from May 2013, Products
Is Apple about to break the Babe Ruth rule of doing one thing, and doing it well? That is very likely to be the case with Apple delivering a larger screen iPhone, but all eyes are on WWDC and whether or not Apple will also be showing off a summer iPhone 5S update to the market.
Steve Jobs was against a multiple device mobile lineup, and felt his simplified ideal should be the only way Apple approached the market. But Jobs isn't in charge anymore, and it appears Tim Cook is setting the sails towards filling out the iPhone lineup with multiple screen sizes.
Unless you've been living under a rock the past few months, it has been virtually impossible to escape Microsoft's Surface ad campaign. TV, the web, and probably soon, radio and direct mail Surface SPAM will be entering your life. The Redmond software giant is using a massive portion of it's $1.5 billion advertising budget to promote Surface. However, advertising budgets do not equal sales, something that Microsoft does not seem to understand. Surface sales continue to fail even the lowest of expectations.
Microsoft launched the Surface under a campaign known as "The Surface Movement" containing youth oriented Dubstep music, with young and attractive business professionals, all dancing with Surface tablets. This ad campaign failed miserably, so Microsoft is trying a new approach. This week the campaign shifted to an all out attack on Apple's iPad. Two ads have been released so far, but they are attempting to use Apple's ad format in an effort to discredit the iPad as limited and dated when compared to Surface. The main issue with these ads is they approach the viewer as if it were 1990, assuming the public is truly ignorant about what make tablets work.
Apple, Inc's World-Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) is fast approaching, and while Apple CEO Tim Cook has allued to having no new hardware arriving until this fall, software will be the big focus for Apple's annual developers event. A new version of Apple's mobile iOS and desktop OS X software is going to be shown, but perhaps more important than these fundamental pieces of Apple's ecosystem is iCloud. The future of computing, how we access and manipulate data is rapidly moving to server-side solutions, or "cloud" architecture, and Apple has been falling behind its competition at a rapid rate.
Google and others have taken an aggressive approach in developing a wide array of cloud services and tools, wasting little time in building robust ecosystems. Google, clearly out in front with an impress user base, has built a formidable Microsoft Office competitor in Google Docs. But Google's cloud platform has gone well beyond email or users loading and creating documents stored online. Google's entire cloud platform covers development for data mining, custom cloud storage, Enterprise search and much more.
What the next version of AppleTV will look like or whether it will even be called AppleTV (some rumors think it will be called iTV) is anyone's guess. Mark Reschke has postulated that the next AppleTV will include a 60" screen and be 4K. It is not a far fetched idea, if Apple can keep the price down so mere mortals can afford one. Apple surprised everyone with the incredibly low introductory price with the original iPad. They certainly could do this for a 4K HDTV too.
Yet another feature rumored to be on the horizon for the next generation AppleTV is Siri. Siri would change the way people interact with their TVs. Instead of looking for that silly remote that likes to hide between couch cushions and run away to rooms far, far away, you could just use your voice to control what show or movie plays on your TV. However, a big feature no one seems to be talking about, that would be huge, is Game Center for AppleTV.
Google announced a slew of new services at its I/O developers conference today. Many of these services are new from Google, but they are not new to the market place. The company showed their continued march to integrating as much as possible into Google+, clearly taking aim at converting Facebook users to Google+ users. But the overall results of Google's announcements were very Microsoftian, being late to the table with little to differentiate their products from others already in the market with well established solutions. The show seemed more tailored towards Google fanboys, and the fact they should give up Pandora or Facebook simply because Google now offers their own also ran products.
Photoshop is the best image editor on the market. It is being used in a vast number of professions, from medical imaging to 3D graphics. Will that change with Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which has change the way users purchase Photoshop? Under Creative Cloud, users no longer purchase the software, but rent it for $240 a year. For many users, this price is just too expensive.
Users who can’t afford, or don't want to spend $240 a year for Photoshop are now looking for alternatives. This is a difficult task as there are really no feature-to-feature competitors to Photoshop. Yet most people looking for an alternative do not use all of the features of Photoshop. The following is a list of possible alternatives for some users and how it can replace Photoshop.
Adobe has been changing the way their customers can buy their software lately. During the past decade, users of Adobe's software were stretching out their upgrade cycles, choosing to forego every single update, as the costs didn't justify, and the new features were not that compelling. Many were upgrading only when a major OS or hardware change required them to do so. When Creative Suite 6 came out, Adobe told its customers that they would only be able to upgrade from one version back instead of 3 or 4. This meant users could not upgrade every other version, doubling the cost for many.
Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion gave Mac users some parity with iOS users through the introduction Notification Center. OS X Notification Center is a non-intrusive way of alerting Mac users of incoming messages, like emails, appointments and OS X updates, through badges or alerts. Badges are little notifications that appear in the top right corner of the screen for five seconds then slide away. While the badge is still present, one can click it and be transported to the specific application and particular message. Alerts are a little more intrusive as they require action to be taken (close, open) before they disappear.
The idea behind Notification Center is to let the user know that a new message has come in, but not to disturb the current work flow. Notification Center also has a side bar to the right that allows for viewing of several different notifications, from different apps, all at once. That said, Notification Center has much growing up to do, and below are some suggestions we have for Notification Center in OS X 10.9:
The Mac OS is a mature operating system. It is a good looking and clean interface that stays out of the way so users can focus on their work. The gradient gray interface minimizes distractions while shadows create depth for better window separation, but with all these great features, there is still room for improvement.
There still are many ways Apple can improve how the OS interacts with the user. One of those areas is spotlight. Spotlight is great for searching for items on the computer in real-time, and it is lightening fast with solid state storage, yet Apple could make it so much better.
Apple added Siri to the iOS, creating an easy way for users to search and perform tasks without the need for an on screen keyboard. With Siri, Apple basically created a smart operating system. While Siri is still limited, it shows the direction for the future of operating systems beyond mobile. For Apple, this means Siri is likely to be headed towards Macs and OS X.
The rest of the industry has already taken notice. Google has Google Now, and in April Amazon purchased a Siri competitor Evi. The industry sees voice control as the future, and the major players are working hard to integrate it into their Operating Systems. Apple will be announcing their next Mac OS (10.9) in June at WWDC. Developers are expecting Siri to be one of the main new features. Can Apple just drop in Siri as is, or do they need to improve it for the Mac?