For some time now, we've been exposed to speculation about what Apple might do next. Wearable computers: an iWatch (or bracelet) and has a myriad of uses. A next generation HDTV system. An iPad Pro. An iPhone Air. All of that is in contrast to what we saw at CES: gadgets galore. The question is, what do we have time to absorb? What do we want to absorb?
When the original iPad came out in 2010, its was after there had been a lot of discussion about how a tablet would fit in between a notebook computer and an iPhone. Some thought there was no room, but then they were proved wrong. The tablet concept, as instantiated by Apple, was so brilliant, that it proved to all of us that we needed to add a new product category to our lives. Nowadays many Apple customers think nothing of having a MacBook Pro, an iPad and an iPhone. The family hangs together and makes sense.
So now the question to ask, it seems to me, is what is coming next that so beautifully fits into our lives that it becomes essential? It becomes "family," in contrast to a gadget that's fondled, toyed with, then placed in a drawer and forgotten.
If there's one thing that seems to fall into that category, it's personal health and fitness monitoring. That's why I think that if Apple really plans to ship an iWatch, it will be an independent device, something useful in its own right, that still fits in with the family. A wristwatch is something we can all dispense with in the smartphone era -- until it becomes a smartwatch, an iWatch, integrated into our lives and greatly favored.
Everyone else will be jockeying for a place in our lives, but that's really hard to do. It's much easier to attack small problems in small ways with spectacular press releases, but the true test of a product in 2014 will be how quickly it is embraced in our everyday life.
Just like the iPad.
And that's what I'll be looking forward to, now that CES is over and we eagerly wait for Apple's unique response to our fundamental needs in 2014.
iWatch concept by Martin Hajek
Tech News Debris for, You Guessed it, the Last Few Weeks
It's been awhile since I posted a new Particle Debris, so in order to keep the length manageable, I've selected only the most noteworthy articles I've collected over the last three weeks. Or, in some cases, articles that were a off the mark and cried out for commentary. Here we go....
The significance of a larger iPad, say 12 to 13 inches, is not simply a larger display. Rather, it's the markets it will target and which Apple competitors will be affected. The analysis is that larger display iPads will take a larger bite out of the PC desktop and even notebook markets. In business and education, buyers will have less incentive to wrestle with Windows-based PCs when most everything users need to do can be accomplished on the 13-inch display of an iPad. Read more at: "Apple’s upcoming 12-inch iPad may hammer the notebook market."
On the other hand, Apple has done a very good job of defining what a modern tablet ought to be. Its essence has been developed and refined. John Brownlee writes that "The iPad Is A Solved Design Problem" and I concur.
Accordingly, it makes no sense whatever to suggest that a 13-inch iPad would be a hybrid device, with an ARM processor, running both iOS and OS X. So, I don't believe this speculation reported by the solid writer, Brooke Crothers, for a millisecond. "That rumored 'iPad Pro' could be more than just a big iPad." That presumably is a system with separate OSes. For example, when the keyboard is detached, iOS kicks in. Apple is unlikely to mar the essence of an iPad tablet by selling an iPad product with a keyboard.
Neither is Apple likely to merge iOS and OS X. I think the technical hurdles would be to severe. It's better to let each OS play itself out. That's not to say that that OS X is at the end of its lifecycle. There's no evidence for that, even though it's been written about. "What Comes After OS X?" I don't believe a word of this article either.
You've probably seen those Amazon ads pointing out that the Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX is lighter than an iPad Air. True. But there's a serious catch. Bill Palmer explains the Amazon ruse.
This author thinks that Apple has missed the boat based on all the CES 2014 announcements. "Apple Is Losing a Huge Market." You probably saw my response. "Apple Need Not be Panicked by the CES TV Blitzes."
When one company comes out with what looks to be the future, as Apple and Google tend to do, other companies jump on the bandwagon for fear of being left behind. But are those kinds of products developing the technology or just hanging on the coattails of success? That's how I size up these me-too products. Often, the competitor tries to take a different tack so they can't be directly compared to the leader and found wanting. Still, it's nice to see competition; it helps define the market. At CES: "Epson challenges Google Glass with Moverio BT-200 augmented reality smart glasses."
I've pointed to the very technical review of the new Mac Pro by Anand Lal Shimpi, but there's also this more global, light-hearted, philosophical review by David Pogue that sizes up the fundamental nature of the beast. "Apple's New Mac Pro." You'll want to read it.
You may have read about whether 4K UHDTVs and monitors can benefit from their extra resolution. This week, in my research, I found a very good set of articles. "Image (Distance) is Everything: 4K and HiDPI Displays" points to a calculator article: "4K Calculator – Do You Benefit?" which points to this nicely done chart. All three are great reading.
Concept by Martin Hajek
Here's an author who thinks that 4K TVs are another fad, borne of industry desperation, and that they will fail, just as the 3D market collapsed. "TV Makers Are Out of Ideas." My regular readers know that I don't believe all that. 4K (2160p) TVs with curved displays are a technical path to a better future while 3D TVs were not. 4K will lead to new possibilities, serendipity. In time, the infrastructure and content will come along. It's a solid path to the future, and those who want the future to happen faster will make it happen. Just watch.
Along those lines, here is a fabulous, short technical piece by Marco Arment that explains some of the 4K nuances for Apple customers. "How and when the iMac and Mac Pro can go Retina."
I've written before about how IBM's investment in supercomputer technology, in contrast to Apple, has and will pay off. And so, without further ado, here's one of the payoffs. Medicine. And more. "Watson the supercomputer gets its own business division."
Finally, Apple followers are familiar with the DOJ's lawsuit against Apple and major book publishers. Apple lost that case and is still dealing with the consequences, but the other side of the coin is how the whole affair impacted less mighty players than Apple. This is a short but excellent summary by Brad Stone of how the market is playing out, how Amazon is benefitting, and how Barnes and Noble is suffering the consequences. It's a must read by a solid author. "Barnes and Noble's Nook Nightmare, Starring Amazon and the DOJ."
Teaser image via Shutterstock.
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week combined with a summary of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.