Archive for the 'Speculation' Category

New Samsung Anti-iPhone Ad – Don’t Be Fooled

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

It's a clever ad Samsung is about to run in newspapers. A little misleading in the fact that it lists Galaxy S III specific features, but doesn't do the same for the iPhone. But of greater significance – I think this ad highlights what Samsung just does not get, or at least what they don't want you to get.

Steve Jobs always said "it is not about the hardware, it is about the software".

Sure Apples hardware is a thing of beauty, but it is how the software integrates with the hardware, and how intuitive it is, that makes it both a pleasure to use and a pleasure to develop for. It's not about how much RAM the device has – its about the experience the user has when using the device. The software dictates how efficiently the memory is used. That is why the iPhone packaging and marketing never lists how much RAM an iPhone has – it's not important.

In the past Apple's decision to limit their software to only running on their own hardware cost them big time. It was the single biggest factor leading to Microsoft winning the OS war. But that same decision is now at the heart of Apple's success. It is a company focussing on experience, in an experience-based economy. Users want, and expect, the overall experience of using a device to be intuitive, fast, and slick. That is where Apple is seriously doing well – it is what their branding is all about after all, and they are delivering. And that is also why developers are flocking to the iOS platform and are developing slick, intuitive, user-experience focussed apps that take the overall iPhone and iPad experience to yet another level.

And that is why Samsung's ad is so clever – it swings all the attention back to the hardware.

Don't be fooled.

Apple ignores NFC technology and focusses on the new iOS 6 “Passport”

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Apple is likely avoiding Near Field Communications (NFC) – too many security implications. The new "Passport" feature in iOS 6 offers similar functionality without the need for special hardware. Passport is not an App – it is a framework, with the potential to enable developers to create tools for ticketing, payment/POS, loyalty cards and coupon systems.

The potential growth of iOS Apps in the retail sector is all good news for Apple. Whether other platforms can adopt a similar approach, or whether Passport might be handicapped by being iOS only, remains to be seen.

See on www.appleinsider.com

Apple wins major victory over Samsung

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

After a year of litigation, Apple has won a major victory against Samsung for violating patents and copying design elements of the iPhone and iPad. Samsung has been ordered to pay out over $1 billion US to Apple in damages.

It has been a very interesting case to follow, with several key members of Apple taking the stand and giving background information on prototype devices and design ideas that had not been revealed to the public before.

I must admit to being glad to hear that Apple won. I remember the first time my wife and I walked into Dick Smith Electronics and had a look at a Samsung Galaxy S – we both looked at the home screen and basic design and said "this looks like an iPhone". Sure, we liked the device, but we did think it was a bit rude. During the trial internal documents and emails from Samsung were released that proved this similarity in design was no accident. In the words of one of the jurers:

The e-mails that went back and forth from Samsung execs about the Apple features that they should incorporate into their devices was pretty damning to me. And also, on the last day, they showed the pictures of the phones that Samsung made before the iPhone came out and ones that they made after the iPhone came out.

See the similarity for yourself…

20120825-214016.jpg
Of course, the judgement will now be appealed by Samsung. And Apple is sure to follow up and request that several Samsung devices be pulled from shelves. So who knows what the final outcome will be, but there are some clear messages conveyed by the jury's decision. In the words of the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan…

"We didn't want to give carte blanche to a company, by any name, to infringe someone else's intellectual property".

The impact will be felt on the coming months by both Samsung and other manufacturers of Android-based devices who will want to steer clear of any similar design and patent issues.

The iPhone Takeover Begins

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

iPhone 3GToday Apple officially released the iPhone 3G – the next generation of the iPhone. Adding 3G speeds, support for 3rd party software, Assisted GPS, combined with a major drop in the pricing takes the iPhone to the next level – and it was already a pretty convincing package to begin with.

Vodafone New Zealand will be selling the iPhone in-store on July 11th. There will be two devices available: the iPhone 3G 8Gb for USD$199 and the 16Gb model for USD$299. This pricing is for an iPhone on a 24 month contract. It sounds like you can still purchase an iPhone without a contract (i.e. for prepay use) for somewhere between NZD$800-$1,000. There is no news from Vodafone NZ on the plans being offered.

So – July 11th it begins.

Why all the hype? Has Apple's marketing got to me? Well, yes it has. But it is not just hype, it is based on some pretty convincing facts. The iPhone package has already redefined the mobile phone – it is now redefining our expectations of mobile computing full-stop. Let me explain…

The Hardware
The iPhone hardware gives the average person unprecedented power in their pocket, and now for a pretty impressive priceiPhone 3G:

  • The large Multi-Touch screen
  • The Accelerometer that detects device movement and rotation
  • The large storage space – up to 16Gb
  • Assisted GPS
  • 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Unprecendented battery life for such hardware: 300 hours standby, 10 hours talk time, 7 hours video, 24 hours audio

All of these hardware features are packed into the slickest phone design ever. As the Senior Vice President of Walt Disney stated: "It really has the ability to pack the power of a laptop into the size of a smartphone." The hardware features combined with the OS X operating system means that Apple potentially fill more than the mobile phone space, but also move into the ultra-mobile computing space. With rumored 7 inch devices running the same multi-touch interface it will be interesting to see what comes next from Apple in this area.

The Software
It is not just about hardware with Apple – their software is consistently beautiful and simple. It is intuitive and appealing. The software on the iPhone covers off the needs of 80% of the market:

  • iPhone 3GPIM software to manage Contacts, Calendar, Email and Notes
  • Full over-the-air push support for PIM info with Microsoft Exchange and MobileMe (Apple's new dotMac replacement)
  • Desktop data sync with Microsoft Outlook and Apple software
  • SMS and Voice Calls using the slickest interface I have ever seen for basic Phone features
  • Safari browser offering desktop browser support on a mobile device. The webpages scales and zooms/pans providing a truly intuitive way to surf on a small screen. This feature alone has already redefined browsing from a mobile device, making it a realistic option for the first time.
  • iTunes software allowing the full iPod functionality with an advanced interface.
  • iPhoto support for viewing or managing your photos on the run. Combined with the inbuilt camera this is a slick combination.
  • Maps with GPS – view an address on a map, plot and navigate your course. View your current location at any time. Full Google Maps support.
  • A dedicated YouTube program optimises your YouTube experience allowing you to easily locate, view and bookmark your favorite movies.
  • Office file viewers are included for Word, Excel and Powerpoint as well as Apple iWorks files.

And that just scratches the surface. These tools are not new in themselves – but as usual Apple takes them to the next level. It is a pretty convincing toolkit in your pocket, covering off most of the features the average user will ever need in a mobile device. And that is before 3rd party apps enter the picture.

Market Dominance

It is pretty clear that the Apple is now aggressively going after market share. Within the first 8 months of its launch the iPhone had already claimed over 28% of the smartphone market in the US, second only to RIM (Blackberry). At that point it was not available in other countries. As of today the iPhone is available in 6 countries, on July the 11th it will be launched in another 14 countries, and within a few months it will available in 70 countries worldwide. Combined with the significant price drops and locked ceiling for pricing worldwide we can see the picture.

Will Apple really start to dominate the mobile phone market? Yes I believe it will. The rapid adoption of the initial iPhone already paints the picture. More than that however, we can see that the iPhone lives up to the hype, receiving rave reviews from satisfied owners and critics alike. I have never seen a single device get so much attention from the media or the average person down the street – not even from Apple, who seem to be at the forefront of marketing the launch of such devices (eg the iMac and iPod).

Let's have a look at some of the target audiences Apple is obviously going after…

Children/Students
iPhone 3GLet's be honest – Apple already had most kids with the iPod, and the iPhone is an even more compelling music experience. Now add the coolest phone with SMS and email. Now add the slick games powered by the accelerometer. What about the inbuilt YouTube support and the best mobile browsing experience? Now add the 3rd party software that has been launched – student learning tools, social networking software, sound mixers and much more. Do I need to say any more?

SME/Enterprise
Sharp pricing. "Push" email, contacts and calendar. Microsoft Exchange support. 3G data transfer speeds. Multiple secure networking options and Cisco VPN support. Remote device wipe. Support for Microsoft Office documents. MobileMe for remote sync, backups and anywhere/anytime access to data using the slickest browser-based toolset. Apple has ticked off the list of most business and corporate requirements. The overall packaged software combined with the slick hardware and pricing model is sure to be appealing to business users.

iPhone 3G

Developers
It is obvious that developers are a key target with this launch of the iPhone. The SDK (Software Development Kit) has been well publicized and marketediPhone SDK. The Apple WWDC was sold out for the first time ever and Apple has made no secret of this. The App Store joins the gap between the developers and the end users. And Apple is definitely showing off the 3rd party apps that have been developed, and emphasizing over and over again the short amount of time developers had to work on their application and how easy they found it. We can see that Apple are trying to get a singular message across to developers – developing for the iPhone is quick and it is easy. Whether that is true or not, developers are definitely listening and are more interested in Apple now than ever before. But again, this is based on more than just Apple's marketing hype.

The iPhone offers a pretty compelling picture to developers. The hardware is very powerful for a mobile device, and gives developers the ability to tap into features they have not had access to before – such as multi-touch, the accelerometer, and location awareness. Apple is making it easy for developers to work with this type of hardware – and as a result we are seeing some impressive and innovative software coming to the iPhone that we have never seen on any other platform. Apple helped by getting the hardware form-factor right in many respects as well – for example the screen resolution is large enough to create compelling and usable software that can be navigated with a finger, while still small enough to fit into a pocketable device. It is also powerful enough in terms of processing and graphics to remove limitations that developers were previously hindered by in the mobile space.

iPhone with OS XApple has also cleverly architectured the iPhone operating system. It is not just a cut-down and limited version of their desktop OS – the core layers are exactly the same. It will be easy for developers to migrate from the iPhone to full OS X desktop development – a very clever strategy from Apple that they will move on more in the future I am sure. Apple is also clearly documenting and communicating their API, their conventions, and placing and enormous emphasis on best practice which will standardise the development efforts and the resulting software. I like the way that Apple brings their simplicity and clarity to the development community – it is a much clearer picture to navigate than trying to learn to develop for other mobile platforms from scratch.

Combine the above facts with the potential market share that the iPhone will pick up over the coming months. For a developer choosing a target platform for their software the choice is becoming pretty obvious. While the iPhone may not be their only target platform it will likely need to be at the top of their list.

During Bill Gate's final publicly scheduled speech as a full-time Microsoft employee, he acknowledged that Microsoft's success is 'due to our relationship with developers.' Apple may well be saying the same thing in a few years time.

——-

Apple has been consistently wowing us for the past few years – OS X, then the iMac, the iPod, and now the iPhone.

It has been clear for a while that mobility is the future of computing. And the iPhone is emerging as the King of mobility. This device is indeed a game changer. It is more than a mobile phone – it is a new platform.

The iPhone takeover begins.

Is Oracle Buying Zend?

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

ZendThere was a rumor floating around a few weeks ago that suggested Oracle was looking at purchasing Zend. Articles such as this one on BusinessWeek talked about Oracle being in the market to purchase several Open Source companies – JBoss, Zend and Sleepcat Software were mentioned. Since then it has gone quiet, and I have just ignored it as just a rumor. However I am now beginning to wonder. Why? Several reasons…

First of all, Zend promised the first release of the Zend Framework by the end of February – which didn't happen. The forums for the Collaboration project are full of people asking what is going on, with Zend plainly ignoring everyone. The forums are also full of spam, indicating a lack of interest from the Zend team. Or is it? Perhaps it is a sign that Zend have much bigger things to think about – such as an Oracle take-over?

I found it quite interesting that a few days ago Zend placed a link on the PHP Collaboration home page pointing to an article announcing Oracle's purchase of HotSip and Sleepycat – and again highlighting Oracles interest in Zend. What is that link doing there I wonder?

Hmmm … time will tell.

Should It Open a New Window?

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

One question I have been asking myself when writing this blog is – should external links in my blog open a new window by default, or should it stay in the current window? What is considered "best practice" nowadays? So I decided to do a bit of research. As usual when it comes to such topics the opinions are many and varied, and everyone thinks they are right. So I decided to share with the world my conclusions. :)

I have decided that it is best practice to not open new windows to external sites by default. Why?

  • New windows popping up can confuse inexperienced surfers who are used to the safety of the "Back" button. A new window does not retain the browser history of previous windows, thus rendering the Back button useless.
  • Experienced surfers know how to open new windows or tabs – let them choose. Tip: In Internet Explorer and Firefox hold down the "shift" key when clicking a link to open it in a new Window, or in Firefox use the "ctrl" key to open in a new Tab.

  • New windows opening up are a big problem for the visually impaired whose speech-to-text software may not have been warned of the window change, or they have missed hearing the warning that a new window was opened.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. In some situations opening a new browser window is the logical thing to do – but not for every link by default.

If you do…

When/if you do want to open a new Window keep in mind that the target attribute of the <a> tag is deprecated, and will prevent your pages from validating in HTML 4.01 Strict, XHTML 1.0 Strict, or any future version. There are a number of alternative methods around – most of them using JavaScript. Here is the method I recommend:

<a href="http://google.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href); return false;">
  A Test Link
</a>

Here is a sample link using this code.

Why is this recommended method? It achieves our objective of opening a new window, but it also:

  • Preserves the href element for Search Engines
  • Users who want control can still right-click
  • The link can still be Bookmarked or added to the browser Favorites
  • Your code will validate

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So … future external links on this blog will not open a new window by default. And on the odd occasion it is a good idea, I will use the method outlined above.

If you have any thoughts on this topic I would love to hear them…

Prototype.js support in the Zend Framework

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

As the upcoming Zend Framework is going to implement AJAX functionality I really hope that they will integrate the prototype.js library. I realise that this is also used by Ruby on Rails which Zend is trying to avoid giving the impression they are ripping off. However it is a fantastic library and it would be great to see it become almost a standard. It can be relied on as it is being actively developed and is involved in major frameworks at this stage. In addition there are number of JS scripts and projects already implementing prototype.js. So … here's hoping!

A Google Operating System?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

According to sources of the LA Times Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart and other retailers to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not MS Windows, and it would be relatively inexpensive รขโ‚ฌโ€ perhaps as little as a few hundred dollars (US). Couple that with articles like this one and you start to wonder. Pointless speculation? Maybe ๐Ÿ˜‰