Tag Archives: iPhone

iPhone 6 – a “cheaper” version of the iPhone? Is that really wise?

True to form Apple will release the iPhone 5s later this year, probably scoop up some of those iPhone 4 users who have not yet upgraded. Maybe Apple does not want to lose them to Android…nah no one would make that switch!! Anyways. What is interesting is the rumors that Apple plans to follow that release up with an iPhone 6…but it will not be a generation leap for the phone but more of an inexpensive model to go after emerging markets aka China and India. Wise move or sign that the Jobless company is still struggling to find their innovative fast ball? Going after the likes of China and India makes perfect sense – that is where much of the growth is happening.

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Apple needs to get a product into those markets that can compete with the less expensive Android versions as well as the likes of Nokia. Makes good business sense. However, this feels like a shift for our friends at Apple. Couple this with the iPad mini, which from a business stand point made sense – go after the tablet market that was being dominated by the Kindle. The iPad mini coupled with the iPhone 6 and it feels as if Apple is not longer looking to lead with innovation but instead focus on diversifying their existing product portfolio to compete in markets they otherwise ignored. Has the Apple innovation engine run out of steam? Maybe. Or is Apple looking to solidify some of its business, focus on some aspects that could be seen as weak spots in their business. Let us imagine the following:

  • Apple leverages the iPad mini to go directly after Amazon with their Kindle. One might argue that introducing the mini has already knocked out one competitor, albeit a weak one, the Nook from Barnes and Noble. While I do not think it will take out the Kindle, it is clearly offering a viable substitute product for those looking for a 7 inch tablet. Apple now has a product that can compete at all levels of the tablet market. Check.
  • The new iPhone 6, if it is what the rumors claim, gives Apple a device that can go head to head with the less expensive smart phones. This will give Apple a device that can compete with Nokia, who still has a large ownership of the emerging market. Really this is a play to try and fight off Microsoft and their OS that has, no surprise, been adopted by Nokia! Of course it will also allow for Apple to expand its portfolio to compete with Android.

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With Apple putting together some offerings that can get them into a more diverse market, they will then be able to refocus on bring us the “next” innovative device. The iWatch? Refocus on the Television? Enhance the iTunes experience?

Let us see what the next few months hold for Apple. For now I think that what we are seeing a business being run like a more “traditional’ business. It is too much to ask for any company to innovate at the pace they did at the end of the Steve Jobs era. Does this mean that Apple is done innovating? Let us hope not. But making sure your business is taken care of first will allow for Apple to one day be able to get back to giving us innovated consumer devices.

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Filed under Current Events, Smart Phone, Tablet, Technology, Wireless

Not sure Nokia will regain market share, but great ad

A fantastic ad from Nokia. Not sure it will get them back on track with regards to their mobile phones, but entertaining none the less!

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Filed under Humor, Mobility

Welcome back Google! Apple puts Google Maps back on the map.

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An Apple Map user walks into a bar, or is it a church, no wait it is an office, hold on it is a sporting venue….

One of the many jokes that were out there after the Apple maps debacle. As soon as the new mapping software came out, major issues started cropping up. And these were not “bugs” but fundamental and serious issues! Of course Apple had to scramble, refused to admit to the gravity of the error and to make things worse blocked Google Maps which had been the default map app on the iPhone up to that point. Of course everyone knew that Apple was trying to shut out one if their biggest competitors from the iPhone platform. Especially considering they are in a dog fight with that same company in the overall mobile space!

But today, all is well again in the world of mapping – Google maps is once again available on the iPhone. And yes, I downloaded it immediately. I actually tried to download it last night but wasn’t available until morning east coast time! By late morning, New York time, the word on the street was how much better and what a relief it was that the Google maps were back on the iPhone. There are even some rumors that it has vaulted to top of the down load list on for the AppStore.

