Thursday, March 26, 2015

Apple Chips For iPads And Intel Chips For Macs: Now, Fight!

Here is an interesting post (Two Guys And A Podcast) concluding that Intel's days are numbered as far as Apple using Intel mobile chips are concerned as Apple continue to push forward with speed on the A-series chips used in iOS devices while Intel seems to be standing still or moving forward at a much slower pace. The post concludes that Apple's how chips should over take Intel's like the Core M chip being deployed in the new Macbook. And when that day cames, Apple will replace Intel chips with its own in Macs.

That is the rational and conventional thinking.  However, I have a different take.  We have all heard the rumors regarding the new iPad Pro that Apple is working on.  It was supposed to unveiled by now.  Obviously, it has not and there are plenty of rumors explaining why that is the case.  My take is that perhaps, Apple is waiting on a new generation of chips that should be unveiled later this year can serve as the heart of the new iPad Pro, much faster than the current A9 in the iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6, that could more effectively compete with the Intel Core M. 

When the iPad Pro comes out, it will make for some interesting choices for consumers.  Apple will let the iPad Pro and Macbook fight it out in the market place.  If you want a laptop, go with the Macbook.  If you want a tablet with multi-touch that may also have the new Force Touch technology, more horse power than the Macbook (though most consumers will not be able to see the difference), and even longer battery life than the Macbook's 9 hours, then the iPad Pro is your choice, not to mention an accessory case that doubles as a keyboard.  Of course, Apple marketing will not pit one device as superior over the other. 

And for the next few generations of Macbooks and iPad Pros, Apple and Intel will leapfrog each other with claims of higher horsepower and greater efficiency.  And even if Apple does fall behind with the iPad Pro and Intel pulls ahead with its chips, Apple can still win in the end because people will have picked the Macbook over the iPad Pro. 

However, from what I'm reading regarding just what Apple's own chips can do versus what Intel's Core M can speed up to for some tasks, this is one area where Intel might have the advantage.  The Core M can go up to 2.6 Ghz if called upon.  No word on how Apple's chips do in this regard.  Having said that, on the low-end, that might not matter in day-to-day mobile computing tasks.  And this is an area where Apple can excel because of the tighter hardware-software integration on the iPad than on the Macbook since Apple did not design the Core M.  This is an area that matters most to people who have decide between a Macbook or and iPad Pro.

For any heavy lifting required, Apple Mac users will go with an iMac, Macbook Pro, or even a Mac Pro. 

Personally, I welcome the Macbook as it is now.  I'm not saying that this is for me. First, I'll have to wait and see what the iPad Pro is like and then there is the fact that I still have a relatiely new (18-month) Macbook Pro that performs beautifully.  My only gripe is my MBP has only 7-hour long battery life.  While it has done and performed as expected, I would not mind an extra couple of hours of battery life. 

The Macbook isn't for everyone.  It isn't for pro's.  Nor is the iPad for everyone either.  I do believe Apple has a multi-year roadmap that is clear and executable under Tim Cook.  We saw the future with the Macbook Air and it'll take a couple more years for us to get to wherever Apple wants to take us in terms of the next stage of mobile computing. It was a great time to be alive when the iPhone came out in 2007 and revolutionize mobile.  It'll be just as exciting in the next few.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Virgin EV Against Tesla, Apple Likely To Go At It Alone

There is plenty of chatter that Richard Branson is up there with Elon Musk as far as space goes but Branson is missing something Musk has and is considering getting into that game:  electric cars.  That in and of itself isn't news.  What I had originally though of, for all of ten seconds, is that maybe Virgin should partner with Apple.  But the more I think about it, the more I believe Apple will likely go at it alone - no deals with Mercedes, MBW, Telsa, or anyone else.

After all, the most likely partner Apple is likely to go with is Telsa and we already know from the poaching war that it is not going to happen. 

However, Branson's entry into the high-end electric car market should be a welcoming move for auto lovers.  Competition.  And that is what Telsa lacks even as it continues to innovate.  And while a Virgin challege is good, it won't be like the kind of competition and disruption that Apple can bring. And the Apple way is what will likely end up with Apple doing it on its own.

Imagine in 4-6 years when Apple, Telsa, and Virgin's electric cars are all going up not just against one another but the offers from traditional auto makers like BMW - beautiful sleek and fast cars that run 400+ miles on one charge powered by a green power grid. 

Of course, for a fact, only Tesla and BMW are major players in the electric car market.  Apple's entry is still just a rumor and there is just as much as chance as we'll see an Apple car as likely not.  Short answer is no one knows despite all the smoke from Cupertino. 

As for Virgin, Branson's musing about Virgin's entry into the auto market are just a few off the cuff comments.  Nothing more.  Not even a whiff of smoke.

But we can dream of the possibilites, can we?

Friday, March 20, 2015

With 2015 Macbook, Apple May Mark a Turning Point From Intel In Favor of Its Own Chips

It's like 2015 is going to be remembered as the year when Apple set in motion for its in-house developed chips to replace Intel chips in Macs.  This started with Apple using a relatively underpowered, by today's standard, Intel chip in the new Macbook as the much anticipated iPad Pro wait in the wings to be introduced with an updated iOS 9 more suitable for power users.  And this iPad Pro will sport a brand new A-series chip with comparable computing power but a longer battery life than the Macbook.

In fact, the iPad, since the very first iPad introduced by Steve Jobs, have a longer battery life than most of the Macbook variants including this 12" Macbook.

One can assume, then, that Apple will allow this new Macbook battle it out on the market with the iPad Pro.  Let the users decide what works better for them.  A traditional laptop against tablet.  Also, this won't be just an iPad with a bigger screen and a more powerful chip. Apple will probably accessorize the new iPad Pro with a cover that doubles as a keyboard, not unlike what we see with the Surface Pro from Microsoft (for discussions over Apple "copying" Microsoft in this regard, we'll leave it out for another day).

Of course, this is mostly speculation since there is hardly any concrete information about the iPad Pro, what features make it a pro version of the iPad, and if Apple will even release it (probably).  For veteran Apple watchers, it is a well known fact Apple worked on many projects that never seen the light of day.

Once we know all about the Pro, then we can begin to gain a clearer picture about Apple's CPU going forward.  There are discussions going on about how the 2015 Macbook was like the original Macbook Air when it was released.  It was underpowered and overpriced.  Perhaps this Macbook is.  Perhaps not.  But most agree that by the third iteration, it should be the Macbook that Apple wanted it to be.  And it may be the replacement for the Macbook Air.

Let's wait and see six months from now when the new iPads are released.  If the 2015 iPads are close in computing power or as powerful as the Macbook, it may well be that the iPads will eventually replace the consumer-class Macs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Apple TV: Recent TV Moves and Deals By Apple Explains Why There Is No App Store Yet (If Ever)

There are no apps on the Apple TV other than those that Apple put there.  Video, music, podcast, and Netflix to name a few are the only ones there.  In fact, there are quite a few choices for users to select regardless of music, video, or live streaming media.  What is not there is an app store that many have been asking for or rumored about.  And to be frank, there may never be an app store for the Apple TV.

Apple has so far been adding "windows", if you will, that allows the user to consume content without any actual interaction.  No social graph.  You can play games on your iPhone or iPad via Airplay, mostly through mirroring, hardly ideal.

And let's face it, the currently Apple TV is good enough for streaming and Airplay, nothing more.  And until Apple updates the hardware on the Apple TV, we won't know what Apple may have planned. 

And once Apple's own streaming video service is available, it might be all that Apple needs - more content.

If anything, Apple will add apps relating to its "kits".  By that, I mean HealthKit and HomeKit.  There is so much potential there but Apple will likely move slow on those fronts as well, especially HomeKit.  It could take years for something tangible to develop, a "wow" factor that has so far been missing.  For the most part, Apple is happy to sit back and let others play with them and let developers and hardware makers figure out how to best use Apple's services. 

And if you think about it, what apps do you really need on the Apple TV that works better on a TV than on an iOS device.  Games quickly come to mind but Apple's support for third-party hardware like game controllers has been muted.  Again, it just feels like Apple was testing the water with the controllers until they see a breakthrough.  Apple TV plus an iOS equals a gaming console. 

