Sunday, June 30, 2013
After Friday's quarterly earning's report filed by Research In Motion, otherwise known as RIM, doing business as "BlackBerry," it would seem that the door for an officially supported PlayBook running BlackBerry 10 software is completely out of the question.
In the June 28 filing, RIM reported that no more than 100,000 PlayBook devices were sold in preceding 90-day period. I'm not going to quote how many iPads Apple sold in that same time period because it would be a cruel joke to say anything more than "a lot."
But 100,000 is still something, right? We should be able to use BlackBerry 10 without having to sign a 2-year cellular contract or shelling out $600+ for an off contract Z10, right?
However, during the quarterly earnings conference call, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins reported that he has pulled the plug on developing a version of BlackBerry 10 for the PlayBook sighting poor software performance on the fruity tablet.
If I was in his shoes, I'd probably make the same call. RIM is fighting for it's life right now, and a platform that is only moving 400,000 - 500,000 devices annually is not where RIM needs to spend it's limited software engineering resources right now.
I may still pick up a PlayBook on eBay, but my enthusiasm for one has dropped considerably.
This past Friday, BlackBerry, announced details about their first quarter earnings, and Wall Street was caught off guard, in their opinion, about how few new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices were sold. For the quarter wrapping up, BlackBerry sold about 2.7 million new BlackBerry 10 devices. BlackBerry 10 is the company's mobile operating system, similar to Google's Android or Apple's iOS. Adding insult to injury, BlackBerry sold 4.1 million of their older, BlackBerry 7-powered devices for a combined total of 6.8 million units shipped. Once the news was released, BlackBerry's stock price started trending downward, some would say "crashing", down 26-28%, ending up at $10.46. Worse, according to BlackBerry, their subscriber base has shrunk by 4 million users ending up at 72 million users globally.
To help mount their turn around, BlackBerry will continue to rollout their existing Z10 and Q10 around the world while bringing new BlackBerry 10 devices like the "budget" Q5 to "emerging" markets this summer and through-out the calendar year.
Research In Motion was caught completely off guard, as was just about every other smartphone maker, in 2007 when Apple released the game changing iPhone. Everyone, except maybe Google, has been chasing the fruit phone maker since.
What surprises me, however, is that history seems to repeat itself. I always hated it when my parents or teachers told me this, but I have come to accept and believe it. You see, there was another smartphone maker that found itself in a similar position a few years ago: Palm.
There are a number of similarities between BlackBerry and Palm. Palm, like BlackBerry, was down on their luck after the iPhone was released. Palm was limping along on sales of their previous generation Palm OS and Windows Mobile smartphones just like BlackBerry is doing now. BlackBerry, like Palm, is desperately trying to reinvent itself with the Z10 and BlackBerry 10 just like Palm attempted to do with the Pre and webOS. We know, that after a long, drawn out battle, Palm after being acquired by HP, finally came to an end. Will BlackBerry and the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system suffer a similar fate? Will they continue to be a niche corporate market player or will they finally fade off like Palm?
We don't know the answer to that question. Make no mistake, what BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins is attempting to do to turn around his company is extremely difficult. This past spring I had a chance to play with the new Z10 handheld and BlackBerry 10. The phone had a quality design and feel to it. The new software, was still very much foreign to me after having used older versions of the BlackBerry software. While the gestures did leave me bewildered during the few minutes I had with the phone, people that I know who have purchased the Z10 have gotten used to it.
Oh, and there is one other similarity that BlackBerry shares with Palm, a small, yet dedicated core user base. Will it be enough to carry BlackBerry through the stormy weather until BlackBerry can grown their subscriber base and software marketshare? We will have to just wait and see.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
"Now we know why Windows Phones come in so many different colors. Techworld Australia reports that Microsoft Research Asia has been working on technology that gives your smartphone the ability to detect your mood and post it on your social networks in real-time."[Via BGR.com...]
