Apple Statistics and Lawsuits: Welcome to Moronica

| MacOS KenDensed

Mac OS KenTurns out the iPhone and Android have their own Mason-Dixon Line, Apple is on track to be the new portable gaming king, a new lawsuit says Apple is too fast, and there are riots in London. All this and more has Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray all wound up this week.

The North and the South
Save your Confederate money, boys, and trade it in for an Android phone apparently. Electronista has word of a surprising set of findings from mobile advertising firm Jumptap.

According to the firm’s ad reports culled from about 83 million interactions, Google’s Android platform dominates in the U.S. south and southwest, while the iPhone is more prevalent the northeast and mid-west, and strongest in the Yankee stronghold of New England.

Jumptap didn’t try to explain why iOS phones saw more traction with the blue while Androids were dug in with the grey. Could I hazard a guess, though? I mean, since they won’t?

Could it not have to do with the concentration of Apple Stores? Two in Alabama, one in Mississippi and five in Georgia, versus one in Rhode Island — significantly smaller than any of the southern states. Four in Connecticut — significantly smaller than any of the southern states — and ten in Massachusetts, significantly smaller than any of the southern states.

There was one weird bit in the finding, though. New York state had a distinctly maple flavor, featuring a surprisingly large number of BlackBerry phones. The piece supposes that the Empire State’s high concentration of bankers and big business types may account for that.

So here in the states, it’s the blue and the grey, while in the UK the most obvious division is seen between the grey and those who have not gone grey yet.

Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, has released its latest numbers on smartphone addiction in the United Kingdom. Um… adoption… adoption in the United Kingdom.

Quoting their press release:

New Ofcom research reveals the extent to which the UK has become addicted to smartphones, with people confessing to using them everywhere from the dining table to the bathroom and bedroom.

Oh. I guess I did mean addiction, though I question the validity of the report since — from what I’ve heard — at least one of those words should have been “loo.”

According to Ofcom, 27 percent of adults under the queen’s care and 47 percent of teens now own a smartphone, with 59 percent of those having been acquired in the last year. The smartphones, that is, not the teens and adults.

Meanwhile, a separate report on the Ofcom study from the BBC says Apple’s iPhone was favored by 32 percent of adults surveyed, while the Blackberry was preferred by 37 percent of the teens.

This, I officially, do not get.

Get Your Game On
The website IndustryGamers.com is turning into a fairly interesting read. A few weeks ago Id Software’s John Carmack made the point to the site that the mobile device of tomorrow will unquestionably out-power the video game consoles of today. That totally makes sense when you hear someone say it, and it’s neat to hear someone say it.

Last week, EA founder and Digital Chocolate bunny Trip Hawkins tried to skewer Apple for the site, citing its walled garden and lack of Flash-support. I don’t think that was super successful, but it did give food for thought, where food equals Cheetos or some generic cheese curl equivalent.

Now say “hey” to Epic Games president Mike Capps, who is presenting a really interesting glimpse of a possible future for gaming, which, again, makes perfect sense when you hear someone say it, and it’s neat to hear someone say it.

Nintendo’s Wii U may be cool, and the PS4 and Xbox 720 — imaginary or assumed names as far as I know — may be cool a few years down the road, but holy crap are you watching what’s happening in the mobile space?

By the time we get to the successor for the Xbox 360, mobile could pretty much kill the need for consoles in Capps’ opinion.

Quoting Industry Gamers: “Capps believes that the rate of technological progress in smartphones and tablets is completely changing the industry. By the time the next generation of consoles gets into full gear, we’ll have smartphones that are probably even more powerful than today’s Xbox 360,” which pretty much echoes the thoughts of Id’s Carmack.

Quoting Capps:

Your iPhone 8 will probably plug into your TV, or better yet, wirelessly connect to your television set to give you that big screen gaming experience with good sound. So really, what’s the point of those next-gen consoles? It’s a very interesting situation to be looking at. That’s what we’re starting to think about more… not how do we scale from some Nintendo platform to some other future console.

Of course, the industry is already headed that way, whether it knows it or not. Apple’s iOS 5 is set to support AirPlay to Apple TV in a bigger way than does iOS 4, with at least one developer — Real Racing’s Firemint if memory serves — saying it plans to shoot its titles to the big screen via Apple TV and AirPlay as soon as the OS is available.

