Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fear And the Mobile Market – Fear Is Driving Innovation and Deals and Shaping History

Greed may be a good thing (thought I disagree), so is fear.

It’s a very well-known fact that Apple wants to sell us hardware at a profit margin that its shareholders can respect.  It’s also a very well-known fact that Apple doesn’t want to do anything like owning contents or creating apps when it doesn’t have to – it lets others do the work for it.  However, there is one exception:  when Apple feels threatened.

It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Apple will be replacing Google Maps on iOS with its own mapping implementation.  Apple has already bought two companies that we know of and I won’t bore you with what they do and how they’ll fit into Apple’s iOS and OS X ecosystems because no one knows for sure yet.

And with this new mapping app, Apple will displace Google on hundreds of millions of devices.  It’s perhaps the fear, which has now been realized, that Google went out and bought Android.  In the early days, the fear of being shut out likely came out of Microsoft’s past misbehaviors.  Pre-2007, which was before the iPhone and G1, it was just Windows period.

There really was no mobile market to speak of but primordial soup that spawned today’s mobile devices and ecosystems was bubbling hot.  And everyone knew riches could be made in the hundreds of billions.

And at that time, Apple and Google were best buddies because they were on the verge of shutting out Microsoft in the mobile market.  As history until now would tell us, nothing on the market could match Android and iOS.  Symbian did nothing for Nokia while Palm gave it its best with a crack team of former Apple developers and engineers.  Microsoft has begun to show life with Windows Phone and promises to shake things up in the mobile market with Windows 8.  As for RIM, well, it may not see 2013, at least, not in the same form as it exists today.

And all this could have started because of Google’s realization that while it provided a great search engine and many useful webapps, it was in danger of being made irrelevant if Microsoft won’t the mobile war or if Steve Jobs turned on Google – both scenarios were likely in 2007.

Imagine if Google decided against developing Android and decided to trust in Apple.  Siri is on the verge of changing search and Maps is on the way out.  If you thought Facebook’s stock price tanking is bad, imagine Google’s own valuation with Android.

And this is perhaps why Facebook is in such a bad shape now.  The $1 billion Instagram buyout was a move made out of panic and fear.  Not only does it fear of being shut out of mobile platforms, it also fear that inability to capitalize on mobile will be supplemented by other social apps.  Now, there is chatter that Facebook could be working on its own mobile devices.  I’ve even read some weird ones like Facebook buying RIM.

As mobile fans, we are better for the competition that Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM, Samsung, and others are providing in the mobile market from devices to OS to apps.  I can’t say that it’s all because of fear.  However, the fear of being shut out or seeing history repeated has been a large driver here.

At D10, Tim Cook Offered A Few Clues About Apple's Direction and Zero on Products

The headlines today are buzzing with what Tim Cook said about Apple’s TV plans, Siri, and Facebook.  Which is to say that what he said is kinda what Steve Jobs would have said which is to say that Tim Cook said nothing new.

There, I’ve said it.

On television, Apple is said to be very interested.  Who in consumer tech today isn’t?  Apple TV or Apple HDTV. Or would it be an Apple cinema screen that is 40+ inches and up with Airplay support?

On Siri, more to come.  Obviously.  It’s in beta now and we can expect more.  And we want more.  So, this was expected.  It isn’t as if Tim Cook was going to say “nah, we’re done…we’ll have Siri speak Mandarin and then we’re finished.”

On Facebook, this is where it’s more interesting.  Facebook wants Apple’s customer data and Apple isn’t keen on providing that.  The issue is who will blink first or some sort of compromise will be struck.  Zuckerberg has shown to be his own man after not being able to strike a deal with Steve Jobs.  And while Tim Cook is much more low-key, don’t be fooled.  Cook did not become the CEO of the richest and biggest company in the world simply by giving the key to the walled garden away.

iOS will tell us more about what Apple has planned for Siri and how Facebook could figure in all this.  As for Apple’s TV plans, we only know that the 2012 Apple TV is selling better than the previous 720p version and may double sales this year.

As for Apple’s HDTV or display panel, my speculations are gold, which is to say, it’s as right and as wrong as anyone else’s.

Tim Cook’s first D10 chat with Walt Mossberg unveiled what direction he wants to steer Apple and nothing about products.  As far as innovation and consumer tech vision, it’s likely to be aligned with that of Steve Jobs.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Movie Clip Feature The Time Lord

Source:  Blastr.

Sometimes finding the right Friday movie to post is a bit daunting because there is so much to pick from.  So many great shows and movies out there.  Not this week.  This is the first clip I'm posting that is from across the Pond.

Doctor Who.  This is a 3-min video called "Good as Gold".  I suppose it's like a webisode of sort.  I like to see more of this from shows and movies.  I like to see a lot more of it.

Apparently, the script for "Good As Gold" came from a school contest.  Go figure.

Hope you enjoy this.  I did.

Mobile: Google+ Could Get Features That Mobile Warriors Will Find Useful (Maybe Save Money Too?)

Source:  The Verge.

Looks like Google is slowly but surely putting more effort into making mobile Google+ apps with more features that are, well, more mobile. Makes sense since Facebook has shown that it simply cannot make money as users stop using desktop versions and, instead, spend more time on mobile.


According to The Verge, there are strings in the codes that references "events" and "local".  Both are welcoming news as far as we're concerned.  I reckon this could be the events feature that Google has featured about in a separate app and local like means check-ins and probably deals.

