23 Oct

Marco.org – What’s Next for Apple

It’s painful for me to see the sad state of consumer electronics. People are so shamelessly ripped off by low-rent retailers to get such low-quality products.

One of the reasons people get so emotionally attached to Apple is that the entire experience, from walking into the store and buying something to using it at home, is so starkly different that there’s a strong feeling that Apple is saving us from the Best Buys of the world.

via Marco.org – What’s Next for Apple. Too true.

17 Oct

My Dinner With Android – Four months with Android: reflections, grievances and some tenuous metaphors bundled up into a weighty tome

If I could simultaneously re-experience my first time using iOS and my first time using Android, I don’t know how the two instances could ever reconcile. iOS feels like technology that’s years ahead of Android just through polish and design. And while a lot of Android users have told me that stuff doesn’t bother them, I can’t get over it. Why choose the tool that feels worse?

via My Dinner With Android – Four months with Android: reflections, grievances and some tenuous metaphors bundled up into a weighty tome. That pretty much sums up every bit of experience of Android I’ve ever heard.

05 Oct

Apple – Remembering Steve Jobs

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

via Apple – Remembering Steve Jobs. An amazing person who built some amazing companies.

04 Oct

Ars Technica – iPhone 4s out October 14, beefier specs, same body

Apple announced the next iteration of its iPhone, the iPhone 4S, at an event today in Cupertino. The phone’s body and screen are virtually identical to the iPhone 4, though it receives some significant internal spec bumps and a virtual "intelligent assistant" named Siri.

Like the iPad 2, the new iPhone 4S has a dual-core A5 chip clocked at 1GHz that is meant to deliver graphics up to seven times faster than the iPhone 4. Infinity Blade 2 was demonstrated on the handset; it’s an iOS exclusive that will be available December 1. Another feature migrated from the iPad 2 is screen mirroring, which can be done with the iPhone 4S either via AirPlay on an Apple TV or through a wired connection. The new handset will carry the same retina display as its predecessor, and will no longer need separate GSM and CDMA models; instead, the handset will be a world phone, with both systems included.

The camera on the iPhone 4S has been bumped up to 8 megapixels and now has an additional backside illuminated sensor that lets the phone gather 73 percent more light per pixel than the iPhone 4’s version, which should help with low-light photos. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide product marketing, also noted that the camera will capture pictures 33 percent faster than before, with half a second between shots, and will be able to shoot 1080p video with image stabilization.

A new software feature that may be exclusive to the iPhone 4S is Siri, an "intelligent assistant" that answers questions and responds to commands by pulling up the appropriate app (it’s named for the similar app Apple bought in 2010). Scott Forstall, senior VP of iOS software, demonstrated the app by asking the phone "What is the weather like today?"—Siri pulled up the forecast. The command "wake me up tomorrow at 6AM" made the phone set an alarm for that time.

Siri can also send e-mails and text messages, make calendar entries, and take dictation in apps that normally require keyboard entry. Apple did not mention whether it will make APIs available for developers to integrate Siri into third-party applications.

via Ars Technica – iPhone 4s out October 14, beefier specs, same body. Nice bump to an awesome phone. Siri looks really interesting.

03 Oct

Ars Technica – Report: iTunes beta suggests app rentals may be in iOS’s future

A handful of code in iTunes 10.5 beta 9 suggests that Apple may soon start allowing customers to rent apps from the App store, according to The Tech Erra. If a rental system were put into place, it could cut down on money spent on apps that customers never use, which could reduce resentment customers feel toward developers when an app doesn’t work the way they thought it would.

A few strings in the iTunes beta code appear to be pop-up messages to notify customers about the state of rented apps: "Apps are automatically removed from your iTunes library at the end of the rental period" and "This app will be deleted from your computer" are a couple of the included statements.

A rental system through the App Store would be similar to the try-before-you-buy program that Amazon currently offers in its own Android Appstore. None of the language uncovered in the iTunes beta indicates whether rentals would carry a price or be free for their limited run.

via Ars Technica – Report: iTunes beta suggests app rentals may be in iOS’s future. A rental system would be nice, I hate buying apps that I try out and then get rid of. I wouldn’t mind paying say half or less of the normal price and then paying the remainder if I decided to outright buy the app.

02 Oct

Macworld – The App Culture

Apple getting serious about app security is a good thing. Unfortunately, many of the apps we Mac users have come to know and love over the years require a broad amount of access to the system for a lot of their key functions. Not as much as SuperDuper, say, but still quite a lot. What I’m hearing from some Mac developers is that they may actually have to remove features from their apps, or reduce their functionality, in order to fit them inside Apple’s new sandbox. (For more on this topic, read Andy Ihnatko’s take.)

