Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kindles Outsold By Playbook and Touchpads Over Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday

Amazon sold a lot of Kindles over the Thanksgiving, Black Friday and through Cyber Monday.  That’s what it told us, what it wanted us to think, and made the press like Reuters repeat it over and over again.  How many tablets did Amazon sell?  No one knows because it has not released any actual figures.  So, I’m gonna make them up.

The Kindle line, including tablets and ebook readers were collectively outsold by the RIM’s Playbook by a factor of 25 to 1.  And what’s worse and surprising, the Touchpad, you know, the HP’s WebOS tablet that isn’t even on the market no more, has outsold the Kindle Fire.

Amazon, you failed.  As did the press for simply regurgitating Amazon’s press nonsense.

Apple Will Never Buy AMD But Let's Speculate For Fun

Source:  9to5Mac.

Here is an interesting article speculating on what Apple could do with AMD if it decides to buy it.  First of all, that’s not going to happen.  It’s likely Apple has enough chip designing talent right now.  Any future buyout would be specific to a need, not a wholesale buyout like AMD.  On top of that, Apple is looking to transition away from legacy chip designs like Intel as iOS devices dominate Apple’s attention.

However, it is fun to speculate.  A lot of reasons why Apple could benefit from buying AMD has been spoken for in the article.  I’ll let you read them yourself.  However, this is one particular point in the post that I find enticing for Apple fans.

That is that the government wants to make sure Intel has a competitor in the market.  While I doubt Apple would run amok of regulators if it does find reason to buy AMD, consider that Apple has never shared its technology willingly with others, it’s unlikely to share any future AMD chips with Dell, HP, or other PC competitors.  So, the market would have to turn to Intel for all their chip needs to run Windows.

Suddenly, Intel finds itself capable of charging whatever it wants because of a lack of market competition in the PC market.  Apple could suddenly create a condition in which its competition has to raise their prices because Intel chips sudden cost more.

Obviously, computing in the 80s, 90s, and even the early 2000s is vastly different from mobile computing today where ARM chips dominate.  Thus, Intel is likely to find competition from other chip designers and architectures.  And who is to say that if Apple does buy AMD, it won’t eventually sell off parts of the company it doesn’t need and the buyers still end up competing with Intel anyway.

Again, for speculation sake that Apple does buy AMD, it will target specific needs like graphics that it might benefit from.  And it won’t be just for more powerful and efficient graphics only but using the graphic powers to do tradition tasks that CPU is relied upon to perform.  We already have apps that go to the GPU to do some tasks.  Perhaps, Apple can take this even further with AMD’s GPU expertise.

This is just one example.

In truth, it’s unlike that we’ll see this happen.  Still, it is fun to speculate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Friday: What Retailers Won't Tell Us (Most We Already Know)

Source:  Marketwatch.

"So-so" article about Black Friday shopping in stores.  We know this.  You can get decent deals online in relationship to standing in line and considering the savings.  It's about economics and the value of your time.  That's what I learned the last few Black Fridays.

Another thing, we end up getting crap we don't really need and don't necessarily want.

Also, it's crazy.

More to the article.  Oh, one more thing in the article I thought is worth mentioning:  expect violence.
Stampede.  Herds of humans that had just eaten millions of pounds of turkey coming at you.

Good luck on Friday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

WB Launches iOS app (I’m sure Android Will Follow Soon Enough) With Offline Playback, Feature I hope Others Duplicate

Source:  9to5Mac.

This is huge in my mind.  Warner Brothers launched a new called for next day viewing called “Day After Us”.  Yes, a studio launching an app like that.  What is more significant is the ability to download it for off-line viewing.

At first, I thought we’d have to pay a month subscription for that but apparently its free.  Maybe this is a test run and we will have to pay something in the future just like Hulu was pretty much free until, well, it wasn’t anymore.

I like to see Hulu and Netflix follow suit.  With the ability to download movies or TV shows for offline viewing, it would greatly help folks who travel or have kids they need to entertain on trips without the benefit of wireless connection.

Again, I say this:  this is a big deal.  This is the exact iTunes description for the app.  The link is here.  Big Bang Theory among shows that WB mentioned.
Watch the most current episodes of Warner Bros popular television series the day after they air in the United States! Catch up on these hot shows by watching episodes from previous seasons, all conveniently located in one mobile app. Download the app to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and watch the first episode of each series for free. For the complete experience, you can purchase individual episodes or save money and buy whole seasons as you unlock extra content.
App Features Include:
  • Offline playback: Download episodes directly to your device to playback at anytime
  • Steaming playback: Stream an episode instantly over Wi-Fi
  • Multiple languages: Watch the episodes in your language of choice
  • Real-time news: Live Twitter and Facebook updates
  • Explore WB catalog: Browse other app editions created by Warner Bros.
  • Localized audio dubs and dynamic subtitles are available in certain languages.
Again, see the offline playback.  This is something that I think Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other streaming video services really should take advantage off.  In fact, this could be a whole new revenue stream for these companies.  Let’s suppose they offer this as an option for a fee.  It’s almost like rental, don’t you think?

For instance, say for $5 a month, you can download a couple of movies or TV shows at a time and you can watch them any time or as many times as you want.  But until you erase them, you can’t download more.  And they can even give the option of downloading more if the subscriber is willing to pay more for it.

I’ve thought find it insane that Netflix, the only streaming service I currently have, does not allow this options.  It should be available and something they could work with the content providers on.

Heck, even Google could offer the same service on Youtube.  Or Vimeo or anyone else.  For now, I like that WB is doing this for free.

Download app…now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My iPad mini With LTE just Arrived!

Here are some pics of the unboxing. After it has been restored, I'll take some pics with its camera so we can see how good it is.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Lots Of People Forgoing Windows 8 And Could Opt For iPads and Macs

Source:  USA Today.

First, I thought Windows 8 was an interesting take on the whole UI experience - a drastic departure from the Start menu that we are so familiar with and the desktop.  There is still that but that's how what Microsoft would like us to see going forward.  It'll be a new dawn for Microsoft and Windows.

However, things could be setting pretty fast if these survey pan out.  And they almost never pan out exactly.  But if it does, Windows 8 could be the worst version since, well, the original Windows.  No one remembers that.  Tech pundits will compare it to Vista.  Windows 8 may make Vista look like a glowing success.

So, if people aren't buying Windows 8, what will they be considering as an alternative?  Some are just trying to stick with what they have.  We've got a few XP machines and even Vista.  As bad as Vista is, we're used to it.  And no one is talking about getting Windows 8.

A good portion of the market will stick with what they have.  As far as alternatives, it's Apple's iPads and Macs.

USAT has more gory details that could keep Microsoft execs up at night.

I do think it's too early to tell.  We'll have to see how the Christmas quarter affects sales for everyone.  I'm not sure if Macs will see any uptick other than the pinned-up demands from Macbook and iMac refresh by Apple in the fall.

It's the iPads that I think could do in Windows 8 sales if PC sales are affected.  Only three weeks or so ago, Apple introduced the 4th generation iPad with better specs.  Not that it matters much but it could be enough to entice Windows people who never own an iPad to give it a look instead of getting a Windows 8 machine now or waiting until spring  for Apple's traditional iPad refresh.

And let's not forget the iPad mini.  Starting at $329 for the 16 GB WiFi-only model, it's priced almost exactly between the $199 Android tablets and Surface tablets and Windows 8 laptops.  The iPad mini will be a very disruptive tablet given its size, price point, the huge iOS ecosystem, and, of course, the name "iPad".

Again, the information from USAT is from a survey and I don't recall anyone ever going back to these survey and see if people end up actually doing what they said they would.  Microsoft could well be dinged by Apple's products this Christmas quarter.  And it doesn't help that Microsoft confused the market a bit with the whole RT version running ARM chips and another version running legacy x86 chips.