We won't know for sure but I think Google realizes that it'll be just as hard for it to make money off ads on its mobile apps as it has been for Facebook.  And going local with local commerce where Google can get a bit of each transaction may well be how it can monetize Google+ and other location-based features.

Let's hope we see this sooner rather than later.  I am a sporadic use of Foursquare - only the lack of local savings has kept me from exploring it more.  Maybe Google has found a way for iPhone and Android users to save money and Google has found a way to take advantage of that.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Forrester Agrees With Me: Apple HDTV Is More Like a Giant Airplay-Ready Display

Source:  On Apple, MacObserver.

In our previous post, we suggested that Apple's HDTV won't be a TV at all.  If anything, it will only be an Airplay-ready display.  Oh, it'll be HD but it'll likely lack even a TV tuner.  For that, you'll have to pay extra for an accessory, likely, from a third party.

Apparently, others agree.  I'm glad that Forrester is turning to the corner to this idea.  And more and more, I think this is also what Steve Jobs said when he told his biographer that he cracked the TV conundrum.  Don't make a TV.  It's that simple.

This is also supported by folks who have "seen" the Apple display as a giant Thunderbolt display. This Apple HD Display will serve as the center of all living activities while Apple's iOS devices serve as conduits through which content flows.

And if you want extras like paid TV subscription like cable, Netflix, or iTunes content, you just have to pay extra for this.  All apps can be mirrored onto the screen.  Perhaps this is why we may never see an app store for the Apple TV.

Forrester, I like the way you think.  However, I disagree with you that the display will have touch sensitive.  It makes no sense.  Other than that, I think you're right on the money.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New York Times Sold Its Soul To Get Eduardo Saverin Interview

It's official.  NYT has sold its soul and, now, it articles are mostly based on biased pieces that hit individuals or companies based on access or not.  And in Eduardo Saverin's case, ES granted NYT an exclusive interview without any sort of in-depth analysis whatsoever.

I read the whole piece thinking I would find some hard hitting questions about Saverin's betrayal of the country that gave him and his family sanctuary.  He claimed his giving up his US citizenship was for other reasons other than avoiding paying taxes.  NYT mentioned a thing or two about the estate taxes but never drilled him further.

Folks, use Google+, use Path, use anything but Facebook.  The dude is a jerk and NYT bought the act.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Apple's Unicorn 7" iPad Has To Last (In Terms of Battery Life)

Today, Apple-centric sites are quoting a Wall Street analyst in saying that a sub-9.7” iPad will do well in school and be quite popular with gamers.  To that, I say, “no #$%, Sherlock!”  I think many bloggers are getting lazy.  The thing that would be more fun than talking about this is speculating how a 7, 7.85, or 8 inch iPad would impact not only the market but also change how tablets are used.

Let’s do that here.  First, battery life.  I think I can say for everyone who has own an iPad, tablet, or laptop is that battery life is very important to just about every mobile warrior.  That’s like the first amendment of any mobile warrior’s bill of rights.  What’s the point of not having long-ish battery life on any mobile device.

If the 7” iPad can keep up with the iPad in terms of battery life, look out.  You’ll be seeing a lot more of these devices on the go.  Be it for students, gamers, or business uses like delivery drivers or a mobile sales force, such a lighter and smaller device would be ubiquitous.  It’s going to be everywhere.

What if the 7” iPad has say 7-8 hours of use?  I can see a lot of use come out of this still.  However, anything less than 7 hours, you can pretty much forget about it.  A regular workday can last from 8 to 10 hours.  Quite possibly even more.  For a student, the hours are 6 to 7 hours a day, longer if the student go to a study group or the library that could well add another 4 to 5 hours.

Now, even at 10 hours for the current iPad, it’s unlikely the user is going to be using it through the whole 10 hours straight.  It’s likely an iPad can take an user through a whole day.  That’s why I suggested a seven hour battery life for the 7” iPad might be feasible but that is really pushing it.  Anything less than that, you run the risk of having a tablet run out of power half way through the day.

Ideally, you like Apple to maintain the 7” battery life to match that of the 9.7” iPad.  It’s possible.  The 7” iPad wouldn’t need to power a 9.7” Retina Display with its 2048x1536 and keep it at 10x24x768 like the iPad 2.  The smaller screen with the smaller dots could still give users a nice flaw display.  Certainly, it’ll be better than the iPad 2 display.  And with new tech, a 7” iPad could work with a thinner and more efficient display.

And Apple could afford to give the 7” iPad a battery that is big enough to power it for 8-10 hours.  But will Apple do that?

My speculation is that a 7” iPad with 8 hours of battery life is very likely.  I would love to have 10+ hours but I doubt that will happen.  There is precedent for this.  Consider the Macbook Air.  The 11” MBA gives the user 5+ hours while the 13” MBA offers 7+ hours.  From the 11” to the 13”, the battery life difference is around 30%.  If you translate that to the iPad, the drop in battery life from the iPad to the 7” iPad is from 10 hours down to 7”.

However, Apple could potentially squeeze another hour or so by reducing the speed of the CPU and using smaller and more power efficient components.  The current crop of new iPad 2 uses a newer 32nm version versus the 45nm chips in last year’s iPad 2 and this year’s new iPad.  According to Anantech, the newer iPad 2 offers a longer battery over last year’s and this year’s iPads.

