Category: iPhone

Let there be an [aluminum] iPhone…

apple-iphone-room.jpg

Apple iPhone version 1…

And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’

A very long, but rewarding article about what led up to the release of the iPhone.

Some great quotes in here and it shows that Apple really was betting the farm on this product.

I very much doubt now that Steve is gone, there is anyone with the drive and foresight to do this again.

But with most of the world’s money in their bank account, they shouldn’t need to do that.

However, out of the entire article, one thing stood out for me – and it’s nothing to do with the iPhone per se.

The second iPhone prototype in early 2006 … was made entirely of brushed aluminum. Jobs and Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, were exceedingly proud of it. But because neither of them was an expert in the physics of radio waves, they didn’t realize they created a beautiful brick. Radio waves don’t travel through metal well. “I and Rubén Caballero” — Apple’s antenna expert — “had to go up to the boardroom and explain to Steve and Ive that you cannot put radio waves through metal,” says Phil Kearney, an engineer who left Apple in 2008. “And it was not an easy explanation. Most of the designers are artists. The last science class they took was in eighth grade. But they have a lot of power at Apple. So they ask, ‘Why can’t we just make a little seam for the radio waves to escape through?’ And you have to explain to them why you just can’t.”

This surprised me, (and it also must be a very stressful job being an engineer at Apple.)

A good designer should know all this.

A good designer should understand every aspect and limitations of what they are designing, before they put pen to paper.

A good designer is not concerned with just how it looks, BUT HOW IT WORKS.

I’m semi-quoting Mr Ive here.

It seems that the designers at Apple, who in most cases trump all other influences, aren’t as good as they say they are.

They are just concerned with how things look, not how they actually work.

Jony Ive let the designers under his control waste time in designing something that could not exist in the real world.

That’s not an industrial designer, that’s an arrogant artist with no concern of how the products he designs are used.

Does that ring any bells?

slide-06-apple-magic-mouse-2-100622394-large.jpg

apple-smart_thumb800.jpg

Apple-Pencil-charging-times-image-002.jpg

 

Advertisements

Much-needed iWatch thoughts…

Much-needed iWatch thoughts « John Moltzs Very Nice Web Site

Much-needed iWatch thoughts « John Moltzs Very Nice Web Site.

Great article by John Moltz at ‘Very Nice Website’.

Could not agree more with all these points, if the iWatch has notifications, it will drive me crazy also, and to mis-quote Steve Jobs it will eventually, “sit unused in a drawer somewhere’ just like my old Palm.

A point I’d not thought of though was the reason why Android Watches have notifications – it’s to send you ads, which is basically the reason Android exists.

Payments? I’ve always been very scared of NFC and the ability to ‘touch and pay’. I like to keep many barriers and steps between my money and a company who wants my money.

I’d like even more barriers between the potential thief of my device and my money – NFC makes it much too easy, so if the iWatch had this, then security would have to be bullet-proof.

The main point for me, is that it would have to be small. I have quite skinny wrists for a man, and most men’s watches look ridiculous on me (maybe I’ll look at the rumoured ‘female’ version of the iWatch!).

Sensors are a given, but again, security, security, security Apple – make it work.

And finally the most important features – it’s name. I really hope it’s not ‘iWatch’. I’d like Apple to simply evolve what they already have – iPod.

Retire the big iPod (now the the iPhone is rumoured to have a 64gb model), and re-position the 2 remaining iPods as wearables and call them iPods.

The iPod – evolved – would be a nice touch and a way to keep the complexity to a minimum and be a simpler message to sell to the public.

September 9th, we’ll know more.

Apple Will Murder Microsoft and Bury It With BlackBerrys Corpse – Rocco Riffs – TheStreet

Have a nice day...

Apple Will Murder Microsoft and Bury It With BlackBerrys Corpse – Rocco Riffs – TheStreet.

This is a significant article.

I’ve written at length for my distrust of Microsoft, representing in my view, a road that personal and business computing should have never gone down.

Microsoft got lucky with DOS – everything else, Windows, Office, Sharepoint, .Net, Exchange – it’s all momentum from that huge mistake that IBM made all those years ago, letting Bill Gates provide a disk operating system he didn’t even own at that point.

It allowed ‘computing for the rest of us’ to be a ridiculed statement made by a company that didn’t understand what ‘business’ needed.

Over the years, Apple has struggled on, sometimes lacking any direction, sometimes having the odd big success, but even that was dismissed as transitory – the mantra being that Apple needs a hit every year or two, otherwise it would just fade away.