Whatever you end up buying, you can be thankful that competition for your hard-earned dollars is heating up and you'll get more innovative features than ever before.  And if you're an Apple fan, you want to see Microsoft with some measure of success if anything to keep Apple's designers and engineers on their toes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

iPad Mini To Ruin PC Guys' Days - Will Shrink PC Market Even Faster

Source:  All Things D.
I was not sure that Apple’s iPad was cannibalizing much of PC sales.  Sure, there have been in some cases.  If anything, I thought it’s been Macs that has been cannibalizing PCs.  Well, I am turning into a believer.  iPads are doing a lot of damage to the PC market, particularly the home market, And according to the ATd, the iPad mini will really make things worse for the PC guys.  Windows 8 launch or not, Surface or not, the iPad mini is about get us past the beginning of the post-PC era and more along the way of what we can expect in the tomorrow of tablets.

And while there have been sub-10” tablets like the Nexus 7 and media devices like Kindle HD and Nook HD, none of them has the branding power of Apple when it comes to tablets.  And this is why the $329 iPad mini will really show us just how devastating Apple’s iOS and accompanying ecosystem will be.

And this is just in the consumer market.  And this is just the the iPad mini with its non-Retina display.  And this is an expensive $329 tablet.  Wait until next year when Apple drops the price of the current iPad mini model and possibly replace the current price point of $329 with a Retina Display.

And we don’t know where we’ll go from here in the corporate market.  There is just no way right now that Microsoft’s Surface or other tablets running Windows 8 can compete on price and the ecosystem.  On top of that, corporations have gotten to know and trust iOS for years.  No so with Windows 8 running on ARM chips.

Then there is also the education market.  Last year, Apple introduced the new iPad with Retina Display at the $499 price point and smartly kept the iPad 2 on the market at $399.  And with the 4th iPad, the iPad 2 remains on the market.  Why?  $399 is a very attractive price point for families and students.  Now, they’ve got a choice of the iPad mini that is $70 cheaper.

Schools’ll love it. Students’ll love it and so will parents.  PCs days, quite possibly even Macs, in schools are numbered.  Imagine if Apple decides to part way with the iPad mini at $299 or lower just for the schools.  And that’s this year’s iPad mini.  I reckon Apple could go lower next year at around $250 to $270 if it wants.

Personally, I don’t see any need for laptops these days if you’re just an average joe mobile warrior who doesn’t does computers at all for work.  I have a Macbook Air that I enjoy using but the iPad is the first thing I grab when I go home to check up on the latest social updates or sport scores.  No longer do I fire up the browser to do that on the Air.  Right now, I use the Air for more heavy duty stuff that isn’t quite as easy yet on the iPad.  But that could all change as developers come up with newer and more innovative ways on the tablets.

And maybe not in the next year or two but beyond, the perception about tablets could change further.  Right now, the general perception people have, including myself at times, is that tablets are stripped down computers if that.  But as their penetration in schools, homes, and businesses continue and as Apple continue to expand the ecosystem, iPads, mini or otherwise, could give Apple an iPod-like market-share.

For competitors like Microsoft and Google, it may well be their worst nightmare and there might not be anything they can do about it.

Mobile: Samsung Won't Settle With Apple - Good Move

There's a splatter of posts from blogs to newspapers to financial sites reporting Samsung's mobile chief as saying that the Korean tech giant will not be settle with Apple on the various patent issues.  Rather, they'll stick it out in the courts.

It's a good move.  There had been reports that Steve Jobs had discussions with Samsung about this.  And you know where that went.  Right now, Samsung is counter-suing Apple with FRAND patents which getting itself unwanted attentions from various regulatory bodies.  Even that has not deterred Samsung in the least.

