Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire - an iPad Killer?

Finally the new kindle fire is announced and ready for preorder. The 7 inch full color touch screen costs only $199 and is available November 15th.

This is $300 less than the cheapest iPad. The kindle has almost similar battery power, dual core fast processor, 8GB memory and supports flash.

I am not sure if it will be yet an iPad contender. The Kindle screen is much smaller and the Kindle has no camera like the first iPad. The design looks cheaper than the iPad and the kindle is more an entertainment toy than the iPad. However the kindle will eventual replace the original kindle (which has ink paper) and many other low end tablets. The big plus of the Kindle is the Amazon cloud. The user can store "unlimited" data in the amazon cloud, even if the kindle has only 8GB memory. Therefore there is not much memory needed, but it is still enough memory for an 8 hour flight to watch downloaded movies. Amazon cloud can compete very well with Apple and is even much cheaper. Amazon has over 10.000 movies and 17 million songs to choose from. The Kindle Store offers over 1 million books, including 800,000 titles at $9.99 or less. In addition, over 2 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available.

No other company than Apple, Amazon and Google can yet offer such big amount of music, books etc.

The complete package around the kindle is compelling. They even want to give the user the fastest browsing experience with cloud cached websites, which Amazon calls Silk. Amazon Silk is a revolutionary, cloud-accelerated browser that uses a "split browser" architecture to leverage the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud.

The whole product page at amazon is a comparison the the iPad. The iPad is even named when Amazon tries to explain the display. Another hint to Apple is the note that you don't need a computer, everything syncs over the air.

Please go to the product page, it actually makes fun to read.

I of course did preorder the Kindle, but I need to wait 8 weeks before I know how good it is.

I think the Kindle Fire will take 3 to 5 million from the iPad market and will be for a while the second strongest tablet, because of the price and service Amazon offers. But it will not replace the iPad in higher income customer class. For sure it will take a lot of market share from the existing Apple competitions.

The Kindle runs on an Android version modified by Amazon. It is not clear if other apps than the ones offered from Amazon can be installed on the Kindle Fire.

So far what I saw, I have to say I like it. Not that this is best tablet ever, but the price is very very nice.

But the kindle is two step further away from a computer than the iPad. The kindle is the real in between device between phone and iPad (:))

Buying the Kindle is not a mistake and no waste of money, something we can have in addition to our iPad.

It is interesting that Amazon sells their hardware to sell their Service, and Apple sells their service to sell their hardware.

So similar they both are and so different they are.

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Let's talk iPhone - October 4th

Apple did send this week invitations for the upcoming event on October 4th out. Like many other invitations, it is cryptic and does not tell us a lot. Or does it? The invitation is very clear "let's talk iPhone"

We know it will be about the new iPhone and we do not know much more. However with Apple it seems never anything randomly.

At the past they had always something "new" at the event. Like the first smart phone without a keyboard, the first phone with a retina display or the first computer which is not a phone nor a notebook.

"let's talk iPhone" why this headline? I think Apple will introduce their way for voice recognition.

Voice recognition on phone is not new. Google has already some voice recognition on Androids and the google app allows you to browse using your voice.
But now Apple's taking up the torch, and if rumors prove true it's not just adding speech tech to the iPhone... it's transforming the device into something new again, starting a whole new paradigm. If it works for Apple, expect others to follow.

We all wondered for a while about how Apple was going to mix Nuance speech recognition tech with its iOS devices, and how the technology it acquired when it bought Siri (the firm behind an artificially inteligent assistant) would emerge.

9to5Mac claims that Apple's "Assistant" is going to combine all of this technology into one powerful system, that runs throughout the upcoming iOS5 and the new iPhone.

I tested dragon, google voice and a few others but it never appealed to me to use voice instead of my fingers. However, I am missing forever the ability to listen to music and when I get a call to listen who the caller is. I still need to take the phone out of the pocket to see who is calling. Maybe with the new iPhone it will change.

Maybe the iPhone can talk to us and we can talk back. After-all it would make sense to go to the next level. The phone was originally invented to hear and talk, why not taking the hands out of the play once again.

We use our fingers for many things we do with the phone, not because we want, but because it is easier. Voice dial is horrible, works almost never (for people like me with strong accent).

Siri was actually a good app. You could ask for a dinner on Friday and you got a list of restaurants back, but only in text and images and not as voice.

It is only a few days left till Apple hosts the event, and I am eager to see how much weight the talk in "let's talk iPhone" has.

I think, if Apple does build their event around new iPhone and voice recognition, then it will be different than we saw before, and there will be a two way communication. Not only will the iPhone understand us, but as well respond with voice.
Apple voice Assistant interfaces with WolframAlpha--Stephen Wolfram's "fact computer" that can intelligently understand data-specific questions and return meaningful suggestions.
This means I could, ask my iPhone how many shopping days remain until Halloween, where the the nearest mall is and how often Germany lost in a world cup against England in one second and it will fed back to you from WA's computational systems all answers almost instantly.

As we know, Apple seldom does invent something really new. They are reinventing existing technologies or methods to make them mainstream. This is the real strengths of Apple.

Do you think I am totally off and over interpreting the event headline?

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Facebook is changing, will this change the world?

Mark Zuckerberg introduced only 17 months ago the like button. It seems it was around forever, because almost every website has the little blue like button. In the next coming weeks FB will go beyond the the like button with opening their Open Graph. Developers are now able to send more info than "like" back to a Facebook user profile. It will open the world to new verbs like eating, drinking, watching, listening etc. With Open Graph FB users will see when their friends watching a movie or listen to a song and can then at the same time listen to the same song. This is the idea behind. Timeline will be another big change. Facebook new layout will allow users to go easily back in time. Different content types are now placed into blocks.

