Tag Archives: Apple

The first iMac was disruptive

Dan Pallotta at the Harvard HBR Blog Network enumerates many points that demonstrate investor irrationality regarding Apple’s recent stock slide. The piece is well-supported, but I’d take issue with one point. In pointing out how Steve Jobs (after his return), like Tim Cook, did not introduce any disruptive products in his first year as CEO. Pallotta notes

[B]ear in mind that four years elapsed from the time Steve Jobs took back the reins until the iPod was introduced.

That’s true, but if Pallotta considers the iPad mini disruptive, then he must also consider the iMac, introduced soon after Jobs’ return in 1998, disruptive.  The first iMac was a bold design. It retired the floppy drive and it jump-started USB. It’s also surprising that one who is such an astute student of Apple history fails to mention that Apple did, in fact, invent a Time Machine.

Apple-Microsoft Skydrive stalemate

As I’ve written before, it’s reasonable for Apple to ask for a cut of the subscription revenue if the user signs up via iOS. But if a user signs up for a premium SkyDrive experience outside of iOS, then Apple should allow use of that app unfettered. I don’t see how this is any different than how the Kindle or NextIssue apps are handled. The iOS customer experience already suffers by forcing consumer workarounds to access services. But this kind of stalemate that keeps apps off the platform creates an even worse situation.

Apple, Google team up to bid for Kodak patents

No one seems to have a problem with strange bedfellows when they’re protecting the money in their mattress.

This holiday, $299 is the new $199

This holiday, consumers will have at least three strong new consumer electronics products from which to choose converging around a $299 entry price — the Nintendo Wii U (basic set), the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, and the iPod touch. The other product that comes close and which may give that all a strong run for their money is the $329 iPad mini.

While these products may come with different descriptions worthy of Breakfast Club-style stereotypes — the video game, the tablet and the media player — it’s a  sign of the times is that all are platforms and converged devices. The main differences are the size of the screen they address and the maturity and the strength of the ecosystems they support.

Approving Google Maps on iOS

Google is apparently following through on rumored plans to bring iOS devices with a standalone app similar to the approach it has taken with YouTube. The big question that seems to be floating around is whether Apple would approve such an app, much of it centered on the rivalry between the two companies. However, Apple would have a hard time justifying non-approval as it already has approved other mapping and navigation apps for iOS such as Waze, Scout, MapQuest and a number of map-resident apps from device brands such as TomTom and Magellan. The app store condition regarding non-competition with built-in functionality is dead and the platform is better for it.

Apple-HTC cross-license could weaken Apple litigation

Florian Mueller at FOSSPatents:

In any future situation in which Apple seeks injunctive relief against an Android device maker, the Apple-HTC license agreement will have to be shown to the court and the parties’ lawyers, and other adversaries will hold it against Apple, claiming that Apple’s willingness to sell a license to HTC covering a given patent means that it can be compensated with money for the continued infringement of such a patent.

The dwindling case for the iPad 2

(No, this post is not about a new protective cover that wraps around Apple’s second-generation tablet ever more tightly.)

Breaking a bit with tradition at the debut of the iPad mini, Apple did not keep the previous version of the iPad 3 in the lineup with the release of the fourth-generation iPad. Instead, it eliminated the third-generation iPad and instead left the slower, second-generation (iPad 2) product in the lineup. About the only possible explanation for this was that Apple couldn’t get the price of the third-gen iPad down to the $399 price point it was seeking to address competition in the 10″ Android tablet category. Costs have also likely come down more on the iPad 2 components so that that product can now be more profitable at $399.

However, it also puts the older iPad 2 closer to the new iPad mini that shares its processor and resolution. This begs the question, what is the case for the iPad 2 given that the iPad mini is 80 percent of its size and identical in most other respects. In fact, the iPad mini’s cellular models can connect to LTE networks whereas the iPad 2 is limited to 3G.

As smartphone trends clearly show, there is a large group of consumers that will flock to the larger screen. There’s also something to be said for having a product below a pricing milestone ($350) and another below $400. But, all things being equal, and most are in this case, the iPad mini just seems a bit too close to the 10″ iPad’s price and capabilities. The lineup would have been a bit cleaner with either the iPad mini at $299 or the third-gen iPad between Apple’s latest tablets.

For MacBook, thinness is the new screen size

Yesterday’a revamping of Apple’s MacBook product line resulted in a product portfolio curiosity. Apple’s notebook lineup now varies about as much by girth as it does by screen size. MacBooks remain available in three screen sizes but the 13″ model is also available in three thicknesses — the ultrathin MacBook Air, the slim MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and the classic MacBook Pro with SuperDrive (unbranded as such). Of course, there are other differences among these models such as storage options, ports and screen resolutions. Still, the MacBook line now can be thought of as having three sub-lines: Air, Pro and Pro with Retina Display.

Making them even more like product lines,  they tend to have similarities across the screen sizes. While the Air and Retina lines both lack optical drives, the former is obviously engineered for the ultimate in portability and a cloud-friendly lifestyle while the latter is for the leading-edge power user, with the non-Retina Pros playing very much in the mainstream. As Phil Schiller noted, the 13″ MacBook Pro is Apple’s best-selling notebook and seems likely to remain so after its Retina-equipped sibling.

Rumor: Color Labs to be acquired by Apple

It would be odd to see Apple go back to the same well from which it drank up Lala, but Color hit on some emerging phenomena such as introductions and (live) video sharing that will undeniably become more important.

Sorry, Woz, but things haven’t changed at Apple

Dan Graziano at Boy Genius Report:

[Apple’s] co-founder went on to point out that once upon a time Apple released software on competing platforms, such as its release of iTunes on Windows. Something has recently changed, however: As Wozniak points out, iTunes isn’t available on Android.

In fact, very little has changed, at least regarding app support for competing operating systems. iTunes has been one of the few exceptions to Apple developing software for Windows or any other non-Apple platform; Steve Jobs famously described the port as akin to “giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” Who can really say what beverages apps such as those in the iWork and iLife suites would have represented to the damned? It’s a moot question as Apple never ported any of them and likely never will. iTunes was ported primarily as an interface between the iPod and the PC. Windows didn’t really need another music management program.

There is now less need to create a hedge against Internet Explorer

As to iTunes for Android, it’s important to distinguish between desktop iTunes — which handles the purchasing, management, device transfer and playback of content — and iOS’ iTunes, which is just a store with content playback being managed through other apps. It wouldn’t make any sense to offer desktop iTunes for Android (although perhaps one day a cloud-based solution will support that operating system). And Apple brings little to the table by offering the mobile content store manifestation of iTunes to Android. There are many competitors, including the de facto Google Play and Amazon digital content storefronts, and songs purchased with iTunes can be played on Android devices, with device transfer managed through other apps such as DoubleTwist. What has waned is support for non-Apple devices via iTunes, which was a key feature for the software before Apple launched the iPod.

Safari was another app that Apple had brought to Windows, but hasn’t updated to the latest version. There is now less need to create a hedge against Internet Explorer with the ascent of Webkit-based Chrome on Windows and iOS has provided a fertile enough base for Safari to ensure developer support. The other notable Apple app for Windows is FileMaker, which is managed out of an Apple subsidiary. It’s been a successful product, but I’ve always thought that Apple kept it in-house to ensure that the Mac had a viable database client app (since Microsoft never created a Mac version of Access (or Visual FoxPro for that matter)) and to keep tabs on what life was like for a commercial Windows developer.