provide data for WP7.  But WMPowerUser blog optimistically suggests that Nielsen folded WP7 data into the Windows Mobile data as one and that WP7 has increased so much that it is able to off-set loss of older Windows Mobile devices.

That is possible.  Until we get clarification from Nielsen, we won't know with any certainty.  We do know that there are the "other" section with 1".  

3DS Hurt By iOS Sales - Nintendo Pain To Get Worse When Gaming Comes to Apple TV

Due to the high flying iOS devices, iPhone, iPod touch, and the iPad, Nintendo has slashed the price of the newly released 3DS from $250 (the amount I paid for) down to $170.  I would be pissed if not for the free games I I should be getting from Nintendo for my trouble.

My issues aside, Nintendo is in a world of hurt.  As like $324 million of hurt.  That's how much Mario and friends lost in the latest financial result.  And what I did not realize was that they've been bleeding money for more than a year now.  

What happened?  Apple.  That's what happened.  Take your pick. iPhone.  iPod touch.  The iPad 2.  This kind of power hit Nintendo hard as it has sold just over 700K...worldwide!

While Nintendo did address the slow start of the 3DS out of the gate, they still refuse to acknowledge the real issue and danced around the true issue of changes in the mobile market and Apple roadblock.  

Certainly new games from 3DS will help things in the second half of the year but Apple isn't sitting still.  For the Holidays Season, Apple is expected to refresh its iOS lineup.

What's worse, Apple could be gunning for the console market indirectly with the Apple TV.  Airplay allows iOS gamers to through the Apple TV.  And if you've seen those HD games on the iPad, you know that the graphics are amazing.

In a couple of months, Apple could be creating another disruption.  This time, in console gaming through Apple TV.  Nintendo could see further losses.

One additional issue we might want to think about:  Vita.  Wonder how that's gonna perform.

Source: MSNBC.

Next iPhone Still Coming This Sept But No Way iPad 3 In November

iPhone coming out about mid-September.  That sounds right.  The chatter just before the iPad 2 launch is very similar to what we're hearing now for the next iPhone.

But as for the iPad 3 in November.  Forget about it.  Not gonna happen.  Don't think I'm right.  Go back the last five years or more  Since when have Apple released a product after Halloween?  Nada.  In fact, one year, Apple had to issue a public statement telling the public that their Holiday lineup was set and nothing new was going to be updated for that year.

As for when the iPad 3 is coming out, that's anyone's guess.  If there is even an iPad 3.

Source: Macrumors.

Amazon's Tablet Plans are Real And Coming This Fall

Amazon is currently getting things ready to ramp up their own Kindle tablet.  I'm using Kindle because its the brand that is most popular within Amazon's own line of products and just as with Barnes and Noble did with Nook and Nook Color, I anticipate that "Kindle" will be very much the name of the tablet.

What's not entirely known are the specs.  Months ago, there was talk that Amazon might include a 4-core chip from Nvidia.  It was a ridiculous notion obviously.  And WSJ is reporting that the the top end tablet will not sport a traditional 10" display but one that is smaller. And there will not be cameras.

I reckon this is probably the result of one of two things.  Amazon really wants to reduce the cost of their tablets or they have yet to develop the skills to build in adequate camera and have been unable to find a source to their likely.

Amazon will be going up against the iPad 2 as well as a second wave of Android tablets.  

You're asking, wait a sec, isn't Amazon's tablet going to be on Android?  Yes and no.  Amazon is probably doing this without Google's blessing and is taking the codes from Gingerbread to do this.  On top of that, this is no unlike what the Chinese "Android" makers do.  They create their own flavor of the Google release.  

And Amazon does have its own app store.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Google Plus Traffic Down Mere 35 Seconds Per Visit

The amount of time that people spent on Google+ dropped from nearly six minute to five and a quarter minutes.  That's a drop of 35 seconds.  Is that really worth reporting on?  Well, CNet apparently thinks so.  

Well, folks, let's just say that the decrease can be for any number of reasons.  I'm surprise that the number has not dropped more.  In the first few weeks, you would think that most of the time is spent on Plus trying to figure out how to use it and manage our Circles.  Now that we know mostly how things work on Plus, we don't need that extra couple of minutes looking around for things. 

Further more, Google+ are more savy tech-wise.  True mobile warriors I reckon.  We're probably on our Androids and iPhones.  You don't need to spend give minutes answering, updating, and posting pics.  

And a drop of 35 seconds is nothing at all to worry about.  Plus has already reached twenty million.  I can't wait until early next year when Facebook tries to go public.  

Google Plus really has the ability to steal some of that thunder.  

In a Blow to iPad, Students Get MacBook Airs

So you know the title of this post made in jest.  Last week, Tim Cook of Apple made the point to say that the iPad was cannibalizing Macbook sales.  And according to MacNN, 2,200 students in Owensboro, Kentucky will be receive Airs.

Intalled on these Airs will be Lion.  Just as important is that iCloud should play a meaning part of these students' education.  

Apple also made it a point to say that this was education deal involving MBA.  

So, not exactly the Air cannibalizing iPad sales but it is important to show that laptops still have legs against the up and coming tablets.  And it's nice to see some sibling rivalry between Apple products.  You can get that while the school was consider the deal,the iPad had crossed the educators' minds.

Question is, so why did the school pick the Macbook Air over the iPad?

Source: Macnn

HTC Case To Use Video Patents Against Apple Is Weakened Dramatically; iPhone 5 Could Be A Major Disruption

HTC, Patents, Resolution

I generally like to focus on just the mobile part of Apple's iOS and OS X but you can't help but get sucked into the back and forth patent spats between Apple and Android device makers.  And Apple won a key preliminary ruling when an ITC judge ruled that HTC violated two of Apple's key patents.

And just as when it looks like HTC might be able to use some graphics patents they recently acquired, FOSS Patents is saying the validity of those patents may be called into question, further weakening any offensive that HTC might try to mount.  Their sole recourse would be an appeal.  

As a mobile warrior and fan, you can help but hear about this every day.  But perhaps, with HTC signaling that they are willing to sit down and settle this, we could be coming to some resolution soon - one way or another, regardless of whether Apple even wants to sit down with HTC and resolve this or not.

The conclusion is that this will end up well for Apple and it'll ripple throughout the mobile market.  

Then maybe we can finally go back to talking more about the real important mobile stuff.  

iPhone 5:

Looks like I'm inching close to be among those waiting in line along with millions trying to get my hands on a brand new iPhone 5 with a 4" screen and curved back.  

According new case information leaked from China, that is indeed going to be the case here.  In the past, leaked case information regarding iPad 2 were pretty close.  I'm gonna call it and say that the next iPHone will have a bigger screen and back not unlike the iPad or even the iPod touch.

Still, I'm gonna need some additional details before I haul myself out of bed at 1 am to go wait at my local Apple store.  I want to know if the camera is any better, 8MP would be nice, and whether we'll see better battery life.  

The battery life issue alone could sway me.

What Does Angry Birds (the game) Have In Common with Nazi Germany

So, I ask you - what does Angry Birds, the all time popular mobile game have to do with Nazi Germany?

Angry Birds, if you don't already know, is about these pissed off birds try go get at the pigs for stealing their eggs.  Kids stuff.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Apparently, Glen Beck equates the birds to the wealthiest 1% while the pigs have taken their eggs to redistribute.  Ooookaaaay, so someone has not taken his meds agin.

According to Macworld, Beck then proceeds to make a connection to the Nazi and even his co-hosts had no idea what he was talking about.

So you Android and iPhone users who play Angry birds (myself included), we're the richest people in the world and the socialists are stealing our eggs and we could be Nazis.  Or not.  

State of the Tablet Market (Mashable)

Mashable has a post that gives a very good state of the ereader and tablet market.  It's a recommended read for all mobile fans.  It doesn't get into what is being sold and which mobile platform has the pole position in the market.  What it does is provide concise information on who is buying the tablets and how they are using them.

I've highlighted some information from the post but I've left the bulk of information from the post for you to read when you click through.  Here are some interesting information I like to share with you.  I've focused mostly on the tablet.  To me the ereader is a device fit for one thing.  Reading. 

  • In 2010, 10.3 million tablets sold, 6.7 million ereaders sold.
  • Household with $150K is twice as likely to own a tablet
  • Household with children, 12% already own tablets
  • Growth of single function devices like the ereaders will slow as tablet sales pick up steam and acceptance among consumers.
This last point explains a lot of chatter about Amazon's Kindle tablet and why even before the iPad debuted last year, I predicted Amazon will have to release a multi-function Kindle.

And what are we using our tablets for?  Here are the top five things people use a tablet for:

  • Browing the Web
  • Viewing photos
  • Emailing
  • Playing games
  • Watching video
As you can clearly see, people are using their tablet mostly to consume contents.  While many of us mobile fans see an even greater role for the tablet in our lives at school, work, and the home, that day is not here yet.  The iPad came out only 15 months ago and tablet makers are still learning about the possibilities the tablet presents as a utility.  

I like to see this issue visited each year to help us see the evolution of the tablet and the changes as it relates to how we use it. Right this moment, the tablet market is basically the iPad.  As more Android tablets and Windows 8 tablets next year enter the market, we can see a whole different shift in the marketplace  One that we might not recognize.  And that is a good thing.

Source: Mashable

Madmen On Netflix Now!

Okay, for some reason, I'm pretty excited about this though I don't know why. I've never even seen the show but I've heard all of my friends talk about it.  Now, Madmen is available for streaming on Netflix.

I'll probably give this a go after I am through with Star Trek: The Next Generation.

There are four MM seasons.  I hope that's it.  One of the things I hate most about TV today is cliffhangers.

Source:  Huffington Post.

Lion Installation Fiasco; Cannot Wait For iCloud And Hopefully, iTunes Match Support For Video

I can't wait for iTunes Match.  And you know what?  I can't wait for video that I buy from Apple for the same treatment.  

Over the weekend, I attempted to install OS X Lion on my 2008 Unibody Macbook.  Earlier, the attempt to install Lion on my late-2010 11" Macbook Air went through without a hiccup.  No so with the MB.  In fact, it tells me that the HD is locked and I'm was not able to get beyond that point.

I've done some searches through the forums online but no one seems to have the solution I needed.  While I did back up the most important personal files through Time Machine, there was one problem.  A lot of my latest videos from iTunes were not backed up. 
I KNOW that this is my fault but I just wasn't thinking at the moment.  

Hence, I can't wait for iCloud and iTunes Match fast enough.  And I can't wait until iTM has video support as well.  In light of the rumors that Apple is doing its due-diligence on a potential Hulu buyout, iTM may not happen.  However, the likelihood of Apple buying Hulu is nil.  So I think iTM support for video is more likely to happen.  

