Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The End of the Mac Mini and the Brick

Apple produced the Mac Mini as a low cost Mac to appeal to those who
want Mac but do not want to pay a lot for it.
It was supposed to be for the Mac Pro, what iPod Mini was for the iPod

It didn't work because the most obvious strenght of the Mac Mini was
not on the shortlist of any person buying a computer for $600.

Mac Mini, was not just smaller than your average computer box. It was
1/10 the size of those boxes. This made it ideal for a media hub
device. A computer without c mo itor, which is always on and users can
stream content from it from anywhere in the world.

It was also ideal for a remote printing machine and for remote disk
access as used by the Macbook Air.

In that role it's entire graphical user interface was unnesessary. In
fact it's processor was and overkill and Apple upated it once just so
it can reduce the price of the same component across it's other

Mac Mini can be effectively used in the role of the Time capsule but
it offers much lower capabilities as much higher price.

Apple pioneered wirelless technologies, wirelless printing, music
steaming and now remote software instalation.

It is time for Apple to design a product solely optimistd for the
purpose of being a data hub. Not only will it back up data like the
Time Capsule but also stream music, moviesnand pictures.

There is anoter product that does some of that allready. It's called
Apple TV. It has also been underperforming despite huge marketing
efforts and software updates

Apple may conveniantely combine all these 3 hubs of data into one
product that will have the following

- Up to 1TB of space for wireless back up or file it can stream
- 802.11n Airport Extreme Base station
- Apple TV
- Integrated Blue Ray drive that can read and write CDs, DVDs and Blue
Ray Discs
- Wireless Printing and Software instalation and disc Burning

Such device will not need to Run Mac OS
Unless it also has a the Multi touch display of the iPhone for some
user interaction but it could be just as easily controled with an iPod
Touch, which could be sold along with it at a discount

Apple could
I troduce some inocative app for the iPhone to control this media

It will be an all aluminum design with the Apple Logo on top. I hope
it light ip like the ones on the Macbooks

This could well be the rumored device going by the codename of Brick
that we may see on October 14th

So is the iHUB comming? I hope so for it will be the fulfilment of
what Steve Jobs has been talking about since Macworld 2000.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 29, 2008

Apple needs to sell Unlocked iPhones NOW!

I would agree with Apple that a subsidezed iPhone coupled with a great
service providesa better end user experiece.
However, Apple cannot deliver that everywhere and as a consequence a
lot of people in a lot of countries are getting their iPhones trough a
tough process. They pay a lot of money to resselers and go trough a
hours long hacking process to setup their iPhone for use in their own

Wouldn't it make sence if you could get a fully setup and unlocked
iPhone from Apple at those same prices. Apple will get more cash in
markets where it hasn't a partner and the end users will get a chance
to legitemaly use their iPhones.

Fortunately, there may be a light in the tunnell.
Apple has started selling completely unlocked iPhone3Gs in Honk Kong
for $695 for the 8GB model. Those same models sell for as low as $821
on the black market in my country and availability is virtually zero.
You have to pay as much as $900 to get one within a few days.

I understand the barrier of as much as 20% import tax for countries
like Bulgaria. So we will never get it at those Hong Kong prices but
we would be able to at least walk in a store and buy one whatever the

I do not think there is any other product in the world that so many
people want but cannot get to simply cause it is not on sale where
they live. Apple has a unique oportunity to sell a lot of devices to
people willing to pay but do not have the resources to go trough all
the importing/hacking procedure. Apple should just make it it's top
priority to cell unlocked devices anywhere it sells iPods and
Macintoshes. It's that simple.

I hope Steve Jobs realized that people are willing to go trough a lot
of trouble to get an iPhone without the visual voice mail and all
those fancy services AT&T offers.

There is also the cultural phonamena. In America, when you have a
problem with your device, you call your network provicer. In Bulgaria
you call a friend that understands these things. People here are not
so surprised when something does't work.

The main point is that the iPhone competitors are gearing up for
launch of their unlocked iPhobe killers and Apple is on it's way to
miss the opprtunity to gain a market share when it has no competition.

Sent from my iPhone

Barack will win by a double digit margin

I am so pround to being a live witness to one of the most historic
elections in American history.
There has never been a better time to hope than now. There has never
been so much potential for the worlds best dreams to come true. But
enough on that.

After John McCain pulled out his last populist trick out of the bag
and got the race even, it didn't take long for Obama campain to get
people'head strait again.