My wife and i might go to a motorcycle shop and buy a new bike. We might use our smart phone to scan a QR code for more info to a bike. On our Facebook book page would be instantly a message that we are buying right now a bike in XYZ at dealer ABC.

Or you might play a game on your iPhone and in FB will be a post that you recommend the game and just played 16 hours straight. Such new Open Graph features will give developers and companies a new, never seen before way to brand their products and to get more attention.

Especially for app developers on iOS or Android. Both system have together more than a million apps. It is almost not possible as a developer to get users to buy or download their app, and at the same time, it is for users not easy to find the app they are looking for. I searched in the Apple app store for golf and got countless results. The only way to know if an app is good, is to download it or to look at the ratings.
With Open Graph, Facebook will open a new way to find mobile apps. And if a friend is recommending an app, then I might more likely buy or download the app, regardless of other ratings.

Facebook let us build a digital copy of our life. And wants to be the start page when we open a web browser, and be the last page we look on it, before we go to bed.

Which sounds great but is very dangerous. I hear and read a lot of discussions around FB and how it is different than Apple and how open FB is. This is true, they are totally different but Apple might charge developers for their apps a lot or have a walled garden but they don't try to be our digital copy.

Facebook does not charge anything to end users or developers. We all can use FB for free. There are some games with in games purchases but most parts are free. An easy out if the box personal free web page and email address. This is very kind from Facebook. But this has a price. Facebook is collecting all and everything written on their website, they are collecting all clicks and views. From where is the user coming, what he is doing and where did he go. All for the greater good to earn money by very targeted ads.

One company does know more than FBI or any government about 800.000.000 people. And actually Facebook does know even things about people who are not yet in Facebook. My son has of course no FB account, but FB could already know who my wife is, the name of my mother in law and that I have a son an his age. All this is just a matter of data mining, which FB does day in and day out to sell to higher priced and more targeted ads.

Adding timeline and Open Graph, does exactly what Mark Zuckerberg wants:
"Facebook's mission is to make the world more open and connected. We do this by mapping out all of the things you are connected to. … As a first step toward this we made it so you could connect to things by Liking them. … This year we are taking the next step, so that you can connect to anything you want in any way you want. Now you don't have to Like a book, you can just Read a book. You don't have to Like a movie, you can just Watch a movie. You can Eat a meal, Hike a trail, Listen to a song, and connect to anything in any way you want. This will let you make an order of magnitude more connections than before. We are helping to define a new language for people to connect."

Is this not scary? We are all open and connected like in the real life and more. But the biggest difference is, that one will always know everything what happens in the FB country - Mark Zuckerberg.

Maybe Facebook acronym will be soon FBI (Facebook interconnected).

Does anybody remember the Stasi (The Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS)?
Stasi in East Germany did try to know everything about their citizen. They had official Stasi employees, but as well many East Germans reporting to the Stasi information about their neighbors. All to keep the country safe.

Facebook is not trying to know everything. Facebook DOES know everything in their world.
As a good citizen, I would argue, that I have nothing to hide and therefore I don't care, if somebody is watching me all the time.

But unfortunately it is not so easy. There are a lot of things we don't know we should better hide. Remember, Palin's email account got hacked, because the hacker found the security phrase on her Facebook page.

Even if Facebook is not taking advantage of their knowledge, somebody will try.

Imagine you do post, that you went to a football game on Wednesday. But for some reason you thought it is better to delete the post. Do you really thing it is deleted because you did hit the delete button? Think twice. Of course it is not deleted. It is still in the DB but just flagged as "by user deleted".

East Germans did not like the Stasi, the wall and the controls and decided to change this and to revolute. It helped, the Stasi is gone and the wall is down. When do we start a revolution against Facebook?

Suddenly we are talking about 20 times more people controlled by one company, not state but company. Who is controlling this company? Who does make sure our data is not exposed or used for wrong doing?

How do I know, when I deleted something, that it is really deleted?

I understand that the situation is a little different. We decided to use Facebook and we decide to put as much or as less information on. We are responsible what we do with our life. However does this give one company the rights to be able to know everything? And remember it goes beyond what we put on Facebook. It is what other people put on Facebook. I could today invent a fake person and upload images to Facebook. Then I tag this image with me and the faked person. Maybe I as well write how great the day with XYZ was. Suddenly FB has info about a person who has no Facebook account or even does not exist.
I can see that FBI will create fake identities in the future by using Facebook.

Somebody could post a picture from a party showing me totally drunk hitting on a woman. I did never upload this image but it is now in Facebook and Facebook never forgets. A friend of this person might see the image, download it and send it to his friend which might be my boss. My boss would fire me, because the woman on this picture is his wife. Now you could say that this is my fault. I should not have been drunk and hitting on a woman.
This is correct, but what is, if this image was taken years before I even worked for my boss, before he met the woman and before I knew there will be something like Facebook?

Before timeline, not many people did upload anything old, so we might not care. But now people will upload and post things from the past. Within a short time FB will know more than anybody else about us even before FB did exist.

Or look at the kids who are using FB today. Do you think the know the impact of their posts and images they do today in 20 years? No they don't and they don't care. But it will be a problem for them in a few years, when they try to find a job and are wondering why nobody wants to hire them.

Somebody would argue that we use the Internet since 20 years and did post always a lot of things. This is true but the difference is that before we did distribute our info or not everybody was on the same website. It was much harder to collect info about people and their behavior because the data was stored on different servers which were owned by different companies.

Maybe it is time that our laws are changing to protect us with this new situation, maybe Facebook needs to be broken down into multiple companies.
What do you think? Am I too negative and FB is the best thing ever happened to us? Is Google better or worse? What about Apple, do they control us?

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Facebook's new face. A complete redesign

I saw today a screenshot of a new feature in Facebook called timeline.

If this will be the new Facebook, then I might come back. It looks clean, organized and easy to use. I really like the boxes for news, songs and activities.

The integration of people picture and album picture is great too.