Oh, my Walking Dead and newly downloaded Harry Potter movies…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

App Store and Mac Store Are Now Open To 33 New Countries and Territories

Effectively immediately, the iOS app store and the Mac store are now open to 33 new countries and territories.  It's All Tech has the full list.

However, the listen doesn't really say anything.  I reckon most of the people in the world have not heard of half the countries and territories part of the list of 33.  So, I went to Wikipedia and added up the population to give us a perspective.

In all, the 33 new fronts has a combined population of around 375 million with Nigeria account for 155 million alone.  Together, they have a combined GDP of 850 billion USD.  

I can't say that this means much.  Nor do I think these territories have that many Macs or iOS devices.  Having said that, it is better to for Apple and developers to be ready once Apple finds a way to increase its presence in these new markets.

Apple Staffing Up For the Fall - Back-To-School And iPhone Launch

Reports are circulating that Apple is staffing up for the fall as the back-to-school season gets into full swing.  An added element to all this is that Apple will be launch the new iPhone 4GS or 5 around the time students follow campus stores and, likely, Apple stores for their mobile gears to tackle the new school year.

We can safely assume that the new staffing will be for both purposes.  Therefore, it does not give us additional information to pin down a timeframe for the iPhone launch.  My guess is that I'll be lining up right around early September.  How do I know that?  I don't. It is just a gut feeling.

Having said that, there is one way we can know for sure.  Apple will have to hold a media event for the iPhone unveiling.  The time of this is critical.  If we are going to see the iPhone in early September, that would mean Apple will be holding its event about two weeks before it goes on sale.  An early September launch could mean that we'll be learning from Apple in about three weeks.  

Another way to look at it, we can keep an eye on the iOS 5 beta progress.  We are about half way there with the beta releases from Apple.  In the past when Apple held developer events to introduce new iOS versions, Apple held the event in April with iPhone launches about 8-10 weeks later.  Going by this fact, we are looking at an iPhone launch early September as well.

I think these approaches are a better measurement of gauging when we'll see the next iPhone rather than "trusted" sources or leaks.

Watch Out, Android And iPhone! Mango Is Here

If Apple's fruity brand is any indication that a benign fruit can be potent, then you ain't see nothing yet with Mango.  That is, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5, Mango.

Wow, I totally screwed that one up didn't I?  

Well, Mango is the WP OS that Microsoft should have released a year or so ago but did and decided to go with WP7.  And while WP7 was a markedly departure from the icon style UI, the tile UI was much different and there was much to like about it.  So much so that Windows 8's UI is modeled after it.

And now, Mango is on its way to manufacturers and we could be seeing new Mango devices later this winter.  And with Nokia's support, Mango could be a true force to be reckon with.  And given the legal trouble that Android makers find themselves under with Apple and Microsoft, it is possible that more than a few of them will be looking at Mango to avoid future legal issues.

Google has got to be watching this closely.  On top of that, Mango's new features and mobile implementation shows just what Microsoft is about.  You never want to count Redmond out no matter what.  

And that means not even iPhone is safe.  Apple and Microsoft may both be going after Google through proxy wars, it doesn't mean that competition between these two bitter enemies ceased or took a break.  I expect the fight to continue as before.  No, I expect the fight between the two to escalate even more once the Android issues are resolved and the two companies goes gunning for each other again.

What Mango brings to the market is a full-featured modern mobile OS that can stand toe-to-toe with Android and iOS.  In fact, Microsoft has a secret weapon.  And that Nokia.  

So, for anyone who thought that the mobile war is settling down with Android taking close to 50% of the market and Apple's iPhone coming in around 30% and the rest belong to "others", think again.  

Obviously, nothing is a lock when it comes to mobile.  Microsoft, Nokia, and other WP makers will still require to convince the mobile warriors that Mango devices are what they want and need.  And that's not going to be easy with Android 4 devices and iPhone 5 sweeping through the market this winter.

Source:  Arstechnica.

LTE Tablets Comig - Great But What About the Battery Life?

LTE tablets are the future and no one is disputing this fact.  Near-term, is LTE just a marketing gimmick the way Verizon Wireless marketed the Thunderbolt as being the first LTE device that resulted in a lot of complaints about coverage and battery life?

That being said, I wonder what the first LTE tablets will be come when it comes to battery life?  We won't have to wait long as VZW and Samsung are able to until the LTE Galaxy tablet.

If they don't match up to rivals like the iPad, well, you know how the story will end.

Source:  MobileTopSoft.

Apple's 15" Macbook With Air-Thinness In the Works - Obviously

Boy Genius Report via Macumors is reporting that Apple is working on a 15" Macbook that may or may not be a part of the Air line up.  

Obviously, no one should be surprised by this at all.  Given Apple's propensity to shake things up from time to time, I reckon an 17" version was probably worked on as well.  Whether we'll see them released into the market is anyone's guess.  Macrumors suggests that Apple is in the late stages of development.  

My curiosity lies on just how much this 15" Air will hold up against the 15" Macbook Pro.  Performance, weight, battery life, and whether it'll still have a dedicated GPU all comes to mind.  And ultimately, how much  

It is conceivable that by releasing a 15" Macbook Air, Apple is finally getting rid of internal optical drives from the entire line of Macbooks.  And we might see the 17" version as well.  What does that mean is that mobile warriors maybe able to carry around their Macs that are a couple of pounds lighter.  

It also means some savings for Apple if there is no optical drive.  Anyone who needs a DVD burner can still buy the Superdrive.  

