That iPhone is Outmoded

Shout to Squagles!  Square Bagles!

The iPhone won’t make it to the future.  Sure it’s Apple’s cash cow right now but I see it going away in importance over the next couple of years.

Think about Apple current main product categories:

  1. smartphones (iPhone)
  2. tablets (iPad)
  3. wearables (watch/iPod/headphones)
  4. set-top boxes (AppleTV)
  5. macintosh laptops and desktops

All of those work together in the apple ecosystem. Assuming you have them hooked into your Apple account, they all work together, and can handoff all sorts of tasks between them. They continue to add iCloud features that make the lines blur more.

#2, 3, and 4 above will be the focus over the next 5 years. The smartphone will continue to become less important in the mix.  Several factors are leading to this.

  • There is almost nothing the iPhone does that is unique from the other devices. It did it first, it does it from your pocket/purse, but it’s not the only device to do those things anymore. You can call people, take pictures, stream, and do all of that from other devices now.
  • Over the last 8 years, competition has caught up to many of the physical iPhone specialties – thinness, glass quality, battery life, feature set.
  • Apple’s sweetheart deals with phone carriers which helped to launch the iPhone in it’s first 5 years are gone and not coming back. iPhone is an expensive rig no matter who you go through.
  • Automobiles and transit are beginning to roll out wifi services and built-in GPS
  • Everyone has a smartphone and you only need one max, if one at all.

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I see the mobile phone of the future going back to what it was originally used for in the 90’s – safety and vanity.

Safety is for the kids, the travelers, the person needing a lifeline no matter where they wander or work. The rest of us are on wifi 95% of our day and don’t need a cell radio at all.

Vanity is for the rich, the teens, the geeks, to impress us with an I don’t need wifi stance.

Perhaps security can be in here too, but it’s really hard to predict the future there. I can imagine a private cell network being more secure than a public wifi spot but there are many variables there.


We will all have tablets for the next 50 years, but the tiny pocket tablet is going away in importance soon. The wearable watch or badge or wallet will contain our cell radio (if needed at all) and all of the other devices already have wifi and location awareness.

Screen size is critical here. Walls will be screens wherever you can project onto them, so perhaps the iPhone has a future life as a pocket projector?


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The design model for the future iPhone. If this thing had a cell radio, wifi, iOS, and a projector that could turn anything in front of you into a display….. well there ya go. Goodbye iPhone, hello iPin.


I guess it comes down to the iPin. This baby will have all of the iPhone’s location and connectivity features without that tiny glass screen in your pocket. If it can’t project to or take over screens in your vicinity then it will operate with voice or hand gestures.

I better get to go on a star ship. Maybe that’s why Apple cancelled the car project…?

[Squagles starts at 3:24]

Surface Thoughts

Lots of discussion around about the new tablet coming out from Microsoft. They are calling it the Surface and while competing with the iPad, they are taking a fundamentally different approach to the device.

Philosophically, MS has shown their usual penchant for completely missing the point. Anyone who has enjoyed using an iPad, especially lately, should find the Surface confusing and clunky. Anyone who has avoided the iPad and calls tablets toys to discount their use will probably be surprised at how ackward both the hardware and software is on the Surface. Here’s why:
Continue reading

On The Surface

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On the surface the new Microsoft tablet announcement is intriguing. Called “Surface”, it’s going to be made by Microsoft (like Zune and XBox), runs Windows 8, comes with a built in film-keyboard cover and kickstand, and has a standard USB port. Like iPad it runs on ARM chips and has a multi-touch screen. It’s not plastic and doesn’t look that bad, but still not as slick and durable looking as Apple’s finest.

Digging deeper into the announcement starts posing questions, however,? Continue reading

The iPad of 1997

It was called a Newton, it had a kindle-like screen, handwriting recognition, great software, and was still smaller than a modern netbook. Check out this in-depth look at using the final model of the Apple Newton, circa 1997.

The guy is right – there’s things it can do that 2012’s iOS, Android, and Blackberry’s still can’t do.

Then again, sitting next to a loaded iPad 3, that Newton does seem about as powerful as a legal pad. Progress in fits and starts.

Upon Jobs second time running Apple, he killed the Newton product line and started work on the iTunes/iPod/Pad/Phone lines that drove the company to dominance.

