Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nokia: A Less For Apple - Don't Be Arrogant and Be Mindful of Unassuming Threats

Over at Clouding Around, I got into what can undo mobile companies these days. Specifically, what has happened to Nokia and other mobile leaders: arrogance and not keeping an eye on threats from startups or new market opportunities.  And while I don't have any fear that Apple under Tim Cook will allow things to fall apart at Cupertino, one cannot help but feel a bit of anxiety from time to time with new product intros and what Apple's competitors roll out.

The key for me is what Apple has planned for 2013 through the 2015 period.  This will be a pivotal time for Apple.  2012 Will continue to have a large Steve Jobs influence.  And while Jobs' spirit will permeate for decades, the echos of his rants and the efforts of his reality distortion field will diminished with time.

iOS 6 will be just what it is:  new iOS improvements.  Where does this take the OS X for the Mac?  For a while, many assumed that OS X will languish in this post-PC era.  We have an idea about Mountain Lion that will be released this summer and Apple has committed itself to annual releases like iOS.  And we have to assume that some day, the two OS could merge into one, technical barriers aside.

Then there is digital distribution and the home.  Apple TV as it is now remains a hobby for Apple.  Given its uses I've seen, Apple TV as it is now will never be able to attack the living room.  Right now, the Xbox remains my choice to hook up to a HDTV.  Perhaps, Apple has not truly found a way to make something great for the living room.  For Apple, if they cannot make a great product, they won't release it.

And yet, in his biography, Steve Jobs did say he cracked the television problem.  It'll be interesting if Tim Cook and friends agree with Steve.

So, why 2013-2015?  Simple.  There will be further mobile convergence for each of the competing platforms.  Also, Microsoft and Intel will continue to wrestle back the momentum that Apple and Android have made.  The tablet market will continue to march into PC territory and it will remain to be seen if Apple can keep the iPad at the top. At this time, the iPad has about 65% of the market - higher if not for the Amazon Kindle selling for a loss at $200.

Furthermore, Apple's iPhone, which went on sale at Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the Christmas quarter of 2011 and growing Chinese market in the first quarter of 2012, has lit the world on fire.  The domination is clear.  Apple has close to 60% of the US smartphone market-share despite two crippling facts.  One, the iPhones are still running on 3G networks and has outsold LTE devices at Verizon.  Two, it's not even on sale at T-Mobile and a plethora of MVNO players.

For Apple to continue to not only stay at the top but retain the growth as if its a startup, it has to identify what where the proverbial hockey puck is headed.  Where is mobile going for the smartphone and tablet market and when to let go of the "trucks" (in this case, I am referring to the Macs)?  And what new markets can it identify to move into - maybe cars or mobile payments?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Movie: World War Z

It's back to zombies.  Actually, we don't post many scary or supernatural stuff for our Friday movie clips/trailers.  We went with the Living Dead game trailer a couple of weeks back but most of the time, it's been scifi or cartoony stuff.

If you don't know, World War Z (wiki) is a book by Max Brooks that chronicled a zombie outbreak origin in China and how humanity dealt with the aftermath of an undead horde hunger for, what else, flesh.  It's written in the style of a documentary.

Here is the official website for WWZ at Random House.  It has been made into a movie starring Brad Pitt.  Unfortunately, the film won't be released until mid-2013.  Meanwhile, if you can't wait and havent' read the book, go get it.  And if you have like I did, reread it again.  It's that awesome.

Now, the video. And have a great weekend!

This second video is Max Brooks' zombie survival trailer.  In this day and age, who doesn't need to prepare for the undead?

Campaigns Should Use Mobile To Make Difference In 2012

We know President Barack Obama's election team in 2008 made very successful use of social media to get their messages across and really got their base excited, particularly the youth vote. So you know team 2012 will continue that tradition and top even their successful effort.  Meanwhile, the GOP with Mitt Romney will at the very least try to duplicate that effort and may even have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Mobile and social media roles in political campaigns are just in their infancy.  The successful Tea Party movement that toppled the arrogant Pelosi regime in the House of Representatives in 2010 showed just that.  Now, the Democrats and its allies will do the same to the rigid and impotent Bohner era.  As you can see, I don't like either parties much.

In going through the presidential campaigns on the web, I tried to see how they compare on the mobile devices like the iPhone.  Not surprisingly, both the Obama and Romney campaigns wisely have their own mobile sites.

Here is President Obama's mobile site and here is Governor Romney's mobile site.  What's interesting is how generic they both appear to be.  The Romney campaign decides to go with the menu on its front page while the President's webmasters went with the direct appeal to voters.  It makes sense.  The President's reelection is virtually assured if he can get the voters who who voted him in to believe he has done as he promised.  Surprisingly, there is nothing in the Romney site that played up his supposed economic strength.  

The Obama site played up Clooney. I'm not sure what that will accomplish. Oh, right, the woman votes.  I learned nothing about what a second Obama term means.  With Romney's blogs, it's attack, attack, where he's been, and attack.  Both campaigns offered little red meat.  However, President Obama did offer some of his accomplishments (though the GOP/conservatives/Fox News would beg to differ) so far in his first term.  

As far as webapps, I think it's a tie with a slight edge for the President.

I also did an app search and found it difficult to see if either campaigns have their own mobile apps.  I had to do a Google search to confirm whether an app was truly the official campaign app.  There is obviously the White House app.  Then on the President's desktop site, I found a link for apps for his campaign.  It's for the iPhone and iPads only.  No Android.  Why?

And the Mitt Romney apps?  Nothing.  There is an app in the iPhone app store called Top Conservative 2012 with Mitt Romney's picture and that's as close as it gets.

For mobile apps, clearly, the Obama camp is leading here.  However, the lack of Android apps is clearly a mistake.  

What I also see is the lack of efforts on both sides beyond meshing social and mobile with a clear strategy to convey their messages and maneuver into advantageous positions.  I like to see points and counterpoints for each move by the campaigns. Maybe a section ready for users to follow on debates.  

Mobile is already huge and will have an even bigger role than radio and television.  I hope in the next couple of months, we'll see both sides take mobile warriors more seriously.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act Passed By House: Perhaps, We Are Moving No More Online Privacy

Source:  CNET

This is kinda scary, no?  The House just passed by an 80 votes margin the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, CISP.  It awaits voting in the Senate.  President Barack Obama has already threatened to veto it.

Still, the day will come when we will not be as vigilant and with a president, who isn’t too concerned with basic sense of privacy, will sign a similar legislation into law.

But don’t take my word for this.  You should try to learn more about CISP and privacy on your own.  However, when President Obama and Ron Paul agree on this issue, it is worth it for us to take note.

It doesn’t matter if you’re politics is right or left of center, the far right as well as the far left are so extreme that should they ever come into power, the powers granted by CISP is simply too tempting not to abuse for their own political gains or agendas.

And while amendments were passed to make sure that there would be enough support for its passage, none of what I've seen suggests that the threat to privacy and basic rights won't be violatd.

The issue of cybersecurity is a very important issue.  And in the name of national security, we do need a cohesive reponse against cyber attacks.  However, let’s not let fearmongering do away with basic privacy and civil rights.   When both liberal and conservative groups band together out of fear that CISP could be used by the government to spy on its own citizens, that is a very scary thing.

Another measure supported by the White House and some in the Senate gives Homeland Security the directive to protect the US from cyberattacks. However, regardless who's in charge, considerable oversight and common sense is required.

Here is a very good FAQ on this matter from Paid Content.

This Display of Obsession with Apple Showed Samsung Gone Off Deep-End

Source:  Droid-Life Via Android & Me.