Now, if Apple can push the battery life back up closer to ten hours, I'm sold on these 15" and 17" Macbook Airs.

iPod touch 3G Pictured or Possible New Pre-Paid iOS Device

Either it's a mistake on the part of the art department or we can really be seeing and iPod touch with 3G connectivity coming from Apple.

What is interesting is that if this was a mistake, it was one made deliverately to take out whether the data plan comes from ATT or Verizon Wireless.

Now, Cult of Mac, site that spotted this interesting info, is erring on the side of caution here but I think there could be something to this.  

If you compare the touch picture with those of the iPhone pics on Apple's site and the screen of your iPhone, you'll will see that any information about the carrier was taken out by Apple online - after all, Apple doesn't want to favor one carrier over another now that it has two in the US.  

Furthermore, I like to throw this in.  Is this new iPod touch a pre-paid iPhone rather than a new iPdo touch with 3G capability?

I believe it's time that Apple really rearrange the chairs on the mobile deck.  In fact, I like to see Apple throw those chairs overboard and start building something new for the smartphone market.  Abandon traditional telephony and go with a VOIP plan based on FaceTime with just voice.

A VOIP solution from Apple would just blow the roof off the wireless market and put the market into a frenzy.

Kindle Tablet: Amazon Is Making Its Upcoming Tablet With An Attractive Price and Market It as "Good Enough"

Our bank accounts are limited.  Well, maybe some of yours are not but mine definition has its limits.  Small limits.  Therefore, you can understand that pricing plays a big role in a vast major of my purchases?  

Therefore, it is not surprising that in a survey by Retrevo, nearly 50% of respondents attach price as a major factor regarding their tablet purchases.  In the same survey, 55% of the respondents will purchase a tablet from Amazon with the nearest competitors coming in at 31% for both Motorola and HP.  

Taking both into consider, and the fact that the Kindle tablet will sport a LCD screen coming in at 9" rather than the customary 10" its competitors like the iPad, Touchpad, and Xoom, and the report that it will have a more rudimentary two-finger touch support than more advanced touch features more capable in competing devices, Amazon could be going for the lower price entry with a  good enough product this go around

If Amazon can come out with a single-core or a lower-end dual-core powering a 9" LCD running a modified Android from Google with its own ecosystem, it could be just "good enough" for a large segment of the mobile warriors.  It's possible for Amazon to price it $400 and possible $300 if it it subsidized by a 3rd party.  There are also reports that the tablet will not have any extra features like cameras.  

What this will do to the competition is obvious.  And should the Kindle tablet take off, which I believe it will, Amazon can upgrade the following with additional features once they are cheap enough to do so without losing its margins.  At the same time, don't think that Amazon isn't above selling these tablets at near cost if it thinks it'll help gain a marketshare away from the iPad.

It's competition grand?

RIM CEOs Not Among 2,000 RIM Employees Being Let Go

I don't know if the two RIM CEOs work for a $1 like Steve Jobs but I do know that they are not among the 2K+ RIM employees that will soon be getting their walking papers.  And as for being the two guys that make RIM such a dominant force in mobile enterprise communication, they are also the forces behind what has happened to RIM to this date.  To be fair, RIM is still growing and is still a cash cow but growth as slowed as Apple attempts to usurp RIM's enterprise mantle.

So, the fact that the two CEOs who failed to recognize the fast changing pace of the smartphone and tablet market will continue to take the company in the same direct they've been going the last couple of years is just how life is.  Ten years from now, the ideal situation would be that blogs would talk about how back in 2011, there was so much pressure to remove them from their posts as CEOs and had the company caved, RIM would not be the power house it will be in 2021.

Somehow, I don't think that will happen.  I just hope that RIM will still be around in one form or another ten years from now, still profitable to a degree, and that we will not be lamenting what a mistake it was to keep those two in place.

Note:  One thing companies have to learn from Apple regarding dark times is that it has to assess its products, do a truly soul-searching, and innovate its way out of the problem.  Cutting 2,000 jobs doesn't seem like the way to do it.  

Google Did Not Do "What Was Necessary" and Now Tries To Play Victim

I think patent trolls are bad things for the tech market or any market for that matter.  They represents the worst elements of the system. And the system needs to be reformed.  But at the same thing, reformation of the patent system does to negate one thing:  the need to have patents or the need to innovate.

I fault Google for not protecting Android and not having the leadership to foresee a future in which rivals will not be willing to allow Android device makers to simply usurp the technology they developed by competitors.  

In an interview with Techcrunch, Kent Walker, Google's General Counsel, seems to be suggesting as much.  On top of that, I suggest that Google fire Walker for his ineptitude.  It would have been under his leadership to secure the Nortel patents and he failed to do that.  I see this interview as his attempt to cover his mistakes.

Having lost the bidding with to rivals, he now consider patents to be "government-granted monopolies".  Well, duh.  Then having no patents to back up their own OS, he goes on to suggest that some patents should not be valid without providing specifics.  But Walker has to understand that the Android lawsuits are not about patent trolls, especially in the case of Microsoft.  If he does think the Microsoft situation and patent trolls are the same thing, then it underscores my earlier point:  Larry Page, get rid of this guy now!

Google's history regarding other's intellectual properties and patents are clear.  You'll have to decide which side you come down on and make an honest assessment.  If something path to your final product or process is blocked by a patent, you have one of two choices.  Fight to invalidate it or innovate around it.  

