from December 2010, Review
It may be the last day of calendar year 2010, but it's Apple, Inc's fiscal Q1 2011, and it looks to be a pretty hot one Jobs and company. The December quarter may very well be a record for many of Apple's devices:
- 20+ million iPhones estimated to be sold
- 4+ million Macs (a first for the company)
- A record number of iPod touch's sold
- iPads breaching the 6 million mark
What calendar year 2011 may hold?
Next year, Apple will be bringing the best iOS features to the Mac in their next OS update codenamed Lion. Apple is taking iOS features like App Store, App Home Screens, Auto Save, Full Screen Apps, and App Resume on Launch and bringing them to the Mac. These features will be modified for the Mac interface and will all be welcome additions to the Mac. It is only fitting for Apple to reciprocate and bring Mac features to the iOS.
The iOS can benefit from Mac features as much as the Mac can benefit from iOS features. Apple will need to modify these features to make them fit the iOS and its users. Apple was successful at bringing copy/paste and multitasking to the iOS, now it is time to bring more of those features. Let's look at the top 5 features that Apple should move to the iOS from the Mac.
In an October 2008 Financial conference call, Steve Jobs said this about Apple TV, “Well, again, I think the whole category is still a hobby now—nobody has succeeded at it.”
The sad thing is that at the close of 2010 despite successful sales numbers, the second generation Apple TV still behaves like a “hobby”. The Apple Discussion Forum is now littered with over a hundred posts of people struggling to get the Apple TV to see their computers via Home Sharing.
The iPad can do most of the things the average consumer wants in a computer. It is great at email, calendar, contacts, and web browsing for sites like Facebook and Flickr. The iPad excels at watching videos and playing games. It makes a great photo display device, but it has no built in management tools. Most people now have a camera phone or point-n-shoot and they want to manage those photos. It is common to have thousands of photos these days and the iPad needs more tools to help organize them.
With the release of 4.2, the iPad gained the ability to transfer photos with their meta-data between applications. This data was not transferred in 3.2, which was a major draw back. Meta-data consists of Title, Caption, Geo Location, Date, Time, and many more. It is essential when organizing pictures in iPhoto or Aperture. Now, developers are able to add meta-data editing tools to their apps. Most of the developers for the iPad have still not updated their apps to take advantage of the new OS, but hopefully they will soon. Given Apple's track record with software like iPhoto and Aperture, a photo manager should be coming from Apple soon. Until then, we have to look at other developers to fill in the gap.
One of the advantages of having an iPhone or iPad is to stay connected while away from the computer. Out of the box, the iPhone comes with email, calendar, and a web browser to help. There are many more ways to make the iPhone or iPad more valuable. Here are some essential iOS applications that can be used to stay in touch while out and about. All of these have both an iPhone version and an iPad version.
Staying connected means having your files wherever you go. Apple does not provide a solution yet, but Dropbox does. It will sync seamlessly in the background to all of your computers. When you are away from a computer, the app allows access to all the files in the Dropbox folder on any device. A good example of a use for this is to bring along a hiking map in Dropbox, instead of toting the whole hiking book along on the trip. Dropbox does come with disadvantages, since it is not a full featured file browser like Finder. Many of the standard Finder tools like "rename", and "file move" have not been added. Even with these issues, Dropbox is still the only solution giving you access to your files on the computer anytime, anywhere. Dropbox is free with a 2GB storage limit.
|Never Designed for Touch|
|The Windows interface does not work with a pen let alone a finger... Steve Ballmer may like his strategy, but the consumer does not.|
Trying to fit a desktop operating system in the tablet will never work. These tablets require a new operating system built around its touch display and power sipping processors. Microsoft has been trying to fit Windows into a tablet since 2001. Each time they have tried and failed. The last Windows tablet was the HP Slate, which topped out at 9,000 units sold. These HP Slates could not compete with the iPad three months ago, why does Microsoft think that these new ones will? It may still be up for debate whether Windows belongs on a desktop, but we know that it does not belong on a tablet.
The New York Times is reporting that Microsoft will be coming out with new tablets next month at CES. Before the iPad was released, Microsoft had almost no competition and they still failed. Now these new tablets will have to compete against the iPad. Apple has sold more tablets than anyone else combined. When these new tablets are released, the failures of Windows on the tablet will be obvious when compared to the iPad.
Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, reportedly stated at the Barclays Capital investor conference "It is fashionable to write off the PC about every three or four years, and it just doesn't die." On the surface, the comment seems dead wrong. It would appear Intel's CEO should be preparing for early retirement, but Otellini went on to describe what a PC actually is. "The PC you bought 15 years ago looks nothing like the one you have today," he said. Paul went on further to discuss notebook and netbook growth, promoting Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture.
Mr. Otellini discussed tablets and how they interact with laptop designs, and this is when his view of the marketplace veered off course. "I don’t think, at the end of the day, tablets are cannibalizing it. They are not replacements for notebooks. They are a competitor for discretionary income disposition. So you walk into Best Buy and you’ve got $400 burning a hole in your pocket, or in the case of the iPad, $600 burning a hole in your pocket, and you want to buy something cool for Christmas for your wife or kid or something. It’s a competitor."
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.