Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Macbook Air With Retina Display: At Least A Year Away, Battery Life More Important Anyway

We all know that Apple refreshed the new line of Macbook Airs for 2013 at Monday's WWDC keynote with amazing new processors along with much needed longer battery life.  The 11" Air battery life will go up to 9 hours while the 13" version will get up to 12 hours.

However, we didn't get everything we wanted.  At least, I did.  That's Retina Display on the 11", or, for that matter, the 13".  Sure, we know that the integrated processor that comes with Intel CPU, while much improved, still are no where near the point where Apple is comfortable adding a Retina Display which would require more processing power while maintaining this level of battery life.

However, there is one other reason.  Retina Display yield.  According to Macdailynews, Sharp has down off  11.6" displays with 2,560×1,440.  That is about double what we have now with the 11" Air resolution at .  Even if Apple wanted to sacrifice some battery life for the sake of adding a Retina Display now, Sharp will not be able to satisfy Apple's demand.

So, I have to agree with Apple on this front.  I think battery life is more important than anything when it comes to mobile.  Even for the iPhone and iPad.  For any mobile device.

So, a Macbook Air with Retina Display is at least a year away.  Awesome display and long battery life?  Worth the wait if you can.

Monday, June 10, 2013

WWDC Keynote Notes: Excitement and Optimism about iOS and OS X But Key Questions Remain

Apple's WWDC keynote by Tim Cook and a few of  his executives is over with.  It was a big event.  I would call it a success only in the sense that Apple held serve: it shows it can innovate in some areas and keep updating OS X and iOS where there have been some shortcomings.

We're still waiting to see if the folks there can get more some unique details about today's event because I do have a few questions about them.  For instance, with OS X Mavericks, which current Macs in the wild will be supported.  I've got a late-2010 11" Macbook Air and I'm hoping I'll get some love.  And if so, which features will be availabe?

And while we learn today that iOS 7 will support up to iPhone 4, what features will be available to iPhone 4 and 4S users?  For instance, with iOS 6 last year, iPhone 4 users did not get live navigation or panorama feature in the camera app.  So, what features will be missing from iOS 7 for iPhone 4/4S?  And for that matter what about iPhone 5 users?

Then there is a few notes I like to add based on what I saw.

  • For iOS, no talk about Maps and what improvements there is going to be.  No talk about Passbook features or partners.  No mobile payment.  The optimist in me want to think that Apple will be holding back some features including the above mentioned for the actual iPhone launch event this fall.
  • For OS X Mavericks, where is Siri?  And what of the iOS design changes for OS X?  And again, which Macs will be supported?
  • And where are the Macbook Pro updates?  

Friday, June 7, 2013

WWDC: Naming Next OS X And Pics

Okay, I don't have pics but 9to5Mac has a few of them as Apple start putting up banners for their WWDC event next week.  And while every new iOS and OS X release is very important, this one stands out because of the pressure put upon Apple, Tim Cook in particular, by an out of control media and pundits with agendas (some are as benign as click-baiting).

So, visit the site if you want to try to play armchair detective and discern from the details on the banners what Apple will have in store for us next week.

However, I do want to mention one thing about OS X.  I've seen a few posts and listened to a couple of podcasts about which feline will Apple bestow upon by naming the next OS X version, 10.9, after.

I think "Sabertooth" is rather awesome.  However, I think it's time for Tim Cook to change that and it's a grand opportunity.  It'll take Apple further away from the Steve Jobs era however symbolic it is.  It could also signal a dramatic shift in the iconic OS away from PC and perhaps one day towards more of a PC-tablet hybrid for the Mac, assuming that's where Apple is headed.

After all, iOS already uses the core of OS X and a hybridization isn't out of the question.

This is why I think WWDC 2013 is a grand opportunity for Apple to change the naming scheme for OS X.  Let's not forget that while we have yet to see anything new from Apple in terms of product refresh or totally new products, all future products from Apple will in some way be affected by the coming OS updates.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Social: Facebook App Source of Battery Drain On iPhone, Pose Privacy Risks Too

Source:  TUAW.

Facebook Apps At Root of iPhone Battery Problems – Wonder What Information it’s Gathering

By using Apple’s iOS development tools, a developer in Germany found out the Facebook app is a major source of battery drain.  So chances are that if you’re a Facebook user on your iPhone, if you hold and tap the Home button and then disable the Facebook app from the multi-tasking panel, you should be able to solve this particular battery issue.

The same can be said about Facebook’s dedicated messaging app as well.

However, it goes to the issue of why Facebook apps are behaving radically different from other apps.  According to Apple’s rules, certain apps like Spotify that has audio and voice features are allowed to continue to work in the background.  Makes sense.  However, why does Facebook apps need to be working on the background, particularly the main Facebook app?

It’s unlikely a major of users are using any of its audio or voice features.  In fact, I’m not aware of any such features.  According to the developer, Sebastian Düvel, Facebook apps would stay active for 10 seconds in the background and then go into sleep mode but it would wake for another 10 seconds.  This happens as long as Facebook apps remain sitting in the multi-tasking panel.

Again, the question is why does Facebook apps need to be active at all when they’re not being used.  Obviously, one has to think that its active so it can try to know what the user is doing, where the user’s at, and  gather and use these information to push out ads.  Of course, I can’t say with any great certainty this is happening.  I’m willing to entertain other theories but this is one that fits given Facebook’s past of playing fast and loose with user privacies.

I have a Facebook account with only a couple of friends that I use to keep myself in the loop about what Facebook is doing.  For the most part, I don’t use it unless there is a major new feature – which is far and in between.  Most Facebook announcements are actually ways in which the company can get users to share more information, which is really disguise for the company to gather more information to sell to advertisers.

So, I don’t have Facebook apps installed on any of my iOS or Android devices.  I’ve recently picked up a Windows Phone device and I did install Facebook on it to see how it works compared to others.  I’ll be looking at the battery life in light of this development.  Eventually, I’ll uninstall it as well.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Social: Google Maps and Other Maps Soon To Be Social In Ways Facebook Cannot Compete With - More Engagement, How Apple's Own Social Maps Could Benefit Users

Here's an interesting Forbes take on how Google Maps is also a social network but not on the traditional sense that Facebook, Twitter, or even Google+ is.  I see this taking place in a manner that should be very interesting in how companies, not just Google, interacts with its users.

See, with more and more users on the move and the increasing in mobile consumption and computing, the traditional sense and take on maps has changed as is evident in how Google is positioning its maps app at Google I/O.

Google and others like Facebook (maybe it'll come out with its own maps) will overlay more and more information based on the user preferences - places they've checked in, places where their friends/families have been to, recommendations based on user information, and, of course, ads.

Of course, in the Forbes post, it made references to how Google has been forcing Google+ on users which its execs deny.  Of course, Google has been integrating Google+ with its services in an attempt to drum up numbers and compete publicly with Facebook and Twitter in terms of raw numbers.

However, with Maps, because it has the best mapping service as perceived  by most users, Google has never had to force anyone to use it.  And by overlaying social features, ads, and other services on top of it, it has creating a social interaction in ways that no other social networks can with its linear timelines and gimmicks to keep users engaged.

With maps, we want to stay engaged when we open up the app on our iPhones, Android devices, or tablets.

And here may be where the central strategy in devices like Google Glass fits in.  And to a larger extent, other wearable devices that will soon come on the market.

For Android users, because Google has control over the platform, you can always expect Android to receive the best and latest quickly.  However, that is not to say that iOS users won't.  Google has realized just how important iPhone users are given their likelihood to be monetized.

I'm sure Apple has also noticed - it many not have its own social network but with its own Maps app, it many not have to once it adds social features to it.  Right now, Yelp is featured prominently but look for other social data to appear in the future.

This leaves Facebook and Twitter without maps services of its own.  Facebook was rumored to try to buy Waze, a socially engaging maps with data contributed by users, but that likely isn't going to work out.  It's like Facebook will be forced to work with Microsoft's own mapping services going forward.

For iOS users, this should be a whole new frontier for both Apple and users.  Advertising is not something that Apple is particularly good at or have experience with.  It's unlike it will play a prominent part in any social maps engagement from Apple.

The first step for Apple will probably involve a more robust mobile payment system beyond what Passbook currently offers.  With what it has learned from Yelp integration and a willingness to integrate social networks more deeply with within iOS, the Mapps app will see more integration beyond Yelp reviews.

For instance, without its own maps service, Facebook could work with Apple on checkins (I just Foursquare instead of Facebook) and give users the benefits of knowing where family/friends have been there or not and what they may have said about it.

It's also likely that deals can pop up when a user search for a particular location.  For instance, supposedly I look for pizza.  It'll find not only the nearest pizza parlor but also which ones currently offer a special deal.

As an avid user of Groupon and Living Social, I would not mind see a map overlay of where the deals that interest me are in my city.  The linear format right now in these deals apps just aren't engaging at all.

To be sure, we'll see Apple and Google move in this direction to be sure.  However, Apple will be more cautious than Google will given Google's vast amount of information about users and its willingness to throw things out there and see what works.

In this past year, we saw Apple's first attempt going at it alone as the map app provider with Yelp integration.  Melted buildings in flyovers aside, Apple has improved its maps greatly even with some claiming Apple has better accuracy than Google.  Year two could see one or two other social services added to the mix - be it a third party service or even one of its own.

It would be nice to see Apple allow users to update and provide information in the way that Waze engages its users.  One service I particularly like is Google allowing users to post pictures to contribute to Streetview.

At the end of the day, Apple will do Maps the Apple way.  It'll be simple with some approved social engagement.  It'll only do things that it sees that could add value to users and help it sell iOS devices.

MacBook Air M2 - I Love It And Any Laptop You Get Will Always Be Right For the Time

The 2016 MacBook sitting off to the side still has some value as I gleefully starting using my MacBook Air M2 that I got for a decent price ...