In fact, we might be able to go as far as to suggest that a 7” iPad with 8 hours is very much in the books.  Provided that there is a 7”, 7.85” or 8” iPad at all.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

If Apple's HDTV Isn't Spectacular, It Will Be Zuned; Also Why Google TV Isn't Thriving

This is short.  Google TV is pretty good but it isn't spectacular because there are other platforms out there that does much of what Google TV offers.  And if Apple's supposed HDTV isn't awesome, it will fail.  In essence, Google TV has been Zuned and Apple's TV will be zuned if it is merely a "me, too" HDTV.

It was foreseen with Microsoft's failed Zune experiment.  And this was as much as admitted by the man Microsoft tasked to make Zune go after the iPod.  Robbie Bach essentially said it was chasing the iPod with a product that wasn't offering anything new in ways that could get people to abandon Apple's music player.

This is the same thing that is happening to Google TV.  I don't have to buy a $300 Logitech device when a $50 Roku will do.  Nor will "Google TV" HDTV, with a premium in the hundreds, entice me to buy it when, again, a $50 Roku will do.

That said, I am still not sure that Apple's rumored HDTV will be just another TV.  Because Bach, after the Zune failure, now realized there is no point in making and releasing a new product that isn't better than what's on the market.  (This is why Apple is unlikely to release an HDTV even if it's iOS-powered).

For Google, it's time they stop the nonsense with anything other than Android.  That is where their future is going to be and Google has to go after the television with its core services that are popular and easy to use.  For instance, Google+ has a future role that is vastly different from what other competing services offer.  A more social entertainment service with pics and videos, both instantly available from users, amateurs, and professionals.  Would it be interesting to be able to participate in Hangouts on your TV?

So, if Apple releases just an HDTV with a built in Apple TV and Google  sticks with what it has, both products will be zuned in no time.

Tablets As Camcorders Could Increase

Is the tablet going to be the new camcorder, for older folks?  I was at my hospital yesterday where I go to donate blood and platelets.  Speaking with one of the nurses, she told me how she felt relaxed after her vacation to Hawaii and that she'd bring pics to show us.

When I asked her what camera she used, they said, "I used the iPad, you silly..."

Wow, I was thinking to myself.  But you know what?  I can see this pick up over time.  In fact, we haven't seen more of this because I think the iPad 2 camera just was not quite there.  And Android devices didn't really have any good camera and video apps.

I think we'll see more tablet users, especially ones more portable, take them on vacations and use them as their digital camcorders and cameras.

My nurse has an iPad 2 so I don't think the pics will turn out great.  Even she said something about that.  But she did say the videos came out awesome.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Movie: This is Why Our 16th President Is The Most Badass POTUS

Some say that President George Washington is the best POTUS we ever had.  Probably.  But others say that it's our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln.  Let's just say that it's a tie.  How about that?

However, as far as I know (according to Hollywood), President Lincoln is the only vampire hunter that ever sat in the White House.  And in this day, that makes him the awesomest, most badass POTUS.

I'll be honest.  When I first heard about this movie, I thought it was the dumbest idea ever.  It's like "Hollywood, you've ran out of sequels and remakes to do already?!"  But after watch the trailers, I was like "wow, this works."

Here's this Friday's movie clip, a trailer for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter!!!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An Impossible Cheap 7" iPad For $200 in October: Nah

Source:  iMore.

Sometimes, you can end up talking a bit too much about Apple and iPads or iPhones in one day.  Unfortunately, looks like we’re not done.  Oh, and other, I don’t like to write about rumors or report on them but this one is worth commenting on with just a tad of analysis.

iMore reporting Apple will release a 7” iPad this October, probably along side the new iPhones and iPods, for, get this, $200-$250.  As a mobile fan, I’m saying “BRING IT!”.  We think there is definitely a great chance that we'll see a sub-9.7" iPad in Apple's future.  Mostly, because kids have small hands, hence, tiny fingers, that can navigate smaller displays easier.

There a couple of things worth noting about the iMore report.  First, they punctuated by the source of this information has been very good.  Good but certainly not infallible.  Second, they report that the display will have the same resolution as the new iPad.

Had they ended the report without the 7” iPad having the same resolution has the 9.7” iPad, which essentially makes the 7” iPad DPI the same iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and the iPod touch, the report would be more believable.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I want this to be accurate and I want a 7” Retina Display iPad.  Still, let’s take a look at this and assume that’s right.

It means if it costs $200, it’ll be cheaper than the cheapest iPod touch.  So, I reckon the iPod touch could get a slight shave and drop below $200 and maybe come in around $150.  Makes zero sense to have a 3.5” tablet cost the same as a 7” tablet, right?

Also, I don’t have a good feeling about a Retina Display iPad costing only $200.  Apple could make the $200 model with diminutive storage (8-16GB) with a standard 1024x768 display, same as the iPad 2, and $300 model coming at $300 with Retina Display.

Anyway, we’ll see if iMore is as confident about this report as we hope they are.  Come October, me am getting a new 7” iPad.  And if they’re wrong, “iMore!!! (shaking my fists – all four of them!).

Leave The Man's Hoodie Alone!

Source:  MSNBC.

I don't care for Mark Z of Facebook.  I think Facebook's privacy policy as this.  It doesn't have one.  However, between the Zucker and Wall Street analysts, I'm gonna stand with the Hoodie Man.

So, Wall Street dudes who think him wearing a hoodie to investor meetings, you can go do you-know-what with yourselves.  He's gonna make you guys richer by virtue of violating people's privacies but he's gonna need to be himself to continue to do that.