At the moment, Google has done neither and outside of a few sorts, Google's partners could be feeling pretty sore about the whole situation.  Now, if Google decides to foot some of the payments and legal fees....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mozilla - Firefox To Become Mobile OS

"Boot to Gecko" is Mozilla's answer to Chrome OS and new entry into the mobile market.  And it will not be for netbooks but also tablets and phones.  And it seems like Mozilla is taking aim directly at Google and trying to do for the mobile in ways that Android has failed to do.  Failed in what ways depends on your perspective.

Mozilla promises real-time openness without Google's invisible hands and the times when Google controls things with Android that is not entirely transparent.  In essence, The Firefox OS or whatever it'll be called will be truly open in ways that Android is not.

Now, you've noticed that I don't want to call this exciting new project by its current given name because it is pretty lame.  "Boot to Gecko"?  Please, Mozilla.  I think Firefox OS sounds better, don't you think?

And yes, this is very exciting news if Mozilla can truly come through.  We need more competitors in the mobile market than not.  One thing I think Mozilla has to be conscious of is that it will avoid stepping on the toes of the current incumbent OS patent-wise.  

The ultimate goal is "breaking the stranglehold of proprietary technologies over the mobile device world".  I know that sounds good.  Let's see it happen.

Does it really have a chance to compete against Google's Chrome and Android?  There could be a core group of mobile warriors, "purists" I like to call them, who are likely going to endorse this Firefox OS wholeheartedly.  I wish them the best.  Again, there is no words on how to get around current patent restrictions, the overwhelming lead that Android and iOS have, or if Mozilla has any heavy weight tech companies supporting it.

Still, we should be watching this closely.  Maybe it might not work to the extent we hope but it could at least keep Google more honest with Chrome OS and Android, both of which are neither open and has become more and more proprietary with each release

Source:  CNet.

Clear's New Spot; WiMax Strong at 1 Billion Users

If you're new to the mobile scene, you should know that Clearwire, is a company partly owned by Sprint that provides the WiMax network in the United States.  It's not doing well.  But I'm hopeful.  And I'm hopeful that my iSpot will see a lot of milage for years to come.  I am expect another three, maybe four, years before the WiMax network in the US changes for good

Meanwhile, Clear is still trying to capture a piece of the lucrative wireless data market.  And even without my iSpot, which connects only to iOS devices for $25 a month, this new $99 Spot 4G from Clear is in its own right, a pretty compelling deal.  See, I went with my iSpot because I wanted to see if I can live off this $25 a month rate without owning a phone.  I did that for about seven months before I got reapplied for the iPhone and Triumph.

So, my question is you is whether anyone out there is running their home network off an WiMax hotspot like this.  Typically in my area, I am gettting between 4-5 Mbps downstream and about 1Mbps upstream.  

My only issue with these mobile hotspots is that their battery life is pretty limited.  During my iPod touch and iSpot experiment, I typically ration between whatever public hotspot I can find and the iSpot.  It would be terrific if these come with the option for a larger battery.  

I have on some occasion artificially increased the iSpot through external battery sources.  But it really beats the point about mobile if you're forced to carry an extra device.  

But then your mobile needs couple possibly be very different from mine.  You may need mobile connect only for a little while at a time.  Then any Spot from Clear could be what you're looking for.  And unlike the data plans from T-Mobile, Verizon, and ATT, Clear's "unlimited" still means unliimited while competitors are still looking to nickel and meter you to death.

Regardless of the portability issue, I think the death of Wimax chats are premature given the limited LTE rollout by Verizon Wireless in the US and ATT who have yet to even have one LTE market.  Furthermore, the complication in the wireless market generated by the ATT and T-Mobile merger could give Sprint and Clear's WiMax a second look by mobile warriors.  And Sprint is the only major carrier left that still offer truly unlimited data plans.

And to top all this off, there are currently 1 billion users connected to the Internet through WiMax (Wireless Week).  I think we're quite  away off from the WiMax network in the US being taken down for any reason whatsoever.  

Interesting Data on In-Game Payments That May Say A Lot About Who We Are As Gamers

Here is an interesting fact about gaming, free-to-play games and just how much we'll pay. And apparently, the average amount a dedicated player is going to expose their wallets to is $14 per game.

This is dramatically higher than "free" that these players were willing to pony up to start with.  However, there are not that many players with the willingness to pay that amount.  

What potential game developers should realize is that they need to understand as long as they can develop a large following with free to start and can retain a loyal following, they can expect to the revenue to start flowing in.  But just 3% are willing to spend the $14.  

I can't say if that's good or not.  Of course, there is the ad revenues that also come into play for most free games.

Source:  Toucharcade.

Reasons For Closing Fake Apple Stores In Kunming Shows China Is Not Serious About Interllectual Properties

The reason that the Chinese government in Kunming gave for closing the fake Apple stores was not over intellectual property rights or trademark issues but over the lack of permits to operate the stores.  

I know the Chinese government has a seriously need to save face, like all the time, but these kinds of double speak at home and saying something else entirely whenever a Chinese official visits a Western nation shows just Beijing either has no control over the situation or they are no serious whatsoever about enforcing international laws.

How bad is this?  Only two of five stores were shut down.  So, I am guess the other three has the backing of the local government through actual business licenses or has the local political boss' support.  

What's worse?  The people who work there actually thinks they work for Apple.

Source: Pulse, Reuters.

Retina Display Coming To the Macs - We Just Don't Know When

It looks like Retina display is coming to the Macs.  When?

it's anyone's guess but Arstechnica has a good detailed section on it within their Lion review article.  It's definitely must read on both accounts.