Meanwhile Microsoft soldiered on, knowing that their army of IT people whose jobs depended on Microsoft staying in pole position, would keep them healthy.

An almost parasitic dependancy on each other developed, Microsoft need those IT managers to keep fooling company’s into believing there is no alternative, and those IT managers need Microsoft to keep the technology just opaque enough so that their jobs are safe, the rest of us suffered, or worse, carried on, not even knowing there was an alternative.

One thing they didn’t bank on was BYOD – bring your own device. Even in my little corner of the world, away from the US and even London, I’ve seen the effect. More people are choosing ‘anything but Microsoft’ for their personal computer and phone needs.

It’s still early days, and I don’t see a Mac on every desk anytime soon, but the article puts it perfectly:

“These days consumer preference dictates enterprise decisions. If you’re not powerfully out in front with the consumer, you’re going to end up getting hurt in the enterprise. That’s why it was smart for IBM to partner with Apple. Led by Apple, they’ll bury Microsoft in the same grave BlackBerry cluelessly fell into.”

Apple’s joint enterprise with IBM is very significant, as is this article. I’ve never seen any commentator dare even mention this as an option. I’ve also never seen anything like this from Apple either.

The enterprise doesn’t mention Macs, but I can understand that. In the eyes of business, the Mac brand is tainted (even though it’s a world away from the Mac of 1984).

However it doesn’t matter – the juggernaut that is iOS is the Mac OS underneath. Everyone knows that, Microsoft knows that, IBM knows that. What they don’t know is what iOS devices Apple will release in the coming years, which will be automatically part of the agreement.

If you consider that iOS and Mac OS will merge at some point and what the device Apple will merge them on will look like, you can start to see a future where we will all be using devices that run iOS.

Any IT manager still clinging on to Windows will use it in the server room where it belongs – just don’t let any normal person near it.

And I haven’t even mentioned the software services that Apple offers as part of this agreement – why would you choose Office when (an admittedly enhanced) iWork is free?

 

 

Consumers want what we don’t have…

whatsgoingon

via Apple Acknowledges Consumers Want Larger and Cheaper Phones – Mac Rumors.

Very interesting post from MacRumors.com, on the perceived evolution of Apple’s customer base, to-wit,”consumers want what we don’t have”.

As new players enter the market, the customer’s needs change, this is inevitable in any free-market and it’s something that Apple used to be very good at despite all the dogma that, “Apple abhors focus groups, and doesn’t listen to it’s customers.”

Take the iPod for instance.

The iPod started of in as much the same way as the iPhone, a very expensive, albeit limited answer to a market that already existed.

Over time, new models were introduced, the hardware got a lot cheaper, and every single market niche was eventually filled, from the music-mad (100g+ iPod classic for all your songs), to the teen with limited cash, (the iPod mini/nano), onto the bargain-basement little iPod shuffle.

The iTunes store gained traction and ALL the hardware from the high end to the low-end was serviced by the iTunes store.

To the point we are now at where the competition to the iPod doesn’t exist, it’s been destroyed, other than extremely cheap devices that are little more than USB sticks with a few extras.

Game, set and match.

You can argue that the bottom has fallen out of the iPod market, now that the iPod touch fills most of what remains, however all the iPod line is still on sale.

So why hasn’t this happened with the iPhone?

Where is our iPhone mini or nano?

Where is our iPhone shuffle, or the candy-bar phone equivalent?

While we’re at it, why can’t developers write apps for the AppleTV?

Why doesn’t Apple view the iPhone market, in the same way the viewed the iPod market?

It would certainly work, the AppStore is perfectly capable of servicing every model of iPhone, with apps that can only run on certain hardware, (you can’t view videos on an iPod shuffle like you can on an iPod classic for instance).

Lot’s of why’s, very little answers.

Looking at some of the internal memos that have come out from the Apple / Samsung trial, it’s clear that there’s a struggle going on at the top of Apple, in what they stand for, what markets they should service, and what their profit-margins should be.

It’s clear that Apple needs to get focused and act like a start-up, like they used to.

Apple Argues that Copying Was Built into Samsung’s Development Process – The Mac Observer

Apple Argues that Copying Was Built into Samsung’s Development Process – The Mac Observer.

“Apple told a jury on Tuesday that Samsung didn’t just copy Apple’s intellectual property, but that deliberately copying the iPhone was part of Samsung’s “development process.” “

You can (and many people have) argued until they are blue in the face regarding whether Samsung copied Apple after it launched the iPhone in 2007, however from my point of view, I remember an incident very shortly after the launch of the iPhone that illustrates the ‘common man’ point of view.

I was wandering through my local computer superstore, looking for a phone for my son. It was to be his first phone and was going to be a very cheap, dumb feature phone.

He of course, wanted an contract iPhone, but as he was only 11 at the time, that wasn’t going to happen.

As I was looking around the store I noticed that the iPhones were separated from all the other phones (for branding purposes), and it was very clear that the iPhones were for one particular wage-bracket, and the other phones were… let’s just say they were cheap.

My son then exclaimed that he’d seen an iPhone for under £100 and that’s the one he wanted.

I scoffed of course, but upon looking, just for a second I thought – ‘they’ve made a mistake here, what’s an iPhone doing in the ‘cheap phone’ section’.

But it wasn’t an iPhone.

It looked like an iPhone, it had the same metal band around the edges, the same colour, the same rounded edges, a not too dissimilar button at the bottom, but it wasn’t an iPhone – it was a Samsung Galaxy S:

At that, in a nutshell, is Apple case.

Since then, Samsung have moved further away from copying Apple, but the first few phones from them in the wake of the iPhone, they deliberately, blatantly copied the iPhone.

The number of sales that Apple lost in that period is up to the courts, but this incident illustrated to me that Samsung rode on the back of Apple’s success and they need to punished for that.

The many (alleged) lives of Microsoft’s Office for iOS

Nadella

The many (alleged) lives of Microsoft’s Office for iOS.

I don’t envy the new CEO of Microsoft in the decision to whether or not release the quite clearly ‘finished and ready to go’ Microsoft Office for iPad.

Should Microsoft release it, giving their main competitor in the tablet market and advantage?

The iPad has already done very well thank you in the business sector, without having even a smell of a Microsoft product on it, and releasing it will further give the last few business that are still waiting for Microsoft’s ‘answer’ to tablet computing to come along, even less reason to stop computers with Apple logos on them coming over the threshold.

This is what happens when you try to have your cake and eat it – Microsoft cannot be a software supplier to OEM’s, and also have a hardware line that competes with them.

Apple knows this, and have known it since Steve Jobs came back and pointed it out to them – they’ve exploited this USP ever since. Witness the unfolding ‘in and out’ behaviour of Google – they also cannot be a software supplier to OEM’s, and also have a hardware line that competes with them.

However, the once question that nobody is asking is – how much will it cost?

Way back when Apple first released their selection of apps for the iPhone, the cost was surprisingly minuscule, $2.99 if I remember correctly.

There was much gnashing of teeth from developers at that point, how were they supposed to make money when Apple effectively set the price so low?

Well, the reason is because Apple need to do the opposite to Microsoft – they make money on software and then the OEM’s make little or no money on the hardware, with Apple, it has to be the other way around.

So, how much will it be Microsoft?

Releasing a stripped down Office app for the iPad (it will have to be), and charge anything above $99, and you may as well not bother.

Sell it cheap, to compete with iWork and you won’t be able to make a profit – all your money comes from software.

Make it free with an Office 365 subscription is a none starter – nobody will choose that when there are many ‘just good enough’ Office-compatible apps on the iPad already available.

So, you can see why Ballmer hesitated in releasing it – whatever they do, it will hurt them in some way.

What Nadella does next will be worth watching.

Gruber nails it… AT&T

Continuing Gruber’s assessment of the 10 issues at Apple he feels worth their attention, we have the AT&T issue.

“AT&T. Apple is a company that clearly believes in the adage that if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself . Which is why it must stick in Cupertino’s craw that they are dependent on a carrier whose service in cities like San Francisco is almost comically bad. Has it reached the point where Apple turns to AT&T (T) and says, Darth Vader-style, “You have failed me for the last time”? Gruber thinks not, if only because AT&T so desperately needs the iPhone that Apple can extract far better terms from them than it ever could from Verizon (VZ).  So he takes Tim Cook at his word when Apple’s COO tells analysts that the company has reviewed AT&T’s plans and is going to give it time to work out the kinks. Meanwhile, however, AT&T’s service problems are draining Apple’s good will.”

Although I’m based in the UK, and the carrier of choice here was until recently O2, I can see the crux of this comment, and it comes back to little old thing, ‘user experience’.

The reason why the Macintosh has such a good user experience because Apple control the hardware and software – and we have a similar set up with the iPhone.