This is sad on so many levels.  Samsung hired a marketing group to stage a protest outside Apple’s Australian store, completely with a mob and shouting.  The purpose, if you can it that, is to get the Apple fanboys to wake up – but to what?  That Samsung devices are superior?  Or that owners of Apple products are being “cultitized” (I just made that word up)?

Sammie, your devices can stand on their own against Apple’s iThings.  No need to do this weirdness.  This would just turn people off.  I know this is just a play on those commercials you ran last year but this is a bit far. It'll only turn people off.

Just recently, analysts are beginning calling the mobile war not one between Apple and Android but rather between Apple and Samsung.  That kind of attention is good for competition.  This ain't.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Douchy Guys Wrote Hit Piece About Apple That Made No Sense and Got Facts Wrong

I refuse to link to this post I just read on Yahoo.  And Yahoo, shame on you for posting it.  The gist of the article is that if you take China out of the equation, Apple would have missed its most recent quarterly earnings.  I like what one of the commenterx of the post said in response:  if you take China out of the equation, no global company would meet estimates.

And while I won’t be linking to the post by Jeff Macke, who sounded like a douche,  I will tell you who the idiot Jeff quoted in his article.  His name is David Garrity, the head of GVA Research.  The head of this research firm.  Seriously, right?  The head of a research firm making this kind of analysis.

My guess is that this dude (or both of them), not only doesn’t get the concept of a global economy, but he probably bought into the fear that caused Apple’s stock to tank over 10% in the last couple of weeks.  So, these two duches likely shorted the stock or had been waiting to buy in when the price goes lower and lost lots of money or opportunity to make money.  Whichever way, they’re now bitter about it.

And you know what’s worse?  In talking about China, the post mentioned China Mobile.  China Mobile is the biggest carrier in the world with over half a billion subscribers.  So, here’s the kicker:  China Mobile is not an official iPhone carrier.  Apple would have likely sold anywhere from 40-45 million iPhones if China Mobile was a carrier.

Over all, expect hit pieces like this to crop up over the next couple of weeks to try and weakening the renewed confidence investors has in Apple.  Lots of people who bet wrongly on Apple’s earnings are gonna need to find a way to get back the money they lost.

Again, I refuse to link to it because it’s so dumb.  And another proof of this a funny response from another commenter:  If my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle.

Here’s my response: if you take out all of the iPhone sales, Apple would have massively miss its earning estimate and likely posted a huge loss.

Note:  if you really want to read this dumb article posted on Yahoo, I've given you enough details that you can probably go google it yourself.

Google's Mobile Domination & Apple's iPhone Success Means A Facebook Phone Makes Zero Sense

Apple may have achieved nearly 60% of total smartphone share in the US.  This news coupled with the talk that HTC and Facebook are working together to bring a phone that focuses on all things social within Facebook’s realm.  The question for Facebook is why brother and if it insists anyway, which OS will Zuckerberg use?

I’m not sure that Apple can sustain this level of domination in the long run.  Nor am I saying that it won’t.  These things have a way of playing out and Android’s appeal does not seem to have diminished despite the iPhone 4S success.  The threat to Android comes from execution, not the OS itself.  Forking, delays in updates, and social issues like security and privacy are what could make things difficult in the long run.  It has nothing to do with what Apple is doing.

However, the iPhone 5 is coming out in six to seven months.  While that seems like a long time away, the above mentioned issues for Android isn’t going to get solved in that time.

Now comes to Facebook’s smartphone.  I don’t know what to call it.  fPhone?  fbPhone?  How about zPhone for Zuckerberg?  Yeah, let me go with the zPhone.

Facebook has a close relationship with Microsoft.  Microsoft is both a source of resources and an investor.  Forking Android is the obvious solution but I wonder if Redmond might try to get FB to try out Windows 8?  It would certainly be a huge boost for Microsoft.  I mean let’s face it.  The whole Windows Phone market is Nokia’s Lumia, nothing more and it has not yet caught fire on the scale both Microsoft and Nokia had hope for.  I know that the mobile war is about the long game but you’d at least want signs that things are promising.

So, forking Android is the obvious choice for Facebook to use in the zPhone.  And if Microsoft and FB can work out a deal to use Windows 8, it would mean forking Windows to some extent as well.

But why bother with the zPhone at all?  Does FB believe that it can persuade its legions of users to abandon iOS and Android in favor of its own device?  With FB’s track record regarding security and privacy, it’s highly doubtful that it can appease both users, marketers, and regulators all at once.

And if FB does really come out with its own phone, it needs to continue onward to developing its own music and video store.  It’ll need an app store.  Oh, why stop at the zPhone.  It’ll need a zTablet to compete with the iPad.  And with Apple possibly releasing its own television, FB is going to need its zHDTV as well.

Oh, and there already was a Facebook phone from HTC.  It's called the Status.  And the current status of the Status is not so good.

iTunes Sales Bigger Than iPod For Apple's Latest Quarter

Check out this graph from Macrumors.  There is more info at there on Apple's latest financial call.  I'm not going over it much because not all of it matters to the regular mobile users.  However, this graph is telling.

iTunes sales has iPad sales beat by 2% in the overall revenue pie for Apple. That's a 40% advantage iTunes enjoys over iPod sales.  Not long ago, iPod was king.  It was the single device that saved Apple and launched Apple's domination in mobile.  

More importantly, iTunes content could be future drivers at Apple.  Right now, all the focus is on the iPad and iPhone but it'll be content accessibility that will help Apple's iOS hardware make further inroads into education and enterprise.  Not only that, should Apple finally unveil what Steve Jobs meant when he said he cracked television, the whole iTunes ecosystem is going to be key.  

In a few years, we might see iTunes break beyond 10% of Apple's revenue.  And should mobile payment become available, regardless of Apple's own take and implementation, watch out.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Google Drive: It's Real and It's Live Now!

It's official:  Google Drive is live now.  You get 5 GB free.

Access Everywhere

This is what the competition offers:

  • iCloud: 5 GB
  • SkyDrive:  7 GB
  • Dropbox:  2 GB (but you can increase this if you get friends to sign up)
  •  5 GB (though some like Touchpad users have 50 GB)
Which do you prefer and does standalone companies like Box and Dropbox have a shot against the mobile giants?  

Apple, Foxconn, And China Event - Manufacturing Really Ain't Coming Back To The US, But Clean Tech Is Key To US Future

Last night, I attended an event put on by KPCC, a public radio, in Pasadena that featured Marketplace's Rob Schmitz, the man who helped exposed Mike Daisey's lies about Apple, Foxconn, and details about the Chinese workers he met.  It was an excellent event with a packed house.  And I'm grateful to be living so close to such great organization.  And Mr. Schmitz was a great and accessible guest.

This morning, I read this post from The Daily Beast on manufacturing.  And it got me thinking about manufacturing and whether we can really bring back some of these factory jobs that Apple and others have been exporting for more than a decade now.

I spoke a bit with Mr. Schmitz about it.  From the Steve Jobs biography, we knew that President Obama asked Steve Jobs how he could bring these jobs back and Steve pointedly told him they're not coming back.

For a while, I thought if companies like Apple can invest in high tech consumer goods, they can also investing in high tech manufacturing that would require less labor.  We do know that Tim Cook is investing some of Apple's billions in securing a supply chain, insuring Apple will have ample supplies to satisfy demand.  While I won't get into the details of the conversation we had from last night, the point made to me was, no, those jobs ain't coming back.

However, the future couple be more American ingenuity and our ability to think out of the box.  Clean tech could be something that we can export to the rest of the world.  I happen to agree that clean tech is going to be where the future is at, including renewable power.

Hopefully, whoever is in the White House come 2013, we will continue to put more of our eggs in the green industry.  Anything about green seems to be just as much a dirty word to the right as anything carbon-based is to the left.  So, it's understandable that tech and green entrepreneurs are growing increasingly frustrated and disenchanted with Washington.