Friday, June 21, 2013
There are some restrictions as you might expect. The following is directly from the vmWare website:
You can create a Mac OS X Server virtual machine, with these restrictions:
- Due to Apple licensing restrictions, you may only create and run this virtual machine on Apple-labeled hardware. For more information, see Apple's Hardware & Software Product Agreements.
Note: The preceding link was correct as of September 27, 2012. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.
- You cannot create a Mac OS X Client virtual machine for OS X 10.6 and earlier. Apple does not allow these Client OSes to be virtualized. With Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) onwards, Apple has changed their licensing agreement in regards to virtualization. For more information on creating a Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) virtual machine, see Installing Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) as a virtual machine in Fusion 4 (2005334). For more information on creating a Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) virtual machine, see Installing Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) as a guest operating system in VMware Fusion 5 (2033778)
- You can only create a virtual machine using a retail Mac OS X Server disk or image. Virtual machine creation fails when using a disk that came with an Xserve or a Mac Mini Server. Those disks are hardware-specific, and can only be used to install the OS on the physical hardware with which they were shipped. They cannot be used on virtualized hardware.For more information, see Installing Mac OS X Server on a virtual machine fails with the error: Mac OS X can't be installed on this computer (1032864).
For more information, see Creating a Mac OS X Server Virtual Machine in VMware Fusion in the VMware Fusion Help.
I have both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion on my Mac. I'll have to try this out sometime and install Mac OS X Server 10.8 in a VM.
You can read more on the VMware website.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
The Xbox One, the follow on produce to the current generation console known as the Xbox 360, was to have a "call home" feature that would check in with Microsoft's servers daily. While a version of this feature has been in recent versions of their Windows desktop and server operating systems, this was the first time the "feature" was to be included in the Xbox operating system. Similarly, Microsoft was hoping to tamp down game piracy, and customers ability to lend, share, trade, and re-sell their games, by seriously limiting or removing the ability to use a previously registered game, depending on who's version of the truth you subscribe to.
But that's to the gumption of gamers around the world, Microsoft has decided to reverse the controversial components of the Xbox One system software.
On their website, the Wall Street Journal wrote:
"The Redmond, Wash., software company said it would no longer require its Xbox to connect to the Internet each day, nor would it restrict how its video game discs are traded, resold or rented.
"We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds," Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft's entertainment division that houses the Xbox, said in a statement."Nice job, Internet!
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
At first I was a bit skeptical about the Dry Pak. West Marine, if you don't know, is a water sportsmen's (or woman's) paradise. They have lots of interesting stuff...that I'll probably never need, seeing as how I'm a computer geek. That said, don't let the product name and the lack of "iPhone" scare you off.
Fortunately for me, there is a West Marine in a strip mall not too far from my house and I decided to stop in rather than order online so I could take a look at the Dry Pak in person. I'm glad I did.
West Marine sells two Dry Paks. A "small" and "large" cell phone pack. If you have an iPhone 4S or earlier or iPod touch 4th generation or earlier, the small cell phone kit is for you. If you have an iPhone 5, iPod touch 5th generation, or any one of the ridiculously gigantic Android "phones" then you'll want the larger pak. (Most handheld GPS units will also fit in one or the other Dry Paks if you plan on going out on a boat.)
Included in the kit is the waterproof Dry Pak, a rope lanyard, and a small careabeaner that connects the lanyard to the pak. The small pak measures 4" x 6" and is model number 7699754.
The Dry Pak is pretty sturdily made. I have no reservations at taking my iPhone or iPod touch to the beach, out on a boat, or around the pool when properly sealed inside the bag. Like many other waterproof packs, the West Marine Dry Pak will float if it happens to get dropped into water. This bag is waterproof and will protect your iFruit device. If your pak does fall into water, you will want to fish it out as soon as you can as water could get in after prolonged contact with water.
The clips on the pak firmly lock into place and I'm not worried out them popping open while I'm out with my iPhone. Another cool feature of the Dry Pak is that you can use the touch screen and use the phone feature while it is in the bag! Pretty handy in my opinion.