Not only does this approach risk turning the Mac App Store into a wasteland of arcade games and one-trick-pony apps, it risks dumbing down the Mac app ecosystem as a whole. While developers can always opt out of the Mac App Store, they’re reluctant to do so. Not only are they afraid that Apple will one day make new Macs unable to run apps that don’t come from the App Store, but they realize that if their competitors are in the Mac App Store, they risk losing sales. It’s generally too expensive to develop two separate versions of an app, so the net result of tighter App Store restrictions could be that Mac apps everywhere—on and off the store—will actually become less powerful.

That’s the wrong direction for Apple to take the Mac. Here’s hoping Apple finds a way to keep our Macs secure, while allowing OS X apps to remain as powerful and innovative as they’ve been over the last decade. Mac users deserve both security and power—and the Mac App Store should be a showcase for the very best that Mac software developers have to offer.

via Macworld – The App Culture. This was the largest fear with Lion, and Apple has yet to respond in a way that alleviates people’s fears for such apps that need a higher level of access that it appears that Apple will allow.

26 Sep

Electronista – Microsoft CEO sees open dissent after general meeting

Microsoft may have shown signs of significant problems with company morale after reports from the company’s annual general meeting began surfacing in the past few days. The event, held as usual at Safeco Field in Seattle, saw "droves" of people leaving, according to well-known company insider Mini-Microsoft, even while CEO Steve Ballmer was speaking. Others pointed to unexciting demos and an obsession with Windows 8 tablets that didn’t reflect core businesses.

via Electronista – Microsoft CEO sees open dissent after general meeting. Microsoft is looking worse and worse every day.

02 Sep

TechCrunch – Amazon’s Kindle Tablet Is Very Real. I’ve Seen It, Played With It.

It’s called simply the “Amazon Kindle”. But it’s not like any Kindle you’ve seen before. It displays content in full color. It has a 7-inch capacitive touch screen. And it runs Android.

Rumors of Amazon making a full-fledged tablet device have persisted for a while. I believe we were one of the first to report on the possibility from a credible source — the same person who accurately called Amazon’s Android Appstore. That source was dead-on again, it just took Amazon longer than anticipated to get the device ready to go. They’re now close.

How do I know all of this? Well, not only have I heard about the device, I’ve seen it and used it. And I’m happy to report that it’s going to be a big deal. Huge, potentially.

via TechCrunch – Amazon’s Kindle Tablet Is Very Real. I’ve Seen It, Played With It. If I could buy one today, I would. This thing is going to sell like hotcakes.

31 Aug

The Ad Contrarian – Advertising And The Future Of Apple

After Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple last week, speculation about the company’s future began immediately.

The consensus seemed to be that Jobs built a strong culture, hired smart people, and taught a way of thinking that will serve Apple well in the future. The story line went like this– while Jobs will be missed, he is no longer essential to the future of the company and it will go on brilliantly without him.

I don’t buy this for a second. Genius is non-transferable.

via The Ad Contrarian – Advertising And The Future Of Apple. Not a bad negative outlook of Apple post Steve Jobs, it starts with a pretty good premise but the conclusion doesn’t jibe. For instance I don’t think anyone argued Apple would stay the same or even that it should. Apple will change. The larger question and worry is, is Apple still the innovative company that it was under Steve Jobs? Would such innovations as the iPad (creating a whole new market) or the iPod (dominate per-exisiting market with superior technology and design).

The argument that genius doesn’t transfer is a smoke-screen, it’s a stupid question with a stupid answer, and doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. Is Apple able to remember the lessons of Steve Jobs and maintain it’s identity in the face of the man who created that identity no longer present? That’s the real question and the only one that matters.

If Apple is able to maintain it’s identity then it won’t ever hire people without vision and taste and turn into something other than maker of products at the intersection of Liberal Arts and Technology.

29 Aug

Shawn Blanc – The Amazon Tablet

If and when the next iPad ships with its Retina Display, it will obviate the need for a “better” dedicated reading device in the minds of many consumers. Amazon doesn’t need another me-too tablet. They need something that pulls on all the strengths they already have: the high readability of e-ink, a low price, lightweight, a huge ecosystem, and a strong brand. If not that, then what?

via Shawn Blanc – The Amazon Tablet. Best summation of what the Amazon tablet if it’s going to make a splash needs to be. I would totally buy one in a heartbeat, I want a Kindle that just has slightly better hardware and drops the keyboard or at least designs it better.