So, if you think he's disrespecting ya'll...well, then, don't invest with him.  Oh, wait.  You can't help yourself because you're all about making money.  So, take his disrespect and shove it up where it don't shine and sit down.

On MSNBC's informal poll, 3 of 4 of us don't think he should capitulate to Wall Street attire.  Maybe it's you investors who should show respect and show up in hoodies.

BTW, Facebook ain't worth $100 billion, you Wall Street idiots.

Apple TV Will Be Dead, But Long Live Apple TV On your iOS Devices

I'm gonna call it now.  Apple TV will be dead or practically irrelevant for those of us who have an iOS device or two.  And once it does, there will be an app on your iPhone or iPad called Apple TV.  It'll likely just be called "TV" for simplicity's sake.  And via Airplay, you'll be able to drive content to future Apple high resolution displays.

If you think about it now, the Apple TV really is a hobby.  It's there because Apple needs us as beta testers to see how we use television of tomorrow and how we interact with content via our phones and tablets.  It's really all that is about at this time.

Once Apple has figured out how to go forward, and according to Steve Jobs, they have, I'm pretty sure it doesn't involve the Apple TV hardware as we know it.  And that is precisely why the Apple TV will go away.

In the near future, Apple displays will not only support Retina Display or higher resolution than today's HDTV but it'll support Airplay can connect directly to iOS devices and Macs without going through the routers.  Essentially, isn't that all we really need the Apple TV for today?  It's Airplay function?

For non-Apple displays, Apple will probably release an Airplay hardware with HDMI connector and nothing more.  In fact, Apple may license Airplay to other display and HDTV makers so that they can work with Apple's iOS devices.

And to drive media and games to your big Apple, your iOS devices are all that you need.

Stop Nonsense about Apple HDTV, It's All About Retina Displays

Maybe there isn’t going to be any Apple HDTV at all.  Maybe Steve Jobs said one thing about cracking television just as Siri came out and people put two and two together and came up with crap rumors.  Maybe all along, these talk about and HDTV in Jony Ive’s labs are just Retina Displays with built in iOS functions that will be running off Macs and iOS devices.

I got thinking about this because of more and more reports about HiDPI icons hidden within OS X.  The thing about this is that my theory would go against anything that is out there about HDTV which maxes out at 1080p.  Obviously, Apple displays and even the new iPad Retina display is much much higher.

You know that and I know that but Apple probably doesn’t care.  They’re looking to the future and they’re getting working on scaling displays so that as we move beyond 1080p, Apple could well be in an excellent position to provide the displays and, yes, eventually their own TV sets to drive contents beyond 1080p at an affordable price.

Right now, I see no reason for Apple to release their own HDTV that is saturated and likely a low margin market.  But I do see a good reason to release a variety of Apple displays with different screen sizes that can drive Macs and iOS.  Apple’s displays currently max out at

The march will be to 4K displays and if Apple can start now and slowly scale and drive the market in that direction now, Apple can get there in the manner they did with the iPod, iPhone, and, now, the iPad.  The first iPod cost $500 and now, you can you one for less than half that.  And let’s look at the Macbook Air.  $1800 when it first came out but you can buy one for $1000 today.

This is going to be the same with Apple’s Retina Displays that could be headed to 4K displays.  The Apple Display with Thunderbolt now is at 2560x1440 coming in at 27”.  And this definitely is nowhere near Retina Display of the iPhone 4 or the new iPad screen.

Once Apple is able to achieve resolution parity between its future displays and Macs, iOS devices, and Apple TV can drive those, that’s when we’ll get our Apple HDTV, iTV, iPanel, or whatever you want to call it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

CNet Analysis: iPad 3 Was Plan B

Source:  CNET.

The gist of this CNET is that Apple's new iPad wasn't what they originally planned.  Let's look at the current iPad and see how it has gone contrary to what Apple has been releasing for the last decade.

First, the 2012 iPad is heavier.  Also, it's thicker.  Since the original iPod in 2001, each subsequent release has been smaller.  And at times, lighter.  We had the original iPod that was then released with the iPod mini 2004.  Smaller.  Then again, Apple "mini-mized" the mini with the iPod nano in 2004.  And now, the nano is even smaller.  And don't forget the the Shuffle which is, likely, really really small.

And the Macbooks?  We've got from backbreakers to 2 pound Macbook Airs.  And there's talk in those Internet pipes that Apple could go further and make the regular Macbook Pro lines even lighter as well.

Also, take the Apple TV.  Boy, that thing is much thinner and ligher than the original Apple TV.

So, we have a pattern of Apple making things lighter and thinner.  The new iPad definitely does not fall into this pattern.  Compared to the iPad 2, it's a tad thicker and 0.1 lb heavier.  And believe me, I can feel it.  Okay, it's probably all in my head but we know it is heavier and thicker.

Now, battery life.  You'd think Apple would be in the habit of making battery life longer or stay the same with each new hardware revision.  The new iPad isn't able to keep up with the iPad 2.  In fact, the "new" 2012 iPad 2 has a longer battery life than the 2011 iPad.  According to Anandtech, Apple started using a newer A5 chip built on a 32nm chip manufacturing process versus the older 45nm process.  However, the new A5X chip continues to be manufactured using the 45nm process.

