Particle Debris (week ending 10/23) Multiple Disasters

| Particle Debris

Before I get into a technical news wrap-up, I want to chat about an experience I've had with two vendors.

Back in July, I inquired with Phonesuit.com about reviewing their MiLi Power Pack for the iPhone. I received a response from Mr. Sumeet Gupta who said he'd be happy to supply a unit for review. Time passed. In August, I asked, playfully if the company was still in business. The response was "Good one. Sorry for the delay. I will let you know as soon as we can get a sample out to you."

So here it is, late October, and I haven't received the product. There have been no updates, no e-mails with an explanation -- for example, production problems. The only reasonable conclusion is that the company doesn't want its product reviewed. Draw your own conclusion.

It was slightly worse with Mophie.com. Back in early October, I bought a Mophie Juice Pack Air for my iPhone 3GS. It wouldn't charge and it wouldn't sync. Rather than just mindlessly exchange it, I contacted the company. That's because I tend to review items like this and wanted to hear Mophie's side. Here's what happened:

  1. E-mail to customer service bounced. Mailbox full.
  2. Phone call to customer service: voice mail.
  3. E-mail to company founder bounced. Mailbox full.
  4. Customer service called about 27 hours later. Explained that on Monday, mailboxes are often full. They spend the whole day digging out. Also, maybe the cable was bad. Pointed me to a webpage where I could request a replacement at no charge.
  5. Midweek: e-mail to company founder still bounces.
  6. Not knowing if the new cable would arrive any time soon or even work, blowing past my window at the Apple store for a refund, I took the package back and got a full refund.
  7. Called customer service late in week. Left message. Asked for the founder to call me. That was two weeks ago. Call was never returned.
  8. Draw your own conclusion.

This was too bad, because I really liked the look and feel of the black Juice Pack Air. If anyone has had any relevant, good or bad, experiences with either one of these companies, let me know. Disasters #1 and #2.

Back to the news debris. (I was out office most of the week, so this will be short.)

Today, I was alerted to the new Barnes and Noble "Nook" book reader. It's a laudable effort by B&N, and it's a really cool looking gadget with E Ink and LCD color displays. I'll have more to say on the product Monday.

Last Monday, Joe Wilcox published "Apple declares war on the entire PC industry." One of the gists was that netbooks are killing the average sales prices (ASP) of PCs. "Netbooks remain the Windows PC industry's huge Achilles tendon," Mr. Wilcox noted. Disaster #3.

Yesterday, Daniel Dilger presented some interesting financial data to explain why Nokia, despite its large worldwide market share, is beginning to panic a little. Of course, when a company gets panicky over a competitor, that's when the lawyers are pulled in. Mr. Dilger didn't mention one of the core items, a dispute between Apple and Nokia over Fair Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing fees, but the financial data is illuminating. Somehow, Apple seems to have a magic talent for making money while others struggle. Add Nokia to the list of companies that are panicking: Nintendo and Sony. Disaster #4.

Microsoft announced better than expected results for its first fiscal quarter, 2010. The only problem was that revenue and net income were down - just not as much as feared. Disaster #5. From what I've seen, investors are looking for companies that can perform, even in a recession, like Apple, Wal-Mart and Amazon. That's why AAPL is soaring. So when you see that Microsoft did better than expected, remember, expectations were low. In any case, Microsoft's slides are a good source for Mac writers looking for real numbers.

This is hilarious. A Japanese TV show was demoing Windows 7 in touch screen mode recently. Not only was Windows 7 reluctant to respond to screen touches, but then it crashed several times. One need not understand Japanese to be amused by the irritation and embarrassment of the hosts. Of course, it's presented for amusement only. Kernel Panics also happen to Macs. Just not during TV demos. Disaster #6.

Finally, would you like to see a demo of Google Wave, Pulp Fiction style? Caution: this is "R" rated. What worries me is the mentality that suggests that this is how one needs to market Google Wave. Disaster #7. It's a bit on the frenetic side, but as one would suspect, some will go crazy for it and some will wonder if Google Wave is for them. Such is modern Internet fun and infotainment.

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2 Comments

vpndev

Apple’s position on netbooks is both understandable and puzzling.

Understandable because Apple wants users to have a good experience. No problem with that, and many netbooks disappoint buyers.

But users (count me as one) want a small and lightweight Apple-oriented internet device. The iPhone isn’t it. It does many things well but I need something more the size of a Mini 9 (I have one). Yes - the keyboard is a bit cramped but it’s better (for what I’m doing) than an iPhone. It’s not a MacBook Pro (I have a 3-yo one of those) but it IS a lot lighter and easier to trundle around. MB Air is thin but too big around

I’m not heartened by the tablet rumors - that’s not what I would like although I can readily see its application for other things.

What I’d like is a 9-inch version of the unibody 13” MBP. No optical drive. Include an SD card slot, and make it so that a card can stay in, just like the Mini 9. Or maybe adopt the micro-SD size that’s common for phones etc.

If my local Apple store had one of these for, say, $799 I would not be here. I’d be there in line to get mine.

xmattingly

Thanks for sharing, John - those were all entertaining in their own right.

I have to agree about Google Wave; that seems like a rather bizarre way to market it. On another note, I really don’t see what the big deal is about it: from everything I’ve seen it looks like nothing more than an enhanced hybrid of email & chat. Whoopie.

Kernel Panics also happen to Macs. Just not during TV demos.

I know this gets into the tired old Macs vs. Windows debate, but I would wager that kernel panics happen far less frequently than the Blue Screen Of Death.

Be that as it may, Apple is additionally far less prone to demo a half-baked product. Jeez… even when the touch interface was working properly, I don’t think anyone could have missed the obscene amount of lag in the UI as the guy was dragging windows around with his finger.

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