Peter Weyland at TED 2023 ★
A TEDTalk from the future as envisioned by Prometheus director Ridley Scott.
‘Be Fair to the Truth’ ★
From NPR’s new Ethics Handbook:
At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our
sources. So our primary consideration when presenting the news is
that we are fair to the truth. If our sources try to mislead us or
put a false spin on the information they give us, we tell our
audience. If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy
weighs heavily on one side, we acknowledge it in our reports. We
strive to give our audience confidence that all sides have been
considered and represented fairly.
With these words, NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid
the worst excesses of “he said, she said” journalism. It says to
itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false
report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of
fairness: being “fair to the truth,” which as we know is not
always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute.
Mike Kruzeniski’s Favorite Metro Apps ★
Some good UI design on the Windows Phone side, too.
Android Niceties ★
“A collection of screenshots encompassing some of the best looking Android apps, and / or apps with interesting user interfaces, hopefully providing some inspiration or insight into Android UI conventions.”
Top-shelf Android UI design is getting better.
AOL/TechCrunch Traffic Plummets ★
You know when you flush the toilet, and for a while the water is circling, spiraling downward, and then there’s that moment of silence right before the flush is completed? That’s where AOL/TechCrunch is.
Lenovo Stops Selling Netbooks Online ★
Agam Shah, reporting for Computerworld:
Lenovo has stopped selling netbooks through its website and hasn’t
decided if it will start selling them again there in the future,
the company said on Friday.
The netbook models that were available have sold out and are “not
being replaced in the near future,” Lenovo spokesman Ray Gorman
said via email. He didn’t say if Lenovo will continue selling
netbooks at retail.
Yours truly, three years ago: “Netbooks, Eh?”.
Samsung: ‘We’re Not Doing Very Well in the Tablet Market’ ★
Roger Cheng, reporting for CNet from MWC:
Samsung Electronics admitted that its attempt to breach the tablet
market has largely been a flop, with one executive offering a
sobering summary of its performance. “Honestly, we’re not doing
very well in the tablet market,” Hankil Yoon, a product strategy
executive for Samsung, said today during a media roundtable here.
Right Versus Pragmatic ★
The pragmatic approach is to address the demand.
Google Plus Is ‘a Virtual Ghost Town’ ★
Amir Efrati, reporting for the WSJ:
It turns out Google+ is a virtual ghost town compared with the
site of rival Facebook Inc., which is preparing for a massive
initial public offering. New data from research firm comScore
Inc. shows that Google+ users are signing up — but then not
doing much there.
Visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three
minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, versus
six to seven hours on Facebook each month over the same period,
according to comScore, which didn’t have data on mobile usage.
MG Siegler adds: “The only people I know that use Google+ regularly are people who work at Google (and Robert Scoble).”
The Little Boy Who Cried ‘Don’t Be Evil’ ★
Nick Bilton on Google’s stream of privacy incidents:
“The past two months have been unprecedented; there has never been
anything like it at the company,” said Danny Sullivan, editor in
chief of the blog Search Engine Land, who has closely covered
Google since the company began. “They are a big company, and any
big company is always going to have something happen that they
don’t expect. But these things keep happening where you can’t even
trust their word.”
When I asked Mr. Sullivan if Google was now too big not to be
evil, he said, “I don’t think they were ever not evil.”
Google says nothing has changed.
Apple Announces iPad Event for March 7 in San Francisco ★
“We have something you really have to see” — sounds like something Steve Jobs would say.
A Show With Ze Frank ★
Ze Frank has a Kickstarter campaign to bring back his show:
In 2006, I launched a show called “The Show With Ze Frank.” It was
one of the most strange, exciting, difficult, and amazing things I
have done so far. I think it is time to do something similar, what
with the economy in the crapper and the election coming up. If
Newt can do it, so can I. So can we.
Hell yeah, I’m in.
Why Android Is Faring So Much Better in Phones Than Tablets ★
MG Siegler, responding to the aforelinked “there’s no organized way for consumers to recognize it as a viable platform” interview with Andy Rubin on Android tablet sales:
Okay, if that’s true, why isn’t the same true for Android phones,
which are obviously selling very well?
It may be because the organizational entity that Rubin fails to
mention isn’t Google, but the mobile carriers. And right now, the
mobile carriers don’t matter nearly as much in the tablet space as
they do in the smartphone space.
Maybe that changes, maybe it doesn’t. But to me, this is Rubin
essentially admitting that Android’s rise in smartphones has less
to do with Android, and more to do with the carriers. In that
light, Google’s decision to turn their backs on their original
ideals for Android and instead get in bed with the carriers was a
My hypothesis has long been that Android has very little traction in and of itself. What has traction is the traditional pattern where customers go to their existing carrier’s retail store to buy a new phone, listen to the recommendations of the sales staff, and buy one of the recommended phones. Tens — hundreds? — of millions of people have done this and walked out of the store with a new Android handset. (By my theory, this is why Android phones are so under-represented compared to the iPhone in terms of usage — things like mobile web traffic. A lot of people think of them just as phones.)
There is no such traction for the idea of going into your phone carrier store and buying a computer. That’s why carrier-subsidized netbooks didn’t take off, and that’s why carrier-subsidized Android tablets haven’t either.
Google to ‘Double Down’ on Android Tablets in 2012 ★
Nilay Patel, covering MWC for The Verge:
It’s no secret that Android tablet sales have lagged far behind
Apple’s iPad, and Google’s planning to do something about it. In a
meeting with reporters today at Mobile World Congress in
Barcelona, Android chief Andy Rubin called the 12 million Android
tablets sold thus far “not insignificant, but less than I’d expect
it to be if you really want to win,” and said that “2012 is going
to be the year that we double down and make sure we’re winning in
Rubin said that the biggest problem for Android on tablets is
“there’s no organized way for consumers to recognize it as a
viable platform,” and that Google wants consumers to see its
tablets as part of the broader Android ecosystem.
In a separate article, The Verge confirmed with Rubin that Google’s “activation” numbers include each unique device only once, and don’t count based-on-Android-but-not-using-the-Google-experience devices like the Kindle Fire or Barnes and Noble Nook.
Apple has sold a little over 50 million cumulative iPads to date. Just me or does it seem like you see a lot more than five iPads per Android tablet in the wild? (A guess: a lot of junky 7-inch Android tablets gathering dust in drawers.)
The Eleven Companies That Have Been the Biggest by Market Cap ★
Interesting visualization from the New York Times.
Eric Raymond’s Advice to Mobile Carriers: Drop the iPhone ★
Eric Raymond, back on February 8:
OK, so there might be a second level to the argument: each carrier
might be thinking that if it doesn’t carry the iPhone it will have
its marketshare eaten by others that do. The trouble with this
theory is that Android is still growing userbase and marketshare
faster than the iPhone. And though T-Mobile (the one carrier
without iPhone) ain’t doing so well, nobody in the industry thinks
lack of iPhone — as opposed to, say, weak execution and lack of
the capital mass to pursue its buildout — is its problem.
Actually, that’s what everyone in the industry thinks is killing T-Mobile, including T-Mobile’s CEO:
Without the iPhone, T-Mobile lost 706,000 contract customers in
the fourth quarter of 2011. In fact, Apple’s iPhone was mentioned
a total of seven times in a press release issued by T-Mobile, well
more than any phone that the carrier actually does offer.
“Not carrying the iPhone led to a significant increase in contract
deactivations in the fourth quarter of 2011,” T-Mobile USA
President and CEO Phillipp Humm said.
Back to Raymond:
From any carrier’s point of view, the case for dumping iPhone, or
at least threatening to do so in order to renegotiate Apple’s
subsidy requirement away, seems pretty open and shut.
The problem the carriers face is not that they can’t turn a profit selling the iPhone. It’s that selling an iPhone is not as profitable for them as selling other cheaper phones (which cheaper phones still come with the same data and voice plans, and same two-year contracts, as the iPhone). But if they don’t carry the iPhone, customers who want the iPhone will leave for a carrier that does carry it. What the carriers want is a world where the iPhone doesn’t exist or isn’t so popular.
Dell Executive: ‘We’re No Longer a PC Company’ ★
Nicole Kobie, PC Pro:
Speaking at the launch of new enterprise hardware at an event in
Twickenham, West London today, the president of Dell’s enterprise
solution group Brad Anderson said: “We’re no longer a PC company,
we’re an IT company.”
I say just shut the company down and give the money back to the shareholders.
(Via The Verge.)
Arrested for Breaking the Law of Large Numbers ★
I don’t really have a problem with the central premise of the
article, which is that Apple can’t grow forever at the pace it’s
been at recently. I’m not sure why such a self-evident truth needs
to take up space in the New York Times — any company that’s
growing faster than the economy as a whole can’t continue to do so
forever because eventually it would have to become larger than the
economy it’s part of — but then I don’t understand why the Times
publishes a lot of things.
Clever little app for keeping track of scores in board games. Available for iPhone, iPad, and, believe it or not, PlayBook.
So Why Do iPhone 4S Users Consume More Data? ★
Marco Arment, on why iPhone 4S users purportedly consume more data than iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS users:
The camera, of course. Every iPhone after the 3G has shipped with
a higher-resolution camera than its predecessor. People capture
and share a lot of photos on their iPhones, so a very likely
culprit for higher data usage, controlling for OS version and
tethering abilities, is that the photos are simply much larger
with each new iPhone.
Bigger pictures consume more data, but I think the real explanation is demographics. The type of people who consume higher-than-average amounts of data on their iPhones are exactly the sort of people who upgraded to the iPhone 4S as soon as it came out. I’d bet these numbers wouldn’t look much different even if the 4S had the same camera as the 4.
Like Exchange ★
I look at Office for iPad like I look at Exchange support for Mac,
iPhone, and iPad. Apple would prefer that it didn’t have to build
support for it, but the Exchange environment is so huge in
business that its hard to ignore.
Good way to put it. I remember being skeptical (and wrong) about Apple supporting Exchange in iOS, but that wound up being a huge reason for its success in the enterprise.
