Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Target relaunched website - what a disaster

Target did relaunch last week their website. Target did everything than a good job and will eventually lose a lot of money and customers. Target is one of the biggest competitor to Walmart, but with the new website they did lose the race.
Target worked two years to build the new website, mostly to move away from Amazon who did Target's online operation. Target was trying to make it simpler and easier fro their customers, but this did not work out.



This week when they launched the new website, I was lucky enough to have an order lost on along with 10,000 other people. Here are some of the comments on their page… no one likes the new site. Their problems are effecting returns, purchases, quantity of available merchandise, account history, registries and coupons. Pretty lame - if you haven’t checked it out, hurt your eyes and go to .
Amanda Johnson
Your website changes are terrible. I can't access my registry at all >.< Major FAIL.

Mel White
Wondering when you intend to have the website working properly so I can actually do my baby registry? Dosn't work at the store either...

Katie Bean
your new website is terrible! it looks bad and is NOT user friendly!
Ayumi Tomioka
totally, completely, extremely dissatisfied and upset with target new website
Valerie Manke
Your new website is horrible, it doesn't add discounts and it is harder to shop it on a tablet device! What is up with it?
Abbie Rae Menning
So I, as well as many others posting on here, am SO frustrated with the new website and the fact that my wedding shower is a week away and the registry stuff is crap now. And I find it really disappointing to see that Target has stopped responding to peoples posts, or when they do, they tell you to call some number, even though they know you will be on hold for hours. Customer satisfaction is being sucked down to almost non existent, all because a website was launched prematurely.
Nicky Dove
your new webite is the most horrible thing ever!!!!
Shandra Adkison Dean
What is going on with the coupons??? It says the link is no longer available when trying to print them... I'm trying to head out to the store to get some stuff & our Target doesn't have it to where you can print the coupons there! Please get this fixed FAST!!!
Lauren Bell
Please fix the new web structure. It's hard to navigate and it is not working. I can't log into my baby registry and when it says to go to Target Help page, it says that's down.
Alicia VanSloten Barnard
Are you having problems with the coupons on your web page. They aren't printing. =(
Mark Webster
you website suck balls, too much going on keeps freezing, i go to anyother web sit and it is just fine...fix the crap
Xiomy Juarez
why is your new website super slow!?
Candace Knight Milliron
Is there a problem with your couponing page on the website? I keep trying to print two coupons, and I get error messages that the page is no longer available. Thanks!

Talley Spain Williford
Trying so hard to be patient with your new website, but considering I placed an order and it shipped 8 days ago and I cannot search for the order on your website, through the phone system, nor can it by found by your customer service reps I am losing confidence. I never received a tracking number, so I can't track it through the shipper website. I still cannot access any previous orders in addition to this most recent one. Your "contact us" section of the website will not allow any messages to be sent b/c I need to enter "valid questions or comments." My baby registry is inaccessible and this has been going on for like a week now? When will you guys have this straight?

Two years in the making,'s new platform is easier to shop, has faster checkout and more closely resembles the store shopping experience, Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel said in an interview.
Target built the site and will handle all related operations. For the past decade, Target outsourced nearly all of its online operations to Inc. The Seattle online retailing giant provided software to run the website and hosted the sale of Target goods directly through In addition, Amazon ran the call center and most of the warehouse operations for Target, shipped the products to customers and handled customer service.
When the new website launches, Target will no longer sell its wares on Amazon, a Target spokeswoman said.

Target has room to grow. It is only the 22nd largest Internet retailer in the U.S., with $1.33 billion in sales last year, according to trade publication Internet Retailer. In contrast, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ranks as the sixth largest Internet retailer with an estimated $4.4 billion in sales. Amazon is No.1, notching $12.95 billion in sales last year.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:N Westshore Blvd,Tampa,United States

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lion OS the Vista from Apple

Do you guys remember 2006 when Microsoft released the new amazing Vista?
Windows Vista contained many changes and new features, including an updated graphical user interface and visual style dubbed Aero, a redesigned search function, multimedia tools including Windows DVD Maker, and redesigned networking, audio, print, and display sub-systems. Vista aimed to increase the level of communication between machines on a home network, using peer-to-peer technology to simplify sharing files and media between computers and devices.
And then there was under Vista an app store for windows app.

Vista promised to be the closest to Mac OSX as even possible, even better.

I installed Vista on at least 10 computers and non of them worked well with Vista. Vista had from the beginning a lot of issues, the most famous was the high usage of memory and graphic power. Maybe Vista was just ahead of it's time. The computers in 2006 not fast enough and memory to expensive.

Vista was everything but successful and in less than 3 years it got replaced with Windows 7.
5 times more people are still on XP than on Vista, and three times more are using Windows 7 instead of Vista.

Apple released Mac OS X v10.7 "Lion" on July 20, 2011. Which includes native support for the Mac App Store, and brings many other developments made in Apple's iOS, such as an easily-navigable display of installed applications, to the Mac.

Lion is the biggest released since 2001 when cheetah was released (cheetah was the first Unix based Apple OS for the consumer. In 1999, Apple released the first Mac OS X server). Since 2001 every OS update did support PowerPCs. But Lion does only support intel processors and is 64bit instead of 32bit with removed Rosetta, making it incapable of running PowerPC applications.

Lion has many cool changes like improved mail and document auto-save. Within only a few days Lion got multiple million times downloaded which made it the fastest ever sold PC operating software.

As cool the new OS seems, as horrible it is for many people. Many people (I am talking to) are considering to switch back to Snow Leopard.

The first hurdle is, that there is no DVD to install from, you have to download the OS from the app store. Which can take a while. It is a 4 GB download. I would have preferred a similar download like Linux, where you can download the minimum required components and then decide which components you wish to download.

A lot of people complained about the slow download, that Apple now offers to their customers to come to an apple store to either download there or to get a download version on the MAC from the friendly apple employees.

You are even now able to buy a USB stick with the OS installed for $69 at Apple. Which is more than twice as much the download ($29.99 from the app store). I guess USB sticks are expensive.

After the install are the common issues I wrote in an older blog. Flash does not work anymore because Apple decided not to send it with the OS (you have to install flash manually as a download from adobe) many Adobe products having issues and non of the PowerPc apps are working anymore and got even deleted from hard drive.

But besides from these issues, there are many more. Many have reported that their computer is here and there freezing that they have to do hard resets. Network issues and printer issues are not rare neither. And then the new OS is eating memory faster than Joe Chestnut hot dogs.

Almost everybody is complaining about the slower speed of Lion. Overall there seem more problems than positive messages.

The most common problems are (found at
Random crashing that results in a totally black screen
Once the system crashes, it’s a hard reset time.
There’s no solution from Apple yet but it seems that the problem here is down to NVIDIA drivers and forcing the system to use integrated graphics only using a third-party tool (gfxCardStatus) helps alleviate the problem.
[A tipster has emailed in a possible solution - Navigate to ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ (hidden by default, go to it by opening the Go menu in Finder, hold down the Option key and paste the full path above in Go To Folder) and delete all files that containing "windowserver" and then reboot the Mac. This process will need to be repeated if you hook your Mac to an external monitor.]
WiFi dropping
This is annoying (I’m seeing this happen, although not often). Basically the WiFi connection drops and the only way to get it back working is to switch the WiFi adapter off and then back on again.
A temporary solution to this is to create a script that pings periodically.
Poor MacBook Pro battery life
Installing Lion causes a significant drop in battery life.
This might be related to the fact that Lion doesn’t terminate application processes immediately when applications are closed or it could be a graphics driver issue not allowing the system to switch to integrated graphics from discrete graphics (again, gfxCardStatus might be useful).
Viewing videos crash causes freezing on new iMacs
All video types appear to cause the freeze - Flash, H.264, QuickTime, AVIs, MKVs, YouTube …
This is another issue that could be related to graphics card drivers … but perhaps not.