So, what’ll happen is we’ll see where this goes.  Right now, Samsung is appealing the more than $1 billion judgment it lost to Apple by claiming the foreman was biased and quite possibly hit information from the court about his past.  I don’t think we’ll see anything come of this.  There is simply no evidence that his past clouded him in the Apple-Samsung case.

But it shows that Samsung can keep this in the courts for years.

Meanwhile, tech moves on. Samsung also knows that since it has lost some judgments to Apple, it doesn't have anything else to lose here.  Any negotiation it enters with Apple will be at a disadvantage.

So, to the courts it is.

Source:  Electronista.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mobile: Pay Attention When You're Walking While Using Your Smartphone. You Might Get Bitten by Snakes

I admit it.  I am guilty at times for cross the road without properly looking for traffic that might splatter me all over the road.  I mean I do look before I cross but I really ought to pay more attention.  So, there.  I’m guilty of using my smartphone while walking.

It’s not a crime yet.  Not like in some states where if you’re driving and using the phone at the same time, you could get you a ticket from your friendly neighborhood patrol officer.

However, this LA Times story really takes the cake.  A teen trying to find a signal for his cell walks right into a rattlesnake nest and gets bit multiple times.


I do pay attention to the occasional poop that people’s dogs leave behind.  But I guess I now have to look out for snakes.

This blows…but what are the chances I’ll be in the wilderness, not wearing boots, looking for cell signals.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stop Posting DigitTimes Nonsense! No iPhone 5S In The Next 6 Months!!!

You might be hearing rumors about new Apple stuff coming.  People, don’t believe a word of this.  This is from “always wrong” Digitimes which I will not dignify it by linking to any sites that uses them for their click-baiting activities.

So, there will not be any new iPhone 5S in the next six months.  I know that Apple just refreshed the iPad but with the same form factor so I wouldn’t put it past Apple to refresh it with one similar to the iPad mini but there is no hurry there as far as Cupertino is concerned.

Think about it.  Apple has not even come close to finishing rolling out the iPhone 5 in most territories and has has problems keeping up with demands in the Western world. What makes you think it's gonna go ahead with the 5S production?

Also, iTV?  Will this rumor die already?!  Unless Apple has content deals in place, you can forget about that.

So, there you have it.  The only thing worth noting this morning is the hundreds of millions Apple is guarantee to get from HTC in the 10-year patent licensing deal and quite possibly more from other Android device makers.

I really implore Apple fan sites to stop using Taiwanese tech tabloids as basis for their posts.  You guys are looking more stupid with each of these posts.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Based On The Commercials, Which Will Convince You To Buy A Product?

Here are three commercials.  One is from Microsoft.  Another from Samsung.  And one from Apple.

Just watching them, there is one that stands out.  One that doesn't really show me what its product is capable of doing and why I ought to pick it over other competing devices.

This first one is from Microsoft to show off the new Surface tablet based on its Windows 8 RT.

This one is from Samsung for the Galaxy S III.  It's cute.

This one is from Apple showing off the iPad mini.  It's cute and it shows off the size and that being smaller doesn't mean you have to compromise.

Now that you've seen all three, what do you think? The one is from Microsoft to show how well the Surface clicks, as in how well the keyboard cover clicks well with the Surface.  My iPad's Smartcover also clicks well with my iPad too.

I spent a good amount of time with the Surface.  It's a fantastic commercial but aside from a simple swipe, it doesn't show off what the Surface can do for the user.  Here are a couple of more Surface commercials that Microsoft should show more than the one above.

This one shows off a Windows 8 computer in ways that the iMac cannot compete with.  A computer becomes a canvas for a child looking to be challenged and a potential artist to be challenged.

Whether you're an Apple or Google fan, or just a general mobile fan like myself, you have to appreciate the fact that Microsoft has a very good product in Windows 8 here.  But some of Microsoft's commercials suck.  They're just as bad as Samsung's commercials that made fun of Apple users but do nothing to showcase its own products.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Didn't See This Coming: Apple and HTC Settles Patent War

Source: Yahoo.