So the question becomes, why did Apple embark on this adventure? Why did they challenge the incumbent. One that was much more versed in the map game (anyone remember when you didn’t see Google Earth when a news station shows you a location on the map of the world?) I realize the answer is simple – Apple could not allow one of their largest competitors own a major piece of real estate on the iPhone, just like YouTube which is no longer standard on the iPhone. They did what Microsoft did to Netscape. Unfortunately, they were not as successful…correction…it backfired. For now.

Apple wants to control what is on  your screen, what default apps we all use or at least think we have to use because it is the default. Similar to Microsoft that wanted you to use their web browser rather than the Netscape one that had been the default. So far so good. However, the difference is the following – during the browser wars we were limited in the applications we had. Whether writing, spreadsheets or presentations, there were not hundreds of options. Now we have, on average between 40 – 100, applications on our iPhones. So does owning the mapping application mean as much as Microsoft wanting to own the browser – no. Could Apple have conceded the mapping to Google, maybe provided their own Apple Map app, as an option? Sure. Why not test it, and make it robust so that the Statue of Liberty isn’t located miles from NYC. Then Apple could have slowly made the switch to their own mapping as the default.

I understand that in the long run, Apple needs to hold on to some core apps, needs to be able to data mine some of the information that goes through these apps. It just feels as if they went too fast. The public backlash and PR nightmare it created was not worth it for, what feels like, pushing through something that was not ready for prime time.

 

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iPhone on Verizon could be a silver lining for AT&T

The worst kept secret was finally unveiled earlier this year, that Apple will be selling the iPhone via Verizon in addition to their long standing relationship with AT&T. This has unleashed a deluge of commentary and mockery of AT&T’s network ability to handle the iPhone and the data overload the smartphone has unleashed.

As has been pointed out, AT&T stands to lose disgruntled customers to Verizon. There is not doubt this news will give Verizon a boost – they are already seen as the carrier with superior coverage to AT&T, the addition of the popular iPhone coupled with their stable of other smartphones will make for 2011 to be a good year for Verizon. Yet might this move be a silver lining for AT&T?

The iPhone has clearly given AT&T a big boost in terms of sales and customers, being the only provider of the Apple product has made those of us who want an iPhone entrenched with the carrier. As the Jon Stewart piece points out, it also created a back lash from those customers. AT&T has never been able to catch up to the data demand the iPhone has created. Could losing some of these clients from the network actually make the service for those of us still on AT&T actually better? If, as some report, we could see close to 4 million users gravitate to Verizon that would remove that kind of strain on the AT&T network that we have all groan accustomed to and had to deal with grudgingly. In addition, the arrival of another competitor being able to sell the popular device will force AT&T to make some investments and decisions to ensure they keep and attract iPhone users.

In the short term AT&T will take a hit and Verizon will leverage the ability to sell the iPhone 4 to build on their market position. I hope in the long term this move will make the AT&T experience better for those of us still using the iPhone on their network. Otherwise once my contract expires I might port my number and iPhone to Verizon.

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Blackberry’s last stand?

The new Blackberry Bold 9780 is going to be available to the public later this month…some seem to believe that it could finally be the answer from RIM to the Android phones and the iPhone. The upgraded operating system, long overdue, apparently will be a quantum leap in terms of web surfing. Well that is good since the old Blackberry browsing was awful! There will be a 5 megapixel camera, I will say that I was disappointed that I did not have the same built in camera options on the iPhone 4 as I did on my Blackberry – playing with speed, black and white and white light – to name a few. The new Blackberry will also have increased on-board memory…I guess no more need to pull the battery every day to clear the cache.

Here is what is missing….applications. Okay this is not something new I realize, but what makes smart phones attractive is the ability to provide a dynamic and attractive platform for app developers. I am not sure that RIM has figured this out yet….the new version of the Bold might give RIM a boost, maybe  it will challenge the iPhone…then again wasn’t the Torch suppose to do that?

RIM you need to realize it is all about the apps…and you are still third in line for developers.