On top right is a timeline where the user can go back in time to see what happened instead of scrolling down and down and down.

It is a complete new design with a lot of thoughts in there. This can separate FB from Google again. However, I believe there will be many complains from hardcore FB users, it will throw them off, they never like changes.
Look at the difference it is like day and night. I think it is the first time i can say something nice about Facebook.

The only problem of the new design is, that it is not optimized for the iPad, but this is not dramatically because FB will bring with new design as well an iPad app out.

Please compare yourself. Below screenshot of FB today. Below of it, is the new Facebook.

Do you think it is real? Do you think the new layout is better?

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple delays iPhone 5 - manufacturing problems or problems with iOS?

According to reports there may be a delay to the iPhone 5 launch, and lack of supply thereafter.

The New York Times reports Friday Apple will launch a new, sleeker, fancier iPhone 5 before the end of the year. However, the publication notes the device is seeing continued "design and production delays," at least on one assembly line.

When I read through Apple forums, then I get the feeling that the iPhone 5 delay has more to do with the iOS 5 problems.

Found on beat week:

“The crux of it is that iOS 5 still has plenty of problems,” says an iOS developer who only identifies himself as factsahoy. The good news for end-users is that those problems don’t matter yet, at least not to them, as iOS 5 is still in developer beta testing, hence the “iOS 5 beta 7″ terminology. Apple’s stance is that the new iPad and iPhone operating system isn’t yet finished, but it’s far enough along that it’s opened it up to a round of testing on the part of third party app developers. Seven rounds now, in fact. So how’s that testing going ahead of the iOS 5 release date?

“The sheer number of bugs and issues that have been evolving,” says a developer who identifies himself as PlutoPrime. “Getting fixed is too numerous to list here. In fact, in beta 7 alone there are yet so many bugs and outstanding issues that I would be shocked if it didn’t get pushed to a beta 8 or even beta 9 before we talk about a Golden Master copy.” He points to the new iCloud feature as being the chief culprit in the long testing cycle, adding that “For all the applications to work to Apples standards this particular release cycle is perfectly normal.”

In matter of fact the beta 8 version (not golden master) is ready to be released this Friday setting a new record for the number of iOS test builds ever issued by Apple.

This week iOS 5 build is an attempt to iron out all potential bugs ahead of the Golden Master release “around September 23rd.” if Apple misses the date the launch of the iPhone will be moved.

Therefore it makes sense for Apple to claim production issues to prepare the consumers not to get the latest iPhone beginning of October.

Apple must release the iPhone with icloud, to keep on pace with Google, Amazon and even Microsoft who are since years in the cloud active.

I think the iPhone 5 will be the last iPhone which can produce a big hype. All later models can't bring the user as much new (if iPhone 5 has already NFC). Every other iPhone will be faster and more memory but not much more exciting new features. Even the iPhone 5 would not make it to the best phone ever without the new OS. Of course I don't know what cool features the new iPhone will have, but, if it has a better camera (8 mega pixels are expected), a slightly bigger screen, slightly thinner, 4G and NFC, then only 3D (who needs this?) is missing.

What much more could a smartphone have? A build-in projector?
Or maybe Apple might reinvent the smart phone again. You never know with Apple.

I admit I am a big fan of Apple products, but I get tired of all these hypes and questions what will be next. Apple is almost playing the mystery tape too long. It gets old. Even small updates are in press as the coolest and biggest things. At the end, the iPhone is just a phone and there are many on the market which are looking good and are good quality. I chose Apple, because I did want to make a statement. But today a lot of people are choosing Apple, only because the marketing is so good, not because they tested different devices and came to the conclusion that the iPhone or Apple is better in price, quality and features than other phones.

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Saturday, September 17, 2011

$10 any Mac owner should invest

I don't know how long I am kind of hybrid in terms of computers. I feel like, that I used Apple products forever, but I had always as well a windows computer. I don't have any Windows computer at home, but every company I worked for made me to use Windows OS.

You can imagine that it is sometimes a problem, when switching your brain from one to the other OS. They are not always the same. Some key combinations are different (like copy and paste) and some functionality is not the same neither. It happened twice, that I deleted half of my songs and videos, because I assumed that Mac OS works the same like Windows when copying folders. I learned the hard way, it is not. When you copy in Windows a folder to another, the OS will ask you if yo want to replace or keep original for each file within the folder. Apple Mac OS does only ask once and then all content is either as it was before or overwritten. Means when your source folder had 3 files and target folder 5 files then after the process the target folder contain only 3 files from source nothing more. I did not know this and I honestly don't understand why the Mac OS is not smarter. I am pretty sure I am not the only one, who messed it up.

However, in the app store is a nice little app which works like wonder.

It is folder sync and costs $8.99. It is a great investment. The UI is easy to understand and has a lot of nice settings like scheduled sync. There are a few people who are moved from time machine to folder sync for their backups. I did not go so far, but I synced my three different iTunes folder I got through my earlier copying chaos. I have over 55GB music and 500GB movies. It took for folder sync only a few minutes to see the difference.

The screen is split in two. Left is source and right is target. You can easily see which file is missing, which file is the same or which one has different date or size etc. You can sync the whole folder or only a few items.

In my case folder sync had to move over 5,000 files over wifi and it seemed to be slowly. But I did start it at night and the next morning the files were copied. I can't tell how long it took but it was short enough not to interrupt my work during day.

This app is a must, if you have multiple HDs and copies of same folders everywhere. The best app i found so far to clean up my HDs.

iclean Memory
iclean Memory is a $0.99 app and does wonder.

For some reason my memory seems to get full by doing nothing, since i moved to Lion. I literally do nothing just have firefox open, mail and iTunes and my free memory goes down hour by hour.

iclean memory is a great helper. Just run the app, and you have suddenly 50% more memory available. It seems Apple does not a good job in garbage collection and clean up, but iclean does it for Apple.

