Monday, August 31, 2015

Wearable: Android Watch Now Available on iOS, What and Why


Android Wear is now an app on iOS that can work with the iPhone.  This is huge news.  First, let's go through a bit what it does and then why now.


What it does is allow the user to access their Google-based information on compatible Android Wear watches (so far, looks like only one LG model works with more compatibile devices on the way) to be connected with Apple's iPhone family, second biggest mobile OS after Android itself in terms of market share.  You can access weather, flight information, and some notifications.  It is likely anyone who uses iMessage or Apple's dedicated apps will be out of luck in terms of notifications.  But if the user or users live in the Google world, that really does not matter all that much.

Now comes the why.  There are two main possibilities.  Google does not want to cede the lucrative iOS market to just Apple even though Apple offers a much more integrated Apple Watch and Android Wear will only offer a subset of Android Wear functionalities due to limitations Apple put on app and hardware developers.  Google figures 100% of nothing is still nothing and it'll take what it can get.  And what's more, should iPhone users want more from Android Wear, well, then they best get an Android device to pair with it, won't they?

Second possibility is what the Apple Watch is doing to the market.  Perhaps greater share of iPhone users are buying an associated Apple Watch than Android users are buying an Android Wear device.  Hence, if iPhone users are more likely to buy a watch to pair with their iPhones, it makes sense that Google will try to muscle in a bit regardless of how limited it might be.

The true reason is likely somewhere in between.  Do not be surprised if Apple offers more iOS apps for the Android beyond Apple Music.  Apple has been hiring more Android developers and it's likely a suite of Apple apps will be showing up on Android in the coming year. 

So, it will go both ways. It really does not hurt either companies to offer wearable apps on each others platform.  Wearables are the next battleground for tech companies.  And for mobile warriors, the more competitive the markets are, the better they are for us. 

Apple Should Allow iOS Apps to Run on 12" MacBook

Everyone knows that Apple has breathed new life into the PC and, specifically, notebook market with the newish 12" MacBook with Retina display, known as the rMB in the Mac circle. As great as the new Apple product is, it has considered woefully underpowered and the battery life is not living up to real world expectations.

With new Skylake chips from Intel on the horizon, many, including myself are hoping that Apple will upgrade the rMB with the newer Intel chips and provide us with greater processing power and longer battery life. And while it is a fast selling device especially among those who had been waiting for Apple to upgrade the MacBook Air with Retina displays, the 12" screen on the rMB would be a perfect size for Apple to further solidify its offering and allow users to run iOS apps natively though emulation, or less likely, the addition of a native A series chip that powers iOS devices.

And yes, it is wishful thinking but iOS has grown immensely in sophistication and iOS apps have become indispensable to users. A hybrid iOS-OS X machine would give users an integration between the two worlds, iOS devices and MacBooks.

In all likelihood, something like this is going to happen. And should take place as Microsoft is going down this route with Windows 10. I am not suggesting that Apple should do this because Microsoft is doing it but it should do it because as data migrate from local media onto the cloud, such a hybrid device should help Apple users adjust to this evolving computing scheme and giving purely iOS device users a reason to move into the Mac world.

Furthermore, there has been talks that Apple might release a new iPad with a bigger screen. While Apple will be arming it with new features specific to it, it's 2015 and you have to wonder if it makes sense to continue to draw a distinction between iOS and OS X. What would happen next year with iOS 10 when Apple gives the iPad ability to be controlled with a mouse or even the Magic Pad.

Let's see what happens when Apple releases the new iPads and the next 9 months as we move into the next WWDC (Apple's developer conference that takes place at the beginning of June every year) with the introduction of the next iOS and OS X. Don't be surprised if we see Apple blur the line further between its two OS's.

And there is another main benefit: there won't be two distinct teams working in parallel and separately on the two operating systems. It could save time and resources when Apple moved to merge the two OS.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Social: Extortion Over Porn, Kids Need to Wise Up

Let this be a lesson not just for kids but adults as well. You really want to think twice before sending pictures and personal information through regular text app, email, and, of course, social media. A man in LA had been charged with extortion over nude pictures teens sent him. 

Why anyone would send a naked picture of themselves on the Internet in this day and age, I'll never know. You have to know that if a man is asking you to do this, it's not a good idea or that the man is a nice guy at all. 