I can support all of them. I installed Lion on a new iMac 27 inch i7 with 16GB RAM and an old MacBookPro with 2GB RAM and should not have done any of this.

I run on my iMac Parallels and it crashes all the time the computer or at least iTunes and parallels. When my time machine is running then Parallels is warning me of performance issues. I guess 16 GB RAM are not enough.

All these new cool features are worthless if the OS is not good. Lion is a great idea but maybe just one or two years to early as Vista was. It is to buggy, Apple should have wait, but I assume, Steve Jobs did push for an earlier release that he can be part of it, as long he is still CEO.

Apple released (since tiger in 2004) every two years a new OS X version. I am 100% it will be this time only 12 months. Apple should have even called Lion MacOS XI because it is almost completely new, but of course for marketing purposes it does sound better if they are still on X version. Who else can say that their OS is still the same like ten years ago.

Lion had more updates in the last 4 weeks than Leopard in 6 months, this should tell us a lot.

There are many tricks to make Lion better, like there were many for Vista, but a good OS would not need such tricks or extra small software for making the OS better.

If I would need to give Lion review stars, I would not give more than 3.5 out of 5.

But maybe it is a smart chess move from Apple. Apparently all new computers which have Lion preinstalled are working like a swiss clockwork, this means we all should sell our existing Macs and buy a new MacBook Air or iMac.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Florida A1A,Miami Beach,United States

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs is stepping down, good or bad?

The CEO of Apple (Steve Jobs) is stepping down and Timmy Cook will be promoted to CEO. Many companies are switching the CEO but non of them had a CEO like Steve. Steve had to left Apple in 1985 and came back in 1996 to help Apple to change. At this time (before Jobs returned) Apple was almost bankrupt and no important hardware player at all.

But with Steve return everything changed. He was able to make Apple to one of the biggest companies in less than 15 years. He is known not as manager but as a leader. He seldom did market research he just decided what people want and was mostly right. There was no research when Apple created the iPad, and if there would have been a research, we still would not have an iPad. But instead sold within 16 months over 26 million iPads and many other manufactures followed with their version of a tablet, but Apple still has 80% of the tablet market.

Wall street reacted on Wednesday, after the announcement, with a drop of 5% in Apple stocks.

Is this a good time for Steve to step down?

There is never a good time when you have success, but it is definitely a better time than 3 years ago.

Apple is not anymore just a company for Apple lovers many iPad, iPhone or iPod owners don't know much about Apple they just know they have an Apple product.
3 or 4 years ago, Apple was still an insider tip with cool products. Mostly bought by people who don't like Windows or did like to have cool looking devices. There were as we'll designers and people who decided Apple is a better fit, but at the end it were people who did put thoughts into buying an Apple product and knew exactly what they are going to buy, who the CEO of the company is and most likely even knew the story behind Apple.

But with the iPhone it started to change (the iPod was just a music player, which could be connected to a windows computer and iTunes. Nothing really changed for a windows user having an iPod) The biggest change came with the iPhone, even if the iPhone can be connected to Windows and iTunes it is different than the iPod, it has it's own (for the user visible) OS. And people liked it, not only the design of the phone (which is revolutionary) but the smooth new way to interact with a phone through a screen as user interface.

I will bet, that if you ask today 10 Apple product owners about Steve Jobs, 8 of them will know Steve and maybe 4 of them know even a little more about him. If you asked 4 years ago 10 people, 9 of them would know almost the whole Apple story.

This said, it is now a better time to step down, because Jobs is not so important for the average Apple user.

However I believe the Apple marathon will come slowly to a stop and it might come another one, but it will be for sure different.

Apple has their roadmap already defined for the next three years but a roadmap of new products does not mean these will be hits. Steve was famous to make very detailed decisions on each product. The white iPhone did got delayed, because he did not like the prototype. Or even for the first iPhone he rejected 3 prototypes before the iPhone finally hit the market. At NEXT it took him 6 months to find the right black for the Next cube.

Apple is much bigger than NEXT but the principal is still the same. Steve Jobs had the last saying for major products.

Without having him with his vision, the path will change. Please don't misunderstand, there a a lot of brilliant people at Apple and many might think they have better taste than Jobs, they know more about design etc. And this is for sure true and sure is, that one person at Apple came up with the iPhone 4 design, but at the end Steve gave his thumbs up. Steve is known as a risk taker who had many times good feelings or luck, and it worked very well out.

We already saw during his medical leave a big difference not having him driving the car. The few keynotes he did not oversee had gone pretty bad for Apple terms. Presentations did not work, wifi went down etc. Nothing big, but just not so perfect, as when Steve is controlling everything.

Every company which has a leader of such long time has the DNA of the leader, if this person steps down the DNA will change, there is no doubt.

His vision will die, because most of his vision is not yet known by the company or himself. Maybe it helps that is biography is coming out earlier as planed that all Apple executives can read it and maybe absorb some of his DNA.

I believe Steve did build a great team around him which does not need to be orchestra by him, but I believe as well Apple will change.

What will happen?

Who knows, but I could imagine that Tim Cook will give Apple a different DNA. When Bill Gates stepped down and Steve Ballmer took over, Microsoft changed too, but not to the worse. One known as the company with the number one OS on computers is now more an Enterprise company with solutions for big and mid size companies with products like Dynamics, SharePoint etc. Microsoft is still a big or even bigger company than10 years ago but a total different focus than under Bill Gates.

Microsoft changed and so will Apple. Maybe Apple finally will start to concentrate on businesses and maybe in 5 years the consumer part of Apple is only half of the business and not anymore 99% of the business.

Maybe Apple will go more into services and less hardware hence Tim Cook is more known for automation than product design.

Either way, I believe Apple will change and we will see this as soon as in the next 12 months it might be for better or for worse.

A high risk is the stock market, it might that now everybody is selling their stock in fear stock price will go down, this could be a cascading effect and could hurt Apple a lot. If the stock is down, Apple would react, either replacing Tim Cook or other executives, or trying to come up very fast with other products, which then might not as good in quality as we are used to. The biggest mistake Apple could do, is to look at their stock price and to react if the price falls too much. They need now to hang into it for the next 6 months till price got stable again.

We all will miss Steve and wish him all the best. He might have been for employees a pain in the butt or vendors might not have liked him, but he was one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the 21st century without having a famous university degree.

