Ahead of Amazon's likely announcement of a smartphone, there's been a lot of attention paid to the possibility that the phone will feature 3D user interface elements. While almost all "3D" display technology available at the moment is gimmickry, the possibility that the device will feature accurate focus and gaze tracking has serious implications for interface design.
Over the past several days, Slashdot, T-Mobile, Oracle, and Apple have all had expired SSL certificates that have impacted services (several of these issues have since been fixed). Why are there so many synchronized, high-profile lapses? Is it just a coincidence, perhaps related to the Memorial Day holiday in the US, or is something going on? Was there some sale on certificates some time ago that caused all these companies to renew (and subsequently expire) their certs at the same time?
Ahead of WWDC 2014, here are some thoughts and speculation on Apple.
OS X Laptop Computer
11.88 Inch 2732x1536 264ppi display
ARM A8 CPU
FaceTime HD camera
802.11ac Wi-Fi networking
15+ hour battery
64GB - $799
128GB - $899
256GB - $999
64GB + Cellular - $929
128GB + Cellular - $1,029
256GB + Cellular - $1,129
On Apple's January 2013 quarterly earnings call, CEO Tim Cook stated, regarding “somebody who buys an iPad mini or an iPad [as] their first Apple product, we had great experience through the years of knowing that when somebody buys their first Apple product, that a percentage of these people wind up buying another type of Apple product. And so, if you remember, what we had termed the halo effect for some time with the iPod with the Mac, we're very confident that that will happen and we
Here's what I'm thinking/guessing about Apple's iWatch:
The iWatch will be about health, identity, and mobile payment.
Apple's recent design language suggests a circular form that would take cues from traditional clock geometry. The Mac Pro, the fingerprint reader on the front of the iPhone 5S, and the circular cutouts on the back of the iPhone 5C case all anticipate a rounded watch face.
Women Over 35 - $32.99
Women 35 And Under - $29.99
Men 38 And Over - $28.99
Men Under 38 - $26.99
However, common loyalty programs at stores profile customers by age, gender, purchasing habits, and all sorts of other demographic criteria and selectively issue coupons and promotions that have the same result (e.g., a drug store might print out a coupon for a male customer for lady's perfume to incentivize a purchase before Mother's Day, but wouldn't issue such a coupon to female customer who is inherently more likely to buy the product).
Just looking at Adobe, it's likely that Apple could make $300 million a year if they could tax all Adobe's Mac sales (admittedly, that wouldn't happen for quite some time). That's a significant chunk of the $1.7 billion Apple is currently on track to make off of App sales in a year, and that's just from taxing one company.
Also, Macs are still a profitable market that's not going away anytime soon. Apple may be making way more money off of iOS than OS X, but they still enjoy great margins and profits from the Macs. Apple's calculation will be that they can make OS X even more profitable if they make it more like iOS.
Finally, the other pieces of the ecosystem, such as roaming user accounts between Macs and iOS devices, are big features that they want to implement. Apple has already forced Mac App Store applications to be sandboxed, while also restricting certain APIs to App Store-distributed applications. They're already on the road to Mac lock-down, it's just a question of how fast they'll get there.
In October 2005, then Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie authored a memo to Microsoft staff titled "The Internet Services Disruption." While overtly attempting to marshal the company to move aggressively towards integration and online services, two key subtexts of Ozzie's memo were:
- If we don't do this, someone else (probably Google) will.
- Startups and open source projects are threats, but they can't [yet] scale the way Microsoft can.
Cloud/Software-As-A-Service/Web Apps are obvious wins for the Googles/Microsofts/Adobes of the world. They
- 1. eliminate piracy
- 2. guarantee a steady revenue stream
- 3. allow vendors to data-mine user behavior
- 4. avoid App store sales fees
Adobe's move is not just about locking-in customers, it's about ensuring that they don't have to give Apple and Microsoft a cut of all their sales. Gatekeeper on the Mac and Windows RT are harbingers of Apple's and Microsoft's long-term strategies: force everything through the App store and skim off the top. All the major software vendors are fighting a war and the consumers caught in the crossfire.
None of the Massachusetts delegation voted on the bill. Here is the roll call.
Why didn't any of the 9 representatives from the state vote? Because the President was in Massachusetts following a terrorist bombing earlier in the week.
The bill has been in Congress in some form since 2011. If the sponsors and supporters of the bill truly believe that this bill is necessary to enable "integrated operational actions to protect, prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from" threats to security, wouldn't it make sense to schedule a vote on passage of the bill for a day when at least some representatives of the state most recently victimized by a terrorist attack could vote? Is there any opportunism at work here, given that the entire Massachusetts delegation voted against the bill the last time it was up for passage?
It's worth reading the full text of the bill. It contains statements such as "The Director of National Intelligence shall establish procedures to allow elements of the intelligence community to share cyber threat intelligence with private-sector entities and utilities and to encourage the sharing of such intelligence."
As a strong financial and moral supporter of PBS, I am simultaneously appreciative of PBS's even-handed coverage of the Aereo story and disappointed by their participation in the suit.
There's much to dislike about Aereo's business model. The company's technical and legal maneuverings allow them to excessively monetize an otherwise low-cost service. Like so many water bottling companies, they provide a small convenience, and they should be allowed to, but there are good philosophical and financial reasons not to buy what they're peddling.
The larger story is that the trajectory for all broadcast media is obvious: consumers will always push for free, accessible content. Aereo's service is just a stopgap and will ultimately fizzle out along with Viacom, News Corporation, and their peers.
That's what makes PBS's position in this all the more troubling. PBS actually has one of the only viable and worthwhile models: viewer-supported broadcasting. Given that PBS survives on the generosity and goodwill of its viewers and that its viewers clearly want accessibility, they should focus on delivering what viewers want - open, free, accessible content - directly to their audience. They've made huge inroads over the past few years with their online services but come on, go for broke and put everything that you can online. That's the best way to cut out the middlemen, outpace the hamstrung big medias, deliver uncompromised programming, and win the hearts, minds, and support of the public.