Monday, May 12, 2014

Apple Can (Should) Surprise With iPhone Release Without iOS 8

The market, by that I mean the financial as well as mobile, is used to Cupertino release new iPhones along with a new version of iOS to go along with it.  However, I think for the sake of market disruption, I would love to see Apple release a new iPhone even without a new iOS in the fall, say, this summer.  That would really kick things up for its fans and really screw things up for its competitors. 

Has this happened before?  Sure, the iPad. 

What if there are new features that are specific to the new iPhone hardware?  Well, then Apple simply (okay, I know it's not simply but the talented hard working Apple employees sure make it appear that way) update apps and release codes for this new iPhone.

As it is now, it's the hardware that catches up to the software.  Beta versions of iOS are released in the June to coincide with Apple's World Wide Developer Conference.  Then new iPhones are released later in the fall that support new features.  Take the iPhone 5S.  When iOS 7 beta was released at the WWDC last year, there no mention of TouchID and yet when the 5S was released in October, the codes to support fingerprint magically appeared.

Not wanting to get into current rumors regarding iPhone 6 and possible (though highly improbable) release dates, Apple can move up a bigger screen iPhone 6 this summer with a special version of iOS 7 specific to it and then wait for iOS 8 to catch up to the hardware for once. 

When Apple moved from the 3.5" screen to the 4" screen, apps continued to work flawlessly as 3.5" screen apps with black bands on the sides until developers updated their apps to take advantage of the added pixels.  The same can happen with 5" or 5.5" iPhone 6 screens.

Can it happen?  Nah.  This is a "wishful thinking" post on my part. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Apple's New Camera Hire: You Get 8MP So Make Every Pixel Count

I'm always been a bit jealous of the camera capability of the high-end Lumia devices running Windows Phone from Nokia.  I want those features.  I mean the camera on the 1020 is just crazy.  Sure, the iPhone 5S camera rocks but there are still new tricks the next iPhone can pick up.

It's why Apple hired away from Nokia its top camera expert, Ari Partinen.  With Nokia having sold its mobile division to Microsoft, it was a perfect tiemf or Mr. Partinen to move to sunny California.  And he's exactly the type of new blood that Apple can use. 

Imagine what he can bring.  Just looking at Nokia's Lumia 1020 page, I want it all.  Lossless zoom.  Better pics in poorly lit environments.  Better flash.  Truer colors. 

Of course, he'll have to really be creative and innovate in ways that he was not familiar with or expected to at Nokia.  There is the design element that the new Apple hire will have to deal with.  He won't have the option of making the camera stick out the way they are on the Lumia devices. 

Plus, he won't have 40MP to work with.  In fact, he'll have a lot less to work with, along the line of 8MP or maybe just a tad more.  So, he'll have to find ways to improve the iPhone's camera abilities and bring new features beyond megapixels.

So, dude, make every pixel count!

Beats As Apple's Instagram

This might not be the best analogy but I'm beginning to see Beats as Apple's Instagram.  Bear with me and maybe I'll manage to muddle my way through this.  This is because I'm not entirely convinced about why Apple would want to buy Beats.  In fact, I'd bet come next week, there will be no announcement regarding Financial Time's breaking rumor about Apple plucking down $3.2 billion for Beats, maker of headsets and floundering streaming music service.

So, the only thing I can think of is that Apple is looking at Beats for the streaming music service to supplement its iTunes buy/download music store as interests in streaming music has increased while downloads have decreased in the last couple of years.  Most of Apple's iTunes service growth comes from app sales. 

And just like Facebook who spent $1 billion for Instagram (which as far as I know is still not making money), Apple is buying Beats to make sure it has a foot in the streaming music service.  Why not buy Spotify, you ask?  I'm sure Apple took a look at it and for its own reasons decided Beats makes more sense.  There have been speculation that Apple will keep around the team of music insiders that built Beats' music service. 

Like everyone else, I don't think Apple bought Beats for the headset hardware. 

And like Facebook, Apple probably will not fold Beats into Apple and rename it iTunes Music Streaming.  It makes sense for Apple to keep the appeal of Beats for other mobile platforms as well as the PC market. 

So, what do  you think?  Make sense?  It's not so much as a defense play but see the right opportunity to get into a new service with the right people. 

ISP to FCC: Pay Up Or Stick with Slow 28.8kbps Lane

Source: Arstechnica.

The FCC abandoning net neutrality (essentially a U-turn from its previous position has many big and small companies protesting the move.  It's good for broadband dumb pipe operators like Comcast (currently trying to buy Time Warner Cable to gobble up more bandwidth) and Verizon but not for end-users.

So, while most companies like Google and Netflix are content with sending letters and lobbyists, one ISP decided to act.  So, it's taken FCC's IP addresses and throttle all connections down to dial-up speed of 28kbps.  I think that is kinda cruel considering 56K should be enough but I'm a gentle person at the end of the day.

The ISP, Neocities, And they're quite funny about it too. They're giving the FCC a special "Ferengi plan" (obviously Star Trek fans there):  pay the $1000 a year (they'll accept most payments including digital currencies but not Latinum) and Netcities will remove the throttle.

I think that's brilliant.  Maybe Google and others should consider doing something similar.  After all, I can see ISPs begin to charge the government access to the fast lane which means the tax payers, you and me, will have to fork over even more money to the greedy cable and DSL providers.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Friday Video: They Made It! (Climbing Bears)

Source: IO9.

Did you know that bears can climb? No? Neither did I. I mean I know they climb trees and stuff but scaling the sides of a mountain is something else.

I've gone climbing before. And I suck at it. But these bears you're about to see are natural climbers. I had no idea they could to this.


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