LTE Matters And Android Sales Could Be In Trouble If iPhone Gets LTE

When Verizon reported its earnings last week, I was surprised by just how well the iPhone held.  And today's earnings release from AT&T has me thinking that the gains made by Android over the last couple of years before AT&T lost iPhone exclusivity isn't holding well.

I won't be editorializing here but just to present the fact.  A little more than a year ago, Verizon Wireless began carrying the iPhone, albeit CDMA version while the HTC Thunderbolt began making waves as one of the first LTE device.  Later in the year with the introduction of the iPhone 4S, Sprint joined AT&T and Verizon in carrying the iPhone.

We don't know Sprint's results yet but we know those of the two biggest US carriers.  With AT&T's 5.5 million smartphones sold, the two biggest carriers sold a total of 11.8 million smartphones.  Apple accounted for 7.5 million of those devices, or 63.55%.  While Sprint has not reported their earnings, there is no reason to believe that the iPhone will account for at last half of its smartphone sales.

There are many ways to read into these numbers.  Both fans of Apple and Google's platform can go all "Democrat and Republican" on this and spin this their own way.  However, as a mobile fan, it is trouble to see Google's Android, armed with Android 4 and LTE, has yet to make a significant pushback against a 3G device.

But as a whole, we can conclude a couple of things.  First, LTE matters and the 4G branding that AT&T and T-Mobile are so fond of pushing doesn't.  This is why LTE devices can hold their own against the iPhone at Verizon while the lack of LTE at AT&T has the iPhone walking all over the competition.  Second, the average mobile warrior is very savy.  We didn't buy into 4G marketing crap and this means if Sprint and T-Mobile doesn't pull their LTE acts together, they're in a lot of trouble.

And if you want to go further, the mobile war is far from over.  Competition is intense and market share in terms of units sold and profit coming out over the next month or so will show that. It means that Microsoft and Nokia, despite the lukewarm reception of the Lumia line, may yet have an opening if they can push Windows 8 out on time with hardware that is on par with competition.

That means Apple and Google will need to continue to bring their A-game with iOS 6 and Android 5.

Monday, April 23, 2012

At KPCC in Pasadena, CA

I am live tweeting from the Crawford Family Form in Pasadena, CA. The subject will be about Apple, China, This American Life and the behind the scenes.

Interview with Marketplace's Rob Schmitz who exposed Mike Daisey's lies.

You can follow at @paul_onxo.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

HTC To Design Itself Into Oblivion - Picks Thin Over Longer Battery Life

This is a lesson for Apple.

Something is seriously wrong at HTC.  Now, I like thin.  The fact that the mobile devices today like the Galaxy is pretty light and thin is something that I can appreciate.  The Motorola RAZR is thin too.  Very thin.  And both look very handsome.  I guess HTC is catching up to that.  At least that’s what HTC thinks its customers are tell them.  Sorry, HTC folks.  We like thin but we rather have longer battery life too.

See, HTC said that customers have told them they want thinner phones over longer battery life.  I guess most HTC users like to see their devices tethered to a wall socket or simple stare at future thin HTC devices because they want out of power after 4 to 5 hours of use.

I don’t know how HTC came to this conclusion but nothing could be further from the truth.  Many a blogs have ridiculed this notion.  Just look at the Motorola RAZR.  I’m sure it sold a few but considering how quickly Motorola released the RAZR Maxx, which is thicker because of the added battery inside, I would wager with anyone that the MRM is selling far better than the MR.

HTC got hammered when the iPhone went on more carriers and it is getting punched in the gut hard by Samsung’s Galaxy.  And now, HTC wants to make the mistake of taking design into a new direction:  less battery life.  It’s like a kid who was harassed by two bullies and then tries to get up to fight back only to slip and fall in his face.

What HTC is trying to do is decrease cost.  As competition mount, HTC came to the conclusion that it would have to compete on cost without sacrificing margin and profit.  By building smaller and thinner devices, not to mention using less expensive material, it could still compete.  It might work on some segments of the market but on the high end where margins are better, it will fail badly.

HTC could theoretically continue to create wonderfully great high-end devices but if its reputation for bad battery life permeates throughout the market, users are gonna look elsewhere for their high-end Android needs.

Hopefully, Apple has a better sense of balance between form and battery life under Tim Cook.  What would you want

Sunday, April 22, 2012

iOS App That Allows User To Watch Paid Channels - Likely To Be Yanked Soon

This morning, I woke up to this 9to5Mac post on this app called TV Premium. It advised the ability to allow users to watch live premium channels. Well, there are not many but enough for my to give it a try. And for the most part, it works.

The question is how did this get through Apple's legendary app censors? Well, first, Apple's app approval process has not been what it was billed to be by the media. And with more and more app submissions, it's likely things aren't getting get better and apps like this will get through.

Back to the app. I started using it at Starbucks' par wifi network. It is free and bless Starbucks for it but it's to as robust as what you're likely used to at home. With that said, the video playback was spotty. Again, I am using a public network shared by many people.

Should you get this? Probably not because I figure it won't be there in a few hours. And even if you managed to keep this in your iPhone or iPad, you probably won't be able to use it much longer as these servers that are providing the feeds are probably going to be taken down pretty soon.

It is curious that this is happening. The legal issues and what the media companies and Apple will do aside, this is a glimpse into mobile video viewing. And as soon as the media companies stop fighting this, the better.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Movie: Brave (From Pixar)

That time of the week again.  I know I've featured Brave before.  That was a long, long time ago.  Since then, there have been a few new trailers and clips released.  And wow, I think Disney/Pixar could have another hit.  And I think this time, it's on par with Nemo's success.

I know, despite being a dude and have no kids, I'll be there for opening weekend just the same.  The graphics and art are just that amazing.

So, enjoy and have a great weekend.  I'm off to a Game of Thrones marathon this weekend.

And here is Merida, her heroine.  Yeah, after this summer, expect a bunch of baby girls with that name.  It's not a bad name.  There'll be a bunch of babies born in 2012 and 2013 with that name is all.

What Is It That Made These Koreans Line Up?

You guessed it.  In the following video, these Korean mobile warriors are lining up for the new Galaxy Tab.  Whoops, I mean the new iPad.

What's be interesting is what kind of reception this'll get in China.  Or for that matter, how the next iPhone will go up against Samsung's flagship device, the Galaxy S III.  Remember, the iPhone 4S was poo-poo by many in the media because Apple didn't call it the "iPhone 5".  Still, it went on to break the iPhone 4's previous records.

What can we take away from this?  Make no mistake that the Galaxy S II and probably the III are top-notch devices that appeal to a large segment of the mobile market.  Just ask HTC, Motorola, and LG how they are faring against Samsung, let alone Apple. If you're not into the iOS frenzy, I certainly would recommend the Galaxy.  However, there is still that secret sauce that Apple provides that has yet to be matched by anyone else on the market.

Just this week, Verizon Wireless reported their earnings and sold over 6.3 million smartphones.  Of that, more than half at 3.2 million were iPhones.  More than half.  And that's not all.  The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are going up against the heavily marketed LTE devices.  Perhaps its the horrible battery life that the LTE devices that is well known and customers were simply opting for the best 3G devices that Verizon carries with longer battery life.

To mean, tha tmeans customers care about battery life.  That also means come this fall or winter when Apple releases the LTE iPhone (I'm guess that they will), This near 1:1 ration of iPhone to other smartphones could tip overwhelming in Apple's favor.

So, yeah, LTE is a big deal.  LTE with long battery life would be an even bigger deal.