Again, the question is when will this happen?  I think Apple is likely trying to leverage this technology as soon as it can.  It'll be inconceivable that its competitors can move fast enough.  After all, Apple is probably going to update the iPad with the Retina display sooner rather than later.  This could mean that the economy of scales of the iPad screens can also help Apple absorb any increase in display prices for the Macs in the future.

That said, when Apple increase the  iPhone 4 due to it having the updated Retina display over the 3GS, it could be promising that the Macbooks, iMac, and the Cinema displays get Retina upgrades without much if a price increase if any.  I would not be shocked if Apple does provide the current LCD display with the Retina option in future Mac upgrades.

Such a move could potentially bring the new Retina displays faster to the market.  Let the customer chose if they want to pay a premium for better displays.  Therefore, I disagree with Arstechnica's assessment that we will have to wait quite a bit longer for it.

Amazon's Next Quarterly Earnings - Will Tax Collection Requirements In California Impact It's Earnings?

I'm a simple person when it comes to commerce taxes and whatnots.  So, when California, my home state asked for taxes to be collected by out-of-state online retailers, to me it made sense.  For too long, many residents, myself included, buy from Amazon because it was not only cheaper at some brick-and-mortar stores, you did not have to pay taxes upfront

Well, there is sales taxes on your online purchases which you're supposed to send to the state yourself during the course of the year or during tax filing times.  Billions of dollars of taxes were lost over the course of the last 12 to 13 years.  

I'm not here to debate that issue.  I'm wondering about the tax issues as it relates to Amazon's earnings.  California itself is the 9th biggest economy in the world even as we struggle through our own recession and employment problems but we continue constitute a large percentage of Amazon's online market.

Now for many online buyers, there may be no reason to buy from Amazon if they are forced to automatically pay the sales taxes.  They can go to local and home-grown retailers like that could offer similar prices and, since the fulfillment centers are in California, we could also get our goods faster.  Or they can just go with local retailers' online sites like Costco, Target, and Walmart that often ship to the store for pick-up.  This is an option for Best Buy online purchases.  I reckon that those retailers could get a piece of Amazon's revenue should the affiliate embargo continues.  

At the end of the day, it all comes down to pricing as smart consumers continue to shop for the best prices around.  But I also expect a push by local retailers to fill any short-term gaps created by Amazon's exit.  

In the coming election cycle, Amazon is trying to put the issue to the voters.  Left of center Californians.  And they run the risk of permanently damaging relations with voters and the government.  And that could have a long-term impact on its ability to profit from California  

Note: I totally get the other side of the tax revenue issue as well.  Hundreds if not thousands of companies will be moving their operations to one situated out of California.  Just how this will play out is anyone's guess.  

Another Note:  I think there could have been some compromises that be worked out for a transitional period.  Amazon and etailers outside of California has had an advantage for years because they did not  have to collect taxes from Californians.  And they could also fold that into the pockets of shareholders and be able to pay affiliates.

Did WSJ's hit pieces on Apple Have to Do with the WSJ App Forced To Remove Subscription Link?

The Wall Street Journal along with a few other apps that sell books or subscriptions directly from the app.  

My guess is that WSJ tried to work with Apple on softening these rules, and they are not new, but has not been able to get Apple to bend.  

Hence, what Forbes (Onxo) believed were two hit pieces against Steve Jobs and Apple.  

Samsung Shipped More Smartphones Than Anyone Else In the World?

Apple has had a great third quarter but it looks like Samsun's second quarter has been even better than Apple and may have shopped about a million smartphones more than Apple.  Samsung's resilience to the iPhone assault seems to have legs.  After all, the Galaxy line has done very well in the marketplace and may have the kind of name recognition that the iPhone has. 

From a competitive standpoint, the Galaxy is the single most direct competition to Apple's iPhone than the Android platform as a whole.  When people talk about Android, it is just what it is, a platform.  With the Galaxy, Samsung has created an international brand that has appeal and come to represent quality and excellence.  Though not quite at the iPhone's level, its success could possibly be why Apple and Samsung have become bitter mobile enemies even as the two companies worked together to supply Apple with the parts for its mobile needs.

Samsung's quarter was helped by the release of the Galaxy S II that may have sold over six million units.  That is about two million a month since their release.  Not to be redundant here, but these are almost iPhone like numbers.  Of course, Samsung has not had to content with direct competition with Apple's next iPhone upgrade until this fall.  It's likely Apple can take this crown from Samsung in the third and fourth quarters of the regular financial calendar.

Only time will tell.  At play are also patent law suits around the world between Apple and Samsung as well as the recent preliminary victory the ITC handed Apple over HTC over the violation of two of Apple's patents that line at the heart of Android itself.  Should Apple win any kind of judgment against Samsung in this matter and/or other issues, it could have the potential of stunting any gains the Galaxy brand has made over the last couple of years.

Note:  Apple, unconventionally, ends their financial year in the September quarter rather than the December quarter.  So Apple's first quarter is everyone else's fourth quarter.  Second quarter for Apple is everyone else's first quarter and so one.  

Rupert Murdoch Gunning For Steve Jobs Because of "The Daily" Failed

Forbes is asking whether if Rupert Murdoch is gunning for Steve Jobs.  Just before the release of Apple's quarterly earnings last week, the WSJ journal released a post, coming "down" to the level of bloggers, in talking about a potential replacement search for Steve Jobs' replacement by the Apple board of directors.  