There have been rumblings about a new Apple TV each and every single year but in 2014, it did feel like Apple was finally going to open up the floodgate a bit.  Apple stopped calling it a "hobby" for one thing.  And with the recent price cut, the $99 price point is available for a newer Apple TV.

Let's just see what the rest of 2015 have in store.  Or 2016.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Apple TV Channels Coming This Year

With HBO Go on board, Apple is on the verge of debuting its own TV service supposedly with around 25 channels for about $40.  This is as concrete as we are going to get given years of rumors and, frankly, disappointment.

According to Wall Street Journal (via Cult of Mac), Apple has lined up major networks like ABC, Fox, and CBS.  Considering how long it has taken and subscribers already with Sling TV as a choice at $20 a month and 14 channels, it might not be that great a deal.  And furthermore, from what we can tell, it's not "cord-cutter" friendly.

A lot can still change between now and this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, supposedly when Apple will unveil the service.  However, if history is any indication, it's unlikely Apple will pick the WWDC for this unveiling as Apple tend to want to focus on iOS and OS X during the conference.

If Apple does unveil its streaming TV service, it'll likely be in the fall when Apple updates iOS devices like the iPhone 6S and iPad.

What channels are we likely to see?  Based on Sling TV's service, ESPN and a few Disney properties are likely on board.  If CBS is a part of the deal, perhaps Comedy Central might be a part of it.  You can't have a package without CNN.  And as for Fox, perhaps the FX network.

Also, in addition to being HBO Go's exclusive launch partner, Apple may be offering an online version of Showtime, a property of CBS.

Which we are unlikely to see consumers giving the ability to subscribe to channels that they want, what Apple and Sling TV are offering could be the next best thing.  A small subset of popular channels with value-added packages depending on what the subscribers want to watch.

Is this a good thing?  Absolutely.  Slow but surely, consumers will have more choices and competition in the market as we move closer to the death of the current TV and cable models.

Unflattering Doc About Steve Jobs Coming - If Fair, Then It Needs To Be Made

Source:  Insider.

Many of our icons, good and/or bad, have flaws.  They're people just like anyone else.  No one is perfect and public figures or anyone with a big ego and personality tends to have amplified flaws.  That is what makes them great and infamous at times.  This is the same for politicans, celebrities, and innovators like Steve Jobs.  Certainly, anyone who has hear of Jobs have heard a story or two that highlighted his character flaws.

Now, a new documentary called "Steve Jobs:  Man In The Machine" (IMDB), it takes a look at Jobs' personal life and focused on specific events in his life that underscore what a selfish man and what a megalomaniac is he.  Admittedly, other films and documentaries only provided a passing glance at this side of the man and the many books about his seemed to want to rush through the early parts of his life, like how he treated his daughter Lisa and get to what the meat about his rise in Apple, his exile and "time in the forest", and his second coming at Apple.

A line in the documentary highlighted the kind of film this will be,"behind the scenes, Jobs could be ruthless, deceitful, and cruel".  Both allies and enemies of Jobs can attest to that.  Often times, I've wondered how these ruthless icons would be like if they were actual heads of states.  A smart bet is that their ruthlessness would be unchecked.  Given our more open and democratic society, it's already pretty bad.  Reality in Washington is not too far removed from Netflix's "House of Cards".  Imagine Larry Ellison in Putin's position. 

One should question the motive behind "Man In The Machine".  It's likely the director is not attempting to be fair and balance or simply trying to balance the the positive media regarding Jobs over the years when he took an nearly bankrupted Apple and turned it onto what it is today. 

Perhaps to take down someone like Steve Jobs is simply icing on the cake for someone like him.  Whatever his motives, the director will be offering a different look at Steve Jobs. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Green: Warming Gas, Carbon Dioxide, Level in 2014 Same as 2013 Despite Booming Economy

Source:  New Scientist.This isn't really a tech or social media story that I normally like to share about Apple, Google, and others but the news that carbon dioxide emissions in 2014 was the same as the previous year is pretty significant.  And in some part, it has to do with alternative energy sources that came only despite a growing global economy.

