‘To a Boy of the 1970s, the Line Between Comic Books and Real Life People Was Hopelessly Blurred’ ★
Joe Posnanski, writing about Mets phenom Matt Harvey, compares him to Mark “The Bird” Fidrych of the 1976 Detroit Tigers:
He was like a superhero in a Detroit Tigers’ uniform. I’m
semi-serious about that. You have to understand that to a boy of
the 1970s, the line between comic books and real life people was
hopelessly blurred. Was Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man,
real or fake? Fake? Well, then, how about Evel Knievel jumping
over busses on his motorcycle? Oh, he was real. The Superman ads
said, “You will believe a man can fly,” and Fonzie started
jukeboxes by simply hitting them, and Elvis Presley wore capes,
and Nolan Ryan threw pitches 102 mph, and Roger Staubach (who they
called Captain America) kept bringing the Cowboys back from
certain defeat, and Muhammad Ali let George Foreman tire himself
out by leaning against the ropes and taking every punch he could
throw. What was real anyway?
Yes yes yes to all of the above. I’ll toss in Reggie Jackson hitting four home runs on four consecutive swings of the bat in the 1977 World Series.
‘Up to the Creepy Line’ ★
This week’s episode of my podcast, The Talk Show, with special guest John Moltz. Topics include Apple’s quarterly results, the asinine idea that Tim Cook’s job is possibly in jeopardy (or as Moltz put it, “how many days Tim Cook has left”), Google Glass, and more.
Brought to you by two great sponsors:
Super Monster Bros by Adventure Time Pocket Free Games ★
Why does Apple allow this sort of garbage in the App Store?
Update, 2 May 2013: Looks like the game has been removed from the App Store.
NBA Center Jason Collins: ‘I’m Gay’ ★
Jason Collins, in a Sports Illustrated cover story:
I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.
I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a
major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the
conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his
hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else
would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising
The Latest Knock on Apple: Too Many People Buying iPhones Other Than the 5 ★
Chris O’Brien, writing for the LA Times, “Consumers’ Shift to Older iPhones Raises Concerns on Wall Street”:
How strange to think that Vicki Macchiavello’s decision to buy
an iPhone after years of using a BlackBerry could be bad news
for Apple. And yet, because the Oakland resident opted to buy a
cheaper, older iPhone 4 rather than the latest, pricier iPhone
5, she represents a trend that has become a growing concern on
In recent months, such an unusually large proportion of consumers
are opting to buy older iPhone models that some analysts have
begun to wonder whether Apple has lost its ability to create new
versions that have enough dazzle to justify their high prices.
Framed this way, Apple can’t win. If they only sold the iPhone 5, they’d get dinged for not addressing the middle and lower tiers of the market. In fact, even now, with the iPhone 4 and 4S on the market, Apple is frequently criticized for not having an even cheaper iPhone — something for the no-contract market.
But so now when people buy the iPhone 4 and 4S, it’s a sign that something is wrong with the iPhone 5? If selling the iPhone 4 and 4S to new customers were bad for Apple, they wouldn’t sell them. It’s not complicated. Read the article — it’s quite obvious that if the iPhone 4 were not available free-with-contract, this woman would have bought something other than an iPhone that was. She wasn’t going to spring for a $199 iPhone 5.
Wikipedia’s Sexism ★
Amanda Filipacchi, in an op-ed for the NYT:
Early last week I noticed something strange on Wikipedia. It
appeared that, gradually, over time, the volunteer editors who
create the site had begun moving women, one by one, from the
“American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists”
subcategory. […] Many female novelists, like Harper Lee, Anne
Rice, Amy Tan, Donna Tartt and some 300 others, had been relegated
to the ranks of “American Women Novelists” only, and no longer
appeared in the category “American Novelists.”
‘You Cannot Copy High Quality’ ★
Interesting piece for Fast Company by Danielle Sacks, on Mickey Drexler and Jenna Lyons’s leadership at J. Crew:
After two days of reviewing the entire product line, Drexler told
Lyons to get on a plane to Hong Kong and design new pieces to fill
all the holes. He also asked her where she wanted to source the
company’s cashmere. A more expensive mill, she said. He told her
to call them. This move marked the beginning of Drexler’s
turnaround strategy — a bet on quality. “You cannot copy high
quality, and it takes a long time to get a reputation for
quality,” he says. Lyons credits this first encounter as both
formative and telling of their future together. “Honestly, I think
it was because I didn’t bullshit him,” says Lyons. “His
bullshit-dar is insane.”
No surprise that Drexler sits on Apple’s board of directors.
The Sad State of MLB’s Blackout Policy ★
Thus, as long as I am standing in Carlisle, PA, I can’t watch
Phillies broadcasts. However, if I go a half hour to the west in
Chambersburg, PA, Phillies games are not shown on television, but
also are not blacked out in the packages. If I go a half hour to
the east in Harrisburg, PA, Phillies games are blacked out in the
packages, but shown on local television. Therefore, this tiny
strip of land in Central PA is the only spot in the entire country
that one can not legally watch Phillies games. It is purgatory for
a Phillies fan.
New iPhone Commercial: Every Day ★
Marco Arment Sells Instapaper to Betaworks ★
I’m happy to announce that I’ve sold a majority stake in
Instapaper to Betaworks. We’ve structured the deal with
Instapaper’s health and longevity as the top priority, with
incentives to keep it going well into the future. I will continue
advising the project indefinitely, while Betaworks will take over
its operations, expand its staff, and develop it further.
Includes retina display support. They’ve been sitting on this for a long time, glad to see it released. Now, if only they would let Apple open this app instead of the twitter.com website when you get notifications through OS X’s built-in Twitter support.
Listen to Alexander Graham Bell’s Voice ★
Sounds like he’s on AT&T.
WWDC Sells Out in Two Minutes ★
Might have even been quicker than that. Not sure anyone got a ticket if they didn’t get one in the first minute after they went on sale.
(Remember that guy a few days ago who claimed developer interest in iOS and OS X is waning?)
iPhone Tipping Points ★
There are fewer and fewer new high-end buyers coming into the
market and the ones you sold to in the past may increasingly be
tempted by ever improving cheaper phones. So a high-end phone
maker risks losing sales if it stays at the high-end, or losing
margin if it makes cheaper phones, or both.
In case it isn’ t obvious, this is the essence of the bear story
for Apple. There’s lots of froth and nonsense swirling around as
well, but this is a perfectly coherent and intelligent story. It
isn’t that Apple is losing sales to Android (it isn’t, at least
not yet) - it’s that the high-end market itself may be close to
Smart analysis. One thing Evans neglects to address, though, is that the above is not really the bear story for Apple, it’s the bear story for the iPhone. The bear story for Apple is that they’ll never have another hit to take the iPhone’s place. Go back a decade, and it was the same with the iPod.
