Apple News, Analysis and Podcasts
Today, Google announced Chrome OS for the third time. Chrome OS essentially turns your browser into an operating system. Everything you do, you do it online including accessing your files. It basically turns your shiny new computer into a dumb terminal for the web. All of your files are on the internet or what many refer to as the cloud. I could see certain business applications that could take advantage of this browser based operating system. For most users though, this does not seem like a realistic operating system. The browser is one of the main applications we use on a daily basis. But to remove the rest of the applications makes for a very limited computing environment.
Most people who live in the real world go in and out of internet coverage. Why limit your computing time to just those times you have coverage. In large businesses, that is not a big deal because they have plenty of bandwidth to the internet. But this is a major disadvantage to the browser only computer system for everyday users. When you go out of internet coverage, like on an airplane, you lose access to those files. Unlike big businesses, most users still don't have fast internet access to their homes. Even those who have fast internet speeds, their desktop application are still much faster. Total cloud computing is not realistic in the real world.
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Microsoft has been the golden child of the tech industry for a long time. And while there is no need to deeply rehash the last 30 years (we've all lived it or read about it ad nauseam), here is a quick recap before covering what's in store for Microsoft this decade:
- 1980's: DOS/PC revolution
- 1990's: Windows and Office revolution
- 2000's: Microsoft has no revolution
- 2010's: Microsoft cannot make up lost ground. The rest of the tech industry moves on.
- Desktop software continues to take a back seat to mobile solutions.
- Microsoft delivers Windows Phone 7, a product that holds no relevance in the marketplace. Win Phone 7 fails. Consider it the Kin III.
- Consumer and business mobile device markets continue to explode. Microsoft cannot keep up with Apple, Google, RIM and HP.
- IE continues to have it's market-share eroded, falling below 50% by 2015 with a sub 5% in mobile share. Silverlight becomes irrelevant in the face of HTML 5 and mobile apps.
- Microsoft is relegated to server and .net database solutions.
- Microsoft becomes the new IBM. A silent company working in the background of corporations and backbones, nothing more.
The year 2011 is looming over Redmond and tablets are poised for explosive sales. Whether you buy into Piper Jaffray's 40 million 2011 tablet shipment figure (23.2 million million of them iPads), or Gartner's rosy looking 54.4 million figure, the point is well made - 2011 is the year of the tablet and Microsoft is nowhere to be found. Unlike iPods and iPhones, tablets will make a profound impact on Microsoft's Windows stronghold.
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It's almost that time of year again, and you have no idea what to get that Apple Fanatic in your circle. Fear not, T-GAAP has put together a quick list of Nine Smart Apple Stocking Stuffers (three from each of us):
||While this might cost more than a traditional stocking stuffer, it's sure is the right size!
|Belkin Video Stand
||Give your friend's iPhone a proper place on their desk.
||Start out the new year with the up-to-date version of Apple's digital lifestyle suite.
||The “new” way all the hipsters are now working with their Macs.
|Apple Magic Mouse
||If you’re gift recipient is more traditional, then get them the best mouse — ever.
|Apple Wireless Keyboard
||Unless you are giving to an accountant, fear not in losing the keypad, this is a great keyboard.
|Bower & Wilkins MM-1 Speakers
||Nothing says "Yes, I'm rich, and want you to know it" better than these great sounding speakers.
|Moshi Universal Media Reader
||The perfect gift for the Mac user who wants to clutter their life by clinging to physical media formats.
|Apple Battery Charger
||Stay Green and Save Green with Apple's AA Battery Charger
Be sure to let us know your favorite Stocking Stuffer or add to the list with a comment below. Prices are list USD.
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In business there is nothing like having enough cash to do what you want to help your business grow. Whether that is hiring key talent, purchasing new equipment or buying out a competitor, having money in hand is important. Matter of fact the number one reason businesses don't make it past year #1 is cash flow. Having enough “walking around money” to take advantage of key opportunities that may only happen once is a critical factor to a business' success.
Fortunately, Steve Jobs and Company know this all too well. Almost every financial quarterly conference call contains a question about, "What is Apple going to do with their billions in cash?"
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Everything seems to be going right for Apple lately. iPods appear to be selling stronger than conventional wisdom had believed, iPads are in the midst of a large growth curve, and Mac sales continue to eat away at PC market share, quarter, by quarter, by quarter...