However there are some drawbacks. When you start iclean memory, the computer will slow down. I would not recommend to run iclean memory when parallels and time machine backup are running. My iMac, which is certainly not a slow computer, did stop for 2 minutes during the iclean memory process.

But the side effect is pretty small and less a problem than iclean memory helps to speed up your computer.

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Apple, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods and Roger Federer did dominate for years their sport in a way not often seen before. Of course they have been outstanding athletes but they had two other advantages. They performed their sport different than anybody before and had the mindset that they only can win. Tiger, as an example, was not only a very good player, but as well much more athletic than many players before him or during his strongest time. He could hit the ball further and faster. He could move his body more than anybody else. The other players, on the other hand, did almost fear to play against him, just because he was so strong, that he even dominated much more.

Woods held the number one position in the world rankings for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks. He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record ten times, the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times, and has the record of leading the money list in nine different seasons.
With 2: Set Masters 72-hole record with a total of 270 (70-66-65-69) and set Masters record with 12-stroke victory margin.
Tiger went in the last few years to a lot of private problems and did not make it into the FedEx Cup in 2011. But the biggest difference to 1997 or 2002 is that there are now many players hitting as long as him or even longer. Tigers average distance is even not much shorter than 10 years ago, but now there are at 40 other top player hitting as good as him and are as fit like him.
These are the new young players who watched him and learned from him. His advantage is not existing anymore and therefore he is not winning and we don't have just one dominant player.

We can find a similar evolution in Tennis with Roger Federer. He did dominate over 5 years the tennis court. He won everything he wanted and other players could just not win against him, because they might have been almost frozen when they had to play against him. His style was outstanding as well his mental strength. Today we have DJOKOVIC, Nadal, Murray and a few others; all as good as Federer or even better. Same happens here, the young player watched Federer over years and learned from him.

We can compare Apple and their products with them. Apple reinvented the phone. The first time when i heart the definition of a smart phone was in combination of the iPhone. Apple did dominate the smart phone business over a year. Unique hardware design and new type of OS. Google did copy (yes I think it is a copy) the iOS and some hardware vendors did copy the iPhone design. Not that they really copied it 100%, but before Apple, most phones were cheap plastic and not pretty, similar like PCs. They saw the phone as a tool we use which does not need to be esthetic. Apple changed this, and today almost every smart phone looks like an iPhone or even better. And Android from Google is now the number one smartphone OS.
Last year Apple did release the iPad. Nobody believed we needed an iPad but over 100,000 iPad apps and over 30 million sold iPads tell us a different story. Apple has today a market share of 78% of touch pads with just one product. And there are over 40 other touch pads on the market which are sharing 22%.

If Apple does not come out with a totally new product which we never thought we needed, or with a redesign of existing product (maybe a new approach for toasters or microwaves), then Apple will not be as dominant in 24 months as they are today. The world got transparent. And everybody is catching up. We went last week to
BestBuy and I looked at the Galaxy, Playbook and a Asus pad. All of them look more or less like the iPad and even the OS works the same. Regardless if it is WebOs or Android. All have the same basics like the iPad. Proof: My 3 years old son could open apps and zoom images as they are iPads.

If we compare Apple with sports, then I would say there are many players who watched Apple and are trying to copy it. But there is one player who not only watched Apple and tries to copy but does something totally different. This player will eventually take in 24 months for a few years the dominance till somebody else comes. The player (I am talking about) is Microsoft.

Microsoft's Windows 8 could really kill Android and Apple again. Windows 8 is not only totally different than all other mobile OSs but is as well the step which Apple is trying to do. Windows 8 will be one OS for all devices regardless of smart phone, mobile device or PC.

Microsoft has a lot of advantages to Google. They have already established customer support and a better relationship to hardware companies. And they have a much better enterprise integration than Apple and Google combined.

Apple is eventual too much concentrating on young users in the hope these consumers will keep buying Apple products when they are older. This concept is good, when your product is so much different than anything else.

As an example if you produce a car which has the shifting as tiptronic on the steering wheel and you would market young drivers. The parents might eventual buy for them a tiptronic car and when the kids are older, they would buy one too, because they would not know how to drive a different shifting system. If you are the only company with tiptronic then you will be set.

But Apple does not has this advantage anymore. Design is cool but for iPhone or iPad not much different than others and the OS is almost the same like Android. This helps the kids to switch much easier. Nothing new to learn. Apple does fear this, and this is one reason, why they try to fight against Samsung and other pad producers.

Apple has a lot of services like iTunes, but there is really no need to keep iPhone. Users can have iTunes and other devices or use Windows media center. Plus music future is in the cloud and Microsoft and even Google have much more cloud experience than Apple.

If we believe in 7 to 12 years cycles (which works in real estate, politics and everywhere we want) then Apples dominance will come to an end. And Microsoft can rise from ash like the Phoenix. MS lost so far the race in mobile but did build an even stronger enterprise empire with Sharepoint, Exchange, Lync and Dynamics products that they can close the gap between mobile and enterprise much easier than anybody else. And as soon the gap is closed, I foresee a lot of people buying for private use once again a Microsoft device.

Especially in a time where mobile, smart phone and PC is almost the same just different form factor. Whatever will come, the winner of the race will be the company which can provide for all devices same OS, a lot of software (not only apps) and can serve to end users and enterprises. For some reason I don't see Google to be in the mix neither.

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

iPhone 5 on September 19th?

There are lot of dates floating in the internet about the next iPhone release. All we know is that iPhone will be released with iOS 5.0 which is still in beta testing.

Some are saying the iPhone will be announced end of September 2011 and available in store October 7th.

However a few people told me that their apple stores are closed (since yesterday) and covered in black that nobody can look into the stores. On the black curtain is printed that the store will reopen September 19th.
The photo below is from Salt Lake City.