But Apple already has the next big iPhone-sized hit: iPad. That’s where the crazy year-over-year growth remains.
The Popular pane is useless to anyone over the age of 17. Emerging
seems to simply be the inverse of Popular and is therefore equally
hopeless. Swipe over to Suggested and we’re finally getting
somewhere, save for the fact that the secret sauce of what makes
an artist “suggested” is completely opaque. I have no idea what I
should do to improve the algorithmic guidance or what the fuck
@beth_orton is doing in there.
Tellingly, you can’t get to a musician’s tweets from within the
app to decide whether you want to follow them based on the content
of their stream, you’re just supposed to follow all of your
favorite musicians and be in awe of their celebrity, I guess.
So he really likes it, I guess.
Apple’s New Pitch to Investors ★
Apple is trading at an astonishingly low valuation, with a p/e
ratio in single digits, because it has now become that animal
investors like least: a slow-growing tech stock. Either one is
fine on its own, and both slow-growing stocks and fast-growing
tech stocks can support much higher multiples than Apple is seeing
right now. But conservative investors, who like slow-growing
stocks with high dividends, are constitutionally uncomfortable
with the volatility inherent in the tech world. And technology
investors, who are happy taking that kind of risk, want to see
substantial growth. Apple, notwithstanding the fact that it’s one
of the most valuable companies in the world, is falling through
the capital-markets cracks.
The New US $100 Bill ★
I find it depressing how our currency keeps getting uglier and uglier.
Charity Auction: Coffee With Tim Cook at Apple Headquarters ★
$28,500 and counting. Proceeds benefit The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. Update: A few hours later and it’s up to $160,000. (!)
Nintendo Makes Second Consecutive Annual Loss as Wii U Misses Expectations ★
Now this is a bad earnings report. Really hope Nintendo figures a way to pull itself out of this spiral.
BlackBerry Q10 ★
Andrew Cunningham reviews the new Q10, the first BlackBerry 10 device with a hardware keyboard. I don’t fault BlackBerry one bit for making this device — if anyone has a die-hard base of hardware keyboard-addicted users, it’s them. But serious question: if there remains serious demand for a phone like this, why are there no top tier Android devices in this form factor? The Android phones I see suggest that hardware keyboards are on the cusp of extinction.
WWDC 2013 Announced: June 10-14 ★
“We look forward to gathering at WWDC 2013 with the incredible
community of iOS and OS X developers,” said Philip Schiller,
Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Our
developers have had the most prolific and profitable year ever,
and we’re excited to show them the latest advances in software
technologies and developer tools to help them create innovative
new apps. We can’t wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into
their hands at WWDC.”
Tickets don’t go on sale until tomorrow at 10 am PDT. In previous years, tickets went on sale immediately after the dates were announced. Two years ago it sold out in 12 hours. Last year it sold out in 2 hours. Tomorrow’s going to be something.
(By the way, you should follow me on App.net. You’d have known about this a few days ago if you did.)
The Verge’s Galaxy S4 Review ★
I don’t like holding this phone, and I can’t overstate how much
that informs the experience of using it. It makes an awful first
impression, slippery and slimy and simply unpleasant in your
hand. My white review unit is completely smooth and glossy, with
a subtle checkered pattern that looks textured but is neither
grippy nor textured anywhere on its body. Even the silver band
around the sides, which is obviously supposed to look like metal,
is plastic. Everyone I showed the GS4 to frowned and wrinkled
their nose as if it smelled bad, before rubbing their fingers on
the back of the phone and then handing it back to me — that’s
the opposite of the standard reaction to HTC’s One, which
everyone wants to ogle and hold.
Includes a 10/10 rating for the display, despite this description:
The GS4’s 5-inch, 1920 × 1080 display is big, beautiful, and
seriously eye-catching. The latter is partially a bad thing: the
S4 uses a Super AMOLED panel like many of Samsung’s phones, and
like many of Samsung’s phones it displays overly contrasted and
vibrant colors. Those colors may not be accurate — reds and
oranges absolutely explode off the screen, whether they should or
not — but they certainly catch your eye.
This Really Says It All ★
From Joanna Stern’s review of the Samsung Galaxy S4:
Many people will find the phone’s sheer number of features to be
overwhelming and hard to find. For instance, I really like the
multitasking feature that lets you stack apps one on top of
another — i.e. e-mail on the top of the screen and a browser on
the bottom — but it isn’t obvious how you actually can set that
up. For real smartphone beginners, Samsung has added an Easy Mode,
which simplifies the entire phone, with a stripped-down homescreen
and settings menu.
The iPhone has an easy mode too. It’s called “Using the iPhone”.
Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software,
and services that we can’t wait to introduce this fall and
throughout 2014. We continue to be very confident in our future
Translation: no new iPhone or iPads until fall. Pretty unusual thing for Apple to forecast publicly. Clearly, they’re seeking to adjust expectations regarding WWDC in June. Another one getting some attention (emphasis added):
We will continue to focus on the long term, and we remain very
optimistic about our future. We’re participating in large and
growing markets. We see great opportunities in front of us,
particularly given the long-term prospects of the smartphone and
tablet markets, the strength of our incredible ecosystem which we
plan to continue to augment with services, our plans for expanded
distribution, and the potential of exciting new product
Tablets, phones, and computers are “product categories”, in Apple parlance. So he’s not talking about a new iPad or iPhone, he’s talking about an entirely new leg on the stool.
Volkswagen 2014 iBeetle ★
Benjamin Preston, writing for the NYT Wheels Blog:
The world has seen plenty of cars equipped with iPhone connectors,
but vehicles incorporating iPhone features into the car’s
infotainment system are still pretty rare. Volkswagen said that
its 2014 iBeetle, to be unveiled at the Shanghai auto show this
weekend, is the company’s first model offered with a built-in
iPhone dock, custom Beetle app and smartphone functions
intertwined with the car’s onboard electronics.
Volkswagen said it collaborated with Apple to create the iBeetle,
making it possible to use an iPhone to listen to music, navigate,
make hands-free calls and even monitor the car’s engine functions.
Sounds cool. Hope it’s not the Volkswagen Rokr.
Just How Did Apple ‘Journalism’ Get This Bad? ★
Ian Betteridge destroys the latest nonsense from long-time Apple jackass David Gewirtz.
Which Drugs Actually Kill Americans ★
“Hint: not pot.”