At the time, I gave it no second thought.  I read the post because it was just a diversionary exercise as we were minutes from what we know was another huge quarter from Apple.  

But as The Daily floundered from bad execution and bad quality in general, Apple has basically moved on.  And as with all things on the Internet, so have others.  And the bloggers leave you, you're in a lot of trouble.  And for this reason, Murdoch is probably not very happy with Apple and used the WSJ to place a "rumor" to taint Apple's forthcoming good news.  

And this isn't something that is above the embattled leader of Newscorp.  Right now, the Murdoch family is dealing with the phone hacking controversy in Britain.  And like many, I find it hard that Rupert's or that of his family's hands-on approach, which isn't unlike Steve Jobs's own style, was not aware of WSJ's post ahead of time or had something to do with it.

Perhaps Murdoch asked Apple to help them with MySpace but was turned down.  

Source:  Fortune.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Macbook Airs Selling Well, Apple Makes "Lighter" And SSD Standards For the Laptop Market

Apple discontinued the White Macbook for the general public.  And given that move compound that to the number of potential Macbook buyers who had been holding back in anticipating of new Macs, it looks like gates.

According to Macnn, some Apple store locations have sold out of both the 11" and 13" Air in hours.

I cannot help but think that perhaps the Air, which represents the new norm for the mainstream Macbook buy, is a sign that Apple is quickly moving to change the parameters of the PC market.

Consider this.  Not only is Apple ending the Macbook, it is also making SSD a standard as well.  And furthermore, Apple is making its laptop easier to carry and lighter on the back or shoulders.

And given the initial benchmarks coming in, it doesn't look like the Airs are lacking in processor power.

Steve Jobs Was Right And Wrong About the 7" Tablet

First, let me say that I love the iPad.  Regardless of your personal preference, the iPad is leading the charge for a new category of mobile devices.  I eventually hope to acquire another tablet that runs on a competing mobile platform.  To date, I've yet to find one entirely to my liking.  And it has more to do with the size and build of the tablet than anything else.  And since I"m not made of gold, the price is a factor as well.  So, why would an Apple fan consider a tablet with a smaller than 10" when Steve Jobs said that anything less than 7" simply doesn't work.

Well, for typing, I suppose he is correct.  I don't like pecking at the screen and smaller sized screens simply doesn't allow that.  But I can't say that I've bought that argument entirely.  There are a lot of things the the mobile users can do on the tablet that do no require excessive typing.  

So far, the 7" tablets on the Android platform are still running non-Honeycomb version of the OS.  I reckon that will change once Android 4 arrives later this fall.  That is a consideration.  The Playbook is well built but it is a bit more expensive than something for its size.  I am hopeful that HP will come out with a 6" or 7" Touchpad.  I would certainly jump at just such a device but with the 10" version not selling well, I don't know if such a device will see the light of day.

Obvious question is can Apple eventually release a tablet of this size and will they?  If so, I can see a lot of users adopt it as well.  When that happens, I wonder just how Apple will explain its previous stance and market such a device.  At least with the other platforms, we know that a tablet with a 7" screen can work adequately.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tim Cook: I Want The World To Know That the iPad Is Cannibalizing the Mac And I'm Fine With It

During Apple's financial call with Wall Street analysts on its most recent quarter, Tim allowed a new bit of information in such a way that was slipped into the conversation but at the same time, you know that he wanted it out there.  He wanted the world to know that the iPad was cannibalizing the Mac and he was not losing sleep over it at all.  

Then he added.  There are just more PC to cannibalize than Macs.  No wonder he fine with hit.  Microsoft itself just recorded another excellent quarter itself.  Obviously, it's at the point where Apple is so far beyond Microsoft in terms of revenue and profit that it just felt kinda sad for former number technology company.  And dispute making more money, its stock did not move and in fact lost some ground during the aftermarket activity.

The reason was another drop in the Windows revenue.  The collapse of the netbooks certain had something to do with it.  It remains to be seen if the back-to-school sales will help Microsoft out.  

Here's where Tim Cook's seemingly benign statement about iPad cannibalizing the Mac and PC is a bigger deal than anyone so far has given it attention.

Friday, July 22, 2011

T-Mobile Claims that G-Slate Being Faster Than Other Tablets Leave Out Important Information - Like Throttling

T-Mobile claims that the G-Slate, a Honeycomb based tablet, is faster than the iPad 2 and Xoom.  Of course, they're talking about the 3G connection (I don't buy the "4G" claim being made by ATT and T-Mobile).  But while that claim is likely true, I have to ask this in light of the current wireless environment where data usage is limited and metered.

T-Mobile, faster what?  Does it mean G-Slate users reach the end of their monthly data allotment?  Does it mean that it'll be faster for users get throttled down to EDGE? Or try to get users to upgrade to a more expensive plan?

I think it's better that T-Mobile doesn't charge extra for going over their data plan allotment but it is very disingenuous for carriers to talk about speed with the goal of throttle down or charge extra like ATT and Verizon Wireless do.

Hulu: Apple Buyout Will Not Happen Because It Makes No Sense

I spoke with Dave the Mobile Warrior yesterday regarding Apple and Google possibly buying Hulu.  While he did not remark anything about Google, he did not think Apple would seriously consider making a bid.  They might try to help jack up the price for potential competitors like Google but that's as far as it'll go.

GigaOM suggests that perhaps Apple is likely participating in preliminary discussions that would allow them to take a look at the finances and inner working of the free and subscription based video service.  Along that line of thinking, I would have to agree.  

