Sunday, February 27, 2011

Apple iPad still has no competition

It’s been almost a year since Apple released the iPad and we’re less than a week away from the unveiling of the iPad 2, and still there’s no competition.

There are a few very good reasons for Apple’s success and why its competitors are finding it difficult to gain any traction against the king of digital devices. There’s the infrastructure, the combination of hardware and software, and the fact that its competitors are content to settle for second best.

Let’s look at these separately.

Apple didn’t invent the tablet, but it did popularize the concept and how it fits into our lifestyle. Clearly the evidence of this is that every tablet announced or released since the iPad looks just like it.

The fact that every company making a tablet is trying to compete with what Apple offers means that they aren’t looking to make something better than the iPad. They are just trying to catch up. Apple has done everything it can to make sure they are No. 1 in the tablet market, but the competition is ensuring they will stay there.

There’s a saying in hockey: Don’t go to where the puck is, go to where the puck is going to be. Nobody is willing to make a bet on where the market is going to be, so they go to where the market is and, right now, Apple controls the puck.

Until someone decides to step outside of Apple’s shadow, they will never be better than No. 2. That’s where the fight is right now.

Since the tablets are all very similar, how do companies set themselves apart? It’s not the operating system. No matter how good Google makes Honeycomb, the fact is, almost every company out there will be using it.

On the other hand, Apple controls the operating system and hardware. If Apple makes advances in iOS, they are Apple’s to share with their customers and nobody else.

There are two companies that stand out in the tablet market that make their own hardware and operating systems: HP and RIM. The problem is that they haven’t done anything.

RIM announced its PlayBook last September; they announced the PlayBook 4G in January; and they announced the PlayBook 4G LTE, HSPA+ and Mobile WiMAX models in February. So far, not one has hit the market. I think RIM needs to settle down and ship something.

HP has an interesting offering with WebOS. From everyone I’ve spoken with, WebOS has the biggest potential to be a hit among consumers. However, HP wasn’t exactly forthcoming with detailed information during its TouchPad event, so it’s hard to know where the product will land once pricing information is available.

Motorola has the Xoom, but so far the reviews haven’t been the best. Honestly, I’m not sure consumers will flock to Motorola anymore, certainly not like they did in the days of the RAZR.

Even if Apple’s competitors were able to get past the hardware and operating system issues, there is still one component that can’t be overcome—the infrastructure.

Apple didn’t create the iPad in a year or two. They have been working on it for almost a decade. Around the same time they started working on the iPad, they released iTunes, which created a music and video foundation that continues to dominate today.

With iTunes and the ability for users to purchase music, movies, TV shows, and educational content, Apple is giving its users a one-stop shop. Buy, download, sync, and take everything with you.

If you add the App Store to that equation, Apple has the bases covered. There doesn’t seem to be a piece of the puzzle that’s missing.

Over the next six months, iPad competitors will be coming, and there will be a lot of them. Unfortunately for them, as they release some worthy competitors to the iPad 1, Apple will be releasing the iPad 2 and then moving on to the iPad 3.

Apple’s R&D is already years ahead. It’s hard to imagine that they will be brought down anytime soon.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Status Updates in Microsoft Outlook

If you use Microsoft's Outlook for your email client. There is now (what Microsoft calls) a "Outlook Social Connector." Once you install this connector you will be able to see the status updates for anyone sending you email. If they have a social account setup in one of the providers. Watch the short video, it will show you how to install the connector.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

iPad 2 Rumor Roundup

Near Field Communications (NFC) chip

There is a possibility of a iPad with a 7" screen . I wouldn't count on this one.

April release date:
Elton John has been quoted as saying.
"I'm a Luddite. I don't have a phone, I don't have a computer. ... But this is going to be a problem for me because they're coming out with a Skype iPad in April and I've got to get one because I want to see my son when I'm not there."

Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities claims the new iPad will sport a dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 processor. That's in line with what I've been expecting, and if Apple sticks to its guns this processor will be marketed as the Apple A5.

Graphics Chip:
The graphics processor will be the Imagination Technologies’ POWERVR SGX543 GPU, as reported here. What's critical here is that this graphics chip supports OpenCL, meaning that the power of both the graphics chip and the main CPU can at times be combined to handle intense computational tasks. The new iPad will be super-powered.

"iPad 2 has 512MB RAM, same as iPhone 4 and twice as much as iPad 1, but running at higher clock 1,066 MHz for getting bigger memory bandwidth (iPhone 4 memory clock is 800 MHz)," Ming-Chi Kuo said.

iPad 2.0 will host a low-res front-facing camera and a low-res back camera. Apple is already seeking an expert in digital photography to work with the iPad development team. This could mean improvements in PhotoStream, MobileMe Gallery and should also equate to new tools for image editing on your iPad. This has to also mean iPhoto will reach the iPad (at last), as the existing Photo App doesn't edit images. I'd stick my neck out to suggest a version of iMovie - already available on the iPhone -- will also reach iPad.

Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities recently claimed the new iPad display will retain the same 1024 x 768 resolution, but will be anti-reflective, so it will be a much better device for reading -- think a Kindle, but better.

IDC analyst, Tom Mainelli believes we will see a Retina Display, but not until version 3 of the iPad, presumably next year. “I don’t believe anybody is ready to produce that resolution in volumes at this point. And Apple is going to require huge volumes for the iPad 2,” he said


Primarily, WiFi-only, GSM, and CDMA. You'll be able to get an iPad for Verizon or for AT&T.

Accelerometer/Gyroscope controls:
These are going to be improved. Expect a 3-axis gyroscope

Carbon Fiber Body:
The iPad 2 will have a carbon fiber case, reducing weight and improving flexibility.

There is also an interesting read from Tim Cook, Apple's COO

If anyone has any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Excerpts from

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Too much attention

I'm probably the only person that would notice this. I was watching episode 11 (The Devil's Lube) of season 6 of Two and a Half Men. In the episode Charlie was in the car with Alan & talking on the phone with his doctors office. All the while he's holding his (1st gen) iPhone upside down.  He finishes his conversation. Talks to Alan a little more then calls Rose. He's holding the phone correctly, then the camera zooms in & he's holding it upside down again.

Yes, I realize this doesn't have anything to do with tech. Except the fact that Charlie was using a 1st gen. iPhone albeit incorrectly.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In-App Purchases

Today’s tip is right under everyone’s nose. But, if you’re like me it has never dawned on you that it’s even there.
If you have small children or adults that play with your iOS device (iPod, iPhone, or iPad) you may want to disable the “in-App Purchases” on your device. This is an easy fix to an ongoing problem with people not paying attention when they are tapping away at the screen to kill those darn Pigs (Angry Birds).

Tap Settings
Tap General

Tap Restrictions
Enable Restrictions

Scroll down to "Allowed Content"
In-App Purchases - Slide to the left to turn off

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Facebook Comments

Let's say one of your Facebook friends post some big news. Now what are you suppose to say for a comment. Well here is a flowchart to help you leave the perfect comment.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crud on Tech

I've been watching a lot of Tech podcasts on the Apple TV. My youngest daughter seems to be getting into this whole Tech thing a little more than I expected. It's cool, but drives the wife crazy because she hates watching that stuff. She is one of those people that just want things to work and expects me to make it happen whether or not I know how.

Website of the day: