Thursday, May 30, 2013

Apple Has Sold 100 Million iPod touches; Should Position Device As A Social Device To Continue Momentum

Source:  The Loop.

You know a guy is connected when he gets information directly from Apple in ways that not even the press can. Apple told Jim Dalrymple, not the AP, CNN, or Reuters, that it has sold 100 million iPod touches since its introduction in 2007.

That's a lot of touches.  How much compared to other gaming devices?

Nintendo's wildly successful Game Boy and Game Boy Color (wiki) sold a combined 118.69 million units since its introduction in 1989 in Japan.  It took Nintendo 12 years for the GB to sell almost 120 million while .  It was eventually displaced by the Gameboy Advance in 2001 which went on to sell about 81.5 million units in in seven years.  Sony only managed to sell 76 million PSP (wiki) units in eight years.

For the iPod touch, Apple managed 100 million units in 5.5 years.

As a mobile fan, I love the fact that Apple's iPod touch is finding this level of success.  However, where does Apple go from here?  Today, it introduced a base 16 GB iPod touch for $229 without the rear camera.

On the surface, that looked pity and like a bad move.  However, Apple is trying to get users to go with the $299 touch with a rear camera and 32 GB of storage for $70 more.  I think it would help Apple's effort if it also market the $299 iPod touch as a social media device in addition to the gaming and music playing device it is now.

The rise in popularity of Twitter and, specifically, social and sharing apps is undeniable.  And with the youth turning away from Facebook due to its loss of coolness and possibly the encroachment of adults, Apple can position its device as one that allow anyone to enjoy all the benefits of iOS without paying for monthly fees.

Tim Cook Might Have Lied: New iPod touch (Without Rear Camera) with 16 GB for $229

Source:  The Loop.

here's my try to see how it feels about turning something that Apple do, as benign as introducing a 16 GB iPod touch without the standard rear 5MP camera for $299, into something bad like WSJ, NYT, and haters are so apt at doing.  So here goes.

Tim Cook lied.  He said no new hardware and what's this?!

Okay...I suck at it.  I think it's news about this new iPod touch variant but it is neither good or bad.  And without the rear camera, it's not for me either.  However, as The Loop said, it's the perfect gaming machine.

I was considering getting one for my niece but I would want her to be able to take photos.  For $70 more, you get the iSight camera (the rear camera I'm talking about) as well as doubling of the memory to 32 GB at $299.  Another $100 will get you the 64 GB model which I understand isn't for everyone.

I'm sure Apple has its reasons for coming out with the new 16 GB model - it now serves as its base iPod touch.  And it's like I said above, Apple wants you to spend a $70 to get the version with the camera and twice the storage.

Brilliant placement of product and pricing.

Wait...doh!  I tried so hard to start off the post with negativity towards Apple and I end up complimenting them!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Did Apple Design Itself Into A Corner By Focusing On Thinness And Weight For the iPhone? Probably.

Tim Cook talked about trade-offs that currently exists that is prevent Apple from release an iPhone with a bigger screen.  And until some of these trade-offs are addressed, that'll never happen.  Some of these trade-offs are technical while others are related to the what kind of a mobile experience a 5" iPhone can bring to the user.

Let's focus on the technical ones here and discuss why I think that by releasing the iPhone 5 in the form factor it is in, Apple may have painted itself into a technical and design corner that is preventing it from releasing a 5" or bigger screen iPhone.

With each successive iPhone update, Apple focused on how they were able to shave off a few grams here and there while making the iPhones thinner and thinner.  This was especially apparent with the iPhone 5 because it had a bigger 4" screen while managing to weigh considerably less.

Should Apple be thinking about a 5" iPhone, the expectation for thinner and lighter will remain.  However, there is only so much Apple can continue to do that given the technical restraints.  And this will be especially difficult with a 5" iPhone because of the battery that will be needed to power the light up the screen. It would also mean more pixels for a CPU to drive.

And even if Apple doesn't make a 5" iPhone thinner and lighter but keeps it around where the iPhone 5 is now, might may not be enough to give the iPhone user the same or greater level of mobile experience because of the battery constraint.

Maybe Apple will find a way to come close.  However, had Apple kept the iPhone 5 thickness the same as the iPhone 4/4S, battery life for a 5" iPhone might not be an issue at all.

So, where does that leave us as far as a 5" iPhone goes?  Well, Apple could reverse years of practice of releasing thinner and lighter iPhone and, in fact, maybe make the 5" iPhone thicker and heavier to commodate a bigger battery.  Well, since this issue itself in the trade-off, it's not going to happen.

So, Apple has no choice but to wait until their engineers find a way to design a vastly more efficient CPU and more power friendly 5" Retina Display while accommodating Jony Ives' designs.  It would also mean that we could be a year or more away from see such an iPhone.

Meanwhile, yes, Apple's competitors like Samsung and its Galaxy lines, from the S 4 to the Note, continue to sit unmolested by Apple's mobile devices.  Sure, these devices have many of the trade-offs that Tim Cook is talking about but they are also sales that Apple is missing.

Personally, I would not want Apple to make compromises to the whole mobile experience.  However, I think I am speaking for many Apple fans that if Apple does release a 5" iPhone that is slightly thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5, we would not mind at all.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mobile: Steelcase Chair "Gesture" For Tablet Uers - Pricy But Looks Promising And May Be Worth It To Keep Good Postures

Source:  Steelcase, Popular Science.

We text, watch videos, and consume information on our mobile devices quite a bit more now.  On our Android or iPhone devices.  Especially on our tablets like the iPad.  And it has changed the posture of our bodies.  Quite a few more postures than working on a desktop with a laptop, according to Steelcase, maker of office furniture.  Which is why they came out with Gesture for mobile and tablet users.

9 new postures identified by Steelcase Global Posture Study

And Gesture looks like.

Gesture Chair - gesture recognition for your body.

The website has more information about it but what I like it most is the built-in fundamentals for adapting to what the users wants and how the user sits when using a device.  Steelcase did their research based on 2000 individuals to craft the Gesture.

My only issue is that it doesn't come with a head rest.  I suppose given what it is suppose to do, the head rest doesn't apply.  Too bad.  It would have been nice to see it come as an option (I'll be writing them to find out if they could incorporate that in as an option).

It ain't gonna be cheap.  It retails at $978.  I'm hope it'll come down quite a bit more before I jump at it.  And the reason I'm considering it is because it's my body.  When it comes to that and my health, I don't want to go cheap.  I've skipped cable and other stuff like eating out.  The bucks I've saved is worth investing in something like this.

What do you think?  Here's a video of the Gesture from Steelcase.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chicken Dance On Arrested Development (New Season This Sunday!!!)

Source:  Flavorwire.

Here’s a brilliant chart of how to do the chicken dances on Arrested Development we have come to see and love but was initially embarrassed about it but no longer. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, dude, you have to watch the old shows on Netflix, DVD, or whatever other means you can.

You will not regret it.  And to see what I’m talking about, here are a few compilations of the various chicken dances from members of the Bluth family from Orange County, California.

I’m going to go on the assumption that you know what the Arrested Development is about.  Essentially, it’s about the head of the Bluth family who defrauded investors and was sent to jail while his family is constantly harassed by authorities, each other, and just idiotic decisions they make.

It’s crazy funny.  And Michael Bluth, portrayed by Jason Bateman, put himself in charge of keeping the family together and rebuilding their former glory.  Seems like a normal guy right?  Well, that’s not quite normal in his dysfunctionally funny family.

Here’s are the clips.  Enjoy!  And enjoy the new season on Netflix!

Note:  Nope, this isn't a mobile, Apple, or Google post.  It's not even a social media post but who cares.  Watch AD on your mobile and talk about it on Google+ or Twitter!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A 128 GB iPad mini Without A Retina Display Would Rope Me In

You know what could get me to get an iPad mini even if it doesn’t have a Retina Display this year?  128 GB version.

Yeah, I think that’ll do it.  Based on stuff coming out of blogs, rumor mills, and analysts with some credibility, it does appear that Apple isn’t going to be able to find a way to a Retina Display into the mini this year.  There are times when one source says one thing and another says another but it’s rare that they all agree.

In this case, Apple is probably going to upgrade the processor and maybe beef up some other features.  Despite that, I think a 128 GB will get me to jump in.  It really can.  See, I got my mom a 64 GB version last year and while it was adequate, all my apps and only a few media already took up about 45 GB of space.

While that leave me with about 19 GB, you have to realize that there are new apps and services from Apple that continuing to evolve how we use our mobile devices.  On top of that, apps are betting bigger all the time.  Yup, take a look at them apps from 2008 and today.  They’ve grown on sophistication and usability.  That also means they’ve grown in size too.

A 128 GB mini would give me a few years before I would need to upgrade.  Essentially, future proofing my purchase.

Even now, 32 GB on my iPhone 4S isn’t adequate. So, my next iPhone would have to be a 64 GB version.  16 GB just won’t cut it anymore.

And while the mini’s size and weight is ideal for me when I travel, if there isn’t a 128 GB version, I suppose I’ll stick with a regular sized iPad with 128 GB this Christmas.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Disgrace: Tim Cook Hauled In Front of Senate Panel For Doing What's Good For Apple

This is an absolute disgrace.  I'm a middle of the road kind of guy and I absolutely think people should pay their fair share of taxes, including companies.  And like anyone else, I'll take deductions where I can.  Just like any company would.

And because over the decades, the United States Congress has given in to special interests, of which Apple and Google were not around to lobby, Apple, HP, Microsoft, and Google's executives did what they were hired to do to minimize costs and do what's good for the company's future (and yes, shareholders too).

Today's corporations are not just mindless soulless entities.  May of these rich such as Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Steve Jobs, and the Gates Foundation have gone on to do great philanthropic things around the United States and the world in areas of education, health, and fight against poverty.

The companies are not stupid in trying to avoid legally paying their tax bills.  It would be insane to try to pull a fast one on the government.  However, if there are loopholes, they'll use it because it would also be stupid not to.