I had no chance to go to our store in Tampa and did not find anything in the Internet regarding closed stores. However I got an email from Germany that the Apple store in Munich is closed too with same message. I could not very this neither.

But there is another Apple Store closed (on St. James Place in Suburban Square), scheduled to re-open Monday (Sept. 19).
“They are doing renovations—some work to the entryway,” said Mark Bachus, the shopping center’s general manager.
(Source Thomas J. Walsh)

Maybe Apple is changing the concept of their smaller stores or all stores will do some renovations or redecorating but the big ones only in the night of the 18th.

Closing all store for a week would cost too much money and image.

We will see what the real reason is for having some stores closed and reopen at the 19th. I would not wonder if one store is closed for renovation. But multiple stores at the same time and same day for reopen is suspicious.

There are only two explanations, either Apple will release something new on September 19th or Apple does renovate all stores for a new look and feel and does it very coordinated with 10 stores at the same time. As we know it can't be coincidence, because nothing at Apple is random.

For all Apple lovers. Let us believe the 19th will bring us a new iPhone or another amazing, unbelievable, never seen before Apple product (60 inch Apple TV with Retina display and replaceable computer module to easier upgrade?)

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Monday, September 12, 2011

Apple is pushing sales in Germany

My sister was last week visiting us from Germany and told me an interesting story. Her son's grammar school received last yer from Apple 30 iPads just 6 weeks before Christmas.
Each class was allowed to have them for a week for testing. During this time the kids were allowed to take them home. Of course, parents had to pay an insurance on the iPad in case they would break. Each iPad had some learning software on it, as well some software to about our nature. She told me, the nature app had all kind of flowers and trees and the kids could use the app to identify vegetation in their backyard or in the nearby forest. Teachers even gave the kids some homework which involved the iPad.

Almost all kids asked their parent to get an iPad for Christmas. Some parents even bought iPads as a Christmas present. This is of course a critical situation, because many parents could not afford to buy an iPad (some of my nephews schoolmates parents are unemployed) or did not want to buy one, because they needed the money for other things, like a trip to the US.

The idea might be great to bring kids really early to such devices, but the execution was bad. The school might have gotten the iPads free, but there was no concept to avoid jealousy or even fights. I did hear that two kids did fight over an iPad which broke during the fight.

I remember, when I was young, that my father bought me at Walmart a pair of cheap jeans, everybody else had Wrangler. I was so embarrassed and started a fight with my father. The next time he bought for me unknown sneakers instead of Adidas. And again we got into a fight. As a child I could not understand how he could do it to me. I did not understand that having 5 children is very expensive. But the fights were only for things round $50 more or less. Eventually he gave up and bought me the more expensive clothes because he loved me, he loved me so much, that he rather bought me what I want and probably did not get new shoes for him, which he needed as a sales man.

Today we are talking about $500 and more for one iPad which is in many household half of the monthly income.

What did the school think? If they offer iPads (which is cool an surely a good learning device) why did they not buy them for the kids or offered them extremely discounted?

When I went to school, we had to have schoolbooks. We could either lent them from the school (if we were low on money) or we could buy them. My parents preferred to buy them, that I could write notes in the books. Otherwise I would needed to use a pencil and erase all the notes out, at the end of the school year, before returning the books. My parents paid every year $300 on books for me.

Maybe the school should offer iPads to lent with all necessary schoolbooks on it, or parents could decide to buy the iPad, if they prefer, but with a discount.

I am really disappointed from Apple and the local school that they did not think this through. Should the school not be better in this? Don't teacher go to university to learn how to do the right things?

And Apple, don't they make already enough money? Should they not know better? Or do they don't care about social problems, only to sell a few more iPads?

But Apple is pushing much more. Usually private TV channels have in their shows a lot of product placements, and if there are computers or phones then these are mostly Apple products.

Bow it goes even further. The public broadcasters have Apple products everywhere, even in the news. And this is very critical. The news should be neutral as possible and ZDF and ARD (the two big non private channels) have been the last 20 years the place where you wanted to watch really good news. They are so well established that we trust them and their opinions. A lot of people would buy an iPad only because the news anchor has one.

I watched the last few days ZDF and could not believe what i saw. The anchor of a 9/11 special was standing close to ground zero with an iPad on his table. An iPad which was powered off and not in use at all. Especially ridiculous was, that he had his notes written down on paper which was under the iPad on the table. I don't think there can be more obvious product placement like this. It could have been any other touch pad (slate) but he had attached the patented threefold iPad 2 cover, which does not exists for any other pad on the market.

And then I watched the news (heute) and the anchor there had a MacBook Pro, but at least they retouched the backside of the cover and took the Apple logo out. However it is still clear to see that this is an Apple (all major connections at the side like power cable etc). The notebook had no cables attached, that I doubt that it was even on. If the notebook is in use then the risk would be too high of empty battery during live broadcasting. And if it has been in use, why did the woman still read from paper?

Below is an image from the apple store (it must have been an Apple in her news show). The right picture is almost identical to the one in the how above.

Apple frequently pays for product placement. This occurs because Apple "barters" the exchange for placement. Payment for placement is not in cash, but exchanged for product and services. (Notably, recognizable Apple products have appeared in newspaper comic strips, including Opus, Baby Blues, Non Sequitur, and FoxTrot, even though paid placement in comics is all but unknown.). I guess the whole ZDF studio is now under Apple branding.

Germany is more concerned than USA about their consumers that product placements was official not allowed till 2009.
Sine 2009, German commercial television broadcasters will be permitted to include paid product placements during TV films, series, sports programmes and light entertainment formats. With the move, the states are turning the EU audiovisual media services directive from 2007 into national law. For public broadcasters, however, product placement will remain prohibited.

This is the reason we don't see the Apple Logo on the notebook, or the iPad Apple logo. I believe ZDF is walking on a very thin line with their approach. Apple products are so distinctive that there is no logo required to recognize the products.