And more kmportantly, where were the parents?


Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Apple Payment Hits Roadblock In Australia, the Kind Banks Will Live To Regret

Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

Here is a worthy Sunday read regarding Apple's attempt to break into the Australian payment system where banks are so far successful in stonewalling Apple's attempt to offer Apple Pay to its Australian iPhone users. The sticking point appears to be the fee Apple would earn on each $100 transaction. And it does appear that the banks there have an upper hand given the structural payment system in place and what many perceived to be a lukewarm acceptance of Apple Pay else.

It is worth noting in the post that the banks there seem to pride itself in "innovations" that it has brought to payments and the banking system in general. Whether that is true or not and if it really has a role on banks balking giving Apple a helping hand to extend its mobile payment system to Australia remains to be seen.

People seems to like through the word "innovation" around as if its use will magically enhance one's stature or product or company. So far, the solution the banks there seem to pride itself on are focus mostly on Android devices. And uptake has been dismal at best.

Apple Pay will come to Australia once Apple manages to find a crack, perhaps, by working first with a smaller bank. Eventually, lucrative Apple customers will either switch or pressure their own banks into working with Apple.

And things would be righted. That is the best scenario for the banks. However, if Apple find itself at odds time and time again with banks, look out. Many have already speculated whether Apple will eventually decide it is too much trouble working with the banks and decides to become a bank itself or issuing its own credit cards backed by its $200 billion cash. It would figuratively such much of the air out of the room. Imagine tens of millions of higher income or high net-worth iPhone customers banking with Apple Bank. It would cripple if not outright put many banks out of business.

If anything, it makes sense for banks to find a way to work with Apple instead of against Apple. A similar situation is playing out in the auto industry where car markers have been resistant or dragging their collective feet to keep Car Play out of their vehicles. Now, there is more than enough smoke that Apple will be entering the auto industry.

Perhaps, it is inevitable that Apple would enter some markets, auto and banking, that it has an indirect link to if it is frustrated or believes it can do better than the incumbents.

And how would Apple go about getting into the Australian market if the banks do no play ball.

It's like the 1980s Strategic Defense Initiative pressed by President Ronald Reagan popularly known Star Wars. It scared the Soviets enough to bring them to the table and started an arms race that bankrupted the Soviet Union (short story version).

Apple might deploy a similar strategy - let word leak that it might be interested in getting into the banking business to either open up markets or get better terms.

So, while the banks may have some success in the short-term in fending off Apple Pay in place of whatever "innovations" it has in place, they are only making matters worse in the long-term.

The best option for banks is to work with Apple, buy time, and hope that Apple leaves them alone or truly innovate and reinvent themselves for the eventuality.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Saturday, August 15, 2015

New NASA Mars Rover: It's Just A Rock

Source:  Inquisitr

While I do believe that there are advanced alien civilizations, past and present, I don't think the photo NASA released from the rover, Curiosity, showed anything resembling a Martian sculpture of an alien head, headstone, or grave. 



First, my own disclosure. Like I said above, yes, I believe as much as Fox Mulder but I don't think aliens visit us on a regular basis dating back tens of thousands of years. However, I'm not saying that there are no evidence pointing to the existence of extraterrestrials or even an occasional encounter. There are just UFO, unidentified flushing things, that the government has no explanation for but is concerned about. 

Now, I do believe that a multi-decade long plan for disclosure, maybe over a couple of generations, is taking place. Maybe in the next decade, a future president will speak not only to the American people but the citizens of the world that humanity shares this universe with others. 

There will be others like the Catholic Church that will be informed ahead of time to enact their own disclosure plans. The Church will, of course, remind the faithful that just because there are aliens does not mean God does not exist and that they are just as much God's creation as we are. 

Anyway, you get what I'm trying to say. Maybe like the Inquisitr post suggests, this photo was purposefully allowed to leak into the public as a part of the disclosure plan.  

But more likely, that sculpture is just another Martian rock that Ufologists decided to make special. 

So, yes on existence of aliens. Yes on a disclosure plan. No to the alien grave in the above Curiosity photo. 

We will get more pictures from Mars, Pluto, or the International Space Station that cast lights or shadows in ways that fit our narrative whatever they are. Maybe it will end up being the real thing. I think it's fun to speculate and discuss the UFO issue but we also want to call it for what it is when the time comes. 