Apple Increases Stock Buy-Back and Dividend ★
“We are very fortunate to be in a position to more than double the
size of the capital return program we announced last year,” said
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We believe so strongly that repurchasing
our shares represents an attractive use of our capital that we
have dedicated the vast majority of the increase in our capital
return program to share repurchases.”
Pretty much exactly what Warren Buffett recommended.
Update: Initial reaction in after-hours trading has the stock up over 4 percent. Update 2: As the dust settles two hours later, the stock is simply even in after hours trading.
Apple Q2 2013 Results ★
Revenue up year over year, but earnings (as expected) down, due to margins dropping from 47 to 37 percent:
The Company sold 37.4 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to
35.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold 19.5 million
iPads during the quarter, compared to 11.8 million in the year-ago
quarter. The Company sold just under 4 million Macs, compared to 4
million in the year-ago quarter.
iPad growth remains tremendous, but iPhone sales are up only 6.5 percent.
The Paris Time Capsule Apartment ★
The owner of this apartment, Mrs. De Florian left Paris just
before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She
closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to
return to the city again. Seven decades later she passed away at
the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals
to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind,
that this time capsule was finally unlocked.
Android and Security ★
Chris Nerney, CITEworld:
So security is the main reason why Android trails Apple’s iOS in
the enterprise mobile market, even as it dominates in the consumer
space, and clearly Google bears the greatest responsibility for
Zero evidence of this assertion in the article. Zero. And where by “dominates in the consumer space” he means “accounts for 30 percent of handset profits, all of that going to Samsung”. What I see is that the enterprise has money. And just like consumers with money to spend, enterprise buyers are more likely to choose the iPhone and iPad. Android’s unit sale market share dominance stems from price-sensitive buyers.
Would be good for Android to get that malware situation under control though, that I agree with.
SpaceX Grasshopper 250-Meter Test Flight ★
Amazing video; so good and so cool it almost looks fake.
19-Year-Old Entrepreneur Who Claimed to Have Sold 10 Percent Stake in Her Future Salary Looks Like a Hoax ★
Taylor Soper, GeekWire:
But soon after publishing, we became suspicious.
Pretty sure that’s the wrong order.
Identity Crisis, Indeed ★
Jessica Lessin, writing for the WSJ. Headline and sub-head: “Apple Has an Identity Crisis: Is It a Hardware Company or a Software Firm?”
It’s not Apple that is confused. It’s investors. They could have run this headline/subhead at any point in the last 37 years.
Unbiased Source, Right There ★
Third paragraph from Jungah Lee’s report for Bloomberg, “LG Display Profit Misses Estimates on Stalling Apple Sales”:
“Apple is losing dominance and will likely delay launching a
successor to the iPhone 5 until at least September,” Harrison Cho,
an analyst for Seoul-based Samsung Securities Co., said before the
earnings release. “LG Display might have to wait until the third
quarter to see strong profits as Apple’s new devices are mostly
expected to be out in the second half.”
Samsung Securities. That Samsung. Jiminy christ.
Ads on iPhone Worth More Than Ads on Android, Film at Duh O’Clock ★
The iPhone monthly ad share grew 12 percent in the first quarter
of this year and now accounts for more than 50 percent of mobile
ad spending, according to the report released Thursday by MoPub, a
mobile ad exchange that allows app publishers and advertisers to
engage in bidding for advertisements. As a result, the
cost-per-thousand views is 40 percent higher on iOS than Google’s
Why are Apple users bombarded with more ads than those who own
rival devices are? Experts say the user base is considered a more
upwardly mobile demographic. “Apple has more desirable customers,”
says Sarah Rotman Epps, senior analyst at Forrester Research.
Cheaper Android phones reach more people than the iPhone, she
says, but around 15 percent of Samsung smartphone customers get
free Android smartphones that come with wireless contracts. “These
accidental customers are in the lower third of income earners in
the U.S.,” she says. “They’re not necessarily the customers that
advertisers care most about reaching.”
But iPhone users are not “bombarded with ads”. I almost never see any ads other than those on web pages, because I can (and do) buy ad-free apps rather than use “free” apps that show ads. Also, the MarketWatch piece conflates ad revenue with the number of ads users see — I highly doubt that iPhone users, even those who only use free apps, see more ads than their Android counterparts. They just see more expensive ads.
The Death of Upcoming.org ★
So, Yahoo’s finally decided to close Upcoming.org, the events
community I started nearly ten years ago. And, in Yahoo’s typical
fuck-off-and-die style, they’re doing it with 11 days notice, no
on-site announcement, and no way to back up past events. […]
In hindsight, selling Upcoming to Yahoo was a horrible mistake.
Selling your company always means sacrificing control and risking
its fate, and as we now know, online communities almost always
fail after acquisition. (YouTube is the rare exception, albeit one
with billion-dollar momentum.) But Yahoo was a particularly
horrible steward for the community.
It Can’t All Be True ★
Min-Jeong Lee, reporting for the WSJ:
LG Display Co. swung to a net profit in the first quarter as
tablet screen sales to Apple Inc. increased, and analysts said the
South Korean display maker’s fortunes this year will be closely
tied to demand for the U.S. company’s gadgets.
But here’s Miyoung Kim, reporting the same news, for Reuters:
LG Display Co Ltd reported its smallest profit since it returned
to the black in the second quarter of last year, as demand for
iPhone and iPad screens from Apple weakened amid concerns the U.S.
company is losing its luster in the mobile device market.
Perfect example of just how crazy reporting on Apple has gotten. (Via MacDailyNews.) Best advice, listen to Tim Cook from three months ago, and stop trying to extrapolate Apple’s sales numbers from those of its component suppliers:
Let me make one additional point on this: I know there’s been lots
of rumors about order cuts and so forth, and so let me just take a
moment to make a comment on these. I don’t want to comment on any
particular rumor, because I would spend my life doing that, but I
would suggest it’s good to question the accuracy of any kind of
rumor about build plans. And I’d also stress that even if a
particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to
accurately interpret the data point as to what it meant for our
overall business, because the supply chain is very complex, and we
obviously have multiple sources for things. Yields might vary,
supplier performance can vary, the beginning inventory positions
can vary, I mean there’s just an inordinately long list of things
that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what’s
ExitJunction: Scumbags Who Hijack Your Back Button History ★
tynt.com, intellitxt.com, snap.com, kontera.com, AdGardener.com, apture.com, wibiya.com, doubleclick.net, getconnected.southwestwi-fi.com, d1.openx.org, meebo.com, addthis.com, serving-sys.com, po.st, cdn.taboolasyndication.com, exitjunction.com
New Yahoo Weather App for iPhone ★
Yet another really nice weather app, and a clever use of Flickr. I’d say synergy if the word hadn’t been co-opted by dumb people trying to sound important.
