Why Mobile Phones Make Bad iPods, and iPod, Therefore, iPhone?

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Date: Friday, June 30th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Uncategorized

Why mobile phones make bad music players
Mobile phones and iPods have reversed business models, and each is engineered to accomplish opposing tasks. Considering the following, and try to identify what complementary features a mobile phone music player hybrid would offer consumers.
Apple’s iPod is a music player designed to:
1. store and organize a large library of songs or video using a hard drive (30-60 GB);
2. play back high quality, stereo audio to headphones or external speakers;
3. work continuously for hours of music or video playback using a relatively large battery;
4. sync with a desktop computer for music and video content (using 480 Mbits/sec USB 2.0);
5. be sold at a hardware profit. Related services, such as iTunes and the ITMS, are either free or involve minimal profit.
Mobile phones are designed to:
1. store minimal data using flash memory (typically 1GB or less);
2. play and record voice-quality, mono sound using tiny built-in speakers or a bluetooth headset;
3. remain in standby mode, and only operate the cellular and bluetooth transmitters for short intervals during a call;
4. sync with a slow cell network provider for voice, data, photos, or text messaging (tomorrow’s 3G networks promise 3 Mbits/sec; todays’ “fast data” networks are 60-250 kbits/sec)
5. be a free or highly subsidized unit, paid for by network service fees sold under contract.
Wow, no complementary feature overlap at all! So what happens when we add iPod features to a mobile phone?
Read on.
iPod, Therefore, iPhone?
Consider the features that make the iPod competitive as a music player: its simple and elegant design, compact size, light weight, high audio quality, large storage capacity, and competitive price. Now, make it a phone.
An iPod with mobile phone features would require mobile and bluetooth radio circuity and dialing controls. Those additions would make the iPod phone more complex, bulkier, shorten its battery life, and make it more expensive. Such a device might be a better compromise than a phone trying to be a music player, but it would still compete poorly against standalone music players or dedicated phones.
Additionally, such a hybrid device would be undesirable to mobile phone service providers, because it would allow users to avoid using their network. It would kill the additional network fees mobile providers are trying to bill for services like photo sharing and network sync, and their paid downloads like ring tones. Without service providers interested in subsidizing the cost of the phone, the iPod Phone would have to compete against free or very cheap phones. Read on.
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RoughlyDrafted


WSJ: At Apple, Secrecy Complicates Life But Maintains Buzz

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Date: Wednesday, June 28th, 2006, 14:49
Category: Uncategorized

The Wall Street Journal today published an interesting story about Apple’s legendary policy of secrecy and how it may be hurting them with coroporate buyers. Apple’s fanatical level of secrecy is an issues that I have been harping on for years: corporate feel burned when they spend large amounts of money on dated computers right before a new model is announced (Xserve anyone?). I don’t blame them.

The problem is that Apple doesn’t care about the corporate market anymore and has concede it to Dell and Microsoft — which is a shame. It is Apple’s insane level of secrecy that had lead to the rise of the independent online journalist – if Apple won’t provide you with the details, we will. Ironic, isn’t it?

Apple Computer Inc. generates buzz for its new products by obsessively enforcing a strict secrecy policy. But the policy can sometimes leave partners, big customers and even employees in the dark.

Consider Hewlett-Packard Co.’s recent experience. In early 2004, H-P cut a deal to repackage Apple’s iPod digital music player and sell it with the H-P label. Even though they were partners, Apple often didn’t tell H-P about new iPod models until the day before they were introduced to the public, people familiar with the matter say. That left H-P scrambling to package and stamp its name on the jointly branded iPods for months after Apple put its version on sale.

What’s more, Apple insisted H-P work on iPods under tight security, even though Apple’s versions in some cases were already sitting on store shelves, one person who was involved in the relationship between the companies says. For reasons including the secrecy issue, H-P terminated its Apple deal last August.

WSJ.com – At Apple, Secrecy Complicates Life But Maintains Buzz (subscription req’d)

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BumpTop 3D Desktop Prototype

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Date: Friday, June 23rd, 2006, 11:00
Category: Uncategorized

bumptop.jpgI can still remember how bowled-over I was by my first experience of the Macintosh operating system… a ‘desktop’, folders to put things in, a trash can, the ability to point, click and grab… using a mouse. Well that was 1986, and 20 years later I’ve just seen something that makes OS X look tired.
BumpTop “aims to enrich the desktop metaphor with expressive, lightweight techniques found in the real world. ”
Thanks to Conrad and Stuart for pointing this one out.
Contributed by: Brett Jordan


Fixing .Mac – Hyperblog the Web

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Date: Monday, June 19th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Uncategorized

Lots of existing Web sites already allow their community of members to submit web links of interesting content for indexing, sharing, and comment. Slashdot has a beta system for tagging submissions with metadata, while Digg users can give stories and comments a thumbs up or down, progressively raising or lowering an item’s visibility. Third Voice was a dotcom that built an Internet Explorer plugin that allowed users to associate comments with web sites, which then popped up like a Post It note for other users who had the plugin.
Why Apple Can Deliver this:
Apple could one-up existing services (and previous failures) by applying the company’s unique position and abilities I described earlier. For starters, Apple has (1) a network of users, and (2) owns an OS and a browser. That means they can build functions into Safari and distribute the functionality with Mac OS X. The system would be (3) given away for free, and is financed as part of .Mac, which users (6) trust with their data. Further, Apple has proven they can build things that (7) work, are (8) usable by mere mortals, (9) very cool, and (10) will actually get finished.
Here’s how it works…
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RoughlyDrafted


Apple’s 84 “Car”

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Date: Wednesday, June 14th, 2006, 08:10
Category: Uncategorized

I went to see the new Pixar film “Cars” this weekend because I always make it a point to see Pixar films. The graphics are visually stunning and many of the scenes, specifically the race track, look absolutely photo-realistic. The movie didn’t hold my attention as well as previous Pixar offerings but I enjoyed it nonetheless. One easter egg that I missed (but my cousin caught) was the Apple-sponsored 84 Car.

FreeMacBlog posted the following entry:


In the opening race of the movie, I thought I caught a glimpse of an Apple car. I thought it strange because there is no other product placement in the whole movie. So, when I got home I grabbed the movie on line (for research sake) and sure enough, there is the Apple car. And even more fitting, the number on the car was 84. Pretty cool!

FreeMacBlog.com – Apple Sponsors In The Piston Cup Circuit

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MacBook – Practically Pro

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Date: Saturday, May 20th, 2006, 08:19
Category: Uncategorized

The iBook started life as a schoolBook with a very K thru 12 look. The large durable color toilet seat enclosure and small screen made this machine unappealing even for higher education, let alone business users. The second rectangular form factor for iBooks had a much more universal appeal. The size of the 12 inch model seemed just right and there was not nearly as much of a weight and size penalty vs. a PowerBook. The upgrade to G4 boosted performance without changing the packaging very much. The new MacBook broadens the appeal considerably in terms of performance and features. Read on……..


To Upgrade or not, That is the Question

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Date: Friday, May 19th, 2006, 11:00
Category: Uncategorized

daystar_machspeed.gifRecently I had the opportunity to upgrade my PowerBook G4 1.5GHz to a 2.0GHz Freescale 7447A CPU. Daystar Technology based in Georgia offers a MAChSpeed upgrade service to PowerBook owners like me who are wanting that extra power to run Logic Pro and other CPU intensive applications like Final Cut Pro. I took the plunge in the name of technology and sent my PowerBook in a custom box provided free by Daystar to its customers.
Read More…
Contributed by: Pierce


Latest ‘MacBook’ leak looks fake

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Date: Monday, May 15th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Uncategorized

macbook-fake.jpgThis screen shot posted in the MacRumors forums is purported to be an Apple “slip up” of the upcoming MacBook (iBook replacement) that allegedly appeared on their Web site.
As one astute poster on the SpyMac forums noted the photos in the “slip up” are clearly copied from Apple’s iBook software page.


Downside to Wireless Philadelphia?

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Date: Monday, May 8th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Uncategorized

philly-wireless.jpgIt looks like wireless Philadelphia is on track for Q3 2007 but no one is looking at the potential downsides.
I am a long time Philadelphia resident, which means I am cynic by defintion. I also currently run my own in-home 802.11b/g wireless network (done so for 5+ years). Is this new “Wireless Philadelphia” project going to drown out or interfere with my current setup?
Information about the actual technology that is going to be deployed is hard to come by since “Wireless Philadelphia” is a private company. At last report, it was going to be 802.11b. A signal strong to cover an entire city block would surely cause some interference problems. And, if I can’t maintain my current network under those conditions, what is my recourse? Not the city for sure (eminent domain kills that approach). The FCC? Will Verizon or Comcast join the fray? Who knows?
I tried looking into the gift horse’s mouth to find out more. The server never responded. Is this just a sampling of the service that is to come?
Some would say “stop being a grouch and just use the new city-wide wireless network.” I’m fairly sure that I won’t be able to maintain a decent game of Quake 4 with the amount of traffic and bandwidth available on that network. Think of it like you would public transportation. Yeah, it works but would you ride it if you had a stretch limo and driver?
I’m just worried that the whole thing was fast-tracked to promote something positive for the City of Philadelphia. I don’t think all of the technical aspects have been explored. And, Earthlink wants it because this is just another way for them to perpare for their inevitable exit from the dialup arena.
I’ll continue to track this and provide more insight when I can.
Contributed by: smaffei


New Apple Television Ads

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Date: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006, 08:00
Category: Uncategorized

apple-tv-ads.jpgApple has released a new set of TV ads. Featuring two guys, one representing a PC (and who just happens to bear a passing resemblance to Bill Gates), and the other a Mac (who looks a lot like Steve Jobs would probably like to!), they are short, humourous, and worth a look if you have a few moments to spare.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the lady is a digital camera.
Contributed by: Brett Jordan.