Frankly, it is just unlikely sophisticated multicellular species managed to climb out of the ancient Martian ocean given the short timeframe and hostile conditions. So, a definite no to a long dead alien civilization on Mars. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Plague Pits Good Sources for Zombie Stories

Zombies are all the rage so science fiction fans like myself probably have read a zombie book or two.  Though I cannot remember the title off hand, I remembered how a zombie plague started when archeologists dug up a crypt or ancient cemetery in London that unleashed an ancient disease that resulted in a zombie apoclypse. 

Now, we have another plague pit found, guess where?  Yup, London.  Will we never learn?

Source:  CNN.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Apple Is Making Apps for Android - Why Now and What Apps or Services We Like To See from Apple

When asked about iTunes on Windows, Steve Jobs said it was like giving someone in hell a glass of cold water or something to that effect.  Well, it does look like the Apple under Tim Cook realizes that Android with such a large market share globally is too much a market to ignore. 

We'll talk why Apple is doing this now and what apps we like to see migrate from iOS to Android.  First, why now?

Well, as well as Apple is doing financially, it does want to do better and the low hanging fruits are fewer and harder to find.  It's why Apple has moved into new markets like the wearable with the Apple Watch and the rumored look into the auto industry.  Still, as far as the mobile market is concerned, we are not even at half time yet.  So, Tim Cook is looking towards Android.

When Apple introduced the iPod, it did well but it did not really take off until Apple made iTunes available on Windows, allowing Windows users to enjoy using the most popular MP3 player in the world.  And while Apple made billions from the iPod family, the halo effect on other Apple products and services were not to be ignored.  We'll come back to services.

So, let's focus on the halo effect first.  The iPhone became such a financial success largely on the back of the iPod - the good will generated from the iPod allowed mobile warriors to consider the iPhone.  If the iPhone is as good as the iPod in their pockets, then they should give it a look. And now, hundreds of millions of iPhone users agree.  And on top of that, this good will that was transferred to the iPhone is now being transferred to the Apple Watch.  And who knows what other future Apple products will benefit simply because it's from Apple.  Had the iPod been a flop for whatever reason, well, then it's likely the iPhone would have met the market with a greater deal if suspicion and skepticism. 

By sell affluent and middle-class Android users on Apple apps and services, that could generate enough halo effect that when it comes time to upgrade their devices, they might consider the iPhone or iPad now that they have had a taste of Apple's ecosystem.  We are probably talking about iTunes stores and Apple Music to start.  Perhaps, even iCloud apps and services as well.  And if these Android users become iPhone converts, maybe they'll move deeper into Apple's open arms and embrace the Macs and Apple Watch or the iCar.

Now we come to services.  Apple has been making a bigger hay about its services sector.  And with the 11 million possible Apple Music subscribers along with a growing app revenue, Apple is looking at making a serious chunk of cash from content only.  This is all before the Apple TV service that is looking less and less like an unicorn and more of a real deal.  Perhap by Christmas, Apple's services revenue could be leaps and bounds beyond what anyone on Wall Street is expecting. 

Now, if you can add a few million of the global Android market to pay for Apple services, that is a serious chunk of cash. 

The only argument is to what degree is Apple willing to offer Android users its apps and services and what its motives are.  The motives are laid out above - halo and to generate paying customers for services. But Apple's model to balance between giving Android users just enough to get a taste of the iOS side of things or whether it is happy with just Android users paying for services is debatable. 

The thing is that switching from one ecosystem to another can be an expensive proposition.  For some, its a no-brainer.  After investing a lot of money on content and buying apps, forget about it.  For others just starting out or have yet to buy too much into the Android system (or iOS), making a switch involves very little to no sacrifice.  Apple maybe just be planting the seed for that. 

Looking great for Apple, right?  In a great position to steal users from Google? Not necessarily.  Google has offered apps for the iOS for years, locking tens of millions of iPhone and iPad users into its services.  For iOS users who are heavily reliant on Google services and are considering a move to Android, it's an easier decision to make.  In fact, with Android apps more natively integrated Google services than on iOS, it would benefit them immensely.  In light of this, some might consider Apple creating apps for Android users a defensive move.

Whatever the reasons are for Apple, one thing is clear.  Competition is great on any platform especially with a deep-pocketed player like Apple.