So, the Senate committee convened here to make Apple out like a tax dodging villain should look at themselves and look at what they've done over the years to the complex and unfair corporate tax laws. It's complex as you all know that.  Unfair because companies tried to gain advantages through the tax codes.

Real Villian of Corporate Tax Mess: United States Congress

Apple has proposed some changes to the tax codes.  I don't know anything about how they would work out but I do know that inaction by this Senate committee will continue because of special interests that line the political pockets of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

So, yeah, this is a disgraceful move by the Senate to cast blame on someone else.

Friday, May 17, 2013

HTC One Has A Better Form Factor And Finish Than Galaxy S 4: Good Enough To Make iPhone Users Switch

Source:  MacNN.

Your photo gallery brought to life.

For years, while Android dominate the market, the iPhone market, particularly in the US, has grown at the expensive of Blackberry and Windows but starting to impact Android as well.  And surveys typically suggest that iPhone users are more loyal to their chosen platform than Android users are to theirs or even to their branded devices.  However, I wonder if HTC One could change all that.

In fact, I think it will.  I think HTC has a winner with the One because of its awesome screen and high-end feel to the form factor and use of metal instead of the cheap feel of the Galaxy line.  It's good enough to make some iPhone users take a look at the HTC One as a potential jumping off point for Android than the Galaxy.
HTC BoomSound™: Sharper, richer, louder.

However, there are a couple of things that might hold some users off.  One is the camera.  That's a deal breaker for me.  4MP?  Really, HTC?  I know there will be folks who will argue that megapixels isn't everything.  While I buy that argument, 4MP is different from the 8 MP in the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.  With the next iPhone likely to go to 12MP or higher and the Galaxy S 4 already with 13MP, 12MP, 13MP, or more in these other high-end devices compared to the unique "UltraPixel" in the One is a big difference.  And yes, the iPhone camera will be vastly improved regardless of the MP.

The second issue is a big one.  Android.  I'm not suggesting that Android is inferior to iOS or the other way around.  In fact, Android has innovated in ways that has left iOS behind and look dated.  On the other hand, the ease of use of iOS is still second to none even as some pundits complain about the looking and feel of it being dated.

The real issue for iPhone users regarding Android is the ecosystem. If you spend money with Apple's app and iTunes ecosystem, you will have to reinvest in Android as well.  You will have to repurchase all of the apps again on Android.  And as for movies and TV shows, the DRM keeps Android users from purchasing or viewing content from iTunes (except for music - but then again, if you're an Android user, why would you buy music from iTunes instead of Google Play?).

All in all, I think the advantage for iPhone or even the Galaxy S 4 for the typical mobile buyer has diminished with HTC's release of the One.  If you can get over the camera, some learning curves, and Android itself, HTC One should be among one of your top choices.

HTC One doesn't enjoy the reputation of Samsung's Galaxy S 4 so it isn't going to overthrow Samsung nor really encourage a wholesale defect of iPhone owners over the the One, but it could be enough for HTC to mount a comeback on a global scale.

If I'm HTC, I would spend a lot of money, on the scale of Samsung's mobile ad budget, and promote the heck out of it.  Window is closing as Apple is rumored to be release its next iPhone this summer or early fall.  HTC has one a couple of months before users either stop buying and wait to see what Apple comes up with or simply buy the next iPhone instead.

Also, imagine if HTC put Windows Phone in the One.  Wow.

Future Apple Products Made In The USA - Starting With a Mac

Source:  Politico, Macrumors.

For those waiting for the Mac Pro, looks like it could be one of the first Mac to be made solely in the United States for years.  At least that's the going convention on which Mac Apple's Tim Cook is talking about when he said Apple has invested $100 million to make that Mac here in the US.

Here is an interview with Brian Williams of NBC last year where Tim talked about it.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

As you can see, it's not easy.  $100 million is nothing to Apple but it's something to most companies and what Apple hopes to achieve could be the spark of something big for consumer electronics and electronics in general.

While this is old news, Politico has new details from Tim Cook as Tim start a PR trip through the East Coast which will end with his testimony on corporate taxes in Congress next week.  While that is a very important issue, it is outside the purview of what I normally consider to be Apple and mobile, new details about Apple manufacturing in the US isn't.

Here are a couple of new details:

  • States to benefit from Apple's domestic manufacturing:  Arizona, Texas, Illinois (President Obama's home state), Florida, and Kentucky.
  • Deep into the project - looks like Macs could be coming off the assembly line soon.
  • $100 Million spent on making this possible.  

What's interesting is the public and economic policies of this.  I like to know where the workers will be coming from, what kind of educational background they'll need.  How much automation is involved.  And what comes next for Apple's domestic production agenda.  And what kind of relationship Apple will have with its workers and whether they'll be unionized or not.

And it's also possible that Apple's future domestic expansion could hinge on any corporate tax reforms that Apple and other tech giants are seeking from Washington.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Google Maps: New Features, Photosphere - Improvements Evolutionary But Welcomed

Source: Cult of AndroidCNET.