Juniper Networks: Android Malware Up 3,325 Percent in 2011 ★
Could be worse; could be 4,000 percent.
iSuppli Claim Chowder ★
iSuppli, back in April 2010:
Chief in realizing this upside potential is Apple’s ability to
address the lack of Flash support in the iPad. Some have called
the long-term viability of the iPad into question because of its
nonsupport of Adobe Flash — the multimedia platform from Adobe
“Until Apple addresses this issue one way or another, its decision
not to support Flash — communicated earlier on by Apple CEO Steve
Jobs — will have a limiting effect on the iPad’s sales
potential,” said Francis Sideco, principal analyst, wireless
communications. “This is because one of the key use cases of the
device, as marketed by Apple, relates to web browsing or
consumption of online content. Absent Flash, iPad users will not
be able to enjoy Flash-driven content, which is used in a
considerable amount of websites as well as web-based games and
They predicted 14.4 million iPads would be sold in all of 2011, and 20 million in 2012. Apple sold over 15 million last quarter alone.
Apple Confronts the Law of Large Numbers ★
James B. Stewart, writing for the NYT:
If Apple’s share price grew even 20 percent a year for the next
decade, which is far below its current blistering pace, its $500
billion market capitalization would be more than $3 trillion by
2022. That is bigger than the 2011 gross domestic product of
France or Brazil.
Put another way, to increase its revenue by 20 percent, Apple has
to generate additional sales of more than $9 billion in its next
fourth quarter. A company with only $1 billion in sales has to
come up with just another $200 million.
Clear’s UI, Replicated in HTML5 (Best Viewed on Your iPhone) ★
Very clever replication of Clear’s UI in HTML5, by Evan You. And it’s a perfect example of why I said “Good luck with that” regarding the aforelinked mobile web app store from Mozilla. This demo only works properly in Mobile Safari on iOS. Parts of it work in Android’s standard Browser app, but it’s flickery as hell. It works better in Chrome for Android (no flickering for example), but it doesn’t work completely (no pull-to-create-a-new-item for example) — and Chrome is only available on Android 4, which means it’s only available on about 1 percent of Android handsets in use. The demo doesn’t even render at all in IE on Windows Phone 7.5.
Mozilla to Open Mobile Web App Marketplace ★
Mike Swift, reporting for the San Jose Mercury News:
Mozilla is expected Wednesday to announce plans for its own app
store, to be called the Mozilla Marketplace, offering mobile apps
that could run equally well on an iPhone, an Android phone or a
Windows Phone device. Mozilla is also working to develop a
smartphone that would not be locked into the “walled gardens” of
apps, operating systems and devices that are now controlled by
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and a few others.
Good luck with that.
How Bad Reporting Is Ruining The Washington Post ★
This piece by Paul Farhi in The Washington Post is a month old, but I missed it when it was new (I blame Macworld/iWorld Expo). Headline, “How Siri Is Ruining Your Cellphone Service”:
Siri’s dirty little secret is that she’s a bandwidth guzzler, the
digital equivalent of a 10-miles-per-gallon Hummer H1.
To make your wish her command, Siri floods your cell network with
a stream of data; her responses require a similarly large flow in
return. A study published this month by Arieso, an Atlanta firm
that specializes in mobile networks, found that the Siri-equipped
iPhone 4S uses twice as much data as does the plain old iPhone 4
and nearly three times as much as does the iPhone 3G.
It doesn’t take a genius to spot the logical error here. Assuming Arieso’s data is correct, that iPhone 4S users consume more data, they offer no proof that Siri has anything to do with it. In fact, the word “Siri” doesn’t even appear in Arieso’s report. (Here’s another story from three weeks earlier, also in The Washington Post, making the same claim based on the same report: “Apple’s Siri Uses Three Times More Data Than Earlier iPhones”.)
Here’s some real reporting on how much data Siri actually consumes, from Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica:
If you use Siri 2-3 times per day at an average of 63KB per
instance, you might expect to use 126KB to 189KB per day, or 3.7
to 5.5MB per month. For 4-6 times a day, that might come out to
252KB to 378KB per day, or 7.4 to 11MB per month. If you use it
10-15 times per day, you might end up using 630KB to 945KB per
day, or 18.5 to 27.7MB per month.
I.e., not much.
iMore: Apple Getting Ready to Ditch the Traditional Dock Connector ★
We’ve heard that Apple is getting ready to ditch the dock
connector as it’s currently sized and implemented on iPods,
iPhones, and iPads. The reason isn’t anything political, like a
new desire to conform to an outdated micro-USB standard, but
typically Apple: to save space inside the iPhone 5 for what are
now more important components.
I’ve heard nothing about this, but I’m surprised it’s taken this long. The 30-pin dock connector is big, relatively speaking, and it isn’t very elegant. Why not switch to wireless charging? And if not wireless, surely Apple can come up with something smaller.
More Thinking About Microsoft Office Getting a Spot on Stage at the iPad 3 Introduction ★
Apple likes to highlight cool software for the device it’s
introducing, so why not Office? It would be more beneficial for
Microsoft than Apple, but still I think Apple would give them a
place at the keynote.
Having given this more thought, I think it comes down to short-term vs. long-term strategy. Short-term, highlighting Office for the iPad would clearly be in Apple’s interest. The iWork suite is an alternative to Office, but not a feature-for-feature replacement. Surely there is some number of people who aren’t buying iPads who would if it did have Office, and that number is, I’d bet, significant.
Long-term, though, giving Microsoft a spot on-stage, however brief, would only serve to reinforce the notion that serious computing platforms need Microsoft Office. The iPad has, to date, been sending the opposite message: that you don’t need Office. Another long-term strategic angle: does Apple want to lend credence to the notion that Microsoft can write first-class touchscreen tablet apps, when Microsoft is set to ship its own tablet-savvy version of Windows later this year?
But it’s best not to overthink this. Office for iPad would sell a lot of iPads. That’s the bottom line.
Nobody’s Cutting Our Eyeballs ★
This week’s episode of America’s favorite casual indoor footwear podcast. Topics include: Nightline’s Foxconn report (and the broader story of Apple’s Chinese supply chain in general), scam apps in the App Store, Google’s purported HUD glasses, laser eye surgery, web cookies and privacy, and more.
Brought to you by the fine folks at AppsFire and MailChimp.
Microsoft to Google: ‘Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web’ ★
Dave Heiner, deputy general counsel at Microsoft:
You probably take for granted that you can view videos on your
smartphone, tablet, PC, or DVD/Blu-ray player and connect to the
Internet without being tied to a cable. That works because the
industry came together years ago to define common technical
standards that every firm can use to build compatible products for
video and Wi-Fi. Motorola and all the other firms that contributed
to these standards also made a promise to one another: that if
they had any patents essential to the standards, they would make
their patents available on fair and reasonable terms, and would
not use them to block competitors from shipping their products.
Motorola has broken its promise. Motorola is on a path to use
standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as
its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course.
I’m greatly enjoying Microsoft taking the role of chief “Google, stop being so evil” critic.
CNet: ‘Google Music Not Living Up to Expectations’ ★
Greg Sandoval, reporting for CNet:
Three months after launching, Google Music hasn’t lived up to
expectations, CNET has learned.
The Google Droid was a centerpiece at Google Music’s launch party
on Nov. 16, 2011. Google’s managers
have told counterparts at the labels that customer adoption and
revenue are below what they expected, according to multiple
sources with knowledge of the talks.
Harder than it looks.
Google to Replace Motorola Mobility CEO ★
Peter Burrows, Brian Womack, and Hugo Miller, reporting for Bloomberg:
Google Inc., which won U.S. approval for its acquisition of
Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., is close to naming Dennis
Woodside to run the business when the deal closes, three people
familiar with the matter said.
Woodside, who led Google’s ad sales in the Americas before leaving
that job to oversee the merger, would succeed Motorola Mobility
Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Jha, said the people, who declined
to be named because the decision isn’t public.
No surprise. The only success Jha had at Motorola was forcing Google to buy them by threatening an all-out patent war against other Android handset makers.
Not sure what to make of the fact that they’re replacing him with an ad sales guy.
Dilbert Gets a Design Contract From Samsung ★
“So you want me to design something that is a bad tablet and an even worse phone?”
Rich Mogull on Gatekeeper ★
Rich Mogull, writing at TidBITS:
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion includes a transformative security
technology called Gatekeeper. It’s a major new advance in
operating system security designed to reduce dramatically the
ability of an attacker to trick users into installing malicious
software. It could be the key to preventing a future malware
It’s a terrific overview, and if you want even more technical analysis of how Gatekeeper works, Mogull has a detailed follow-up on his Securosis site.
Tumult Hype 1.5 ★
Terrific update to Hype, the excellent interactive HTML5 animation/development tool. Among the many new features: the ability to export directly to an iBooks Author HTML widget.
Nicholas Carr: Why Publishers Should Give Away E-Books ★
Nicholas Carr argues that book publishers should include e-book versions with print books:
So why give away the bits? Well, traditional book publishers have
three big imperatives today: (1) protect print sales for as long
as possible (in order to fund a longer-term transition to a
workable new business model); (2) help keep physical bookstores in
business (for the reasons set out in this article by Julie
Bosman); and (3) do anything possible to curb the power of
Amazon.com, the publishers’ arch-frenemy. Bundling bits with atoms
helps on all three fronts.
Disney, for one, does this with their Blu-ray movies. You buy the Blu-ray and you get three editions of the same movie: a Blu-ray disc, a DVD disc, and a digital download. You pay once and you can effectively play the movie anywhere.
MLB Gameday Audio ★
One difference between the old free and paid versions of MLB At Bat was that the paid version included access to live audio streams of every game. Looks like there’s a new subscription level for audio listeners: $20 for the season. One way or another, audio listeners will have an option for unrestricted access to audio streams without having to pay $125 for the full MLB.tv subscription.
Update: The $20 subscription is for desktop audio. As for mobile, Clayton Morris reports on Twitter:
MLB has confirmed to me that live game audio will be available for
the price of $14.99 in the At Bat 2012 app. Free with the TV package.
Seth Weintraub on Google’s HUD Glasses ★
Seth Weintraub had the scoop on Google’s purported HUD glasses a few weeks ago:
The heads up display (HUD) is only for one eye and on the side. It
is not transparent nor does it have dual 3D configurations, as
One really cool bit: The navigation system currently used is a
head tilting-to scroll and click. We are told it is very quick to
learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second
nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users.
