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All posts tagged "apple"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Publishers Balking at Apple's 30% "Pay to Play" Tax?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 10:30 AM

"Lots of hullabaloo about Apple's iOS subscription product. The basics - everyone pays 30%, you can't charge more on the iPhone for the product than you do on other platforms, and you can't link out from the app to the browser to handle subscriptions without Apple being in the middle. It's not even clear that apps will be able to just post a message telling people to create an account from their computer and then come back to their iPhone and use the app."

Interesting that the term "keelhauling" is being used here. There seems to be a significant amount of anger and resentment expressed in the press about Apple's new services. Publishers claim that they won't be able to make money paying 30% to Apple. Understandable for services that are barely breaking even. So, does this force iOS users into mass-jailbreaking and using "other" app stores? Does this drive users to Android? Personally I think (or at least hope) that Apple will eventually work with content publishers to come up with a (different) model that works.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekend Rumours: Smaller, Cheaper, Contract-free iPhone

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 10:30 AM

"Apple Inc. is working on new versions of the iPhone that are aimed at slowing the advance of competing handsets based on Google Inc.'s Android software, according to people who have been briefed on the plans."

According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on a new, smaller iPhone that will be sold contract-free for around 200 dollars, using (surplus?) components currently in use. No home button, and one third smaller than the existing iPhone. Target markets mentioned are China and India. Also mentioned are a dual-mode iPhone, using GSM and CDMA technology, and a "universal sim" model, allowing connection to any adjacent (GSM) network (but not "roaming"). The so-called "self-configuring" models would allow activation with minimal user/retailer intervention. †While the article states pretty emphatically that these devices may never see the light of day, they do seem plausible with the growing emphasis on contract-free, pay-as-you-go (PAYG, aka pre-paid) services. I would love to see this happen, as I would enjoy owning a PAYG iPhone without spending a fortune on a factory-unlocked model.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

iPad 2 In Production, Says Wall Street Journal

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple News" @ 09:30 AM

"Apple's production partners are already hard at work on the new model of iPad, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal."

Apparently a prototype iPad 2 was spotted by a Reuters reporter at the launch of The Daily. Speculation is that it'll launch on the iPad's launch anniversary: April 3, and that Foxconn has already been asked (the article uses the term ordered) to have market-ready quantities ready by the end of February 2011. The Journal says that there will be at least a front-facing camera and a higher resolution (but not Retina) screen. Rumors include an SD card slot, thinner and lighter, a faster graphics processor, more memory, and two cameras.

Tags: hardware, apple, ipad2

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Apple Still Leads in Online Movie Sales: Walmart Challenging!

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple News" @ 11:00 PM

"The online movie business has been booming in recent years thanks to everyone and their mom either starting up their own services or signing contracts with the major players. Despite so many entrants into the market, Apple has still managed to retain its dominance when it comes to delivering feature-length films to customers, though it has lost some of its share of the consumer dollar over time."

Interesting that Walmart (in this article) is predicted to become a much bigger player in online movie sales. With Apple having 64.5 percent market share in 2010, followed by Microsoft at 17.9 percent, and Sony third at 7.2 percent, Walmart is currently lumped-in with the "other" group, sharing the remaining 10.4 percent. I guess that it makes sense, as Walmart isn't generally content to be anything but first wherever they compete. Maybe it's a reaction to being overtaken by Apple in music sales back in 2008, or maybe they sense an opportunity - as sales of physical media begin to dwindle. They haven't become the largest retailer on the planet by missing emerging trends. Anyone see a future for physical media?

What is the Magic Factor to Apple's Pricing?

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Talk" @ 09:00 AM

"The word is out. That cool Android-based iPad killer coming out from Motorola? The XOOM? It's going to set you back eight Franklins if you want to buy one. That's $800.00, 9,566 pesos, 881,000 won or 5,275 yuan, for those of you keeping track."

