New HP CEO Meg Whitman acknowledges the trend happening. Even if you don’t count the iPad (which you probably should), Apple’s share of the PC market continues to rise slow and steady and could eventually push Apple past HP as the top computer maker.
While everyone is busy debating if iOS/Android will be a repeat of the Mac/Windows war, they’re missing the flipside. The Mac/Windows race is starting to look more like the iOS/Android one. That is, Apple is the big single brand in terms of units, but as one self-contained player, they can’t overtake the larger ecosystem (Windows and Android).
But it doesn’t matter like it used to. Times have changed. Developers go where they can make money and right now Apple’s smaller but much more tightly integrated ecosystem is beating the larger ecosystems in this regard.
Maybe that will change, but maybe it won’t.
One thing not up for debate: profits matter. And there’s absolutely no question that even with modest market share, Apple is crushing everyone — including all of the kings of the rival ecosystems: HP and Microsoft and Google.
Jordan Crook reports that Sony COO Phil Molyneux unveiled Sony’s new retail strategy at a press conference this morning. Wait for it… Sony Stores! As Crook notes, the strategy is basically “follow Apple’s lead”.
But I’m confused, wasn’t this also their old retail strategy? It sure sounds like they’re basically doing the same things they were doing with the Sony Style stores but holding a press conference to say the strategy is new because it didn’t work the first time around.
The real problem — which I’m not sure either Sony or Microsoft really understand — is that simply building stores which look like Apple Stores isn’t enough. It’s the Apple products in them that make them successful.
Apple’s strategy with the stores worked because they knew they had the best products, they just had a hard time conveying that with the existing retail channels. The products quite literally sell themselves, they just needed the most efficient and effective way to get them in peoples’ hands.
At the same time, they realized there was a huge opportunity for competent human beings (who don’t work on commission) to usher users into this brave new world of computing everywhere.
It was the perfect one-two punch. That’s the Apple Store.
But if you open a Apple-like store and your products just aren’t very good, guess what happens? The opposite of success.
Think of it this way: if you opened the nicest looking store in the world that sold bags of shit, would it be successful?
Speaking of Path, hopefully you’ve visited their new website by now. If not, click the link above. It’s amazing.
It’s the kind of thing you used to need Flash for. And it was one of the few decent arguments for why it perhaps should stick around. With it, you could make a website that felt alive — more like art and less utilitarian. Path’s Danny Trinh replicated that using only HTML5.
It’s a tad bit blurry and it doesn’t work on the iPad, but we’ll let those slide.
Watching the reaction to Path 2 that past few hours has been fascinating. It’s a testament to the idea that design matters. And I don’t just mean how the app looks. To quote Steve Jobs, “It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
The Path team has nailed so many little things with their app that the first impression users are coming away with is sheer delight. That alone won’t get them to their full potential, but it’s a hell of a start.
Little things matter. Not compromising matters. Attention to detail matters.
I bet there are at least a half dozen things in this app that become standard design practice in most iOS apps. And they’re things Facebook and Google won’t be able to copy anytime soon with their UIWebView wrappers.
Update: Path engineer Rafik Salama explains that the HTML5 video isn’t the problem on the iPad, it’s the auto-play functionality — which makes sense.
Matt Rosoff responding to my post about his post on Business Insider.
Spoiler alert: at one point he compares Business Insider slideshows to New Yorker photo essays.
I’m not trying to pick on Rosoff. I actually think he’s very good. I’m just not sure how you can argue that a slideshow was a good format for that story — or really any story on Business Insider.
I suppose you can make an argument for using a slideshow when pictures are the key element of a story, but that wasn’t the case here. Also, if I’m going to view a slideshow emphasizing pictures, I want to see big beautiful pictures. Most of BI’s slideshows look like shit.
Anyway, I obviously get why you’d want to do slideshows from a business perspective. As Marco Arment writes:
Unscrupulous or desperate web publishers will always invent new ways to inflate pageviews and defraud advertisers into paying for more reader attention than they’re actually getting.
And it will always work.
I just wouldn’t stand for such nonsense ruining an otherwise compelling story that I had written. I’m not convinced that Rosoff isn’t suffering from Stockholm Syndrome here.
Almost exactly a year ago, Path first launched. I remember the initial response being highly mixed. Some found its smaller network refreshing. Others thought it was just about the dumbest thing they’d ever seen. Something about it struck me. Not even the product itself as much as the core concept behind it. And I took to this blog to write as much.