Yeah, I definitely didn't see this coming. Apple and HTC has settled their patent war and has a 10-year licensing agreement.

Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung continues to fight it out. Maybe the $1 billion+ judgement Apple won against Samsung had something to do with this.

We don't know the details yet but I am sure elements of it will leak out over the next dew days. Analysts will want to know how much this helps the bottom line for both companies.

The losers in all this could well be patent attorneys.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Movie: World War Z Trailer

Source:  MTV.

You all know what World War Z is.  If not...OMG, are you kidding?!

Seriously though, you have got to go pick up a copy of World War Z, fictitious chronicle of a zombie outbreak

Now, you know that when there is a good thing, Hollywood can't help but get its hands on it.  Well, now there is a movie based on the book (very loosely I might add) starring Brad Pitt.

Now, here is the trailer.  Enjoy!  I've already watched it at least 5 times!!!

I've already watched it at least 10 times!!!  Yeah, between post the video until now, I've watched it another 5 times with my coworkers.

Again, you have got to get yourself a copy of it this weekend at your local book store.  I know Barnes and Noble has copies of them. In fact, go tonight after work and you'll be able to start reading it tonight and through the weekend.

Here's the wiki page about the book, not the movie.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Microsoft To Make Sub-10" Tablet - Xbox or Surface Tablet

Source:  The Verge.

This is in the rumors category but I think this time, I can make an exception because we all knew this was coming.  And yes, I still hate trafficking rumors.  Now, with that out of the way, here we go.  

Anyway, Microsoft has an Xbox tablet in the world.  Microsoft is making a sub-10" tablet.  The Verge is saying it is a 7" tablet but I think the powers-that-be in Redmond are probably still finalizing the details.

And we truly don't know what the details are.  What I do know is this:  Microsoft ain't out of the game.  Microsoft's attempt to become more Apple like is moving ahead full steam.  They've done bad with the Zune but they seem to be doing quite well with the Xbox.  So, why not follow that model?  

I am not quite ready to say that Microsoft is back.  It'll be years before we see Windows tablets and phones make inroads if at all.  However, Microsoft has a history of succeeding, if not the first, second, or even the third attempt, they'll eventually get it right.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

This Blows: Surface Tablet Has Only Half Of Usable Storage

Source:  9to5Mac.

This isn’t a bad joke and I know today ain’t April Fool’s Day.  Still, this is one of the worse wake-up calls as far as Windows 8 and Microsoft’s Windows RT tablet goes.  And Surface users are not going to be happy about this when they find out.

Remember how everyone has been crowing about how for the same amount of money, you get double the storage on the Surface over the iPad?  So, for $499, you get 32 GB on a Surface tablet while you get only 16 GB on the iPad from Apple.  Advantage Microsoft, right?  Not quite.

See, with a Surface’s 32 GB, you actually only get about half of that for your wares and stuff.  That’s right.  HALF!  And where’s the other half?  Microsoft took them up.  5 GB for Windows recovery and tools and the rest for built-in apps.  Talk about bloatware.  But that’s is only 13 GB, that’s still more than the iPad, right?

Well, for whatever reason, only 29 GB is reported by Windows.  So you get 16 GB.

Well, technically, that is still more than the 16 GB iPad because Apple does siphone away a couple of GB for itself.  Still, that isn’t quite the shocker that Surface users are faced with.

So, there you have it.  Still about 1.5-2 GB more than the iPad but definitely not double as Microsoft would like to have us believe.  It’s likely that this same is on the Nexus 7.  Android does not take up half the internal storage for itself and bloatware like Microsoft does.

When are the Macs Getting M4 Chips? Prediction: MacBook Pro With M4 At the WWDC

What are the new M4 chips? Presumably, Macs could get the M4 chip tomorrow if Apple decides to pull the trigger on them.  First, let's a...