And at roughly $800.00 USD, that isn't a price point to compete with the iPad. This is especially true when you factor in the absence of WiFi on the device, and this article isn't the only one pointing this pricing problem out. But what went wrong here with Xoom and why aren't they able to get their pricing point to a level to compete with the iPad? One reason is the control of the Apple supply chain. Apple has been doing this for years, investing heavily in technology such as their own A4 chipset, and leveraging price points by buying in bulk. In fact, the prediction is that by 2012 they are expected to be the largest purchaser of semiconductor technology. Their strategic planning is such that they are able to buy in high enough quantities to bring down their cost per unit to a level that they still make a profit at the low end of the product line. Granted, as you move up the line of products they increase in price, some say too much, but you can't argue that there is still value there. Bottom line however, is that when you control the supply chain, you certainly control the price. The bigger question I have about this isn't about Apple, it's about the competition. Why aren't they doing the same thing? Is the bigger issue lack of foresight rather than supply chain control? What are your thoughts?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Apple Leaving Technically Challenged (US) Americans Behind?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 11:00 PM

"Rumors of boxed software leaving Apple Stores and Apple's push of the Mac App Store shows the company doesn't think we need to install software via optical media anymore. There's even a rumor that Apple may be ditching optical drives in the next MacBook Pro refresh and moving to a disc-less model that allows for thinner casings and larger batteries."

Interesting article, but it makes it sound like (US) Americans are the biggest technophobes (or Luddites) on the planet. According to US FCC information, 31 percent of all users have no interest in broadband or technology (lack of need), or are scared of technology. But, conversely, of the current US population of 310 million, this means that roughly 214 million people -do- care about, and use, technology. Quite a bit of "doom and gloom," if you ask me. Apple is noted as leading the rush to leave the technically challenged behind, but many manufacturers are leaving old technology behind, and jettisoning optical drives, large numbers of ports, modems, and even wired ethernet. But, what are we getting in return? Arguably more reliable computers, that cost a fraction of what they did way back when. I'll take the extra battery life over a DVD drive, thank you! When I can get a 16GB or 32GB flash drive for a couple bucks, why would I want to go back to the stone age days of CDs and DVDs? Can we stay competitive in today's world staying with old technology? In my opinion, no, but definitely a topic for further discussion.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Apple Ranking in Chinese Labor and Environmental Issues: Last

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"A consortium of 36 Chinese environmental groups has published a report (Chinese, PDF) that ranks Apple last among 29 multinational companies in terms of dealing with the environmental impact of its operations in China as well as the environmental impact of its activities."

Not looking particularly good here, Apple. Despite publishing their own report on supplier responsibility in 2010 (for 2009) that uncovered (and remediated?) a number of health and safety issues, this report states that Apple's record on labor and environmental issues appears less than stellar. These are vendors for Apple, and not corporate facilities, making me wonder just how much regard for the bottom line (and shareholder profitability) clashes with regard for health and safety. How much are Apple shareholders willing to spend to alleviate these concerns? Anything? Anyone have a guess?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Apple's Macbook Air 13 (2010 Model): The Future of Laptops?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Apple Laptops" @ 01:30 PM

This is my review video of the Macbook Air 13 (2010 model). This version has the 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n WiFi. It has no CD/DVD drive. The unboxing video can be found here; I kept this laptop for the full two weeks before returning it to Apple. Returning it was a hard decision, because there were so many things I liked about the Macbook Air. Read more...

Friday, December 31, 2010

What The Geeky Got for Gifts

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 05:30 PM

"If you got an iPad as a gift during the holidays, you certainly weren't alone. In a recent poll of holiday gift recipients, iPads accounted for a full 22.7% of all gadget or hardware gifts, making iPads the single largest category in our gift poll, outstripping the nearest runner-up by nearly 14% of votes. That runner-up was Amazon's Kindle - not surprising considering that the Kindle is the best-selling product in Amazon's history."

It's a relatively small sampling size - less than 2400 votes, and only from people who read Mashable - but among the geek-set, there are a couple of stand-out points: the iPad was the #1 gift, more people got Macs (60%) than Windows machines (40%), Android phones let the way in the smartphone category with a hefty 50.3% figure (iPhones were 30%), but Windows Phone 7 devices at 10.3% just eeked out Blackberry devices (9.4%). Not bad for a brand new platform that most people still haven't heard about! Lastly, the Xbox/Kinect one-two punch clobbered the PS3 with a 54.3% figure versus only 11.9% for the PS3. The Kinect really is driving the Xbox 360 to new heights of popularity!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Apple's Macbook Air 13 (2010 Model) Unboxing & First Impressions

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Apple Laptops" @ 07:00 AM

This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the Macbook Air 13. This is the maxed-out model has a 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n WiFi. It has no CD/DVD drive, two USB ports, no Ethernet port, a built-in microphone and Webcam, and a headphone jack. The slender (0.11-0.68 inch) profile weighs in at 2.9 pounds. The full specs can be found on the Apple site. Read more...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stunning Study Results: iPhone Users Use Lots of Data - Networks Struggling

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 12:00 AM

"As a new study shows the iPhone 4 to be a heavy bandwidth-consuming mobile device, European carriers are attempting to get Apple and other companies to invest in network improvements needed for data-heavy services."

Lots of numbers tossed-out in this article, but no real surprise that each new smartphone generation seems to use more bandwidth than previous generations. Carriers are struggling with bandwidth demands, and would love to have Apple and other content providers like Facebook and Google pay additional fees linked to usage, or "pay to play." It'll be interesting to see how (and if) this develops. Does it make sense to charge content providers based on network usage?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Business Smartphone Score: iPhone 23% - Rest 77%

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 11:30 PM

"While many people may think of the iPhone as a cool little gadget good for playing games and browsing the web, Apple's smartphoen (sic) is quietly making serious inroads into corporate America and threatening RIM's longtime stranglehold in the business market."

Interesting that the iPhone has captured nearly a quarter of the business smartphone market, according to these statistics from September 2010. As with all statistics, there are gotchas. This number only counts smartphones that are company-reimbursed, and misses anyone using a personal smartphone for business. But not bad considering that RIM has a decade head start. The story goes on to report that iDevices are making headway in large companies like Bank of America and Citigroup, and that JP Morgan Chase is planning to give an iPad to each investment banker for field use. All well and good, but in my travels (in a lot of airports and on a lot of airplanes), Blackberries still rule by a lot larger margin, but I am seeing lots of iPads amongst travelers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Apple: The Newest Corporate Darling?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 09:30 PM

"The LA Times posted an interesting story on the iPhone and iPad in business this weekend. In a nutshell, Apple is winning over many corporate converts because it is good enough as an emailing device but does so much more ..."

Interesting to think that more and more Apple devices are showing up as 'approved devices' in the enterprise. From iPhones to iPads to Macs, it is no longer a rarity to see an office with Macs alongside Windows computers, and iPhones and Blackberries living in relative business harmony. As devices gain enterprise capabilities, the old knock against Apple ('a device that we don't know how to support') is becoming ancient history. As the author states, the line between business and personal use is blurring - good riddance I say! Use what you like, and like what you use! So, what's in your office?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

AirPlay for Safari and Third-Party Apps in 2011?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 01:30 AM

"MacRumors is reporting that one of their readers emailed Steve Jobs to ask if Apple was ever going to enable AirPlay to stream videos from third-party apps or those embedded in a web page in Safari. Jobs answered:†"Yep, hope to add these features to Airplay in 2011.""

