Apple CEO Tim Cook Charmed D10, Cisco killed its Cius tablet, Facebook wants to be your next phone, Samsung gets the Cheech and Chong treatment in court, and Jony Ive keeps racking up the awards. Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray takes it all in and turns it into a tasty news treat just for you.
Cook on D
So Apple CEO Tim Cook had a sit-down with Boomtown and Moss Puppet this week. Actually, it was with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at D 10, the annual tech conference put on by All Things Digital.
A few points of interest from the interview thanks to Forbes. Mossberg asked Cook what’s up with the one-size fits all approach for the iPhone and iPad. “That is not the way they did it with the Mac or the iPod. Why not have more than one iPhone or iPad, and is there any chance you might?”
According to Cook, “There is no policy or commandment that thou shalt have one,” though they do want to make the best. “I think one of our advantages,” says Cook, “is that we are not fragmented. We have one app store, the rules are simple and straightforward and all the apps are there. We have one phone, one screen size, with one resolution, so it is pretty simple for developers on the platform. It is a testament to the power of iOS.”
Was he asked about the Apple Television? Yes.
While Apple is not a hobby kind of company, Cook says they’ve stayed with Apple TV because it is an area of intense interest. “It is not a fifth leg of the stool,” he says. “Not of the same market size of phone, music, Mac or tablet business.” Still, he says, “We are going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us. It is an interesting area. Right now our contribution is Apple TV.”
“What about doing a TV set?” asks Mossberg, “Are you making a TV?”
Cook’s response, “I’m not going to tell you.”
Would Apple get into original programming? Cook sees no need.
How are things going with Siri? This is worth quoting:
I think you will really be pleased with where we’re taking Siri. It is profound. It is not about voice recognition, it is about understanding. This is something people dreamed of for years. Yes, it can be broader. We see unbelievable potential here. Siri as a feature has moved into the mainstream. I think you will be really happy with where it is going. We’re doubling-down on it.
Oh. And they might kill Ping. Cook doesn’t know.
Apple Television is Coming. Or Not.
Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt seems less convinced — this week — that Apple’s gonna make a TV, while a host of others seem more so.
After Tim Cook’s D10 roll this week, SplatF’s Dan Frommer, wrote, “Apple is probably going to make a TV.” Wired’s Christina Bonnington wrote, “”Come on Tim! You’ve basically announced that an iTV is all but inevitable.” And Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said to viewers on CNBC, “If you’re in the market for a new TV, hold off … Apple has a new product coming and it’s going to be hot.”
In fairness to Uncle Gene, he’s been calling for an Apple Television in late 2012/early 2013 for years now, a point Elmer-DeWitt does not mention. What he does mention is not hearing anything from the D10 stage that sounded like Tim Cook basically announcing that an iTV was all but inevitable. And he was in the room with the rest of them.
What he heard was support for the Apple TV. You know, the US$99 hockey puck Apple’s already selling. Some of what the CEO said:
- “Very uncharacteristic of us, we’ve stayed in the Apple TV product business.”
- Apple’s “not a hobby kind of company … (but) with Apple TV, we’ve stuck in there.”
- It’s not “a fifth leg of a stool,” but it’s sales are growing fast… in fiscal year 20-11 Apple sold 2-point-8 million Apple TVs; in the first six months of fiscal year 20-12… it sold 2.7 million.
- “The customer [satisfaction] with [Apple TV] is incredible. It’s off the charts.”
- And, finally, “we’re going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us.”
Kind of sounds like a guy who likes what he’s selling currently. Then again, Steve Jobs said Apple wasn’t making a video iPod. And later that Apple wasn’t working on a phone. And he and Tim Cook used to hang out.
It’s Apple, and seeing no indication that Apple will do something is not indication it won’t.
But Cook does sound happy with the hockey puck. Or intrigued by it, anyway.
Also intrigued: Asymco’s Horace Dediu. Elmer-DeWitt has A-Him-co wondering on his 5by5 podcast, The Critical Path, whether Apple’s future TV product is already out, already in Apple stores, and “hiding in plain sight?”
I have always loved that idea. And now, I’m torn on what I think will happen.
Cisco’s Cius Tablet: DOA
Another iPad-killer has been killed off. Macworld has Cisco announcing late last week that it is done developing the Cius, the business tablet it announced close to two years ago — and started shipping less than a year ago.
Is the iPad to blame? Probably, though OJ Winge, senior VP of Cisco’s TelePresence Technology Group blames the consumerization of IT. Which I think pretty much means the iPad.
Quoting his post on the move, “95 percent of organizations surveyed allow employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the office, and, 36 percent of surveyed enterprises provide full support for employee-owned devices. These stats underscore a major shift in the way people are working, in the office, at home and on-the-go, a shift that will continue to gain momentum.”
He kept his options open by saying, “As we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.”
Instead, the company will sharpen its focus on delivering products and services “for more popular tablets and smartphones supporting a variety of operating systems,” which I think pretty much means the iPad. And the iPhone.
Facebook Phone: Can You Like Me Now?
Who next to try to kill the iPhone? A great big long New York Times blog post with lots of words says Facebook is gonna try to build a smartphone of its own in the next year.
Quoting the post:
Employees of Facebook and several engineers who have been sought out by recruiters there, as well as people briefed on Facebook’s plans, say the company hopes to release its own smartphone by next year. These people spoke only on the condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardizing their employment or relationships with Facebook.
Nobody wants to be unfriended.
The unnamed people say the social network “has already hired more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one who worked on the iPad.”
It all sounds familiar, and the New York Times knows it. Their sources say this will be Facebook’s third try at building a smartphone, with TechCrunch having reported on such plans in 2010 and AllThingsD having reported on round two last year.
Samsung’s Defense: Up in Smoke
One has to like a judge with a sense of humor. Even if it’s rooted in the 70s. There was lots of funny stuff in the 70s.
Steve Martin… the Coneheads… the song “Chevy Van…” and of course the comedy stylings of Cheech and Chong.
Would you expect to hear them mentioned in Apple’s case against Samsung before the U.S. International Trade Commission? Well, get ready.
The Mac Observer has ITC Judge Thomas Pender telling attorneys — officers of the court — that in his adjudication he may apply what he calls the “Cheech and Chong Test,” or more specifically, “Does it look like it, feel like it, smell like it?”
This was a reference to an old Cheech and Chong bit which I’ll clean up a little bit. What the comedians, basically, said in the bit was: Looks like dog poo, smells like dog poo, feels like dog poo, tastes like dog poo. Must be dog poo. Good thing we didn’t step in it!
Judge Pender went on to do Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words,” and reaching back to the sixties he closed with Lenny Bruce’s “Thank You Masked Man.”
But not really.
Attorneys for Apple and Samsung also had their say, though neither did any standup.
Apple’s guy is quoted as saying, “Not content to copy the overall design and interface, Samsung has copied the smallest detail of the iPhone. Samsung copied our original and iconic design.”
Samsung’s guy fired back with an argument that basically boiled down to “nuh uh, and besides, we were in phones first.”
TMO says this ITC case is separate from Samsung’s ITC case against Apple and both are separate from the myriad legal battle being waged between the two around the globe. But a win could still be huge for whichever company earns it.
According to TMO, an ITC victory “will be powerful ammunition for either company in their ongoing battles, and such a win will play a major role in deciding which side is favored in whatever settlement they eventually reach.”
Jony Ive: Award Magnet
And finally this week, at some point awards just become superfluous, don’t they?
The Telegraph out of the UK says Wired magazine has named Jony Ive Britain’s most powerful technology industry figure.
Quick question: Does that come with a sword? Queen of anything give him that name? Cuz he’s a knight now, you know. Protector of the realm. Gets to drink from the holy grail if he finds it. Knows the secret to slaying dragons.
Still, it was really nice of Wired. He probably needs another coaster.