Apple's Effort To Secure Supply Chain Should Go Beyond Mobile Market; Chance To Change The World of Manufacturing

I had similar thoughts about this Forbes post said about Apple using its cash to finance it’s future growth by acquiring and securing its own supply chain. Obviously, I cannot claim credit for this kind of thinking because Apple had been doing this for years with memory chips. The next step for Apple may be about changing the world of manufacturing and in ways that would leave its competitors gasping for air trying to keep up and really disrupt not just any one industry but a whole host of markets with new innovative processes.

Obviously, what Tim Cook is having Apple do with its money in trying to own its supply chain and keep competitors out is brilliant.  Apple can and will move a few steps even beyond that.  In the past, I had suggested that Apple may even spend R&D money into new ways of manufacturing and patent the whole process.

The initial discussion started when media reports began circulating about what Steve Jobs said to Obama about him being a one-term President and Jobs answered that manufacturing jobs are not coming back to the US when asked how companies can bring those jobs back.

But I think it’s possible.  Robotics and new ways of putting components together.  Think of this as robots building robots or other computer devices like the iPhones, iPads, and Macs.  Impossible?  Anyone thinking that clearly has not clue just how fast tech, on many fronts, is moving.

Not only is it possible but that is where we are headed.  All it takes is the will to make it happen and the financial clout.  And Tim Cook’s Apple has plenty of both.

We Do Banking On Mobile, Why Not Voting?

Are we close to the day when we can vote for our elected officials via our mobile?  After all, we do mobile banking and other types of transactions that has enough security that we can live with.  So, maybe we are closer to being able to vote through an app?

Here's how I see this can work. I am going to generalize this quite a bit.  Every registered voter who wants to sign up for mobile voting would have to go sign up.  Just register for online or mobile voting.  Also, the voter would have to provide a passcode.  Again, this will have to be online.

Then the voter would get a special letter from the government with a special code authorizing online voting. This letter would also have a randomly generated code that the voter must enter along with the passcode they created when they sign up for online voting.  If they match, the voting process can begin.

Okay again, I'm generalizing.  I'm sure you folks out there will have a better scheme for mobile voting and can come up with a better security system for doing this. Right now, each time I sign in to do banking, I am emailed a code by my bank each time I log in from a different PC.  I'm fine when it's on my mobile apps from the bank.

Also, Google has added security layer when you sign into Google accounts. They can text you a passcode that you have to enter after you've entered your login name and password.  Perhaps there are even more robust security measure.  You can be asked a series of questions before you start voting.

But I think it's time we start exploring mobile voting.  Right now, I think this works better than voting on your PC given the greater security risks.  And if we do this in the United States, we would not be alone.  Estonia did it as far back as 2007.

Heck, Astronauts already do this from space.  Here are more examples of other countries allowing online voting via Wikipedia.  So, this has been done.  If the government is still by the people and for the people, it's time we make this happen.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forget Day-Long Battery Life, I Want Mobile Devices To Last Months

Today, smartphone batteries are atrocious.  We’re lucky if we can make it half a day without charging up.  So, those con numbers about standby time, talk-times, and hours of use really doesn’t stand up in real world use.  A couple of months back, Intel was talking about all day battery life from devices running on their chips.  It’s likely they’re parsing between light use like checking e-mails, texting, taking a couple of pics and watching some Youtube video.

Now, look at your own use.  You’re probably more a moderate user.  And if you examine how you use your Android or iPhone from when you first go it to today (maybe months or years), you’ll realize that you’ve come to rely on your smartphone a lot more than when you first started using it.

Chances are, your Android LTE device will be running on fumes by late afternoon.  You’re lucky if you can get to an outlet in time or you’re just heading home.  What happens if you’re got a longer work day or are heading out to dinner and a movie?  You’re screwed in what it is.

What’s the solution?  Well, as much as I like the specs race (who doesn’t), maybe it’s time to think about what mobile really is.  And there has to be a balance between performance of the hardware, what we can do with it, and how long we can use devices for.

I keep coming back to my calculators and I’ve gone through many of them over the years.  If it wasn’t for the HP graphing devices (the first mobile devices as far as I’m concerned), it was those Casio calculators that you can use in trig and geometry classes that run on the ambient light in the classroom.  Or even my simple no-name calculator from Office Depot.  That also runs on a small solar cell.

And they run forever.  Even battery ones we use in the offices.  I don’t recall changing batteries on those things yet.

That’s the kind of battery life I want.  As far as I’m concerned, that should be where the next mobile revolution should come from.  I want something that runs on one charge for days.  No scratch that.  I want them running on one charge for weeks if not months.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Social Weapon of Choice For Political Operatives: Twitter

Twitter has grown up.  Not long ago, it was a way to tell your friends when you were going to the bathroom and what you were thinking while you sat on the toilet.  Then it became instrumental in helping people of North Africa get rid of a couple of dictators.  And now, Twitter is the weapon of choice for political machines, specifically, the operatives who are looking to slash their way socially to get their messages and mud across.

Here is a prime example.  In an exchange between David Axelrod (Twitter), the man who is widely credited by the media for getting then Senator Barack Obama into the White House (I know Oprah would beg to differ) and Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom (Twitter), the two got personal and traded jabs.

There more of this at the Washington Post piece.  Something about dogs mixed in with dogs and debates.  It's really quite interesting because, even now, Twitter is a vehicle for influencing the greater voting public because the media and the campaigns are picking up on this.

I'm considering creating just a separate Twitter account just to aggregate these political tweets because the Twitter may be where the winner of the November elections is decided.

And you know what else might be a cool Twitter.  A rap-off, or Twitter-off, between opposing rappers.  I can see it now as they fiercely tap on the smartphones.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

T-Mobile's First Leather Clad Carly - Schwing!

Source:  Tmo-News.

Here's T-Mobile's first new look at Carly.

Does it make you wanna give T-Mobile a second chance or make a switch from another carrier?  No but it does make for a very interesting pivot by T-Mobile.  I wish them and Carly the best.  We need more competition, not less.

Perhaps, the new Carly will have a bigger impact with she uses the iPhone 5 this fall?

Carly Gets Leather And Catches Nick Fury Cooking At Home

Source: From Dave the Mobile Sage who sent me the link to Macstories.

It’s spring so it makes sense that people do some cleaning as they come out from under the winter days.  It’s the same for companies.  In this instance, it’s Apple and T-Mobile.  Both are seeking to do something different from what they’ve done in recent years and so far, I’m liking T-Mobile’s rebranding better.  However, Apple is playing on its strength – Siri.

Here, let’s start with T-Mobile.  This is the old Carly.  Me like. Girl I wanna marry.

Carly Foulkes

This is the new Carly.  Me like even more!  Schwing!

Now here are Apple’s ads.  The first one features my other girl, Zooey D.  The second one features Nick Fury himself, aka Samuel L Jackson.

It’s nothing earth shattering but you get what Apple is playing on – the strength of Siri.  And while T-Mobile’s new Carly look may have Kate Beckinsale, my other girl, worry that there is a new Selene to continue Underworld series if she ever decides retire her leather outfits(which I hope she won’t), T-Mobile appealing to the 16-year old in me isn't likely going to sell a lot of devices.

I rather have T-Mobile show me what Android can do for me.  We know Samsung has already taken to doing commercials that try to connect users to their devices.  I think that works better.  But hey, if T-Mobile wanna push more Carly in leather at me, go for it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

iPhone With LTE and Heat

My iPhone 4 with Verizon gets warm at times. It's nothing I have not seen before in other mobile devices and certainly no where near laptop heat or even close to the non-issue temperature on the new iPad that the media tried to create into "heat-gate". Still, I have concerns for the next iPhone.

And that concern comes from the likelihood that the next iPhone will have an LTE antenna in it. And given Apple's drive to make its iOS devices lighter and thinner, heat concerns, even if it's not a real issue, will certainly bare more scrutiny than any other devices because it's the iPhone.

And that's before we even get into the battery life issue. My hope is that Apple brings back the ability for users to toggle between LTE and lower speed wireless options.

It could help with the heat issue and solve any battery issues we mobile users may be faced with.

Right now, as I am composing this post, I am in an area with low signal and the iPhone could be struggling to maintain the signal strength. Hence, I am draining the battery faster and the device has gotten warmer as well.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Apple Should Punish AT&T But Won't

I like for Apple to find a way to punish AT&T.  It's not likely to ever happen.  Apple does what it does which is to make the damn best device it can.  It doesn't spend a lot of time worry about what Google, Microsoft, or the carriers will do.  However, for AT&T to try to push Lumia 900 over the iPhone after Apple's iconic device revolutionized the wireless industry and gave AT&T years of profit, it simply doesn't sit well with me.

However, Apple probably won't.  However, Apple can continue to come out with the best damn iPhone it can make.  Cook, Ives, and the rest of the designers and developers can continue to build the best damn device they can and continue to dominate the smartphone sales over at AT&T and charge them the premium that the iPhone commands.

If Apple does exact any kind of punishment, it's likely through services and the iOS ecosystem that continues to make carriers irrelevant.  I don't know what future devices and services Apple is working on but I figure it'll try to expand into other services, maybe even more video options and expand on iTunes music services like Match.

By expanding and strengthening its ecosystem, Apple will continue to make the iOS devices even more important in our lives.  Maybe, that'll be punishment enough against AT&T.

Did AT&T Force Microsoft To Bring LTE To Lumia 900 For US or For Themselves?

I was running a couple of errands and listening to a Windows Phone podcast.  It was a good podcast in general because the folks running it are very good and I like the information they provide. The kinds of folks you'd wanna have a beer with.

The podcast is from WP Central.  I recommend it if you're even remotely interested in keeping up with what Microsoft is offering on the mobile front.  Having said that, in one of the episodes, they commended AT&T for bring LTE to Windows Phone.  They liked that AT&T convinced Microsoft to make this happen.

Maybe they did but they certainly deserved no praise.  AT&T, even by the podcasters' own admission, never have subscribers' interest at heart.  They don't take in your or my interests when they make any decision whatsoever.

Windows Phone was AT&T's final and only chance to break away from the domination of the iPhone.  Plain and simple.  The Lumia 900, the latest and greatest of Windows Phone devices, was suppose to supplant the iPhone 4S as the flagship device.  And bring LTE over just isn't going to make that happen.

Apple should include LTE in the next iPhone 5-6 months from now and any advantage that AT&T was pushing for in Windows Phone would disappear by then.

If the podcasters want to give AT&T praise for bring LTE to Windows Phone, then they should also blame AT&T for the wireless data issues that Lumia 900 users are currently experimenting, no?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mobile Tip: Tricks To Read Behind Pay-Walls On WSJ, LA Times, And FT (Might Work With Others Too)

Note: This isn't really just a mobile tip because it also works on desktop browsers as well.

Paid walls are going up left and right.  It’s getting ugly out there.  Frankly, I don’t mind it so much because there is still a lot of content out there.  Having said that, it is irk-some when you click through and you cannot access the page without paying.  It’s free-enterprise.  We as mobile readers, or desktop ones, will just have to accept this.  However, it doesn’t totally mean that just because we’re not willing to pay for content, say on the WSJ or the LA Times, that we cannot access here.  Here are a couple of tips that might help.

Let’s go with the WSJ.  See the following pic?

Annoying but manageable.  Simply copy and paste the title of the article and search it in Google and you’ve got this.  The whole enchilada.  Awesome, isn’t it?  Don’t free too badly for News Corp.  Vast majority of their readership pays.  I’m sure like myself, you only read a couple of these articles a month. Hence, it doesn’t justify paying hundreds of an annual subscription.

And if the search option doesn't exactly work for some sites, here’s another option that may or may not work with some papers online.  It doesn’t work with the WSJ but it does with the LA Times.  Get an Instapaper account.  It’s free.  It’s an excellent service you want anyway.  What Instapaper does is allows you to bookmark the text of a post for reading later.  It’s got two tools that you’ll want in your browser bookmark.

One is “Reader Later” and “Instapaper Text”.

Simply go to the LA Times article you want and click on either.  As you can see here, the pay-wall does not even allow a preview of the post.

So be it.  Now go to your Instapaper options. “Reader Later” obviously saves the post for your reading later if you wanna read it at a coffee shop or hit “Instapaper Text” and you get taken to another page with mostly the text of the post, without the trimmings.  Let's say you hit "Instapaper Text", now, you can see the whole article and just the text too.  Even better.

Awesome, isn't it?

How about other pay-walls like the NY Times or Financial Times?  I haven’t hit any limits on the NY Times yet.  Ever.  However, FT isn’t playing ball. Sometimes, doing a search like we can do with WSJ works, Other times, it doesn’t.

Then there’s always the trick of trying to clear your browser data and hope that the paper you wanna read isn’t up-and-up on this trick and you can reload on the number of views allowable by the paper.  And if you really really want to know what’s going on, I’d go search the topic and find probably dozens of other links to other news sources that have not put up a pay-wall.

We are still far from the days when every bit on the Internet will be locked up to those of us unable or unwilling to pay for access.  Again, not saying pay-wall is bad.  I think it’s good if the site provides value beyond what they had previously offered for free.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Placeme App: Awesome Peak Into Mobile Tracking But Potentially Scary Too

I use Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and even a couple of check-in apps like Foursquare.  I'm wary about what the data I share are being used, especially Facebook.  Let's be honest, privacy is still a big deal to a vast major of us despite what Facebook's Zucky and Google's Creepster-In-Chief Schmidt say.  Now comes Placeme.

What is Placeme?  I've included a video, more than 30 minutes long, that is worth watching.  I REALLY REALLY REALLY think you should watch it.  It's an interview conducted by Robert Scoble with the creator of Placeme, Sam Liang, a former Googler.

What Placeme does is use the sensors on your mobile device to track you.  Scary yeah?  But there is a lot of potentially good use from the data that the app can collect and help the user.  It can use the ambient light, accelerator, Bluetooth, GPS, and other services on the phone to keep a log of your daily routine.  It will eventually know how you get to work, when you get to work, where you go next (like a supermarket, bar, gym).

In the video, the creator gave an example of how Placeme was able to track where he walked through Walmart on Black Friday.

Scary? Definitely but I can see a lot of potentially good uses for this.  There is a big debate raging no on Scoble's Google+ page.  I suggest you check out the video and maybe even the app and decide for yourself if this is for you.

eBooks: DOJ's Civil Suit Against Apple and Publishers Is About Collusion To Preserve Compeition

The United States Department of Justice

Does the end just the means?  That is the question in the anti-competitive suit brought on by the Department of Justice against Apple and two book publishers.  As far as I am concerned, that is the legal issue here.  Today, the DOJ sued Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin while Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster backed down and settled with the government.  At issue is whether the seemingly anti-competitive actions by Apple and the publishers to allow the publishers to impose their own prices on ebooks good for the consumer.

More at Clouding Around.

VZW Institute Upgrade Penalty, Time To Consider PrePaid

Verizon Wireless will  be instituting a $30 penalty if you want to sign up for a new phone.  Yup, they call it an upgrade fee.  I call it a “penalty”.  This is for obvious reasons.  And leigitimately, there is no reason for VZW or anyone else to charge us for this.  However, it is within their rights to do it.

Having said that, it is within our rights to take our business elsewhere.  That means once your contract is up, tell your carrier you don’t want to pay that fee.  Lie to them if you have to. Tell them that you’ve spoken to T-Mobile and they’re willing to waive that fee.  Maybe they will.  Maybe they won’t.  Honestly, I can tell you that I have never had to pay any such nonsense fees.

Even big bad AT&T caved when I told them we’ll take our family plans elsewhere.

And on top of that, there are now plenty of pre-paid options available to us.  It’s well worth it to explore that route.  Not only will you not have to deal with the Big Four, you may end up with a better deal.  Go to Walmart, Target, or Best Buy to look at those options.  With Walmart’s deal with T-Mobile and Straight Talk, you’re got GSM options now.  That means you’re not stuck with limited CDMA devices.

Dave the Mobile Sage has convinced many of us to go that route and I can’t be happier.

Say “no” to these penalties levied against hard working mobile warriors.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why Is This The Rage This Week? Texts From Hilliary

Sometimes, it makes you wonder why certain thing gets on a roll and goes viral.  Apparently, "texts" from our Secretary of State, former US Senator from NY, and former Co-President, Hillary Clinton, is gaining steam.  Anyway, came across it from Google+.

Here's my favorite one so far.

Original image by Kevin Lamarque for Reuters.

More here at Texts From Hillary (TUMBLR).

Texting And Moving Is Always A Bad Idea: Here's Why

Here's a 20 second video why the texting should be separate from other forms of physical activities.  In this case, it's as simple as walking down the street.  You never know who or what you'll run into.  As in the case, texting while driving is also a pretty bad idea too.

I'm pretty sure the guy learned a really valuable lesson.

Facebook Bought Instagram To Build Community And Keep It From Google

I’m still trying to figure out why Facebook spent $1 billion on Instagram.  Obviously, they could have just put a team together to build an app or feature into its current Facebook with a bunch of filters, more than anyone else if they wanted to, and put it out there for users.  In speaking with Dave the Mobile Sage, we have come to the conclusion that Facebook wanted the Instagram community.


First, why $1 billion?  More at Clouding Around.

What Would a 4" iPhone Look Like?

9to5Mac has a post with pics on what a 4" iPhone would look like.  This seems to be the ideal size that many mobile fans are looking for.  Personally, I would love to have a 4" iPhone.  My aging eyes would not only appreciate it but I reckon the additional real estate would allow for more interesting mobileness.

Don't get me wrong.  Even if Apple doesn't come out with a 4" Retina Display on the next iPhone, the one after that, or ever, I would still very content with the current 3.5" display on the iPhone 4 and the 4S.

The question is would Apple be increasing the resolution of this theoretical 4" display?  Perhaps in the beginning, we might not see this.  Apple could still retain the same 960 x640 resolution with lower DPI and still call it a Retina Display because Apple marketing will rationalize that since this iPhone has a larger screen, you'll be holding further away from you and you still would not be able to distinguish the pixels.

I recommending heading over there and check out their pics.  I swipe one as you can see just to wet your appetite.  There more pics and a whole post examining how Apple would go about making this happen.  There is one portion of their speculation that I disagree with.

Care to figure out which one?

Carriers Struggle To Regain Control Over Handset Makers, Starting with the Apple

The future of mobile is about control.  Even as Apple, Google, RIM, Microsoft, and a few others battle for control of the mobile hanset market, it’s only a smart part of the larger wireless domain in which there are dozens of other companies struggle for the upper hand.  We’re talking about control.  With the right control, the winners get to tell not only end-users what they have access to but has the ability to dictate to others how they can interact with the customers.

This is why this post from a Wall Street analyst skews the picture.  A revolt against the iPhone?  Not quite.  Rather it’s an attempt by carriers to wrestle control they previously had over the handset makers.  With the popularity of the iPhone and Android devices like the Galaxy, companies like Apple and Samsung can dictate terms to the carriers.

And this had been a big alignment in the balance of power in the wireless realm that had previously favored carriers.

I’m not advocating that one company win over another.  Too much influence concentrated in the hands of a few isn’t good for us mobile warriors.  However, historically, wireless providers have never been our friends.

So, at the moment, with a due respect to Wall Street analysts, they’ll have to excuse me as I continue to root for Apple, Google, Samsung rather than AT&T.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Drop Likely Increase Invite Allotment To 500MB Due To Competition

I got an exciting e-mail from Dropbox over the weekend.  In the past, Dropbox gives us 2 GB of free storage when you sign up for the free account access.  But you can increase that over time if you invite friends, families, acquaintances, or whoever else to sign up.  If they sign up, you get additional storage.

The idea is that Dropbox hopes to convert you or someone else you invited into a paying customer.  So far, I think they're doing pretty well.  There was rumors that Apple considered buying Dropbox.  Now, iOS and Mac users have the iCloud.  Meanwhile, Google should be coming out with its down Dropbox competitor in the next quarter.

So, it's likely due to competition from these tech giants and other cloud storage players that Dropbox increased the invitation allotment from 250 MB to 500 MB.  This is fantastic news.  I was able to create dummy accounts to increase my space in the last (I also use those accounts for photos). What's also pretty cool is that space increases prior to this 500 MB offer will also be getting additional space.

Dropbox has become an indispensable part of my workflow.  I can store files on my Mac and access them at work.  Or I can use a number of iOS and Android apps that have native support for Dropbox.

This is just the beginning.  We are in the infancy of cloud storage.  This is nothing to cloud storage 2.0.  Seriously, 2GB is nothing today.  I can see Dropbox increase the free storage to 10, 20, or even 50 GB.  And for some folks, that still won't be enough because of the coming media storage capability.  Consider what Apple with its iTunes Match and Amazon and Google are offering in music.  We are seriously a skip away from even video storage.

And in today's HD world, 10 or 20 GB simply won't be enough.

Anyway, I encourage you to take advantage of this Dropbox offer.  We have a family account and it helps a lot when we sharing pics and videos.  So invite your friends, families, and people you like or dislike because this is a great deal.

And the best ones are free which this one is.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Apple Products: Mostly Mobile And Recession Proof

Today's jobs report was subpar and had the stock market been opened today, I'm sure there would have been a three-digit sell-off on the DOW.  Still, today's economy,while still in a slow recovery mode, is off life-support from when it was in 2008.  Apple was still under Steve Jobs and he vowed that Apple would innovate its way out of the recession.  No doubt Tim Cook would do the same.  

Should we go through another slowdown (very likely due to EU contagion), Apple's stock could be just as safe as US bonds.  Demand for Apple products are still strong.  So strong in fact that Apple is building a second Rome store in Italy, an EU country is could be counted as one of the likely to default.  

This isn't a stock post for Apple's finances.  Rather, we are wondering what it is about Apple products that make them so sought after even during the Great Recession and continues to sell in record amounts.  

What do you think Apple seems to weather economic turmoils better than its competitors?  It is just the premium brand, its dedicate fan base, or it's something else?

Apple: Macs Infected By Malware, Time For Apple To Educate Users More Seriously

First let me see I’m an Apple fan.  I would not go to the point of labeling myself a fanboy because I don’t get everything that is Apple. I like to have a good balance of Apple branded and non-Apple branded tech.  Over all, I’m just a mobile fan.  So, I say this next thing because it needs to be said.

Apple, you have to do more about security for the Mac.  Lately, there have been rumors cropping up about Trojan horses that have infected at least half a million Macs (luckily, my Macs are fine, as are my PCs).  In the past, I would have dismissed such talks as fear mongering by anti-virus app sellers that want to expand their reach into the Mac market.  For the most part, it’s the PCs that needed protection in the past and Mac users have largely require very little protection from viruses and other malware.

That was in the past.  Today, Macs are flourishing in the PC market and it’s a larger and more tempting target for hackers.

In the most recent incident, more than half a million Macs are rumored to be infected by a rojan called Flashback.  According to a Russian virus maker (yeah, yeah, I know…), even Macs on Apple’s campus were compromised. Apple has released a Java update but has yet to say a word about it.