Philip Elmer-DeWitt on the “Apple should fire Tim Cook” nonsense being floated:
Make no mistake, the people who want Tim Cook’s head on a spike
are not friends of Apple. As far as I know, he still has the deep
respect of the analysts who know the company best and — most
important — the confidence of the board of directors who granted
a million restricted shares of Apple as an incentive for him to
stick around for at least a decade.
For the record, Apple is still trading higher today that it was
when Cook replaced Steve Jobs. The forces that drove the stock up
to over $700 and then down to below $390 seem to me to have more
to do with a dysfunctional securities market than anything Cook
has done as CEO.
The Apple bears have gone from irrational to hysterical.
Iconic Bites ★
Susan Kare, still at the top of the pixel-art game.
Chum, All Right ★
I’ve also spent the past few years writing “articles” that were
less and less interesting — they were basically just SEO chum
thrown out onto the internet in hopes of catching traffic.
Philly Turns Skyscraper Into Video Game Screen for Tech Week ★
Zack Seward, writing for NPR’s All Tech Considered:
Frank Lee is the man behind this gigantic version of Pong. He’s a professor at Drexel University and the co-founder of the school’s Game Design Program.
Spectators gathered about a half-mile away to watch from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Eyes fixated on what was about a 400-foot-tall “screen,” a lattice of LED lights on a wall of mirrored glass serving as the “pixels.”
Horace Dediu Takes Henry Blodget to the Woodshed Regarding Verizon iPhone Sales ★
Bono on Jony Ive ★
Writing for the Time 100:
What the competitors don’t seem to understand is you cannot get
people this smart to work this hard just for money. Jony is
Obi-Wan. His team are Jedi whose nobility depends on the pursuit
of greatness over profit, believing the latter will always follow
the former, stubbornly passing up near-term good opportunities to
pursue great ones in the distance.
It’s more than just Apple’s competitors who don’t understand this.
(Via Matthew Panzarino.)
More Facebook Home Ads ★
Josh Elman, writing on Medium:
Facebook is celebrating all the wrong things. It advocates tuning
out the people around you to see what else is happening that must
be more interesting elsewhere. It foments FOMO. And it makes
Facebook Home look like the best possible way to be the least
What I find interesting is that the “people first” interface of Facebook Home follows a trail blazed by Microsoft with Windows Phone. But Facebook’s ads promoting Home are 180 degrees apart from Microsoft’s for Windows Phone. Microsoft’s ads promoted the idea that with Windows Phone, you would — and should — spend less time looking at your phone. (My comments here.) Facebook’s ads take the opposite approach, and flat-out encourage you to tune out of your surroundings — at home, at work, everywhere — and pay attention only to what’s going on in Facebook on your phone.
Pretty Sure Twitter Didn’t ‘Forget’ Anything ★
“Kellex”, writing for Droid Life, “Twitter Launches Music Service, Continues to Forget That Android Exists”:
Twitter made their new music service official this morning with an
announcement and then release on…iOS. As you can tell, and should
be no surprise if you look at Vine, Twitter still doesn’t realize
that Android is just as, if not more important than iOS in the
mobile game these days. Then again, with iOS you don’t have as
many devices to develop for and should be easier to launch with,
but I digress.
Triage: Federico Viticci’s New Favorite Email App for iPhone ★
Federico Viticci, writing at MacStories:
If I find myself wanting to use an app without making an effort to
remember I have to use it, then I know that app has “clicked” for
me. That’s Triage.
US Smartphone Sales at Verizon and AT&T ★
The implication is that there is an ongoing base of sales that
goes to Android, and to some extent iPhone as well, that totally
ignores product launches, and just buys a phone. Then, there’s a
base of people who wait to buy the new iPhone (and of course come
off their 24m contact in another launch quarter, eager to buy).
And this latter base is getting bigger every year, and indeed
driving all of the growth.
So actual numbers show that the iPhone is thriving at Verizon and AT&T. Yet we get headlines and stories like this hot mess yesterday from CNN Money.
Spot the Error ★
That pretty much sums up the current state of reporting on Apple
right there, doesn’t it?
Chitika Pegs iPad’s Tablet Web Usage Share at 82 Percent ★
Yet another sign Apple is doomed.
Mat Honan, writing for Wired Gadget Lab:
And finally, there’s potential for this to just plain work as a
way to help you find new music. It’s already abundantly clear how
important social is to music discovery. The social aspects of Rdio
and Spotify are some of their strongest features. Facebook has
become, by way of those two services, something akin to a pop
chart of your friends favorite songs. Likewise, Ping’s poor social
implementation explains why it never went anywhere.
The app is really good — useful for its intended purpose of helping you find new music, and full of interesting interaction design elements. This is obviously what Apple was shooting for with Ping, done right.
Despite Slumping PC Industry, Microsoft Profit Rises 19 Percent ★
Nick Wingfield, reporting for the NYT:
For its fiscal third quarter, which ended March 31, the company
reported net income of $6.06 billion, or 72 cents a share, up from
$5.11 billion, or 60 cents a share in the same period a year ago.
Revenue rose 18 percent to $20.49 billion from $17.41 billion.
I, and others, often wonder how Ballmer has held onto his job as CEO. Here’s the answer: he knows how to make money.
Samsung Probed in Taiwan Over ‘Fake Web Reviews’ ★
Fair-trade officials in Taiwan are looking into reports that Samsung paid people to criticise rival HTC online. Samsung is alleged to have hired students to post negative comments about phones made by Taiwan’s HTC.
Samsung, based in South Korea, said the “unfortunate incident” had gone against the company’s “fundamental principles”.
Taking Apple Private: Makes Sense but Nobody Has the Money ★
The current trajectory Apple is on, in terms of both share price
and management strategy, is toward some kind of eventual
management buyout scenario. But we’d need to walk another several
hundred billion dollars down this road before that became
Yours truly, back in February:
Before Cook initiated the dividend last year, in the back of my
mind I always wondered if “going private” was not the reason for
Apple’s plan to just hoard its profits. Sort of “fuck you”
insurance against Wall Street. (Even with the dividend, though,
their cash continues to grow at an impressive rate. It’s sort of a
Legally, I think it’s impossible. A pipe dream. But culturally,
Apple as an institution does seem better suited to being a
privately held company.
According to Yglesias, I was wrong that it’s a legal problem. It’s simply a matter of time, if Apple continues to accumulate massive amounts of cash and its stock price remains so depressed on a P/E basis. (How low has Apple’s valuation dropped? As of today it’s lower than Dell. Wall Street thinks Dell has a brighter future than Apple.)