In addition to your iPhone or other similarly sized gadget, you can also put small items inside like a driver's license or ATM card, but if you are going to do that, I'd strongly suggest keeping the Dry Pak with you at all times unless it is secured inside a locker of some kind. (Sticking the Pak with your phone, driver's license, and an ATM card into your shoe on the beach is *not* secure. Just sayin'.)
The West Marine Dry Pak for Small Cell Phone is competitively priced at $14.99. If you order it online, factor in a few dollars extra for shipping. Even with local sales tax, my Dry Pak was less than $16.00 which is much lower than the $29.99 or more that I saw online for similarly styled products that included "iPhone" in the product name.
You can order the Dry Pak that meets your needs from the West Marine online store.
If you are looking for an inexpensive solution for keeping your iPhone, iPod, or other handheld gadget safe from water, sand, sharks*, and other summer time hazards, you'll want to put the West Marine Dry Pak for Small Cell Phone on your short list.
*Ok, the Dry Pak probably won't save your iPhone from a real shark attack, it will hold it's own against an inflatable pool shark.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
My Dad has an iPhone 5, while I'm "stuck" with a 4S until the next iPhone is released. The iPhone 5 is a really nice upgrade if you want more rows of information on the screen.
But over the last two weeks, my Dad has been complaining to anyone who would listen about coverage issues. Often he would have two bars or less of cellular signal. He even went as so far to place several calls with AT&T support and even a trip to the Apple Store Genius Bar.
Turns out that there may not have been any problems with his phone. The real cause may really be poor LTE coverage. The fix for my Dad's coverage problem was to turn off the LTE radio by setting the Enable LTE option to "Off".
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off this year's WWDC developer's conference. Below are my thought and comments on this year's keynote address.
- To kick off the conference this year, Apple played a new TV spot called Designed by Apple in California. The video exemplifies how Apple sees itself and, I think, is a subtle stick jab at their competition suggesting that they lack focus on their products, software, and services. In short, the perfect way to fire up the legion of Apple fans in the audience and watching the video stream.
- This year is the 24th WWDC conference. Over 1,000 Apple engineers on site. I think it's safe to say that Apple has shutdown their engineering arm this week. Tim confirmed that the show sold out in 71 seconds.
Apple Retail Update
- Apple is hosting over 1 million customers a day around the world in their stores.
- The App Store is 5 years old next month. Customers have downloaded over 50 billion apps. The App Store is home to over 900,000 apps. Google has stated that the Play Store has 48 billion downloads. Not bad. Too bad the Play Store hasn't paid out as much money to developers as Apple has to iOS developers.
- Wall St, take notice. Apple has 575,000,000 store accounts. The majority of which have credit cards linked to them with one-click buying turned on. Apple has a secret weapon, and it's called customer impulse buying. Wait until that is monetized outside Apple's eStores.
- There are now over 72 million Macs in service today. MacBooks are the number one notebook in the United States and number one in customer satisfaction.
OS X Update
- The next version of Mac OS X will be then 10th release of OS X. Having run out of big cats to name the OS after, Apple is switching to a California theme for the next series of OS X names. The next version of Mac OS X will be called "Mavericks". It's related to surfing and waves. It just makes me thing of Tom Cruise's character from Top Gun.
- OS X Mavericks will focus on deep technology changes that will focus on things like even better battery performance. Apple will focus on power users. That is some welcomed news after the current release, in my opinion, went a little too far toward new users coming in to the Mac OS X ecosystem from iOS devices.
- Major features of Mavericks that power users are going to love: Finder Tabs (meh, I can take it or leave it); Tags - allows you to assign keywords to your files which adds a new powerful search element to Mac OS X; and lastly (this is my most favorite) support for multiple displays. Now, you can have your Mac OS X menu bar on each display, dock on each display, and; this is my favorite part, when you go full screen on one monitor, the other is left alone. Sweet!!
- Since the majority of Mac sales are now made of up notebook sales, Apple is putting a lot of time into optimizing the CPU and conserving battery power. They are claiming that they can achieve 72% less CPU activity. That's pretty neat.
- iCloud Keychain a new, secure way to have Mac OS X remember all of your complex passwords for websites, Wi-Fi hot spots and all the rest. Very cool!! This is one of the features that makes me wish my company allowed us to deploy and use Macs again.
- Safari can interface with iCloud Keychain and suggest strong passwords for you and can remember your saved credit card information. You will still have to remember your credit card security code.
- Notifications are now smarter in Mavericks. You can now reply to a notification by mousing over it. You can delete email you don't want to deal with. And, Mavericks allows you to subscribe to iOS push notifications to be sent to your Mac.
- Holy poop!! The Calendar app is sane looking again!! I am sooo glad that I didn't purchase a copy of Fantastical for my Mac. (I still recommend Fantastical for your iPhone.)
- Maps is coming to the Mac. Lots of people don't like Maps on iOS, but I've never had a problem with it. A new cool feature will allow you to send a trip from your Maps app on OS X to Maps on your iPhone. Very cool. I can see myself using that feature a lot. Because I get lost a lot.
- iBooks is now coming to Mavericks. All of your iBook Store purchases will now be available on your Mac. Pretty nice. I'm surprised this took so long to get done.
- iBooks on Mac OS X has some very cool note taking features which will further push the desire to use this technology in schools for learning. It almost makes me went to go back to school.
- As expected, Mavericks will ship later this fall. Hum, maybe about the same time as iOS 7? That would be my guess. Maybe Mavericks will ship a few weeks before iOS 7 so that customers don't have a train wreck of new software updates all at once and Apple's servers don't get flooded.
- Apple has cooked up a new features in the MacBook Air family to push the envelop for all-day battery life. Hmm, if a MacBook can go all day, I might be able to look past the silver, not black, display bezel and buy one.
- The 11-inch MacBook Air will now get 9 hours of battery life. The 13-inch can now get 12 hours of battery life. Impressive. Let's see what the real world application use of these batteries is. The iPad has set a high bar for the MacBook Air to meet.
- New MacBook Airs now support 802.11ac Wi-Fi which now works with the new Apple Airport Extreme and Time Capsule units. Very nice, but I don't see myself getting a new AirPort until I upgrade my Mac, which is still a ways off.
- The Mac Pro is getting a complete make over. Instead of that monster metal next to your desk, the new Mac Pro is a sleek, glossy black cylinder that looks absolutely amazing. Favorite Phil Schiller quote: "Can't innovate my ass." I completely agree.
- They just panned to Woz, looking skeptically at the new Mac Pro. I don't think he's sold on it.
- OMG! The new Mac Pro is going to be absolutely amazing! This thing is powerful. Professionals are going to love it!
- The Mac Pro will be assembled in the United States. Thank you Apple for bringing manufacturing to the good ol' US of A.
- Developers are in love with the idea of iCloud, but trying to program for certain aspects of Apple's web service is a royal PITA. Let's hope that it gets a serious infrastructure update.
- Why is Roger Rosner wearing a jacket? Apple execs and product mangers don't wear jackets during keynote presentations. Duh!!
- Oh, ya, finally, iWork is coming to iCloud. Maybe we'll get new versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote now.
- iWork for iCloud will allow you to use your iWork apps in a browser on your Mac...or Windows PC. Really cool. There have been a few times when I would have loved to update a Pages document while at work, away from my Mac.
- Interestingly, no one in the crowd cheered when Rosner announced iWork for iCloud.
- Ok, so here's what I'm thinking about iWork for iCloud. Apple has *finally* caught up with Google Docs and even the late entry, Office 365's streaming web apps. Maybe Apple has been working on the iCloud services and plumbing. Let's see.
- Again, no one cheers when Rosner says, "Remember, this is all happening in a web browser." Yes, Roger, we know. We've been working on documents like this for years now. Apple's late to the game here.
- Apple seems to have done a good job of translating Pages to work in a browser. You can also convert and work with Word documents in iWork for iCloud.
- Yes, we got it. In a web browser. Apple's late. We're being polite. Don't push it. Move on.