Perhaps, Apple will eventually find a way for sandboxing like they do with the iPhones and iPads that will negate or roll back the need for malware protection.  Until that day comes, which could be as soon as the latest OS X Mountain Lion is released this summer, it’s prudent for Apple to be more active in protecting users.  It could be more frequent updates like they just did with Java, app updates like Safari, or  

Still, I do hope that Apple become more vocal about the seriousness of Internet security and educate its users about it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Apple Using T-Mobile USA As Example To Carriers That Won’t Deal?

T-Mobile still doesn’t have the iPhone even as Apple adds 5 regional carriers that will start providing Apple’s iconic mobile device to their subscribers.  I know that the reason has more to do with the technical GSM deployment rather than Apple simply unwilling to make this happen.  Or maybe T-Mobile simply did not give Apple enough financial incentive to make iPhones that will take advantage of T-Mobile’s 3G network.  For speculation sake, let’s suppose there is another reason why Apple has yet to make the iPhone available on T-Mobile’s network.

Apple wants to show carriers what happens when they don’t deal with Apple on its terms when it comes to the iPhone.  With And T-Mobile, already kinda dying when AT&T tried to merge with it, Apple decided it would not harm its bottom line if it used T-Mobile as an example to any carrier that decides to cross it.  How else can you explain why regional guys with as little as 400K subscribers getting the iPhone ahead of some that still has thirty million subscribers?

Obviously, the operative word is “still” as T-Mobile continues to bleed users not only to carriers like iPhone-newcomer Sprint but also others with a better selection of smartphones.

Crazy speculation here?  Definitely not.  Consider this.  Apple may or may not have already struck a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier at 600 million subscribers.  You didn’t misread that or did I accidentally added an extra zero.  Six hundred million subscribers or about twice the US population.

There had been words in the media in the past couple of years that Apple and China Mobile were having difficulties coming to terms agreeable to both sides for China Mobile to start carrying the iPhone.  So, Apple offered them to its smaller rivals, China Telecom and China Unicom combined with more than 300 million subscribers.  Already, both of China Mobile’s smaller rivals are seeing benefits.

Any other carriers still without the iPhone can be pointed to T-Mobile as an example of what happens if they don’t carry Apple’s iOS devices.

I am sure Apple will eventually offer the iPhone to T-Mobile USA subscribers and those who remain will happily snatch up them up.  However, T-Mobile could pay a very heavy price to make that happen.  Just ask Sprint about the $20 billion deal it currently has with Apple.

Android Verus iOS: Even Regular Mobile Warriors Fight The War

I'm from UCLA and I hate USC.  With a passion.  I dislike everything about them.  Particularly how they cheat in sports.  And we are a better school.  Obviously, this is the duty of every Bruin just as it is the duty of every Trojan to show disdain for all that is Westwood.  At the end of the day, we're all Americans and it's mostly in good fun.

I have seen this behavior with fanboys from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and RIM.  This is particularly true when it comes to the blogging community.  Some of it are in good fun but mostly, it's not.  It reminds me very much of the GOP versus Democrats.  However, I did not expect this bantering to extend to regular mobile warriors.

And this is especially evident in the harsh treatment of iOS users against Android users over the Instagram app. Seriously, some of the comments are just down right nasty (and funny).

I'll leave to them to you over at Cult of Mac and Phandroid.

It's just so interesting that regular users who I never suspected would care about the mobile war seems to regularly fight it out on social media and just about everywhere else as well.

How Many High School Students Have iPhones?

Source:  iMore.

Apparently, a hair-cut more than a third of US high school students have the iPhones.  That's an astonishing high number.  Apple only recently reached 30% of installed base in the US after the release of the iPhone 4S.
There are a couple of comments worth mention.

Could something be wrong with this?  Here's why I believe so.  iPhones are pretty expensive and so are the plans.  I can't do the 200 MB of data per month.  I don't know how these kids are doing it.  If this is true, they've learned a great deal about self-control.

Now, if the information is correct, I reckon it's the apps that are attractive to the students.  After all, app discovery is a pretty important part and so far, Apple does have an advantage here over competing platforms.  Google Play just came out but when it comes to discovering social apps or ones they can use for schools, the students could have a better time finding what they need.

Then there's the issue of peer pressure.  My high school wasn't big on $200 Nike shoes but there were kids that wore them.  But as I understand it, having an iOS device is a status thing in China.  Maybe it's a bit of a stretch but the clique-ish teenage environment like a high school do mean that this sort of conformity.  After all, if high school when we explore who we are and experiment with life, frankly, Android devices are much more friendly for customization than any other platforms.

Last, maybe there is also the element of students using their iPhones to aid in their studies.  I know I use it for studying even now and had I had an iPhone in high school, I'd use it to do everything I can (short of cheating) to put myself ahead in the competitive world of applying for college.

Still, the fact that 34% of high school students is a surprising high number.  I'm sure the free 3GS model and the $99 iPhone 4 helps a lot.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wall Street: LTE on iPHone Enough To Propel Apple to Trillion Dollars

We previously discussed how Sprint would take us to an LTE world, virtually assuring that the next iPhone would have to have LTE and then we discussed how Apple would get there given that LTE chips are so power hungry.  What I did not anticipate was just how important LTE is until a bunch of Wall Street guys started pricing Apple at $1000 or so a share and calling it a trillion-dollar company.

Why?  LTE.

Crazy?  I guess.  As of this moment, Apple is priced at around $630 with a market value of $580 billion.  And I suppose given how strongly the iPhone is perform against WiMax and LTE devices, with a major of smartphone sales at AT&T and Sprint being iPhones and about 50% of all Verizon Wireless sales, it definitely would be scary when Apple puts LTE on the iconic device.

Scary for competitors that is.  And who knows just what other new features Apple will offer.

In the past, I've blasted Wall Street guys for being clueless and spreading rumors based on Apple rumor sites.  But when it comes to valuation, some have been more right than others.  Some of the forward numbers they've placed on Apple are achievable.  $700 or $800 a share.  Probably.

I just don't want us to get ahead of ourselves on the $1000 a share value or Apple becoming the first trillion-dollar company.  Trust me when I say that a trillion today is not like a trillion a decade back.

Let's get serious.  $1.5 To $2 trillion.  Now we're talking.  And there's a path for Apple to get there.

How To Solve TV Now: Easy UI and Make It Accessible And Mobile

I set up a Slingbox for my uncle last night.  He’s an avid NBA and golfing fan.  We got an Apple TV hooked up to it and he’s able to use the SB to watch his videos and cable TV from anywhere.  Just about anywhere I hope because he travels a lot on business, especially, overseas.  He’s pretty happy about this.  He can keep with his golf games as well.  I know he’s big on cable news too.  All in all, the Slingbox is an incredible device.  I’ve wanted something like this since, well, forever.

But the Slingbox can only do so much.  It doesn't do more than offering an extension and convenience to whatever HDTV or other box setups you've got in your home.  And as great as it is, the Slingbox is last decade's innovation.  It's time for something new.

Now, I don’t know what people are talking about when they said that Steve Jobs cracked television when it came to digital and cloud deployment.  Most think it has something to do with Siri.  Maybe but it has to be more than that.  Siri would only be a part of the solution.

But I wonder if what Steve Jobs meant by figuring how television for Apple means nothing more than making what currently exists now easier to use and access for the user.  No more cables.  Anyone who can reduce the number of cables and plugs can really lay claim to figuring television. So, what else could there be that makes it easier for the user when it come to live or stored video?

