Tag Archives: Apple

Microsoft Take On the iPad

Last night Microsoft announced their new tablet, the Surface. There is a good summary of the key points here: .

However it is an interesting move, as the article above says, this is a big change for Microsoft who aside from the XBox haven’t ever built hardware – you’ll never have seen a PC actually made by Microsoft for example. This however is how Apple have made their money and built their platform by tightly controlling everything.

There is still more we need to find out though, Microsoft haven’t talked prices, although we can take a fair guess that the price points will be competitive, and the release dates are a bit vague.

The other thing that may well cause confusion is that what they’ve announced is actually two machines, one is an ARM based iPad rival, the other is an Intel based PC that will be able to run normal Windows applications. Whilst you could say that Apple do the same with the MacBook Air which is a similarly portable computer, Apple clearly delineates the Air from the iPad.

Despite all the trumpeting, this is going to be a difficult sell for Microsoft, they are a long way behind, and maybe more so than in the phone market, iPad is synonymous with tablet, indeed much as people refer to vacuum cleaners as a Hoover, people refer to all brands of tablet as an iPad.

However it will certainly be a positive move if Apple has some serious competition, and whilst only time will tell whether this will be the tablet to really compete, this certainly seems to me to have a better chance as unlike Android and iOS devices there is a level of compatibility already with what is in use in corporate environments.

BBC News – Windows 8: Taking a look at Microsoft's latest operating system

If you’re wondering what all the fuss about is with Windows 8 it’s worth taking a look at this video from the BBC’s tech correspondent Rory Cellan Jones: .

You’ll see that what Microsoft are trying to do is produce an OS that will produce a tablet experience on iPad like devices, but also keep backwards compatibility with the familiar windows interface. Whilst it’s true that underneath MacOS X and iOS are the same, they are distinct entities, so on iOS you’re not going to find yourself dumped to a MacOS desktop which is something you’ll see in the video.

It remains to be seen how the average user will take to having both the Metro interface and a pointer based interface on the same device – certainly it seems like using old style windows touch based may be frustrating with small buttons designed for mouse clicking, as will using the Metro interface with a mouse.

Apples Newton MessagePad PDA at Twenty

Apples Newton MessagePad PDA at Twenty | Techland | TIME.com.

Before the iPhone, before the iPad, Apple had a first foray into the mobile device market, and it didn’t go all that well…

Great article by Harry McCracken reviewing the original Apple Newton Message Pad. Whilst the product may be considered a failure, the technology and trends it started can be tracked directly to devices and software we use today.

RIM is a ship heading for the rocks of a breakup

A great quote here from Guardian columnist Charles Arthur about where he thinks RIM, maker of the ubiquitous Blackberry is heading:

Heres what I think: RIM is heading for the breakers yard, as surely as a ship that has reached the end of its life. Within the next 18 months or so, the company is going to be broken up for its useful parts – BlackBerry Messaging, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, its customers. The gravity that is sucking it downwards is now inescapable; to switch metaphors, its a spaceship trying to get out of a black hole, but it hasnt got Scotty aboard.

via RIM is a ship heading for the rocks of a breakup | Technology | guardian.co.uk.

I pretty much agree with his assessment, much like Nokia, RIM failed to see the threat from the Apple iPhone, and then the Google Android phones that followed it, and whilst Blackberry handsets did seem to end up as the cool handset to own for a little bit, they are now struggling to compete in a changed market, much as Nokia is doing. The difference with Nokia however is that RIM have the double whammy of the PlayBook their failed foray into the tablet market created by the launch of the Apple iPad, where quite apart from releasing an incomplete product lacking basic functionality, they also failed to understand what end users wanted. I’m quite sure elements of the Blackberry will survive, but I doubt RIM will exist in it’s current form for very much longer.

Apple chief Tim Cook admits ‘intense interest’ in television sector

“We are going to keep pulling the string and see where this takes us,” Mr Cook said of its future TV plans. Asked during an interview at the All Things Digital Conference in California on Tuesday night whether Apple will produce a TV, Mr Cook said: “You were right. I’m not going to tell you.”

via Apple chief Tim Cook admits ‘intense interest’ in television sector – Telegraph.

