After a full generation of innovation and cutting-edge products, one could argue that Apple became so good at what they do that they gave themselves a Microsoft problem.
Huh? For those who remember (or for those who weren’t around yet), let’s take a trip back to the Microsoft of the mid-90’s. Their products were widely considered the best in the industry by a wide margin; even their failures, at the time, were viewed through rose-colored glasses and forgiven. (Windows Millennium Edition immediately comes to mind.)
Gradually, they faced product pressure from two fronts: on one hand, an inability to continually drop groundbreaking innovations to their bread-winning products since they became so good and were so far ahead of any competitors, and on the other, a reluctance to stray too far from what works for fear of messing with the goose that laid its golden eggs. When you can’t keep bringing the lumber to your PC product and you don’t totally refocus to mobile out of worry for your business model and relationships, you get to where Microsoft is today; the king of a shrinking kingdom and an also-ran in the race that matters most. Stannis Baratheon, if you will. (minus the fire priestess)
Applying that narrative to Apple of today could come off as lazy, but parallels exist. Apple created the modern smartphone era, has ruled the space since their entry and set the pace for the industry through their forward-looking hardware and software update cadence, winning untouchable consumer confidence in the process.
Harkening back to the “Droid Does” campaign of 2009, all Android has done to chip away at Apple’s lead is to simply be everything Apple is not: a nearly 100%-open operating system and ecosystem with thousands of hardware styles from which to choose. Somewhat shrewdly, this approach recruited the hardware vendors—Motorola, HTC, Samsung, etc.—to play a part in the innovation of Android, as one could argue Apple is competing against Google’s update cadence, openness and mass adoption as they are Samsung’s marketing muscle and feature-gasm, as well as HTC’s hail-mary of industrial design.
Apple—now potentially in second place in the industry they kinda sorta created—faces its Microsoft problem. They can’t shake up their formula too much, as they might alienate their millions of passionate users that are already very familiar with how to use their product. On the other hand, they have to do something—some kind of step forward if they don’t want to be left behind.
Is iOS 7 big enough of a step forward to keep them marching in this multi-front war? Keep in mind, we’re looking at a beta version intended for developers. The final look may vary by this fall, when Apple will introduce the consumer-ready version. However, this beta provides us an early look at what position Apple’s position could be by that time, when I imagine they’ll announce a new iPhone and iPad to potentially address the hardware competition. With that, let’s begin.
For kids of all ages, tablets and electronic gadgets are becoming the gift of choice. No longer do we see swarms of angry mobs in the toy section during Christmas time. They have moved over a couple of sections at Target and are now occupying the electronics section. While this might frighten the employees working in big-box retail electronics, it is driving up sales on expensive items and making a fortune for companies like Apple and Samsung.
While it may seem like the iPad 2 and other popular mobile devices should be relegated to older, more responsible people, they are the number one item flying out of stores and into the hands of young children. Traditional brands like Crayola are not relying on the sales of their physical products as much as they are on selling apps specifically geared towards children. The ColorStudio HD application allows young children to use the iPad as a toy. This is a particularly smart and crafty marketing move because in a weak economy, parents are going to be looking to save money by purchasing things they and their children would want together.
“VIA has built up an extensive IP portfolio consisting of over 5,000 patents as a result of significant investments in world class technology research and development,” commented Wenchi Chen, CEO, VIA Technologies, Inc. “We are determined to protect our interests and the interests of our stockholders when our patents are infringed upon.”
VIA today announced it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple claiming they have violated three of their patents.
The patents in question are US Patent No. 6253312, Method and apparatus for double operand load, US Patent No. 6253311 & 6754810, Instruction set for bi-directional conversion and transfer of integer and floating point data.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
Apple has patented a technique to detect whether a consumer has abused its devices, including methods to shut down the device in question and electronically report it to Apple service technicians.
Most of the “consumer abuse” in question is rather standard: the patent, approved on Feb. 1, covers the inclusion of shock, thermal, and liquid sensors into an electronic device. But it also includes detecting “tampering” with the device via a continuity sensor.
“For example, consumer abuse may include exposing an electronic device to liquids, extreme temperatures, or excessive shock (e.g., the resulting impact from dropping the device),” the background of the patent, titled “Consumer abuse detection system and method,” states. “Consumer abuse may also result from tampering which may include any interaction with the device that is not related to operating the device in a normal manner (e.g., opening the casing or housing of a device and adding, removing, or altering the internal components).”
