The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking into whether it should open a formal investigation into whether Apple’s new music streaming service is illegal due to the way the Apple’s App store treats rival services. According to Reuters at the heart of the complaint is Apple charging $9.99 for their own streaming service, while competing services must pay Apple 30% of their pricing to Apple’s App Store. In order to compete with Apple’s $9.99 price, companies such as Spotify will only make $7, squeezing any margin out of the company, as 30% goes to Apple. But does this complaint have any meaningful merit?
Spotify has already complained of Apple’s practices to the FTC earlier this year, and it appears other competitors such as Deezer are also urging the FTC to open a formal investigation. But a larger issue beyond streaming music services may be become a prerequisite. Does Apple have a monopoly which it is leveraging to create additional monopolies?
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge was supposed to be the “next best thing” in mobile phones. Commercials have this device touting its curved-edge display that lights up the side-panels, illuminating in blue for Craig, green for Gavin and red for Ramona, with text and other such items displayed. Really? Moreover, Samsung continues their staccato plucked strings as background music, trying to add as much intrigue to their product as possible. All the background music does for me is to notify me it's time to change the channel.
Wander any mall in the U.S. and you will not see many people, let alone any lines, trying to get into a mobile phone outlet looking for the latest Galaxy. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 was to drive massive traffic to such stores, in an attempt to stem Apple's iPhone momentum. It hasn't worked.
May you all have a great 4th of July, celebrating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ~ T-GAAP.
IBM is chief sponsor of the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, the grass championships at Wimbledon, England. For two weeks even novice onlookers tune into Wimbledon, as it scrapes into the consciousness of mainstream sports reporting. IBM is center stage, breaking into every commercial break. Even if a casual TV viewer, one cannot help but notice IBM. But Big Blue does more than just sponsor the tournament, they provide real-time statistics and graphics revealing where players are hitting each and every ball, their service success, and ball angles and heights. With Apple and IBM well into their $100 million partnership, it would be more than obvious the chair umpires would be officiating each match using iPads. That assumption would be wrong.
Chair umpires are using a Panasonic tablet. Specifically, Panasonic's Toughpad, deploying Intel Core i-series processing and Windows 7 or 8. Hawkeye, the system used to track the ball and validates whether the ball is in or out, is not infallible. In fact, it deploys non-high-speed 2D cameras, which must then estimate that track of the ball. Not exactly infallible. Why aren’t Apple iPads in the umpire’s chair, seamlessly working with IBM’s cloud technologies? Why use legacy 2D cameras, that cannot handle an ounce of low-light conditions, instead of showcasing iPhone 6+ and 240fps recording for Hawkeye?
“Cord Cutter’s” are those who have stopped paying $100-260+ USD to cable and satellite companies for hundreds of network channels. It has been two years since I took the plunge and saved myself then $90/month. Mark, the other guy here at Two Guys and a Podcast, was a radical in this cause, never subscribing to cable or satellite services — ever. Both of us are avid sports fans. Both of us news junkies. Yet somehow we are able to get the sports we want and the news we need without these services. How? It’s called the internet.
Apple’s practice of not conducting focus groups or looking to the outside world to decide what products it will make and what features will, or will not be included, is well known. But then is Apple solely working behind closed doors in making decisions for the next amazing Apple products? No. Despite what you may think, Apple does look to understand the consumer, as I personally witnessed via an Apple email survey that arrived in my Inbox last week. The email obviously follows on the heels of my recent MacBook purchase.
After watching Craig Federighi give his presentation of OS X El Capitan, I must say the thing I am most waiting for is the transition from Open GL to Apple’s Metal. Apple’s website describes Metal this way:
“Metal is a new graphics core technology that gives games and apps near-direct access to the graphics processor on your Mac, delivering enhanced performance and a richer graphical experience. Metal speeds system-level graphics rendering by up to 50 percent, as well as making it up to 40 percent more efficient. Metal allows the main processor and graphics processor to work more effectively together, boosting high-performance apps.”
Eric Snowden's recent comments on Apple and whether Tim Cook is likely to keep his promises regarding privacy and data are, by and large, playing out as accurate. Snowden argued that it is in Cook’s best interest to differentiate Apple against Google and others by profiting on the sales of devices instead of people’s data. It makes for a good strategy and differentiator amongst the competition, and thus good for privacy. But what happens when Tim Cook is no longer the CEO of Apple?
According to JMP Securities technology analyst Alex Guana, Apple’s slow launch into the wearables market has left a large opening for competitor Fitbit. Guana claims Fitbit is the “clear leader in the market with over 11 million units sold last year.” Guana continued by saying that Fitbit is currently ahead of Apple Watch as far as price points, battery life and GPS tracking. However, he did concede that long-term, Apple can bring a lot of “power” with iOS and versatility. These Apple advantages will give Fitbit some serious competition.
One week removed from Apple’s WWDC it occurred to me that a few new faces took to the stage from Apple. Jennifer Bailey, Jimmy lovine and Susan Prescott — all relatively new members to Apple’s leadership team (albeit Iovine is not an Apple VP, but has great influence though the companies Beats acquisition).
Bailey is the Sr. VP at Apple in charge of Apple Pay, and while I had never heard her speak, nor had I seen her in video footage of any kind, Bailey was everything I expected her to be. Poised, polished, unflappable. There are not many people that can take to Apple’s stage on their first go and nail it — Bailey did. Amongst a large group of techie guys, she seemed to fit in just fine.