Here are a few identified requirements for Apple, Google, or anyone else to lay claim that they’ve figured out television:

  • One remote or mobile device.  You can control 
  • “What would you like to do?” - this goes along with ease of use.  Being able to "tell" your TV what you want to do rather than having to go through a series of menus to do that would be key to all this.  
  • Access Anywhere - this is about mobile. Being able to access content at home, Starbucks, or even work. 
  • Easy and Clean UI - it shouldn't take three remotes, and going through a series of menus to get to what you want to do.  It should take more than a couple of seconds, not minutes.  And it should be so easy my mom could use it.  Let me back up a bit here:  it should be so easy even I can use it.  
  • Mobile - 
  • Live or later
  • Social Network And Privacy
  • Scalable

Does this have to be affordable?  It would be nice but I reckon it could be expensive. New hardware and all.  Probably even have to pay for a new HDTV.  However, having this service and carrying a premium could be worth all the trouble for folks who don’t want to have to deal with multiple cords, plugs, and cables.

One other thing that I like to see happen.  You know and I know that Apple would never allow any breaches in its ecosystem.  It’s iOS, iTunes, Apple TV, and Macs only.  But I like to see Google step up and release a Google TV app for competing mobile platforms and PCs.  Heck, if Amazon, Boxee, or Roku figures out TV, I like to see them do the same thing - allow access on not just the box but also on mobile and PC.  Charge for the app if need be. Slingbox charges $30 for an app.  We simply want something that works well to be everywhere.  For the companies involved, it not only allows a greater reach but shows your partners you’re doing everything you can to  help them expand their markets.

One other issue that I have, which I doubt Steve Jobs was thinking about is when I meant access anywhere, I really mean anywhere.  For instance, I’m in the US.  Which means I have access to Netflix.  Awesome right?  Except the problem with this is that when I travel, I no longer have access to that.  Nor does my NBA TV subscription work anymore.  I know the reasons behind it.  Distribution rights, piracy, etc.  Still, it’s insane, don’t you think?

For the moment, I think Apple is finalizing plans for its TV and has been very meticulous about it. Google’s approach has been to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.  Maybe they'll figure it out or maybe it'll be someone else with a better approach with the right balance to content access.

Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 iPhone Will Have LTE But No One Knows How It'll Happen

We learn that Sprint will stop work on WiMax devices and focus only on LTE going foward.

What about Apple?  We know what the first LTE device from Apple is.  It’s the just released 2012 iPad with the “resolutionary” Retina Display.  So, we have an idea what Apple’s thinking is.

First, the Retina Display along with the LTE chip is very power hungry.  It just so happens that Apple managed to fit a vastly bigger battery into the 2012 iPad and that only managed to keep the battery life on par with the previous generation iPads.  I’ve used mine for a couple of weeks now and I find it on par.  

Second, the new iPad is a tiny bit thicker and heaver, which goes contrary to what Apple has been doing over the last few years by trying to shrink the weight and thickness of its iOS devices and Macbooks.  While it isn’t noticeable, it shows that Apple under Tim Cook is more pragmatic about design until technology allows for Apple to continue its strides to make its devices lighter and thinner.

Third, by incorporating LTE now, Apple has demonstrated market awareness and sought to continue its dominance in the tablet market.  It could have easily forgone LTE connectivity for the sake of design but it knows that it has to get with the time as it were.  Apple engineers may have performed a small miracle when they managed to cramp all that tech and battery into 2012 iPad.  Innovation has not died under Tim or will it.  

So, where does that leave the 2012 iPhone?  Assuming Apple applies the same parameters in developing the new iPad, we could well be looking at an iPhone with LTE later this year.  By then, the efficiency of LTE chips from Qualcomm could have improved and give Apple a bit more breathing room on battery life.  Furthermore, Apple may continue to shrink “the brain” of the iPhone to fit in more battery life.

What we don’t know is if Apple will add a larger body to the iPhone.  I know readers will immediately jump to the conclusion that Apple will then ship a larger display for the new iPhone.  Right so but that much isn’t guaranteed at this time.  No one knows if that will happen.  I repeat:  no one, particular click-baiting DigiTimes, knows what kind of display the next iPhone will have.

For speculation sake, let’s suppose that happens and the iPhone gets a bigger display ranging from 3.6” to 4”.  It like means a larger volume to put extra battery in for the designers and engineers.  Also, it means more room for a better camera.  Perhaps, I am asking for too much.  This will be the third year of Retina Display being used on the iPhone.  It is possible that Apple could use a more efficient display for the iPhone to help offset any power drain by its wireless chip.  

And from a marketing perspective, Apple has to get an LTE iPhone out on the market in 2012.  It would be a huge draw in the America market and it means one less weapon competitors can hammer the iPhone over.  

When the original iPhone was released in June of 2007, it was a revolutionary device like no others.  Still critics found something to complain about which was that it only allowed for 2G access.  But a year later, Apple released the iPhone 3G without sacrificing the battery life. With LTE phones on the market for about a year now, and about 18 months by the time Apple is due to release the next iPhone, Apple should have ample time to figure out how to make LTE work on the iPhone without us working about find a power plug.

Sprint: It's LTE World After All

Source:  Android Guys.

Sprint Logo

Sprint says no to WiMax and will focus on LTE.  It’s not a surprising thing considering where its competitors are headed and what is going on in the wireless market as more consumer focus on faster LTE deployment.  What this does mean is that WiMax users should be able to keep their devices a while longer before having to chuck them for LTE.

So, in the short term, I reckon Sprint WiMax device sales could suffer until they bring their own LTE devices to the market.  According to Android Guys, Sprint could move more than a dozen LTE devices but little is known about when that’ll happen or when and where its LTE network will go live.

It’s likely we’ll see Sprint advertise the heck out of it but still rely mostly on the older CDMA network to provide wireless Internet for those with LTE devices.  So yeah, you’ll be paying for a LTE device running on 3G.  This isn’t that much different for the early adopters of WiMax or even LTE now on AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

My hope is that this second batch of LTE devices will sip power more conservative than the current crop of LTE phones.  This is largely one of the main complaints of LTE users and why Apple passed on LTE in its iPhone.

It’ll be interesting to see where this takes Sprint’s unlimited wireless plans, the only true wireless data provider that still exist since AT&T throttles users while T-Mobile continues to falsely advertise their “unlimited” plans.

We need a strong Sprint to compete in the marketplace.  T-Mobile is self-destructing that really started when it tried to sell itself to AT&T.  Hope Sprint’s LTE roll-out will go without a hitch.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We Have Our New Steve Jobs

It looks like Ashton Kutcher will be tasked and given the honor of playing iconic and legendary figure in today's most revolutionary tech market, Steve Jobs. Man, I really killed that first sentence didn't I?

Here's the things, I don't know what to make of it. Steve Jobs' role in bringing about the computer revolution on the 80s and the mobile revolution with the iPhone. Along the way, Apple, under Steve, really changed more than just music, computer, and mobile but with the whole ecosystem, it changed the way society operated and how we deal with each other.

So, a guy who has done well for himself but can hardly taken seriously as an actor will play this man, the man who was mourned by millions upon his passing.

I seriously hope Sony knows what they are doing.


Apple's "Greener" Fuel Cell Plant Online In June

Apple has commissioned a fuel cell plant that will run on animal waste to power its North Carolina data center. You know, iCloud, iTunes, and, hopefully, some secret plan that will power Apple's TV plans.

It's a 4.8 MW plant. There should also be solar panels as well. Macrumors reported that these will be 20% effecient Sun Power panels that will provide an added 20 MW of power.

All along, I thought it was Google that has lead the green charge but it it is good to see Apple trying to get its power from more efficient and renewable sources.

Perhaps, we'll see Apple put more into newer battery and renewable tech for its mobile devices. With possibly around 400 million devices in the wild by the end of 2012, imagine just how carbon will be offset if Apple allows solar charging to be built into its iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Source: Wired.


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...