With Steve Jobs taking another leave of absence due to health issues, the question coming up is whether Apple can survive without Steve Jobs at the helm. Jobs has been the face of Apple and has represented the persona of Apple for decades. As a chief spokesman for Apple, he would be irreplaceable. When he gets up to speak, he projects his legendary status as an industry pioneer and visionary. Within the company, he is chief cheerleader to the troops, and since he has the final say on products, he sits as the heart of Apple’s final decisions about what comes to market.
But, Jobs will be the first one to tell you that Apple couldn’t be where it is today without the hard work and dedication of a powerful executive staff and thousands of workers inside Apple who put in long hours to create their great products. While he clearly has major input on products and business decisions, Apple has become so large and so successful that the overall decision process and execution no longer rests just on Jobs’ shoulder alone.
But to answer the question of whether Apple can survive without Steve Jobs, we need to view Apple in a different light. We need to look past the Steve Jobs persona and take a closer look at Apple “the machine” instead. I use the term machine loosely here because, in a way, that is what Apple has become. It’s a business that creates products, ties them to a rich eco system of software and services, and sells them through a highly effective retail experience. That combination has put Apple in a class by itself. Plus, it has driven the competitors crazy.
The Apple iPad 3G has passed a major regulatory hurdle in China and is expected to launch soon on China Unicom, China’s second largest carrier and exclusive network to Apple China.
According to the Wall Street Journal, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology listed a generic Apple model number “A1337” under its list of approved items, with specs suggesting the Apple iPad 3G.
Apple and China Unicom were unavailable for comment, but have declined to comment in other publications. There is no word as to when the iPad 3G will actually hit stands in China as the device has to pass several more tests.
Verizon’s first iPhone commercial made its debut Thursday, with an ad that taps into the waiting game that Verizon customers have been playing for the last three years.
The 30-second spot (below) never actually shows the iPhone 4. Instead, it features a variety of ticking clocks and people waiting impatiently for their watches and alarm clocks to hit a certain time. Late into the commercial, a voice says, “To all our customers who never stopped believing this day would come, thank you.”
The logos for Verizon and the iPhone 4 then flash onto the screen with the tagline “It Begins” and 2.10.11, the date the Verizon iPhone hits stores.
Apple did it again, reporting record revenue and profits for the company’s first fiscal quarter of 2011, backed by record Mac, iPhone, and iPad sales.
Apple reported profits of $6 billion on revenue of $26.74 billion. Apple’s profits increased by 78 percent compared to the same period last year, and the company’s revenues by 70.5 percent. Analysts were expecting revenue of $24.38 billion.
Apple sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter, a 23 percent unit increase; Apple also sold 16.24 million iPhones, a 86 percent increase. Apple sold 19.45 million iPods, which represented a 7 percent unit decline. Apple also sold 7.33 million iPads, versus 4.19 million iPads sold last quarter.
Apple recorded $786 million in “software, services, and other sales,” an 36 percent sequential increase and 71 percent increase in year-over-year sales.
Apple was expected to announce stellar revenues and profits, as the company has continued to deliver even in the midst of an uncertain economy.
Interestingly, the number of “CPUs,” or products, that Apple sold into the Americas dropped by 7 percent sequentially, to 1.36 million. But revenue jumped 28 percent to $9.218 billion, indicating that Apple was selling many more high-margin products. The Asia-Pacific market followed that trend, with a 13 percent jump in units to 516,000, but an 83 percent increase in revenue to $4.99 billion. Japan, however, was the opposite: units grew 37 percent, but with just a 2 percent increase in revenue.
Some people do not know that you can sync your Outlook calendar with their iPhone with out the need for iTunes. I actually have friends that make an .ics file form their works Outlook Calendar, take it home on a USB Stick and import it into their outlook at home. They then sync their iPhone with iTunes.
But you need not do any of that, in fact you do not need to sync your calendar via iTunes at all. How? Easy! Outlook has a share/publish feature for your calendar. You simply publish your calendar online to Office.com and then send yourself an email with the invitation link. You click the link in your email and your iPhone will ask if you want to subscribe. Tap yes and thats it.
Last week I got from Case Mate their iPad Vertical Nylon Flip Case, which is made of ballistic Nylon and is also splash-resistant. It isn’t the best looking case for the iPad around and I wasn’t too excited about it, but it has grown on me, and I like it.
I did not try shooting a gun at the case while my iPad was in it nor do I have a gun to even run such a test, I did spill water on it and it just rolled off. It was similar to how the scotch guard on my furniture works.