I always had the dream to work for Apple, but not only because of the products but because of his genius. I think in some ways he formed how I today make decisions as a manager and I am pretty sure I am not the only manager inspired by Steve.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finally there is a market for tablets other than iPads

The iPad is on the market since April 2010 and already in it's second version and soon the 3rd generation will come out. Multiple other tablets from HB, RIM, Motorola and other manufactures came on the market in last year but still all other tablets together are just make 20% of the tablet market. The Apple iPad has still 80% market share. This is amazing. It seems there is no market for anything different than the iPad. But why is this? For me a tablet is a tablet, like a PC is a PC, what is the difference?
The difference is big. Non of the other tablets can yet compete with the iPad in design, weight or battery power. Some have faster processors (like Motorola Xoom) or have maybe a better OS like the HP touchpad (webOS) or higher security and business relevance (like the RIM playbook) than the iPad. Or some have cable less charging or Android OS which is on more phones than iOS. Some dan even play flash (which the iPad can't)

But non of them can offer the same package. Apple's iPad is light, has a long battery life, has a very stable OS and offers over 50,000 iPad native applications through the app store. The price starts at $499 and goes up to $829.

If would look at a matrix you would see that only the iPad offers right now all these features by being not much more expensive than the competition.

But since a few days we found the secret to get Apple from the throne. HP decided to discontinue their touchpad, after very poor sales. HP produced million of touchpad in the hope they will sell really well. And we have to admit it was not a bad tablet, there were many reviews that the webOS is actually pretty slick and working well on the touchpad. However there are not many apps yet available (btw the Facebook app is actually pretty good). The touchpad is heavier than the iPad and the battery needs to be recharged much faster than the iPad battery.

HP reduced the price for touchpad to $99 and up to $149 (bigger model). And suddenly we all went crazy to get one. I even drove instantly to BestBuy to get one. However I had no luck ,they were sold out like everybody within hours after the low price went public.

The only company which did not go as low in the price was Amazon. They sold it still for $289 which is still a discount of $200.

Many people bought the touchpad to sell it over eBay.

The 32GB versions goes in eBay right now in average for $300 which $150 more than the price would have been at Bestbuy.

Why is now everybody going crazy to get one? It is the price.

People don't buy the iPad because it is so much better than the others. They buy the iPad because of the package. Always a little better than the others in one or the point but not much more expensive. It is the same if you would need to choose between a Mercedes and Lexus and both would be similar models but the Mercedes would be only a few hundred $ higher. Most of the people would buy the Mercedes (if the Mercedes is overall a little better and nicer looking) and not the Lexus especially if all other choices would not be cheaper.

Many people do buy right now a tablet because they think they need one but don't really know why. At this point they prefer to buy something they know won't be wrong instead of a tablet which might be good but is not given.

Hopefully all manufactures did learn from the HP craziness. If they are smart, they are going to reduce the tablet price to around $300 for a 32 GB model and I bet the market would change very fast. The price of course would bring the margin down to 0% and unfortunately these manufactures are not in the same situation like Apple and have services they can sell through the iPad.

The only company right now who could do this is amazon, when they come out with their tablet, because they have enough services like ebooks, movies and Music service to make enough money on this to allow to have no margin on their tablet. Amazon will not succeed if they are too close with their tablet price to the Apple iPad.

Another new player in this game could be googlerola (google just recently bought Motorola). They would have the hardware competence, OS and services which would allow them to sell the tablets to 0% margin and still make money on the services offered around the tablet.

However google might only be interested in the patents from Motorola and not the hardware. And even if they are going to keep the hardware business, it would take at least 12 months till we would see an improved Googlerola tablet for the half of the price than today.

As an example netbooks only sold so well because of the low price. They were so much cheaper than an full notebook that it was a no-brainer to buy a netbook if you want to have something mobile and cheap. But then they died with the iPad because the iPad is just a little more expensive but so much more mobile and user friendly.

At the end we can see there is a market for tablets in the low price range. All this HP hypes on Facebook and twitter are showing us that tablet is the new notebook an there is a market in the lower segment and this market is big, very big. The company which will be able to get the lower income people to buy their tablets will be later the market leader.

Usually I would say the manufacture who is able to be number one seller to businesses will be the winner, but corporate world is slow in terms of tablets and it will still take 2 years till we see more tablets than notebooks in offices.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Why google+ is so important for google

Google started with their latest social network a couple of months ago and it is already reaching 40 million users. Right now over 80% are male. Facebook on the other side has a slightly higher female user base than males.
Google+ is still beta but every beta user can invite over 150 other people to join google+ as long these people have a gmail account.

Google+ is of course important for google to be a competition to Facebook and to be in the social market. However one of the most important parts is the social integration into search.

Google is still number one search engine, but it needs to have new features and if possible social features to stay in the first place.

Many search results are for us not always relevant, even if they are maybe based on our location or our surfing behavior. However we users tend to read articles from people we know. Google+ plus gives us this ability.
When you are logged into google plus and you use google to search you will find search results with the content written from google+ users you know.

I searched for "touchpad" and got in the first result page two articles written from google+ members in my circles.

This gives google a big advantage to bing which belongs to Microsoft (Microsoft has investment in Facebook). Same search with bing does not have anything similar as results even if they would be able to show in results FB friends if they are authors to relevant articles.

Both people shown in google are not displayed in bing, even if I am friend with them in FB.

I always said in the past that google has more results than bing, but if I need to find people or social information than bing is better. I think this is changing now with the growth of google+.

Google+ will grow and hopefully get more female users in the mix and not just geeks. But when google+ will reach 100 million in will get again a big growth because suddenly many search results will show the authors names and pictures.

This is for me one of the biggest advantages to Facebook. Facebook is trying to push their search within FB however results are only within Facebook content and will be never a replacement for a real search engine. We want to get results from all websites and not only from FB content.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Apple goes beyond OS and hardware

It is now 4 years since Apple introduced their first iOS device, the iPhone. Not only that it was revolutionary to offer a phone with being almost the full front as screen but it did as well have no physical keyboard, not many buttons and no pen as an input device.

There were many critics why the iPhone will not succeed. Cnet did write up 15 reasons why the iPhone will not be a hype. Among the high price was. As well critics on the touchscreen.
11. Just how useful is the touch screen? The iPhone user interface looks elegant, innovative, and easy-to-use, but is it the best interface for a device like this?
Whenever you do anything, the iPhone will command your full visual attention. "No buttons" may be sexy, but it also means you can't do anything without looking at the phone.
The iPhone's iPod usability may suffer even worse from the touch screen. Have you ever tried to operate an iPod while it's in your pocket? You can do it, but it's hard. The iPhone will make blind iPod-surfing downright impossible.
That said, it looks like the iPhone will eliminate accidental pocket-dialing once and for all.

Every critic was wrong, the iPhone is now the most popular phone ever, it got even sold more than the RAZR from Motorola.

But much more astonishing is that the iPhone iOS multiple gesture input got copied by Android, RIM, Windows 7 mobile and all other touchscreen OS.
Pinch, wipe and zoom are just a few functions which now every touch screen device has.

It might look today obviously to wipe or to use two fingers to zoom, but before Apple nobody did seem to have this idea.

It is today such a standard that I see people trying to do this on normal monitors just to figure out they are not touch screens.

I use with my iMac the touch pad and mighty mouse and find myself many times to try to replicate the gesture movements on my Windows mouse with of course no luck.