- iWork for iCloud supports Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Mozilla FireFox is absent from the list. Read into that what you will.
- iWork for iCloud is available as a beta today for developers. A public beta is coming later this year for all iCloud users. No word on when iWork for iCloud will be released as a final product.
- Woz seems a little bit more animated now.
- Apple has sold over 600 million iOS devices.
- In web market share, there is no comparison between traffic from iOS devices as it relates to Android devices and "Other" devices.
- Interesting note about customer satisfaction. Yes, we know that people love their iOS devices. But I found it interesting that Microsoft's Windows Phone OS has a higher customers satisfaction rating than Google Android. 73% for iOS, 53% for Windows Phone, and then Android at 49%.
- 93% of iOS devices are running iOS 6. Amazing! This is a major plus for customers and developers.
- OMG! Steve would be so proud of what Jony has done to iOS 7! This looks like an amazing upgrade to iOS. I want it NOW!
- You can watch the new design video on the iOS website.
- Holy Crap!! iOS 7 has cards -- Yes! -- just like Palm webOS had. Sweet!! (I miss Palm.)
- The crowd is going wild for iOS 7.
- Al Gore looks pretty psyched about iOS 7.
- iOS folders can now have pages of apps. Nice. No more folder names like Games, Games 2, Games, 3.
- Notification Center is now available from the iOS lock screen.
- I don't like the new Settings icon. I'm such a PITA.
- Control Center gives you your settings widgets panel. It also works from the iOS lock screen.
- In iOS 7, all apps, will be supported for multitasking.
- A double-click on the Home button in iOS 7 will bring up the "card view" and you can swipe across full screen cards of your open apps.
- Safari on iOS now supports parental controls and iCloud Keychain which is shared with Mavericks.
- The eight tab limit has been removed from Safari on iOS. I don't keep lots of tabs open, but this feature will cut down on the number of calls I get from my Dad who loves to keep lots of tabs open all the time.
- AirDrop is coming to iOS. Very nice. No need to bump your pone. LOL Works with encrypted Wi-Fi connections. No mention if it works with AirDrop from your Mac OS X box. That is the feature I'd like to see.
- Moments is a cool new way to add organize your iOS camera roll. That will help you find the photo of your kids or vacations easily to show and bore your friends.
- Siri has gotten a visual and vocal upgrade. She sounds less tinny and more human. Apple has also given her control over iOS functions. Apple has integrated Bing searches, Twitter, Wikipedia, and other iOS applications.
- Siri now has new female and mail voices.
- iOS in the Car is a new Siri driven hands free, eyes free control while driving. Many major vehicle manufactures will support iOS in the Car in their 2014 models.
- iOS App Store will automatically update apps in the background for you.
- Apple has just announced iTunes Radio. It's built into the Music app in iOS 7.
- iTunes Radio looks pretty cool. I've stayed away from Pandora and other streaming "radio" apps. The service will be free with ads. If you are an iTunes Match customer, and I am, the ads are removed.
- Notification Sync allows you to dismiss a notification on one device and it is cleared on all devices. I want this feature!
- Finally! You can now do message blocking for Phone, FaceTime, and Messages. I know lots of parents will like this feature for their kids.
- Activation Lock will render a lost or stolen iPhone completely unusable because it won't be able to be used again without your Apple ID and password. Apple is finally getting serious about cutting down on iPhone thefts.
- iOS 7 beta is available now for registered developers. iPad beta is coming soon. The final release of iOS 7 will be "this fall". Read: When the iPhone 5S is released in October.
Apple has been getting a lot of negative coverage both in the press and on Wall Street. I think that today's WWDC keynote shows that the company can still crank out amazing products in a world without Steve. I'm super excited to get my hands on the new software and start playing with it right now, but like many of you, I'll have to wait until the September/October timeframe to get it.
Apple is in a great place to once again jump years ahead of it's competition. Oh, and if anyone wants to buy me a new Mac Pro, please let me know. I'll give you my shipping address.
For more information, visit the Apple website.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
"Microsoft will make available as part of its upcoming Windows 8.1 "Blue" release of Windows client the rumored Outlook 2013 RT mail client, company officials confirmed on June 5."
This information was confirmed by Tami Reller, Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer of Windows according to Foley's ZDNet report.
But here's the interesting thing about Outlook RT, if the report is accurate, it won't replace Windows Mail client. Sounds a bit nuts, no? Given the opportunity to use Outlook or the basic featured bundled email client, I'd pick Outlook all day long. But then again, I can't seem to pick an email client for personal use (web-based or native code on my Mac or PC) that I like and use consistently.
Monday, June 3, 2013
Back on May 29, Apple CEO Tim Cook, joined Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher on stage at the D11 conference. The following are my thoughts on the interview.
You can watch the Tim Cook interview on the D11 website. Or, if you have an Apple TV and a Wall Street Journal subscription, on the WSJ Live! channel on your Apple TV.
Apple's Stock Price
- Much to do about nothing. As a customer, I don't really care what the stock price is as long as I have an elegant, simple, stylish solution that I really enjoy using.
Apple & Television
- Apple has sold over 13 million Apple TV devices. Half of those sales came in the last 12 months. I was an early adopter and picked up a first generation Apple TV and really like it. I still have it. As a matter of fact, I've purchased two more Apple TVs since then. My desire to upgrade from a single first generation Apple TV to an additional two third generation Apple TV units was driven solely by my iPhone 4S. I wanted the ability to use AirPlay is seamlessly throw content from my iPhone 4S or iPad 3 up on the 42-inch TV in my family room. According to Mr. Cook, I'm not alone.
- Apple TV or technologies involving television, is still an area of intense interest for Apple, but Mr. Cook isn't talking about the future direction of their TV-based products.
- Tim Cook uses a Nike+ Fuelband too! I feel like I'm part of a distinguished club.
- The wearable computer is an important piece of the post-PC era. Again, Mr. Cook declined to talk specifics about how Apple will enter that market.
- Wearables, like Google Glass, are difficult to do, but something on the wrist, is more acceptable by consumers. People want their glasses to be light, unobtrusive, and to make people want to use them.
iOS vs Android
- Apple isn't about making the "most", they are interested in making the "best" product. Google Android might be selling more units, but Apple's products are the best.
- People are using Apple products more than all Android devices combined.
- Apple is doing better in total usage, in terms of commerce, iPad is used to buy more items from the iPad, and they continue to lead customer satisfaction.
- Jonny Ive has been focused on making the collaboration between hardware and software design teams better. The results of that focus will be evident in iOS 7.
Tim's Apple vs. Steve's Apple
- Tim is very different from Steve, but the important things to Apple are the same.
- The team is there to make great products. Keeping the culture of Apple the same regardless of whatever changes in terms of products and solutions.
- In terms of making the best products, Apple isn't interested in just making larger phones with bigger screens. There are trade offs and Apple feels that they can't make the best smartphone is a large screen right now.
Apple, US and & International Taxes
- I don't understand it, so I'm not even going to try to comment on it.
Strategies and Acquisitions
- Since October 2012, Apple has acquired nine companies. Apple will only announce those that they are required to report to try and keep a strategic advantage.
- Mr. Cook doesn't feel that Apple needs to own or acquire a social network. Apple is content to partner with companies like Facebook and Twitter.
- You can expect that Apple will open, or expose, more iOS APIs, however, Apple won't ever allow access to the point of risking customer disatisfaction. Don't expect Facebook Home or opening up iOS to deep customization (i.e.: jail breakers and hacks).
- Apple would bring their technologies to other platforms, if and when it make sense for the company to do so. That said, I don't expect iCloud or Apple owned apps showing up on other platforms any time soon.
- Apple views their services as things like iMessages, iTunes, FaceTime.
- Apple believes in the element of surprise and releasing products when they are ready. They will not talk about the future until the product is done. This is in stark contrast to what Google does with their view of the future and new products (ie: Google Glass).
- Apple doesn't need to own great content, they need to have access to great content to be delivered to their devices.