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Back to the future – BostonGlobe.com pay to read

Hmmmm interesting story about the Boston Globe. Following in the footsteps of parent company NYTimes, seems like the Globe will try to monetize its online presence above and beyond the advertising revenue. It will be interesting to see how long and how much revenue the Globe can get from such a move. Obviously traditional press like the Globe and the Times are under tremendous pressure for the web, apps and social media. So does trying to squeeze some revenue out of an online subscription model work?

I think it might. Here is why. When NYTimes tried to do this a few years back, making readers pay for certain parts of their publication specifically authors such as Krugman, the thought was readers would pay for the premium content. However they quickly reversed this approach once the revenue uptick did not materialize. However, today the dynamics are different, primarily thanks to Apple. With the iPhone and more specifically the iPad, our way of consuming of content has changed once again. We have no problem paying $0.99 or $4.99 or even more for apps and access content. If the Times and the Globe can package the content and price appropriately to target users who look to their smart phones and tablets to consume information they have a better chance of success than when they first tried this experiment. By no means is this a slam dunk, but there is a better chance this go around than the failed experiment from a few years ago. Thanks Steve Jobs!

But it does feel like back to the future!

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Blackberry – get back to your core business…businesses!!

I had a good lunch today with a former colleague today and our discussion at one point turned to the world of mobile devices. One company that came up was RIM and the Blackberry…mind you we both worked with RIM via our former employer so we  had been exposed to the Canadian company at a deeper level than simply as users of their hand held devices.

We both lamented at how far RIM has fallen in the world of smart phones. Remember when the Blackberry was the “coolest” device one could own? It was the one device that we could get our emails on, make calls, had a fully qwerty keyboard and eventually do some web browsing. Wow. It was great! Then other players came on the market to compete such as Palm’s Treo. All this changed beginning of 2007, with the announcement of the Apply iPhone. Of course some scoffed at the  new kid on the block, you could not remote scrub the phones if lost, you did have the speed of a Blackberry server to deliver your email and sync you calendar and overall the new iPhone was a cute toy but would not get into corporate America. Throw into the mix the fact that Steve Jobs always seemed to be allergic to the corporate business and RIM thought their world was safe. Ooops.

Today, we also have the Android from Google that has come out with a vast amount of devices running the operating system coupled with the newly released iPhone 4 and are breaking down the barrier between consumer and professional smartphones.

This past weekend, RIM released their new hand held, the new Blackberry that would once again seize what is rightfully RIM’s a leadership role in the smartphone space. Unfortunately the sales from the first weekend were nothing short of a disappointment  – 150,000 units sold. Compare this with iPhone 4 that sold 1.7m units during its first weekend. I realize we can argue that we are comparing apples and oranges, but the perception is that RIM has completely lost its fast ball. Some would even argue that RIM is on the verge of…saying bye bye.

Now the reality is that RIM still holds a solid market share 43% vs Apples 25% an enviable position, except when you realize that Apple grew that share from nothing to where it is today in 3 years. Couple this with the rapid growth of Android from Google and you have a situation where RIM is fighting a defensive battle against 2 formidable opponents. However there is a silver lining in all this…something Jay brought up today at lunch. The other news about RIM has surrounded their problems with the government in Saudi Arabia and the fact their encryption is too strong to be snooped on. Now RIM has had to allow governments to have some visibility into the communication. If the governments of Saudi Arabia, China, Russia to name a few cannot break your encryption what does that say about  your security? It is pretty darn solid.

Rather than competing with Apple and Google on the “coolness” factor – go back to your core business – the business world! I realize that the iPhone is creeping into that space, but rather than trying to compete on the battlefields dominated by Apply and Google position your devices as rock solid, robust, safe and can be trusted to protect your corporate information. Hey if the Saudi government cannot hack it, how could your competitors? I am sure that most IT departments and companies would much rather know their corporate smart-phones have this level of security.

It might not be sexy, it might not have a coolness to it but companies are not all Nike, Adidas, Disney, Apple, Google, Facebook…but there are many businesses that grind away without the “coolness” glow and do very well at it. It might be time for RIM to recognize this and focus on this strategy, otherwise, as George Colony wrote, it might be goodbye RIM.

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