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Comment: Why? (Score 1) 780

by donnacha (#41014819) Attached to: Linux Is a Lemon On the Retina MacBook Pro
I love Linux but the Retina is probably the best laptop ever sold precisely because of the unusually high level of harmony between the top-notch hardware and the OS it was designed to run. That is the whole point of Macs - complete focus on the best possible user experience, and complete disregard of the opinions of zealots who call the lack of support for an entirely diffferent OS to be a "snafu".

Comment: The Sort of Innovation We Wanted from Apple (Score 1) 109

by donnacha (#31148788) Attached to: Hands On With Notion Ink's Pixel-Qi Equipped Adam Tablet
The rear trackpad is wonderful. Before the iPad was introduced, I suspected that Apple would use two rear trackpads to allow users to type while gripping the pad, I thought that was what the rumors about a "surprising" input method meant. Whether for cursor movement or the more advanced idea of text entry, using the back of a pad - where our fingers will be most of the time anyway - if such an obviously good idea. When you have a small screen, why obscure it with your hands? I had also hoped that the iPad would use the Pixel Qi screen. Apple decided to build upon their previous iPhone innovation rather than introduce new innovation - Apple are remorselessly focused upon creating a mainstream, "appliance" product and, to be fair, that makes a lot more business sense than trying to delight techies like us. Congratulations, though, to Notion Ink for creating a truly innovative tablet.

Comment: Watch This Space (Score 1, Insightful) 39

by donnacha (#30419168) Attached to: WordPress.com Implements the Twitter API
Automattic are doing some of the most interesting stuff in Open Source these days and have some serious nerve backing up their vision, reportedly turning down a $100m cash + $100 stock deal a couple of years ago, I think possibly from Facebook. Smart move, they are worth a lot more today and no owner would let them do game-changing stuff like this.

Definitely a company to watch.

Comment: Re:Developers Developers Developers (Score 1) 250

by donnacha (#29107607) Attached to: iPhone 3GS Is Number One In Japan

Sure it did. It showed they were "cool" and knew what was popular. Remember, there are people who choose what to wear, drive, eat, etc based on whatever everyone else is doing, independent of the inherent value (or lack of value) the device has.

Wow, you completely missed his point.

He is saying that increased ownership adds inherent value to the app store because a larger market attracts increased developer attention and more apps, some of which will be better or will address previously neglected niche needs. That, by extension, adds inherent value to the device.

It is interesting to observe how many tech enthusiasts are completely missing a major shift occurring right in front of them, because they have developed reflex reactions to certain companies. In the case of Apple, some people can't get past the idea that there might be something more to their products than cool branding and snob appeal.

Comment: Re:Being Big in Japan will Spur Sales in China (Score 1) 250

by donnacha (#29105575) Attached to: iPhone 3GS Is Number One In Japan

... or until our two-year wireless contracts run out and there is a new shiny toy from another manufacturer to be had.

Hmmm, I'm not sure that there actually is any way for the other manufacturers to catch up, not within the next 5 years anyway. The iPhone came in at a high end price 2 years ago and, since then, Apple has steadily reduced the price and imporved the technology, just as it did with the iPod.

The iPhone's secret sauce is the app store. The iPhone is the only gadget that becomes more useful, not less, the longer you own it, because you build up a highly personalized collection of apps that you integrate into your daily workflow. The money and, more importantly, the time you invest into those apps cannot be transferred to another type of smartphone.

To draw users away from the iPhone, a competitor would have to produce a significantly better phone AND a selection of apps as diverse as those available on the app store. Apple's monopoly boils down to the fact that there is almost no way to persuade a massive number of independent developers to drop all the time they've already invested into learning how to create iPhone apps and move to a market with far fewer customers than the combined iPhone + iPod Touch market.

I can't think of one single bit of technology, other than a phone and television, that I have used consistently for decades.

You've been using Windows for decades, right?

Another example of a technology that has been dominant for decades would be gas pumps - you drive a car, right?

Steve Jobs was in a perfect position to see how Microsoft created a monopoly, he learned a painful lesson.

Now, almost three decades later, he is putting that hard-earned knowledge to good use and could very well end up with a far bigger monopoly than MS ever had. It seems likely that billions of humans will have their first experience of being connected to the Internet not via desktop or laptop computers, but via cheaper smartphones. In this case, the hype is right: the world is clearly shifting to mobile computing.

Microsoft never controlled or received a percentage of third-party applications on the Windows platform, Apple does. Microsoft never really managed to establish a widespread subscription model, Apple has achieved precisely that via the telcos. Looking at it from any angle, Apple is set to dominate computing for quite a while.

Comment: Being Big in Japan will Spur Sales in China (Score 3, Interesting) 250

by donnacha (#29104313) Attached to: iPhone 3GS Is Number One In Japan
Although Japan is an important market in it's own right, success in Japan is more important for the ripples in creates in the rest of Asia. Trends in Japan remain an important influencer in the region, with Asians generally paying far more attention to Japanese fashion, pop stars, gadgets and movies than American equivalents. Apple has negotiated an initial sale of 5 million iPhones to Unicom in China, the news that it is now the No. 1 phone in Japan (and ripple affects such as more Japanese pop stars and actors using them) will make that first 5 million sell even faster. With North America, Europe and, now, key parts of Asia on board, the rest of the world will follow. What we are looking at here is the emergence of a global computing standard that will be with us for decades.

Comment: Re:Presbyopic eyes? (Score 1) 196

by donnacha (#27989711) Attached to: Extrapolating the Near Future of Gaming

Look, I'm not trying to get at your personally, just as I couldn't give a damn if the corporate entity known as Apple exploded into a million pieces. What I'm observing is that they have somehow integrated existing technologies into a package that becomes more useful to ordinary users over time, more useful than they thought it would be when they made the original decision to purchase. That is a pretty special achievement for any gadget and what it means is that it is changing it's users' habits. That is why it was worthy of a specific mention - not because it is a mainstream device yet, but because it is the only such device which, today, is making headway into the mainstream and is evidently changing the habits of it's users, and changes of that type will affect the future.

Twitter and Facebook are good examples, I know tons of people to who would never have used either if the iPhone didn't make it so simple and convenient. On the desktop, they always seemed like a waste of time but, as something you can quickly check while out and about, they make sense.

Games are also a good example: I stopped buying games ten years ago and stopped playing them about five years ago. I assumed that they were something I had grown out of and I was plenty busy with other stuff. When I bought the iPhone, games were the last thing on my mind and, anyway, I presumed that it would not be a very capable gaming platform. Somehow, the app store lured me back into gaming, first with free games, then a couple of dollar games and, now, I'm playing often enough to justify buying the occasional five dollar game, such as Peggle.

That sort of spending may not seem like much when the gaming industry deals in billions but, you have to remember, I am just one of hundreds of millions of people who had left gaming behind and who certainly would never have considered buying a handheld gaming device. Yes, so far, Apple have only sold 24 million iPhones, so, those hundreds of millions of people have not yet been drawn back into gaming but, just as with the iPod, Apple will ruthlessly pursue market share. Yes, there will be other phones but, think about it: a key part of value for the consumer is the app store, and no other manufacturer is going to be able to catch up with the momentum it has already generated. Developers are making far more than they originally anticipated, certainly more than they've made on any other mobile platform, and that windfall will only grow as the price of the base iPhone model drops and it enters more territories. The Palm Pre might be an amazing phone but, as a developer, am I going to invest my time into it when I've already got million of potential customers on iTunes? As a customer, am I going to buy a Pre if it can't run my favorite apps? We've already seen how this plays out with Windows, what's the point of denying reality?

Comment: Re:Presbyopic eyes? (Score 4, Interesting) 196

by donnacha (#27988655) Attached to: Extrapolating the Near Future of Gaming

No, the iPhone reference was important: the keynote was about "Extrapolating the Near Future of Gaming". When you extrapolate, you pull from what is happening today. The iPhone has shown that many normal, non-techie folks will use technology in unexpected way, and to an unexpected extent, if you make it easy enough for them.

It doesn't matter if hardcore techies think that the iPhone is "childish" or if they think it is a badge of honor to continue using their Motorola V980, it really doesn't matter at all.

What matters is what the mass of ordinary consumers move towards and, right now, today, Apple are creating a mobile platform and eco-system that could very well remain dominant for the next couple of decades, just as MS did on the desktop.

But the key point is that the iPhone shows that good design can pull mainstream users towards technologies that were previously adopted only by relatively small niche groups, such as /. readers - our use of technology in twenty years will depend not only upon what is possible but, also, upon the good design and implementation that packages the possible and persuades the mainstream to integrate it into their lives.

UNIX is hot. It's more than hot. It's steaming. It's quicksilver lightning with a laserbeam kicker. -- Michael Jay Tucker

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