At Google I/O, Google unveiled new Maps services and changes to the UI.  I've simplified it into bullet points.  It doesn't do justice to the whole user experience that will improve as a result but it saves you the effort of having to go through the Web looking for it all.

  • 3D support with live cloud view
  • Better and easier UI
  • Real-time traffic
  • Dynamic routing
  • Zagat review
  • Support for iPad
  • Google Offers
  • Desktop map search results will overlay on the map directly
  • Sign into maps to create your own landmark and have that information available no matter where you are or which device you use

All those are expected and great.  All of the above features have been in one map apps or another already.  What I like about the new Google Maps is the Photosphere which allows users to upload their own pics allowing Google Maps users to create their own street-view.

Google Maps improvements will be coming to Android and iOS devices this summer.

Wanted: Car Accessory for Siri And/Or Google Now For Older Cars

(from Auto Blog)

Services like Google Now and Siri are going to become a bigger part of our lives over the next few years and it’s quite possible that the next generation isn’t going to have to go through the antiquated search process we go through now, whether it’s through Google, Bing, or Siri.

And in all likelihood, cars five to ten years from now will all support integrated systems for these AI systems.  Until that happens, there are millions of mobile warriors who commute in cars without the new and sophisticated integrations for systems like Siri (is there any out there for Google Now?).

It would be great if someone can offer an accessory that would work with our mobile devices via BT or the plug and allow the user to use voice commands hands-free.

Such a device will not cost too much.  $100?  I think even a module or stereo system with such support would be wildly popular for a few hundreds bucks.

So, any enterprising engineers out there who can create such a device?  Maybe go on Kickstarter and get it going?

Google Streams Music!!!

Source:  CNET.

It’s finally here.  Google now offers Spotify-like service – pay $10 a month for streaming music.  Not sure how this changes the landscape of music consumption yet.  There could be some defectors from Spotify and Pandora, even put a dampener on any plan Apple has for its own music streaming service.

Love competition!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rest of 2013 for Apple: No Retina For iPad mini And Other Products We Can Realistically Expect

Tim Cook said no major Apple product launches happening until fall of this year.  So, I find it funny that we still need posts from analysts or pundits affirming that.  The latest is that from the MacDailyNews/Cult of Mac stating that no new iPhone models will be coming.  What's interesting is that the two posts above quoted the same analyst, Peter Misek, as saying that Samsung will carve out a bigger piece of the high-end mobile device market from Apple.  It remains to be seen if that is so.  The thing is that bigger screen smartphones are gaining steam but there is evidence that they're limited in terms of adopters who really want something that big.  On the other hand, Apple's customary 70% of the mobile profit share has shrunk to 57% while Samsung has picked up nearly all of the rest (Fortune).

Let’s go through realistically what we can expect in 2013:

iPad/iPad mini.  I’ll go one step further.  We will see a new iPad this year but we will not likely see a new iPad mini with Retina Display this year.  Personally, I’m fine with that because I’m looking for the next regular iPad with a redesigned form factor.

I don’t know how Apple will improve upon the mini.  Maybe faster internals.  But that’s about it.  I doubt we’ll see a price drop.

iPhone 5S.  While we’re likely to get a new iPhone model, we will not be getting one with a screen bigger than the iPhone 5’s 4” screen.  As for talk about a cheaper third world iPhone, I’m not banking on that.  Frankly, there isn’t really a need for that right now.  Installation plans in China and India has increased iPhone sales and we probably will see some good news out of T-Mobile’s new iPhone installation payment plans.

iPod (including the touch).  I don’t see a major change here.  Apple doesn’t need to upgrade anything here.  Tim Cook did mention a new product category and that’s where he’ll likely lump it into.  Folks are thinking iWatch.  I’m thinking it’s something more genic.  Like iWear.  You can wear iWear as a watch or whatever clever ways you can put it on your person.  But I doubt we’ll even see iWear.

iRadio.  Plenty of talks about Apple trying to strike a deal with the studios for music streaming.  It should happen whether Apple has everyone onboard.  Someone suggested Apple should buy Sirius XM.  They should but won’t.  Apple’s Podcast app is its future radio-like service that it intends to monetize for itself and content providers.  Consider this both Apple’s Youtube and Sirius put together.

Apple TV.  A new model does not appear to be on the books.  There have been false rumblings about an app store for the Apple TV.  I’m not sure Apple is ready with this yet.  The current Apple TV serves both Apple and users.  Unless new features that require upgrade hardware, we won’t be expecting anything new.  Also, forget it, Gene Munster.  No 4K Apple panels coming.  Your vindication will have to come next year.  1080p is just not enough of a splash for Apple.  Though I do believe that should Apple eventually release a 4K panel, it might be generous enough to keep the Apple TV around for those of us who still have and use the 1080p sets.

Trucks.  Macs and Macbooks will get upgrades.  WWDC this June would be a logical place for this to take place.  They may get announced but not ship until July or so in time for the back-to-school rush.  I suggested that we should see a redesign for some of the Macbooks, particular the Macbook Air.  I would love to see a small form factor somehow but that is just mere day-dreaming on my part.  We'll likely see newer Intel parts.  As for Retina on the Air?  I want so much to say "yes" but reality is a "no".  Smaller form factor with Retina Display for the Air is just too perfect for it to happen right now.

New Product Category.  I've already talked about the iWatch.  I'm leaning towards iWear if that.  As for other product categories, I like to see more iOS integration, not just Siri, in vehicles.  Maybe even a accessories for older cars.

I really don't want to speculate beyond this because anything else would be mere wishlists rather than what Apple is realistically willing to get into.  However, home integration seems be something that Apple has shown some interest in.  iHome kit?  Could happen.  I think that's more realistic than an Apple 4K television set at this point.

Conclusion:  iPad.  Yes.  iPad mini with Reina.  No.  Upgraded Macs.  Yes.  iWear/iWatch.  Yes/No.  iRadio.  Yes.  TV-related products.  No.  New Product categories.  No (maybe 2014 as Tim Cook mentioned).  iPhone 5S.  Yes.  5" iPhone.  No.  Cheaper iPhone.  No.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Social: Offering Paid Service Could Solve Privacy Issues

Source:  NBC News.

Last week, I proposed that if Facebook and other social networks or app developers, even search engines offer a paid version of their free services, it could go a long way in giving people choices regarding their private information and what is or isn't being shared.  After all, all these free services that have been blasted for sharing and selling user data to advertisers and third parties has to make money some how.

My beef with the likes of Facebook is the lack of transparency, and not whether they have the rights to sharing information about their users.  Also, I detest how companies change policies on the fly to manipulate the public and change their relationships with the users.

So, while I do believe some legislation is required to rein in those like Facebook, companies that provide free services can start charging them for people who are willing to pay to keep their information private.

Seriously, right?  Why haven't people started doing that?

Frankly, any legislation from Congress or other world regional bodies are themselves going to be so complicated and filled with loopholes that it wouldn't make sense at all to end users.  It will end up being just as bad as those privacy statements and rules Facebook themselves put out.

Right now, a bill in Congress, H.R. 1913, AKA Apps Act, requires companies of app makers and platform makers to "timely, easy-to-understand disclosures about what data they collect and how the data is used". However, I wonder if that is too narrow. There is no mention of social networks.

The bill would require companies to give users the means to delete their data once they stop using the apps.  Do you really think Facebook, Google+, and Twitter will comply.  And even if they wanted to, consider how sophisticated your Google ID is.

It would be infinitely easier if there is paid service that makes control of information much easier. And who knows, with paying users granted more control, they may be more comfortable giving up information of their own volition rather than having companies and their services/apps try to forcibly take it from them.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Steve Jobs Hated Fox News And Did Something About It

Okay, maybe like Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch was a disruptive force and that's why Steve seems to be okay with him.  But that did not stop Jobs from tell to Rupert face that he's blowing it with Fox News and pointedly asked if that's how he wanted to be remembered.

On top of that, Jobs did something about it.  He pulled all Apple ads from Fox News.  It's an interesting dynamics between the two giants of our era.  Right now, the Murdoch empire has no problems ripping into Apple as WSJ has consistently done in the last year with lame click-bait posts.

I'm sure Tim Cook and the Murdoch clan does not have the close relationship between Jobs and Murdoch.

Source:  Cult of Mac.

Surface Tablets May Not Be Selling Well But It Could Win the Long Game

Surface RT/Pro (Microsoft) may yet take a sizable pie of the tablet market and create a halo effect for Windows Phone in the mobile market.  This is not to say that it will happen.  Apple, Google, and anyone else will have to keep innovating and make sure it doesn't happen.  

You're thinking what is this guy talking about?  Surface sales barely register.  True but Microsoft isn't in this for a year or two.  Not like HP, Palm, Blackberry, or Cisco who all gave up easily.

I'm trying to remember a product in which Microsoft just hit it out the park.  Can you remember one?  

No One Microsoft Product Was An Instant Success Out Right

Windows?  No.  Internet Explorer?  No.  It's dominant position is due to some illegal and shady tactics in which Microsoft was fined a lot of money.  Both products are still going strong.  Xbox? Right now, the Xbox 360 is probably the most popular console in the world and the next version is even more highly anticipated than Sony's Playstation 3.  

Sure, there's the Zune and the multi-year failure of the Windows Mobile platform.  Windows Phone 7 was just as much a dud as its predecessor but Windows 8 for Surface and smartphones really stopped the bleeding.

Importance of Mobile Computing - Future is Tablets, Smartphones, and Wearable Devices

And given how important mobile is the future, Microsoft will keep throwing billions after billions of dollars at it until something sticks.  It has no choice.  The PC market in general has been stunted by a changing computing environment as well as the success of the iPads and Android tablets.  On top of that, the iPhone dominance in enterprise has proven that not everything needs to have anything to do with Microsoft or the Windows logo.

The day will come when the PC market, which won't go away, will become a niche market for those who need heavy lifting by their computers.  Windows sales will shrink and that would impact other profitable divisions and products like Office.  And those products are what brings in the billions in cash every quarter and allowing Microsoft to throw billions at money losing products.  

Unable and unwilling to give up, Microsoft may not be selling a lot of gears but it remains a part of the conversation and that is just as important at this point.

Next Step

Microsoft will continue to advance its R&D for mobile and Windows.  Surface 2 products will address some of the shortcomings pundits have with them.  For instance, the next Windows 8 update will bring back the Start button.  Microsoft is not above admitting that it has made mistakes.  It also isn't above trying to duplicate the successes of its competitors.

On top of that, Microsoft does innovate.  And it's most dangerous when it's behind.  And while Windows 8 has been blasted for confusing users, I'm not so sure that will continue indefinitely.  With one OS and one interface, Microsoft has made it more difficult for traditional Windows users but over years, the comfort level will increase.  

With the new UI, Microsoft has basically tried to trim years of learning for users and instead of releasing changes in increments like Apple might do, it has decided to leap years ahead, creating pain and chaos in the interim but could reap in benefits going forward.  

There is a risk to that.  The current chaos in the Windows market may for users into the arms of Apple and Google but then again, it's not like Microsoft has that big of a share to start.  It's a risk but one worth taking.  It's a disruption to be sure but one that could benefit it in the future.

Surface RT and Surface Pro symbolizes the hybridization between today's tablet and PC experience.  It's not elegant.  Not yet.  And eventually, it may be a route that Apple has to take.  For years, Apple has slowing added iOS features into OS X and visa versa.  

The difference is we know what the future of a hybrid tablet-PC looks like from Microsoft because we have the Surface.  Apple has shown that it has something in the works.  Maybe Apple's future hybrid iPad-Mac will work.  Maybe it is going about it slower than Microsoft.  

Maybe Microsoft will continue to innovate with the Surface that eventually becomes something that is more desirable than anything Apple can come up with.

Adobe Goes Subscription And, Soon, Maybe Apple's Warranty Service, So Why Not Everything Else?

Source: Arstechnica.

Adobe is going cloud-based and subscription for its Creative Suite. Microsoft has already done that with Office and more companies have gone down similar paths or are considering it.

Take Apple. It's AppleCare warranty products, currently are sold in an individual basis per device, could become subscription based soon. For Apple, it could be a changing landscape of how business is conducted. Recently, Apple was targeted by the self-serving Chinese central government over warranty issues.

What's to keep Apple from launching subscription services for other Apple products like OS updates and even iTunes services. iTunes Match is already something that Apple has offered since November of 2011. It's generally considered to be a precursor for a full on music streaming service. Furthermore, Apple is looking to strike a deal for video subscriptions as well.

For Apple, they will likely take their time with this and see where the market is headed. Netflix's services started with the DVD services with streaming added later only. However, there was a major in the summer of 2011 when it attempted to separate the DVD and streaming subscriptions. Apple is likely going to take its time to avoid repeating of Netflix's mistake.

All said, there is nothing that is going to keep Apple from going down the subscription route, for warranty, hardware or app services, or, eventually, more iTunes content.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

OS 10.7: Airplay Support From iOS To Use Mac Display Would Be Great, Keyboard & Mouse Support Too

I have one wish for the next OS X upgrade.  I know that with some apps, we can use the iPad's screen as an extension for the Mac if you need a secondary screen.  It's not a setup I've done but it's something I'm looking into.

What I'm interested in is being able to Airplay from an iOS device to the Macbook's screens.  This would be an awesome setup that would entice upgrades of Macs and iOS devices that may create a very sophisticated and beneficial halo effect for all of Apple's products and ecosystem in in general.

Such augmented Airplay features would also work with the iMac's screen or even a Cinema Display.  And I'm not just talking about mirroring.

Mirroring would be a great first step. But I like to see it go further.  When the Mac with the display is being used as the Airplay display, it should automatically know and allow added features to be implemented.

For instance, the user would be able to use the Mac's keyboard to control the iOS setup.  Say you have your iPhone mirrored over to the Macbook Air, you can then use the Air's keyboard to type a letter or surf the Web.

We may even see the iOS device use the Mac's Internet connection rather than the iOS's own to save power.

Such a feature could use the power-saving Bluetooth implementation rather than through WiFi.

If such a feature is introduced by Apple, we likely won't get everything at once.  We'll probably get mirroring to start and maybe the keyboard function.  The rest could come later as Apple wait and see how it works out and what features would make the setup better or as demanded by users or Apple itself.

There is plenty of need and use for such an implementation.  Gaming and watching videos comes to mind quickly.  You might have a presentation on your iPhone but nothing else to show it on but your client's Macbook Pro.  Or you just want to do a screencast or some form.

The thing is such a tie-in is a natural progression on both the iOS and OS X.  There is a school of though that Apple will eventually merge iOS and OS X into one OS, not unlike what Apple has now for Windows 8.

So, creating this new Airplay feature to merge an iOS device for use on a Mac screen would help Apple go a long way in trying to research for the future.  It'll be like when iPhone users began using the iPad.  There was little or no learning curve at all.

If Mac and iOS users become familiar with new functions in such a setup that could serve for a future mobile platform, any hybrid OS that Apple could eventually move to will be very familiar to users with all the powerful features and more.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Myspaced: Facebook Home Downloaded One Million Times, Just One Word: Pathetic

Source:  Media Post.

Facebook Home has only been downloaded one million times since it came out.  You might that that's a lot but consider that Facebook Home isn't just any other app but, rather, it attempts to give Android users the feel of getting a new device.

Put it another way, it's Facebook phone versus Android in a way.  And given how many more millions other devices sell than Facebook Home is downloaded, it's an utter failure on so many levels.

I’ve got one word for that.  Pathetic.  Facebook is on its way to getting marginalized in ways that should shock its shareholders.  It’s being myspaced by a plethora of social apps that does not need to have any kind of centralized network like Facebook to anchor them.

And more apps are coming.  Facebook can try to spend another billion to buy up the next hottest app like it did with Instagram but it can’t keep doing that for ever.  It’s looking to buy location/map app Waze (Wired) but users of the app will have to take notice of Facebook knowing where they are going to be ever single second of their lives.


On another note, you can get the Facebook phone built by HTC for 99 cents now (Ubergizmo).  It’s already been deemed a failure by many tech pundits and it looks like the market agrees as well.

Word is that around 10K units were sold.  Maybe there's two words to describe this:  pathetic and myspaced.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Macbook Redesigns: Could Be Narrower and Lighter Airs Be Coming?

The Macbook Airs are great.  Just great.  My only complaint about them right now is that their battery lives could be longer.  I know, I know.  With me, it's always about the battery life.  However, I don't think Apple is looking to prolong the battery life of the Macbook line any time soon.

In fact, if there is a redesign as some suggests, and it's likely to happen given how little the Macbooks and Macbook Airs have changed except for the Retina Display Macbooks.  Just how would Apple change the Air?

It just happened that I was walking down the street today with my 11" Air.  It was light.  Not iPad light but it was not difficult to carry in my arms for about a third of a mile.  Now, I've got little girl arms and muscles so you can understand.

I took a look at the shell, the whole form factor.  I really don't think Apple can make the Air any thinner.  Lighter?  Sure.  See, the bezel of the keyboard?  That's about what?  Half an inch?

I think there is room for Apple to shave off anywhere from 1/4" to 3/8" and still give the Air a sturdy feel.  On top of that, I figure Apple will save a few ounces as well as build material and come out very much ahead.

Also, take a look at those iPad folio keyboards.  Some of them have little room between the outer most keys and where the keyboard case ends.

And while the Airs are not that heavy, currently 2.38 lbs and 2.96 lbs for the 11.6" and 13.3" models, respectively, I like to see the 11.6" model go down to less than two pounds of possible.  And maybe the 13.3" model can do down to 2.5 lbs.

The question is how likely is this to happen?  Well, Apple has learn from building the iPad mini with the smaller bezels than the regular iPad and we are certain we'll see a redesigned iPad with similar form factor as the mini, meaning lighter and thinner bezels.

Given that the Macbook Air has more room for Apple's engineers and designers to work with, it's more likely than not that we'll see this happen.  Apple has gone lighter and thinner for the iPhone and iPad.  It's time they do the same, at least in terms of weight and the thinner bezels for the Air as well.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Google Lost Another FRAND Case to Apple: Motorola Buyout Not Paying Off Yet (If Ever) - What Else Can Google Get Out of Motorola?

Source:  FOSS Patents.

I haven't been following any of the mobile lawsuits for a couple of months and suddenly, I'm reading a string of losses for Google's Motorola (and Samsung to some extent).  Now, it looks like another Wisconsin loss could put Motorola versus Apple case back on grounds that is more favorable to Apple.

So far, Google's use of Motorola's mobile and essential patents in lawsuits against Apple has not worked out well.  Most of the patents used by Google in countersuing Apple (Apple did start most of the patent lawsuits) are deemed FRAND patents (wiki).

Essentially, FRAND patents are patents pooled by companies that are deemed essential for standards and companies have pledged to license them on reasonable terms.  And many courts have deemed their use in lawsuits unfavorable while some government bodies have begun looking to Google and Samsung for using FRAND patents in suits.

And if most of Motorola's patents are either FRAND patents or too weak to be used against its competitors, what exactly is Google getting out of Motorola?

So far, we have not seen the super Android device coming out of Motorola yet.  We may still but even now, Google is looking to other companies to build its Nexus devices.

I have been excited when Google bought Motorola in the belief that we'll see an innovative mobile leap ahead of the market in much of the same way the iPhone leaped ahead of the market in 2007.  Still there is hope.  Google has been trying to downplay any hope of an exciting new Android device out of Motorola.  I believe it's a smoke screen.

I think it's time for the patent wars to end.  Steve Jobs' thermonuclear war against Android has not panned out the way Apple had hoped.  Tim Cook has indicated that while Apple is not willing to be the research lab for the rest of the industry, he is willing to find a solution outside of the courts.

Back in November of last year, Apple and HTC came to a resolution to their patent dispute.

It's time for Google and Samsung to do the same.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Siri – Number One Job Is To Make Things Easy

Yesterday, I finally had it with AT&T for my phone and Internet service.  So I switched to my local cable provider.  Good riddance to those arrogant bastards.  On the day when my new cable Internet service, phone service, and TV shows are on, I get to call AT&T and say good-bye.

However, I used Siri to remind me in 11 months what I have to do:  call my cable company to make sure they’re not the ones who’ll end up screwing me over after their one-year special is up.  See, I’ll be paying $105 for faster Internet service, TV, and phone for a little over $100 after tax and everything.  In a year, that’ll go up another $25 and another $25 after that.

So, while as much as I hate AT&T, I want to pad my wallet so with Siri’s help, I’ll be shopping around a bit to see if my cable company will keep my rates the same or will I be going back to AT&T or someone else.

But this post isn’t about how I hate AT&T. I’ve written plenty on that and I’m sure you have come across others on your own.  This is about Siri and the ease of use.

So far, people have been discussing how Siri is intelligent and it’s constantly being compared to Google Now and many other voice-centric services.  However, like humans, you can be intelligent but sorely stupid as well if you don’t get the context.  I know a lot of humans like that.

And while setting up a reminder about a year away is child’s play, it goes to show that future development of AI like Siri or Google Now has to be first about being easy to use and useful.

Specifically with Siri, Apple has to see what other services its iPhone and iPad users perform that Siri can help out with.  And when Siri does become available on OS X for the Macs, the needs of PC users may be different or require additional services for Siri to perform.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Intel Chips Give Me Hope Of Better Graphics And Maybe Retina Display

Source:  Engadget, Anandtech.

Updated:  Appleinsider states the current Macbook Airs uses the low-power U-series chips which would might mean that any Haswell chips Apple employs for the Airs should only have the HD 5000, not the higher Iris or Iris Pro.  The HD 5000 would provide around a 50% increase in graphics performance. Whether that is enough to power a Retina Display on the Macbook Air and provide it with sufficient if not longer battery life is the main issue.


Intel released details about their forthcoming CPU, Haswell, with bette graphics that could really provide more headroom for your next laptop, specifically, I'm talking about the Macbooks with Retina Displays.  The Macbook Pro and the Macbook Retina Display models both now sport Intel's native graphics processor but only the Pro version has a dedicated graphics processor unit.

The current Intel graphics unit is the HD 4000.  The new Haswell chips will sport the HD 5000.  Aside from an increase in number designation, there will also be the Iris versions, 5100 and 5200, that provides twice the performance of the HD 4000.

It'll support more memory at 128 MB, twice the bandwidth, 4K display, and faster encoding/decoding.  In general, it's just faster.  But will we really see the difference?

Well, probably depends on what you would do with laptops powered by these new chips.  Obviously, if you're using your laptop, say a Macbook, to surf the Web or check e-mails and social media, probably won't see a big difference.

However, if you do some heavier duty work on your Macbook, you likely will see a bigger change in performance.  Currently, I'm on a late-2010 11" Macbook Air.  It's doing it for me but I am almost ready for an upgrade.

And as a part-time gamer, I welcome any increase in graphics performance and frame-rate.

Obviously, the elephant in the room is whether these new performing graphics units will allow Apple to fit Retina Displays on the Macbook Airs while maintaining performance and battery life.  Basically, better performance and displays without trade-offs.

Haswell with better graphics performance could be what Apple is waiting for.  Personally, I feel the Macbook with Retina Display works well enough but labors when it's asked to perform some heavy lifting.  It's one reason why I've waited.

Furthermore, I've gotten used to the light weight of the 11" Macbook Air and I'm not going back.
And yes, I've had this little guy do some graphics intensive work and it looks like Haswell could allow that as well as powering a Retina Display.

Kickstarter: Star Wolf - From Former Star Trek Writers Who Want To Show Networks We Don't Need Them Anymore

Source:  Kickstarter.

I'm in the midst of forming my thoughts on why science fiction shows doesn't work on television despite a few hits like Star Trek and the X-Files.  Any other shows have had to struggle with the idio network executives who simply don't get it or are too chicken to take risks.  Meanwhile, I came across this Kickstarter project formed by former Star Trek writers.  Along with an A-list of designers, music writers, and producers, they're going to produce Star Wolf.

And in reading the synopsis of the story, the series producer and writer, David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana were right.  TV execs would never have picked this up. and even if someone were to do it, like SyFy, there will be too much interference from the network and its parent company.

Take Stargate series, SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe.  Those shows were profitable with dedicated followings but it was still not enough for the network.

Anyway, I don't know if I would like this series or not but it's science fiction and from the folks who gave us years of awesome trekness.  So, why not.

Back them now!!!  And let's enter a new era of online video entertainment.  Screw the networks!!!

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

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