Both two blogs that I follow for mobile, GigaOM and Arstechnica both agree with Dave.  Apple would not seriously consider a bid for Hulu.  

GigaOM listed reasons why Apple should buy Hulu but these same reasons pertain to other companies as well.  It's their reasons why Apple won't buy Hulu that is more interesting – particularly the one about helping its competitors since Hulu is everywhere.

Interestingly, Ars also came up with that same conclusion.  More than that, Apple already has the content, just under a different format and distribution plan.  

Both are a must read to help dispel any hope that Apple will fold Hulu into its iOS ecosystem.  It simply won't work.

And good job, Dave, for making this call before everyone else.

Friday Movie: Trailer For Paranormal Activity 3

I can't recall if I've seen Paranormal Activity or Paranormal Activity 2. I'll have to go wiki them to see if the plots for those two movies sound familiar.

Having said that, here is this week's Friday movie clip. If you're new to my blog, I started this tradition as a way to celebrate an old tradition at my old work. Every Friday afternoon, we take off to go watch a movie.

My current job doesn't let me do that. Well, I can but I think it's not a good idea. So, this is the next best thing I can offer.

Here is the trailer for the third installment of this franchise, "Paranormal Activity 3".

Happy weekend!

iPhone Coming To More Chinese Carriers;

You might think that the iPhone proliferation in China isn't a big deal to those of us in the US.  Or that it should not matter to my friends in EU, India, other parts of Asia or my new friends on Google+ from South America but it does.  China will soon have one billion mobile phone users.  And it's anyone's guess that many more phones are in actual use.  You have to assume some folks carry more than one mobile device.

According to Phone Arena, China Telecom and China Mobile will join China Unicom, the only authorized iPhone carrier right now, in offering the next iPhone as soon as this fall.  If true, it underscores just how important a market that China is to Apple.  Obviously, not all one billion users will buy a smartphone but a major of them will.

Even if only 50% of the Chinese market embraces the smartphones, that is 500 million users.  And if Apple capture just 25% of the smartphone market, that is 125 million iPhones.  And there is no reason to believe that a higher percentage of the Chinese market won't adopt the smartphone or that Apple won't be able to take a bigger piece of the pie.  

No matter how you slice it, Apple is going to be selling iOS devices in the hundreds of millions – just in China alone. 

And trying to move up the iPhone launches in Greater China makes a lot of sense for Apple.  In its most recent quarter, Apple saw its revenue from this market jumped six times (PC World). To put this another way, Apple surpassed Chinese tech firm Lenovo (Taipei Times, Bloomberg) in revenue and, likely, profit as well. For Lenovo, having home field advantage is not help.  But then, can Lenovo or anyone else claim brand and image conscious China its home market but Apple?

Going forward, I expect Apple's mobile strategy to have a more profound impact from Chinese influence and that in turn will shape mobile experiences else where.

Kycera Phone For The Elderly With Emergency, Notification, And Pedometer; Is There An App For This?

This mobile phone comes from the maker of my first MP3 player, Kyocera. It's elegant in its simplicity. And from TechCrunch's post, it seems to be marketed at elderly. I'm not so sure, I think children can use this as well.

It has a pedometer, simple buttons and UI, and it has a feature that in the event of an emergency, it would trigger an e-mail to a caretaker. Again, children can really benefit from this kind of mobile tech. If I had kids and was to give them phones, I would want this latter feature.

Having said all that, this could easily be duplicated within an app for most mobile platforms. There are plenty of pedometer out there that just need a few tweaks that can do what this phone can do. Apple already has Nike+ built into its mobile devices and I am sure other devices makers can do the same with similar features.

Did Apple Start The Patent War?

Did Apple start the patent war?  Yes, and they're going after anyone that they receive to be a threat.  And while this is a point that I agree with Acer head, Wang, I disagree with his assessment on this matter.

Essentially, everyone is accusing Apple of not allowing business to go on as usual.  Companies copy each other.  That is the nature of business.  So compete in the marketplace.  Let the customer choose.  Heck, Apple has been known to copy from others.  

There is now a very popular term in Appledom called "being sherlocked". 

But with a preliminary ITC ruling alleging that HTC infringed on two of Apple's patents, this could spill over to other Android device makers.  

And Acer does have a lot of sour grapes to eat.  By betting on the netbook strategy, it worked out very well in the couple of years as these cheap computers, cost as low as $200,  But when Apple released the iPad as well as the timing of a global economy that was still trying to work its way out of a recession, the whole Acer network strategy collapsed.

As for Apple starting the patent war and these public war of words, none of "he said, she said" sideshows should have no bearing on what's going on the courts.  Every company has the rights to profit from their intellectual properties and defend them.  

On the surface, it seems that Apple is doing just that.  It's why HTC has to pay Microsoft $5 for every Android device they sell.  It's why Google is looking to settle with Oracle over the Java patent infringement suit.

What's important here is what will Acer and others do if the ITC ruling is upheld.  For the Android camp to simply say that they will prevail at the end of the day does not bring me any comfort.

Also, this is largely Google's fault.  It has not given its partners the type of support that I would have expected.  Perhaps this is why Google received no support from Android makers during the Nortel bidding and eventually lost the 6K+ patents to Apple's camp.

As for Apple using patents to wage war, that is really their prerogative.  Now, is the time for the Android camp to band together, help each other out, and for Google to find a way out of this mess.

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...