Headline of the Day: CNN Money: ‘Verizon iPhone Sales Tumble 33 Percent’ ★
True, comparing this quarter to last quarter. But last quarter was the holiday quarter, and the iPhone 5 was brand new. Year-over-year, Verizon iPhone sales grew by 25 percent.
First Real-World Usage Figures Suggest Chromebooks Are Struggling ★
In its first week of monitoring worldwide usage of Google’s Chrome
OS, NetMarketShare reported that the percentage of web traffic
from Chromebooks was roughly 2/100 of 1 percent, a figure too
small to earn a place on its reports.
The first Chromebooks went on sale in June 2011, nearly two years
ago. In the run-up to the launch, ZDNet’s own Steven J.
Vaughan-Nichols called the Chromebook a “Windows killer”,
predicting that “Microsoft is facing real trouble” in the market
for desktop PCs.
My take all along: Who wants a computer that runs nothing but a web browser?
What a Windows 8 U-Turn Will Mean for the PC ★
Many PC OEMs are dissatisfied with what Microsoft has done with
Windows 8 and the way the company has handled the negative
response to the operating system. Privately, one OEM source
told me that Microsoft is “destroying” the PC industry, while
another claimed that Windows 8 has “handed over millions of
customers to Apple.”
Other than that, though, how do the OEMs like Windows 8?
‘Amazeballs: Live From Úll 2013’ ★
Recorded in front of a live audience at last week’s Úll conference in Dublin Ireland, this week’s episode of The Talk Show features very special guest Michael Lopp. Topics include: Ron Johnson’s stint as CEO at JC Penney, Apple’s lack of new products so far this year, the design of tech conferences, and the toughest job in Las Vegas.
Brought to you by two great sponsors:
Triage 1.0 ★
Triage is an iPhone email client (iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo, and generic IMAP) by Southgate Labs, meant for just one thing: flipping through your inbox and marking messages as either (a) done with it, don’t need to see it again, archive it; (b) I can just peck out a quick reply right here on the phone and be done with it; or (c) I’ll deal with this one later, leave it in my inbox marked unread, but don’t show it to me again in Triage. It’s a perfect name for the app.
I got a sneak peek at it back in February when I was in New Zealand for Webstock, and started beta testing it soon thereafter. Since I’ve been using it, I’m more caught up on my email than I have been in years. A bargain at just $1.99.
Moltz on Those Nexus Tablet Sales Numbers ★
John Moltz, regarding the fact that his own 10-month-old Nexus 7 suffers from audio interference and a battery that doesn’t hold much of a charge any more:
It shouldn’t be that surprising that a $200 device isn’t built all
that well. What should be surprising is analysts and pundits who
automatically assume a low price means a winner.
One thing we seldom get are reviews of products after they’ve been used for an extensive period of time, a year or even further out. Nearly all of the product reviews we read (and the ones I usually write, personally — I’m not pointing fingers) are about devices that are only a week or two old.
Nexus Tablet Sales: Not Many ★
I’ve modeled active Android users (excluding China) based on
interpolating between Google’s announcements: my model says there
were 680m Android users at the end of March. Assuming equal Play
use across the base (a big assumption), that would imply:
- 6.8m Nexus 7s in use (consistent with the Asus number)
- 680k Nexus 10s in use
A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip ★
Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are
clear: I’m furious.
The 56 senators who voted in favor of the new legislation represent 76 percent of the nation’s population; yet the 44 who voted against it succeeded in blocking it, as it needed 60 votes to break a filibuster.
‘As One Does When in Cuba With a Cold Beverage and Camera in Hand’ ★
As ever, great photos from James Duncan Davidson.
‘88 Acres: How Microsoft Quietly Built the City of the Future’ ★
Both an interesting story on the design and evolution of Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters, and a great use of HTML5 design elements.
Strength in the Face of Evil ★
My friend and Bostonian Paul Kafasis:
Just as they must have been more than two centuries past, people
today are frightened and concerned. But now, just as it was 238
years ago, Boston is defiant.
The Default Narrative ★
Really enjoyed this piece by Watts Martin:
“Apple is Big Brother” has become a default narrative about the
company. Apple stands for closed systems, proprietary everything,
and a level of control over the way their customers use their
products that would send us all fleeing for the hills if we had
any common sense.
At first glance this is a baffling take. If there’s something I
could do with OS X 10.6 that I can’t do with OS X 10.8, I haven’t
found it yet. My software all still works. The Unix shell is still
there. AppleScript is still there. I can still use utilities like
LaunchBar and Keyboard Maestro that are so absurdly powerful that
I giggle like a Japanese schoolgirl when some yoyo spouts off with
the old “Macs are just toys” trope.
Google Glass Developers Prohibited From Charging for Apps or Displaying Ads ★
Google, which relies on advertising for some 95 percent of its
revenue, doesn’t want ads on its hotly anticipated Google Glass
The blanket prohibition came in the fine print of a policy made
public this evening, which says “Glassware” developers may not
“serve or include any advertisements” and they “may not charge”
users to download apps for the device.
Sounds like a shit sandwich to me, but perhaps these restrictions are only for the here and now, while Glass is still a developer preview. (I’ll also point out that prohibiting third-party apps from showing ads is not the same thing as not displaying ads period. Could be that Google is reserving all Glass advertising for itself.)
MLB.com’s Bob Bowman on Apple, Android, Samsung, BlackBerry ★
Some details from Bowman’s chat with Walt Mossberg at D: Dive into
His user base, which used to split 80/20 in favor of iOS over
Android, has now moved to 70/30. “The Samsung phone is quite a
good Android phone,” Bowman said.
But the uptick in Android users, he said, doesn’t track with
revenue. That still splits 80/20 in favor of iOS users. “Maybe
Not all customers are created equal.
Who’s Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place ★
Really, though, it’s silly to obsess over any one data point. If
what you’re after is a clear idea of how the world’s two dominant
mobile operating systems are doing — rather than an excuse to
make bold proclamations and/or cheer for your favorite — you want
to consider lots of data points.
So that’s what I’m doing in this post. I’ve rustled up results
from a bunch of studies, focusing on information that’s
Great work, and his conclusion seems perfect:
Android if you’re talking about market share; iOS if you mean
financial success. So far, this is a strikingly different market
than the PC business back in the 1990s, when market share
translated directly into financial success.
Black Annex ★
New “isometric corporate sabotage and infiltration game”. Written in QBASIC. Yes, QBASIC. (Via Paul Ford.)
