Countdown to iPhone 2.0

March 30, 2008

Apple is planing on having an increase  in sales for the iPhone 2.0.  Analyists are suggesting that sales of 8 million units for the iPhone are overestimated.  “Every additional million beyond their projection translates to about $400 million in added sales and 12 cents per share – or 2% – more in profit.” It will be interesting to see what the total sales of the iPhone 2.0 are.  Hopefully the price will be a little more affordable to the consumer.  I know I wouldn’t want to pay a few hundred dollars for a cell phone.

 Mitchell Watts

Michael Arrington made a post talking about the wonderful idea from the music industry to create a music “tax”.

Yes. That’s right. Imagine paying for music by being charged 5 dollars more on your internet bill. Music labels had such a strangle hold on the music industry before more and more people starting downloading (mostly) free music. Because they failed to plan for this advancement in technology, they were hit with a huge dilemma.

With the large decrease in CD sales channels
and the rising number of downloads of songs, the large music labels were 5 steps behind the rest of the world trying their best to gain back lost revenue by suing their own customers.
Terrible idea. And yet they don’t learn from their terrible ideas.

Putting a “music tax” on people’s internet bills is an extremely unethical way to try to regain control. What if the user doesn’t download music? and doesn’t plan on downloading music in the future? Too bad for them I guess.

I’ve said this since I first started downloading music.
Music artists should have to WORK for their money. By having more concerts, etc…. and not rely on having a one hit wonder to bring them any success.

I don’t know if the major music labels have explored all of their options, but there could be several ways they could survive.
1) Change the way they do business.
Instead of focusing on the “Label” aspect of music, and producing CDs, look more to having more control on concerts.

2) Offer the product via their websites
They currently DO offer downloadable music via their websites however it is equal with the price of a song with iTunes. Not that competitive in price, and must rely on high levels of traffic through their websites (which iTunes has much of)

3) Offer packages
The music labels could vary well offer subscription packages monthy/or annually and allow the user to download a certain amount (or unlimited) of music in that time frame.

I came across an EXCELLENT post by Gerd Leonhard called Gerd Leonhard’s Open Letter To The Independent Music Industry. In his post he terms the new way of consuming music “Music 2.0”, and continues to talk about how much different ways of consuming music are effecting us. The music industry must realize this new force, and act upon it. If they don’t they will be their own worst enemy and suffer greatly.

–Jerry

In recent years, Apple has shunned PDAs, but with the rise of the iPod and the iTunes Music Store (iTMS), the company has been positioning itself to become a player in the mobile phone market. Motorola has been planning to release a mobile phone capable of playing songs purchased through the iTMS, but ever since Motorola canceled the phone’s unveiling at the recent CeBit show in Germany there have been questions about when the iTunes phone will come to fruition. Some say that cellular carriers are reluctant to sell the phone because it could cut into ringtone sales. Motorola claims that the delay was because Apple prefers not to announce a product until its available for purchase.

Apple does not want to sit still and wait for the dust to settle between Motorola and the carriers, so it is currently undergoing negotiations to buy PalmOne as an alternate strategy according to a source who calls himself “Juan Abril”. The company will sell Apple smartphones at its retail stores and other channels until carriers get on board. While negotiations with PalmOne are still in the early stages, Apple hopes to be able to announce the purchase at its upcoming developer’s conference in June.

With recent executive shuffling at PalmOne, Apple sees the company as distracted and ripe for the picking. According to sources from within Apple, the hardware portfolio is there, but PalmOne just does not “get it.” A smartphone with the Apple Touch—more intuitive controls, better integration for included applications, etc— could do as well as the cultural icon that is the iPod. Apple would also be more successful in getting PalmSource to move the Palm OS fully into the new age of handheld devices. For most consumers, the PDA is dead—long live the smartphone—and Apple wants to take advantage of that.

The company already is developing a successor to the Treo dubbed “Apollo Fir.” Jonathan Ives, designer of the award-winning iMac, is hard at work on the device. Expected features include the ability to play iTMS songs and buy them directly to the phone so a computer is not needed. Apple will role out iTunes 5 at the same time, enabling ringtone purchases. The company is also undergoing talks with the mobile carriers to allow iTMS purchases to be billed to customers’ mobile phone service.

Based on information from sources inside Apple and PalmOne, TreoCentral has created a conceptual drawing of what the device will look like. Although the device will not be released until late this year, it won’t disappoint.

Apple Gets It

March 30, 2008

apple-iphone-sdk_ttn.jpg

Johnathan Zdziarski, blogger and author of iPhone Open Application Development (to be released book on how to hack your iPhone) was invited by Apple to speak at a conference held in a Cambridge Apple store, to talk about the history of hacking the iPhone and his thoughts on the device. Zdziarski was one of the first software engineers to hack the iPhone. Now, does this sound odd? One person wrote, “So for Apple to give Zdziarski the podium at an Apple retail location is a little like Steve Ballmer inviting Linus Torvalds to speak at a Windows product launch.”

So what does this got to do with Apple Getting It? Well, just the gesture of inviting Zdziarski to speak at the Software Development Kit (SDK) conference says a lot. Apple is finally not rebelling against change anymore, but beginning to embrace it. When the iPhone first came out, online open-source communities were trading hacks through third-party installer applications. Finally, a year later Apple understood the opportunity which could arise from creating it’s own SDK. By inviting Zdziarski and releasing it’s own SDK for iPhones, Apple is setting an example for other companies in the industry. It’s a lot easier to work with your customers to help them get what they want by giving them the tools to create their own customized product, then fight with them and give them the same old product. This just creates a hassle for both parties; the customer isn’t happy and the business isn’t profiting. It also gives a company’s development team a break, and creates many more product ideas and innovations that may never have been created without the help of SDK platforms.

Still iPhone’s SDK has its problems. It still doesn’t allow users to access low-level functions, like operate applications in the background and build certain types of objects, even though Apple insists it offers the same tools its programmers use to develop its software. But I’m sure hackers will come up with a way to fix that soon enough. Apple has however released a second version of their SDK, the Interface Builder, which is a visual editor that users can drag and drop items to create the user interface of their applications. Apparently this makes application creation a lot easier.

Oh and just a side note, remember how I wrote that post about the hacking contest for laptops (sure you do!) well it turns out the Macbook Air was the first one to be hacked.

An Interesting Program

March 30, 2008

I stumbled upon this page and found the story sort of interesting if you watch the video it explains the fact that they use a computer system to make a model of a ship and they can move the cargo around electronically on the model and move water around and the program will calculate the results of what that change has made. I thought it was pretty interesting.

Video

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto

March 30, 2008

While reading this post by Seth Godin, I started to think about his last line in the post.

Do you know what most people want? They want you to care.

And also about a line he used in the middle of his post

Humans like humans.

And it inspired me to right this rant/post of my own. One thing I noticed changing at an increasing rate much the same rate as technology is the lack of interactions in business that are person to person. I know there is something to be said about the convenience of dealing with a computer, where the only mistakes made are generally your own, a computer won’t mistakenly lose your order, or give you green when you asked for red, but mistakes will happen, or we as the customer will come to a point where we need assistance. In general “Frequently Asked Questions” can solve about 50% of the problems we will encounter on websites or electronic devices but, for that other 50% when we have to call in, I don’t know about everyone else but I’d really like to talk to a person over a machine. I can deal with a few touch tone questions but when I’m yelling at a computer to tell it what my problem is and then it spits out some automated answer, then it gets a little annoying. I can’t think of any examples off hand, but they have been more frequent as of late.

Companies have to realize that as things become more and more digital that they will lose touch with their customers, and with that it will appear that customers are treated more and more like numbers than people who the company cares about. The majority of interactions with customers can be done by computer, such as buying, selling, advertising, and feedback, but where customers have questions or concerns they should be met with open ears and knowledgeable minds, not a mic and a database.

I’ve found myself lately dealing with smaller companies just because I get treated more like a person. Sometimes I like to be Thomas Godfrey, the guy who is buying parts for his 1995 Honda Civic, instead of Order number 568375 buying part number 3954. There are sometimes I don’t mind being the number and buying a common part that I know will work and that I will be happy with, but if it’s a special part or order I want to have some interaction. In saying that I will also say that I don’t like dealing with companies where there is person to person interaction only. I find a few sites are still order by phone only, which is fine as long as you are available when they are available. So I feel that companies need to find the balance between technology and personal interaction. I dont’ know if everyone feels the same way, but I’m a picky person and that is how I see it.

So Thank You Very Much Mr. Roboto but I’ll take the next available operator with a heart beat.

-TAG

This may be a little bit of an overstatement, but from the talk of nearly EVERYONE over theFriendfeed Logo last two weeks, Friendfeed is the next big thing. So far I’ve noticed Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, Fred Wilson, and Techcrunch comment on it, and I’m sure I’ve missed or dismissed many other bloggers commenting on Friendfeed.

What my understanding of Friendfeed is, is a one stop shop for all of your information needs. Tired of having to check out your Twitter, RSS reader, delicious, etc. accounts to get all of the latest news? Now all you have to do is join friendfeed, which amalgamates all of your friends twitter/blog/everything else together so you can get updated on everything they are doing, but in the same spot.

Besides the incredible benefits and A-lister recommendations, why is Friendfeed so good? For many reasons really. One of which, is their commitment to the user. Fred Wilson had a little bit of beef with a few aspects on Friendfeed, and so created a list of things they would like changed. Shortly after he received an email from one of the founders of Friendfeed saying he had passed the list around to the employees of the company, and they liked them and immediately began working on them. Now that is customer service.

Also, Dave Winer has been very impressed with the fact that Friendfeed has done a lot of work, and relatively quickly, dealing with Twitter users on Friendfeed. Although Twitter may be an acquired taste, people who use Twitter demand that it works well on Friendfeed. Friendfeed has worked very hard in making this possible.

Thats all for now I guess.

Cheers,

David McKenna