The new way to navigate through websites or applications is so normal after just 4 years that even commercials or replicating this without anybody asking what the people in the commercial are doing.

Apple clearly does more than just computers and software, they change our thinking and behavior. The notebook might be in few years in the same situation like the typewriter and we will find notebooks only in museums.

Do you remember when Apple stopped to have 3.5 inch disks drives in their computer? At least 2 years ahead than other manufactures. Apple is a trendsetter and as long they can keep up with, as long Apple will dominate.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No iPad 3 this year and new iPhone in October

If the rumors are right then we will not get a new iPad this year but a new iPhone in October which can be preordered in late September.

Of the news is disappointing and the other is very good.

The iPad 3

I think it is really good news not to bring an iPad 3 this year. Rumors were out that the iPad 3 will be available in September, but honestly two iPads in one year would be too much. The price is much higher than a smart phone and buying two iPads in one year is not cheap. And as we know, always when a new version comes out, Apple is reducing the previous version in price. I would not find it cool to see after 6 months that my iPad is now 20% cheaper. One thing I always liked at Apple was the long product life time and price stability. A new iPad would have not been good. If Apple keeps a 12 months cycle then it is much more likely that the new product will be much better than the previous with more new features. The next iPad should be at least 2 mm thinner, should have retina display and maybe cable less charging. Apple does good not to offer a new iPad this year which has maybe just a faster processor. The time is not right yet. Maybe in a few years where not many new features can easily build in, or when it is not anymore possible to make the iPad lighter or thinner and we are all moved from notebook to iPads, then Apple can start to offer every 3 months an iPad with faster processor and bigger hard drive. And to be clear, that Apple can keep up such high demand is only possible if they can get a lot of media hype when a new version comes out. Reducing the cycle to 6 or less months will not guaranty media hypes. Compare it with DELL or all other computer manufactures, they bring every three month a new version of their products on the market, but really no press cares. We might find info in special review websites, but there is no prime time press coverage. When was it the last time that CBS reported a new DELL computer in the evening news? You can't answer? Me neither, but I know since 2007 every new iPhone or iPad was in the big news.
If the rumors are right, then I am happy to save money. However if an iPad 3 is coming out this year, then it has better a faster processor, better cameras and retina display or I would be disappointed by Apple.

I believe in two years you can order the iPad online with not only the ability to choose provider and memory but as well to choose the processor and color of the iPad (not only white and black). I can see that we can choose between four processors and up to 256GB with eight frame colors. This would be awesome. The smallest iPad for $499 and up to $1299 for the really fast quad core processor and 256 GB memory.

The iPhone 5

Rumors are out that the iPhone 5 release date will be later than previously expected, due to software that otherwise won’t be ready.

The news comes from AllThingsD, and is at odds with earlier reports that indicated that the device would actually be available earlier, during September. Next generation iPhone rumors are pouring in these days, as we’re getting closer to the launch of the device. That conflicts with a report from tech blog Gizmodo, which has passed along a supposed email from an AT&T employee claiming that employee vacation requests for late September have been denied. “Historically the only time they’ve done this was for an iPhone release,” reads that email. “So we’re looking at the last two weeks of September.” “I don’t know why AT&T’s calling for all hands on deck those weeks, but it’s not for an iPhone launch,” one source said.

I tend to believe AllthingsD. But at the end is disappointing. Not only that we had to wait 18 months for a new iPhone but as well that the new iPhone will not have 4G.

Either way, Apple seems to be ready for a new iPhone. At least it looks like they are working on the redesign of the iPhone page. And accidentally showed a lot of text layered on each other.

The only selectable layer reads: “Only iPhone gives you one-tap access to the world’s largest collection of mobile apps.” Underneath the text layer, other fragments can be seen, such as “retina,” ostensibly from the usual slide that rotates on the iPhone page. Found by the

The question is, what will be different with the iPhone 5 than iPhone 4?. First of all it will hopefully have the A5 or A6 processor and a slightly bigger screen (4inch). The screen might not be wider but longer. The home button might be now integrated into the screen instead of being a button. Steve Jobs never liked buttons. Maybe it has (what I doubt) conducting charging like other phone built in. It might have an NFC chip and Stereo speakers. It is expected that the new iPhone can handle GSM and CDMA, to allow Apple to build only one iPhone. Most likely (as you can see on the image above) it might be thinner and not flat anymore. However I hope it does not change it's form factor, I am tired of buying all the time new accessories. Maybe (to be fancy) the iPhone has no buttons at all anymore and everything as the front, sides and back are touch screens. But this is very unlikely.
it seems that iPhone will not have yet 4G. Apple is testing LTE right now (rumors are saying) but if so, then there is no way it will have 4G in October. Apple would be done with testing in August when the first iPhone went onto the assembly line.
Not having 4G is the biggest disappointment for me. Because all other enhancement are ok but not really the hammer for selling. The only other reason besides 4G for me to switch to a new iPhone would be the processor. My iPhone 4 has already issues with simple games like Angry Birds. Many times the game slows down, of course one reason is the poor coding execution.
I have friends at ATT and Verizon and none of them does know what features the new iPhone will have and if screen or case will be different. And these guys are usually informed enough to know 2 months earlier what features their new phones in stock will have.

Regardless of features or form factor, the release day of the iPhone 5 will be exactly the same day iOS 5 comes out, there is no way that Apple would release one or the other first. Because iOS is perfectly build around the iPhone 5, this is for sure.

Regardless what the next iPhone 5 will be it is already a bit in China.
At least one online coupon website and more than 100 online shop owners on, China's biggest online auction website, have provided pre-order links online for the next generation of the iPhone (source

Many Taobao sellers said they would start shipping the iPhone 5 between September 5 and September 7, which is around the time most industry insiders expect the smartphone to debut.
Most iPhone 5 for pre-order are being sold on Taobao from 4,000 yuan (US$625) to 7,000 yuan each.
Apple Inc, whose iPhone 4 and iPad tablets have wowed consumers around the world, declined to comment on the issue or the iPhone 5 release date.
Meituan, a Beijing-based Groupon-like website, announced that it will hold a lucky draw with the top prize being an iPhone 5. Users registering on the website or following the website on Sina Weibo will have the opportunity to win the iPhone 5, according to Meituan.

In July, Apple reported its China revenue grew six times in its fiscal third quarter ended on June 30 due to booming sales of iPhones and iPads.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Monday, August 15, 2011

Google to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings, but why?

To strengthen its mobile business, Google announced on Monday that it would acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings, the cellphone business that was split from Motorola, for $40 a share in cash, or $12.5 billion.

Motorola is second biggest cell phone manufacture in the world.

And according to the Motorola phantom 4G is even the second best smart phone on the market.

But in June 2011 data from Nielsen for the US shows that Motorola is only number 5 smart phone manufacture:

Motorola did fail to have same success with smart phones as they had it with the RAZR. Over the RAZR's four-year run, Motorola sold more than 130 million units, becoming the best-selling clamshell phone in the world (and is still today).

However Motorola is still a big name under cell phones and had the first real competition to Apple iPhone with the DROID.

The offer, Google’s largest ever for an acquisition is 63 percent above the closing price of Motorola Mobility shares on Friday. Many Motorola manufactures phones run on Google’s Android software and is therefore a good fit. The acquisition will bring Google very close to Apple in terms of phone manufacturing.

But Motorola would bring much more to the table. Google would gain 17,000 patents and a lot of service.

When Google first started to sell their own HTC phone called Nexus One, it was a disaster. The phone was only sold on Google website and Google was not able to give the needed customer support. Buying Motorola would Google give expertise in service and a sales force which knows already to get phones into retail stores.

This buy could catapult Google very far on top and shows where Google want to go next. If the deal goes through, it will take at least 12 months till we the merger comes to success, however the Motorola unit could help Android OS a lot. The biggest issue for Android is the variety of different phones and form factors. Therefore many Android OS versions are on the market and the user seldom knows which one is available for the phone. And it makes harder for developer to build and test an app against all Android phones and Android OS versions.

Apple success is, that there is only one phone with max 3 generations (iPhone 2 is not anymore with latest OS supported). This makes it so easy for Apple to build a perfect OS and easier for developer to build apps. As a result most iPhone apps are better in quality and iPhone users are more willing to pay for an app. The iOS is much smoother and iPhone users tend (maybe for these two reasons) to download more apps and listen to more music than Android users.

An Android user (as shown in Nielsen info graph) has a higher average Data usage than iPhone but overall less app downloads or online gaming. The higher data usage could result of less app quality and therefore more unnecessary package transfers.

If Google is smart, which I believe, then they will first dump all Motorola devices which are not using Android or which are not smart phones. Then they should take the top two models, like the phantom 4 and build their OS perfect for these models hardware.

Google would not do good, if they would keep all current Motorola models which are currently 32.

Having their own Android phone and the right sales and service behind is all Google needs to strengthen their OS. Even if Android is an open OS it is sometimes better not to have too much diversity.

Smartphones are much more than hardware. Smart phones are service hubs. Search, music, social every thinkable Internet service is combined in a smart phone and the better the OS is calibrated to the hardware the better these services are working.

And the future and money is in services and not hardware or OS. Apple already understands this concept and therefore they are building an infrastructure which will give the user no other chance then using their services. I am still cursing the day I bought my first iMac computer, from this day on I was married to Apple and even if I would like to get divorced today, I could not easily because of iTunes, and how well all my devices are connected to each other.

I am wondering if the Motorola Xoom is a part of the mobility holding (according to the website, yes) then Google does get much more, not only the smart phones but as well tablets, software, baby phones, two way radios, navigation devices and 17.000 patents.

Google could be from one day to another a second Apple, selling phones, tablets and other Android devices and would have finally an online store.

The $12.5 billion is a good investment to move out of "search" and "advertising" and to go from virtual to products which people can touch and Ro bind them to Google only devices.

Google has over $39 billion in cash and the $12.5 billion would not hurt but could bring a lot.

Maybe we see soon Google stores next to Apple stores.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How I missed to get 250.000 downloads and 3 million in funding

Almost two years ago I pitched to my company and some friends an idea I had and even did blog about the idea last year. The idea was kind of simple but maybe good after all. We are many times somewhere shopping for something and don't really know if we should buy it or not. We could read reviews but they are mostly written from people we don't know. Usually we get influenced by friends, we ask them and if they say it is a great pants, tool or toy we will buy. I don't know how many people I converted to iPads. But mostly they bought it not because everybody says it is a cool device, but because their friends (mostly me) told them it is cool.

Therefore I came up with the idea of "Help me Choose". An app which allows you to make a picture and then send to your friends. They can then put thumbs up or down.

Since last year there are a few apps with a similar idea. One app is called Got try it on but right now limited to clothes. The founders just secured 3 Million in funding.
Users upload a photo or use a Webcam to show an outfit and solicit advice from other users. The service, which is one of several trying to make online shopping more social, started last year, and so far 250,000 people have downloaded the app and commented on outfits 10 million times. Most of the users are young women, and 30 percent live abroad.

It is a free app and still limited. The app has yet no revenue stream but the founders are talking about similar approach as I wrote. Like letting brands pay for allowing to give better info about the product. I want to see if they as well will come up with the point system I had in mind to engage users to use the app and to vote.

I think this is the future of social and I am mad with myself that I did not brought my idea to life.

I don't see a FB anymore necessary as a social platform it is more like tons of little social apps working independent of each other but maybe connected to FB, Google+ and twitter. Got try it on is limited to people who are member to to website and have the app. I would recommend to this company to extend it to FB, google+ and twitter. To allow to get from more "real friends" feedback. And the app should open it's niche to electronics and other retail products. Having a good revenue idea can make this app big and eventual replace reviews, which I never trusted.

Here is my blog from September last year Got Try it on started April 2010 a few months before I wrote my blog, however i has the concept already written in 2009. But clearly my fault. I did not execute and must see now how much funding i could have gotten and how many people would use the service.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Google+ games are now available

Google+ offers now games like Facebook. However there are not many games yet which will change soon. Unfortunately google seems to make a mistake like FB. Granted the idea is good that games messages are not showing in your normal stream as prominent as in FB, but google seem not to understand that many users are using iPads or Android slates for their daily google+ usage.

But first to new games feature. Google+ added on top one more icon for games, where the user get a list of available games. At least it is much easier to find games with google+ but only now because there are not many games. I am missing a games search. You can use the find people search to find games but a special game search would be great. Finding games at FB is not possible if you don't know for what game you are looking for, I hope google does not do same mistake.
Install is easy. Click on the game and allow the game access to your info.

But here comes the problem. If you use your iPad, you have to switch to desktop version to see the games and to be able to play the games. Here comes the next problem, some of the games are developed in flash and require flash 10 player which even Android tablets mostly don't have.

Some games are done in html5 which allows to be played on the iPad. However the iPad will always switch to mobile version when you navigate to another page. I guess google does not want you to use desktop version on your iPad.

Other games like Angry Bird are recognizing that your are using the iPad and ask you if you want to download instead the Angry Bird version for the iPad. Which is odd because I have already Angry Birds installed. Why does it not open my Angry Birds instead going to the app store? On the other hand I might want to play in google+ Angry Birds to get better ranking because there are less players playing, but I did not get the chance. And Angry Birds has no google+ connect yet to post scores etc to google plus. The games are either to play in google+ plus or are not connected at all to google+.

After all it is important to have games on google+ because most people do play games on social networks, but I was hoping that google does a better job with integration and does not allow old technologies like flash, especially that many mobile devices don't have flash or only limited flash. After all social works best on globile (smart phone) and lobile (iPads etc.). Desktops and notebook are more and more only for business use and we better don't do too much on social networks through company network and on company devices.

Google+ gets from me right now only a C+.

What do you think about google+ games, do they do it right, or should google have wait a little?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Samsung Galaxy 10 inch in Europe (only in Netherlads)

Apple did win for now against Samsung and therefore Samsung is not allowed to sell their Galaxy tablet in Europe Union besides Netherlands.

The main reason why Apple did not want to have the Galaxy sold, is the too similar design to the iPad.

I think there is more behind than cloning the iPad. The Galaxy does look little similar but is it not normal when creating a tablet? Should have Samsung put handles on the Galaxy or external antennas or maybe made it round that it does not look like the iPad?