So it looks like Apple’s culture of secrecy continues, but definite hints that an Apple TV is on the way, even if he won’t say. Also hints that relations may be warming with Facebook leading to Facebook being baked into iOS in a similar way to Twitter, but don’t hold your breath…

Apple is More than a One Man Band

So today the news that many have been expecting for a while came, Steve Jobs is resigning as CEO of Apple – although he is remaining as chairman. There was also the predictable nose dive in the Apple share price. But why?

Jobs has been on medical leave since the beginning of the year, indeed it is his third bout of medical leave over the past few years, but Apple has continued to grow. The news has been expected, and yes whilst it is undeniably sad news, it is perhaps more sad on a personal level for Steve and his family than anything else.

Whilst the markets may see Apple as some sort of glorified sole trader, it isn’t. Whilst the company may have been driven by Jobs, to do that he has brought together a strong team, in particular it has been Tim Cook who is credited with the efficiencies in the Apple supply chain, and Jonathan Ive who is credited with the design of pretty well every Apple product over recent years. There is also a team of dedicated software engineers who have produced MacOS X and iOS, it’s not all Steve Jobs.

Undeniably things will gradually change with Steve Jobs stepping back, but all the key team members that Jobs has put in place will remain, so Apple is not going to instantly implode just because Steve Jobs has resigned. The company will continue. This is a sad moment in the story of Apple, not the end of the story. However if Tim Cook decides to buy a software company, drops iOS and flogs off all the stock of iPhone’s, iPod’s and iPad’s at 70% discount and decides to sell of Mac production because there is more money to be made in software services…

Dear Steve

Dear Steve,

Yesterday we headed down to the opening day of your new store in Festival Place, Basingstoke. First off I have to say that after many years having to either head into London or drive a long way to find an Apple Store it is great having two within a short drive, with you having opened a store in the Oracle, Reading just last month. We did avoid the craziness in the morning but we had a great time none the less.

I went along with my two year old daughter, who has been using Apple products for pretty well all of her life. It didn’t take long for her to get the hang of the touchscreen interface on my iPhone, iPod and iPad, indeed now she expects most devices to have such a screen and gets frustrated when they don’t. This brings me to a first suggestion, your children’s area. Whilst it is nice having a low level table, and child sized seating, the devices there are all Mac’s. Although children do quite easily pick up the concept of a mouse and pointer, my daughter is much happier with the direct interaction of a touch screen – as you have said on a number of occasions recently, we’re living in a post PC world now.

Look where we ended up... As a result we went to look at the iPad’s which do have children’s software installed, but are all on tables at a very child unfriendly height. In the end my daughter asked for a chair, and one of your excellent staff kindly obliged with a stool from the Genius Bar.

As you can see from the picture that put her on just the right height to play some games on the iPad.

Games weren’t the only thing we tried. My daughter wanted to talk to Mummy, so we thought we’d try out another of the features of the iPad – Facetime.

We have used your video calling application quite frequently at home – calling between Apple products it seems to pretty consistently produce a better quality video connection than the most obvious competitor Skype, indeed in one situation recently Facetime made a connection easily when Skype couldn’t get through at all. However as I’m sure you’re aware Facetime only works over wi-fi.

No problem of course as your stores have free wi-fi. Looking at the strength display it had a full strength signal, however it fairly obviously was not a good internet connection, the demonstration iPad struggled to produce a reasonable picture with a decidedly low quality result. It would certainly be worthwhile investing in some faster wi-fi connections for the store to enable a good demonstration of this feature.

Anyway, one last idea which comes from my daughter – she would like you to provide beds at the Apple Store so she doesn’t have to go home. The store kept her occupied and entertained for all of a wet afternoon, and she didn’t want to leave! I did eventually manage to get her out and heading home, but I am sure we will be back.

Yours,

An Apple Owning Parent