Sunday, August 29, 2010

iRemote - Magical Remote for iOS iTV

There has been a lot of speculation lately about the 4th iteration of the Apple TV. Seams like everybody is content about ii being based on a iOS interface instead of the Front Row like one before. Make sense, not just in terms of expanding its capability but also at finally cracking that "Go To Market Strategy" Steve talked about at the D8.

What people do not seem to have a coherent opinion about is how is Apple planning regular folks to control it. With a rumored price of $99, you can't just put in a $199 iPod Touch as a free remote. Even the regular Apple TV remote sold at $50 seams complicated and expensive.

Apple needs to come up with a really revolutionary device to satisfy what the bloggers have have put forth as a requirement for this remote

The problem in front of Apple is that iOS is touch based operating system. The controls are everywhere and change place in each app. You cannot use a traditional D-pad to navigate among them. Apple needs to find a way to for the users to directly touch stuff on the screen.

To me, something like the Nintendo Wii seams to be the answer. A remote with accelerometer and gyroscope that beams the raw movement data to the iTV via bluetooth or IR. The iTV with it full blow OS then interprets the movement of the hand. There will be some visual element on the screen showing you where you are about the touch.

I also see 3 controls on the device. Sleep/Wake button, Home button and a small trackpad area for 3 basic one finger controls:
1. Click to push item on the screen
2. Double click to zoom
3. Flick to scroll or pan when in zoomed mode.
If you don't have your finger on the mini trackpad the movement on the hand will not be tracked on the screen.

Or maybe all this is just not practical and Apple has a much better idea. What if there are no UI controls on the screen? What if there is only content and the controls are still on the remote?

A little more food for though...
The 1.8x1.8 screen everybody is sure to be the new nano. What if that is part of the new Apple remote?

yeah, maybe I should have explored that idea more. I think I will leave that to Apple.

iEvent or the new Apple Live Event

This Just made my day. Apple has just announced they would be Streaming their Sept 1 even, and by doing so confirmed my entire theory. in this blog post. Looks like somebody actualy reads what I write...Nah, with 3 days notice, who am I kidding.

For well over a decade now, Apple has been holding therese special events where they introduced their hottest new products Usually via a keynote by the CEO Steve Jobs

The idea was that apple could gather around the whole media and unveil its new iStuff in a dramatic and emotional way. Remember Steve taking out the Macbook Air out of an postage envelope?

These days however the media is not what it once was. People do not wait for the newspaper or magazine to come out to read a detailed editorial about what apple unveiled and how. There days people read the live chat of bloggers on the even, posting their own thought snap snapshots of images as the even unfolds.

We have to remember that Apple' CEO has become a master of presentation. His keynotes are very efficient and informative and to think one can report the apple's new product without the full apple message is .... well irresponsible

This kind of live opinion reporting and quoting stuff out of context has created a PR problem for Apple. Taking advantage of the new web technologies and people appetite to know the latest, a few non journalists have become the de facto distributors of the news surrounding apple to the exact audience apple if mostly making products for.

Apple has largely dampened the long term effect of that by releasing the keynote recording in a streamed version shortly after the event and a downloadable version as an podcast a few days later.

Just recently on the WWDC event apple came across a whole new problem arising from the massive hoards of bloggers packing its keynote. The bloggers were bringing with them hundreds in MyFi 3G base stations to connect their laptops to report. As a result Apple CEO could not effectively connect the new iPhone 4 to the room Wifi for a demo as there were 520 WiFi hotspots in the room.

So these bloggers don't just take seats that could otherwise be used by developers who this keynote is for but mess up the message of the apple' CEO and his keynote too.

Time for Apple to unleash the blogger kill switch and turn on live streaming of its events. Everyone should be able to see the Steve Jobs keynotes himself as they happen. Further more every iOS device could receive a push notification about the event 15 min before, so they have a chance to hop on to a WIFi, click on a link an watch it live. Just imagine the price of the iAds running during that media spot.

Apple could potentially do this in the event prior to the one where they amount a music/video streaming service. This will give them the opportunity to test their ability to stream to millions of people all at once.

While such an approach carried a great risk, it also kill the reasons for some of the problems it has been having lately:
- opinion reporting about its products before its updated website can go live
- crashing demoes of its products because of overwhelmed networks
- seas taken by bloggers, not developers

If live video is too much trough to do, perhaps Apple should consider the next best thing - forbid the use of internet while its keynotes occur.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

4th Gen iPod Touch - no GPS again :(

When Apple was about to introduce the 2nd gen iPod Touch, I was sure it will have GPS. I was even more sure just before they unveiled the 3rd gen.

Now, I am convinced they will not do it for the 4th gen either.


Two words: Performance and Battery Life.

The iPod touch, while featuring similar music and video playback times as the iPhone of the same generation, actually has a battery with less than half the capacity. It's battery is only 600 mAh vs the iPhone's 1400 mAh.

Stand alone card GPS devices are big and don't last long without external power.

There is one device out there that has the biggest battery charge per cubic centimeter of electronics ever. Ok, that's just speculation but the fact is that the iPad has one bad ass huge battery and boy does it last.

Yet the WiFi version has no GPS, why?Why is Apple willing to include GPS as part of the WiFi+3G model but not the WiFi only one? It's not the battery this time.

Apple uses what is called A-GPS or assisted GPS. Instead of relying entirely on GPS lock on to triangulate the device position, the iPhone 3G used the WiFi/Cell tower triangulation first.

The result: The iPhone could achieve location lock within few seconds, while a dedicated GPS could take up to a minute.

Apple being religiously zealous about efficiency of design and operation will likely never put a GPS module into a device without a data connection. A-GPS performance is hat good.

With the iPod Touch being WiFi only device, GPS will not be among it's new features.

It will have retina display, gyroscope, front/rear cameras for Facetime, but it will not have GPS unless...

...unless Apple decides to really go for an iPod Touch attack and introduce a Wifi+3G model as well. To revitalize the iPod growth and fend off emerging similar Android devices.

Unfortunately I don't see that happening either for one simple reason. No internal space. The iPod is packed to the gills. Its 7 mm thin. You can't just find a space for a 3G athena, and all the new circuitry.

When iFixit made the iPad teardown, it was truly remarkable how much internal free space there was inside the iPad. That's even if you did not consider the space they left for 3G components.

So the iPod Touch does not have the internal volume and battery capacity to operate a 3G circuit to justify the addition of a GPS unless ....

....unless the iPod also gets a redesign.
Well with the all the recent leaks about iPod Touch with camera casing, it seas Apple will stick with the ergonomic design one more generation.

The reason to keep the iPod Touch design unchanged for a third generation is simple. 3rd Party Accessory and case makers. They would just love to be able to sell their products with with no or minor modifications to an ever expanding pool of customers.

New design requiring more time to mature will also appear spurred by the fact that the iPod Touch is not just a sotware platform with its iOS but very much a hardware one, with its clean design and compatible outline spanning across generations. Did you see the iPod touch case
with GSM athena and slot for SIM card? If it works as advertised, the combination of that case + the new iPod Touch will rule the third world countries. It's the one product Apple refuses to make.

In this world of consumer technology companies like Nokia though us for years that a new phone with a slightly different design every few months is something normal. Now Apple is about to keep the design of its most profitable iPod ever for a 3rd year in a row, likely blasting
in to new highs of sales records and revenue.

Oh the irony!

Sent from my iPhone