There is not much vendors can do when the goal is to have a 10 inch tablet, very light and sophisticated looking. Look at desktop computers. They all look similar, even notebooks are now closer to Apple notebooks.

Honestly I don't like neither that many japanese cars look like Mercedes or BMW, but it is as it is. If the price is lower or quality better then we buy it.

I understand that Apple has patents (not that I agree on our patent system in the US) and did spend a lot of money and research to make the iPhone as a 9.7 inch device. But Steve, you honestly do not think we believe you that it is about the design.

Europeans have usually a less brand affiliation than Americans and sometimes they even tend not to buy a leading brand, because the brand has too much market share and control.

But more important is the picing strategy from Apple, that usually a device in Europe costs the same as in the US but in Euro which makes the poducts 30% more expensive. Apple is in the most part following this price philosophy and therefore the other vendors can score very easily by reduced prices.

And then, Apple does have in Europe much less stores than in the US.
The iPad maker has 52 stores in the region, compared to 238 in the United States.
Acerbic, Asus, HP, Motorola, Samsung and the other tablet companies have a much better and deeper experience dealing with local distributors. If Samsung would be able to sell the Galaxy they could have the device in thousands of stores over night.

Right now there is no competition on the horizon and Apple might be holding major of the tablet market till 2015. The biggest mistakes the other vendors did, was to build and sell 7 inch tablets. Surveys did show that the consumer does prefer 10 inch because 7 inch is too small as a tablet. As a result all other vendors starting to build 10 inch versions of their tablets.

There is a big chance that Apple will in 12 months not anymore dominate the European market like they do it in the US. Already now, Apple iPad has in Europe only 70% market share but in the US 80%.

I remember when I went in 2005 to Germany to visit my family, that only one of 4 mpg players were iPods. But in the US almost everybody had iPods. so I asked some people why they don't have iPods? Two standard answers. Either because iPods are just too expensive and don't do more than other mpg players, or because they did not want to support a big arrogant company.

Apple had with the iPhone in 2010 in Europe only 18% market share, but in the US 28%.

The same could happen with the iPad.

Now we know why Samsung is so eager to get into Europe market with their Galaxy and why Apple does not want this to happen.

I am disappointed that Apple is playing the patent card instead of doing what they are the best. Keep building new toys which have best usability, best battery live and do look just perfect. Even if the Galaxy looks not much different, the battery life is shorter, the usability is not as good as the iPad and it is still heavier. If Apple does fear this, then I don't know what will come next.

I am actually right now pretty annoyed about all these patents fights going on. Apple against Samsung, Google against Microsoft, Microsoft against Motorola and so on.

It is time that our patent rules a getting changed.

(info and statistics from Forrester, The firm surveyed nearly 14,000 online consumers throughout Europe to find that between 2 and 7 percent of consumers surveyed own a tablet and 10 to 14 percent are interested in buying one. Tablet ownership was highest in Spain and lowest in France. Interest in tablets was highest in Germany.).

Samsung is not allowed to sell the Galaxy in Europe, but i am wondering if I could sell them from the US through my online store to Europe? Could be the big deal. I should start to count my winnings.

Let me know what your thoughts are about the whole patents fights?

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NYTimes goes crowd sourcing

4 years ago I did work at one of the pioneers of professional crowd sourcing for software development. utilizes a crowd of over 200,000 developers to build enterprise applications, websites or Mashups for companies like AOL, Fidelity etc.

Jack Hughes founded TopCoder in 2001 and brought the company to Inc 500. The biggest difference to other crowd sourcing is that everything is done in competition and only the bests will win which helps to deliver better software.

TopCoder has competitions in these areas:
Algorithms (competition length about 2 hours): Competitors are given a set (usually three) of algorithmic problems and have 75 minutes to correctly solve as many as they can.
Design (competition length 1 week): Competitors are given a set of user requirements and attempt to convert them into a usable software design specification. Their efforts are judged on a variety of "real-world" criteria on how correct and practical their design is.
Development (competition length 1 week): Competitors are given a set of design specification and attempt to write software components that match those specification. These components are judged on their functionality and coding style.
Marathon Matches (competition length 1 or 2 weeks): Contestants are given a particularly difficult algorithmic problem. The scoring is done by computer based on criteria specifically suited to the problem.
Studio (competition length varies): Contestants are asked to show off their creative skills in a competitive environment.
Assembly TopCoder has created Assembly Competitions as an extension of Component Design and Development Competitions. Through these competitions, competitors create high quality applications using completed components and TopCoder's established competitive method.
Bug Races Project teams, clients and members are able to log bugs they find in software developed and supported by TopCoder. TopCoder will communicate these bugs to the member community. Bugs that are open to the community will be posted on the Active Bug Races page.

Many companies did follow this principle without doing a competition, but with understanding that it is easier and cheaper to let the crowd develop software instead hiring thousand of developers. Take as an example, the true secret behind their success is not only their very innovative CRM but their appExchange platform. Companies or single developers can offer and build new plugins or extensions for Appexchange allowed SFDC to offer constantly new products around their CRM to make it more attractive without doing the development. There thousands of add ons like project management or outlook integration.

Or take Facebook as an example. Facebook would have been not half as successful without their application platform. There are uncountable FB apps the user can choose from and people on Facebook install 20 million applications every day.

The iPhone or android phones would have been never so successful if there were only a few apps available. We can see right now the success of the iPad and the poor performance of Android tablets. Android tablets might have already overtaken the iPad, if their application pool would have been bigger.

Before the experts will complain, I am aware that these examples are not really crowd sourcing. Crowd sourcing origin is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a "crowd"), through an open call.

For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task, refine or carry out the steps of an algorithm, or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data.

However the salesforce, Facebook or Apple App store is for me a derive of crowd sourcing. They all had the task that they need to have a lot of extra features or functions to support their platform or device to attract the consumer. Therefore they did build an open API to allow others to develop new functions or apps. But to take advantage of it they did build a marketplace or one location where the consumer can find all offers around the main product. It is like accessories. We never tend to buy a computer if there are not enough accessories available.

Facebook,, Google and Apple are following the long tail strategy. Long Tail is describing the retailing strategy of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities – usually in addition to selling fewer popular items in large quantities.

(Finally I coming to the point) The NYTimes is now doing the same. They created beta620.

Beta620 is the NYTimes version to get the best and latest features for their website or iPad application without hiring product managers.

Beta620 welcome text:
At The New York Times, our software engineers, journalists, product managers and designers are constantly striving to create new and innovative ways to present news and information and interact with our readers. Yet it’s often difficult to try out new inventions on the world’s largest newspaper Web site. That’s why we created beta620, a new home for experimental projects from Times developers — and a place for anyone to suggest and collaborate on new ideas and products.

Many of these projects will live only on beta620. But a few, like the innovative Times Skimmer, which started out as an entry in one of our internal technology contests, will “graduate” to become full-fledged products on our main site or our mobile apps.

beta620 will also be a place where Times developers interact with readers to discuss projects, and incorporate community suggestions into their work. So, please, take a look around, and play with our new toys. We’re eager to hear what you think.

At the end it is a mix out of idea tank open to public and test platform for new products.

The whole beta620 is supported through The NYTimes developer network. Right now there are only projects on beta620 which are developed from NYT developers, however the developer network beta might merge in some point with beta620 together.