Apple product placements appeared 30 percent of the top films of 2010, more than any other brand, including Nike, Chevrolet and Ford, which all tied for second place with placement in 24 percent of the top movies.

Placement of Apple's Macs, iPhones and iPods and other products in films resulted in the company being cited for the "2010 Award for Overall Product Placement" by Brandcameo.

Arranging to put its products in conspicuous sight in films is nothing new for the company, which has maintained the top spot among brands over the past decade, with cameos in 112 of the top 334 most popular movies in America since 2001.
(source: Appleinsider)

I don't mind product placements but I am not a fan if a company does everything possible to get new customers, regardless if it could hurt feelings or even could cause social problems.

And i don't like, if institutions do show an Apple product, even if they are not allowed. Just taking the logo of is not enough. It is like driving a Mercedes and taking the star from the car, we would still know it is a Mercedes.

We will see how it will work out for Apple. Germans are known to buy the underdog and to avoid the big monopolist. The iPad has a big market share.

Apple already fall from 88% to 73% and in China even to 68%. And such pushing might get a negative effect for Apple.

Microsoft Internet Explorer had more trouble in Germany than everywhere else. Germans don't like monopoly and will choose the smaller company just because.
Internet Explorer has therefore a much smaller share in Germany than in the USA.

Statistics from

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Friday, September 9, 2011

Apple iOS, Google Android or Microsoft Windows?

At some point most of us would like to be a Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or Larry Page - Famous and rich and a part of our history. So do I.

Therefore I decided, it is time to do something which makes me rich and unforgettable. I decided to build an app.

The question is what the desired platform should be.

Let us start with a mobile app for Android OS. The SDK is free to download. There is a one-time $25 fee for registering to distribute apps on the Market:
This seems to be right I can (with almost no costs) get an app into the android market. But I can't sell an app over $200 at Android market place.

Min and max prices of android apps:
AUD: 0.99 AUD - 200 AUD
CAD: 0.99 CAD - 210 CAD
CHF: 0.99 CHF - 200 CHF
DKK: 6 DKK - 1200 DKK
EUR: 0.50 EUR - 100 EUR
GBP: 0.50 GBP - 100 GBP
HKD: 7 HKD - 1500 HKD
JPY: 99 JPY - 20000 JPY
KRW: 999 KRW - 220000 KRW
NOK: 6 NOK - 1200 NOK
NZD: 0.99 NZD - 280 NZD
SEK: 7 SEK - 1500 SEK
SGD: 0.99 SGD - 270 SGD
USD: $0.99 - $200

If I want to use google cloud to develop my app, because I don't want to buy hardware for testing and developing, then the costs go up.

But of course I would save a lot of money for hardware and resources. But using the full service costs $500 and more a month.
Developing apps on Google App Engine takes one-fourth to one-tenth of the resources and one-fourth of the time compared to building something ourselves.”
Gary Koelling, Director of Emerging Platforms, Best Buy

Pricing seems alright but the big issue is the big chaos of different OS versions and devices available on the market. Google is not regulating very strong their OS distribution and is not telling the vendors what hardware to use. To develop an android app which should reach 90% of Android users must be tested on over 200 android devices. Ouch. There is no chance to build a professional enterprise app because the max sell price is too low and the testing to expensive.

May 2011:
Android activations swelling to over 100 million worldwide (112 countries) on 215 carriers and 36 manufacturers with 310 different Android devices

Developing an Android app might not cost a lot for licenses nor does Google take a lot for having an app in their store, but I am not willing to hire 20 testers to to test my app nor do I want to develop years to get my app running on all android devices.

Quote Netflix:
Because the platform has evolved so rapidly, there are some significant challenges associated with developing a streaming video application for this ecosystem. One of these challenges is the lack of standard streaming playback features that the Netflix application can use to gain broad penetration across all available Android phones. In the absence of standardization, we have to test each individual handset and launch only on those that can support playback. We are aggressively qualifying phones and look forward to expanding the list of phones on which the Netflix app will be supported.

Maybe I should try Apple.
As we know there are only a handful devices we need to support and would still reach 100 million users. The iOS is running only on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Each of them have only a few versions in hardware and not many iOS in the market. 84% of iOS users are already on iOS 4.
The iPod touch has same screen size as the iPhone. These all sounds reasonable for me for developing an app. I can easily afford to by from each one device and would not spend more than $1,000 (phone contract not included). Apple allows to sell apps over $200. I have seen a few for $999 (there are 20). However the store is so full that it is almost not possible to create an app which not somebody else already did.
Total Apps Approved for US App Store: 589,391
Total Active Apps (currently available for download): 471,319
Total Inactive Apps (no longer available for download): 118,072
Number of Active Publishers in the US App Store: 106,423

Getting access to developer tools is inexpensive as well between $99 and $299 a year.

But there are some issues.
Apple has very strict guidelines how to develop an app. An app can be denied because the developer does not follow the guidelines.
An other issue is, that Apple will take 30% of each sale of an app. This can be very cost intensive. I was thinking about an enterprise app, which I want to sell 40,000 times for $23.99. This is $287,780 for Apple just because I use their app store. Yes I get maybe free promotion and the user does know where to go to find my app, but this a lot of money. I could build an app outside of the app store and publish it only for my enterprise clients, which Apple allows, but I might still pay 30% when Apple find out that I sold the app outside of the store. Apple allows corporations to develop apps which are not the app store, but only for internal use and not for sale of the app.
And then Apple is heavily promoting the iPad and iPhone as a game computer and not as business computer.

I don't want to get rich and make Steve Jobs richer.

As alternative I could develop software for Windows. There are of course many different hardwares to consider, but if I build a web based app with .Net then I could concentrate on 4 browsers (IE, Chrome, Google and Safari) to get most of the users a working app.

The investment would be $11.899 for Visual Studio ultimate with MSDN which gives a lot of developing tools 78 Microsoft products like office etc and $3,500 worth of Microsoft Azure cloud.

This is a lot of money for a startup, but cheaper than Apple in the long run, if I sell more than $35k a year in software.

Interesting is that the same package cost in Germany almost the double $20,900)

This is as much as two Fiat Panda cars.

The last alternative would be the amazon app store.
The Amazon marketplace has considerably less competition than Android store or the Apple app store, I actually might have better results there.
Just make sure that if you agree to be the Free App of the Day, you completely understand what you’re getting yourself into.

Anyway, Amazon has gone ahead and sweetened the deal just a bit: beginning September 2011, anyone who submits an app to the Amazon App Store store will get a free chunk of change to check out the Amazon Web Services suite (amazon cloud).

But apparently Apple isn’t the only company running an App Store with a penchant for secrecy.

In a blog post in August, mobile developer Shifty Jelly has publicly called out Amazon for covertly offering the company featured placement on its unofficial Android Appstore as the ‘free app of the day’. This is a well-known promotion that Amazon has openly talked about, but there’s a twist: instead of paying developers 20% of the app’s List Price, which is what it had previously promised, Amazon is asking them to take a 0% rev share.
People were very clearly told that even if Amazon decided to make an app free, developers would still be making 20% of their list price. In other words, they’d still make money. But not anymore as seen above. This means my $23.99 app which might have downloaded on the free day 20,000 times would cost me not 80% of my potential revenue but all.

I learned that developing an app is more than just being a developer. It is important to choose the right platform.

During my research I learned something really interesting. For PCs, everybody is talking about software. But for mobile devices and OS any kind, we only talk about app. I wonder what is the different between software and application.

After all I decided not to build an app to be as famous as Steve Jobs and that I am going to brew my beer and to sell it to restaurants by delivering it with one of my two new Fiat Panda.

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who needs a cell phone carrier?

According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), one out of every four American families does not own a landline phone. Instead, 25 percent of American households are only using mobile phones. Further reinforcing the primacy of mobile devices, the study found that 15 percent of families that do own landlines receive all or almost all calls through cell phones.

The study was carried out between July and December of 2009 and included information from more than 21,000 American families.

We are now in 2011 and the percentage of households without landline might be already close to 40%.

We still have a landline (VoIP) but only for my mother in law. We seldom use it. Most of our calls are done via our cellphones.

But my sister is a proof that we don't need anymore even a cellphone carrier.

My sister and her family are right now visiting us from Germany. They stayed 5 days at our house and then went on a sightseeing tour through Florida. We were trying to buy a prepaid SIM card for her iphone 3, before they went south to Key West. But we had no luck, nobody had just a prepaid card (it was Sunday and ATT not open). They had either offers to charge prepaid cards or to buy a phone with minutes but not just a SIM card with no contract.
Eventually we gave up and they went on their trip, with the hope to find a card in a store on the way. This was the goal.

After three days she called me on my cellphone to tell me she does not need a card. Every hotel, they went to, had free wifi and she uses her Skype account to make calls either to other Skype members or to landlines. She called a couple of times Germany over Skype for just 1.9 euro cent (2.3 us cent) a minute.

She is not a geek, she is far over 40 and everything but computer savvy. However she is very good in saving money (she is an accountant) and she used to Skype for many years. Therefore (after she figured out that free wifi is almost everywhere) she looked in the iPhone app store and found Skype. Bingo.

She told me she downloaded as well an app which finds for her free wifi. Guess what, the app is called "free wifi finder". And it seems pretty good. It is an already 2 years in the app store but works great.

You even don't need to have wifi to find free wifi spots. You just need to download their DB to your iPhone or iPad.

My sister told me that they now scheduled their route around wifi hotspots like Panera Bread or McDonalds.

I was totally impressed, not that she does not really need a carrier to be still able to make phone calls, but how easy it was for her to do so.

Sure she is not all the time reachable, but do we really need to be? Landlines did not allow us to be reachable, when we have been not in our home.

She is absolute happy, because she is saving a lot of money. She made one call to Germany using roaming (before she had Skype on her phone). She paid $12 for three minutes. Can you imagine this?

Traveling with Skype can go even better. She could have her cell phone routed to her Skype account to receive free landline calls which are placed to her cellphone. Or she gets a Skype number that people could call her. And when she is in a wifi dead zone, which means Skype won't work, the calls would go to her voice mail. There is a price for this, but less than $10 a month.

She can do almost everything with Skype but no emergency calls. However the iPhone would let her make free emergency calls anyway.

My wife and I are paying $150 a month for two iPhones. This is for data, voice and SMS. We could save so much money, if we would have just 2 iPod touch.

Why do I need an expensive voice contract and data plan? When I am at home I have perfect fast wifi. I have wifi when I am in the office. I don't have wifi when I am driving my car to work and back. I don't have wifi when I meet friends to play golf. I don't have wifi when I am doing outside activities. But do I need to have a phone connection all the time? No.

Less than 10 years ago, we all were used calling somebody and this person might not answer the phone. When we have been lucky we got an answering machine.

Why do we need to be today 24/7 reachable? I don't think we need. But even if we don't need, we will in a few years again 24/7 available, because wifi will be everywhere.

Landlines lost the race against cell phones and I believe carriers will lose the race against wifi.

Maybe cell phones never go away (which I doubt), but at least we will see a dramatic drop in the costs in the next 24 months. Same as what happened with landlines.

In 2001 an average annual landline costs was around $700 in 2007 it was around $500, a drop of over 22%. On the other hand the annual cellular phone service did dribble from 2001 to 2007 to $600. In 2009 the average cell-phone user spent about $600 a year on mobile service, while families that talked, texted, or used other phone features more than average spent upward of $1,800. And the bigger the bill, the more get tapped for service taxes and surcharges, which tack on an average of 14.5 percent. Some people are saying that the current average cell phone bill is $81 per month ($972 a year).

And the cellular costs will even go more up. Maybe the voice part will go down but data 3G or 4G will get even more expensive. The average costs for data are Today $360 annually which I believe will go up around 40% Carriers are understanding that the consumer will use more data than voice minutes in the near future. But they understand as well that free wifi hotspots are a problem for them. Therefore they will try in the next year to get as much money as possible from their consumers before they (consumer) switch data off.
ATT and Verizon are so smart that they sell only certain smart phones with data plan. You are not able to get a voice only iPhone. I am not sure if this is even allowed. May e we should try to sue them.

My sister showed me that the non cell phone future is already presence.
And with the new iOS 5 is even SMS possible over wifi using iMessage.

I might try the test and will use for 4 weeks only an iPod touch as my phone.

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

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If I could build the iPad 3

One of Apple's best selling product is the iPad. And I see myself as a power user and at the same time as normal consumer (but of course early adapter). Many rumors are on the web that a new iPad is coming end of this year or beginning of next year. Almost certain before April which is not typical for an Apple hardware release which is normally every 12 months. An iPad release before April would be similar to the iPhone 3GS a in between iPhone better as 3G but just not a full new iPhone generation.

Bottom line the next iPad is already on the way and might have many new things or just a few.

But if Apple is not yet done with the iPad design and specs, then I want to tell Apple how the next iPad should be.

We know Apple is never conducting a consumer research, but if they would read The Spiegel (a German magazine) then the iPad should have at least:

- Retina Display (twice resolution in both direction)
- Monitor connector not only HDMI as well Thunderbolt and DVI
- multiple accessories connection at the same time like keyboard, mouse and trackpad over Bluetooth
- iPad display should be usable as keyboard or trackpad when connected to an external screen.
- And of course full integrated cloud computing over icloud.

These are the requests Spiegel readers have and which I hear from many people who have a touchpad from Samsung or HP.

I agree with higher resolution and multiple accessories connected at the same time. I agree as well the ability to use the iPad as a keyboard only.

But I don't agree with all the connectors. My dream iPad is a litter thinner, lighter and has no connectors or open parts at all. The universal apple connector and headset hole have to go. The + and - switches are not needed.

The iPad 4 will have iOS 5 and therefore no need to connect to a computer. The sync with iTunes and OS update will go over the air. We should be able to lay the iPad on a pad or put it on a stand for charging (induction charging like some others are offering). the sound switches shall be build in touch screen on top left. The iPad has enough space to get them as touch and invisible on the front. Similar like Samsung TVs have.
The headset connector will be replaced with the existing Bluetooth. Every iPad will come with a Bluetooth headset (which can be charged same as the iPad) and a stand which works as a charger. The price of the iPad might be $40 more but I would pay for.

With iOS 5 the iPad is able to mirror it's display to a TV over wifi, if the user has an Apple TV.

The same would work with a monitor. We just connect an Apple TV to the monitor and we could get the IPad display on the monitor. No cable needed. Belkin could offer for users who have no Apple TV a $30 wifi mini box which connects via HDMI, thunderbolt or SVGA to the monitor.

When the iPad is connected with an external display, the user should be able to decide to mirror the display or to use the iPad as a keyboard, mouse or trackpad.

Therefore my developed iPad would have two A6 processors.

This would be my next iPad. It might sound futuristic but something like this will come. The iPad is lobile device. A real lobile (mobile but local) device, something notebooks would like to be, but never really were, because they are too heavy and it takes too long to boot up. Then the net books came, which were much smaller and faster in booting, but just not fast enough to be more than a toy.

The iPad is different and will (maybe not the iPad but a pad) eventually replace the notebook.

Let us have a look to commercial use of computers. Most companies are offering for their office people a desktop computer and for their sales or management a laptop. The desktops are there either because they are cheaper and therefore a good mass computer or much faster which is needed for the power users like developers or designers.
The laptops are distributed either because a person travels and needs to have their office with them or are bought as an incentive, because it is much cooler to have a laptop than a boring PC.
When I look in our company, we could easily replace 50% of the computers with iPads. There is basically nothing a sales person can do with a notebook but not with an iPad. They are mostly using, outlook, word, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint and CRM. In the iPad world it would be numbers, pages, keynote, PDF and salesforce or any other webpage based CRM. Most of the big CRM vendors have even iPad versions of their CRM or at least a 3rd party which is offering a CRM version for their iPad.

I travel a lot and the most annoying part is the TSA control at the airport. It is always a big act to carry a ten pound laptop bag with all accessories and then to take the laptop out of the bag for the screening. We would only carry 3 pounds with an iPad and accessories and it is not needed to take the iPad out of the bag. How much time would this save us?

My notebook is on the half way empty when I fly from Tampa, FL to Bentonville, AR. The iPad battery, on the other hand, survives the flight easily which can take up to 10 hours with layovers.

I have in the office a laptop and I barely take it home, because it is too heavy. But I bring everyday my iPad and take it home. It is just like holding a small book in your hand. If the iPad would be my laptop replacement, I would eventually work more, because I would have my office computer with me, at home or on travel. How much more money could a company make if each person could work 1 hour more a day?

A lot of people are arguing that a notebook has more memory. This is true, but we should not need more. We have an intranet and most of the documents should anyway be saved there for others to access. We really only need memory for apps, mail and some PDF or powerpoints we need on the road. But even this it is not necessary if we have an iPad with 3G. We could always have access to the cloud.

Maybe Apple is reading my blog and will build the iPad 4 as I imagine. No connectors, two processors, retina display, multiple bluetooth input devices at the same time and the ability to stream to two external monitors. I guess I ave to wait and see.

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

Location:N Westshore Blvd,Tampa,United States