There are two areas that would stop Apple from making such a move. No matter what size of sales increase, iPhone's gross margin would take a hit and Wall St. is already wary Apple's recent decline in this area. Secondly, Apple's brand is delivered through their product's perceived value, not cheap price points. If the Verizon effort stalls, and Apple believes they need to make a move, Steve Jobs could pick up the red phone and give the order, leaving Android's hardware vendors running for cover.
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I remember back when I was in college having to log into a workstation or a mainframe through a dummy terminal. Mainframes and workstations dominated the computer industry and were big and expensive. If you wanted to use a computer, you had to use one of these. By the time I graduated, that had all changed. Personal Computers were cheap enough to not only fill a computer lab, but also for students to even own one. Intel and the x86 processor helped to start this computer revolution. The x86 processor brought computers down to an affordable level. The personal computer was much slower than a mainframe or workstation, but they were also much cheaper and fast enough to do the basic things. The personal computer (or PC) began to dominate over these more expensive mainframes and workstations. You can still buy Mainframes today and they are still much faster than personal computers, but they are only used where they need that extra processing power. Intel has come to dominate the personal computer market for processors. Apple used to use the PowerPC chip, but recently move to Intel due to lack of performance with the PowerPC. AMD still makes a drop in replacement for Intel's x86 chip, but most computers still come with an Intel chip inside. The prices for their chips range from as little as $100 all the way up to almost $900 per chip. That is nothing compared to mainframes which start out around $400K.
You may be wondering why I am taking this trip down memory lane. Well, history is about to repeat itself with a new player — who is not really all that new — ARM. ARM originally stood for Acorn RISC Machine. ARM processors are used in all kinds of imbedded devices from smart phones to digital video recorders or DVRs. Acorn Computer Ltd started making the ARM processors back in 1983. Apple got involved with the ARM chip back in the 1980s and Acorn spun off their partnered project into another company called Advanced RISC Machines Ltd. Apple then used these new ARM chips in the Apple Newton PDA, the first real mobile computer. Later, the company changed the name to ARM Ltd. ARM began licensing their chip in the early 2000's. The ARM chips have continued to be developed over the years, getting more powerful, yet still are very power efficient.
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A quick note — we've started to include Show Notes for each podcast. This will help you keep score at home while listening on your favorite iOS/Mac device.
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Ever struggle with having to visit many websites to keep up on the news you like to read? Well, there is a great solution to this problem that helps you review all the news you want quickly and efficiently. It is RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication and it is a way to get feeds of news items from lots of websites. An RSS reader pulls RSS feeds from multiple sources that you would like to follow into one place so that you can see what is new on a number of sites in one location. You can view this new content either individually like emails or as a list. Each item contains a title, full or partial text, and meta data about the new content or item. RSS documents or feeds usually come from sites with posts or articles like blogs or news websites. RSS feeds are the main way I view new content from the internet.
For the Desktop, I use the Google Reader web service as my news reader on the Mac. Google Reader is free with a google account. The best part about Google Reader is the expanded list version. Most RSS readers show each item in a feed separately, like an inbox. This makes it difficult, because you have to click on each new item to see or read the new content. You also have to click on each item to tell the application that you have read the new item, which takes a lot of time if there are a lot of updates you have no interest in reading. With Reader, each item is displayed with both title and content in a scrollable list or feed. The newest items are on top and the oldest items are at the bottom. As I scroll through the content, Reader marks those items as "read". When I come back later, Reader will show me any new content that has been added to the feeds plus whatever I didn't read from my last visit. Reader will not show me the content I have previously read. So I always get new content without the fuss of clicking on anything. It takes very little time to scroll through new content and skim to find anything that I am interested in reading.
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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.
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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:
App Store was a Lion Feature but will be available four-five months before Lion is released — We should mark our calendars for January 20th, which will be 90 days since Jobs' announcement. Will Apple will release iWork 11 on that date and make it available only via the App Store? Expect Apple to move this way to make their Apple Store shelves less filled with software (I mean how many iPhone Apps can you buy at an Apple Store? Answer: Zero) and more filled with accessories and Mac/iPhone gear that is tangible.
|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.
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