|iOS 6 Beta 2 was released and was a relatively small device download|
Its clear and obvious – Apple is hard at work. They’re due to release Mountain Lion in a few weeks. I’ve got a nice preview of Developer Preview 4 over at BYTE that you can check out. Its long, but an informative read.
If you’re an iDevice lover, then you’ll also be pleased to know that iOS 6 is also moving forward. I’ve got a nice preview of iOS 6 Beta 1 over at BYTE that is also a bit long, but an informative read. The changes that Apple is introducing to its ecosystem are big, but evolutionary, not REVolutionary.
I just saw this over at ZDNet, and I’m sorry, I just can’t keep my mouth shut. Verizon Wireless is going to charge users $20 a month, in addition to their $30 unlimited data plan, for the iPhone’s wireless hotspot feature. That sucks.
Its also something that needs to stop – Wireless carriers are, and quite honestly, have been forever, double dipping on data charges to customers. Currently, on T-Mobile, I pay
- $30 per month Unlimited Data
- $10 per month Unlimited Messaging
Its bad enough that I have to pay T-Mobile an extra $10 bucks to send text messages (text is data, after all), but adding Wi-Fi Hot Spot is also an additional $10 bucks. I’ve already got unlimited data for $30 bucks a month. Why T-Mobile (or any of the wireless carriers, for that matter) won’t allow you to use the data you’re already paying for without an additional charge, is beyond me.
I just recently saw that AT&T is going to allow wired tethering with a 4GB data cap for $45 per month. Verizon Wireless is going to offer an identical program, and recently throttled the top 5% data hogs on their network to help make room.
While this seems to be the standard mod of operation, its really double billing…well nearly so. In my example, I pay $30 bucks for data, $10 bucks for texting and $10 bucks for hot spot, all of which count against my data allowance. While that may be “unlimited,” there are bandwidth caps, and if you cross them, you get throttled. What really chaps my hide is that I’m already paying for unlimited data. Why I can’t use that data the way I want to, is beyond me.
I know this is an OLD argument, but with more and more people using smartphones as well as other connected, data dependent devices, at some point, you gotta cry foul and get someone to listen…
But I’m just sayin’…
Please note, that this article was originally published on JAMM, back in May 2010. Ok… no brainer announcement of the century – Apple has totally captured the digital media market. The iPhone/iPad/iPod Classic/Touch rule the school when it comes to traveling with your digital goodies. With iTunes you can buy, collect, organize, and synchronize
- TV Shows
- Applications, and
You can also synchronize your
- Address Book/Contacts
- e-Mail Accounts
and use all of your iDevices to stay in touch with all of your online, social networks via MySpace, Twitter, Facebook (et all). Through you iDevice of choice, Apple provides you with a way to stay in touch and stay connected. It just works…all the time, everyday out loud. Period. You really don’t have to think about HOW to sync and centralize all of this cool stuff into one place. iTunes does it all for you. When you go away from that hub-o-all-things and come back with new stuff, iTunes brings it all together on your desktop/laptop so you can manage it with other connected desktop tools like
This eco system if you will, this food chain of interconnectivity and easy-for-the-masses-to-understand-and-use tools, is what makes things like the iPhone, iPod and iPad rule this space, and the individual spaces that they’re in. And let’s face it, they DO rule this space and the spaces that they’re in. Everyone’s heard of an iPhone killer; but have you ever heard of an HTC HD2 killer, or CLIQ killer, a Palm Pre Plus killer or <gulp!> a Nexus One killer? No. You haven’t; and until Microsoft, Google or someone else gets their butt in gear and creates just as connected, easy to use, centralized competing eco system that provides some sort of attraction to make people either switch or jump on board, no one ever will. However, there’s one company that has a chance at doing this. Here’s how Google can score and WIN in this arena. While the following may seem like a huge row to hoe, its definitely doable, considering Google’s deep pockets and huge resources. If they intend to make Android a viable and REALISTIC alternative to both the iPhone and the iPad, then Google needs to act on this while the plans for an Android tablet are still in flux. Once an Android tablet hits the market, the window will shut quickly.
