Particle Debris (week ending 6/19) Clueless in Seattle (and Austin) and Apple’s Safari Secret

| Particle Debris

On Monday, Jason Snell over at Macworld wrote a scathing indictment of AT&T's business practices with the iPhone, in "AT&T's many missed iPhone opportunities." Mr. Snell argues that AT&T is risking its most valuable asset through a lack of communication and creativity. Of course, that assumes AT&T has anything more to risk, now that that they've pissed off Apple. Asking Steve Jobs for forgiveness instead of permission does not work.

Also on Monday, Roger Entner, SVP, Head of Research and Insights, Telecom Practice, explored how the significance of a US$99 price for the old iPhone 3G has been largely overlooked and under appreciated.

According to Nielsen’s Mobile Insights survey, which asks 25,000 Americans every month about their wireless attitudes and behaviors, the second most important factor -- noted by 20% of respondents -- as to why people did not pick the iPhone was its price.

This move was described as kneecapping the competition. Time will tell, but I tend to agree. A US$99 entry price for a darn good iPhone is likely to play havoc with the marketing and pricing plans of the competition. Apple does it again, just like with the iPod. Get out ahead, innovate fast, then squeeze the competition's financial lifeline with lower cost products. Apple calls it eliminating the price umbrella. I call it squashing the competition.

On Tuesday, Infoworld posted a really interesting article on how HTML 5 could kill off both Flash and Silverlight. After you stop salivating, go read it.

Midweek, I was made aware, via Twitter, of a hilarious video done by Google. The Jaywalking-like man on the street video asked this question: "What is a browser?" You know because you're using Safari or Firefox to read this. Watch the video to see what other people think a browser is. Watch out, it's an MTTN experience. [See TWoW below.]

Have you been annoyed by Apple's new placement of the reload button in Safari 4? Many of us have, but there's always a reason for things, and our Managing Editor, Jeff Gamet, nailed it when he noted that it looks an awful lot like it's designed for a multi-touch Apple iTablet running Snow Leopard. The end of the URL bar is a logical place to put a touch sensitive button. Jeff has a lot of UI intuition, and I instantly agreed. So did Gizmodo on Thursday.

It wasn't until Thursday that I discovered this interesting article by Seth Godin on bloated textbook prices. So bloated that one publishing executive (in Toronto) was able to buy a US$20M house. Why do I bring this up? Because the days of the text book on paper are numbered, and we all know how much value people put on digital content, even if it's a 400 page Calculus book. Apple and Amazon will soon own the electronic textbook market. So I hope that executive enjoys his house -- and can keep paying the real estate taxes when he's unemployed in 2011.

On Friday, I saw an article abut how Sony is selling a Vaio notebook, 15.4-inch screen, with a built-in Blu-ray player for US$879.00. Even in this poor economy, Blu-ray sales are doing very well, and one would think that such a computer would be a critical blow to Apple. But guess what? iTunes in Mac OS X trumps Blu-ray plastic discs on Vista. Vendors, blinded by Microsoft, keep throwing sh*t at Apple's fan -- guess where it goes?

Even though I didn't see this until Friday, it was posted on Monday by Seth Weintraub. Rumors are flying that Dell is going to produce an Android-based smartphone.

It always amuses me how companies that can't seem to sell their own stuff well become dazed by the success of other companies and focus on the product instead of their own practices and excellence. GM might as well start selling Blu-ray players. After all, I could hear them say, "If Blu-ray players are hot, maybe we should sell them too!" When a company starts thinking like that, you know they've totally hosed up the selling of their own products.

That's why Dell wants to sell a smartphone. I imagine it will do about as well as the Dell D.J. Can you imagine the contrast between Apple's development technology, SDK, Cocoa touch, Open GL|ES, and what Dell will come up with? One centimeter, pretty icons on a small LCD do not a smartphone make.

Finally, on Friday, the Edible Apple posted some screen shots of the coolest Apple store yet, in Scottsdale, Arizona. You can see right through, from front to back. If there were ever an example of a store design that invites the customer to come in and have fun, this is it.

Technical Word of the Week (TWoW):

MTTN: (acronym) Milk Through The Nose. Something so funny that you cough up your milk and blow it out in a spray. Something much funnier than a mere LOL or even ROTFL. Credit: David Pogue.

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Comments

Lee Dronick

That is a funny video on what is a browser.

geoduck

he noted that it looks an awful lot like it’s designed for a multi-touch Apple iTablet running Snow Leopard. The end of the URL bar is a logical place to put a touch sensitive button.

OK that does make sense for Apple’s overall strategy.
But what would be wrong with the ability to add another regular button for Reload? (Developers; hint nudge hint hint. I’m not above using an unauthorized hack).

xmattingly

he noted that it looks an awful lot like it?s designed for a multi-touch Apple iTablet running Snow Leopard. The end of the URL bar is a logical place to put a touch sensitive button.

I don’t really see how “upcoming tablet device” can possibly be the logical conclusion from this. That UI does already exist on the iPhone/iPod Touch, after all.

Anyway, there’s no sense in Apple butchering the UI for the Mac version of Safari, for the sake of some mobile “lite” versions.

Regarding “HTML 5 replacing Flash”: Pfft, right… the article is an interesting read, but it’s also a lot of wishful thinking. There are obvious huge advantages to doing something in HTML rather than Flash, when possible. But Flash has been the king of rich media content and interactivity for years—it’ll take at least as long for it to be supplanted.

bigPaise

... And while we’re at it lets add DCTTN for something painfully funny. (That’s: Diet Coke through the nose.)

salparadise

Perhaps someone could explain this to me….

Apple US online store - iPhones starting at $99 (approx ?70)

Apple UK online store - iPhones starting at ?342 (approx $580)

This cannot be the exchange rate. So why is America so damned special?

Lee Dronick

This cannot be the exchange rate. So why is America so damned special?

Import tax?

geoduck

I found a workaround for the Reload Problem

Right click on the page and Reload is an option in the menu that pops up

Essentially the whole page is now a Reload button. This is even better than a single button. (I don’t know if S3 had this option).

Intruder

Perhaps someone could explain this to me?.

Apple US online store - iPhones starting at $99 (approx ?70)

Apple UK online store - iPhones starting at ?342 (approx $580)

This cannot be the exchange rate. So why is America so damned special?

The US price is tied to ATT and the UK price is for an unlocked phone?

JulesLt

Dell - I don’t think it’s that bizarre, or like GM making Blu-Ray devices - a lot of corporate accounts buy Dell hardware, from servers to desktops, and would likely also go for Dell smart-phones too, given the type of decision makers they employ.

Yes, you can get an iPhone for free in the UK, should you wish to sign of for a foolish monthly plan.

Buried in the small print of the tethering contract - data used beyond the 3Gb limit will be charged at 19.6p per Mb, or ?196 for an extra Gb of data, beyond ?15 for the first Gb.

Someone within their organization has actually sat down and signed that rate off - and then instructed the sales people that they cannot do anything except tell the customers that O2 are competitive. Which is a bizarre reaction when a customer tells you that you are not competitive with their current service - maybe they think Jedi mind tricks work??

(I’d appreciate it if they were just honest and said ‘well, we have exclusive rights on the iPhone in the UK so we don’t need to compete’).

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