Category: iPod

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.

Advertisements

Elegy for the iPod, the device that transformed Apple | Macworld

iPod!

 

Elegy for the iPod, the device that transformed Apple | Macworld.

Nice article looking back over the phenomenon that was / is the iPod.

I remember when it was released, Steve Jobs said (paraphrasing), “We’re going to announce something new – and it’s not a Mac”.

I thought at the time it was a nice idea but expensive. Since that day I have bought:

iPod mini (still works but unused)

iPod classic (still in use in the car)

iPod shuffle (sadly lost to the washing machine)

iPod Nano (still in use at the gym)

iPod touches (about 5 of them for various members of the family).

Yes – the iPod did chance Apple forever – it allowed the masses to experience the Apple brand and understand what those crazy Mac users have been going on about for all those years – a significant amount of them joined us also.

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’s tablet plans…

Tablets

I remember a comment I read once concerning a question put to Steve Jobs along the lines of, “If you could release the Mac today, would you do anything differently?”

His answer was along the lines of, “I wouldn’t let anyone write software for it.”

I think his reasoning behind this statement, is the perennial problem that plagues computers: the fact that they are computers.

Anybody with minimal training can come along a write any software they like and release it into the wild. Users can then install it onto their computer and off they go.

This central premise lies at the heart of what a computer is – it runs software, both good and bad.

Coming back to Steve’s comment, even he couldn’t create a time machine and actually do this, but he could (and I think he’s trying and succeeding) to certainly do the next best thing.

Namely, anyone who wants to write software, must have that software approved – by Apple.

This is the current model of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Whether you agree that it’s a good thing or a bad thing, any software that runs on these devices is controlled by Apple. They could even delete it remotely if they wanted to.

Now think of the upcoming tablet.

The current consensus is 7″-10″, that probably runs a variant of the TouchOS, and iWork is installed by default – this means that this is a serious content creation device, not a passive device that you listen to music and watch movies on.

But that means it also runs the AppStore. Which means that the software distribution model is the same – any software is controlled by Apple.

Now speculate – 5 years from now, we will have bigger tablets that run some seriously meaty software (I’m thinking Adobe apps here), and we will still have the same software distribution model.

A device that will, sooner or later replace the mouse-driven desktop, with all application development controlled by Apple.

Software that’s even more reliable than what we have now, with no viruses, spyware or malware, and even if they could be written, there would be no way for those things to even get onto your tablet.

What Steve Jobs is attempting to do with the iPhone, iPod Touch and by extension the range of tablets that they will sooner or later have, is redefine an industry.

Computers and everything that they have ever meant, will be consigned to the history books – and good riddance to them.

iTunes Extra (& LP) answered, but keep it to yourself…

itunesextra

The ever-excellent Roughly Drafted goes into great detail here, about how iTunes Extra & LP work.

From what I can tell, the whole iTunes Extra experience is done inside iTunes 9, using Javascript, CSS & HTML. The media file, is actually a bundle, a mini website if you will, all under a framework called “TuneKit”.

So that’s my question answered, however Roughly Drafted also goes on to postulate that the real benefactor for this approach is Apple TV, or whatever it’s successor is to be called.

The real kicker though is the fact that all this is done using open standards – no proprietary Flash or Silverlight required.

It would be really nice if certain people, who have lambasted Apple in the past for their horrible, closed proprietary systems, to maybe just admit, just for once, that Apple just might have the user’s interests at heart.

And of course, as RD points out, their own hardware sales. Once Apple’s users have enough iTunes LP & Extra content on their Mac/PC, Apple will release Apple TV 3.0 and all that content now plays on that device, effectively replacing DVD players in one fell swoop.

As always, there’s far more info in Roughly Drafted’s article, it’s highly recommended, but sometimes I wish RD would keep these plans to himself – we don’t want the enemy knowing all our plans do we?

FM tuner done the Apple way…

Steve, you genius...

Steve, you genius...

Apple – iPod nano – FM Radio – Listen to the radio in a new way.

Posted using ShareThis

So it’s over. Steve looked fine, new iTunes, new Touch, new Shuffle, new Nano, iTunes LP, blah, blah, FM tuner, blah, iTunes at 70-odd%, Microsoft at 1% (silent laughter), blah, blah, no Apple TV.

Or iTabletslatepad.

Wait a minute – FM tuner?

How can you get excited about an FM tuner? the one thing that you would have bet your Mac that would never be in an iPod?

Ah, with an Apple twist – you can pause live radio and tag songs for later purchase in iTunes.

Steve, you bloody genius. Now you see why it’s never been a feature until now, until Apple made it actually useful.

I will probably buy it just for that feature, but it’s US-only – for now.

Queue the articles about Steve’s health in 3, 2, 1…

iPod software development…

appstore

I love my iPod. Well actually I love my iPods, because I have 4 of them, but there’s one thing that’s been troubling me.

The hardware changes, the design changes, but the underlying software features don’t seem to change.

Things have moved on from version 1, and I know that Apple like to keep things simple, but there’s one thing I wish they would add, or I could add myself.

More often than not, I’m listening to my music on shuffle, and I come across a song by an artist I really like, and by extension I like other songs by this artist.

Why can I not simply skip to a list that says:

1) Shuffle to other songs by this artist

2) Shuffle to other songs in this genre

3) Shuffle to other songs in this year

Maybe this could be a special section that you could programme from iTunes, so you would have an Applescript that does this, but it executes also on the iPod.

I know that the ‘KISS’ principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), is behind a lot of reasoning at Apple, but time and time again I come across a situation like this in the car.

The only way around it is to navigate back to the top level,  select ‘Artist’ and shuffle from their entry – it’s not very easy and probably quite dangerous and distracting if you’re driving.

Maybe now that the AppStore is open we’ll see this, but what with Apple restricting certain apps when they duplicate in-built features, it’s not likely.

I didn’t buy an iPhone…

Well not quite. In the end I bought, in my opinion, the next best thing – the iPod Touch.

AND I CANT PUT THE THING DOWN!

Seriously, it’s glued to my hand and I can not stop surfing the net, looking at photos, reading ebooks (using the excellent application, Stanza, checking my email and last, but not least, posting on WordPress.

Most, if not all, Apple products are a joy to use, but this device is incredible.

I cannot understand what problem people have with the keyboard, as I’ve picked it up fine. I’m typing pretty quicky and making few mistakes, certainly no more than I would on a normal keyboard.

It’s not often that using a piece of technology actually makes you smile, and indeed, I actually laughed a couple of times because the GUI is so smooth, so refined, so perfect that you cannot believe that technology could be this good, this cool, this wonderful to use.

Surfing the net is a revelation. The clicking, zooming in, the speed is great. I’ve found myself not even using my main Mac for surfing or email, it’s just so simple to just pluck it out your pocket and quickly surf and go.

And I haven’t even played any games yet.

It has really surprised me what a game changer the touch platform is, and it is a platform, make no mistake.

The touch has become my platform of choice for surfing, email, viewing photos and reading, with my 30gb iPod being primarily for music and podcasts and my little shuffle for the gym.

I cannot wait to see what Apple do next with this, an iPod tablet device, an iPod camera with iPhoto touch, the possibilities are endless.

Are there any negatives? Not really, even copy and paste doesn’t seem necessary, but Steve’s onto a winner here.

OK, I might buy an iPhone, if…

iPod Nano

I firmly stand in the, ‘I’d rather have several devices each doing tasks well, rather than 1 device that does several tasks badly’ camp. This is the main reason why I’ve never bought an iPhone and never will. 

I’m also, a ‘pay as you go’ guy as well, but that’s another reason and another argument. 

I once owned (for my sins) a Palm M130. I have vivid memories of trying, time and time again to fit this device into my life, until, just like Steve Jobs said, I left it in a drawer and forgot about it.

I have an iPod however (3 in fact). I don’t need to say, that it’s a perfect MP3 player, it has no equal. But I don’t use it to read text documents, look up contacts or appointments. It just doesn’t do these things well.

But I do have a mobile phone. A cheap, pay as you go, Motorola L6. And, of course, it’s awful, the interface is illogical to the point of inducing anger, the shortcut keys take so long to get to it’s quicker to actually USE YOUR BRAIN AND TYPE THE FECKING NUMBER, and the battery life stinks.

Considering all this however, I would be willing to buy an Apple branded mobile phone to replace the L6 if it had these specs:

1) It’s not a smartphone. I don’t want or need to carry my life in my pocket, I have a brain for that.

2) Touchscreen? I think it would have to have this. 

3)  Camera? Not really important, but OK let’s include it (2-3MP is fine), with the ability to download these pics to iPhoto as well.

4) Address book, contacts and notes that sync up (via Bluetooth) with Address Book, iCal & Stickies. This syncing is 2-way, so the phone must have the ability to input simple info. (Should be fun on the small screen, but that’s why I said simple).

5) Email? Not interested. Life is stressful enough.

6) Internet? Not practical on such a small screen, don’t want it anyway.

7) Unbelievable, incredible, game-changing battery life – we’re talking weeks here, not days.

8) It must look exactly like the old iPod Nano, black, with a black screen.

9) I am morally and spiritually against contract phones – it must be pay as you go.

Basically I’m after a standard, mid range Apple branded mobile. Do I think Apple will ever make one? I hope so. This entry-level iPhone Nano would be a good gateway drug to the more expensive iPhone.

Except in my case of course, because I would never buy one.

Now, the iPod touch with a 3rd party VOIP client (once the SDK is released), THAT’S a different matter entirely. 

An open letter to ‘the big four’…

music.jpg

DRM. Three little letters that seem to mean so much to you.

You pretend that you created DRM to protect those people in your care, your recording artists, film makers & authors.

However, what you fail to understand is that your firm, unrelenting grasp of your media, is squeezing the very life out of it, drop by drop, and if you do not change, it will be mortally wounded, if not stone cold dead within a decade.

Let’s put our cards on the table here, DRM was created by you, not to protect your recording artists’ sales, but to protect an old and outdated distribution model, (physical CD distribution), from the digital download age.

You see digital downloads as a danger, a danger to your current cash-cow, CD’s.

The ease in which CD’s can be ripped to a PC and therefore be easily, and illegally shareable on peer-to-peer sites is something that you grudgingly accept – you failed to see it coming.

There’s very little you can do about it now (short of installing root kits), so your current approach is to keep the status quo as long as possible. CD’s can be ripped to MP3 and distributed with ease, but it still isn’t an easy process in comparison to taking an non-DRM’ed MP3 file and giving it to someone else.

You know however that this is a temporary situation, the future is almost here – complete digital downloads of media, in all its forms are inevitable, once the pipe is big enough.

Every new step forward, (in the past from LP’s to CD, at present from CD’s to digital downloads) you now take with the utmost care, nothing is left to chance. You failed to see the ripping of CD’s to MP3 coming, you won’t let that happen again.

So you enforce draconian DRM on iTunes purchases. It was only the forceful personality, and resourcefulness of Steve Jobs that gave us the option of getting around this DRM easily (by ripping to a CD).

And you enforce even more draconian DRM onto Windows Media Files, and even manage to get kickbacks from every Zune purchased. This was a lot easier because of the willingness of Microsoft to cooperate. Microsoft do not care about the ordinary consumer, just like you. To them they are the lowest of the low, to be controlled like sheep, under the watchful eye of an IT Administrator, or in this case, a faceless corporation.

So here we are at the present. A time of conflict, confusion & struggle – and it doesn’t have to be like this.

Instead of staring at our feet, at where we are today, let’s look to the future, at where we’d all like to be, and plot a course on how to get there.

Seeing as this is all about protecting your current business model, let’s look at what your actual current business model is.

You have a recording artist you wish to sell records on behalf of. You do this by displaying their currently released track in various advertising mediums – on the radio, TV, billboard posters, adverts etc. The mix of these mediums is dependent on your target audience, but the path this audience takes to purchase (and therefore fulfilling the marketing exercise, i.e. making money), is always the same.

The target audience is exposed to the medium, say through the radio and likes the sound of it. But what happens then? Can they purchase that medium? No, they cannot. The medium has to (hopefully) have made such an impact so as to have stayed in their memory (billboard & press reinforce this), so that when they just happen to pass an outlet where they can buy they physical media that they heard, they can finally complete the purchase which started out with the time they heard the song play on the radio, sometimes weeks previously.

It’s not very efficient is it?

The period between the exposure to the medium and the purchase is too long. A lot can go wrong in this period of time, including the target audience forgetting all about your product. This is why the song must be played again and again on the radio, why you must spend huge sums of money on billboard & press campaigns – your marketing plan is too complex.

There’s a famous acronym in marketing and it’s K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid!

In contrast, look at the iTunes Store. You launch the application. You may have many reasons to do this but it’s mainly because you want to play one of your songs. You look at the mini store, or click on a store link next to one of your favourite artists. You go straight to the store, play the song, like it, purchase it. 30 seconds later it’s on your iPod and you are listening to it.

Simple.

Showing the opposing view…

Apple backwards

Recently I noticed an article entitled, “Is the iPod getting an unfair advantage in the marketplace?” on the Mobile Magazine’s website. It struck me at first as the usual FUD-spreading tripe that comes from the Apple-despising press, but upon further reading something occurred to me.

The article can be summarised in that the author found it unfair that the iPod was successful, and dismissed this success as somehow undeserved.

I obviously wanted to reply, but could not at first marshal my thoughts in such a way as to put across my point, but then it struck me. Please read on. What follows is the original article, followed by my reply. I think you’ll agree that it succinctly brings in to contrast the pointlessness of the article.

Is the iPod getting an unfair advantage in the marketplace?
As part of my regular duties for Mobile Magazine, I was poking around the other tech blogs on the internet, looking for interesting things to write about. I came across this post and it got me thinking: is Apple getting an unfair advantage in the marketplace, and that’s why Stevie Jobs holds three-quarters of the MP3 player market?

Think about it. Tech heads are a relative minority in the population, whereas people with a very minimal knowledge of technology probably make up the majority. Case in point: many people think that the iPod is the be all and end all of MP3 players. In fact, you’ll catch many people asking “What kind of iPod is that?” when you flash them a Sandisk Sansa or a Creative Zen. A large portion of the public think that “MP3 players” are a lesser form of the “iPod”, when in fact the iPod is an MP3 player (as I’m sure you know, given that you are reading this). This is following in the same tradition that taught people to refer to DVD players as simply a “DVD”. That irked me for the longest time.

What’s more, when you go to several online retailers, you’ll notice categories that read “iPods and MP3 players”, but never “Zunes and media players” or “Sansas and portable music players.” The iPod holds its own special shelf oftentimes too. I think it comes down to a chicken-or-egg question though: Are retailers simply responding to the average Joe who can only think of the iPod when it comes to portable music, or is it because stores do this that Joe Public thinks this way.

I’m beginning to think it’s the former and we can’t exactly blame Best Buy for featuring the iPod so prominently. After all, they just want to grab those sales. So, who can we blame? I’m looking at you, Cupertino.

Is Windows getting an unfair advantage in the marketplace?

As part of my regular duties for Mobile Magazine, I was poking around the other tech blogs on the internet, looking for interesting things to write about. I came across this post and it got me thinking: is Microsoft getting an unfair advantage in the marketplace, and that’s why Bill Gates holds three-quarters of the OS market?

Think about it. Tech heads are a relative minority in the population, whereas people with a very minimal knowledge of technology probably make up the majority. Case in point: many people think that the Windows OS is the be all and end all of OS’s. In fact, you’ll catch many people asking “What kind of Windows is that?” when you flash them a Macintosh. A large portion of the public think that “Windows” is a lesser form of the “Computer”, when in fact the Mac is an computer (as I’m sure you know, given that you are reading this). This is following in the same tradition that taught people to refer to DVD players as simply a “DVD”. That irked me for the longest time.

What’s more, when you go to several online retailers, you’ll notice categories that read “Windows computers”, but never Macintoshes & Windows”. The Windows PC holds its own special shelf oftentimes too. I think it comes down to a chicken-or-egg question though: Are retailers simply responding to the average Joe who can only think of Windows when it comes to a PC, or is it because stores do this that Joe Public thinks this way.

I’m beginning to think it’s the former and we can’t exactly blame Best Buy for featuring the Windows PC so prominently. After all, they just want to grab those sales. So, who can we blame? I’m looking at you, Microsoft.

Do you understand where Mac users are coming from now?

I think it’s poetic justice that Apple, at last are dominating a market that isn’t skewed in Microsoft’s favor because of an army of ‘tech heads’ that a)only recommend Microsoft and b)cannot stand it if Apple succeed in anything.

Sometimes the best way of getting your point across is to simply hold a mirror up to the situation at hand, showing the opposing view, but using their own words to illustrate your point.

Illogical arguements…

Ipod & Zune

A recent posting at ‘The Motley Fool” has irked my logic alarm. It’s an aspect of the iPod & iTS arguement that I still don’t understand. The article is here:

http://www.fool.com/News/mft/2006/mft06101016.htm

It centres around Apple and Intel, but leaving that aside, I was peturbed by this statement:

“I’m a big fan of open standards myself, and would be happy to see Apple’s closed platform opened up so I could buy songs through iTunes and play them on my Creative Zen media player. ”

I really don’t understand the logic here. If you have a Creative Zen media player, why would you want to buy a song from the iTunes store, when:

1: It’s not compatible with your player, and:

2: THE EXACT SAME SONG IS AVAILABLE ON COUNTLESS OTHER MUSIC STORES THAT ARE COMPATIBLE WITH THE ZEN.

Why would you demand of Apple to open up the iTS? Are the songs different in any way?

No, they’re not, so what’s his problem?

Aah, I see – his problem is DRM.

OK, so why pick on Apple?

DRM is present in every digital music store because the record labels want it this way – get over it, DRM exists and will exist whether you like it or not.

Your only solace is that you must choose the DRM with the weakest DRM – Apple.

This article is a coded attack against Apple’s dominance. He’s discouraging his readers from buying Apple, so that every geeks favourite company – Microsoft – can overrule us all with the Zune, with much more draconian DRM that will enslave us all.