A year later, Path was never able to take off in a way that a service like Instagram has. But it should have been pretty clear from the get-go that their trajectories would be far different. Path was a service that went out of its way to dampen the viral effects that bring in massive amounts of users.
They were trying to do something different. Perhaps stubbornly so.
The next phase of that journey starts tonight. Path version 2 has just gone live for iPhone and Android. I’ve had the chance to play around with it for a few weeks, and it’s fantastic. It’s probably the most beautiful social app ever developed for iOS — something which I don’t say lightly. And it certainly has to be the best-looking app on the Android platform — something which I say fairly lightly.
Matt Rosoff’s thoughts on Google becoming more like Microsoft should have been a provocative and effective article. Instead it’s a slideshow. Why? I have no clue.
Well okay, pageviews, clearly. But it’s still weird to see this type of story formatted this way.
Business Insider has taken a lot of shit over the past year or so for pageview pumping by way of slideshows (AND CAPS-LOCK HEADLINES). Whatever, that’s their decision and it seems to be working out for them. All I know is that as an author, I would hate this.
Rosoff’s name is on the landing page and nowhere else. As a result, it doesn’t feel like an article he crafted. At best, it feels like a collage he made. I can’t believe any writer would appreciate this.
3 slides (of 12) in, I have no clue who wrote this. And the whole thing lacks the flow of great writing. It’s a bunch of mini-blurbs instead of one cohesive article making a strong case.
Both the reader and the writer lose as a result of this nonsense. But Business Insider wins, I suppose.
Well, that didn’t last long. Google is killing off their black navigation bar, which has been an eyesore since day one of Google+. In its place, Google is going with a more robust Google Bar (in Google Gray).
I don’t see it yet, but I imagine there will be some sort of controversy about Google shoving their other products in your face (though the reality is that they’ve done this for a long time). At least this new bar looks nicer and offers a more uniform experience.
I’m still predicting that all of this eventually goes a level up to Chrome itself.
This is the most interesting bit about the rumored refresh of the Apple TV yet. Apple hasn’t talked a lot about the inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0 in both the iPhone 4S and the recent MacBooks, but it’s clearly there for a reason.
What if we do see some sort of new Apple peripherals as a result? Perhaps a large Magic Trackpad for iOS games running on the Apple TV? Or, as 9to5 Mac suggests, maybe this is about Siri integration? Or maybe it’s simply about a better (faster) iPhone/Apple TV connection for using the great Remote app.
I have no real clue, I just can’t believe Apple would bother to include the new Bluetooth chip in the Apple TV if they didn’t intend to use it — and soon.
Amazon issued a press release this morning to say that Black Friday was their best ever in terms of Kindle sales. In fact, they were up 4x over last year. Wow, right? But there’s still that one pesky little problem.
Amazon’s VP of Kindle, Dave Limp:
Even before the busy holiday shopping weekend, we’d already sold millions of the new Kindle family and Kindle Fire was the bestselling product across all of Amazon.com. Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family - customers purchased 4X as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday - and last year was a great year.
Okay, so Amazon’s stated sales are 4X of “great”. But hey, at least we did get them to say “millions” — that’s progress.
I do not understand why Amazon refuses to release actual numbers when it comes to the Kindle. Actually, I would be fine with it, except for the fact that they issue press releases touting sales numbers… without giving actual sales numbers!
By most estimates, sales of the Kindle — including the new Kindle Fire — are indeed great. I bought a new Kindle Touch, I love it. So why the charade?
There is a lot of talk out there right now about the supposed 15-inch MacBook Air. I haven’t heard anything specific besides the usual whispers of new product numbers floating around out there. It seems pretty likely that something is coming.
What’s a bit odd about this talk is Apple’s entire MacBook line. Namely, there is no actual MacBook anymore, just the Air and the Pro. If the Air gains a 15-inch model, the line between those two blurs even more.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of consolidation. Just pure speculation here, but maybe the Air becomes simply the “MacBook” and the focus is on the 11, 13, and new 15-inch models. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro drops the 13-inch model and focuses on the 15, and 17-inch models.
The current Air models are more than fast enough for most consumers. And I’m not sure why anyone would buy a 13-inch Pro unless they really want that optical drive.
Maybe it’s time to separate the Pro line by doing something like a super high resolution screen and maybe insane battery life (10+ hours).
