Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
The Mac App Store is leveling the playing field for developers. It does not matter if you are big or small, anyone can get on the front page of the Mac Store. No longer do developers need to pay big money for distribution partners and sales agents. While the Mac App Store continues to grow, so will those who have their applications in its store.
Applications now will compete on price, quality and feature set instead of back room deals and marketing agreements. Developers will still need to get the word out about their applications, but this will vary depending on how big the developer is.
According to Apple's track record, the iMac lineup is due for a refresh this spring. This update will focus on bringing the iMac up-to-date with the latest technology and prepare it for Lion 10.7. This will be a minor update, with a major one expected sometime around January 2012.
Apple has been updating their iMac line around every 8 months with major updates coming out every 27 months. The next iMac update is due out this March. The last major update was the 27" iMac which came out in October 2009. As Apple usually has one or two minor updates between their major releases. The last minor update was in July 2010. Although Apple has been known to update the iMacs more frequently, Apple is focused on a major update to the MacBook Pro line instead. This update will focus in on three areas: Sandy Bridge, SSD, and a high resolution display.
While the ads were made and paid for by two different companies, they both said the same thing — The iPhone 4 is the best phone on the market. Period.
Apple's ad features two iPhone 4's doing the exact same thing — communicating there are now two networks (AT&T and Verizon) for iPhone 4. While the ad is mostly true (Verizon's CDMA network won't allow you to talk and do data transactions at the same time), the commercial sticks with Apple's message continuing to assert the iPhone 4 is the best/only phone you should consider.
When Apple released OS X 10.0 one of the most controversial aspects of the new Aqua interface was the Dock. Back then the Dock wasn't as 3-D or reflective as it is today, but nevertheless, the Dock pretty much functions the same way it did on day one: you can enlarge it; you can shrink it; you can hide it; you can even move it to the left or right of your screen.
While the Dock has evolved over the past decade one has to wonder if Apple is letting history repeat itself with their icon designs for the Dock? It's almost as if they are in “thinking jail”, just like Jeff Goldblum proclaimed about all computer designs being “beige” when Apple introduced the first iMac.
AT&T is adjusting it's messaging pricing plans to be more competitive with Verizon this week. They are changing their $5/200 and $15/1500 messaging plans to one $10/1000 plan for the iPhone. Verizon has not given us any details on its messaging plans for the iPhone, but current subscribers pay $5/250 with $10/500 add-on package.
These new adjustments don't seem to make AT&T that much more competitive If you send a lot of text messages, AT&T always had a better plan. For those who don't send very many messages, AT&T is becoming even less competitive by upping the entry fee from $5 to $10 for the base package. AT&T's new plan would cost 1 penny per message. That may seem cheap until you look at the cost per bandwidth. Text messages are really just bits of data and should be charged by the byte instead of by the message.
According to Financial Times, Chinese environmental groups want Apple to improve pollution and health issues at factories building their products. They ranked Apple last in a list of 29 multinational companies in regards to how Apple responds to their inquires.
These Chinese environmental groups should be going after the factory owners instead of the multinational companies that buy the products. Apple does have a lot of leverage when working with its suppliers to improve workers conditions, but it should not be their job. If it is such a major concern, these groups should also be working with the government to help improve (government mandated) workers conditions. Without help from the government via laws, will these conditions really ever improve?
John Gruber of Daring Fireball came out with a big piece of news, claiming iPad 2 isn't likely to receive a retina display similar to that of the iPhone - don't place your bets quite yet.
Siting sources, Gruber believes the current iPad display (1024 x 768 resolution) is what will also be found on the iPad 2. Countering Gruber’s claims, Engadget maintains a retina display is coming to the iPad 2. So who should we believe? First, let’s start with a few facts, followed by some reasonably sourced information that delivers a different side of the story.
Mobile Pond has updated their Photogene for the iPad again. They fixed several bugs that caused a crash when viewing photos with IPTC data. They also added Dropbox to their list of export options. This is a big advantage for Photogene as Dropbox allows for seamless file transfer between the iPad and the Mac. For photographers looking for a way to leave their MacBooks at home, Mobile Pond just brought that dream a step closer.
Photogene still does not display all of the IPTC meta-data from Aperture, but the developers are looking into it and hopefully will have an update in the coming weeks. So far, this new update has been bug free. The developers have built a very nice app, yet there are some areas that could be improved.
Yesterday the world read about Steve Jobs "stepping back" from the day-to-day operations at Apple to tend to his health. Tim Cook, who took over for Steve when Steve took a leave of absence to fight pancreatic cancer, is back at the helm.
However, this time we have not been told what specific ailment has caused Steve to step back to focus on his health. Is it a return of the cancer? Is it a virus or bacterial infection (since his immune system may be weak)? We don't know. What we do know is that Jobs will keep his CEO status and remain involved with Apple at the strategic level but not the day-to-day. Yesterday in Germany the knee-jerk reaction to this news dropped AAPL 8%. Today in the U.S. the reaction is similar, but also somewhat muted.
Apple may be preparing a massive move that will propel Safari from niche browser to market leader. The move to merge Safari and iTunes into one software solution appears long in the works, which may arrive this fall at Apple's usual iPod special event.
Apple acquired the streaming music services company, lala, for $80 million in December 2009. The purported purposes for such an acquisition was for Apple to spearhead the way towards taking iTunes towards an online service, accessible via any browser, and away from a desktop software solution. That may no longer be the case.