There are several fronts in the presidential election battle:
- ads
- speeches
- debates
- fundrasings
- organizations

The Obama campain has recently gained a substantial edge in the Number
of ads it produces over the McCain camp. This is mostly as a result of
the more issues that Obama can attack McCain for. However it is also
due to the larger fundrasing record the Obama campaign has.
The McCain ads on the other hand has recently come under an attack by
the press for doubth in their truthfullness

Not only does Senator Obama attrack more people to his speaches but he
also makes the them a lot more frequently, talks a lot longer and
presents a more consistent message. His youth and inteligence helps
him deliver more and better quality speeches.

But if that was not enough, the contrast between the public
performance between Joe Biden and Saragh Palin is even more alpaling.
Joe just keeps hammering McCain from the insiders perspective, while
Palin hardly appears and when she does, has to play defensively.

Accrually Barack's wife Michelle and Joe' wife Jill togarher give
almost as much presence as John McCain.

All in All it's a 4 member family of young people against one old man
and his hiding running mate.

The first dabate demonstrated that Barack can top McCain on his home
garden. Hi is likely to do even better on the other debates and will
Joe Biden. Sarah Palin has a very remote chance or Draw with Biden on
foreign policy.

As mentioned earlier, Barack Obama fundrasimg is roping senator
McCains one. Not only that, but he keeps setting new records every
month. Barack can also talk about his fundrasing approach, while
McCain cannot. This results in a ever inscreasing gap.

Lastly are the grass roots organisation of the two. McCain, has a non
existant one, while Obama has thousand of volunteers and more come
every day.

All in All, McCain has spent all tricks up his sleeve and now starts
to lose his voter base, while Obama not only gets higher in the pols
by the day but also is regisering thousands more in every state every
single day.

In 3 weeks time, Obama has piled up and 8 point advantage. There are 6
more to go and I fully expect that number will pass the ten point list.

The Obama McCaina is engaging and outperforming the McCain camp on
every issue that there is in the playbook.
They are setting the foundation of a Breaking victory in November. One
that few would have predicted.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Futile iPhone Nano wait

Ever since the original iPhone came out, rounors have been floating
around that Apple will one day make a entry level iPhone in the same
way it did with it's iPod line. It did make some sence especially if
you have considered the opiginal price of the iPhone - $599.

However there are some factors which point that Apple may never unveil
such a device but will instead stick with only one model.

Why do people expect for Apple to diversify its iPhone line? What was
the driving force behind the iPhone Mini and the iPhone Nano?
The price of the product is the primary guide for establishing whether
a product is low end <$100, mid range <$200, high end <$400 or Pro
level <$800

The iPhone began as a Pro level device but Apple is now distributing
it at virtually any entry level. From $0 to $800

Most people will immediately point out that this is due to the high
priced data service plans that more than make up for the initial
What these people fail to notice is that services without contract
are even more expensive. The iPhone is a device with a very long life
and signing up for a plan for two years is not so bad when you see how
trough software updates, your phone will be a lot more capable devoce
with time.

Back to the question of the iPhone Nano.
The iPhone as it is at the moment is a result of years if research and
development into the perfect form factor. Scaling it down in size will
immediately impact it's capabilities. The first casualty of making the
screen smaller will be the on screen keyboard. This is an essential
element for most productivity applications.

Steve Jobs defined the iPhone as 3 separate devices combines into 1.
Revolutionary mobile phone, widescreen iPod with touch controls and
breaktrough Internet comunications device. While scaling down the
size may not impact the iPod and the Phone aspect of the device, it
will surely hurt the usability of the Internet.

But making an entry level iPhone does not nessesary mean smaller
device. The magic behind the iPhone has always been the software.
Apple can therefore lower the aquasition cost of the final product by
lowering manufacturing costs and exploring different distribution
models as it is doing now. Last year poeple made it clear that they
would buy an iPhone Nano if it is priced in the iPod Nano range. Apple
delivered a better product than the iPhone at the price level of the
iPod Nano. If only all carriers from around the world adapt the same
prices as AT&T.

Apple is going very strongly about consolidating it's devices, not
diversifying them. The second generation iPhone and IPod Touch have a
lot more in common both in hardware and on the software side.
Apple is puting a tremendous effort in making it's products better and
more affordable at the same time. This will result in sales and
widespread adoption few have expected. Who would not want a premium
product at midrange prices.

There will never be an iPhone Nano. There will be however and full
features iPhone at the price of the iPhone Nano.

It is very likely that the price of the iPhone platform around the
world will continue to drop while it software capabilities continue to

Starting from next year. Apple will be incorporating custom made chips
into it's devices. Made by PA Semi these chips will provide unique
capabilities at low cost and no warning to it's competitors

Apple may even decide to lower its hardware sale margins due to the
huge profits it gets from the App store, this making the iPhone/iPod
Touch even more affordable.

Other companies have build their bussines aroud selling different
types of devices. Ones sold, however there is little more profit to be
expected from them.