The CNET article pressed that Apple was supposed to use newer IGZO screen from Sharp instead of Samsung's screens.  However, Sharp was unable to meet Apple's needs in time with the quantity that Apple requires.

The IGZO screen would have allowed Apple to continue to keep the new iPad as thin and light as the iPad.  Apple could have possible made the new iPad thinner and lighter.

I don't know if this is true.  What the writer failed to address is the much bigger battery in the new iPad versus the iPad 2.  That battery was needed to power the Retina Display, regardless of if the the screen is amorphous silicon screen from Samsung or the IGZO screen from Sharp.

At the end of the day, we have what we have.  The new iPad, whether was plan B or C, or even D, it's an awesome tablet.  And if the new iPad failed to live up to Apple's normal standards, it continues to put distance between itself and the rest of the tablet market.

iOS 6 Suggestion: Top One Is To Offer More Widget Options

We are a little more than one month away from Apple's World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco.  We'll likely see Apple unveil it's next iOS update, iOS 6.  And there is no shortage of suggestions.  I think I'll start collecting posts that offer Apple unsolicited advices.

Here is one from TUAW.  They've got a list of fifteen and I'll point you to them for you read the full list.  On Apple sort of started on it in our post about how Apple can put some distance between itself and Samsung after its latest Galaxy S III failed to excite Android fans.  We also discussed in our previous that Apple can kill off Windows 8 by allow apps with Metro like UI to start popping up in the App Store.

Now, I would like to take one of TUAW's suggestions and discuss it some more.  The Notification Center.  They went into details about what they like to see in Siri but I also think the Nofication Center features have been grossly under emphasized.  I would like to see more "widgets" from apps that really could help users sort through them quickly.

We, mobile warriors, are obviously very busy and the quicker we can glance at our notices the quickly we can move on to something else or deal with them.  For instance, I like Twitter or Facebook integration in NC.  Say I get a direct tweet that I want to address. Right now, I would have to click on the notification, wait for the app to open, navigate through the app, and answer it.  Instead of going through all that, wouldn't it be nice if I can tap on the notification, an prompt will come up, retweet, answer, or go to app.  I can hit answer and off I go.  It can also apply to texts and emails.

An interesting integration would be to bring Siri into this.  If implemented correctly, we might be able to see Siri brought into helping us navigate notifications.  We can ask Siri for notifications, and through learning our habits, Siri knows which notifications it should give priority to.

It whole idea of notification is to allow us to quickly access information.  Whether it's something that we only want a glancing view of, like stocks, scores, or weather updates, or something we can quickly act on, like answering texts or tweets, Apple can and should make this work in the way that is uniquely Apple.

Any other suggestions?

MSNBC: Cyberattack On Pipeline In the US

According to MSNBC via Christian Science Monitor (no other major online sources picked this up, BTW), there was a major cyberattack on US natural gas companies, focusing on the pipelines.  The alert was issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  What's interesting of note is that it started more than a month ago and even Canadian companies may also have been hit as well.

Suspects, anyone?  China?  If this took place before the blind Chinese activist episode, then I'm likely to rule them out as suspect number one.  Could be green dudes with big mojos to take on the US government or the gas companies.

More at Clouding Around.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How Apple or Google Can Kill Windows 8: Allow Metro-Like UI Apps

RIM has its own arcane UI from eons ago (well, years) and Apple has its Palm-like UI on iOS.  And Google has its desktop like UI.  Now, Microsoft has its Metro UI.  It's nice.  I've played with it and I think there is a case to be made among mobile warriors to check it out.  However, Apple and Google can kill Windows 8 in its track now by allow/encouraging development of UI that looks and works like the Metro.

Other hardware developers like HTC and Samsung have developed their own skins on top of whatever Android version they're running.  Only the iPhone doesn't allow for such a thing because, well, only Apple uses iOS.

But what if Apple and Google allows apps that have UI based on the Metro concept?  Don't say it can't happen.  First, Google allows just about anything to go into Google Play.  And more recently, Apple approved Tapose, an app, from former Courier chief before Microsoft killed it. J Allard funded Tapose and the rest is history (still ongoing as version 2 is in the works).

iPad Screenshot 5iPad Screenshot 3iPad Screenshot 4

And Tapose is almost a self-contained app with muliple mini apps within it (just don't call them widgets or else Apple will reject them).

Today, I came across this app from called Track 8 (iDowloadBlog)

It's pretty close to the Metro-UI.  Not quite but there's promise in what Microsoft did.  Now, supposed someone came up with an app that agregrates social updates from Foursquare, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter as well as e-mails and IM, you've got something sweet happening all without having to abandon the iPhone or Android.  

In fact, I'm certain we'll see more of this because Apple and Google are just not going to be able to hold down Microsoft for too long.  However, just maybe mobile apps Metro UI on rival platforms might be enough to kill it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Movie: Tron Uprising

What did you think of the second Tron movie?  Well, I thought the ending was lame.  I don't want there to be spoiler for folks so I'm not going to get into it.  However, I did like the new take on the grand scheme of things.  I just don't know if Tron 3, supposedly it's a done deal, will do much better.

However, I'm betting the animated series, Tron Uprising will be pretty awesome.  It'll run on the Disney XD channel starting this June.  I'm pretty excited.  I've cut the cable a long, long time ago so I'm hoping this'll show up on Hulu or something.

Meanwhile, here are the clips of it so far.  The first clip is from Comic-Con.  The second is the first trailer and the third clip is the latest trailer.