doubleTwist is the multimedia sync tool that I mentioned in my Nexus One review earlier this month. Google needs a foundation to build the eco system on, and doubleTwist has the best chance to be this ecosystem foundation. There are a number of reasons, but the most important is doubleTwist’s agnostic device support. Currently doubleTwist supports (as of the original publication date, May 2010)
- Most Android Phones, including Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid and CLIQ, all HTC Android phones, and Samsung Galaxy and Moment Android phones
- Sony PSP
- Palm Pre
- Archos 605
- INQ1, INQ Mini and INQ Chat
- Nokia N & E Series phones
- Sony Ericsson Walkman & Cybershot phones
- Windows Mobile 5.0/6.0 devices
- LG Viewty and Shine
- Motorola (V9 and V3xx) and most Razr phones
- Sansa View and Sansa e200 series MP3 Players
- Amazon Kindle
- iPhone (supports v3.1.1 firmware. PC only as of this writing)
- iPod (PC only as of this writing)
Its obvious from the above, that doubleTwist’s compatible device list is just the basis that Google needs to build from. (It even supports iPhone and iPod..!) If they can extend this compatibility to the ENTIRE eco system (for those devices that actually support the entire eco system), then the success for this effort is nearly assured. The support for the entire eco system (depending on complete device compatibility) must be solid. If Google doesn’t extend the current level of stability of the components below to the devices listed above, then attacking this market through this plan won’t be successful. The reason why no one’s been able to crack this nut yet is two fold – Apple’s been the only one to pull it all together and no one else has put enough of an effort behind it. Microsoft could pull this off IF and ONLY IF they got organized behind the Zune/WP7S/Kin and built out WMP to the eco system it could be with their synchronization solutions, but its doubtful they will pull the teams together and focus them on this effort. Their solution will also likely only support their products, a la Apple and the iPhone/iPod/iPad. It won’t be as open as doubleTwist’s. Why? MS is concerned only with Windows related products, and not a more open (sourced) initiative. and If they were going to do it, they would have done it already. Adding support Zune HD, WP7S and the Kin would be just that, an addition/afterthought/ simple device extension. MS also doesn’t have a Mac presence for Windows Media Player. doubleTwist does. …and let’s examine that for a second – doubleTwist has a Mac presence. Google can insure that nearly every computer user, with the exception of Linux users (but how difficult will THAT port be after the Mac version is finished..?), has a fully supported eco system/ synchronization solution for their device. It would be the only solution of its kind, as iTunes only supports APPLE devices, and Microsoft Windows Mobile devices. Again, this could be a HUGE win for Google, provided they move quickly. The fact that doubleTwist is SEVERELY reminiscent of iTunes and its interface, from an end user perspective, doesn’t hurt it at all, either.
- Integrate Android Market for Applications into doubleTwist This is obviously, an Android only component; but building this into doubleTwist would work for ALL Android devices, including tablets, and could be huge. If this could be added to doubleTwist, then it would likely get the attention of every Android user on the planet. With doubleTwist’s current support for Apple playlists already built in, the acquisition and Android Market integration and support would cement the foundation of the eco system. The fact that doubleTwist currently supports MacOS AND Windows means that Google could capture users in both operating systems, especially if they use a Nexus One or other Android device, further ensuring adoption of their services and revenue models moving forward, as an iPhone competitor. I have no idea what the current market value of doubleTwist is, but as a small company, and having worked for enough of them over the years, I would think that part of their business model is to be acquired by someone with big enough pockets to help them complete their mission.
- Integrate Amazon MP3 Store for Multimedia Purchases into doubleTwist This already exists on every Android device I’ve seen so far. Extending this to the desktop hub of the eco system allows users to purchase content and sync it to their devices the same way iTunes does.Can you say, “duh?” This is a no brainer; and shouldn’tbe too hard, depending on the operating system (I would think…); but I’m not a developer, so I don’t know for certain. However, I know the API’s are available, and with cross compilers, write once-compile for many should be possible (not only for this piece, but everything connected to this effort). Amazon has a decent MP3 Store. I’ve used it through Shazam on my wife’s CLIQ to purchase music for her so she could play it on both her CLIQ and iPod Nano. The store is well organized, easy to use, and integrating it into devices as well as desktop clients may either require modifications to the licensing that Google already has with Amazon and/or additional agreements established between the two. If this is the case, it may take a while to make this a reality, but again, seems very logical. We just need either Google or doubleTwist to get this thing going.
- Integrate Google Sync for Mail, Contacts and Calendar into doubleTwist iTunes allows you to integrate Google Contacts and Calendar synch into both iTunes and iCal, respectively. This gives Google some sort of presence into the iPhone/iPod/iPad; but with recent developments between Apple and Google turning sour, who knows if this will continue to be supported in future iTunes releases. Since iCal and Outlook both support synchronization with Google Calendar (support for Windows Live Calendar (part of Windows Live Mail) wasn’t easy to find, and may not be supported at this time), getting your Google Calendar to your fat client of choice isn’t too difficult. Since you can sync your Android device right to the source over the air, setting a sync point between the device and the desktop isn’t as required as you might think. What Google can do here is NOT sync from the desktop to the device, but setup the desktop sync between the fat client and the web service. This is similar to what Apple does, I think, but the hub of the effort is having the supported device (an iPod Classic won’t present the options in iTunes, but an iPhone or iPod Touch, and I assume, an iPad, do). If you don’t have a supported device, the options to set this up don’t appear in iTunes, and you won’t be able to set the sync up. Google Sync Services are very close to providing this kind of functionality to begin with. This is where Google can excel. Allowing doubleTwist to hub this for your calendar is where Google can make a huge value add. Extending this to both mail and contacts will be huge. The nice thing is that you can use the GMail web interface to make it all work on the desktop.
- Integrated Desktop/Fat Clients I am a fat client kinda guy. I’m used to Outlook, and it would be nice to be able to sync all of my services to my fat client of choice, with minimal setup effort. Having support for Firefox, Windows Live Mail/Services, Hotmail and other popular desktop/fat clients would allow users to work with these services in the application they are most comfortable with. This is the cherry on top of the cake. Apple also provides desktop applications and services that allow you to edit and manipulate your synchronized content on your desktop/laptop. Applications like iMovie and iPhoto make getting home movies back and forth, with edited changes, to and from your device easily. While this is an area where Google will either need to provide something, extend something (like Picasa or YouTube perhaps?) It would make a lot of sense to have something like this connection available.
The secret to Apple’s success lies in its eco system(s). Pulling both desktop and sync services together that make sense into a centralized offering, iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, etc. make perfect sense. Its also been a HUGE hit. Its been so successful, that Apple was able to hold off the RIAA and the rest of the record industry for nearly 10 years when it came to popular single song purchases (they recently went from 99 cents to $1.29, which, while not great, still isn’t too bad). What is the one, single thing in this world that makes the iPad success? Simple. iTunes. Do NOT be fooled. Without it, the iPad wouldn’t have nearly as much interest as it does. iTunes gives users the ability to centralize their online life in a form factor, and in a “window to the internet” that is much easier to navigate, use and love. It centralizes all aspects of the device’s life. You buy music, movies, TV shows, eBooks and applications, etc in the iTunes Store. You manipulate movies and photos in iMovie and iPhoto. You manage contacts in Address Book, calendar events in iCal, and mail in, well…Mail. iTunes pulls it all together in a single spot, and extends the services to fat client counter parts allowing you to manipulate your content, add to it, and then sync it back. If Google wants to be successful in the mobile device/tablet market, the first thing it needs to do is develop an easy to use, centralized eco system that will allow users to incorporate their digital life into an easy to use set of applications and services. They have MOST of this stuff already developed. The only thing left is to integrate them. doubleTwist could be the start of all of this. Hooking things like Picasa, YouTube, GMail, and the Android Market into doubleTwist shouldn’t be too difficult (though in truth, I haven’t totally investigated it as I am NOT a developer). Google Calendar Sync exists for synching Google Calendar to Outlook. IMAP support for GMail is available, so you should be able to get all of your PIM information back and forth. Again, the problem is ASSEMBLY of this eco system under the Google model. All the components are there; and they support just about every device under the sun including most Androids AND iPhone/iPod Touch.