Each iPhone not only provides higher initial margins but bring
aditional money to Apple from sales of software trough the App store
and music trough the iTunes store.

There are so many more ways for Apple to increase sales using just one
design. Opening some APIs to developers will allow cutom camera
cimponentsnand phisical keyboards among other things to be attached to
the device via superthin shell cases.

Not only do Apple benefits for having to finetune only two hardware
design and one software pla

All in all a widespread affordable common design allows for much more
capabilities and sales in the long run than a plenora of devices with
different form factors

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

iPhone Background Location Service

Is great that the iPhone will get a push notification service but that does not solve another major benefit of having a background running apps. And that is allowing some services like Whrrl to know  your location all the time.

There is a way for Apple for provide this with little loss to battery life if it is made to work as smart as the push notification service. 
The iPhone should be able to send its location to a cloud database in a smart way only when needed and only when users have a potential application that requires that service.

 When users have a certain application installed that benefits from accurate location of the user even if he is not online, that service should be able to subscribe to a "location feed" coming from the iPhone to that cloud. Such feed will be closely tied to the accelerometer readings. Apple can make a research by recording the types of accelerometer data the iPhone produces, when carried in the pockets, in the car and so on. Based on that info iPhone will know if it is standing still, moving at walking speed or at a car speed. Consequently any updates to the iPhone location will only be made according to the area of certainty the user wants other people to know about them.
Say the user sets that area to 1 mile radius.
So if he stands still, no updates will be made after the initial on. If he moves at waling speed, updated will be made every 20min and if he moves with a car speed, updates can be made every 2 minutes as there is a charger at the car. So the iPhone can update this cloud database of its location smartly and other services can retrieve it from there. 
If that user wants to know is other people he knows are around him, he can subscribe to the push notification feed of that service. And if he receives a push notification message he is interested in, he can only then launch the location based application and update his location more accurately

This will provide the best of both worlds: functionality and battery life.  

There are also so many other sources of information besides the accelerometer that can tell the device if it is power-wise to update the location now. Cell tower signal strength and number, presence of a wifi hotspots can tell if the device is in a tunnel and GPS reception is week and lots of power will be lost to send any updates. Similarly, updates can also be send when the device passes near a cell tower or a wifi hotspot, so that minimal power is used.  The important thing is to rely heavily on passive sensor fusion and learn about the surrounding environment with minimal power loss. A concept Apple can borrow from the F-22 Raptor Electronic Stealth.

Users will find that their device retains the most important part of the functionality of their location based apps without having to run them.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

MacBook Air 2gen

Well Everybody seems to be introducing a Netbook with a Atom processor
these days. Everybody but Apple.

The closest thing Apple has is the Macbook Air. it is essentially a
high performance Netbook with Niger screen memory and battery life.

Unfortunately the price is also bigger. A lot bigger. About 400% bigger.

In other words you can buy up to 4 netbooks for the price of even the
most basic Macbook Air.

The Netbooks are so cheep, they even cost less than the HDD to SSD
upgrade option for the Macbook Air

So what is Apple player in this Market.
Just looking at the prices, the closest thing Apple has is the iPod
Touch. Granted, Apple will introduce a new model shortly but it's
Internet experience is totaly different.

The next closest thing is the Macbook at $1100. But that is a full
features notebook and is also due for a refresh.

There are two possibilities for Apple to compete with the $300-$500

The First is to introduce the long anticipated MacTable. I hope that
happened but it's all rumours at this point.

The next best thing for Apple is to offer similar features to the
netbooks in a existing product.

How about a Macbook Air with the following coppnents:
Processor: Atom vs Core 2 Duo
Memory: 1GB@533 vs 2GB@667
Disk: 16GB SSD vs 80GB HDD
Graphics: Intel 950 vs X3100

This component change will surely bring the price down by a few
hundred dollars and increase battery life significantly. Weight will
also be decreased slightly.

Also. The Macbook Air was a unique product and came at a somewhat
premium price due to the new technology. That was 6 months ago. Surely
Apple can bring down the cost of all other components

Third, Apple officials have states that the company will be lowering
it's product margins from 35 to 30%. In other words a $1000 product
will now cost $950

All these factors can add up to decreae the price of the Macbook Air
to half of what it is now or about $900

The Macbook Air represents the perfect form factor for a portable
computer and it should not be kept only to bussiness people with the
big wallets.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

iPhone Sales

iPhone Sales
In 2007 Apple sold 250,000 iPhone's in the opening weekend on June
29th This year Apple sold 1 million iPhone 3G's in the opening weekend
on July 11th.
That's a 400% increase.

Will apple keep this momentum? Will it slow down or will it go up?

The first thing to note is that up untill The second half of August
08, Apple had trouble supplying anough iPhone. That was not the case
last year. Sales were however boosted afterwards by the launch in 20
more countries compared to only one at this time last year.

On September 10, 2007 Apple anounced it had sold 1 million iPhone's in
the first 74 days.

This year, Apple has a an event in September 9th. That's 60 days after
launch. One week short of the event, allready rumours circulate for
some 6 million iPhone 3G's sold by Apple. Had this anoincement been
another 15 days out, it is reasonable to assume that Apple would have
sold 8 million iPhone 3Gs in the same 74 days since last year.
Now that's 700% increase.

Is there a chance Apple can continually sustain that grouth?
Five days before it's 1 millionth sold iPhone anouncement last year,
Apple cut the price of the iPhone by $200. This definately boosted
sales in the next quarter.

This year Apple has some 26 more countries that still have to begin to
sell the iPhone. Moreever, Russia and China have yet to join as well,
two very large markets. This along with the new 2.1 software will also
help Apple continue to boost sales. Right Now Apple has been selling
around 750,000 iPhone 3Gs per week on average. It's production
capacity is estimated to be at around 800,000 and if another 26
countries join the rollout I suspect we will be seeing iPhone
shortages again.

The next first gen iPhone sales anouncemnt was on January 15 at
Macworld. By this time, 200 days after the launch Apple had sold
4,000,000 iPhone's.

If Apple had sold 6 million iPhone 3Gs allready and continues to sell
them at 800k units per week, Apple will be on track to sell 22,8
million iPhone 3Gs by the next Macworld in mid January.

That's 570% increase.

So by the end of the product life, Apple may as well sell 5 times as
many iPhone from the second model compared to the first.

What was the point in all this. Well, I had an article a few months
back predicting iPhone sales. While I did not expect for apple to run
out of Iphones, I did expect 23million iPhones sold in 2008. It seams
Apple is well on track to meet my expectations.


Sent from my iPhone

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 1, 2008

iPod Touch 2nd Gen

iPod Touch 2nd Gen
It's almost September and it's almost time for this year iPod refresh.

While the iPod Nano may see the most significant overhaul, I suspect
iPod Touch to pack a few surprices of it's own.

There is a growing division in the Apps in the Apps Store. First there
are the apps specific to the iPhone, now there are the apps specific
to the iPhone 3G.
The iPod touch apps are increasingly cornered. After 2.1 come out that
will be increasingly so, at it promises to add not only push
notification service but more GPS support as well.

The iPod Touch does not have a GPS, nor does the iPhone 2G. However
increasingly more apps will rely on this technology to even work. No
matter how cleaver and indegineus the Skyhook service is, it's was
just a stop gap and at best a compliment to a real GPS in the form of
Assisted GPS.

There is no doubt in my mind that the new iPod touch will get the same
GPS chip as the iPhone 3G. The cost of implementation is low and the
benefits high. This will bring a lot more commonality between the two
platforms: iPhone and iPod Touch.

The design need not be changed much. The iPod Touch back is now
iodized alluminium and is not the best cover for another anthems. But
it doesn't need to be. The GPS chip can be placed near the top cover,
since most satelites are on top, not to the side.

The new iPod touch needs a lower price and Apple can get as many parts
as common between it and the iPhone 3G.

The only other cmagor change for the Touch may be the introduction of
more colours, but I do not consider that a priority, since so many
people use colour cases anyway to protect the screen and the back from

I do also hope that apple put the same minijack from the iPhone so the
iPod Touch can do WiFI calls ( think Skype) via the same stereo
handsfree. That will be very cool and another minor update with a
major impact on functionality.
If this happened, I do not see how apple
Cannot do it's own iChat Mobile Phone.

I personaly expect every major app on Leopard to make it into iPhone
Format one way or another.

Another thing I expect for the new iPod Touch is a camera. Maybe the
same one from the iPhone. Why not? It's price will be now almost

I am just wandering why cannot Apple make an iPod touch from the
iPhone 3G.
Just remove the GSM and the 3G chips plus bluetooth and the speekers,
and the mic. It can also use the same plastic cover minus the
processes making holes for the sim and speaker-mic. This way, anyone
will get a feel for an iPhone without the contract and crazy prices in
some countries.

I doubt that happening, but the iPod Touch cried for more
compatibility in tersm of hardware with the iPhone not only to keep
the price low but also to keep the maximum app compatibility.

In short, here is what I hope to see in the iPod Touch:
1. hardware.
- Minijack
- Camera

2. Software
- GPS navigation APIs
- Voip APIs
- Push Notification Service
- Copy & Paste
- Game Controler APIs

It seams we will only have to wait a few weeks to find out if Apple
will deliver.

Sent from my iPhone