Saturday, April 18, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Seems like everyone forgets Apple is still a baby in the SmartPhone market. It's easy to argue they should have done this all quicker but it's only been 2 years. In software development you can either hire a ton of people and use the thousand monkeys model of development or you can build up a smaller team and just give them the time to get it right. Since iPhone sales weren't hurting at all I think Apple saw no problem letting the core iPhone software team take their time.
I would speculate that Apple probably spent about 12-14 months exclusively working on the SDK after the launch of the 1.0 firmware 2 years ago. That includes improvements to the core OS infrastructure and optimizing the various APIs for a mobile device with limited memory and clock cycles -- and of course battery constraints. All of the API work had to be done right the first time. It had to be consistent and it had to be forward thinking enough to ensure there was room for the platform to grow over the years. Apple doesn't want to make a tiny change in a core library and break 10,000 apps. They don't want to have a dozen different APIs that do basically the same thing and bloat up the OS just to provide backwards compatibility. This is a good thing and it's the same principals that have made OSX a great platform on the desktop side.
And let's be honest. The competition hasn't exactly been pushing out a lot of innovative updates. RIM & Microsoft are still struggling to catch up to most of the iPhone 1.0 features and usability. Android doesn't really seem to have much momentum at the moment. Looks like Google might already be losing interest in it. Not a good sign.
Arguably with all these iPhone competitors out there making slow, but steady, progress the SDK and third party application library are Apple's main competitive advantage. They had to put their priorities in order and make sure the SDK was bullet proof and good enough to attract developers -- and basically lock them into the iPhone platform for years to come. Some of these other features, C&P, A2DP, etc were simply not going to give the iPhone a dominant advantage in the same way the SDK has. Apple understood that and they will benefit from it even if users want to belly ache over waiting 2 years for C&P. You still bought it, didn't you? Point proven.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Is it maybe a ploy to distract us from talking about the important things? A huge increase in science spending. A huge increase in funding for alternative energy programs. Huge infrastructure (road & bridge) repair projects. Spending for health care to keep people alive. If you're dead you don't care about the 2% of ear marks that were or were not cut from a federal budget. (such projects including side walk construction in a school district) Real reform to decrease pollution via cap & trade. Major changes in Iraq & Afghanistan.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Based on loose speculation of a Apple TV update sometime in the near future:
New Home Screen: It should mimic the iPhone OS home screen. Icons for individual tasks on one page with a row of favorites on the bottom. Less nested menu navigation. (old, ugly, inefficient UI design) Should be easily navigable using the basic Apple Remote and giving icons a glow effect on selection. I envision a status bar along the top showing wifi signal strength, time, and notifications.
Home Screen Icons:
iTunes Store --> Renting/buying content.
Apple Remote --> Streaming content off local network via iTunes
You'd also have the other apps, YouTube, Photos, Settings, etc.
Safari: This would largely depend on implementation of the Wii style motion control patent that has been floating around. D-Pad style navigation with the Apple Remote simply wouldn't be usable. Should also support iTunes/MM syncing of bookmarks to avoid having to type URLs in. (Keychains too, on the Mac side at least)
Simple games (remember the motion controller patent?)
Streaming front ends to various services. Probably going to need Flash too. (not a big problem if we stay x86)
Interactive video apps. Kind of a choose your own story sort of thing.
Fantasy sports managers
Lots of stuff no one has ever thought of.
I would imagine the SDK would be fairly similar to the iPhone SDK although obviously targeting a different screen resolution. Being as the iPhone SDK is heavily abstracted from hardware porting apps shouldn't be too difficult. The biggest challenge would be scaling up to a higher resolution display for games -- however the Wii proves you don't really need good graphics to be successful in the gaming industry. Might not be too bad. An important part of this SDK would be promoting iPhone/ATV integration. For example, a Netflix app might allow you to watch a movie onscreen while you browse their catalog on the iPhone and start a new movie or que something. An RPG game might use the iPhone display for an inventory screen. The similarity in APIs would allow developers to write applications that did not depend on the iPhone as an accessory -- simply moving those controls to the AppleTV output. (kinda wonky but it could be made to work)
The obvious question is why would Apple allow competing services onto their hardware? They simply don't have a dominate position in online video -- no streaming presence at all. Unlike the music industry, where they got in early and dominated, they will have to settle with being a platform for other video services. The Apple TV could become one of the first devices that allows various services to pool together in one place. Would you pay $9.99 for the Netflix app? Probably. Would Apple like 30% of it? Yes. Even if it is a one time sale. (better than nothing from Apple's perspective)
Most likely something ATOM based. It's got the best mix of price/performence right now and a pretty good supporting chipset/GPU. (well, good enough for our purposes) I had speculated it might be something NVIDIA/ARM based but it's hard to beat the ATOMs price/performence ratio at this point. OSX is very platform independent so it shouldn't be a major issue targeting ARM and x86 for developers. Obviously the SDKs will have some major differences to deal with no matter what.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I dig the Top Sites feature. I arranged each row (more or less) for a different class of site, blog, news, forum, work, etc. Hopefully in the future the thunbnails will update more often and will authenticate on sites automatically to get a proper thumbnail.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The UI for the native blogger interface is pretty awful. Trying this thing called Blogo. It's alright. Not sure why anyone would spend $25 on it though.
It does have a full screen mode though which is a nice touch. I prefer to write undistracted.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Managing this type of mess on a taskbar is nearly impossible. I've tried. It drives me insane. The lack of Expose doesn't help but that's another issue entirely. (the screenshot cuts off my second 20" display which is also full of windows) The Dock works by saving space combining launching & running tasks and always combining all associated windows of an application together. The bouncing Dock notification is also very useful as extra information can be included in the Dock page (such as transfer speed, unread message count, etc)
Saturday, January 3, 2009
iPhone: Probably nothing major on firmware. That's more of a WWDC thing. iPhone Nano, definitely this year but maybe not at MacWorld which has traditionally been a computer oriented product launch/refresh expo.
iWork/iLife Updates, hopefully iPhone & web compatible versions. They'd have an opportunity to land on a lot of Windows desktops with a good mobile version of iWork. The iPhone integration might come in the form of an iMovie app that can do basic video recording, editing and publishing. Perhaps some GarageBand instrument & remote controller stuff.
Desktops: I think this is where the biggest announcements will be made. It's the one area in Apple's product line that is seriously lacking.
New Mini: NVIDIA chipset. Probably not much cheaper but a better value at least. Maybe a little wider and taller.
Mac: Cheaper i7 based mid-range tower. Cheaper, not necessarily cheap. Probably still $1k+ or even $1500+
iMac: NVIDIA chipset.
New mice/keyboards: Anytime Apple refreshes desktops them seem to do new keyboards/mice to match. Probably a black key version of the aluminum keyboards and a new mouse -- maybe also aluminum. Perhaps with multi-touch. (basically a rounded/molded thermal sensor integrated into the front of the mouse)
Snow Leopard: Probably won't ship till April or May but there will probably be some new features announced. They may be focusing on core OS improvements but I'm sure there are some user oriented features we haven't seen yet.
Apple TV: Big changes but maybe nothing at WWDC.
1) Platform change to NVIDIA's ARM CPU.
2) It will run off the same code base as the iPhone OS with one common code base but some big GUI changes:
- The current Apple TV GUI becomes the iPod app
- The system boots up to an iPhone style home screen
- Core apps like Safari, Mail, iTunes Store, Google Maps, etc get moved over with some UI changes also.