So, Google..? Are you listening? Will you take up the challenge? I sure hope so… Apple’s success in the iModel, is hinged through iTunes. Microsoft could pull this together with WMP and Windows Live; but they’re too disjointed to organize enough to get it done (though it would be cool if they surprised me). Google has the best chance to get this together because they are hungry enough to do it. They have the funding required to acquire doubleTwist, the corporate machine to implement the business relationships/contracts, the SDLC to create, test and implement the functional and technical requirements, and the marketing machine to communicate and advertise the value to the end user. I’ve been cooking this over the past couple of days, that’s it. If I’ve missed something, I’d love to hear from everyone. Please feel free to comment below.
I know some of you that have been following my iPhone chronicles either here or at Gear Diary are likely wondering if I’ve lost my mind. I mean, wasn’t it me who has been saying over and over again that a Verizon iPhone was never going to happen..? Well, the answer is yes and no.
In my last note about this, I said that Verizon getting the iPhone was unlikely as long as the current version device stuck with its current radio. Verizon uses a QUALCOMM designed CDMA-based chipset for its radio. There are very few countries that have carriers that use this type of radio – the US (Verizon), very small parts of Asia, and (I think) Indonesia/Australia, and that’s about it. The rest of the world is on GSM. So, until a “universal” chipset or network (like LTE) became available AND until Apple made use of that universal chipset, there would be no iPhone on ANY CDMA network, Verizon or otherwise. This has more to do with the costs associated to reengineering and redesigning the entire device and Apple having to support two different devices than anything else. Stevie J. just doesn’t do that.
One phone to rule them all… and that kind of thing.
My good friend, Matt Miller has come out with a bit of a dissenting piece on this, given all the rumor mongering, and its worth a read. His point – Verizon has an awesome network (and they do; but I think they’re expensive) and regardless of whether or not VzW has LTE, any kind of 4G, the VzW iPhone is white or not, whether you can surf and talk at the same time or not or even if they ARE very expensive, they are still going to sell a lot of iPhones.
Matt is dead on right about that. They WOULD sell a lot of iPhones. The question is whether the millions of iPhones they would sell would offset the costs associated with the redesign, retooling, extra manufacturing lines, support costs, etc. and generate enough profit for Apple to do it BEFORE LTE hits in wide distribution on Verizon. My point has NEVER been that there will NEVER be an iPhone on Verizon, but that there wouldn’t be as long as Apple has to maintain more than one version.
Tomorrow’s announcement should be interesting. I, for one, will be keeping close to the internets tomorrow, waiting for the news to hit. Like Matt, I am interested in answers to the following questions (I’ve paraphrased/modified the first two a bit. The other two are Matt’s, simply quoted here):
- How many iPhones [does] Verizon [think they will really] sell?
- How many AT&T iPhone users [does] Verizon [think will switch to their] iPhone?
- How well can Verizon’s network handle the iPhone [with/without LTE]?
- How much will a customer have to pay monthly for a Verizon iPhone?
Keep your peepers pinned people! Tomorrow is going to be an INTERESTING day!
As promised, I’ve been playing with one of the Motorola CLIQ’s we still have in the house, and that I recently updated to Android 2.1 (Éclair). I have the following to say about this update. Some of it is good, but some of it is quite critical.
- Turn by Turn Directions – Its wonderful to have this capability now with this device. TbT directions is a must have for me; as I am directionally challenged. Éclair
- Updated Google Apps – Speech to Text, Google Voice Search as well as an updated Google Maps and Navigation app (see above) are just part of what you’ll see. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t use speech to text (I can read well enough and quickly enough that a computerized voice isn’t going to get me much. As I’m not vision impaired, I find having a device read my text messages and e-mail to me, just laziness… Just sayin’. I also won’t use the Voice Search, as I find that the technology isn’t quite there as far as voice recognition is concerned. I’m looking for "local rock bands," not ways to recycle cans or ways to cure hams. I can type faster than it will take to delete, correct and/or respeak the command.
- The new Android Market – This was a winner from the get go. The new Market app with its Update All and Auto Update features are pretty cool. This is a clear winner.
- Multimedia Apps – If you have an iPod (or other MP3/media player) use it. Even my Nexus One doesn’t get used like this. The CLIQ has a very anemic processor. You’re going to need some punch to make this work while multitasking other apps.
- MotoBLUR 2.1.5 – The early reports I got on this update, about 6 months (or more) or so ago, indicated that the Motorola finally realized that MotoBLUR was nothing more than a big drag on the device’s resources (which it is…). I had thought that they were going to make the CLIQ less BLURRY. I guess I was wrong. The 2.1.5 version of the CLIQ’s OS is still very MotoBLUR driven and dependent, and its almost as bad as the previous 1.x.x versions you had before the upgrade.
My best recommendation to existing CLIQ users is to update your software and then root the device with Super One Click. I did, and I was able to put a different Launcher on the device. At least this way, you can get rid of MotoBLUR and have a more "stock android" experience. This is the easiest way to get a new ROM experience on the CLIQ, as there are little to no custom ROM’s available for the device.
Wednesday 10-Nov-10, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.5, their latest security and maintenance update for Snow Leopard. However, documentation accompanying the release made no mention of AirPrint, an expected and highly anticipated ingredient.
Apple’s official documentation on the OS update documents a number of enhancements, but the latest version of Snow Leopard was also supposed to enable AirPrint, a wireless printer sharing service for devices running iOS 4.2; but rumors of a delay started hitting the blogosphere last week as well. Windows users were supposed to get AirPrint as part of iTunes 10.1.
Apple OSX 10.6.5 Snow Leopard is 680.1MB in size; and is available via Software Update. It is recommended for all Snow Leopard users, and includes a number of security fixes. The full list of goodies includes:
- Improves reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers.
- Addresses performance of some image-processing operations in iPhoto and Aperture.
- Addresses stability and performance of graphics applications and games.
- Resolves a delay between print jobs.
- Addresses a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an AirPort Extreme.
- Resolves an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal.
- Addresses an issue in which dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide.
- Resolves an issue in which Wikipedia information may not display correctly in Dictionary.
- Improves performance of MainStage on certain Macs.
- Resolves spacing issues with OpenType fonts.
- Improves reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays.
- Resolves a VoiceOver issue when browsing some websites with Safari 5.
- Improves Bluetooth pairing with Magic Trackpad.
- Resolves performance issues with third-party displays that use InstaPort technology.
- Add SSL support for transferring files with iDisk.
- Resolves an issue when opening 4-up Photo Booth pictures in Preview.
- Addresses keyboard responsiveness issues in the Dock when Spaces is turned on.
- Resolves an issue syncing Address Book with Google.
- Fixes an issue when replying to a Mail message sent by a person whose name contains certain characters such as é or ü.
- Improves performance for users bound to an Active Directory domain.
- Improves reliability of Ethernet connections.
- Systems with a Mac Pro RAID Card (Early 2009) installed can now be put to sleep.
- Improves reliability of fiber channel connections, resolving a potential Xsan volume availability issue.
- Adds RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras.