from December 2010
Apple's upcoming Mac App Store will open for business the first week of January 2010. This new Mac OS X feature was announced by Steve Jobs on October 20th and was said to be released within 90 days. Apple is keeping its promise.
"The Mac OS X App Store will be a huge boon for smaller developers," says Steve Barham — CEO of Urban Anomaly. "The Mac OS X App Store makes it so we can now port our applications to the Mac and not have to worry about costly, physical distribution. We can continue to focus on making great apps," added Barham.
Not too long ago Apple started building a new sales model. Apple made a shift when selling a new iPhone, as they continued to offer the dated version of the iPhone, but at a lower price point. The forthcoming iPad 2 launch is believed to be no different.
Apple first started this sales model with the release of the iPhone 3GS at $199, while the iPhone 3G stayed in the lineup, dropping to $99. Apple repeated this product positioning with their iPhone 4 launch, slotting the iPhone 3GS to $99. How successful has this sales model been? Apple never reveals a breakdown of iPhone sales by model, delivering only a total number of iPhone sales per quarter, but iPhone 3GS is AT&T's third best selling smart phone (coming in behind a Samsung Android and the number one selling iPhone 4).
One of the advantages of having an iPhone or iPad is to stay connected while away from the computer. Out of the box, the iPhone comes with email, calendar, and a web browser to help. There are many more ways to make the iPhone or iPad more valuable. Here are some essential iOS applications that can be used to stay in touch while out and about. All of these have both an iPhone version and an iPad version.
Staying connected means having your files wherever you go. Apple does not provide a solution yet, but Dropbox does. It will sync seamlessly in the background to all of your computers. When you are away from a computer, the app allows access to all the files in the Dropbox folder on any device. A good example of a use for this is to bring along a hiking map in Dropbox, instead of toting the whole hiking book along on the trip. Dropbox does come with disadvantages, since it is not a full featured file browser like Finder. Many of the standard Finder tools like "rename", and "file move" have not been added. Even with these issues, Dropbox is still the only solution giving you access to your files on the computer anytime, anywhere. Dropbox is free with a 2GB storage limit.
One thing not found at One Infinite Loop is mediocrity. Since Steve Jobs returned to Apple their success has been built upon designing and executing excellence. Excellence is found in the iOS — an OS designed just for touch systems. Excellence is found in the Mac Book Air with its super thin sleek design, long-lasting battery life and solid state drive. No matter what Apple product you consider, that product has excellence built-in.
|It’s just an App, right?|
|Facebook has the potential to do to what Microsoft did to all Windows PC manufacturers — turn all computer hardware into a commodity.|
Another way to state this is that Apple does not manufacture commodities. A commodity is an item that can't be distinguished from a competitor's product except for by price, delivery or something that has little to do with the product itself. For example, the Windows PC quickly became a commodity. Speeds and price were the only real differentiators, but in essence, one Windows PC was just like the next one. This commoditization significantly reduced the value of the PC Manufacturer while it raised the value of the Operating System. Apple was able to avoid being seen as "just another PC" by making its products different — better and special — through hardware innovation, design and software integration.
|Never Designed for Touch|
|The Windows interface does not work with a pen let alone a finger... Steve Ballmer may like his strategy, but the consumer does not.|
Trying to fit a desktop operating system in the tablet will never work. These tablets require a new operating system built around its touch display and power sipping processors. Microsoft has been trying to fit Windows into a tablet since 2001. Each time they have tried and failed. The last Windows tablet was the HP Slate, which topped out at 9,000 units sold. These HP Slates could not compete with the iPad three months ago, why does Microsoft think that these new ones will? It may still be up for debate whether Windows belongs on a desktop, but we know that it does not belong on a tablet.
The New York Times is reporting that Microsoft will be coming out with new tablets next month at CES. Before the iPad was released, Microsoft had almost no competition and they still failed. Now these new tablets will have to compete against the iPad. Apple has sold more tablets than anyone else combined. When these new tablets are released, the failures of Windows on the tablet will be obvious when compared to the iPad.
|But Apple changed the game with iPod, offering a vertically integrated solution which married hardware, software and content into one seamless ecosystem.|
It's no secret people move in packs. Whether populations migrate to new continents or flocking to malls on Black Friday, it makes no difference, the masses will follow each other over cliffs if the herd moves that way.