On Top of the PC World
Which company will own the portable computer space for the rest of the year? Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore says that’ll be the company that dropped computer from its name a few years ago. And went on stage to demote its computers earlier this year.

Apple. I’m talking about Apple.

Fortune has Whitmore saying Apple will PWN the space. There’s just one catch: You have to count tablets as computers.

With iPad included, Apple is number one in the portable PC space. Without it, not so much, though Whitmore does say if you leave the iPad out, Apple still stands to gain on HP, Dell, and the rest of the Windows PC gang.

Whitmore says not much new is going on in the Windows space for the second half of the year, while “Apple will be competing with an upgraded Mac OS, new MacBook Airs (and other forthcoming Macs) and a new iPad iOS.”

“Within the tablet market,” writes Whitmore, “the iPad remains the Gold Standard as competitors struggle for mindshare and traction (note HP’s price cuts on the TouchPad). Meanwhile, competing PC manufacturers have suggested Ultrabooks won’t ramp in material volumes until 2012 due to challenges driving price points meaningfully below Apple’s Air. As such, Apple appears particularly well positioned for more share gains heading into the back-to-school and holiday selling season.”

The Need for Speed
Imagine this as an actual thing: Random tech-company-X says to consumers, “Well gee… we’d love to make our operating system boot-up faster… but… we’re afraid… someone might sue us.”

Sounds stupid, right?

Welcome to Moronica.

Elecronista has Operating Systems Solutions, or OSS, suing Apple over the speed with which Mac OS X gets going. According to the piece, the “complaint argues that the MacBook Pro and other Macs copy technology used to check whether a previous boot configuration exists and start up the OS faster than it would otherwise.”

The patent was owned by LG at one point, though it was reissued as an OSS patent in February of 2008. Electronista could find no other presence for OSS online, indicating DNA of a trollish nature.

OSS is looking for tripled damages because of Apple’s alleged “willful disregard” of the patent that they didn’t used to own. They’ve also demanded “that Apple destroy all marketing and other materials for the fast boot method.”

I’m guessing money makes them go away at some point. That is, if they’re acting on their own.

Computerworld has patent expert Florian Mueller speculating that OSS is less a troll and more a pawn of LG, being played in the continuing Apple versus Android game. Quoting Mueller: “This previously-unheard-of Florida-based plaintiff could be a proxy steered by LG. In that case, this would be either a warning shot or the beginning of a wider conflict between Apple and LG, which the latter may deem inevitable.”

Mueller bases the speculation on a few points. First, there’s the aforementioned practical non-existence of OSS online. Then there’s the fact that the entity was registered less than eight months ago, and then there was the trouble Mueller had finding a phone number or email address for the firm or its principal, Daniel Sherr.

Trouble that never ended. Mueller couldn’t find contact info anywhere.

Interesting idea. Might be fun to see what happens, or it may turn into yet another dry, dragging, multi-national slap fight.

The Samsung Smackdown
Samsung hit a worldwide region of hurt this week. Fortune has a court in Germany granting Apple a preliminary injunction yesterday that ends up barring import of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 into the European Union, Netherlands not included.

The ban comes just a week after Samsung agreed to postpone the launch of the device in Australia, pending approval of a model that didn’t hork the look and feel of Apple’s hardware and packaging.

FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller sums up the case to this point:

Apple alleged that the Galaxy Tab imitates the iPad and infringes on various intellectual property rights owned by Apple. Apple asked the Landgericht (district court) of Düsseldorf, Germany, to order an injunction under which Samsung is threatened with fines of up to EUR 250,000 (US$ 350,000) for each violation or imprisonment of Samsung’s management in the event of continued infringement. Those are standard sanctions under German tort law for contempt of a preliminary injunction.

Holy CRAP!

Fortune says “Mueller notes that German patent law is considerably stricter than U.S. patent law with respect to injunctions…” and that may earn him the award for understatement of the week.

Interestingly, Samsung says losing the ability to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in almost all of Europe is really no big deal. The company pointing out that the move is not yet final and has nothing to do with the other legal fights it’s fighting against Apple on other parts of the planet.

Samsung director of public relations Kim Titus says, “This decision by the court in Germany in no way influences other legal proceedings filed with the courts in Europe and elsewhere.” Titus goes on to say, “The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung… We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung’s innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world.”

While Samsung would love for the world to believe that the German court’s move ain’t nothin’ but a thang, intellectual property expert Mueller begs to differ.

Computerworld has Mueller saying, “This is a serious blow to Samsung in a huge market. It will give Android device makers as well as developers pause.”

Mueller thinks Google should do more to protect manufacturers using their operating system — and gaining them market share. Well, trying to gain them market share, apparently in agreeance with Mueller, J. Gold Associates’ Jack Gold.

He says the ruling is “not so much a swipe at Android as it is at Samsung. There are,” he says, “just [limited] ways you can do things to be competitive in product function. Do all LCD TVs copy one another?”

Hey that sounds like a lawsuit.

Agreeance is a word, by the way. I’m lookin’ to bring it back.

Looking on the Bright Side
Forrester research sees a glimmer of hope for Android Tablets in Europe. AppleInsider has Forrester seeing Apple maintain an 80 percent share of the tablet market in the states this year, and holding on to a 70 percent share in Europe.

But there is a window of opportunity for Android tablets in Europe, according to Forrester analyst Sarah Rottman Epps. Not a great, big window, but a window none the less. It comes in the shape of Apple stores, and the lack of them in Europe.

There are currently 52 Apple stores in the UK and Europe, versus 238 in the states. Apparently her thinking is that that leads to a fairly level playing field, at least as far as places to buy.

“But,” she points out, “the competition is very fragmented. Competing with Apple will require a different approach from what we’ve seen so far. A competitor to Apple would have to put together the right content, the right price and the right channel strategy. There isn’t anyone that has all three.”

So there’s a window through which no one can crawl?

“Manufacturers, retailers and operators we spoke with all commented on the failure of the first 7-inch tablets that attempted to compete with the iPad,” says Forrester. “The newer generation of iPad challengers, such as the 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Acer Iconia Tab, are getting better reception, but they’re still at a disadvantage to Apple in terms of channel strategy.”

Well, that and the fact that they can’t sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe anymore — a decision handed down after the Sarah Rottman Epps assertion.

Calm Down, Kids
So this headline from The Unofficial Apple Weblog piqued my interest. “Apple Reacts to London Riots” it said, referring to the four days of unrest that have now found their way outside of the Square Mile.

And I thought, “Wow… how is Apple reacting? Appealing for calm? Giving away iTunes gift cards for Pipes of Peace and Don’t Worry, Be Happy? How are they reacting?”

The answer: clearing out their stores of inventory before looters do it for them. It’s really a more sensible reaction. Who are Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Batman and Robin?

Pictures online show the Apple Stores in Manchester and Liverpool cleared of inventory, at least during the overnight hours, and there’s word that Apple’s Regent Street store closed early, and was being guarded Tuesday into Wednesday by the police. Not to be confused with the band of my upbringing, The Police.

I make light because that tends to be something I do. But I hope no one listening has been affected by this week’s unrest — and I hope it stops soon.

I’d like to sound more intelligent or profound about it but… that’s really all I’ve got.

Ahimsa. And that’s REALLY really all I’ve got.

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Comments

russell

Re: UK teenagers preferring Blackberry over iPhone.  It’s about texting.  That’s what drives the teenage market right now and if all you want to do is text then Blackberry is often first choice (there is also a bit of reverse fashion statement about not having an iPhone).  It would be very interesting to see how much the smart bit of the smartphone is being used, and for how long each month, in UK compared with USA.  And don’t forget the influence of totally different commercial and pricing models for mobile phone use in USA and Europe, and the way that the total bundle pricing for “12 or 24 months service plus phone hardware” adjusts to this.  Texting costs the Telcos nothing, but brings in a load of revenue.

Russell.

Ross Edwards

There will continue to be demand for a traditional console, even if it is not the top gadget in the category.  For many game types, nothing Apple has or is developing provides the kind of precise, tactile control that something like the Nintendo Wavebird provides.  (The PSX controller and 360 controller seem adequate for this, but Nintendo seems always to set the bar on this sort of thing.)

RPGs, puzzlers, turn-based strategy, or even fun-style racing or flying seem well supported by the iOS hardware.  Fighters, FPSes, shooters, and simulators… aren’t, and can’t be.  iOS devices will never sport crosspads or sticks and won’t support leafswitch or other catch-and-ready button types.  (or likely any buttons other than the home button and the volume/locks).

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