It seems that 2011 could be a breakout year for AirPlay, what with APIs scheduled to be released to developers. Will the flood gates open? With jailbreakers already having the capability of activating AirPlay for other devices, Apple can't be far behind. The ability to play/stream (almost) any content anywhere is a goal that seems reachable. I particularly like the idea of being able to stream music to my car's audio system.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Apple Teaser: Black Friday Sale?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple News" @ 10:30 AM

"Hold on to those order buttons, folks; Apple might be offering something good as the compnay joins the Black Friday shopping gig. Apple has unveiled the official teaser for this coming Friday's Black Friday event, inviting all of use to check out Apple online store to know which products are up for grabs at cheap prices."

Could it be a sale on Apple products? Or is it just clever marketing? My guess is that may be some small discounts, similar to what one would see at a retailer (Best Buy for example) selling Apple products. But who knows. In this tough economy, even five dollars off on something is helpful. BTW, if your company has an employee purchase plan (EPP) like corporateperks, it may be worthwhile to see if Apple is an included retailer, as generally the discounts at least offset the sales tax.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Mac is Back: Was it Ever Missing?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Talk" @ 11:00 AM

"Last month, Steve Jobs took to the stage, most likely for the final time this year, to launch a new version of iLife and new updates to the MacBook Air line. More importantly, he spent a lot of time talking about the product line as a whole, how the Mac and iOS platforms relate to each other and what the future of the Mac might look like with the next generation of OS X, now known as Lion. There's been a lot of speculation as to what the ramifications of all this are. Here's my take on what it all means."

An interesting view on where Apple may (or may not) be heading with hardware and software. The author makes several points:

  • The Mac is a not a hobby, it's a business. The Mac isn't going to go away anytime soon. There are things that need a computer and not an appliance. It's all about content creating and/or consuming. Photoshop on a iPad? I don't think so. Creating a video? Please, no.
  • Don't expect hardware convergence. The author thinks that a touchscreen Mac would be no better than a comparable Windows system. It's also about maintaining a true user experience and meeting expectations.
  • Don't expect platforms to converge either. Functionality will converge that make sense, otherwise not. Think again about content creation versus content consuming. It's all about the content - the end result.
  • Expect MacBook Air designs to sneak into other hardware. Specifically spinning hard drives will disappear slowly as the price of solid state storage drops. This enables simpler "state management." The computer is on or off. No more suspended, sleeping, resuming. Close the lid, open the lid. Desktops may be slower to converge.

Bottom line is (in the author's opinion) that the Mac is back. Personally I don't think that it was ever gone. Hardware and software will converge, somewhat, but I still expect the hardware will be classified as either "consuming" or "creating and consuming." As Apple has often stated, the user experience remains a priority. Imagine a 17-inch MacBook (or a Windows laptop) with a terabyte of SSD and 32GB RAM and the physical footprint of a MacBook Air! I can't wait!

Monday, November 15, 2010

MacBook Air: Best Laptop Ever!?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 04:30 PM

"I picked up a new MacBook Air a few days after it was first introduced and have been using it as my primary mobile computer since then. If you want to skip reading a long block of text, I'll get to the point. The new MacBook Air is the best laptop I've ever purchased or used."

Can't really say that I disagree here. My experiences with my smaller (11.6-inch, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD) MacBook Air are pretty similar. Astoundingly easy to carry around, although I don't think I'd get as extreme as the author - I don't want to carry it in a jacket pocket. Powerful? I've done some admittedly non-scientific performance tests against my new MacBook Pro with a Core i7 processor: simultaneously installing MS Office 2011 for the Mac, the MBA finished far ahead of the MUCH faster processor-equipped (but standard hard drive equipped) MBP. Of course, your mileage may vary. I expect that it'll be a great travel companion as well, but I haven't had a chance yet to test it out on an airplane tray table. Despite all the gnashing of teeth when the (only) 64GB SSD is mentioned, after installing everything that I need for (business) travel, I still have 40GB free. Even throwing on a movie or two and some music will not tax storage capacity. Coming from the days of floppy-only laptops, I find it a (fun) challenge to manage storage. This may not be everyone's best laptop ever, but it is for me! So far ...

Monday, November 1, 2010

The iPad from an Android Userís Perspective

Posted by Jeff Song in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 11:33 PM

Product Category: Tablet computer
Manufacturer: Apple
Where to Buy: Amazon (Affiliate)
Price: Starts at $499 USD for the WiFi 16GB Model; see the Apple website for other models.
System Requirements: Compatible with Mac and Windows; see the Apple website for requirements.
Specifications: 9.7” IPS display at 1024x768, 1GHz Apple A4 processor, 16GB internal storage; WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology, up to 10 hours of battery life.


  • Availability of apps;
  • Great battery life;
  • Smooth, fast interface;
  • Beautiful, easy to use screen.


  • No multitasking until iOS 4;
  • Empty space on the homescreen (widgets?);
  • Random Safari crashes.

Summary: As an Android user, the iPad offers a unique experience that is a different philosophy. The adjustment took a few days, but as I continued to use the iPad, I realized that it was meant to be used differently than a smartphone - it's far more of a companion device than a standalone device that is meant for casual consumption of information from all aspects of my digital life.


Friday, October 29, 2010

iPhone Tops BlackBerry in Worldwide Sales (2010 Q3)

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple News" @ 07:00 AM

"Apple has for the first time outpaced Blackberry-maker Research in Motion in global smartphone sales thanks to the success of its iPhone 4, a report said Friday.Industry tracker IDC said Apple sold 14.1 million iPhone units in the third quarter while Canada's Research in Motion shipped 12.4 million Blackberry devices."†

Interesting statistic. I am seeing more and more iPhones wherever I travel. However, it seems to me that the BlackBerry still rules in the corporate world. Just get on an airplane and count the numbers of (business-looking) people using BlackBerries, and then count the comparable number of iPhone users. No contest, in this admittedly unscientific poll. But, to put it all into perspective, of 340.5 million phones sold in this time period, Nokia sold 110.4 million, Samsung sold 71.4 million, with LG coming in a distant third at 28.4 million. Apple is fourth. I'm struggling to remember when I last saw an ad for a Nokia phone, but obviously however they're marketing their products is still working. Anyone out there own a Nokia phone?†

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Does the New MacBook Air Worry Microsoft?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 08:00 PM;inTheNewsNow

"Ordinarily, the release of a single ultraportable Mac should not be reason for Redmond to quake in its boots, but yesterday's announcements by Apple should give the Windows team plenty of reason to fear. It's not that the product itself will put that much of a further dent in Microsoft's still-massive share of the PC market. However, the product demonstrates some capabilities that the Mac now can offer that Microsoft would seem to have a tough time matching."

My guess is, no, they're probably a bit sorry that they didn't push harder (and sooner) on the SSD concept, but their market share remains overwhelming, so worry, probably not. The gauntlet has been thrown down. There -are- Windows-based laptops that match-up well with the new MacBook Air, when hardware is compared (the Sony Vaio X is mentioned). But, Mac OS X really gets a boost when run on an SSD. The instant-on (from sleep mode) really is instant. When I'm done with Windows, close the lid. Ditto for the Mac. Open the lid, both come back, the Mac almost immediately, Windows needs a bit more time to awaken.

As for building more 'iPad-like' features into the Mac, it's a good idea as long as the 'old ways' continue to work. Windows has had touch capabilities going way back as well, so as operating systems evolve, we can expect the distinctions to blur a bit. Witness BootCamp and virtualization. Admittedly one-way to this point, but maybe the Hackintosh community will succeed (and/or be commercialized).

The concept of an App Store for the Mac is intriguing. Anyone who has ever searched for software for the Mac or Windows (or Linux) knows how iffy the whole process can be. Bad code, Viruses, Spyware, Keystroke Loggers, ad nauseam, are rampant. A "trusted" source is really the Holy Grail of software, so of course Microsoft will follow. Again, who benefits besides Apple and Microsoft? All of us.

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