Technologies that win the day are not lost on human behavior either. VHS vs Betamax, Windows versus Mac OS or the air-popper vs the superior oven roasted Whirly-pop popcorn, the masses consistently find themselves settling for the lowest common denominator as "good enough" often defeats better or best.
In this day and age parents are extremely cautious when letting children use computers. Most computers are connected to the internet and for curious children whose nature it is to explore and discover, it doesn't take long to find something inappropriate or dangerous — either intentionally or unintentionally. However, who would have though letting a child use an iPad to play a game — downloaded for free — would end up draining your bank account?
|Problems in Toyland|
|For Apps that target children Apple needs to make In-App purchases require a password all the time.|
That's what Kelly Rummelhart of Gridley, California found out the hard way. According to the Washington Examiner, Kelly let her four year old son play a game on her iPad called "The Smurf's Village". While the game is free to download, the game allows (and encourages) the purchase of "Smurfberries" and other virtual items to help you do better in the game — with real money! This is all possible because of Apple's updated SDK that allows developers to create In-App purchases. This SDK enhancement makes it easier for App developers sell more features inside their App with just a couple of taps.
The biggest weakness of the iOS platform right now is the lack of a user accessible file structure. Without a file structure or Finder app, iOS devices can not be a complete mobile platform. Right now, Apple tells us that files should be stored in applications on the iOS. This may be fine in the short term, but over time Apple's current file strategy will turn into frustration as users try in vain to access all their files. There needs to be a place to store, edit, and transfer those files from application to application. Organizing files into folders is a must on any computer platform. Without a directory structure, all those files will turn into a mess. Even Google's Gmail, which was supposed to be all about search, now has folders. So, we all must hope that the current app file storage is only a stop gap until Apple comes up with AirFinder for the iOS. This new AirFinder must be designed specially for today's mobile user. You don't just create, edit, and store your files on a single iOS device anymore. The files need to move with you as you go from device to device. This new Finder needs to sync between all of you computer platforms seamlessly, in the background. AirFinder will allow you to access these files at anytime and anyplace.
The strongest crop of productivity applications in the App Store right now have either added Dropbox or are planning to add it. Why is Dropbox so popular on iOS? It allows seamless transfers between your iOS devices and any other computer or device you have from Macs to PCs. This is exactly what a mobile user is looking for. With Dropbox, you don't need to sync your iPad or iPhone with iTunes to get your latest files. All your latest files will be accessible via the Dropbox cloud service. This turns the iPad into a major productivity device saving tons of valuable time. It is not only good for productivity, but also for application preference syncing as well. I use 1Password by Agile Web Solution for password and private data storage. Dropbox allows me to sync that data between all my devices in the background. I no longer have to manually sync my valuable data between devices or even remember which device has the latest files. The list of uses for Dropbox can go on and on. Since Dropbox is not part of the OS, it does come with many disadvantages. One of those being, you have to add it your apps to use it.
On October 3rd, Target revealed it would be selling iPads. Within weeks of Target's announcement Walmart and Sam's Club (a member of the Wal-Mart corporation) began selling iPads. A natural assumption would be that Costco would also be selling iPads in the near future, but that is not what has transpired.
Not only is Costco void of iPads, but iPods are not longer available at Costco — replaced with SanDisk Sansa MP3 players. Costco Wholesale has carried iPods for years, often prominently displayed in their Majors Department near the entrance of their warehouses. Target, Walmart and Sam's Clubs are now selling iPads and iPods, while Costco has been left out in the cold.
Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, reportedly stated at the Barclays Capital investor conference "It is fashionable to write off the PC about every three or four years, and it just doesn't die." On the surface, the comment seems dead wrong. It would appear Intel's CEO should be preparing for early retirement, but Otellini went on to describe what a PC actually is. "The PC you bought 15 years ago looks nothing like the one you have today," he said. Paul went on further to discuss notebook and netbook growth, promoting Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture.
Mr. Otellini discussed tablets and how they interact with laptop designs, and this is when his view of the marketplace veered off course. "I don’t think, at the end of the day, tablets are cannibalizing it. They are not replacements for notebooks. They are a competitor for discretionary income disposition. So you walk into Best Buy and you’ve got $400 burning a hole in your pocket, or in the case of the iPad, $600 burning a hole in your pocket, and you want to buy something cool for Christmas for your wife or kid or something. It’s a competitor."