The only times this has happened were during economic slowdowns experienced in the early 80s, the recession of 1992, and the Great Recession in 2009. While researchers at Tyndall Institute for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK had expected a 2.3% increase in carbon emission, changing energy use and patterns should have alerted them to the possibility that carbon increase should slow dramatically. 

As dirty as China is, renewable energy use is increasing in the Middle Kingdom while coal use is down.  Furthermore, tempered growth in China is also contributing to the carbon level in 2014 equaling that of the previous year. 

It's just one year and the trend is continuing carbon increases.  But the level in 2014 showed that it does not have to be this way.  Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Google, and Walmart have taken the lead combating global warming by switching over the solar, wind, and other renewable sources of energy. 

Furthermore, energy consumption of coal and oil is down in the United States as well.  This is despite the fact that gas prices have down come in the last year.  If we can put together a string of 4-6 years of lower carbon emission, who knows.  Perhaps that might be enough to reverse some of the warming effects.

And maybe in five years, a March day in Los Angeles like today won't be in the 90s and we'll start getting more rains and snow cover in the local mountains. 

The Case of the Shrinking iPad Sales

Much has been made about the iPad's diminish sales over the last year.  There is no denying that once of the last major products Steve Jobs introduced is not performing as well as most analysts and pundits believe it was to be.  Perhaps, there are even some at Apple that cannot see why the iPad isn't lighting the tablet market on fire or at least growing slowly.  It's the PC market that has shown life even as Mac sales continue to outperform.

The problem for the iPad, and tablets in general, isn't that there is not a market for it.  Problem with a majority of users and in the media is the preception of what a tablet is for.  Instead of a multipurpose device with the potential as a laptop replacement, it's being looked upon as a device for media consumption - for business, education, and entertainment.  Consumption.  Not production of content.  If you wanna do that, you still need PCs for the most part. 

The uses of tablets in my family and people around me is very evident.  As a mobile enthusiast, I use my iPad for product when possible.  There are limits for me and most people.  I am not an artist, so I find myself not producing art.  And even for artists and designers, there are better PC tools.  I write on it but I can do that easier on my Macbook when I'm not near my BT keyboard for the iPad.  I listen to music and podcasts but I don't write music or produce podcasts on the iPad. 

The young ones around me might do a bit more.  They play games on their iPads as much as I do - waging war against enemy clans, keeping Homer and the Snoopy gang busy, and whatever games fancy them that week.  There are some educational apps but the kids really seem them as games that also happened to teach them a thing or two useless.  Oh, and they do draw.

The older folks?  Reading.  Lots of reading.  Videos on Youtube.  They send each other pictures of their grandchildren.  Recently, I've trained my aunt to become very proficient at copying and sending links to her iMessage chat group. 

That tablets are not being used to its fullest potential is largely Apple's fault.  Clearly, Apple has not done a good enough job to advocate the iPad as a possible device for one to integrate into a process.  While Apple has done a good job highlight the iPad with a few videos that were filmed and produced on an iPad, there is certainly more that the iPad is capable of.  Apple needs to showcase how the iPad is benefiting productivity and enriching people's lives.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Intel Profit Warning: What Is Going On? More People Going Mobile And Less PC

It's been confirmed over the last year that tablet sales have been down.  So, does that mean PC sales are up?  Well, Mac sales are but the larger PC market is still stagnating.  Hence, Intel's warning.  So, what is exactly going on here?  What are the billions of people doing their computing on? 

For the most part, people are holding on to their computers and tablets longer.  The upgrade cycle has become longer largely because today's computers and tablets are so powerful.  While Microsoft struggles to stimulate demand for next version of Windows, Windows 10, it certainly has not help with the computer buying cycle.

When Intel warned that its outlook was not as rosy as stated, an interesting thing happened.  Microsoft and other tech companies associated with the PC market lost value while other tech giants like Apple and Google rose.  It spoke volumes about where the future is headed when Microsoft manages to stem the the PC market from bleeding for a peroid with Windows 10.  If anything, Micrisoft could be look to continue its Windows brand beyond PC and double its effort in mobile and tablet markets where it is barely a blip.

Furthermore, it does not help with Lenovo, Intel and Microsoft partners, install spyware in their laptops. 

As for Intel, it's multi-year plan to move beyond the PC and reinvent itself into a provider of mobile chips and services underscore again that more users while connected are doing so wireless on non-PC devices.

With over one billion Android devices sold and a couple of hundreds iOS devices sold in 2014, a vast major of them are not running Intel chips and Windows.  The question now is quickly and effectively can Intel, Microsoft, and the other PC guys pivot and become relevant again.

As consumers and mobile warriors, we want more competition and wish them luck.

If Apple Can Bring Innovation and Disruption To the Auto Industry, None of the Arguments For or Against Matter

This post from Boy Genius Report rehashed many of the reason why Apple is not likely to develop its own car.  The most talked about reason why Apple will not develop its own car is because of the historically low margin the auto industry has selling each car while Apple's products enjoy margins might higher.

If margin is more of an issue than the billions that Apple will likely make from selling cars, then that is correct.  It should also mean that Apple should get rid of some products with margins that are dragging down the iPhone.  Apple's crack team of executives have thought about this and will adjust the company as well as Wall Street accordingly. 

As far as margins go, Apple would make sure it can at least match if not exceeed the 15% margin that Porchse is pulling in and at least twice that of most luxuary brands. 

The other argument is the number of models Apple is likely to put out compared to BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, and other high-end cars.  Telsa has only a couple of models.  Except for a few hiccups, it's doing quite well.  And on top of that, it has long-term plans in the works that should help the company stay lean and ahead of its competitors.  Apple with much more resources could manage at least that.

Then there is the argument that make a couple of extra billion dollars a year won't interest Apple.  Seriously?  If Apple looked at the number and auto landscape and think it is worth the risk, an extra $2 billion a year is not something it'll walk away from. 

The best argument that I can think of against Apple entering the auto industry is innovation.  What can Apple bring to the car that no one else has beyond just CarPlay and how it can maintain any competitive advantage over other auto makers.  In the smartphone market, Apple maintained a couple of years lead with the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad later but the market quickly caught up.  While Apple has managed to earn the lion's share of the mobile profit, the auto market is a different take altogether. 

So, it is not about margin and how much profit Apple can earn by selling cars.  It's about innovation and disruption of the auto industry and bringing a level of innovation that the auto companies have not faced in decades.  Even with the Model S, Tesla isn't quite putting the fear of Steve Jobs in GM, Ford, or BMW.  But Tim Cook and Apple can. 

And Apple has one advantage no automakers has, not even Telsa or Mercedes.  Apple's rich cult fans.  Period.

Still, I'm skeptical.  But I'm not Tim Cook and no one else is. Only he and a few at Apple knows whether it is worth the risk of developing and selling an Apple car.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Apple Watch Nano or Apple Wrist

There is some disturbing news that Apple is discontinuing sales of competing health bands like Jawbone UP and Nike Fuelband.  Granted, these are health bands and not actual watches and, granted, the Nike Fuelband is as good as discontinued, it really highlights a segment of the health monitoring market that Apple is not addressing with the Apple Watch.

Anything $250 and under market.  I would, in a heartbeat, get in on a $200 Apple band that monitors just steps and is integrated with the Health app on my iPhone. 

I'm hoping that perhaps after a year or so, Apple will introduce additional health monitor devices and other forms of wearables for those not interested in a fully functioning computer that sits in a wrist. 

I've been a dedicated user of the Up, Fuelband, and Fitbit - tried them all at different times as wear and tear forced me to get one or the other.  My latest was the Fibit Force that also monitored how many stairs I take.  After it died, just before Apple unveiled the Apple Watch last fall, I've been getting by with my iPhone Plus as a step counter.

It works just fine except I have to carry it with me pretty much everywhere. 

And frankly, I've already decided that I would use my Apple Watch for my daily workout and don't necessarily plan on carry it with me from the moment I wake up until I charge it at night.  A Apple branded band would be able to fill my needs between 6am and 5pm.  After that, I'll switch to the Apple Watch when I go on my run or the gym. 

Hopefully, like Apple often do after years of a product launch, it'll release the same device under a different form factor just like it has done with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.  We got the original iPod that was then followed by the iPod Mini, iPod, Nano and the Shuffle.  The same with the iPhone and iPad.