Using Quartz Composer to Recreate Facebook Home ★
Useful video demonstrations (and corresponding Quora and Branch threads) by David O’Brien, showing how to recreate the Facebook Home lock screen using Quartz Composer.
Having Conversations ★
Jon Erlichman and Brian Womack, reporting for Bloomberg:
After debuting the software, called Home, for Google Inc.’s
Android operating system earlier this month, the operator of the
world’s biggest social-networking service is speaking to Apple and
Microsoft Corp. about expanding to other platforms, Adam Mosseri,
director of product at Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, said
in an interview on Bloomberg West yesterday. The talks are in
progress and nothing has been finalized, he said.
Where by “in progress and nothing has been finalized”, he meant “not going to happen”.
Netbooks Claim Chowder ★
Rik Myslewski, writing for The Register last week, “Netbooks Projected to Become Extinct by 2015”:
Proving yet again that fame and fortune are fleeting — even for
computer hardware — the analysts at IHS are projecting that the
netbook, the New Hotness just a few short years ago, will
disappear completely by 2015. […] In a new report entitled
“Compute Electronics Market Tracker”, IHS analyst Craig Stice puts
the blame for the netbook’s demise squarely upon the shoulders of
the tablet market — and specifically Apple’s iPad.
Rik Myslewski, writing for The Register back in 2009, “Apple Loses Students to Netbooks and Windows”:
And these days, customers - especially the proverbial starving
students - are seeking low-cost computing devices that will allow
them to take notes in class, check their email, write papers, and
surf the web, all without straining their backpack bedecked backs
as they tote them around campus.
It was just over a year ago when Apple edged out Dell as the
laptop-of-choice among college students. The rise of the netbook
may have made that victory a short-lived one.
New York Times on Ron Johnson’s Stint at JC Penney ★
Stephanie Clifford, reporting for the NYT:
By early fall 2011, Mr. Johnson was tackling Penney’s pricing,
which he thought used too many discounts. He ignored a study
Penney had just completed on customer preferences, and gave
merchants a one-sheet grid explaining what prices they could use.
“Ron’s response at the time was, just like at Apple, customers
don’t always know what they want,” said an executive who
advocated testing. “We’re not going to test it — we’re
going to roll it out.”
17 months was not long enough to turn around a brand as deep in the hole as JC Penney, but it sounds like slumping sales forced the board’s hand.
Hell of a Name to Drop ★
Really excited to have @lorenb helping my team out at Facebook.
Ron Johnson Out at JC Penney ★
I’m with Moltz and Panzarino; they shouldn’t have hired him if they weren’t going to give him more time to turn it around.
Regular Audio Human ★
Michael Lopp reviews some headphones.
Stockpiling the Nuclear Weapons of Design War ★
This week’s episode of my podcast, The Talk Show, with special guest Om Malik. We talk about Facebook Home and the potential for an eventual Facebook mobile OS, Andy Rubin’s ouster as leader of Android, Apple’s challenges with iCloud, and more.
Brought to you by two excellent sponsors:
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Don Melton on Debug ★
Best podcast episode I’ve heard in a while is this interview with Don Melton by Guy English and Rene Ritchie. Some great insight into the history of Safari and WebKit, and a lot of other Apple history too. (E.g., Melton reveals that Scott Forstall was the champion of the Carbon strategy, and sold the idea up the chain to Bertrand Serlet, Avie Tevanian, and Steve Jobs. I did not know that.)
On Being There First ★
Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft VP of corporate communications:
I tuned into the coverage of the Facebook Home event yesterday and
actually had to check my calendar a few times.
Not to see if it was still April Fools Day, but to see if it was
somehow still 2011.
Because the content of the presentation was remarkably similar to
the launch event we did for Windows Phone two years ago.
Commercial for Facebook Home ★
Seems to emphasize the intrusiveness of Facebook Home, but maybe that’s just me.
NPD: Wii U Sales in Trouble ★
We’re told by someone with access to the NPD’s data that sales for
January were “well under” 100,000 units. By our estimates, sales
were somewhere between 45,000 and 59,000 units for the month,
which is lower than any of the three previous-generation home
consoles sold in their worst months, with the possible exception
of a recent performance by the original Wii.
Apple Removes AppGratis From App Store ★
Apple declined further comment on AppGratis’s ouster, framing the
move as a standard response to guideline violations. But sources
close to the company say it was more than a little troubled that
AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor
developers with the financial means to pay for exposure. “The App
Store is intended as a meritocracy,” a source familiar with
Apple’s thinking told AllThingsD.
In other words, app-discovery platforms built on paid
recommendations aren’t going to fly with Apple.
Matt Drance on Facebook Home ★
You hear that crumpling sound? That’s me throwing out the notes for the column I was going to write on Facebook Home. Just read Drance’s take instead.
Secure Incremental Store Framework for Core Data ★
My thanks to Stoeger IT for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their Secure Incremental Store. It’s a developer framework that allows you to build data encryption right into your Core Data based apps for iOS and OS X, just by changing a few lines of code. Stoeger’s background is in banking software, so they’ve got the experience to do this sort of thing right. See for yourself by downloading it and trying it yourself. Then use coupon code “DARING20” to save 20 percent buying a license.
Microsoft’s Mobile Comeback Isn’t Happening ★
The numbers just aren’t there.
Roger Ebert: The Essential Man ★
Worth a re-link: Chris Jones’s profile of Ebert for Esquire back in 2010:
Roger Ebert can’t remember the last thing he ate. He can’t
remember the last thing he drank, either, or the last thing he
said. Of course, those things existed; those lasts happened. They
just didn’t happen with enough warning for him to have bothered
committing them to memory — it wasn’t as though he sat down,
knowingly, to his last supper or last cup of coffee or to whisper
a last word into Chaz’s ear. The doctors told him they were going
to give him back his ability to eat, drink, and talk. But the
doctors were wrong, weren’t they? On some morning or afternoon or
evening, sometime in 2006, Ebert took his last bite and sip, and
he spoke his last word.
Ebert’s lasts almost certainly took place in a hospital. That much
he can guess.
See also: Ebert’s thoughts on Jones’s piece.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Invests in Henry Blodget’s Business Insider ★
This makes sense somehow, I’m sure. Give me a minute, here, I’m thinking.
Nope. I got nothing.
I need a drink.
New Leaked Picture of the BlackBerry R-Series Smartphone ★
Had to check the year on this one before linking it. Thought it might have been re-blogged from 2007.
Roger Ebert Wins The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest ★
“Now watch how I lift my tray table to its original and upright position.”
Yoni Heisler on Facebook Home ★
For instance, Facebook writes of its chat heads feature:
With chat heads you can keep chatting with friends even when
you’re using other apps. When friends send you messages, a chat
head appears with your friend’s face, so you see exactly who
you’re chatting with. Messages reach you no matter what you’re
doing - whether you’re checking email, browsing the web, or
listening to music.
Is that a feature or a threat?
Here’s the thing about apps, and on a larger scale, technology
that people love — no matter how much someone is into something,
they don’t want it thrust in their face 24/7.
That’s exactly why I described Facebook Home as a “nicely-designed phone interface that I would personally never want to use”. I don’t want photos from other people on my lock screen or as my home screen wallpaper. But given that they’re putting it into the Play Store, Facebook obviously thinks many people do want this. We shall see.
Neophilia as a Form of Hiding ★
But when we’re discussing our goals, our passion and the way we
interact with the culture, it seems to me that what works is
significantly more important than what’s new. Racing to build
your organization around the latest social network tool or
graphics-rendering technology permits you to spend a lot of time
learning the new system and skiing in the fresh powder of the
unproven, but it might just distract you from the difficult work
of telling the truth, looking people in the eye and making a
The same is true of design trends. Many — not all, maybe not even most, but many — of the complaints I see about iOS, for example, boil down to it being familiar. It no longer scratches our itch for new. Apple needs to scratch that itch for us eventually or someone else will, but it’s essential that they find something new and better, not merely new and different.
Sergey Brin Wearing Google Glass Driving a Pink Tesla Dressed Like a Batmobile ★
Remember, smartphones are emasculating.
Roger Ebert, back in 2010:
My rules for Twittering are few: I tweet in basic English. I avoid
abbreviations and ChatSpell. I go for complete sentences. I try to
make my links worth a click. I am not above snark, no matter what
I may have written in the past. I tweet my interests, including
science and politics, as well as the movies. I try to keep links
to stuff on my own site down to around 5 or 10%. I try to think
twice before posting.
Nice piece by Mathew Ingram for PaidContent.
Who’s Going to Buy the Facebook Phone? ★
Smart theory from Dan Frommer.
Apple’s iMessage Encryption Trips Up Feds’ Surveillance ★
Declan McCullagh and Jennifer Van Grove, reporting for CNet:
Encryption used in Apple’s iMessage chat service has stymied
attempts by federal drug enforcement agents to eavesdrop on
suspects’ conversations, an internal government document reveals.
An internal Drug Enforcement Administration document seen by CNET
discusses a February 2013 criminal investigation and warns that
because of the use of encryption, “it is impossible to intercept
iMessages between two Apple devices” even with a court order
approved by a federal judge.
A win on the privacy front.
Why Facebook Home Bothers Om Malik ★
And most importantly it is Facebook, a company that is known to
have played loose-and-easy with consumer privacy and data since
its very inception, asking for forgiveness whenever we caught them
with its hand in the cookie jar. I don’t think we can be that
forgiving or reactive with Facebook on mobile.
Hands-On Demo of Facebook Home on HTC First ★
Clean, beautiful design, and what looks to be the smoothest and most organic animation and playfulness on Android ever.
Put a Burger in Your Shell ★
Best Unix tip ever.
13 Things Roger Ebert Said Better Than Anybody Else ★
“What I believe is that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: curious and teachable.”
Deconstruction in the Dark ★
I was there for this. So great.
Roger Ebert Dies at 70 After Battle With Cancer ★
So it goes.
ComScore: Apple Widens Its Lead on Samsung in the U.S. ★
Looking forward to the WSJ’s take on this report.
Facebook Home: Replacement Home Screen for Android ★
Nicely-designed phone interface that I would personally never want to use.
(They’re embedding Helvetica rather than using Google’s crummy Roboto. And, looking at their messaging app, I suddenly wonder why the iPhone Messages app doesn’t use avatars. Or, perhaps the better question: why don’t iMessage accounts have avatars?)
Chromium-WebKit History ★
Maciej Stachowiak, one of the leaders of Apple’s Safari/WebKit team, in an interesting Hacker News thread on the announcement of Blink:
As long as we are recapitulating history — the main reason we
built a new multiprocess architecture is that Chromium’s
multiprocess support was never contributed to the WebKit
project. It has always lived in the separate Chromium tree,
making it pretty hard to use for non-Chrome purposes. Before we
wrote a single line of what would become WebKit2 we directly
asked Google folks if they would be willing to contribute their
multiprocess support back to WebKit, so that we could build on
it. They said no.
They’ve been on separate paths for a while.
Úll 2013 ★
Just over a week away in Dublin Ireland:
Úll is a conference for designers and developers who want to learn
about the cutting edge of mobile and desktop, native and web
alike. But it’s more than that. Úll is an attempt to create a
shared experience that will leave you with the will to build
amazing products, knowing the tools to build them and the people
to share them with.
It’s an A-list speaker lineup, including Horace Dediu, Michael Lopp, Jennifer Brook, Michael B. “Dr. Wave” Johnson, and a keynote address from yours truly. And if memory serves from last year, Dublin is warm and sunny in April. They’ve only got a handful of tickets remaining.
Apple Has to Think Different About China ★
Erica Ogg, writing for GigaOM:
Apple apologies are rare. Especially ones that come from the CEO.
Chrome Engineer: ‘Why What You’re Reading About Blink Is Probably Wrong’ ★
Alex Russell, who works on Chrome for Google:
Blink gives developers much more assurance that when they change
something, it’s only affecting the things they think it’s
affecting. Moving without fear is the secret of all good
programming. Putting your team in a position to move with more
surety and less fear is hugely enabling.
Yes, there are losses. Separating ourselves from a community of
hugely talented people who have worked with us for years to build
a web engine is not easy. The decision was wrenching. We’ll miss
their insight, intelligence, and experience. In all honesty, we
may have paid too high a price for too long because of this
desire to stay close to WebKit. But whatever the “right” timing
may have been, the good that will come from this outweighs the
ill in my mind.
Basically, according to Russell, the WebKit project has grown unwieldy, and the Chrome team decided it was time to spring clean and cut dead weight.
Blink: Google’s Forked Version of WebKit ★
Big news in web rendering from Google:
However, Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than
other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures
over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the
WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective
pace of innovation - so today, we are introducing Blink, a new
open source rendering engine based on WebKit.
How Far Is It to Mars? ★
Fun website-as-infographic by David Paliwoda.
Mozilla and Samsung Collaborating on New Web Browser Rendering Engine ★
Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich:
Servo is an attempt to rebuild the Web browser from the ground up
on modern hardware, rethinking old assumptions along the way. This
means addressing the causes of security vulnerabilities while
designing a platform that can fully utilize the performance of
tomorrow’s massively parallel hardware to enable new and richer
experiences on the Web. To those ends, Servo is written in Rust, a
new, safe systems language developed by Mozilla along with a
growing community of enthusiasts.
We are now pleased to announce with Samsung that together we are
bringing both the Rust programming language and Servo, the
experimental web browser engine, to Android and ARM.
It would be a win for everyone if Servo did to WebKit what WebKit did to Gecko.
Twenty Covers From the U.S. Space Program ★
They don’t make them like they used to. (Via Jim Coudal.)
Godspeed, Roger Ebert ★
Roger Ebert, announcing a “leave of presence” to fight a recurrence of cancer:
Typically, I write over 200 reviews a year for the Sun-Times that
are carried by Universal Press Syndicate in some 200 newspapers.
Last year, I wrote the most of my career, including 306 movie
reviews, a blog post or two a week, and assorted other articles. I
must slow down now, which is why I’m taking what I like to call “a
leave of presence.”
His prolificacy and eloquence are a constant inspiration for me.
The Patent Protection Racket ★
What does this sound like? Yes, it’s a textbook case of a
protection racket. It is organized crime, plain and simple. It is
an abuse of the legal system, an abuse of the patent system, and a
Exhibit A: Lodsys, patent troll extortionists extraordinaire, who today filed nine lawsuits against companies ranging in size from Disney to PCalc developer James Thomson’s TLA Systems. Their claim: a patent on in-app purchases.
‘Count Me in With the Second Group’ ★
My review of the original iPad:
The funny thing is, the iPad, in raw CPU terms, is a far slower
machine than a modern Mac. But the iPad is running a lightweight
OS and lightweight apps. It’s like a slower runner with a lighter
backpack who can win a race against a faster runner wearing a
heavier backpack. Thus, many of the things you do are faster,
or at least feel faster (which is what matters), on the iPad than
2010 iPad Claim Chowder ★
Speaking of history, the original iPad went into customer hands three years ago today. Nice time to review the initial reactions. Some real gems in here.
The Untold Story Behind Apple’s $13,000 Operating System ★
Fun bit of Apple history uncovered by Daniel Terdiman for CNet.
U.S. companies will now be able to post their earnings on Twitter
or update their status on Facebook as long as investors have been
told in advance where to look.
Stems from that Reed Hastings Netflix thing back in December.
‘Has To’ ★
This tweet by WSJ reporter Jessica Lessin epitomizes everything that’s wrong with the Journal’s coverage of Apple of late:
New iPhone heads into production soon amid a new reality: Apple
has to act more like Samsung if it wants to thrive.
Here’s the story. Now, if it’s true that Apple is heading into production on a new iPhone in the next few months to go on sale in July or thereabouts, it would be a change, insofar as each previous new iPhone has debuted a year or longer after the previous one. And if they unveil another new iPhone this calendar year — a lower-cost model — that would be an even bigger change.
But none of that is exactly Samsung-like, strategically. Samsung’s U.S. website currently lists 145 different cell phones. And Apple did the exact same thing with the iPad last year — a new top-of-the-line model just six months after the iPad 3, and a second lower-cost model in the iPad Mini.
As for “has to”, here are the last two sentences of the report:
Last year, Apple captured nearly two-thirds of the profits in the
industry, up from 62% in 2011. Samsung’s share rose to about a
third from 19%.
Poor beleaguered Apple, right?
The Man Taking on Google and Bing ★
Nice profile of DuckDuckGo and founder Gabriel Weinberg by Max Slater-Robins for Neowin:
But what sets DuckDuckGo apart from Bing or Google? According to
Weinberg, it’s simple: Privacy. DuckDuckGo promises to never track
a user’s clicks, or use previous searchers to aid current results.
They describe the practice of targeting results based on past
searches as placing a user in a “bubble,” where everything is
controlled based on what you want to see (e.g. if you visit Fox
News frequently, results for Fox News will rank higher than those
The Latest Apple Scuttlebutt ★
Smart thread on Branch. Two nuggets from yours truly:
What I’ve heard: iOS 7 is running behind, and engineers have been pulled from OS X 10.9 to work on it. (Let me know if you’ve heard this song before.)
Regarding Jony Ive and iOS: Word on the street is that iOS engineers with carry privileges all have some sort of polarizing filter on their iPhone displays, such that it greatly decreases viewing angles, thus making it difficult for observers to see the apparently rather significant system-wide UI overhaul.
And regarding that system-wide UI overhaul, I hear the same thing as Rene Ritchie: “Ive’s work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad.”
Amazon Hires the Aptly-Named Charlie Kindel ★
Charlie Kindel, the Seattle tech veteran who left his job as a
Microsoft Windows Phone general manager in 2011 to join the
startup world, has now been hired by Amazon.com as the director of
an undisclosed project inside the company.
“I’m building a new team going after a totally new area for
Amazon. I’m hiring cloud and mobile developers and testers,
program managers, and product managers, he writes on his LinkedIn
profile, which describes the position as director of “something
Interesting, to say the least.
Post-Android, Andy Rubin Has Been Busy on Facebook ★
And utterly silent on Google Plus. Read into that what you will.
Nicholas Carlson on Andy Rubin’s Ouster From Android ★
Interesting piece by Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider:
The week after the news came out, we spent a few days in the Bay
Area, talking with ex-Googlers and other plugged-in sources. We
asked each of them about Rubin’s sudden demotion. […]
What we heard is that Larry Page doesn’t mind employing gruff
types… so long as they serve his purpose. Page must have decided
that the way Rubin was running Android no longer served his
purpose, and that an Android run by Sundar Pichai would. So the
question becomes: What does Pichai bring to Android that Rubin
Some interesting speculation. The gossip echoes what I’ve heard, which is that this leadership change was not amicable. Page was “sick of the fighting” is the way I heard it. And the thing is, Sundar Pichai was the guy Rubin fought with the most — look no further than the curiously long time it took to make Chrome the default Android web browser, despite the fact that its predecessor, the plainly-named Browser, was nowhere near as good an app. Pichai may well be the last person Rubin would have wanted as his successor.
The part of this gossip that doesn’t add up, of course, is that, as announced, Rubin isn’t leaving Google, but instead is staying within the company to start something new. That doesn’t jibe with Rubin having had his baby wrested away and turned over to his archrival. So take it all with a grain of salt for now.
‘Finding Dory’ Sequel to ‘Finding Nemo’ Set for 2015 ★
On the one hand, I worry that Pixar is making too many sequels. On the other, I’d love to see another Incredibles movie.