I have to say this makes sense for me. NYTimes is a very big newspaper but need to find new ways to generate revenue and to keep or gain their readers. If NYTimes will start to have their own app marketplace and people can modify their NYT experience as they wish with any function they want, then why should we need Google or Facebook?

Maybe NYT is on something, maybe they figured out that Facebook is great for keeping up with family, friends, wonna be friends and people we would like to remember why we friend them. But it is not the place to get news and celebrity info or any info we can rely on it's really important and relevant.

NYT could offer both, or be just a social network for news. But to get there, they need the long tail with their blue ocean strategy (Blue Ocean Strategy is a business strategy by creating new demand in an uncontested market space, or a "Blue Ocean", than by competing head-to-head with other suppliers for known customers in an existing industry.)

We all should keep an eye on NYTimes to see what their real strategy is.

The NYTimes app for the iPad is now 4 weeks in a row stable with no crash. The worst app OS for me now editions by AOL.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Monday, August 8, 2011

Touch on the iPad is just the beginning

Apple did something revolutionary and did take the keyboard away from the netbooks, gave it a touch screen a fast mobile OS and called it iPad. Notebook and especially netbook sales slowed growing down and even declined since the iPad came on sale.

The statistic is one year old and the overall PC market slowed down, however Apple did take a big piece from the netbook market. last year Apple sold almost 15 million iPads and is expected to sell this year 44 million. All netbooks from all vendors did sell in 2010 together 33 million. And is expected to sell 30 million this year. I give netbooks not more than two years.

As great the iPad as, it is not yet a notebook replacement as I wrote in many blogs, but it will come. For now the iPad is mostly in use to read, surf the internet, to watch movies and to play.

But the iPad could be so much more, if we would go beyond touch. The iPad has a camera which could read gestures and has a microphone for voice control. However developers are not yet utilizing these features and Apple is not yet pushing for it.

The latest iOS 5 beta 5 version has a little microphone symbol on the virtual keyboard, which could indicate that voice control is coming soon. Knowledge should have Apple enough. They bought in April 2010 Siri which had their little butler app. Siri was specialized in voice search. By tying together various APIs from across the Web, from such services as OpenTable, Twitter, and Rotten Tomatoes, among many others, Siri has concocted a voice search that relies more on natural speech. With so many services to search, Siri also specializes in directing its software to find the right service for the best answer.

And then there is the collaboration with Nuance which makes Dragon an awesome speak to text app for the car. You speak your SMS that you don't need to touch your phone during driving.

The iPad is not as mobile as the iPhone. I think we can call the iPhone globile (global mobile, we take it everywhere and use it everywhere, even on the Mount Everest). And from now one I will call the iPad lobile. Lobile is a combination out of local and mobile. The fact is, we don't use the iPad everywhere we can to any time. We usually take the iPad to a place and then we use it there within a radius of 60 feet. We start to read on the coach, then we take the iPad to the kitchen to drink a coffee and to keep reading and so on.

But a lobile device needs more than touch. I have two hobbies and I am always frustrated that there is no app for what I am looking for. Even if Steve Jobs like to say there is an app for everything.

Did you ever cook? I do a lot, and before the iPad was even in the news as the new fancy device, I had build a 15 inch touchscreen with RDP to my computer in the office. The touch screen was mounted in the kitchen as recipe book. My wife and I like to cook and have tons of recipes. I was sick to print recipes out and did build a small recipe app and saved all recipes in there.

I sold my little 15 inch device on eBay, as soon the iPad came out and we use since then the iPad as recipe book. The dream of each amateur chef. Stop!!! Not so fast. Yes i use the iPad to look up recipes and guess what I still print them. Any idea why? Guess what happens when you cook? All get wet? Not necessary. But your hands are getting dirty, and you can't touch your screen without making the screen dirty.

The second little hobby, i have, is to work on my motorbike and my RC car in the garage. Actually it is even more. I like a lot of projects where I can use my hands to build something. As an example I did build last year a 4foot * 4foot * 8foot wood box for a magic trick.

It does not matter what I do in the garage, I like to have my iPad with me. When I am working on my bike I have a technical manual open to see where each part goes etc.

When building wood things, like the box, I look at my drawings on my iPad to know how I need to cut the wood.

But all the time I have something in both hands or they are pretty dirty.

Or imagine you have breakfast and you read the NYTimes. In one hand your coffee and in the other hand a bagel.

Did you ever ask yourself why we can't just wave our hand in front of the iPad? Or just could say next or play etc?

This is the next step for lobile devices. We need to be able to communicate with our device without touching it. It would be simpler as many think. Voice control could be limited to 8 words and gestures to 4. This is all we need. Start, stop, next, back, play, pause, continue, close. Or wave your hand from left to right from top to bottom from right to left and from bottom to top.

I hope the little tiny microphone will not just an icon but an indicator that voice control will be standard in the API and then we will see many cool apps.

Google, meanwhile, has voice-enabled every text field within Android, which lets users dictate text into anyplace it is possible to type. Google even has voice search in the official Google Search app for iOS. Further, Android users can perform actions such as "Call Bob's Cell" and have their phone automatically perform that action. iPhone has as well some voice control to call your contacts and it works more or less ok and is yet not so sophisticated like the Android voice control. But again even Android does not go far enough. I would prefer touch to fill out a form because of my accent, but for recipes app, manual and news, why not using voice or gesture?

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Apple is killing app prices

Remember a few years back when we had to pay for an ok game at least $29 for our PC?
Or if we searched for other software, we had either to pay at least $80 or needed to get freeware or shareware. Most of the freeware or shareware apps were just not working right.

And then came Apple with a smart phone as powerful as computers in 2004. The iPhone and Apple changed the software landscape. In 2008 the app store opened and in just a few years the store has over 449,000 apps with an average app price of $2.40 (games $1.05) and almost 40% of the apps even free.
Granted most of the apps are not very well coded or don't have a lot of functions.
But there are less than 500 apps over $80 or less than 1% over $50.

As an example Tiger Woods 2010 golf from EA sports costs for the iPad $10 and for the iPhone $5. Similar game for the PSD was $39.00 when it came out. Now it is only $9.99.

The biggest problem is that the iPhone started without app platform but did allow users to put website links on their phone. After less than a year Apple opened the platform for developer and offered a centralized store for these apps. This move did regulate the low price for apps. because nobody thought people will download apps on the phone and the prices started low. Now that everybody is installing apps, it is hard to raise the prices.

It is so common for us to go to the app store and search for an app and buy it. Only a few years ago, developers had not only to build an app but as well create a nice package, burn CDs and distribute the applications to resellers. Because there was no real centralized place to find apps, they had to do a lot of marketing. Therefore apps did cost a lot more than just developing it. In matter of the fact developing the app did cost much less than all other parts around till the product reached the consumer.

Today (because of the app store) all the expensive packaging and shipping does fall away which helps the developers to keep the price low. However most of the apps are still very limited in functions.

I can understand it for the iPhone. It is a mobile device which we use when we wait for the cab, when we have a smoke break or when we wait at the bank. And even Apple says that developers should develop for the iPhone very light apps which open fast and are easy to use.

