from November 2010
Mobile carriers in the UK — 3, T-Mobile and Orange — are providing iPads through a subsidized model, perhaps as early as year’s end. Fresh on the heels of the UK carriers, Japan's mobile provider Softbank has just announced a subsidy program for iPad. Apple's competitors, who have been unable to compete pound-for-pound with iPad's pricing, thought they had found Apple's soft underbelly via the carrier subsidy model; however, it appears Apple is more than willing to play the same game, but that's where Apple stops playing fair.
|iPad Subsidies in the U.S.?|
|The subsidy model is quickly launching in other regions across the world, so this begs the obvious question: When is it going to happen in the US?|
The UK carriers are taking an agressive approach, bring iPad to the masses for around £199, with a two-year subscription. But in Japan Softbank's approach is nothing short of stunning, offering the iPad for free, with a two-year contract.
When Steve Jobs introduced us to Lion (OS X 10.7) back in October, there were a few items that were certainly interesting to note:
Lion OS X 10.7 Lion will be the next giant step away from computing as we have known it for the past 25 years.
- Lion is a move away from the Finder — The Finder was Apple's original way of helping us technical neophytes understand directory structures and files. It is clear that Steve wants to move to the next step which is to make us less dependent on files and where they are stored. Instead we are just use them in the appropriate application. For example, think of Mail.app. Do you deal with files per se? No, you are dealing with an App called Mail.app and it helps you organize "files" called E-mails. A better example is iPhoto. Few of us rarely ever see the actual files in iPhoto but instead manipulating those files through the application. Never must one go to ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/ and so on. My bet is Steve would like to make our computing day file-and-directory-structure-free. Apps just handle everything for us, in a more useful way.
- Lion is a move away from the Dock — We were introduced to the Dock (in its current form) with OS X 10.0 (sure there were previews of it in OS 9 and 8). But the Dock is limiting. There are only so many items one can fit on the Dock until it becomes so small that you need a magnifying glass to understand what is in there. You should see Mark (Guy #1's) dock. It is so small and so busy, only he can use his computer. If you think about it, the iOS has a dock, but it is far more flexible and far more customizable... yes the main screens (or windows) we swipe through to find,.... what? Apps. See the previous point. Apps become center stage and Lion will make this more evident.
- Lion will make files, not apps, cloud-centric — In Lion expect to see that auto-save also means auto-save to the cloud. For those of you who use IMAP as your e-mail protocol or MobileMe (based on IMAP), you can quickly picture how all files could work that way — not just e-mail. This makes sense with Apple's massive data center in North Carolina. So with Lion I can work on a presentation, then continue when I get on the plane with my iPad.... because all files are synced (like IMAP e-mail). Apps on the other hand are not. They must be installed on each device. In the future, I'm sure if you buy an app for the Mac (through the App Store) it will also have an iOS flavor as well (like iWork does).
A lot more is in-store for us with Lion. Steve said he only had a limited amount of time to share with us some key features. What I think that really meant is he wasn't quite ready to reveal the massive change (and improvements) Lion will bring to our computing lives. Lion will be the next giant step away from computing as we have known it for the past 25 years.
Apple, Inc. the darling of the consumer industry, adored the world over, yet hated by others. But it isn't the consumer that's fallen out of love with Apple. Just look at Nielsen's latest iPad is number one survey if you have any doubts. Apple's enemies live in the corporate space. Large tech and service-based companies that once scoffed at Apple being nothing more than niche player are lining up in droves to bash Apple in the public square.
With success come enemies — and for Apple list grows long:
When September rolled around and we revealed Apple would likely hold a Special Event in October, revealing the all-new MacBook Air, we felt a wee bit apprehensive in doing so. At Three-Guys-And-A-Podcast we can't say we feel any less squeamish about looking forward to Apple's next Mac hardware special event either, but here we go again...
|January 2011||New iPad|
|April 2011||All New Mac Book Pros + Final Cut Pro Update|
Since Apple has quit attending the MacWorld trade show, MacBook Pro launches roughly follow a fall or spring release schedule. This year proved to be different due to the MacBook air being the major Mac focus for the fall/winter timeframe. January will likely be reserved for Apple's annual iPad refresh. This leaves April as Apple's launching point for the all-new MacBook Pro design. We don't believe this will be a simple refresh of the MacBook Pro, rather, Apple will deliver an all-out redesign, the big brother of the MacBook air.
News Corp and Apple are teaming up to bring you an iPad only newspaper called The Daily. It will push content throughout the day and cost $99 a week. The content will be exclusive to the iPad as it will not be available online or in print.
If News Corp was developing this type of application alone, I might question how successful it will become. The fact that Apple is also working on this application almost insures that this will be successful. Apple will not only bring its marketing power to bare, but also their application development know how. This should be a great looking application if nothing else. Rupert Murdoch is fully behind the iPad and this application, so he should be putting some good editors and writers on this project. Will those writers know what to write for a publication with a limited amount of viewers, especially at the beginning? We will have to see what the content is looks like to find out. Either way, it is an interesting experiment to see if people will pay for news content.
If you haven't seen T-Mobile's latest television ad campaign you will, as they're running it heavily. Multiple versions of the campaign have already aired and it seems to be a campaign T-Mobile will be fixed on for some time.
Unfortunately for T-Mobile the ad smacks of desperation. It is a cheap knock-off of Apple's award-winning "Hello I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" campaign, but in this rendition, T-Mobile plays the good looking hipster, and the iPhone with AT&T is the dumb and dumber tandem.
Watching Microsoft open their latest store (luck number seven to be exact) in Bellevue, WA on Thursday was quite a display. It reminded me of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney's Say, Say, Say video. If you're too young to know what I speak of, Michael and Paul pull into an unsuspecting town in the 30's or 40's, and excite the crowd with a new magic elixir that will make the weakest man strong or heal an aching back, you know, infomercial stuff.
Watching Microsoft's "customers" consist mostly of teen girls for Miley Cyrus tickets, mixed with a few Microsoft loyalists really started to make me queazy, and it brought me to realize exactly what this store is:
RIM has a video up on their YouTube channel showing that the iPad is slower than the Playbook in browser performance. Now, I would like to go and look at this playbook and see how it compares, but the Playbook is not available. Basically it is still vaporware, so until RIM actually starts selling this Playbook, it really does not matter. Now the Playbook is supposed to come out sometime in the second quarter 2011 and have a sub $500 price. We should really wait until RIM has a shipping Playbook before performance tests are conducted. It would be better for RIM just to demo the cool new features instead of trying challenge their competitors with vaporware products.
The tests do seem accurate on my ipad, although I find it interesting that the Playbook is being compared to a current generation iPad. When we know that a new version of the iPad is coming out sometime in first quarter of 2011. From the tests, RIM is only comparing the browsers and not any of the other applications. They don’t show battery life either. All of the test shown in the video are performance based tests except for the Acid3, which test web standards. It is expected that the Playbook, with its 1GHz ARM processor, would bet the old iPad. As far as the Acid test goes, Safari mobile may not be pixel accurate, but Safari for the mac is. I am sure by the time the Playbook ever comes out, Safari Mobile will be just as good as the Playbook. The Playbook uses webkit for browser rendering, which is the same as Safari and Chrome. I don’t see an advantage here for RIM.
Does RIM think Apple will not update their iPad before the Playbook comes out? No, they know a new version of the iPad is coming out soon. They need to show some advantage over the iPad, so they better do it now, with the first generation model. It certainly will not be screen size, as the Playbook looks tiny compared to the iPad. They know, when the second generation comes out, they won’t have an advantage. They released this demo in hopes it will prevent people from buying iPad and waiting for the Playbook if it ever comes out. I guess RIM needs to trick consumers in buying a Playbook instead of an iPad. Why not just build a better product?
They may have demoed the browser, but what about some of the other applications that will be available. Did they demo any of those? So RIM tried to find something that the Playbook an advantage of over the iPad, and this was it? They could only find faster browser performance and Acid3 tests as the best advantages for the Playbook, a vaporware product, over a first generation iPad? It does not look good for the Playbook, they may need more time.
As you can see, the Playbook is no iPad killer. Just like the Samsung Tab is no iPad killer. If a real iPad competitor does emerge, it will need to dominate these hopefuls in order to get enough developers on board. Without developers, a tablet is dead in the water. Tablets need developers far move than smart phones do. My guess Android will be the OS, but Android will not be tablet ready for at least another year. So we won’t see a true competitor for the iPad for at least another year. That gives a whole another year for Apple to keep improving their iOS. The longer Apple gets, the harder it will become to compete with them.
When Apple's home page post declared an event for Tuesday morning, with visuals suggesting this would be an event the entire world should tune into, it quickly had many on edge. Would this event, tagged with the comment "Come back tomorrow for an exciting announcement from iTunes" finally deliver the iTunes cloud or backup technology we've been waiting for, or perhaps something far better?
No. Not even close.
In October Apple introduced us to the all-new MacBook air lineup through a special event held at Apple's Cupertino campus. But Apple's MacBook air event was not the typical show Apple had held in the past. Oh sure, Steve was on stage with his great looking presentation, and the message was filled with Apple's typical "amazing" and "stunning" venacular, but there was one little addition; the event was streamed.
Today Apple unleashed a special event for tomorrow morning, 7 AM Pacific, as a live stream. Double expresso mandatory.