Have a fantastic weekend!!!

iPad Demo With New Innovating Typing - Looks Like It's Easy To Implement

Source:  iSource

Typing on the iPad can be easy or hectic at times.  I'm general fine with it but as can see in this video, it can improved up.

What do you think?  I like this a lot.  Being able to shift and drag would be an awesome feature.  How likely is Apple to implement this?  I'm not sure.  We've seen this done on regular laptop keyboards and with the mouse.  So, it isn't as if Apple will be implementing something totally new like their copy-cut-paste scheme.

Personally, I've been training myself to do more dictation.  It has saved me a lot of time and, over time, I've gotten a more natural feel for it.  

Retailers Should Expand Mobile Accessories And Services To Stay In Business

With CompUSA and Circuit City gone, we should have guessed Best Buy’s better days are ahead.  Apparently, that wasn’t the case. When Best Buy reported bad earnings earlier, it was like the end of the world as far as big box electronic retailers are concerned.  In the brick-and-mortar space, who really does BB have to compete with?  Walmart?  Target?  Okay, Costco?

Then the attention quickly turned to Apple’s gears at Best Buy.  Why?  Because despite close relationships with Apple, Best Buy selling Macs and iOS devices doesn’t bring in the big bucks because of the thin margins.  So, the best that Best Buy can hope for is that Apple displays and products will bring in foot traffic.  And with Walmart and Target potentially opening up mini-Apple stores (they’re more like small areas dedicated to Apple stuff), they are looking to bring in a higher income audience.

But I think that could be the wrong way to go about it.  Rather than just push the iPods and other iOS devices, these guys should be pushing accessories which are potentially more lucrative.

I got this idea when I was at the mall last week and I saw at least four kiosks selling iPhone and iPad cases.  That’s all they sell.  And they’ve been around for like ever.  There was even a store that sold mobile cases, most of which were for the iPhone.  And I also saw a couple of places that just added the protective film on mobile devices.  And they were busy.

If I’m the CEO of Walmart or Best Buy, I think I would not only invite Apple in but next to the Apple area, set up a bigger mobile area to sell iOS accessories and services.  If those kiosks can survive the super-high mall rents, you can be sure they’re very lucrative.  And maybe, just maybe, things can turn around for the brick-and-mortars.

I think the prime candidate for my idea would also be Radio Shack.

And I don’t think it’s all that hard for Best Buy, Walmart, and others go to go China and find factories to make their own branded iOS accessories.  A case probably cost a $1 to make but you can turn it around and sell it for $30-40.

Not a bad racket.  And this is a service their online only competitors like Amazon, cannot offer.

Tablets Use In Bed Could Be A Really Bad Idea - Chipped Tooth

Source:  Cult of Mac.

Tablets are wonderful mobile computing tools.  But have you tried to use your iPad or any other tablets in bed?  How about ereaders too?  Doesn’t matter.  Great tools when you’re using them upright. Really bad idea if you’re laying in bed and holding it up.

I’ve had it slip a couple of times and really smashed my teeth in.  And guess what?  It happened to this kid in Taiwan when her iPad slipped out of her hand and chipped her front teeth.  Hope they’re baby teeth.

Video to follow.  So, parents…Tabs, regardless of screen size, iPads, Kindles – great to use when it’s not hoving over your face.  Oh, and the mom went out to buy a case of her daugther’s iPad.  I don’t think it’ll help, lady.

Samsung Faltered With Galaxy S III - Opening For Apple To Add Distance

The latest numbers showed that Apple has gained much since the iPhone went on sale over at Verizon and Sprint and it's lead over Android in the first quarter of 2012 could extend further from what I can see with its biggest competitor:  the Galaxy S III.

Pic from Android Central

So far, the response has not been overwhelming.  It's an evolutionary improvement from the II to the III and Samsung added a Siri-copycat that does do much.  It's as if Apple did not give Samsung enough to copy from with the iPhone 4S and their engineers and designers don't what else to do.

Am I asking for a 10- or 12MP camera?  No.  Bigger screen?  Would be nice but not really.  I definitely want better battery life and if Apple can be so good as to make that wish come true, I'm definitely upgrading from my iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.  That alone would do it for me.

However, I don't think that would be enough to make everyone else happy.  So, where are a few things that I think Apple can do to increase its mobile lead over competitors and get even those among us who bought the iPhone 4S because of Siri to upgrade.

Okay, the first feature I want here aren't going to get iPhone 4S users to upgrade.  What I want is Apple to finally take Siri out of beta.  Or barring that, because Siri could be in beta for years, give Siri a few more tricks.

  • launch apps
  • tweet or uprade social networks
  • API for app integration - being able to speak and get directions would be nice
  • be able to control settings
The above four features for Siri would be enough to make people want to use it even more and entice those who have kinda let Siri fall to the side to come back.

Another feature I like to see is a more social iCloud, call it "iCloud Social".  The Find Friends app is pretty neat but it's very anemic.  I have been using Placeme despite my privacy concerns and I like that it checks me in automatically into places.  By check-in, I don't mean in the way Foursquare allows users to check into Starbucks. Rather, Placeme records places I've been.  But I would like to see more integration with Foursquare or other social apps.  

I use Path and it allows me to sign into Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Foursquare.  I like Apple to make iCloud be the central hub for all my social apps.  And one of the features I like about Path I like to see in this iCloud Social is it allows me to keep some information private.  I can check-in a place without the world or just my friends knowing about it.  