The one-eye-only thing seems weird to me. Actually, the whole thing seems weird to me, but I’m trying hard to keep an open mind about this.
Screens 2.0 ★
Very nice update to my favorite remote desktop software for Mac and iOS. I rely on Screens for accessing my primary Mac from my iPhone, iPad, and other Macs. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Speculation on the Microsoft Office for iPad Rumor ★
MG Siegler, on the kind of weird non-denial denial from Microsoft regarding The Daily’s report that they’re nearing completion of a version of Office for the iPad:
But what if we all missed something obvious going on here? What
if Microsoft was being so cagey — and maybe even disingenuous —
for a very real reason? What if they don’t want to spoil a very
big surprise set for a certain Apple event taking place in a
couple weeks? […]
It’s very clear at this point that Apple and Microsoft both hate
Google far more than they hate one another. And both sides seem
willing to do whatever it takes to destroy Android. What if
Microsoft is planning to do Office for tablets as an exclusive for
the iPad (until the Windows 8 tablets come out, of course), while
totally shafting Android?
I agree that would be a pretty big deal. And I can see why Microsoft would agree to it. If they’re going to do Office for iPad, and they’re near completion, why not accept a spot in Apple’s iPad 3 announcement keynote to promote it?
But what would be in it for Apple to offer such a spot to Microsoft? You can argue that the iPad with Office available is an even more attractive platform/device than the iPad as it stands today, sans Office. But why share the spotlight with Microsoft? Apple doesn’t need to. The only other tablet computer with any traction in the market is the Kindle Fire — and the Fire is not competing at all in the business productivity market that Office for iPad would target. Android tablets don’t need to be shot down — they still haven’t gotten off the ground. Why give credence and attention to Microsoft in a market where so far Microsoft has had no success?
I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if Microsoft does get a demo slot on stage during the iPad 3 keynote, Microsoft would be getting much more out of it than Apple.
Oh, Microsoft, you’re so adorably awkward.
NYT: ‘Google to Sell Heads-Up Display Glasses by Year’s End’ ★
People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone
for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of
Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the
wearer’s eyeballs in real time.
According to several Google employees familiar with the project
who asked not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the
public by the end of the year. These people said they are
expected “to cost around the price of current smartphones,” or
$250 to $600.
My first thought was to laugh, but, hey, at this point, let’s give Google the benefit of the doubt and hope these things are actually useful and cool. We’re not going to be tapping on 3 to 5 inch pieces of glass for the entire future of mobile computing. Something’s got to come next. Maybe heads-up displays are next.
Here’s what gets me about Bilton’s report:
Everyone I spoke with who was familiar with the project repeatedly
said that Google was not thinking about potential business models
with the new glasses. Instead, they said, Google sees the project
as an experiment that anyone will be able to join. If consumers
take to the glasses when they are released later this year, then
Google will explore possible revenue streams.
If they’re planning to sell them for “$250 to $600”, isn’t that a good business model? Why is it simply accepted without debate that companies like Amazon and Google won’t turn a profit from hardware but have to find profits only through advertising or selling content? Surely Apple isn’t the only company that can turn a nice profit selling $600 gadgets.
Heavy Hangs the Bandwidth That Torrents the Crown ★
The Oatmeal made an unintentional point that was just as
important as the first, however:
The single least-attractive attribute of many of the people who
download content illegally is their smug sense of entitlement.
Easy and painless.
HP Reports First Quarter 2012 Results ★
HP today announced financial results for its first fiscal quarter
ended January 31, 2012. For the quarter, net revenue of $30.0
billion was down 7% from the prior-year period, and down 8% when
adjusted for the effects of currency.
Net earnings — profit — are down 44 percent year-over-year. The PC business is not looking good:
Personal Systems Group (PSG) revenue declined 15% year over year
with a 5.2% operating margin. Commercial client revenue declined
7%, Consumer client revenue declined 25% and Workstations revenue
was flat. Total units were down 18%, with a 19% decline in desktop
units and an 18% decline in notebook units.
Seems like a trend.
Fun With Charts, Fox News Edition ★
Almost comically shameless.
Polar Bear Farm’s One-Day Sale to Help Christchurch, New Zealand ★
Must-read letter from Layton Duncan, founder of the software shop Polar Bear Farm in Christchurch New Zealand, on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake:
Our city has been destroyed. It’s hard to find a natural disaster
anywhere which has a larger effect on a country than this
earthquake is having here. In relative terms, the effect on New
Zealand is equivalent to around 8 Hurricane Katrinas, or around 3
2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunamis. Christchurch needs serious
help to recover from this once in 10,000 year event. […]
On Wednesday 22nd of February 2012, all our apps will be reduced
in price. 100% of the proceeds of all sales for the day will go
into seeding the formation of a charitable trust with the explicit
purpose of kickstarting the creation of a built environment for a
safe, vibrant, sustainable downtown Christchurch people can
Great apps, great prices, great cause.
Nightline: Apple’s Chinese Factories (Requires Flash) ★
ABC News’s exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Foxconn’s Apple product factories. I thought it was both fair and fascinating. Absolutely worth watching.
‘Dell’s the Computer to Use if Taking Photos of Fat Guys Farting Is Your Thing’ ★
I know what you’re thinking — you’re thinking this headline from The Loop’s Peter Cohen is an over-the-top bit of anti-Dell sensationalism. But it’s actually an accurate description of this artsy fartsy video.
Update: As Tim Coulter observes, it’s obviously a spoof, because the production values are too high for an actual video from Dell.
MLB Simplifies Pricing for iPhone and iPad Apps ★
Christopher Meinck, EverythingiCafe:
In previous years, baseball fans who subscribed to MLB At Bat were
charged an additional fee to use MLB At Bat for iPad and yet
another charge for the iPhone app. This year, we’ve just confirmed
that MLB At Bat 12 will be free with your subscription, which
remains at $119.99 for existing subscribers. New subscriptions
will be priced at $124.99. This enables you to receive 150 Spring
Training games and all 2430 regular season games (some games are
subject to blackout), with no added cost for either the iPhone or
I like this change. Previously they had separate free and paid apps, plus the subscription fee for watching live ballgames. This is much simpler: apps are free, subscriptions cost $125. Easy. (If you like baseball, trust me, it’s money well spent.)
(Via 9to5 Mac.)
Dell’s Predicament ★
After basically admitting defeat in the consumer PC market
and promising to focus on enterprise IT and “mobile services”
last year, Dell has found itself in the midst of a confusing
transition. It is caught between two markets that are
dramatically changing. Consumer PCs are dying. Enterprise IT
problems are being solved increasingly by “cloud-based” solutions
using generic or custom-built equipment. The future viability of
Dell’s hardware products, which already have razor-thin margins,
does not look great.
Put another way, Dell has no strengths in any market that’s growing. They’re a relic.
As a side note, I found this quote from Michael Dell interesting. The Journal asked him what had most surprised him since returning as Dell CEO four years ago. He replied:
I’d say [the] rapid rise of the tablet. I didn’t completely see
that coming. Tablets aren’t really new, in the sense that the
tablet PC idea’s been around for a while. Obviously, more recent
products have been much more successful.
“More recent products”. I’ve started to notice a trend where Apple competitors can’t bring themselves to mention the iPad by name. There are no other successful tablets. It’s just one: the iPad.
Helpful Tip for Messages for Mac Beta Users With Mac.com AIM IDs ★
With Messages beta, my colleagues don’t see me as being online.
Fewer work interruptions, I suppose.
I had the same problem. I could see my AIM buddies, but none of my AIM buddies could see me. (Listeners of The Talk Show live broadcast last week could hear me discover this problem.) I think the problem only affects AIM users with a @mac.com AIM ID. When you upgrade from iChat to Messages, Messages assumes you want to use @me.com as your AIM ID. Apple itself treats firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com as synonymous, but AIM does not. So what Messages is doing is logging you in as firstname.lastname@example.org, but you need to be logged in as email@example.com for your buddies to see you.
Solution: Delete your AIM account in Messages’s preferences, then recreate it. In addition to restoring your visibility to your buddies, it also restores your ability to transfer files.
iPhone Mail Tip: Re-Open Most Recent Draft Message With One Tap ★
I seldom use draft messages on the iPhone because it’s so cumbersome to get back to them. This tip might change that. (Via Dan Frakes.)
Ubuntu for Android ★
Newly announced project from Canonical to create Android phones which you can dock and get a full Ubuntu desktop. Perhaps the first realization of Philip Greenspun’s “Mobile Phone as Home Computer” idea from 2005? This is sort of the opposite of cloud computing. Cloud computing is “access your stuff from any device”; this is “take your stuff with you”. I don’t think this is the way to go, but it’s an interesting idea.
Jamie Keene at The Verge has a hands-on with a prototype.
The Curious Case of the (Cr)apps That Make Money ★
More on App Store scam apps, from Trevor Gilbert at PandoDaily. Apple needs a zero tolerance policy on this crap. (Via Shawn King.)
Speaking of Phill Ryu and Impending, they collaborated with Realmac Software on a new to-do list app for the iPhone. I don’t like everything about it (I don’t think apps other than games and video players should hide the status bar, for one thing), but my complaints are niggles. In the large, it’s a damn clever app, with a very thoughtful interaction design focused on letting you do a few simple things very easily.
My cardinal rule of to-do list apps is that priority should be implicit by task order. Drag more important/urgent items up, drag less import/urgent items down. Clear gets this right. Apple’s Reminders app gets this completely wrong.
Phill Ryu on the Rise of Scam Apps in the App Store ★
At one point this week, two of the top ten paid iPhone apps were outright scams. Phill Ryu has a good set of suggestions for how Apple should address this. Being able to get a refund within a short window after first installing the app, for example.
Oscar Voters: Old White Men ★
John Horn, Nicole Sperling, and Doug Smith, reporting for the LA Times:
A Los Angeles Times study found that academy voters are markedly
less diverse than the moviegoing public, and even more monolithic
than many in the film industry may suspect. Oscar voters are
nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male, The Times found. Blacks are
about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%.
Oscar voters have a median age of 62, the study showed. People
younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership.
Pretty obvious that Academy membership skews old, white, and male — and always has — just by looking at the movies that have won Oscars. Or by looking at the great movies that didn’t win.
Sandboxing Deadline Extended to June 1 ★
News from Apple:
We have extended the deadline for sandboxing your apps on the Mac
App Store from March 1st to June 1st to provide you with enough
time to take advantage of new sandboxing entitlements available in
OS X 10.7.3 and new APIs in Xcode 4.3.
If you’re interested in a deep, thoughtful take on the problems Mac developers are running into with sandboxing, Daniel Jalkut wrote a good piece last week. For some concrete problems encountered in a sandbox-enabled app as things stand today, see Craig Hockenberry’s brief piece on xScope 3.0, and Manton Reece on his decision to pull Clipstart from the Mac App Store.
If they had asked my advice, I’d have suggested postponing mandatory sandboxing until Mountain Lion is released. The problem here isn’t really about app developers needing more time to update their apps; it’s about Apple needing more time to improve the sandboxing rules and APIs.
Mountain Lion Details ★
Nice list of new stuff in Mountain Lion from Serenity Caldwell at Macworld.
Microsoft Office for iPad Coming Soon? ★
Nice scoop by Matt Hickey at The Daily.
Update: Nice scoop, if true. Mary Jo Foley:
A Microsoft spokesperson said the screen shot accompanying The
Daily’s story is not a real picture of a Microsoft software
product. But the spokesperson also said Microsoft is declining to
comment as to whether or not the company has developed a version
of Office for the iPad and/or when such a product may come to
market. I’ve asked Daily Editor Peter Ha for a response (via
Twitter). No word back so far from Ha.
So they’re saying the screenshot is phony, but that’s a non-denial denial that Office for iPad is in the works.
Pitcher and Catcher ★
Yours truly, saying nice things about a Red Sox pitcher.
The Apple/Google Cold War ★
During last week’s The Talk Show, I mentioned that Pocket-Lint got a statement from Apple PR regarding YouTube’s omission from Mountain Lion’s new system-wide sharing feature:
Most interesting of the three is the inclusion of Vimeo over
YouTube, a choice that is bound to give the professional
video-sharing site a boost in awareness and audience numbers, but
also leave users wondering why no Google support from day one?
When asked why there was no YouTube support at the moment in the
developer preview, Apple told Pocket-lint: “We have Vimeo, and we
don’t have YouTube.”
Allow me to translate: “Fuck Google.”
Mobile Safari ‘Accept Cookies’ Setting Keeps Changing to ‘Never’ ★
After linking to this Danny Sullivan piece yesterday, I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from readers who report that on their iPhones, Mobile Safari’s “Accept cookies” preference is set to “Never”, even though they never changed it manually. Here’s an Apple support discussion thread about the issue. Sounds like a real pain in the ass, since without cookies, you won’t stay signed-in to any website. It turns Mobile Safari into the guy from Memento.
Here’s another thread on the same bug.
Lex Friedman Makes the Case for Siri on the Mac ★
And, of course, there’s transcription. Apple has never been
hesitant to offer built-in competition to existing third-party
apps, and while I’m sure the folks at Nuance wouldn’t appreciate
an OS-level transcription service, I’m equally confident that
Apple’s customers really would.
Siri on the Mac would be a huge accessibility win, if for the speech-to-text dictation alone.
The Oatmeal Tried to Watch ‘Game of Thrones’ and This Is What Happened ★
Not Just Safari ★
Dean Hachamovitch, vice president of Internet Explorer:
When the IE team heard that Google had bypassed user privacy
settings on Safari, we asked ourselves a simple question: is
Google circumventing the privacy preferences of Internet Explorer
Guess what the answer is. Just guess.
Google Didn’t ‘Track’ iPhones, but It Did Bypass Safari’s Privacy Settings ★
Danny Sullivan has a good summary of last week’s WSJ story about Google circumventing Safari’s default setting to disallow third-party browser cookies. (I’m pretty sure he’s wrong that Mobile Safari defaults to disallowing all cookies, though.) Bottom line: the Journal story sensationalized what Google was doing, but Google still doesn’t come out of this looking good.
Update: I just double-checked on an iPhone restored to factory settings, and Safari’s “Accept cookies” preference defaults to “From visited”.
Dan Frakes on What’s New in Mail in Mountain Lion ★
Lots of improvements, and one interesting omission: RSS feed reading has been removed.
That’s a Blank, All Right ★
Jack Schofield, writing for ZDNet UK, “Apple Briefs Bloggers, Blanks New York Times”:
Apple has a track record of playing favourites with publications,
so that a handful of journalists get treated like royalty while
the plebs consider themselves lucky if they can extract a “no
comment”. Of course, these very select American publications
retain their editorial independence, but there’s always a hidden
threat: they know that if they don’t provide the right sort of
coverage, they can be excommunicated. And it looks as though
that’s just happened to The New York Times.
Except that’s not what happened at all. Schofield’s “correction”, appended to the column:
Good for Pogue. It doesn’t change the fact that Apple is playing
favourites, and Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt — who says he has
been covering Apple since 1982 — has published Apple public
relations’ new media pecking order.
It may not “change the fact that Apple is playing favorites”, but it does change the entire premise of Schofield’s column — that Apple “excommunicated” The New York Times because of its reporting on Apple’s use of Chinese manufacturing. No doubt the Times would have loved to have scored the exclusive Tim Cook interview, and, let’s face it, the “iEconomy” series certainly didn’t help their case. But the fact is, the Wall Street Journal probably would have gotten the same exclusive interview regardless if the “iEconomy” series had run. And David Pogue’s A-list status as a product reviewer is unchanged.
Regarding yours truly’s status on that same A-list, Schofield writes:
Someone with Apple Royalty status, such as The Wall Street
Journal’s Walt Mossberg, might well be blasé about this level of
attention, but it’s pretty unusual stuff for bloggerdom.
No, it’s not. Previously, it’s true that Apple PR’s “prerelease access to new stuff” A-list included only the major national newspapers and news weeklies: the NYT, WSJ, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek. Over the last few years, however, that list has expanded to include writers from several online-only publications: MG Siegler, Josh Topolsky/The Verge, Jim Dalrymple/The Loop, Engadget, Slashgear, and others.
This level of attention from Apple is no longer unusual for “bloggerdom” — at least for those denizens of “bloggerdom” who get things right and don’t publish fabricated scurrilous accusations that have already been publicly refuted.
(As regards Elmer-DeWitt’s aforelinked “pecking order” — any writer who published a review of Mountain Lion with pre-announcement access to the software surely received the same sort of one-on-one briefing I did. The briefing goes hand-in-hand with the access to the pre-release product.)
Why Do We Still Care About the Dow? ★
Sharp piece by Adam Davidson for the NYT Magazine:
And those are the least of the Dow’s problems. More troubling is
that it ignores the overall size of companies and pays attention
to only their share prices. This causes all sorts of oddities.
ExxonMobil, for example, divides its value into nearly five
billion lower-cost shares, while Caterpillar has around 650
million more expensive ones. Therefore ExxonMobil, one of the
largest companies in history, pulls less weight on the Dow than a
company less than a fifth its size.
I knew the Dow was imprecise and rather arbitrary compared to something like the S&P 500, but the more I learn about the Dow the more nonsensical I realize it is.
My thanks to Fournova for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Tower, their excellent and powerful Git client for the Mac. Git is the most popular modern version control system, but its command-line interface is, to say the least, a bit difficult. Tower makes Git way easier by wrapping a great Mac interface around it. Tower even includes built-in support for Git-hosting services like GitHub and Beanstalk.
Download the free trial and see for yourself. Buy it now and save 25 percent off the regular price.
Jumping to Conclusions ★
Erik Wemple of The Washington Post notes this exclusive Mountain Lion-announcement-day interview the WSJ scored with Tim Cook and somehow concludes that Apple is giving The New York Times reduced access because of the Times’s “iEconomy” investigative reporting series. Problem is, The Wall Street Journal has been Apple’s favorite publication for exclusive leaks and interviews for years. For as long as I can recall, really. The Journal, for example, got the biggest exclusive in Apple history: the June 2009 leak that Steve Jobs had a liver transplant three months earlier.
It’s certainly possible that The Times might have been granted an interview with Cook as well if they had not run the iEconomy series, but Wemple doesn’t show any evidence of that, and recent history suggests they would not have.
Jackass stock swindler Henry Blodget reads Wemple’s report and concludes Apple’s “retaliation” against the Times includes blacklisting David Pogue:
The NYT’s gadget guru, David Pogue, did get a sneak-preview review
copy of Apple’s new operating system for a week, which is another
favor Apple PR gives to approved journalists. But he does not
appear to have gotten access to Apple’s execs, the way John Gruber
and the WSJ did. It would have been self-defeating for Apple PR to
completely snub Pogue, who has his own following and who generally
writes breathless reviews of Apple products. So Apple’s
retaliation, in other words, appears to be cleverly subtle. Did we
mention that Apple’s PR team is really good at this game?
By sheer coincidence, I can report that this is nonsense. When I left my briefing with Schiller last Wednesday in New York, waiting in the hallway for the next briefing was: David Pogue.
Microsoft’s Biggest Miss ★
Intriguing argument from Patrick Rhone (and wife) on how Microsoft’s underestimation of iOS let slip the Office empire.
Osfoora for Mac ★
Great new Mac Twitter client, $5 on the App Store. I’m giving it a shot as my primary client.
‘8:31 AM’ ★
This week’s episode of The Talk Show, recorded yesterday with special guest John Siracusa. We talk about, of course, Mountain Lion. If you don’t enjoy this show, you’re not hooked up right.
Brought to you by Rackspace and Squarespace.
Christa Mrgan on the Evolution of Piezo ★
I’m a sucker for these illustrated design-process stories.
There Are Now Over 100 Million iCloud Users ★
Matthew Panzarino, on Cook’s Goldman Sachs appearance:
He also announced that its syncing service iCloud now has over
100M users. Just last month, Cook said that the service had 85M
users, making this a growth of 15M users in 21 days.
