August 28, 2009

iPhone Goes On Sale in China

The iPhone, already one of the most popular phones in China thanks to the wonders of Jailbreaking has just gone legit.

Added as a paragraph today's China Unicom earnings statement:
On 28 August, the Company and Apple reached a three-year agreement for the Company to sell iPhone in China. The initial launch is expected to be in the fourth calendar quarter of 2009. This will provide users with brand new communication and information experience.
TechCrunch confirmed this is for both the 3G and 3GS phones.

China Unicom is the second largest telco in China with 140 million subscribers, double the size of AT&T.

And guess what, because the iPhone has a soft-keyboard it's ready to go, no retooling, no new keyboard layouts, no new models.
I'm not sure if the financial analysts have worked this out, but it's the end game in the smartphone market, and if Apple can capture China, it's going to be a long, tough slog for other vendors.

August 27, 2009

Coverage of Snow Leopard

Lots of coverage on Snow Leopard today, most of it positive.

The upshot is this; for $39 you can't go wrong:

David Pogue - Apple's Sleek Upgrade

Walt Mossberg - Apple Changes Leopard’s Spots

Joshua Topolsky - Snow Leopard review

Michael Gartenberg - Will Snow Leopard's Exchange support earn Apple a new entourage?

Exchange Integration in Snow Leopard

In his weekly column for Engadget, Michael Gartenberg reflects on the his experience using Snow Leopard to access his corporate Exchange box:
I've been using Snow Leopard for a few weeks now with our corporate Exchange server and I'm pleased to report: it just works. Simply (far easier to configure Snow Leopard to work with our Exchange server than to set up a new copy of Outlook). Within moments of entering my email address and password, all my calendar items, contacts, email, and to-do lists were integrated into the appropriate Snow Leopard apps. I haven't had a single problem with the configuration.
For me -- as user who's used both platforms for years -- I've been constrained to using Windows mostly because Exchange worked so much better than Entourage did. With the introduction of the latest version of iLife and Snow Leopard, I find I'm not just doing my creative stuff on the Mac, but am able to fully migrate my business use as well
I've also been running Snow Leopard and using it with Exchange and agree with his sentiments. The integration is as good as it is on the iPhone; it just works and in some cases works faster and better than my other MobileMe account.

August 26, 2009

Before Apple introduced the iPhone…

Some welcome perspective on the state of the iPhone from Kontra.

But “Apple’s evil” promoters still insist that Apple sever its integrated model; license its OS; tear down the App Store; let anyone load any app on the iPhone; turn a blind eye to competitors leveraging its iTunes platform without compensation; give up the subsidies from AT&T and jump into bed with CDMA that will be sunset in a year or two; and allow any number of slow, ugly and battery-consuming competing runtimes proliferate on the iPhone. Because not doing so would be…evil.

Number of Employees

Check out some of these numbers I got from Google Finance:



Apple made over four times the net income of Dell on a third less revenue, and three quarters of HP's net income on only a third of its revenue.

But net income per employee is where it gets more interesting, and the differences get magnified.

For the most recent quarter, Apple generated over $38,000 of net income per employee versus $5,115 for HP and $3,791 for Dell.

Dell has 76,500 while HP has 321,000, compared to Apple who have 32,000.

I want to know what all these extra employees do at Dell and HP? As far as I can tell, neither Dell or HP run retail stores, make smart phones or media players, make their own OS, and they're clearly not web developers.

So I want to know, what are all these employees doing?

August 25, 2009

This is the App Stores Competition, Seriously

GetJar, Appsolutely everything is the App Store for all devices that aren't iPhone's. According to TechCrunch, they've had 450 million apps downloaded to date, with 25 million downloads of Opera Mini.

450 million downloads sounds like a shitload, especially when you click through and see how difficult it is to actually get an App on to your device.

Good luck downloading that JAD file, mum.

Jobs Confirms Existence of Apple Tablet

Steve Jobs is back at the helm and getting involved in the micro details on the new Apple tablet, apparently.

In an article about the forth coming Apple Tablet, Yukari Iwatani Kane teases this from Jobs:
Mr. Jobs, in an email, said "much of your information is incorrect," but didn't provide specifics

August 24, 2009

Nokia introduces Booklet 3G 'mini laptop'

Nokia shift from one low-margin business (making low end mobile phones) to another low-margin business, making Netbooks.

It looks to be running Windows 7, which isn't particularly netbooky, and also has integrated A-GPS with a copy of Ovi Maps, HDMI output, a rated 12 hour battery life, and the usual Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, all in a 2cm (.78 inch), 2.7lb aluminum body that's understated, sophisticated, and should make most Nokia fans very happy

Apple Highest Grossing Retailer on Fifth Avenue

From Bloomberg:
Apple, increased revenue at its stores by 2.5 percent in the first six months of the year to $3 billion as the rest of the retail industry suffered. During the same period, sales at all U.S. retailers fell 9.2 percent compared with the first half of 2008, according to the U.S. Commerce Department

Wow.

I bet sales increased more than that for the Australian stores (including third party resellers) due to price cuts across the portables and iPhones and the Rudd stimulus package.

Computer Support Cheat Sheet

This is gold.

August 22, 2009

Macworld Back-Issues

I didn't realise but Macworld Australia post various back-issues of the magazine here. Big downloads, but lots of great info inside.

August 21, 2009

More Changes in Snow Leopard

A developer friend of mine sent me another few tidbits about Snow Leopard, rumoured for release next week.

The feature mimics the functionality found in the Windows Taskbar, where application windows get minimised into the application icon, as opposed to OS X (Leopard) where minimised windows occupy space on the right hand side of the dock.

Well, in Snow Leopard, there's a new preference in the Dock settings in System Preferences:



When that box is ticked any window you minimise actually disappears behind the application icon, like this:



A couple of other changes in Snow Leopard that he noticed;

Google Maps integration into the date/time control panel:



and a new security preference for a time delay when entering a password after sleep:

August 20, 2009

Why Microsoft Will Slaughter Windows Mobile

Another thoughtful, well reasoned and completely biased piece from Daniel Eran Dilger. There have been a flurry of articles since Digitimes released their initial report yesterday that Microsoft was going to compete with Android using Windows Mobile 6.5 and compete with iPhone with Windows Mobile 7.0.

You don't need to be an professor to understand that Windows Mobile is struggling in the market (how many people do you know that use it?) and releasing and maintaining not one, but two mobile OS's is suicide.

But as a fanboy, I love reading Dilger's yarns. A few paragraphs in his latest piece particularly stand out:
How can it possibly afford to piss away another full year with just incremental improvements to its crusty old Windows Mobile platform before delivering its promised vaporware panacea? Oh wait, that’s the company’s normal business plan: deliver crap into the market and then float a toxic cloud of promises that kills off superior products until there’s no options left but to buy Microsoft’s crap.

After several years of this, Microsoft’s crap hardens into something that can be used to make tools or start fires, allowing the company to continue selling its crap without competition. This worked well for Windows on the PC desktop and in the server market, but isn’t working well at all in consumer devices. Windows Mobile and the Zune and the Xbox are all failing to kill off their competitors, outsell them, or even make much of a profit after a decade of trying.

And this:
Since Microsoft’s core competency and basic business model is billowing vaporware smoke, the Zune’s crushing collapse could only clear the air, making the path for rival competitors even easier. The incompetent Zune only made the iPod family look better than it already did.

Revenue from PC's Fall 18% for HP

Revenue is down 18% while unit sales are up 2%. Sounds like they're selling lots of low cost, low margin Netbooks.

Oh, also, their terrible website can't be helping the situation.

August 19, 2009

Microsoft to adopt dual-platform strategy to compete with Android and iPhone

According to this piece in the Digitimes, Microsoft will give Windows Mobile 6.5 away for a 'lower' amount once it releases Windows Mobile 7 to effectively compete with Android, which is free.

Good luck with that plan, Microsoft.

iContact

The iPhone could be the hand-held console gamers have been waiting for, writes Danny Gorog (via Herald Sun).

I'll add the proper link if I can find it.

HP's Website is a Disgrace

How does a company with a market capitalisation of over $100 Billion have such a terrible website.

Say I'm a consumer looking for an entry level laptop and I go to hp.com.au, here's the first screen I see:



So I'll click on HP Home Notebook PCs which gets me to this screen:



Now, I'm a tech journo with over ten years of experience and I'm not really sure what to click from here.

I'll take a punt and click on the 'Compare the models' button at the bottom of the screen. I'm not sure which models I'll compare because I haven't selected anything but I'll take my chance. The next screen looks like this:



and it goes on. There are a total of 9 different models to choose from. I just want a fucking basic laptop. I'll choose the top one, the HP Pavilion dv2-1100 Entertainment Notebook PC series starting from AU$999 including GST.

The next page appears:



So I've already clicked four times and all I've got is a shitty little picture of a laptop with a disclaimer that says 'image is an approximate guide only' in the middle of the screen, a table whose only thing I notice is the text 'Ready to Buy'.

If I click Enlarge Image this is what I get:



There's another button that says 'Product Demo' so I click that next.

It comes up with a buggy Flash presentation, and only after watching it do I realise this notebook doesn't even have a full size keyboard.

I can't be bothered doing any more. If I really was in the market for a PC I'd probably have moved on to another website like Dell or something.

As a comparison, here's the Apple homepage:



Click on Mac and you'll get this:



and click on MacBook and this is the product information page:



Clean, clear, large images, lots of detail and one Buy Now button instead of three on the same page.

The HP website isn't an exception; all the PC websites I've visited are like that; cluttered, hard to navigate and totally confusing. Now it's a fair point to suggest that HP do alot more than laptops, but so do Apple and they've come up with a way of presenting their products in a way that makes sense.

The problem with Apple's competitors like HP, Dell and Toshiba isn't just related to the actual products they ship, but is as far reaching as the way they communicate their offerings to customers. I think they've all got a long way to go.

BlackBerry App World is Live

I didn't know, but apparently the BlackBerry App world is now live, and available for viewing in a browser.

Looks to be lots of applications, but most look pretty dull.

Take BeeJive IM as an example. This is what it looks like on the iPhone:




And this it what it looks like on the BlackBerry:




I can't believe BlackBerry call this 'State of the art'.

August 17, 2009

Rumors of Palm Pre's Death Slightly Exaggerated

Jon Stokes on Palm's slow progress:

But here we are in August, and no one's Pre has gained any new capabilities. There's nothing new for the press to write about, nothing for any Pre owners to show off to their iPhone-using friends, and generally no reason to get excited all over again about Palm.


Spot on.

August 15, 2009

A Restaurant Review That Even Matt Preston Would Appreciate

Adam Roberts reviews El Bulli in a cartoon strip.

Check out course #2 - Crystal of Parmegiano

The Specialized Device

Neven Mrgan nails the position of the apparently-soon-to-be-released-Apple-tablet.
My feeling is that in all these cases, the most noticeable upgrade from the iPhone will be the lack of zoom-and-pan claustrophobia we now experience when we browse the web or play Scrabble. On a device with a 1280 px x 800 px display (or higher!) this will go away. It will no longer feel like you’re viewing the Internet through a keyhole. In table-and-detail based apps like Mail, gone will be the need for constant digging in and out of views; having room for a source list will change things considerably.

Where can I pre-order?

August 14, 2009

Here Comes Another New Browser

If you didn't think there was room for another browser in the crowded market, think again. Marc Andreessen, Netscape founder and serial entrepenuer has invested in a new business called RockMelt.

NY Times doesn't have much detail yet, but watch this space.

And So It Begins

iPhones officially go on sale in China in September, according to this report.

This deal has the potential to double the shipment of iPhones overnight, and will see iPhones dominate the smart phone landscape for the foreseeable future.

RIM Working on a Bluetooth Watch?

Engadget are reporting that RIM are working on some accessories, specifically, a Bluetooth Watch.

Maybe they should focus on improving their phones instead?

Outlook for Mac, coming back again

The last time I used Office for Mac was way back in OS 9 days. But Microsoft today announced that it will again ship Outlook for Mac next year.

According to MS, the new Outlook is 'being built from the ground up as a Mac OS X application using Cocoa. It will have a new database that delivers a reliable, high performance, and integrated experience with Mac OS X. Users will be able to back-up with Time Machine and search email, calendar and contacts with Spotlight. Additionally, Outlook for Mac and the rest of Office will include Information Rights Management, which helps keep sensitive information for only audiences that you intend. IRM compatibility will make it possible for Mac users to share and receive sensitive information using Microsoft Office tools.'

Microsoft, welcome to 2006. Honestly, why bother? Snow Leopard features full Exchange integration using Mail, iCal and Address and it's included on every Mac.

August 13, 2009

A Cycle Even A Tree-Loving Hippie Would Appreciate

How'd you a like a bicycle made of wood?

Get This Man A Cab

Christoph Rehage walks across China for a year and takes a video each day.

Watch it, it's fun.

The Longest Way 1.0 - one year walk/beard grow time lapse from Christoph Rehage on Vimeo.



(via www.kottke.com)

More on Snow Leopard installation

If true, this will be a real timesaver out in the field.
A reinstallation will not affect your Mac OS X version number. In other words, reinstallation of Mac OS X 10.6 on a Mac that contains Mac OS X 10.6.1 (when it becomes available) will not overwrite any new components delivered by 10.6.1. So when the re-install is complete, you will still be running Mac OS X 10.6.1. This will save users considerable time.

A Question From ZeFrank

In the experiment you are given one of two pills. You don't know which one until after you take it. One shortens your life by 10 years, and the other lengthens your life by 10 years.

How Long Till Nokia Responds

Insightful piece on when a true iPhone killer might emerge from Nokia, and the conclusion.
2014: First products that are roughly comparable with iPhone version 1 begin shipping.  The required software redesign started in 2010 is coupled with the integration efforts.   Nokia’s response to the iPhone has begun.

August 12, 2009

Buy, Buy, Buy!

I'm no stock analyst but this guy seems to be saying that even at $160+ per share, AAPL is still cheap:

On a non-GAAP basis ex-cash, Apple is trading at less than 15x trailing EPS. Considering the economy has been going through the worst economic downtown since the Great Depression, Apple's trailing earnings are depressed.


Looking at the many remarkable achievements by Apple any the many stumbles by competitors, it can be argued that AAPL deserves a premium multiple, not a multiple reflective of ordinary growth.

Must keep writing.....

I'm back. I think. Just one post a day. I'll try anyway.