I’m almost certain that Apple would, if they could, run their own mobile network (be an MVNO), by renting the service from another supplier, much as in the same way Virgin do – indeed, there were rumours to that effect in the run-up to the release of the iPhone.

For whatever reason, they don’t, so the next best thing is to gain as much control of the mobile carrier as they can. They have AT&T in an armlock, and this is because Apple see mobile network operators as just that – they run the network, and that’s it.

AT&T service isn’t the best, but they have the best terms and it’s those terms that allow Apple to control the iPhone user experience.

Service quality can (and by all accounts is) being improved, but it’s user experience that matters to Apple, once you lose control of it, it’s gone forever.

The iPad – changing the game…

iPad’s Killer App: It Looks A Bit Like A Magazine.

Via Moconews.net.

Really good insight into what lies beneath Apple sleek, minmalist iPad, straight from the horse’s mouth – Colin McCaffery, product director at 2ergo (emphasis theirs).

“I believe the iPad will be about sitting in front of the TV whilst watching TV, browsing a ‘magazine’,” McCaffery – whose 2ergo made the apps for The Guardian, Fox NewsArsenal FC andothers – told me in an interview. “It will switch on in a second, you’ll be straight in to your content – it will be almost exactly like a magazine that you pick up from the coffee table.”

The jury is still out on whether people will naturally see the iPad as a coffee table companion, but it’s clear that important people in the media, already see the iPad as a way of realising the dream of digitized, subscription based content.

iPhone developers are currently getting to grips with the new software developers kit that includes iPad features, and 2ergo is already working on firm iPad app projects for four clients.

So the desire by the content creators is there, it seems now the ball is firmly in our court, that’s you and me, the content consumers –  are we willing to pay for content anymore?

Last year I bought the excellent zombie-killer game on the iPhone, “Call Of Duty – Zombies”

This game is totally ‘up my street’, and last week they released a new map, which could be purchased through the app. The app cost £5.99, and the new map cost £2.99.

I purchased it straight after viewing the demo, but what worried me, and what should worry all content creators, are the comments on the app store from users who balked at the price.

Many thought that they has paid quite enough and expected all future maps to be either free, or under a pound.

Is this the current attitude of your average computer user?

It seemed that a lot of these comments came from kids, who obviously have very little money to spend, and they won’t necessarily be the same market that the clients of 2ergo are after, but no-one can doubt that these are their future customers.

And it’s this that seems to be at the heart of the iPad’s approach – it’s not a computer.

It’s not a device that ‘does it all’ and therefore doesn’t have all the shortcomings (from a content creator’s point of view), of that device – in this case, run illegal software and media.

It’s a perfect device to redefine what consuming media means as a concept, it’s the perfect device for content creators to take back their industry from the computer users, who have, let’s face it, damaged their careers, by arrogantly assuming that they can have everything for free.

A future where content is tied to a device and must be paid for might sound a nightmare to some people, but that’s also a future where content-creators can finally make a living online, allowing them to create even better content going forward, and in the long run, that’s good for everyone.

Gruber nails it… part 2

Needle in a haystack

Good, valid points made from Gruber’s observations, but it’s the Nintendo comparison that got me thinking:

The App Store. There are two schools of criticism about the iPhone App Store: The most vocal critics say that it is totally going in the wrong direction and should be doing what Google (GOOG) does with the Android Marketplace — offer users the option of downloading apps that aren’t vetted and approved. The other school says that Apple is going in the right direction, but is hurtling at great speed a few degrees off course. Gruber fears that the shouting from the first school is so loud that Apple may be ignoring the second as well. There are game consoles — like Nintendo’s — whose apps are as tightly controlled as Apple’s. And there are computer systems with app libraries nearly as large as the iPhone’s. But there’s never before been a tightly controlled system with 150,000 apps. “If it proves unsustainable,” asks Gruber, “what are they going to do?”

My kids own a couple of Nintendo DS’s and it interesting that Gruber brings Nintendo into the conversation.

Nintendo have a similar approach to Apple, in that all apps released on the DS must go through an approval process.

I can say that there are a lot of DS games that are certainly cash-in products with poor graphics and have a ‘Adobe Flash’ game feel.

There are also a lot of high quality games also, but it shows that even when you have a stringent approval process, crap can still get through, hence the multitude of fart apps, softcore porn, and repackaged Gutenburg books on Apple’s AppStore.

What is Apple to do? Well they must do something. At the moment it’s difficult to find good quality apps on the AppStore, and you have to wade through a lot of hay, to get to the needle you’re looking for.

I think the small screen of the iPhone doesn’t help. Apple keeps the UI of the AppStore on the iPhone very simple, but it’s this simplicity that stops you from doing more advanced searches.

The only real way I find decent apps, is to fall back on other forms of advertising, such as when apps are mentioned on podcasts and on blogs.

I’m fully supportive of Apple’s approval process, I understand why it’s needed, but finding apps amongst the ever growing number available is a problem that’s only going to get worse.

Steve (allegedly) speaks…

Town Hall Meeting

Employee meeting at Apple reveals some juicy info.

It’s rare that we see past Steve’s RDF and get a taste of what his real motivations are, to-wit: comments concerning Adobe:

They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

In my view this is the real reason why we don’t see Flash on the iPhone and iPad, Steve’s angry that they haven’t embraced Apple’s development environment fully, if at all.

It’s common knowledge that Adobe use their own cross-platform development software so that they can create software for Apple and Windows in tandem. As far as I know, Apple’s development kits allow you to do just that as well.

Steve’s bottom line – don’t use Carbon, we won’t use Flash.

Android fragmentation…

Nexus One

Tyrell Corporation's 1st droid, the Nexus One

Andy Inakhto reviews the Nexus One here:

A good a comprehensive review from Andy Inakhto, covering the pros and cons of Tyrell Corps’ new phone.

One of the problems that Andy sees it the fragmentation of the Android OS. The platform is not set in stone, some things work on your Android phone, but may not work on your friends’. This is because Google has given too much control to the carrier, however Andy comments that this may be a moot point because of a similarity on the iPhone:

Alas, even the comparative utopia of Apple’s iPhone’s “One OS to rule them all” system can’t last forever; early reports are that iPhone OS 4.0 will bring enough new core features that only the iPhone 3G and 3GS will run it.

I would strongly argue that that the fragmentation of Android is worse than the ‘fragmentation’ of the iPhone, because it doesn’t matter how many times Apple fragments the iPhone – they control & manage every fragmentation. Google does not.

It’s that control that sets the iPhone above everything else, Apple can split and dice up the OS’s relationship with the hardware as many times as they like, as long as they manage the user’s experience.

Google’s user frustrations in this area will not come from the fact that they can’t run ‘X’ piece of software on their phone, it’s that nobody (Google or the carrier) will give then a straight answer, or even care that this is important to the user.

Google’s carriers hang like a weight around its neck, the user will constantly be frustrated with that and will demand better.

They way you get ‘better’ is to handle it all yourself – Apple’s route. Apple’s relationship with AT&T is rightly criticized, but at least Apple has AT&T under control.

Lastly, Andy’s title for this piece is, “Google’s Nexus One is no iPhone – and that’s OK”. Is that because Andy, you have been saying on The Twit Network that it’s much better than the iPhone, however after using you realise that that’s not the case?

Expect Leo Laporte to quietly stop using his Nexus One (which he has gone on record as saying that he has abandoned his iPhone for the Google phone) and move back to the iPhone within the next few days…

Nexus One’s support is 3 times better than the iPhone’s!

An angry Nexus One user, yesterday

An angry Nexus One user, yesterday

The ever-excellent Macalope highlights that Google’s support for the Nexus One is even more convoluted than I thought.

Taking a leaf out of the Microsoft/OEM handbook of support, where if you have an error they both simply blame each other, Google goes even further with a triumvirate of support options:

Quoting the post:

A T-Mobile spokeswoman said that T-Mobile is providing support for phone service, including billing, while Google supports device sales and software, and HTC supports the hardware, including device troubleshooting, warranty, repairs and returns.

So if you are unfortunate to have some problem with your totally open and wonderful Nexus One, you first have to ascertain what the problem is (surely that’s the reason why you’re calling support in the first place?).

If you have a problem with dropped calls, is that ‘the phone service’ (T-Mobile), ‘software’ (Google) or is that ‘device troubleshooting’ (HTC)?

Could anyone on earth come up with a more obfuscated process that seems intent on making sure you don’t actually get your problem solved?

I’m certain that these are very valid points which should be taken into account if you were let’s say, vaunting the ‘open & wonderful’ Nexus One as a worthy competitor to that horribly restricted iPhone, such as certain pundits do on regular occasions on the Twit Network.

I’m also certain however that we won’t hear a word of these problems, and the Nexus One, Two, Three etc will be lauded upon high as the ‘iPhone killer’.