Mobile payment with iTunes integration would wow people big time.  It's like Steve Jobs said, they've got hundreds of millions of credit numbers already.  Apple could make ecommerce or physical purchases much easier.  Right now, it's not at all.

For instance, I've got my Starbucks cards that I use to get rewards and drives from Starbucks.  When I need to refill my app, I have to whip out my credit card to do that.  Tedious.  But if it's integrated with my iTunes account, I can just tell it to send over $20 to my Starbucks app and off I go to caffeine dreamland.

Those are three main features I'd want right away.  I am sure you can think of a couple others.  Maybe Apple TV apps and integration with iOS devices.  What else do you think Apple can do to make life better for us iOS fans and more difficult for its competitors?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

iPhone 4S' Newest Samsung Competitor: Galaxy S III

Here is a video from Android Central I found on Youtube of the just unveiled Samsung's new high-end device, Galaxy S III.

It's got a quad-core CPU (dual-core for some markets like the US, maybe), 4.8" screen, and 720p.  It also has a 2100mAh battery and we're gonna need it to power this huge screen.  There are other bells and whistles like voice control, kinda like Siri.

There isn't anything here that is going to have current Galaxy S II users upgrade in drove or iPhone users to defect.  4.8" screen is like but I wouldn't want this on a phone.  Maybe if Apple releases an iPod touch with a 5" screen, I would go for that.

Putting a 5" screen next to my small head when I am talking on the phone just looks kinda weird.

Who's Making Money In The Mobile Market?

Source:  Fortune.

From this chart from  Asymco, it's very easy to see who's making the big bucks in the mobile market and how things have changed since 2007, when the iPhone was introduced.  Back then, Nokia was the king of profits.  Today, well, it's the iPhone maker, Apple.

Some hard and fast data:

  • Apple has less than 9% of the handset market but accounts for 73% of all the profit.
  • Android accounts more more than 50% of the market share but probably has the rest of the 27% profit.
  • Of the 27% profit for the Android device makers, Samsung, now the world's biggest handset shipper, has 26% of that 27%.  
  • Apple and Samsung has smothered the dollar count with 99% of the profit.
However, a second chart (which I'm gonna make you click over) shows that it isn't as if Apple or Samsung is taking money away from others.  Rather, it's that the pie has grown since 2007 but it's these two rivals that are getting the lion's share of the profit.  Well, okay, may Motorola and Nokia kinda lost out a bit.

This is only a snapshot of we see today.  Obviously, things will change.  Windows 8 is on the wing as is potentially Blackberry 10.  Maybe things'll get shake up a bit.  Not likely but could still happen.  The mobile war we're witness is still young.  I'd say about half way through the second quarter.  

Now, what I like to see is just how each ecosystem is performing against each other.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Want This Concept Liquidmetal iPhone 5

Source:  iDownload Blog

Gimme, gimme, gimme!!!

I want this concept iPhone 5 as envisioned by Antoine Brieux, a French designer. 

So far, the device looks quite like what I described as how Apple could give us a bigger than the current 3.5" Retina Display without doing too much to make the next iPhone's body bigger, thus, harder to use with one hand.

In may difference from what I described and this concept iPhone is the home button is gone.  The screen itself is the home button.  How that'll work UI-wise, I can't say I have a good idea for.  However, given that multi-touch gesture on the iPad that allows the user to swipe between apps and for the multi-tasking panel at the bottom, Apple can certainly go that route.

Yeah, I want this iPhone!  Recently, I told a friend of mine that she should go ahead and get the 4S because I don't think the body of the device will change too much.  Boy, if Apple does unveil the next iPhone with a form factor even remotely close to this, someone's gonna be very pissed off at me...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

RIM Delivers Blackberry 10 But Still Needs To Execute And Show What Its Mobile Vision Is

RIM showed off its newest but yet to be released Blackberry 10 OS today.  So far, all signs points to things stabilizing in the short-term for RIM if the Canadian mobile giant can deliver as promised.  However, how long before things start crashing down again?  Don’t get me wrong.  We want RIM to succeed but it’s not as simple as coming up with a mobile device that is on par with the current mobile trend-settings like Android.  Look at how long it took for the Playbook to get features like e-mail?  And even then, the Playbook has not managed to make any kind of inroad in the tablet market.

Let’s say RIM manages to deliver on what’s promised – a new Blackberry handset running the latest and greatest OS with some very impressive features, what then?  It would not only have to show that it can keep up with the big boys but RIM has to show what it has planned beyond give supporters what is beyond mobile.

For a while, RIM might be able to do at best is hold onto its corporate market a bit longer.  However, in a world where more workers are given a choice of Android devices, Blackberries, and iPhones, it goes beyond just mobile.

Apple has built an ecosystem that few can rival.  Perhaps, the closest to come to the iTunes ecosystem is Amazon with its Kindle ecosystem.  Google and Microsoft are at least trying to replicate this system for their own respective mobile and desktop operating systems.  What does RIM have beyond what was once a promising tablet and a shrinking mobile market share?

Let’s look at some of RIM’s competitors.  RIM doesn’t have the reach of the likes of even Samsung or Sony – both with media boxes and HDTV.  Even Sony has its Playstation brand and media empire.   And being able to reach into the living is a must for mobile players.

What about the big three?  Google has already advanced Android on many HDTVs.  Microsoft is banking that windows 8 as well as its loyal Xbox market will give it an advantage.  Apple’s Apple TV strategy is still a hobby and there are a lot of signs that its’ ready to let go of that label and take the whole iTunes system up to a whole new level.  And I haven’t even gotten into rumored Apple-branded HDTV yet.

And what of RIM’s cloud stategy?

Cleary, in addition to developing and releasing Blackberry 10 devices on time, RIM has to show that it can keep up with its competitors.  It has to find partners to provide media like video, music, and ebooks.  It has to find a way into the lives of its customers and make itself an indispensable part of their lives and not just provide a means for mobile communication.

The following video demo of the BB10 keyboard shows that RIM can in fact innovate.  The problem isn’t necessarily that.  It’s execution and vision.  So far, both remains lacking.

New Dark Knight Rises Trailer!

Just got this in my inbox from WB.  Said it's a new trailer for the sure super hit, The Dark Knight Rises.

Definitely the must see movie of the summer. Sorry, Avengers is awesome looking but Batman is where the story's at - pain, sweat, and, of course...Vengeance!

I've already watched the trailer 3 times before I realized I haven't shared them with you yet.  I'll be watching this in 3D on IMAX.  Hopefully at an Arclight theater without kids yapping and texting (or kicking the back of my seat).

Speculation: Apple to Operate Own Wireless Service?

Source:  Boy Genius Report.

We know that Apple had contemplated creating its own wireless network through a bunch of WiFi hotspots that obviously did not happen.  Perhaps some day, we might see that happen with White Spaces.  Until then, the best opportunity for Apple to become a wireless provider is as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO.  

Billed as an "industry expert",  Whitey Bluestein said Apple has the resource to make this happen.  However, he doesn't say how Apple will go about making this happen, if it's even on Tim Cook's plate at the moment.  He doesn't suggest that Apple will operate as a MVNO either.

As much as I like the speculation, I'm going to call this one now:  not going to happen.  If there is actually rumblings about this, it's more likely Apple-generated to get the carriers to fall back in line regarding any shift in subsidies.  And it would make sense for carriers to give into Apple's subsidy demands and kowtow to Cupertino out west than to have Apple become a potentially scary competitor overnight.

If anyone does make this happen, I would guess it's Google. Regardless of if it's Apple or Google starting their own network, it will likely start off as MVNO and gradually supplemented with White Spaces networks in densely populated cities.

First Episode of The Walking Dead Game Is Out - Choose Your Actions Wisely

Source:  Electronista.

The Walking Dead game is out.  In the first episode, you have many decisions to make that will be critical to your survival.  You play Lee, a convict who will lead a group to safety or becoming food for the walking dead.

This is like yesteryear's Choose Your Own Adventure books except you'll being playing this on your Mac or PC.  Mobile versions like those for the iPhone and iPad will be out later this summer.  Me?  Ain't gonna wait until then.  This is what I'll be playing this Friday!

Here's a video from the developer on the game dynamics.  First, the trailer.

Episode 1 Video:

Interview with Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead

I especially like the world that is being created here.  You're not focused on the comic and television main character, rick Grimes, a sheriff deputy who was hurt in the line of duty and woke up in a world overrun by the dead.

Here's an extensive video of the actual game play.  It's like watching an actual show.

iPhone: Longer Screen And Slightly Wider Makes Sense

I've been trying to figure out just how Apple can make an iPhone with a bigger screen without screwing up the resolution and forcing developers to redo all of their apps to make it work on a potentially and mostly speculative bigger screen for the next iPhone.

A few weeks ago, there was talk that perhaps Apple can make the iPhone taller to accommodate a longer screen.  Obviously, this would break the current 3:2 ratio.  If so, so be it.  I don't see Apple necessarily married to this if it can provide a more meaningful mobile experience.  

What I don't think is absolutely necessary for Apple to do is to change the form factor of the iPhone by making it longer.  If you have an iPhone, take a look at it.  There's a lot of space on the top where the mic and Facetime camera are.  Also look at the home button area at the bottom.  Can the home button be modified a bit - make it smaller and wider or even get rid of it completely.  The whole bottom area becomes touch-sensitive.  Perhaps, Apple may need to make the iPhone slightly wider but I'm okay with that.

So, essentially, you end up with the surface of the new iPhone with mostly the display.  Sure, why not?  This is the trend we are headed after all.  There will be a day when Apple will be able to hide the camera behind the screen and push the earphone further to the top edge of the iPhone.  Chances are, we will never have an iPhone without any bezel at all.  You need to be able to hold your mobile device and what's the point of holding a part of the screen when you're not going to be able to see it anyway.

If Apple does ever go cover the iPhone completely with the screen, Apple will need to find a way to make the glass back multi-touch.  We already have such a device on the market A good example is the Sony Vita that allows the user to control games from the back of the device.

The reason I've gone further in this post about a full-screened iPhone is because that is where I really believe where Apple, Samsung, and others are headed and making an iPhone with an incrementally bigger screen is the natural intermediary step between today's iPhone and this future full-screened iPhone.  

All of this can be achieved without Apple making the iPhone looking and feeling uncomfortably bigger in the user's hand.  At the same time, by not making the iPhone much wider, it still allows for an one-handed use, something that is harder to do with many of the wider body Android devices on the market.

The question isn't if we'll get a bigger screen on the iPhone some day.  It's whether it'll be 3.7", 4", or even bigger.

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...