So, let's see what Jony Ives and his design team can come up with and maybe they'll be able to address the $250 and under health band market.  It would be a real shame if it doesn't happen. 

Starting Own Music Streaming Services Equals Quick Billions?

Looks like Jay Z is trying to follow Apple's Dr. Dre, formerly of Beats, to become the next billionaire rapper.  That can be the only reason why he's starting his own music streaming service... (The Verge)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Apple Watch: Servicing Questions

Today, we got some needed answers to the Apple Watch's battery replacement.  It's important not only from the standpoint that the Apple Watch is completely a computer and without a functioning battery, it's as good as a dead weight.  In the case of the Edition, a very expensive dead weight.  It's not like you can wind it to make it work again (maybe someday). 

But what about other forms of servicing?

What comes to mind is what good is a gold-encased digital watch if it's going to be obsolete two or three years down the line?  As an Apple fan, I like to know the answer to this question even though I'll never put down $10K for a regular watch much less one that will lose out in favor of newer ones. 

Don't get me wrong.  There will be folks who buy the Edition, costing up to $17K depending on the band.  And maybe the fact that there will be a limited number of Edition it itself value.  We'll just have to see how much value it holds up over the years and whether there is an appreciation over time like some watches do.

Steve Jobs Is Smiling: HBO on Apple TV

Yup, Steve is smiling his trademark smile with a bit of a smirk at the news of the standalone HBO service, HBO Now, with Apple as its exclusive launch partner (media reports Apple with a 3-month window exclusivity).  The success of this launch, which others and I have already called it, will put mucho pressure the current cable TV model.

According to Recode, HBO is hoping to gain leverage over the cable and satellite industry in generating more revenue.  For now, HBO will charge $15 a month.  With Apple and, 3 months later, other means by which HBO Now will be able to be watched, it will add a new market for the cable channel - cord-cutters who want HBO without paying for cable TV bundles that most do not want to watch.  HBO wants broadband service providers to sell this new standalone service. 

And of course, Apple is all the more willing help HBO out if it means wrestling control of the media content away from the traditional players and destroying the current TV model.  Already, Sling TV with its $20 a month service that includes EPSN, TNT, CNN, and the Disneyland (there are more channels) is finding many takers. 

As a Sling TV subscriber, I can tell you that I'm very happy.  It would be awesome to have a science bundle includying SYFY but I'm patient. 

In the coming months, we'll see more effort along this line:  wrestling control away from tradtional cable TV.  Apple will certainly be a major player.  Even now, Sling TV is not available on Apple TV.  Perhaps, Tim Cook has a few designs with a rumored upgrade to the current Apple TV model. 

The end of the Recode article spoke of a stand-off between content providers and the cable TV gatekeepers and what weapons are at their disposal.  As a consumer, as long as the stand-off also mean others like Disney, Paramount, and Sony also provide their content via the HBO and Sling routes and we get more choices with less bundles, I'm happy with that.

Apple To Frame Watch Success Based On Lives Saved, Improved Health, And Convenience

Apple Watch may well be a flop.  No one knows until it actually goes on sale and, even then, we will have to wait a couple of quarters at least to know if this is actually the case.  On top of that, should the Apple Watch add a mere $10 billion a year to Apple's bottom line, it's only a flop compared to other Apple launches.  Ask any of Apple's competitors and ask them if they would like to see an extra $10 billion to their revenue.

Still, this has not stopped headline grabbers from news outlets to "analysts" and other forms of pundits to come out and used the same tired argument about how Apple is doomed and/or how a device that will sell millions is a failure. 

Take this list of detractors via USA Today. One of the arguments made about the Apple Watch being a failure is that it only works with the iPhone.  Duh.  It's the iOS ecosystem.  As last I checkedly, it's limited to the iPhone and iPad. 

The success stories that Apple will be sharing will not be limited to how many Edition units it'll sell.  In fact, it's entirely possible that Apple will no share any data regarding how many units of specific Apple Watches it sells and the average prices for competitive reasons.  The stories will be about how the lives of Apple Watch users are enriched by the plethora of features like the health ones that many will beneit from. 