But I think this should not be applied for the iPad. The iPad is not as mobile as the iPhone, it is in long term a notebook replacement. We use our iPad during breakfast. Arriving at work we use it again, but when we take a smoke break then we take our iPhone with us and not the iPad. The iPad is a perfect device to read and use where we want, but we don't even try the effort to start the iPad when we have 5 minutes to wait for a train. I believe the smart phone is the perfect device for 10 minutes or less, basically the computer on the go (literally). The iPad is a perfect device when we know we will spend 20 minutes or longer on it.

In average we use our smartphone 3 hours a day but in total 90 times, which is in average 2 minutes per use. The iPad is 2 hours a day in use but only 5 times. This is an average of 24 minutes instead of 2.

However the developers do not understand this concept. They are still thinking that the iPad is similar in use like the iPhone. But I see the iPad as the future notebook.

The other problem is the low average price for apps. It is almost not financial possible for a software developer to make their living to develop an iPad app and have the app many features. Imagine you sell an app for $4.99 which is for the iPad an average price. You might have worked with 2 developers 6 months on the app, you would need to sell it at least 30.000 times just to cover the costs. one of the top downloads is Angry Bird HD for $4.99 with 1 million downloads on the iPad.
A dream for a developer, however Rovio spends millions on marketing. GoodReader (PDF reader) for the iPad has over 100.000 downloads and costs $4.99. Goodiware the maker of GoodReader is an exception like Angry Birds. Most of the paid apps have less buyers (exception are Apple apps like iMovie, pages etc)

Apple did kill the app prices which is good for the consumer but bad at the same time. Bad, because the quality of the apps are not yet good enough to have the iPad as a notebook replacement. The low prices helped to get so many apps in the store and therefore so many iPads sold. If the prices would not have been so low the iPad would not made it so far.

But as a developer we should not be frustrated, the real money is in consulting ware. The big brands want to have apps on the iPhone or the iPad and here is the big money. A moderate app takes 6 to 12 weeks to develop or even less if it is just a branding app. These brands apps are driven by marketing companies and they have no iPad developers, therefore they hire 3rd parties. A simple iPad (6 weeks development max) goes today for $80k. A single developer can build 8 of them in a year which is $640k, not bad, is it?

If you are a developer and you believe you want to build an app for the iPad, you should consider to get in contact with agencies who are looking for apps to build. They don't ask for lot. Maybe a location finder, 3 or 4 functions and fancy design. But they are willing to pay even for a newcomer $40k. Build a few of them for living and then build your own app for the store. You might make it then into Apple top picks and this helps to sell it over 100.000 times.

Overall I am disappointed that there is only a few good professional apps for the iPad available to replace my notebook, but even these apps are still limited. Take from Appel keynote, pages and numbers. Very important productivity apps but still much less functions than on the iMac. I think as soon Apple makes these apps full functional, the better will other apps get and the iPad will replace the notebook.

I can't wait for the day I don't need to carry my 6 pound notebook around.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thunderbolt and SSD or not?

An old friend on mine asked me, if he should buy the new cinema display from Apple with thunderbolt.
The answer is not easy, because he would need to have a computer with thunderbolt like the new MacBook Pro or the mini.

I asked him what he has and what he exactly wants. He has a 2009 MacBook Pro dual core and would like to connect the notebook to a 27 inch screen. He has multiple options, he could buy a 27 inch screen from any vendor, which are usually cheaper than Apple monitors but have less resolution. Apple cinema displays have 2560 by 1440 pixels and cost $999 either with or without thunderbolt.

You can get 27inch display for $400 even $300 like HP but they have only 1920 x 1080 resolution.

I tried one of the cheaper displays but the lower resolution is a big disadvantage. Especially if you have an iMac 27 inch and you want a second monitor.

His old MacBook Pro has no thunderbolt and, if he wants to have the new cinema display with thunderbolt, then he needs to get a new notebook. However he said his notebook is still in good shape.

I think he has other options. He could spend $1900 and buy a mac mini for $599 which has a $500GB hard drive and an i5 processor with 2GB RAM. Then he could spend another $200 for more memory and $999 for the cinema thunderbolt display and $100 for keyboard and touchpad. The mac mini does not take much room and if he has enough space for the display then he has enough for the mini.

Or he could buy an iMac with 27inch screen for $1999 which has 4GB of RAM, quad core i5 and a TB hard drive. The iMac does not need more space than a cinema screen and has as well only one cable for power.

Either way both options are cheaper than buying a thunderbolt 27 inch cinema display and a new MacBook Pro.

He would get for his notebook maybe $700. An new MacBook Pro 15 inch with 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive would $1.799 and then he would need the display for $999. This is a total of $2.000, If we count all together minus the money he would get for his old notebook.

Now there is not much difference in price but a big difference in usability.
Apple has the most beautiful computers but is lacking in docking stations. Having a notebook with external display is annoying. You need to plug the monitor cable in and eventual the power cable for the notebook. Therefore you have after time a lot of cables on your desk.

Now the really good part with Apple is, that having a second computer does not mean you need to have a second set of software. And the OS comes anyway with the computer. Most of the software bought from the app store can be installed on all af your Apple's without buying it again.

I would always recommend to have the notebook for travel or for outside. But when you are in your home office you should use the iMac.

Especially now with airdrop, it is very easy to move the data between two macs as long they are within a few feet.

And then there is another not unimportant factor. I usually have my iTunes computer running 24/7 that all my Apple TVs and other Apple devices can play my music and movies anytime. But I seldom have my McBook Pro running to avoid over heating.

Thunderbolt is the new technology and if we buy a new Apple product we should get it with thunderbolt especially because Apple is retiring firewire and other connections to promote thunderbolt. But we should ask us what we need and why before we buy two new devices like notebook and monitor. Many times an iMac will be just fine. And heck it is always cool to have more than one Apple computer.

We see more and more Apple computers with SSD (Solid state drive) which is the perfect hard drive for the new Lion functions. SSD is fast and therefore perfect for opening an app which will then open latest document we worked on.

However the SSD drives offered with the Macs are still smaller than normal hard drives and having an Apple with less than 256 GB is not desirable.
I had SSD with my Dell notebook and had to replace the SSD within 18 months twice. And then there is the rumor that SSD can not be used more than 100.000 times. This gives SSD a shorter live than an optical drive.

A SSD drive with 256 GB is expensive. 256 GB are $600 more and a 512 GB $1.200. I would rather use the money to buy a 3 TB time capsule for backup which is only $499 or the 2 TB for $299.
The time capsule is a perfect wireless router plus hard drive.

I tried many other external hard drives. I burnt through many. It seems that non of them can survive longer than 8 months with my iMac. The only external hard drive which never dies is the time capsule. I have two of them. One as backup for time machine and one as a data storage for my wife's notebook.

Dear friend, go and buy an iMac 27 inch and keep you MacBook Pro. Next year, when your notebook is not good enough anymore then buy a new one. And if you then still want to connect the MacBook pro to a 27 inch screen via thunderbolt then you can do this. The iMac has thunderbolt, you might then use the iMac screen (if it is possible). But i can ensure you, you will instead buy a 27 in cinema screen to connect to you iMac. Because two 27 inch screens on one computer is just too cool.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA