Monday, April 19, 2010


Why is anyone (outside a few isolated examples like the google voice app that were rejected by the app store) still making webapps for the iPhone?

2010 iPhone grooves

Lots of reports today of the discovery of a future iPhone (gizmodo, engadget, etc.).  There's been a lot of discussion on the authenticity of the photos and the likelihood that the device really is the next iPhone.  With extra focus on several grooves on the case.  My guess:  this will make it easier to mount accessories to the bottom.  And, for those accessories that need a little more security, there is a groove on top.  I guess we'll see in a couple months...

Monday, April 12, 2010

no OS 4 for original iPhone and an unusual problem

The possibility that the original iPhone will not be able to upgrade to iPhone OS 4 is not that big a deal - in the US, phones are basically on a 2-3 year cycle and so the fact that there is a user base of any size for a three year old phone is remarkable and a testament to the quality and cutting edge nature of the original iPhone.

The unusual problem is related to one of the iPhone OS's strengths - the iPod touch.  Although less expensive, I would guess that the normal expected life is longer than that of a phone.  For example, I'm still using (albeit in a sort of back-up, for the kids way) a relatively old iPod (it uses a firewire connector...).  And, if the iPhone news is correct, it seems likely that at some point these touch users are no longer going to be able to upgrade their devices either.  All of which would be fine without the other strength of the platform - the app store.  As new apps start depending on the features of the newer OSes, these old devices will become less and less viable even though their owners may not think of them as expired.  And, although there will be a giant universe of app choices, a "grass-is-greener" perspective will still make them feel shortchanged.  I (irrationally) feel somewhat shortchanged by not being able to take advantage of apps that require a compass (only on the 3GS and not the 3G).

Finally, this will all get worse with the iPad which should have an even longer expected natural lifespan.

The price points for these devices are less than that of a computer (mostly) but still I'll analogize to Windows XP and its continued support and large userbase.  I wonder if iPhone OSes two strengths might someday end up as (modest) handicaps.  Having three strong devices plus the app store is a high class problem (Queen of England kind of class) but, as the platform continues to bring in users, I wonder what happens as normal device obsolescence kicks in for these (at one time) futuristic devices.

To be clear, there is no other phone that has a userbase and set of user expectations large enough to have an obsolescence issue.  Phones were too rudimentary and people were so unattached that they got left behind pretty easily every two years.  But the number of people using original iPhones as touches must be substantial.

iPad system requirement [addendum]

The requirement of OS X 10.5 is particularly baffling as iPad works with Windows XP.  Which is pretty ancient.  What can the iPad (and iPhone OS 3.2 and, presumably iPhone OS 4.0) possible demand that 10.4 can't deliver that XP can?

iPad system requirement

Whoa.  Didn't even bother to read this as I would never have guessed it matters.  iPad requires OS X 10.5.  I knew it would need the latest version of iTunes but the latest OS?  I haven't bothered to install 10.5 for my mini as it runs fine on 10.4 with all the software I need. And it just raised the price for an iPad substantially.  And, sadly, may actually encourage me to buy a new mini (how's that for a somewhat unintuitive response to a price increase - choose to pay MORE?).

Thanks to the consumer reports review for noting this.

Friday, April 9, 2010

iPad keyboard

I hope they release an os update that shrinks and splits the keyboard in portrait mode so it effectively mimics the iPhone keyboard.  It's hard to reach across the large screen with one's thumbs and having one less layout to familiarize oneself with is also a plus.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Wow.  Although this was largely expected, it still feels weird to realize that Apple is going to be deeply involved in advertising.  And, it's actually hard to describe their position - I think it is selling advertising space (but, because it is Apple and the tight control that comes along with it), advertising services, and the medium itself.  It is like Panasonic manufacturing the television, owning some (but not all) of the channels, having control over a certain type of channel (those that opt into iAd), helping create/approve the advertising, etc.  It's a very global system and very much shuts google out of advertising on apps that go the iAd route.  And, if built very neatly into the SDK, will be hard to resist simply opting into iAd as a default for occasional developers.  Google will really need to create a drop-in ad system for apps that goes beyond display ads.

Separately, it never occurred to me until two seconds ago with Google's auto-complete, that the "App Store" is two letters away from the "Apple Store".

Thursday, April 1, 2010

South Korean success

I wonder how much of Korea's success in the recent crisis is a function of having very good but often not the very best products (and being able to price more competitively as a result).  Not merely because as rich country consumers "traded down" they saw the value in Hyundais over Hondas, but also because, for a large part of the global economy (emerging markets) Korean products are their products.  And so, with a different export and customer and a bias towards the customers who survived, Koreans did exceptionally well?