Hopefully developers in and out of Apple are still working on transferring some of those great Newton features into iOS. I’d use the handwriting recognition, the text markup features, the data handling, even the play dial-tone feature on my iPad.


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The Microsoft Copy Machine

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I’ve been following the Windows8/Metro debut online and it struck me that this is one of the largest examples of Microsoft being a “me-too” type of company I’ve seen in a while, complete with a fatal flaw in their copied version. My rambling thoughts:

First, the basics (if you haven’t watched the previews yourself): Windows 8 is coming, perhaps by the end of 2012. Unlike Apple, MS likes to show things off way before they are finished, and they are focusing on previewing their new touch-based Windows shell called “Metro”. I call it a shell because it runs inside of/on top of traditional windows and doesn’t appear to have it’s own boot routine, networking, filesystem, security, or hardware driver layer. Those sorts of things appear to still be handled by Windows. Of course it has a snazzy modern-looking interface and can be touch manipulated. Like Apple’s industry-leading iOS, it also has a curated application environment (aka a company AppStore). Continue reading

Touch the Music

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Here’s a nice overview article on some of the tech that’s changing music making, particularly the iPad. As someone who’s produced several tracks with just a laptop, an interface, a mic, and a midi board, this is a big change. 8 years ago when I would show up with the above parts some people didn’t believe I could do quality remote tracking with so few items. The iPad with a few good apps and the right cords ends up replacing a few more pieces. Continue reading

Stop Calling Me Old! And Get Off My Lawn You Damn Kids!

1st Atari releases it’s retro video game pack for the iPad, containing most of their original stand-up games ported to the iOS.

Then someone mocks up an iPad-to-arcade kit for April Fools Day. Wouldn’t that be cool? Yay Photoshop and imagination.

Then the geeks get to work and turn the gag into an actual working product. Introducing iCade:

It’s a $100 product that requires screwing the box together and mating the controller with the iPad through Bluetooth. Then you slide your iPad in place whenever you want to play old-school! My money is on this thing getting more use than most xbox setups.

[As of today it only works with the (badass) Atari game packs, but an SDK has been released and supposedly other iOS game developers will be adding iCade controller support asap.]

Now if I could just slide my Toyota into the shell of a 1967 GTO I’d be all set.

Why iRight on iPad

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I said “Wow those things are gonna be everywhere”, and just a year later I think about half of my extended family has one. And these are people who are not necessarily mac people, some not even technology people in general. I’m amazed. Sadly, still not a shareholder.

The Android verse iOS battle is good theater and good for the industry, so I keep tabs on it and occasionally argue with my geek friends. But the debate that gets me annoyed enough to post up here is the one about tablets in general.

You may have noticed that some people on the nets still see tablets as a fad, nothing more than the latest toy. Statistics and their own eyes tell them otherwise, but I’m old enough to remember when GUI’s were for toys, when color was for toys, and when plug-and-play was for toys.

So to these latest skeptics I present my “Why the iPad* is better than your non-tablet computing device” test:

1. Stand up. Stretch.

2. That’s it. If you are still reading this you are uncomfortably leaning over your non-tablet, or comfortably holding your tablet after a nice stretch. Or perhaps you are on your phone, holding it near your face with sore triceps and squinting eyes, wishing you had a bigger screen (and a more concise author).

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Still not convinced? Pull up some recipes on your non-tablet and set it on the counter while cooking. On the counter or in most places not your hand, the phone disappears and a laptop is foolish. Don’t get too excited and try to hold a laptop like a tablet, you get cracked frameitus. eBooks aren’t just for fiction — any PDF you own or want on your slate at all times. Print? have on you at all times. Hey! your toddler is screaming for speed, show him speed.. and Mater… and that pimp car one. Good boy, now go play with your Transformers and let daddy play with a real transformer.

[By the way, I do think they hatched the plan for the iPad around 1999 when they were shipping a version 0.01 of the iPad known as the iPod, and then set about building all the infrastructure for it over the years. The patience to wait until everything was ready (including the supply chain) to then turn it all on is impressive.

Once they turn on full iOS capabilities in AppleTV and license Airplay to other manafucturers — If you go all-in with Apple and get your PC’s, mobiles, TVs, and stereos talking the iTunes talk, welcome to the afterfuture, people. ]

*oh that, just saying this test would work with a xoon tablet too, but iPad 2 is the top of the class right now. it’s about the tablet form and the touch interface, not the branding.

The Day I Cut The Cord

I hate TV. I watch too much TV. How much? Anything more than an hour a day equals too much. I can get a weeks worth of sitting around done in one lazy night in front of the the TV. I always said If I just wrote/played music or worked on my other projects instead of watching the boob tube then Hello Productivity!

Plus nowadays, I just turn off the TV to end up on Netflix, Hulu, or watching a DVD for another couple hours. So I’ve finally done something I’ve wanted to do for years — yes, today the man is coming to shut OFF my cable.

It’s called “capping the line” according to my friendly cable company rep, who’s voice dropped to a silent defeat when I told him I want to keep my broadband and get rid of the cable package. He must have known from my cheap package and the tone of my voice that I wasn’t going to be talked out of it.


 

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I think I’ve lived with cable about 29 of the past 30 years so it will be an adjustment for sure. I’ll have to report back after a few months.

But for now, today is the big day, February 2011, goodbye Pawn Stars. Goodbye Top Chef. Goodbye Operacion Repo. Goodbye Sportscenter. Goodbye Daily Show and Colbert. Goodbye Chelsea Lately. Goodbye Tosh.O. Goodbye anything else that I can’t find (or won’t bother to watch) on the internet.

If I can survive this cold-turkey I’ll probably end up with Apple TV and an iPad sharing more media than ever before to every room in my house. But at least it will be things selected by me, and my preferred* ‘promotional messages’ will be selected by me also.

*yeah right

Ezzy mobiles and bits

I think we are nearing the completely mobile times. Portability and availability combine with convenience and give us me in the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon still managing to hit the net with some postpost.

I don’t get paid for postpost so I’m not in those times just yet. But my screenshare is strong and about to get stronger, my apps get upgraded,
my G increments higher and my cloud grows larger. If I could afford an ipad right now my interface would grow and then yes, I’m working from anywhere in the world (that I can G on).

That is a mobile future, that is the office-less life we could lead, supporting local businesses and the community while maintaining our required productivity. Work from the park an it’s not UCB.

Touching on the Pad

The ipad is gonna be everywhere in 1-2 years. All those people saying “how could I replace my laptop with that” are lying about how much work they do. Most people I know spend at least 75% of their time in front of a computer doing exactly what the ipad is made for – consuming/sorting their media, browsing the web, and reading or composing short text blurbs like IM, email, and internet postings. I personally produce music and develop software – 2 things iPad v1 can’t do. But that doesn’t mean everything else I do with my mac can’t be more conveniently done wherever I want with the pad. And look at iPod/iPhone as a model — you know iPad v3 will add the missing features of earlier models (like a camera, the phone app, hulu, an outlook client, and theater sound to list a few).

Think work. Think any job that doesn’t keep you in a cubicle all day. Think about a private app store for an enterprise, stocking only their approved apps. Think about your work database, your POS system, your customer list, etc. being on a pad being carried around the office or around the neighborhood/route. Ever walk with a laptop or a netbook? It’s the UPS brown-tablet for the rest of us, doing things way more exciting than collecting our signature.

Think about presentations without a $1k projector. Ever pass a laptop around a large room or conference table so everyone can see up close? Yeah right. The pad will be there making laptops look like corded phones. Oh it’s so sensitive looking with that thin screen, better not get too close or lean near it! I love my macbook pro, but clamshells have never been cool unless you are baking them.

Oh yeah phones… yeah, think of all those people grabbing their iphone to do everything. Can’t get that damn thing out of their hands! Yes the pad is like a larger iPhone. Think about that, it’s not an insult. The only real thing hindering the iphone now is screen space. So the iPhone goes back to pocket-mobile only, and the iPad becomes local-mobile. You are not gonna write or browse on an iPhone if an iPad is nearby, but to me crouching in front of a laptop on a table is starting to remind me of getting up to change the channels.

I think security and deployment software will be needed on the iPad, and I’d consider investing in carrying cases, handles, sterile stylus’ and cleaning products. There’s a ways to go, but just like the iPhone, entrepreneurs should lead the way with software and hardware to bring the 21st century to us (finally).

But it will be everywhere, and like the iPhone it will take other companies 2 years to even come close to it. I predict it being a complete lifestyle changer, like the web itself. Remember when people would try to live using the internet only? Same thing for the iPad — it will do so much so easily we won’t ever go back to before it.