Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
Since Steve Jobs took the MacWorld stage by storm in 2007, launching the most revolutionary product this past decade has seen, the pursuit of a smaller, lighter and faster iPhone has been Apple's mantra. But making the incredible shrinking iPhone is not easy. Custom components, ever lighter weight materials married to a larger screen, while being superior in every way to it's predecessor are monumental engineering feats. Apple's competition gave up chasing the iPhone into the world of Lillputian's, instead opting for larger and easier. Apple may now be the only tech company remaining who has the ability to design devices that are iPhone small and powerful. It is this know-how that will soon become a huge Apple advantage.
In 2007 with the advent of the iPhone, everything changed. No longer was a mobile phone just a phone, but iPhone took the current smart phone category and turned it on its head. Palm Trio? BlackBerry Perl? These rapidly became Fisher Price toys. With the iPhone, you could do email from almost anywhere, but in a far more elegant and sophisticated way. You could also text, and surf the real web, or any number of things to communicate with others.
However, now in 2013 we now have the iPhone 5. Many have complained how the iOS has become stale and that Android is becoming the leader with its interface ideas. Whether that's true or not, one thing is certain: it is time to rethink how we are forced to use our iPhones. For example, if I want to call someone, first I have to launch the Phone app and then find them. If I want to text, I first need to launch Messages or if I want to email someone, I first launch Mail. But is this the best workflow in today's world? What if Apple were to change the iOS from app-centric approach to person-centric one?
Yesterday T-Mobile announced it will soon be the last of the U.S. cell phone carriers to sell Apple’s popular iPhone. Starting in April T-Mobile will sell the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4. T-Mobile also announced new calling and data plans specifically customized for the iPhone. While this is big news that T-Mobile will finally be selling the iPhone, what's more revealing is why they are selling the iPhone.
Since Apple and AT&T partnered in 2007, Verizon, then Sprint and now T-Mobile all realized that they were loosing subscribers to carriers who offered the iPhone. It didn't matter what other phones these carriers sold — Blackberry, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, LG and yes even Samsung — the math was easy to understand, without the iPhone in their lineup, subscribers were being lost.
Microsoft has been absent from the tech radar for some time, and it is for good reason. Steve Ballmer has systematically run Microsoft into the ground since he took over the tech giant for long-time friend Bill Gates. Windows Vista was two-years late, and a complete disaster. Tens of millions of customers clinged to their guns and Windows XP longer than could be imagined. Windows 7 was a pay to play bug fix for Vista.
After years of watching Apple and Google steamroll their way across uncharted territory, Ballmer has put on the full court press with the debacle that is known to us as Windows Surface and Windows 8. Despite all the backing by Gates, Ballmer's demise is nearly all but certain.
We all love it, the iPad mini. Its form factor makes it far easier to tote around than its larger sibling, the full size iPad. The iPad mini is lighter weight, can be held in one hand and does everything the iPad does. However, the iPad mini's one drawback is its display — it is not a retina display.
Maybe that doesn't matter so much for folks with good eyes like millennials. However, for older geeks like myself, being able to clearly read a web page, tweet or email without eye strain is very important. The lack of the iPad mini's retina display is the reason that all three of us at Three Guys and A Podcast have not purchased the iPad mini. Matter of fact it is the ONLY reason, and we don't think we are alone. We believe many others are sitting on the fence waiting for Apple to announce the iPad mini with retina display. Until then, we will just wait.
Episode 94, Upstream Supply Chain Guy: While Karl is away, Mark & Werner play T-GAAP high-tech trivia, then wax eloquent about the results of the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch, Digitimes iPhone 5 upstream supply chain rumors, T-Mobile's special event on to be held on March 26th, Johnny Ive being in charge of both hardware and software development, Apple's threat from no-name Chinese smart phone manufacturers, and Apple data centers using renewable energy. All this and much, much more in Episode 94: Upstream Supply Chain Guy
It seems since TIm Cook took the controls at Apple it's been one ho-hum Keynote after another. Whatever happened to the day when Steve Jobs would say, "... oh, and one more thing..." and then that thing would be revolutionary. I remember when Steve did this in 2007 at MacWorld with the iPhone. It was totally awesome. Then three years later he did it again with the launch of iPad. However, since 2010 Apple has released new versions of existing products, making them better and better, but nothing revolutionary.
Maybe you're like me and you have a relatively modern Mac. I bought mine in the Spring of 2011, but as you can see it was a late model 2010 MacBook Air. It lacks a few features the newer MacBook Airs currently sport: back-lit keyboard, new Intel iCore-series processors and a limit of only 4GB of RAM. But it works — matter of fact It works really well, however, one feature it lacks has bothered me since the day Apple released OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: It can't use Airplay.
A strange phenomenon is taking place in the world of mobile. Smartphones continue to move to ever-larger screens, while the world of tablets moves smaller. Will one device rule them all? Not likely. But in the realm of tablets, the iPad mini is taking control of the wheel, while the 10-inch iPad is rapidly taking a back seat. With the torrid pace of small tablet expansion, the iPad mini lineup and its pricing structure won't be far behind.
The Macbook Air was last updated on June 11, 2012. Recent history shows that Apple has been updating the MacBook Air every 9–12 months. That update cycle would lead to a March-June 2013 update range. The MacBook Air is still a major product for Apple, so look for them to follow the current update cycle.
One of the major new features obviously coming to the MacBook Air is a Retina Display. It is unlikely Apple can just drop the high-resolution display into the current Air, which suggests a major redesign coming as well.