Or maybe the 15-inch thin MacBook is meant to be a hybrid of a Pro and an Air. Maybe it has more ports, better battery life, and a higher price — but loses the optical drive. It’s dead anyway.
I’ve talked to a lot of people who want a 15-inch screen on their Air. I’m sort of the opposite. At first I thought the 13-inch Air would be too small for everyday work (I was moving from a 15-inch Pro). Now it’s my main machine for everything. And I actually think I might prefer the 11-inch size if it didn’t mean taking a 2-hour hit on battery life dropping down from the 13.
Battery life matters more to me now than anything else. Each of the last two MacBook Air models has been more than fast enough for what I need from a computer. Give me one with a full 10 hour battery and I’d be tempted, no matter the screen size.
When I read Om’s post today celebrating 10 years blogging, it made me think back to when I began. Oddly enough, in three days, it will be exactly 7 years since I started blogging as well.
I actually remember the timing and the thought process. I had recently graduated from college and had just left everything and everyone I knew back east and drove 2,000+ miles by myself out to California. I had been living in Los Angeles for about three months and thought the new chapter in my life was a good time to start doing something new.
In other words, I was bored.
I recall debating setting up the blog for a couple of weeks. On one hand I was worried it would look lame to friends back home — “blog” seemed to be something of a derogatory term at the time (at least in the circles I hung out in). More importantly, I was sure I would have nothing to talk about. Certainly nothing that mattered. For several months, that was very much the case.
In a sit down with Forbes’ Eric Savitz, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie talks about how Microsoft has actually been doing what Siri offers for the past year with Tellme technology on Windows Phone. He dismisses Siri’s buzz as basically just good marketing and people being “infatuated” with Apple.
Sadly, the majority of the time a company comes out with something that excites people, a competitor will come out and yell “FIRST!”. When Apple makes the product, it tends to happen every single time. And Microsoft is the worst at this type of “us first” nonsense. They don’t seem to realize that it just makes them look pathetic — or worse, highlights their own irrelevance in the space.
I’m reminded of a line from the Mark Zuckerberg character in The Social Network:
"If you had invented Facebook, you would’ve invented Facebook."
Thoughts on the Kindle Touch? I'm debating which model to purchase..
I’ve only had it for a day and haven’t had too much time with it yet. But so far, so good. The touch experience is better than I thought it would be. It’s not multi-touch good, of course, but it works. The touch keyboard experience is actually pretty good.
I’ll certainly never go back to a non-touch Kindle. This is the way the Kindle should be. I’ll post some more thoughts after I’ve played with it for a bit longer.
One of the biggest draws to the Android platform, the “open” Android Market, has just been sidestepped and made largely irrelevant for tablets. If the Fire sells anywhere near its target volumes, Amazon has hijacked the Android app retail channel for the long term: most sales of Android tablet software will be through the Amazon Appstore, and if your app isn’t there, it’s effectively invisible to the Android tablet userbase.
How long will it be before this effect spreads to the much larger Android-phone market? All it would take is a deal between Amazon and one of the big handset manufacturers to preload the Amazon Appstore, placed more prominently than Google’s Android Market, on all of their phones for a little while. Amazon knows how to play the retail game — it’s their business, and they’re incredibly good at it.
“But of the three major smartphone operating systems, Android is still by far the most confusing. It’s also the least likely to inspire joy.”—Farhad Manjoo wrapping up his thoughts on Android Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus for Slate.
The first Sherlock Holmes was very “meh" (as opposed to the Sherlock television show, which is excellent). But if this is true, I’ll buy a ticket just to see these two trailers back-to-back on the big screen.
Incidentally, the two stars of the Sherlock Holmes television series, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, also star in The Hobbit.
Also, don’t forget that a prologue for The Dark Knight Rises will be shown before the IMAX version of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. Also perhaps the only reason to see that film.
It took just 5 weeks. The only one ahead of it? The iPhone 4.
By the way, numbers three and four? The iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS.
One Android phone did manage to beat the original iPhone though — the HTC EVO 4G, places a distant fifth. Let’s remember that the original iPhone is over 4 years old.
Wait, actually, looking at the data, Flickr isn’t even counting the original iPhone anymore. Maybe that’s because there are not a lot of pictures, but maybe not.
Regardless, the EVO did beat the iPod touch. I think. It’s not clear if they count that in the “smartphone” category.
It also boasts a 0.7 megapixel camera. Tough competition.
The most popular camera overall across all of Flickr? Still the iPhone 4. Soon to be dethroned by the iPhone 4S, no doubt.
Let’s also remember that the Flickr numbers don’t include Instagram photos because those are stripped of the metadata by iOS. In other words, the iPhone isn’t just beating every other smartphone out there when it comes to picture taking, it’s likely destroying them. And probably most point & shoots as well.
Do they have new information? Yes, namely the codename, “Buffy”, and the partnership with HTC. But it is the same project, as they even acknowledge: “Although it has changed scope and leadership, Buffy has been an ongoing area of concern at the social networking giant for the past two years.”
I’ve written a number of times about my hatred of the 1-to-5 star rating system. It’s too arbitrary. What constitutes a 2-star rating? What about a 4-star rating? If you like something, it’s 5-stars. If you hate it, it’s 1-star. And maybe if it’s okay, it’s 3-stars. The love/like/meh/dislike that something like Oink uses is much better because at least it gives meaning to the ratings. But what if ratings could be even easier? Easier than even thumbs up/thumbs down?
That’s Stamped. There is only one way to vote with the app: if you like something, give it a stamp (your stamp of approval, as it were). If you don’t like something, ignore it. Don’t rate it. It couldn’t be easier.
I first wrote about Stamped for TechCrunch in September. I’ve been testing the app since then and have kept using it. I love both the simplicity and the design of the app. Today it finally launched to the public and that promises to make it even more useful. The key, as with all these apps, is data.
It’s been just over 5 years since Facebook first unveiled the News Feed. The song remains the same.
This weekend’s Bitchmeme centered around Facebook’s new automatic or “frictionless” sharing. It already works with services like Spotify and Rdio and publications like The Washington Post and The Guardian. And it’s about to come to a lot more places.
Depending which article you read, this is either: a) the end of sharing b) the end of Facebook c) the future. As always, most critics are leaning towards the former, more cynical options.
The reality is what it has always been. Facebook is pushing the envelope. Companies that push the envelope take a lot of shit. That doesn’t mean they’re always right — often times, they’re not. But it does show that they’re unafraid, unlike most companies out there.
Can someone please explain to me why on Earth the Gmail iOS app only features Push Notification badging? It’s infuriating.
Given that the app is basically just a wrapper around UIWebView, the only reason to get it is for Push Notifications. But what I want in a Push Notification is not the silly little red badge, I want a preview of the message itself so I can know whether or not I need to launch the actual app to take action on the message. Instead, the badge just means you have to launch the app every time to see what the message is.
For someone who gets a lot of email, it’s living hell.
Given their initial fuck up with the app (which was also a simple bug related to Push Notification — it’s clearly amateur hour over there), I can’t believe they would mess this up by accident. This seems like a conscious decision on Google’s part. But if that’s true, it’s one of the dumbest fucking decisions I’ve seen in some time.
The Facebook app fuck ups seem to be because they’re more interested in dicking around with HTML5 even though anyone with any taste knows building a fully native app is 100% better. One part of Google’s app fuck ups are similar. But at least I get that. These guys want to cut corners. Why spend time crafting a beautiful app when you can just add a nice layer of polish to a turd and shove it out the door? What I don’t get is the crippling of the most useful feature (Push) for no reason.
Would the economics ultimately work out? It’s hard to say for sure. Even the House of Cards bet is still very much a bet for Netflix as well. But I do think that a proven cult hit like Firefly would be much less of a gamble (and could likely be secured for cheaper than House of Cards was).
And that’s just one example. Arrested Development. Battlestar Galactica. Twin Peaks. These are all things that could succeed where they failed on television because it’s an entirely different model.
Bolding mine. Actually, entire article mine.
You’re welcome, Netflix. Next bring back Firefly and we’ll call it even.
John Gruber argues against Malcolm Gladwell’s assertion (itself derived from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography) that Jobs was more of a “tweaker” than a true inventor.
I’d still argue that Gladwell’s thoughts on this are interesting and worth thinking about. But Gruber is right to note that the issue is anything but black and white.
If you think about it, has anyone in the past 50 years been a true inventor by Gladwell’s stringent definition? I know the answer is “yes”, but it’s hard to think of people.
One name that comes to mind is Dean Kamen with the Segway. But you could argue that was just a “tweaking” of the scooter, I suppose. Plus, despite the initial hype, that device has changed the world far less than a dozen other things Jobs did.
What about the portable digital music player itself, which Gruber agrees is probably the closest thing to a “tweak” product that Jobs did?
If Wikipedia is to be believed, a British scientist named Kane Kramer invented it in 1979 with a device called the IXI.(Incidentally, Apple ended up hiring Kramer as a consultant and used him in an iPod patent legal case decades later.) But couldn’t you argue that such a product is really just a “tweak” of existing portable music players?
The first actual portable MP3 player was made by a company called Audio Highway in 1996. But couldn’t you just argue that it was just a “tweak” of the portable CD player, which itself was just a tweak of the cassette-based Walkman? They’re all the same basic idea, it’s the format for the music that changed.
And aren’t all of those just “tweaks” of any home audio playback equipment? Most work the same way, it’s just the portability that’s different.
Close your eyes. Imagine a world where a $200 tablet behaves like a piece of technology that costs… $200. Open your eyes. Say hello to the Kindle Fire.
Remember when everyone was sure that Apple’s tablet was going to cost around $1,000? That was 18 months ago. We’re spoiled. The fact of the matter is that the iPad behaves like a piece of technology that should cost more than $500. Apple set the bar very high.
It’s going to take the competition a while to catch up. With most things in life, you get what you pay for.
So UltraViolet is a turd, this much we know. It’s the most surprising development of the year… to no one. Unless you run a Hollywood studio.
But what’s really great is that UltraViolet is such a massive turd that the studios are being forced to give customers copies of their films on the staying-the-hell-away-from-UltraViolet Apple platform.
Back in July, I trumpeted my hatred of email in a very loud (and perhaps obnoxious) way. Naturally, I followed that up by switching careers from one that relies heavily on email to one that relies extremely heavily on email. Joy.
But hope remains.
One of my favorite finds during my time away from email was Shortmail. It’s email, but short — get it? The problem with it was that it’s not a standard, and the service itself didn’t have a good way of notifying you of new messages without using — wait for it — email.
But that changed today.
Now live in the App Store is Shortmail’s iOS app. I’ve been testing it for a couple of weeks and it’s great. It’s not robust enough for people to change their habits just yet, but it’s a start. So download it, use it, and quit email. You fucking hate it, you know you do.
I’m not an investor, I’m not an advisor, I’m just a fan of the idea. And I approve this (not nearly short enough) message.
I have no idea why it took them a couple weeks to fix a simple bug, but Gmail is back in the App Store. Can’t wait to see the response this time around.
Update: Okay, apparently they fixed more than just the Push Notification bug. Thankfully, that includes HTML image rendering. Read all about it here — if you can get their shitty new dynamic view Blogger blog to load (I can’t).
"In the short time the app was public we received a lot of helpful feedback and feature requests."
It has been about 18 months since Google first indicated their iTunes competitor was coming “soon” (and sounded “awesome”). If they really still don’t have all four labels on board, that’s just sad. And I don’t understand why they’d launch without everyone on board. Spotify waited. Apple waited. Everyone waits. It’s weird to have a huge chunk of popular music unavailable.
Late last night, I linked to a blog post Google put up and jotted down some initial thoughts. Given the response (thousands of views, 100+ notes, etc.), I thought it was only fair that I elaborate a bit.
Google’s post is entitled “Greater choice for wireless access point owners”. It outlines new opt-out functionality for Google’s location database. I ripped into the post — as did severalothers — not so much because of the feature itself, but because the post is misguided and disingenuous. In my view, it is probably the worst post Google has ever put on their blog. And that’s saying something.
First of all, this is a post that should not have been written — at least not in the way that it was. Google is building their location database using WiFi hotspots, likely including yours if you broadcast your SSID (your router’s name). Apple does the same thing. So does Skyhook (which is suing Google for ditching their location database to build their own). So do others. It’s a good idea. And it makes locations services much better.
You mentioned that you bought a Kindle Touch. Did you go with the 3G model? Just curious..
Nah. I have a 3G Kindle right now (2nd generation), I rarely use the 3G — just to download new books and sync occasionally. And I only ever use it because that device didn’t have an option for WiFi at the time.
Paying an extra $50 for 3G seems silly (though it is a good deal if you’re going to use it a ton since there is no monthly fee, obviously). The bigger issue though is that 3G drains battery life much quicker. That’s the big reason I turn it off by default on my current model.