Maybe this just correlates with the number of new iPhones and iPads sold over the past three weeks, but even if so, it shows that Apple has been successful at getting users to sign up for iCloud. It’s not just early adopters who rushed to sign up when it debuted — it’s millions of new users every week.
The S&P 499 ★
Speaking of Apple’s effect on market indexes:
Earlier this month, Jonathan Golub, the chief U.S. equity strategy
at UBS AG, caused a stir among his clients by publishing two
versions of his regular quarterly earnings update: one for the
companies that make up the S&P 500, and another for what he calls
“S&P 500 ex-Apple.”
“In two and a half years, I haven’t got as much response as I did
to that note,” Mr. Golub says.
Kind of reminds me of the “non-iPad tablet market”.
Apple, Cisco, and Dow 15000 ★
Of course, being who I am, I went home and built a spreadsheet to
recalculate what would have happened if Dow Jones had decided to
add Apple to the index instead of Cisco back in 2009. Imagine my
surprise to see that the Dow be would over 2000 points higher.
In real life, the Dow closed at 12,874.04 on Feb 13, 2012.
However, if they had added Apple instead of Cisco, the Dow Jones
would be at 14,926.95. That’s over 800 points higher than the
all-time high of 14,164 previously set on 4/7/2008.
Can you imagine what the daily financial news of this
country would be if every day the Dow Jones was hitting an
Interesting to think about — but it’s really more of an argument against using the Dow as a measure of the whole market than an argument that Apple should have been included.
Transcript of Tim Cook’s Appearance at Goldman Sachs Technology Conference ★
Regarding Apple TV:
Apple doesn’t do hobbies as a general rule. We believe in focus
and only working on a few things. So, with Apple TV however,
despite the barriers in that market, for those of us who use it,
we’ve always thought there was something there. If we kept
following our intuition and kept pulling the string, we might find
something that was larger. For those people that have it right
now, the customer satisfaction is off the chart. We need something
that could go more main-market for it to be a serious category.
No hint from Cook, though, whether he thinks Apple has figured out what that “something” could be.
Note too how Cook emphasizes the centrality of iCloud to Apple’s strategy for the coming decade.
‘Insanely Simple’ ★
I’ve written a book.
Something tells me you won’t be surprised when I tell you it’s
about Steve Jobs and Apple. But this book is different. Really.
That’s because (a) I had a unique vantage point to some pivotal
events in Apple history, and (b) this book focuses on one thing
alone — the core value that has driven Apple since the beginning.
I’m greatly looking forward to this.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note Is the Most Useless Phone Jonathan Geller Has Ever Used ★
The phone is too big. You will look stupid talking on it, people
will laugh at you, and you’ll be unhappy if you buy it. I really
can’t get around this, unfortunately, because Samsung pushed
things way too far this time.
Hard to believe how much promotional effort Samsung and AT&T are putting behind this thing.
Samsung’s Super-Sized Galaxy Note ★
Abdel Ibrahim and Jon Dick:
After just days with a Galaxy Note, my forearms have never been so
toned, and my apartment’s never been so bare. Is it a tablet? Is
it a phone? It’s everything.
iOS Apps and the Address Book: Who Has Your Data, and How They’re Getting It ★
Dieter Bohn, The Verge:
Stated simply: any iOS app has complete access to a large amount
of data stored on your iPhone, including your address book and
calendar. Any iOS app can, without asking for your permission,
upload all of the information stored in your address book to its
servers. From there, the app developer can either use it to help
find your friends, store it in perpetuity, or do any number of
other things with it.
Over the course of the past day, we have been using the method
explained by Arun Thampi (who discovered Path’s privacy
violation) to investigate several dozen popular iOS apps. Our
findings should bring both comfort and concern to any iPhone user
— and to be frank the work of doing a similar investigation on
Android and other platforms remains to be done.
Makes me wonder whether any apps are playing similar shenanigans on the Mac, where most apps still have unfettered access to all your data. (I say “still” because this is one of the problems that app sandboxing is meant to mitigate, but few third-party Mac apps are sandboxed yet.)
Apple: Access to Contact Data Will Require Explicit User Permission in Future Version of iOS ★
“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without
their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,”
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD. “We’re working to
make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with
location services, any app wishing to access contact data will
require explicit user approval in a future software release.”
I think this was inevitable.
iOS ’86 ★
This is fun, but the font should be Geneva 9, not Chicago, and the industrial design of the phone is all wrong. Should have looked like a little Apple IIc, or maybe something like this.
Audio Hijack Pro ★
My thanks to Rogue Amoeba for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Audio Hijack Pro, their indispensable audio recording app for the Mac. As they say, if you can hear it on your Mac, Audio Hijack Pro can record it. Skype conversations, streaming radio, or recording a note via your microphone — you name it. Audio Hijack Pro even works to capture audio from sandboxed App Store apps.
Download their free trial, then purchase from Rogue Amoeba’s store. This week only, Daring Fireball readers can save 25 percent using coupon code “DF201202”. Great app at a great discount.
A Conversation With Amy Jane Gruber ★
For your weekend enjoyment, even more podcast fun: my wife Amy is the guest on this week’s Let’s Make Mistakes.
Wow, Is That a Pen? ★
This week’s episode of The Talk Show, with topics including iPad 3 rumors, Windows 8 on ARM, LTE hardware, Google’s purportedly imminent Dropbox competitor, Super Bowl ads, and Path doing the wrong thing the wrong way.
Brought to you by Smile and Sourcebits.
New app from Stairways Software — a $10 Mac e-book reader for DRM-free ePub books. Included with the app is, self-referentially, Take Control of Bookle, by Adam Engst.
No Third-Party Code on the Windows on ARM Desktop ★
Peter Bright, Ars Technica:
The built-in Windows apps — including Explorer and Internet
Explorer 10 — and four Office apps — Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
and OneNote — would run on the desktop, but nothing else would.
Third-party applications would be prohibited, and there would be
no provision to port existing desktop applications to run on the
This led to an immediate, if somewhat surprising, reaction across
the Internet. “But what about browser plugins? Will they also be
The answer to that is “Yes.” Or perhaps even “Yes, of course they
are, since it was stated in unequivocal terms that there would be
no provision to run third-party code on the desktop. That means
So maybe I was right that Windows on ARM would go Metro-only — it’s just that they’ve made an exception for a few built-in apps from Microsoft itself. Why include desktop versions of Explorer and IE, though? Why include two different versions of IE if even the desktop version doesn’t allow plugins?
Also: this seems to suggest that the Office suite is included free-of-charge with Windows on ARM. That’s a pretty bold move considering how much money Microsoft makes from Office licensing.
Leaked Download Counts for USA Today Tablet Apps ★
The undated slide shows 260,000 downloads of the USA Today app for
Kindle Fire, the Android-based tablet released by Amazon last
fall. That is double the 130,000 cumulative downloads of the USA
Today app for other Android tablets.
It still pales in comparison to the more than 2.9 million total
downloads of the USA Today iPad app, but the iPad has also been
around for a lot longer than the Amazon tablet.
Even the HP TouchPad has double the downloads of all Android tablets combined.
Joanna Stern Reviews the MacBook Air as a Windows 7 Laptop ★
I could go on and on about how much better the touchpad experience
is on the Air, but the big question I’ve always had is: why? Why
is it that other laptop makers haven’t mastered the touch
experience and Apple has been able to make it work so fluidly,
even with another operating system?
Because no one other than Apple gives a shit about doing the hard work to get things like this right.
Interesting note on battery life: the Air got over 6 hours of battery life running Mac OS X, but only 4 running Windows 7.
‘Can You Hear Me, Dave?’ ★
Apple’s 1999 Super Bowl ad. It’s like they made this one just for me.
Paul Thurrott Giveth Common Sense, Paul Thurrott Taketh Away ★
Not so good a piece by Paul Thurrott:
But the big takeaway here is simple. Windows on ARM, or “WOA,” as
Microsoft calls it, looks like more than a credible answer to the
iPad. In fact, it looks like something that will relegate the
iPad to the backwater of the tablet market, much as Windows did
to the Mac.
That’s simply not going to happen. Comparisons to the Mac are impossible — the iPad is now far more popular than the Mac ever was. They sold over 15 million iPads last quarter; in the old days, when the Mac-vs.-DOS/Windows war was running hot, Apple sold around 1 million Macs per quarter. I say Windows 8 should be deemed a success if it simply joins iOS as a successful tablet computing platform. It’s not too late for others to join the tablet party, but it is too late to keep the iPad out.
And they will ship with full, but touch-enabled, versions of the
coming Office 15 apps, which should be a neat final nail in the
coffin of those overpriced luxury items from Cupertino.
There’s a kernel of wisdom here, which is that the Office 15 apps should be the best selling point in favor of Windows 8 tablets versus the iPad, for those buying tablets for use as a secondary or even tertiary computing device in a job that’s already dependent upon Microsoft Office. When I travel, I see gobs of corporate businesspeople using iPads; with a real version of Office, many of those people may well be using Windows 8 tablets a year from now. It’s a genuinely compelling hook.
But “overpriced”? Really? If anything, the opposite remains the case: no one can match Apple on pricing for comparatively-spec’d tablets. Remember when everyone thought the iPad was going to start at $999? (Including Thurrott himself?)
Why Microsoft Shouldn’t Focus Only on Windows ★
Good piece by Paul Thurrott, arguing that “Office everywhere” might be a better strategy for Microsoft than “Windows everywhere”:
So what would an unfettered Office look like? […]
You’d also target other popular computing platforms —
primarily iOS/iPad but also iOS/iPhone and Android for both
smartphones and tablets. You’d make sure that Office ran as
well as possible on all of these platforms, and not just a
single app but as many Office apps as possible. You’d speak
openly about how the computing world was changing and that for
a large percentage of customers, just having an A-1 product on
Windows PCs wasn’t enough.
Motorola Exec on Android Upgrade Delays: It’s the Hardware ★
Sascha Segan, PCMag:
It’s the hardware, said Christy Wyatt, senior vice president and
general manager of Motorola’s Enterprise Business Unit. The issue
at hand, according to Wyatt, is that writing code to support
hardware other than Google’s Nexus model has proven to be a tall
order for smartphone makers.
“When Google does a release of the software … they do a version
of the software for whatever phone they just shipped,” she said.
“The rest of the ecosystem doesn’t see it until you see it.
Hardware is by far the long pole in the tent, with multiple
chipsets and multiple radio bands for multiple countries. It’s a
big machine to churn.”
Presumably this will change for Motorola once they’re a Google subsidiary. In the meantime though, the simple truth is that if you want Android 4.0, you’ve got to buy a new phone.
Today’s Social Media Landscape Explained With Donuts ★
A little sad that Flickr doesn’t even warrant a mention.
Kodak to Stop Selling Digital Cameras ★
Dana Mattioli, reporting for the WSJ:
The decision to shutter the business, which Kodak says will save
it more than $100 million a year, is the strongest symbol yet of
the sea change in consumer electronics and decades of missteps
that forced the former blue-chip company to seek bankruptcy
protection last month.
A sad fate for a once-great company. But when not selling a product saves you $100 million a year, you know you were in the wrong business or doing business wrong.
Google Wants 2.25 Percent Royalty for Every iPhone Sold ★
Google’s letter spans over four pages but fails to provide
satisfactory answers to those burning questions. With sincere
intentions, Google could have put on a page — or a page and a
half — everything that other companies in the industry, and
consumers using the ubiquitous standards over which Motorola is
suing others, need to be reassured about. Look at Apple’s and
Microsoft’s concise and crystal clear statements. Why can’t
Google provide clarity like that? Because its four pages aren’t
meant to improve anything. Google is basically saying that it will
do exactly what Motorola is already doing now.
Apple can be a dick about patents. Microsoft can be a dick about patents. But of the three, only Google is a hypocrite about patents — against their use as a competitive weapon only until they have their own to use.
Windows on ARM to Include Traditional Desktop Interface ★
Using WOA “out of the box” will feel just like using Windows 8 on
x86/64. You will sign in the same way. You will start and launch
apps the same way. You will use the new Windows Store the same
way. You will have access to the intrinsic capabilities of
Windows, from the new Start screen and Metro style apps and
Internet Explorer, to peripherals, and if you wish, the Windows
desktop with tools like Windows File Explorer and desktop Internet
Some have suggested we might remove the desktop from WOA in an
effort to be pure, to break from the past, or to be more
simplistic or expeditious in our approach. To us, giving up
something useful that has little cost to customers was a
compromise that we didn’t want to see in the evolution of PCs. The
presence of different models is part of every platform. Whether it
is to support a transition to a future programming model (such as
including a virtualization or emulation solution if feasible), to
support different programming models on one platform (native and
web-based applications when both are popular), or to support
different ways of working (command shell or GUI for different
scenarios), the presence of multiple models represents a flexible
solution that provides a true no-compromise experience on any
Count me in as one who suggested they go Metro-only on ARM. I believe this is a grave error on Microsoft’s part; that they’re ceding the future of personal computing to Apple and the iPad by doing this.
WSJ: Google Developing Home Entertainment System ★
Amir Efrati and Ethan Smith, reporting for the WSJ:
Google Inc. is developing a home-entertainment system that streams
music wirelessly throughout the home and would be marketed under
the company’s own brand, according to people briefed on the
The effort marks a sharp shift in strategy for Google, which for
the first time would design and market consumer electronic
devices under the Google brand.
If Amazon can get into the hardware business, why not Google too? I have to presume that such a device would work with video, too, not just audio. Audio-only doesn’t make any sense to me.
See also: Dan Frommer.
How to Take Pictures of Receipts (or Anything Else) and Automatically Add Them to Yojimbo With Whatever Tags You Want ★
Great tip from Shawn Blanc, tying together Dropbox, Yojimbo, Folder Action scripts, and a new-to-me iPhone app called QuickShot.
Nifty Safari extension by Shaun Inman:
Ever wonder why links you find via Twitter don’t show up in your
browser history and aren’t suggested by autocomplete in the url
bar? The t.co link shortener serves known browser user agents an
(instead of the standard
Location header) so that Twitter can
stake itself out as the referrer when coming from third-party
clients. This confuses Safari.
Keeps your history from filling up with indistinguishable untitled t.co URLs.
Twittelator Neue ★
I sing the praises of Tweetbot every few weeks, but I still believe what I wrote almost three years ago: “Twitter Clients Are a UI Design Playground”. Another new iOS Twitter client that deserves attention is Twittelator Neue, from Stone Design. In a sense it’s a rather opposite design approach from Tweetbot — light vs. heavy.
Stealing Your Address Book ★
Usually, when I am curious about something Apple has done, I try
to understand the design thinking that went into the decision. In
this case, I can’t think of a rational reason for why Apple has
not placed any protections on Address Book in iOS. It makes no
sense. It is a breach of my privacy, and it has allowed every app
I’ve installed to steal my address book.
I understand that Apple doesn’t want us to be badgered by too many permission-granting alerts, but address book data is sensitive enough to warrant it, in my opinion. Why not treat it like they do location data?
John Williams Turns 80 ★
Five of his classic scores, with a bit of his own commentary. You could argue that Williams is the most successful artist in the history of film. (Via Jim Coudal.)
John Paczkowski: Apple to Announce iPad 3 First Week in March ★
Sources say the company has chosen the first week in March to
debut the successor to the iPad 2, and will do so at one of its
trademark special events. The event will be held in San Francisco,
presumably at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Apple’s
preferred location for big announcements like these.
I believe it.
Guilt by Dissociation ★
It was never just about getting a name wrong. It’s that even
when you take Blue’s backpedalling at face value, it’s still
offensively dismissive of women in tech. […]
Correcting and dismissing Blue’s posts was never about Men vs.
Women. It’s about accuracy vs. inaccuracy, good writing vs. bad
writing, journalism vs. whatever the hell it is she’s doing, and
misogyny vs. respect.
Fountain: Plain-Text Markup Format for Screenwriting ★
What Markdown is for web content, Fountain is for screenplays. Looks great. See more in the announcements from co-creators Stu Maschwitz and John August. (Writes August, “Good ideas sometimes sit around for a while.” True.)
My favorite iPhone Twitter client is now available for the iPad too. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and it’s just terrific. I love it.
How iTunes Match Works for Copyright Holders ★
Jeff Price got his first iTunes Match royalty check, and he’s happy:
A person has a song on her computer hard drive. She clicks on the
song and plays it. No one is getting paid. The same person pays
iTunes $25 for iMatch. She now clicks on the same song and plays
it through her iMatch service. Copyright holders get paid.
Same action, same song, one makes money for the copyright holder,
and one does not. This is found money that the copyright holders
would never have gotten otherwise.
I wasn’t really sure before how artists would get paid for iTunes Match.
Path Makes Things Right ★
Dave Morin, CEO of Path:
We believe you should have control when it comes to sharing your
personal information. We also believe that actions speak louder
than words. So, as a clear signal of our commitment to your
privacy, we’ve deleted the entire collection of user uploaded
contact information from our servers. Your trust matters to us
and we want you to feel completely in control of your information
In Path 2.0.6, released to the App Store today, you are prompted
to opt in or out of sharing your phone’s contacts with our servers
in order to find your friends and family on Path.
Inside Instagram ★
Nice profile by Mat Honan:
Instagram isn’t just small; it’s tiny. It’s miniscule. It is famously located in Twitter’s old digs in San Francisco’s South Park neighborhood. But here’s the thing: Instagram subleases its space from another company. Instagram isn’t in Twitter’s old office, it’s in Twitter’s old conference room. The entire company is nothing more than a collection of desks arranged bullpen-style in a room that is smaller than most two-car garages.
Nothing Personal ★
Cade Metz, reporting for The Register a year ago:
“The proliferation of Flash [on mobile] is actually happening,” David Wadhwani, executive and senior vice president for Adobe’s Creative and Interactive Solutions, told reporters on Thursday during a gathering at Adobe’s San Francisco offices. “Flash does not run in the browser on iOS devices yet, but we’re confident — given the momentum we’re seeing on other devices and the consumer interest — that we’re on the right track [in the rest of the market].”
That didn’t last long.
Steve Jobs’ rather personal attack on Flash only encouraged his competitors to embrace the technology — in a big way.
The thing is, it wasn’t personal. Read Jobs’s Thoughts on Flash again. His argument is rational, technical, and strategic — and holds up very well in hindsight. The ones who allowed personal feelings to enter the equation were those who mistook Apple’s stance toward Flash as a spiteful vendetta.
Path Uploads Your Entire iPhone Address Book to Its Servers ★
Arun Thampi, after examining the network traffic between Path’s iPhone app and their servers:
Upon inspecting closer, I noticed that my entire address book (including full names, emails and phone numbers) was being sent as a plist to Path. Now I don’t remember having given permission to Path to access my address book and send its contents to its servers, so I created a completely new “Path” and repeated the experiment and I got the same result — my address book was in Path’s hands.
Path’s reaction, paraphrased: Hey, no big deal. We’re only using the data to help you find your friends.
Everyone else in the world’s reaction: Dude, that’s fucked up.
Gartner: Western European PC Shipments Fell 16 Percent in Fourth Quarter of 2011 ★
PC shipments in Western Europe totaled 16.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 16 per cent decline from the equivalent period in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. For the year, PC shipments numbered 58.5 million units in Western Europe in 2011, also a 16 percent decrease from 2010.
The PC market in Western Europe has suffered four consecutive quarters of shipment decline.
Sounds like a trend.
Chrome for Android Won’t Support Flash ★
Remember when Android’s (and the BlackBerry Playbook’s, and WebOS’s) support for Flash was supposed to be a competitive advantage against iOS?
Chrome for Android ★
MG Siegler reviews the brand-new and long-awaited Chrome for Android:
First of all, yes, Chrome for Android is here. Second, it’s only compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich which is currently on — wait for it — 1% of Android devices. But in an attempt to add some silver-lining to the 1% joke, I will say that Chrome for Android is of a much higher class than the previous Android browser, the aptly-named and horribly icon’d: Browser.
Browser is dead. Long live Chrome.
Thus ends the single most perplexing thing about Android: why its web browser was so horrendous. Conventional wisdom says Apple is the one pushing native apps and Google is the web-first company, but you’d never guess it judging by their respective mobile web browsers.
I installed Chrome on my Galaxy Nexus review unit and I concur with MG — it’s good. It still doesn’t zoom or scroll as well as Mobile Safari (not even close), but it’s so much better than the old Browser it isn’t funny. My biggest gripe with Chrome for Android is that it feels overly skewed toward search. Bookmarks are tucked several taps away, unlike Mobile Safari where they’re one tap away in a menu at the bottom of the screen. But overall, the interaction design is good: useful, attractive, obvious, and efficient.
That’s No Moon ★
Samsung is heading into Gordon Gekko territory.
Alternate Joke: If your phone is bigger than your face, you have polio.
It’s Been a Long 15 Years ★
If you want a visceral sense of just how far Apple has come since the NeXT acquisition and Steve Jobs’s return, you’ll do no better than watching this video from Macworld Expo 1997. Then-CEO Gil Amelio rambles on and on, woefully unprepared and unrehearsed. Then, Jobs takes the stage, unusually-dressed but with a tight presentation and an actual plan. Then Amelio returns to preside over what must be the worst and most awkward product introduction in company history.
Salon: 33 Percent Fewer Posts; 40 Percent Greater Traffic ★
Salon editor Kerry Lauerman:
We’ve also — completely against the trend — slowed down our
process. We’ve tried to work longer on stories for greater impact,
and publish fewer quick-takes that we know you can consume
elsewhere. We’re actually publishing, on average, roughly
one-third fewer posts on Salon than we were a year ago (from 848
to 572 in December; 943 to 602 in January). So: 33 percent fewer
posts; 40 percent greater traffic.
Good news. But it shouldn’t be surprising that for a certain audience, quality is far more important than quantity.
Apple Shopping New Apple TV to Potential Broadband Partners? ★
Intriguing report by Rita Trichur, Grant Robertson, Boyd Erman, and Steve Ladurantaye, for the Globe and Mail:
While the iTV product remains cloaked in secrecy, sources say
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has approached Rogers and Bell as it
actively pursues partnerships with Canadian carriers.
“They’re not closed to doing it with one [company] or doing it
with two,” said one source who is familiar with the talks.
“They’re looking for a partner. They’re looking for someone with
wireless and broadband capabilities.”
Another source, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said
Rogers and Bell already have the product in their labs.
I’ve never heard anything about this before, but if true, it suggests that Apple is approaching this new (or perhaps just updated?) TV product as something akin to the iPhone — with broadband providers playing the role mobile carriers do with the iPhone.
The Best Super Bowl Ad ★
But there was one ad that struck me as the most honest, most
riveting and most compelling of all. You see, the game had just
ended, and Colts great Raymond Berry ran the Giant gantlet with
the Lombardi Trophy. Suddenly it seemed like every other Giant
pulled out an Apple iPhone to snap pictures of the moment. One
after another after another. And I said to myself, there it is,
not some pet dangling a bag of chips or some headlights killing
vampires or King Elton getting trapdoored. Nope, there was an ad
worthy of Steve Jobs and the company he built.
New High-DPI UI Resources in 10.7.3 ★
Have you noticed that Safari’s hovering-over-a-link pointing-finger cursor looks a little different in Mac OS X 10.7.3? It’s not just that the finger is at a slightly different angle — it’s a new UI resource that scales gracefully to larger sizes. That’s not the only new high-DPI image resource in 10.7.3: the grabby hand in Mail, the camera cursor for selecting an individual window to take a screenshot of, and a few other UI elements got the high-DPI treatment in 10.7.3.
The simplest explanation is that Apple only just now got around to increasing the resolution of these elements for the benefit of users who use the cursor-zooming Universal Access feature. But, combined with the fact that some people with Mac Minis connected to TVs via HDMI are reporting that after upgrading to 10.7.3, their system rebooted in HiDPI mode, I can’t help but wonder whether we may be on the cusp of Apple releasing HiDPI Mac displays and/or HiDPI MacBooks. I.e.: retina display Macs.
I’ve been anticipating super-high-resolution Mac displays for over five years, so take my conjecture here with a grain of wishful-thinking salt.
Steve Ballmer Laughs at iPhone in 2007 ★
After noting that Apple’s iPhone business now generates more revenue than all of Microsoft combined, MG Siegler linked once again to this classic 2007 interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Nobody enjoys laughing at utterly-wrong-in-hindsight claim chowder like I do, but in all seriousness, this interview, to me, is all the proof Microsoft’s board needs that Ballmer should be asked to step down. (Or, really, that he should have been asked to step down a few years ago, as soon as it became clear just how successful the iPhone was going to be.) The damning thing isn’t that Apple got there first; it’s that even after Apple revealed it, that Ballmer didn’t get it, that he didn’t see instantly that Apple had unveiled something amazing and transformative. All Ballmer could see was the near future, the next few months where the iPhone was indeed too expensive and where typing on a touchscreen was a novelty.
Of course Microsoft’s CEO wasn’t going to sing the iPhone’s praises. But if he had a true understanding of what they suddenly found themselves up against, he sure as shit would not have laughed at it.
Honeywell Goes After Nest Learning Thermostat for Patent Infringement ★
So depressing. It’d be one thing if Honeywell had an even vaguely Nest-like product to defend. But they don’t. And how did they get a patent for this:
U.S. Patent No. 7,634,504 - this patent was filed in 2006 (issued
2009) and covers displaying grammatically complete sentences while
programming a thermostat.
Why Didn’t Apple Advertise During the Super Bowl? ★
Lance Ulanoff thinks Apple should have advertised during yesterday’s Super Bowl:
I worry that without Steve Jobs, Apple may have lost some of its
fighting spirit. For all his quirks, Jobs was a fighter. He liked
to deride the competition and then beat them, as publicly as
possible. Imagine if right after the Samsung Super Bowl ad, Apple
had run some sort of iconic spot for, say, the Apple iTV:
“Television is about to change forever, thanks to the company
that, 28 years ago, changed computing forever. Watch…” Now that
would’ve been cool. Jobs would have done it.
No he wouldn’t have. The 1984 Super Bowl ad was amazing, but it’s ancient history. An Apple Super Bowl ad yesterday teasing an upcoming product — Apple TV, iPad, anything — would have been a sign of post-Jobs strategic change.
Jobs is only dead for a few months, but Ulanoff has seemingly already forgotten how he ran the company. I can’t remember the last time Apple ran a Super Bowl ad. Super Bowl ads bring high-profile attention to major announcements. Apple doesn’t need to pay for Super Bowl ads to get high-profile attention for major announcements. Apple uses TV advertisements to reinforce the message and branding of its most popular existing products. The Super Bowl is of questionable value for that sort of advertising.
Apple doesn’t tease upcoming products. They announce them when they’re ready. As for Samsung’s ads mocking those who wait in line for new Apple products, I imagine Apple sees no more need to respond than Coke does to Pepsi’s decades-long “we’re happy to be in second place” advertising strategy of making fun of Coke.
Chris Davies, SlashGear:
HTC “dropped the ball” on its 2011 devices, the company’s CFO has
admitted, with LTE-equipped handsets simply too thick and offering
insufficient battery life. Speaking on the company’s financial
results call today, following HTC’s unappealing Q4 2011 results,
Chief Financial Officer Winston Yung conceded that HTC had plenty
of work to do improving both “design and components.”
I, for one, am shocked — shocked! — that big thick phones with poor battery life fared poorly.
The iOS-ification of Apple’s Ecosystem ★
The iOS-ification of OS X is, at this point, inevitable, and
anyone who doesn’t see it, or tries to neglect, is either
software-blind or has some kind of interest in that way of
Terrific short film by Ben Wu and David Usui about Prime Burger Restaurant, a midtown Manhattan institution. (Via Rusty Blazenhoff.)
Doxie Go + Wi-Fi ★
My thanks to Apparent for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their new Doxie Go + Wi-Fi — a tiny, portable, wireless scanner that works anywhere. It includes great Mac software that creates searchable PDFs and integrates easily with just about any imaginable workflow. Save scans to Dropbox, Evernote, Yojimbo, your iPhone/iPad photo roll, or keep them in the Doxie app. And with Wi-Fi, your scans push wirelessly and instantly to your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
Doxie Go helps you go not just paperless, but wireless. I bought one a few months ago and love it.
Judge Not By What They Do, But Rather By How They Spin ★
Avram Piltch of Laptop magazine, talking to Li Qiang, founder of China Labor Watch:
“Dell and Hewlett Packard are not doing as good as Apple is
doing right now,” Li Said. “But when we talk about publicity
and public relations, it’s another story.”
So who does CLW spend the most effort criticizing — the companies whose actual labor practices are worse, or the one whose “public relations” (read: willingness to take a meeting with CLW) are worse? Take a guess.
Apple Updates iBooks Author With Clarified EULA ★
Apple has updated its iBooks Author app in order to clarify the language of its End User License Agreement. The changes to the EULA clarify that Apple does indeed intend the packaged product to be sold on the iBookstore only, but also make it clear that it does not lay claim to the content that you use to create the book, nor does it try to limit what you can do with that content elsewhere.
Apple reached 75% of profit share, nearly 40% of revenue share and 9% of units share.
Apple and Samsung combined for about 91% of profits with RIM third at 3.7%, HTC fourth at 3.0% and Nokia last at 1.8% of a $15 billion total for the quarter.
In Praise of Cheap Labor ★
Paul Krugman, writing for Slate back in 1997:
Such moral outrage is common among the opponents of globalization
— of the transfer of technology and capital from high-wage to
low-wage countries and the resulting growth of labor-intensive
Third World exports. These critics take it as a given that anyone
with a good word for this process is naive or corrupt and, in
either case, a de facto agent of global capital in its oppression
of workers here and abroad.
But matters are not that simple, and the moral lines are not that
clear. In fact, let me make a counter-accusation: The lofty moral
tone of the opponents of globalization is possible only because
they have chosen not to think their position through. While
fat-cat capitalists might benefit from globalization, the biggest
beneficiaries are, yes, Third World workers.
Keep in mind that Krugman is, by anyone’s standards, a true liberal.
Planned Parenthood Action Center ★
If you’re as disappointed as I am with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation’s decision to drop funding for breast cancer screening at Planned Parenthood, do what I did: donate to Planned Parenthood.
(Cupertino-area readers, take note: Planned Parenthood is a registered 501c3, and thus eligible for a matching donation from Apple.)
iTunes Store Credit 20 Percent Off ★
The good news: Best Buy is selling iTunes gift cards at 80 cents on the dollar.
The bad news: you have to shop at Best Buy.
Microsoft Pushes for Plugin-Free Web ★
John Hrvatin from the Internet Explorer team:
The transition to a plug-in free Web is happening today. Any
site that uses plug-ins needs to understand what their customers
experience when browsing plug-in free. Lots of Web browsing
today happens on devices that simply don’t support plug-ins.
Even browsers that do support plug-ins offer many ways to run
Metro style IE runs plug-in free to improve battery life as well
as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers.
How long until Google joins the party?
Five-Year-Old Analyzes Logos ★
Astute and adorable.
Shawn King on Violet Blue’s odd response to having it pointed out that the Macworld/iWorld “booth babe” she wrote about was not a booth babe:
All is not lost. I have a solution for Violet Blue and ZDNet.
First, offer a public apology to Piroska Szurmai-Palotai.
Secondly, restore the story to its original writing. Yes, both are
embarrassing actions but ones that real journalists recognize must
be done from time to time. Offer a sincere mea culpa to both the
developer, the Mac Community and to journalists everywhere.
And finally, offer to pay for the same booth for Ms Piroska
Szurmai-Palotai and her company at next year’s Macworld.
See also this follow-up.
Caviar and Champagne ★
This week’s episode of America’s second-best podcast features discussion regarding Macworld/iWorld, the evolution and future of cameras and camera makers, and Apple’s Chinese manufacturing partners.
Brought to you by FreshBooks and MailChimp.
Zuckerberg’s Share ★
Nick Bilton and Evelyn Rusli, reporting for the NYT on who’s profiting from the Facebook IPO:
Mr. Zuckerberg, 27, has 533.8 million shares, worth $28.4 billion
based on a company valuation of $100 billion, or $53 a share. He
also has undisputed control of the company, a remarkable
achievement since the company has received financing from some of
the world’s top business minds. He owns 28.4 percent of the
company outright and he controls 57 percent of the voting rights. […]
Bill Gates controlled only 49.2 percent of Microsoft as it went
public in 1986. Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey
Brin, each owned about 15 percent of their company when it went
public in 2004.
I’m not much interested in and don’t use Facebook, so I seldom write about them. But that Zuckerberg was able to hold onto so much stock and an astounding majority of the voting rights is proof that his success is no fluke. The guy must be a badass at the negotiating table.
Dangers of Fracking ★
Clever, informative website by Linda Dong.
Having a Wee Bit of Trouble ★
Siri comes to Scotland.
Comparison of First Seven Quarters: iPod, iPhone, iPod ★
Nice little chart from the great Horace Dediu. If you asked me what the most underrated aspect of Apple is today, I’d say it’s the speed at which iPad sales have grown. The iPhone took off fast, but the iPad has taken off way, way faster. I suspect many Apple watchers consider the iPad an iPhone-like success — but it’s far bigger.
Dalrymple: ‘Apple Will Not Hold an Event in February’ ★
As usual, I would not bet against Jim.
Red Blooded ★
Sweet video for a sweet notebook; effects all done in-camera.
Not Everyone Copies Apple ★
Interesting contrast between the new CEOs of Apple and Sony.
The Global Handset Business in One Chart ★
Informative data visualization by Benedict Evans.
‘Think Profit’ ★
MG Siegler compares Apple’s profit-focused business approach to Amazon’s:
As their dance with the dreaded red line proves, Amazon isn’t
anywhere close to operating the way Walmart does yet. In fact,
Amazon’s margins are so slim that Facebook, which just filed to
go public today, recorded nearly double the profit of Amazon
last year ($1 billion versus $631 million). That’s pretty crazy
when you think about it.
Avid Studio for iPad ★
$5 video-editing iPad app from Avid. No word on an Android version.
Like Royal Weddings ★
Tech Giant IPOs are like Royal Weddings: the people act nice but you know it’s a seething roiling pit of hate, greed, money, and desperation that goes on a bit too long so by the end you just want to put an angry chili-covered porcupine in everyone’s anus and set them all on fire. But perhaps I’m jaded.
Bonus points for tagging the post with “porcupines”.
Apple Passes LG to Become World’s Third Largest Mobile Phone Manufacturer ★
Eric Slivka, MacRumors:
Apple’s share of the market hit 8.7% in the fourth quarter and registered at 6.0% for the full year. Steve Jobs famously noted during the iPhone’s 2007 introduction that Apple was shooting to take 1% of the massive overall mobile phone market, and the company has clearly exceeded that goal and can now set its sights on a 10% quarterly share during the next spike in sales.
I’ve long held that Apple’s share of the overall phone market is a far more interesting metric than their share of “smartphones”. All phones will soon be smartphones.
Dixons Apparently Sucks ★
Ben Rooney, writing for the WSJ:
Presumably Mr. Browett interviews really, really well, and perhaps Apple CEO Tim Cook has yet to visit a PC World or Currys (Dixon’s face of retail in the U.K.), but the two retail experiences are poles apart.
Apple stores are the epitome of tasteful design, with no visible cash registers, highly trained staff and an exacting attention to visual appeal; think gleaming white counters, bleached wood floors, minimal and tasteful signage.
Currys and PC World are more in the “stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap” end of retail, with all of the associated aesthetic appeal of that school of selling: garish purples, violent yellows, stacks of products, cluttered, aggressive, frenetic.
You can argue that Target (Ron Johnson’s gig prior to his Apple stint) isn’t much like an Apple Store either, but at least Target is tasteful, places value on design, and strives for a pleasant shopping experience. Those are values shared with Apple. Dixons and PC World seemingly share no values with Apple.
I’m not implying that Browett was hired to or intends to Dixons-ify the Apple Store experience — just pointing out that it’s a curious hire, also given how rarely Apple hires executives from outside the company.
Macworld 2012 ★
Astute summary of last week’s show by Shawn Blanc.
Similar take from Chris Foresman at Ars Technica, who summed the changes thus:
As a tech journalist, Macworld has gradually become less
interesting. As a user of Apple’s products and a geek in general,
however, the show has become perhaps more interesting.
70 Percent of All Smartphones Sold by AT&T and Verizon Last Quarter Were iPhones ★
Android’s market share victory is imminent.
This Is Sad All Right ★
Violet Blue, writing about last week’s Macworld/iWorld Expo:
I was, in fact, looking at The Saddest Booth Babe In The
She sat on a stool in between two large monitors across the aisle
from us. The pretty brunette was in one of those big corner booths
that paid a few bucks for that sorta-prime real estate you know is
a gamble for whoever forked over the money to sell wignuts or
widgets or iPhone cases or other sundry USB landfill.
Her shoulders were hunched and her hands sat limply in her lap
beneath breasts that were packaged air-tight in a tight, branded
She stared at the floor. Unlike her counterparts, she never
smiled. Sad booth babe was sad.
But as Shawn King points out in the comments under the photo, the woman in question doesn’t look anything at all like a “booth babe” — she simply looks like a developer who happens to be a woman manning her booth. And according to subsequent comments by Tim Breen, that’s exactly what she is:
The woman in the white top appears to be Piroska Szurmai-Palotai,
the (sole?) developer for NeoPlay Entertainment. She has three
apps currently in the App Store and was a first-time exhibitor at
the Mobile Apps Showcase this year.
Update: The woman in the photograph is Zsófia Rutkai, who works in PR for NeoPlay Entertainment.
AT&T and Samsung Finally Upgrade the Infuse 4G to Android 4.0 ★
Wait, did I say 4.0? I meant Android 2.3.
iPhone 4S Camera Made by Sony ★
That’s one way for camera companies to thrive in the face of declining point-and-shoot sales: to become component suppliers for smartphones and other devices.
No Longer Loving Google ★
I imagine half of my readers are smugly thinking “See, I told you
Google was evil all along”. I don’t think that’s right. In
particular I refuse to give in to a cynical view of Google’s
“Don’t be evil” motto; that ethos was very real, a sincere and
important guiding principle. And if a big company like Google
can’t avoid being evil, then what world-changing enterprise can?
But I think Google as an organization has moved on; they’re
focussed now on market position, not making the world better.
Which makes me sad.
Apple Updates Final Cut Pro X With Multicam, Broadcast Monitoring ★
In Praise of Apple’s .ibook Format ★
Joseph Pearson, of the e-book startup Bookish:
So we were surprised and delighted by some aspects of the .ibook
file that iBooks Author spits out. Their extensions to EPUB are
done precisely the right way. They’re not done with dollops of
(You can be sure EPUB’s governing body, the IDPF, is lamenting
Instead they’ve done it with microformats. […] They’ve said: this
stuff is up to reading software developers to implement. Like
Apple. Or Amazon. Or Kobo. Or Booki.sh. What we need to do is give
the ebook authors enough opportunities to customise the
functionality, not recreate it for every single book.
This is exactly the right stance. We’re thrilled to see this,
although it means a whole lot of work for us.
Apple’s approach suggests that they think “write once, run everywhere” is no better a strategy for e-books than it has been for any other sort of software.
Making Mistakes ★
To top off those panel appearances, while in San Francisco I stopped by the palatial Mule Design studio to make an appearance on Let’s Make Mistakes, hosted by my friend and American McCarver co-contributor Mike Monteiro and Katie Gillum. We talked about everything from conferences to NFL team uniform design.
Less Than Perfect Apps ★
My second appearance was on this panel moderated by Lex Friedman, featuring Glenn Fleishman, David Wiskus, Paul Kafasis, Guy English, and yours truly, talking about the flaws that bother us in apps that we love.
The State of Apple ★
I made two speaking appearances last week at Macworld/iWorld. The first was this one, with Jason Snell and Andy Ihnatko, on the state of Apple (and, really, the state of the industry).