It'll be about Apple Pay and other conveniences the watch offers. 

And this is only the first one.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Apple Watch Details Leaked To Media To Build Growing Hype Or Really Bad Control At Apple

It's Friday afternoon here in the Pacific Standard Time.  The sun is up, the freeways will be clogged for another four hours, and the parties have even started yet.  And the rest of the world is well into their weekend.  So, it should be a slow news day, right?  Ordinarily, Friday afternoons are perfect time to unveil bad news that no one wants folks to pay attention to.

So, it's odd that there are plenty news on the Apple Watch that are somewhat positive - longer battery life than expected.  As in 25% longer with double the actual usage time (9to5Mac).  And this is news leaked to an Apple-centric blog and not to a major news outlet like Bloomberg or the WSJ. 

Why now?  At the start of this post, I had wanted to make you, the readers, decide whether this is more controlled leaks from Apple to build hype through the weekend or Apple had somehow lost control of the flow of information.  Only yesterday, Bloomberg shared juicy bits about a few fortunate developers like Facebook giving special access to a secret lab to work on their Apple Watch apps. 

More and more, I'm beginning to believe that Apple really is behind anything and everything, both rumors that are true and fantastic, and they carefully laid out detailed plans of what to leak out, who to leak it out to, and when these leaks come out. 

I'm not naieve here.  I know Apple is fully capable of manipulating the press.  It plays favorites much of the time.  I'm only saying now that the operation is much bigger.  And while the Internet has opened up many new outlets for flow of information, it has allowed a skilled company like Apple to also control how information flows. 

Amazon Brings Former Exclusive Games To iOS As Fire Device Sales Collapse, And What Of Minecraft

Source:  The Verge.

Amazon bought some game studios a couple of years ago in hopes of launching exclusives that it hope would stimulate sales of its own Android-forked OS devices, the Kindle Fire tablets and its ill-advised foray into the mobile phone market, the pretty much dead and Fire Phone.  It's like Fire tablets are not doing too well giving it has been many quarters since Amazon crowed about how many millions it has sold without actually giving the public a number.

This is pretty much the reason why Amazon is bring more of its game over to iOS.  One title, Tales from Deep Space, has been giving good reviews and the newer games should be pretty decent.  As an iOS gamer, I'm pretty happy with this. 

From a competitive stand point, there are two takeaways from this.  First, exclusives are not working out too well for developers unless it's on iOS.  Second, Amazon with its bad bet on the Fire Phone may have killed off its mobile hardware business while it tries its damn best to keep a small foothold in the living room. 

I'm personally glad that Apple has not gone down this route and it does not look like it will either.  This is a strategy that console makers like Microsoft and Sony often employed to entice gamers to jump into the Xbox or Playstation camps. 

And what of Minecraft?  Perhaps, Microsoft actually see a profitable business in the Minecraft universe.  However, I hope MC fans on non-Xbox platforms and non-Windows devices should expect Microsoft to prepare exclusives for its own platforms or cut back the perks of or at least cripple the game somewhat for non-Microsoft devices.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CarPlay At Heart of Why Apple Is Making a Car, Auto Industry To Be Blamed

When it came down to it, the iPod was just a MP3 player.  Plain and simple.  But as with anything Apple is involved with, the iPod has an unusual and unique take on how we listened to music and interact with it.  Click-wheel and gigabytes of storage in forms of a hard drive and, later, flash memories.  It will be the came for Apple's car.  But here's the thing, Apple has been prefectly willing to let someone else make the cars as long as their dashboard work seemlessly well with CarPlay.

And with delays after delays, I think at some point, Apple got fed up and decided it was better off making a car running its own unique interface. 

And while it's not set in stone, should Apple truly unveil its own car, the auto industry has no one else to blame but itself.  Take Toyota for instance.  It is not only dragging its feet on CarPlay and Android's take on the car, it supposed believe that its proprietary take is better for Toyota going forward.  Sure.  For Toyota but not necessarily for its customers who likely owns an iPhone or Android device. 

Had Apple's CarPlay been wholeheartedly embraced by the auto industry, it's likely Apple would have been content with letting someone else making the cars.

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 ...