Particle Debris (wk. ending 10/1) Maneuvers and Intrigue

Netflix has apparently succeeded where Apple has failed. According to the Media Post Raw on September 24, Netflix has entered into an expanded agreement with NBC Universal, which owns both USA and SyFy, to include more content from those channels. Quoting NewTeeVee: “NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker may think that 99 cents is too cheap to rent a TV episode, but whatever Netflix is offering them appears to work.” Or maybe it’s just that Reed Hastings is not Steve Jobs.

Recently, the Mac Observer posted an article about our favorite iPad apps. Coincidentally, Jason Hiner at the tech Republic was thinking along the same lines and posted, “20 apps that take advantage of the iPad’s strengths.” I think it’s amazing that with 10,000+ apps available specifically for the iPad, and the maximum number of apps one can store in iOS 3.2 on the iPad at little over a hundred, lists of 20 or so are common. Is that because we can’t get our human heads around more than that? What technology would serve to increase our bandwidth about great apps? It hasn’t been invented.

Here’s another great chart from Silicon Alley Insider. We know that Apple has surpassed Microsoft in Market Cap. (That’s the number of issued shares of stock times the value of each share.) Now, Apple appears to be closing in on Exxon Mobile. As of today, it’s Apple [AAPL] at U$258B and Exxon Mobile [XOM] at US$318B. The chart says it all.


Credit: Silicon Alley Insider

Don Reisinger is making the case that Macs don’t matter so much anymore to Apple. That seems to be a popular thread, but I think there’s more to it than percentage of revenue. Sure, Apple is on the iOS bandwagon, but Macs are still the hub and core of our iOS life, even if they’re not sexy, not ultra mobile and Apple is moving smartly into the future with the iPad and iPhone. Maybe there will be a time when Macs as we know them now will disappear, but there will always be a need for what the Mac does — even if the UI changes. Check out his slide show just to ponder why what he asserts may be, in fact, wrong when pondered deeply.

Article after article I read says that Internet streaming remains a small fraction of our video consumption. Here’s one of those articles based on research from NPD and reported in Home Media Magazine. Even so, Netflix is launching a streaming only service in Canada - no DVD by mail option.. Will we see that in the U.S.? Is the small savings for customers worth it? Would Netflix lose money or gain subscribers in the U.S. if the streaming-only service were offered? Is the streaming-only option in Canada more of a practical concern, given the logistics of postal mail in Canada?Is the announcement by Mr. Hastings designed to percolate in the the tech news world and then create a desired customer response? Stay tuned…

Couple & TV

From time to time, I read an article about how Apple is finally gaining traction in the enterprise. Like: “Apple’s final frontier: The enterprise.” The latest pivot on that is the adoption of the iPhone and iPad. And that means app development. But by virtue of the halo effect, that’s supposed to mean that Macs are also highly favored. The problem is that iPhone and iPads operate in concert with but independently from the host OS, so companies can proceed with Windows 7, develop iPad apps, buy a lot of Apple iPhones and iPads — but not necessarily move wholesale to a Mac OS X IT infrastructure. I find it encouraging, but still a bit weak, when I see comments like this: “ITIC’s survey found that 79% of IT departments say they’ll allow more employees to use Macs in 2011.” Yeah, right. If you can write iPhone apps, you can have a Mac. When will Macs really begin to surge in the enterprise? I’ll believe it when I see it.

How do you sell your new iPad app when there are already so many out there? Why, you make a celebrity tutorial video. A recent example is this week when The New Yorker (Condé Nast) recruited Jason Swartzman to promote their iPad app. TMO covered the news, but here’s some of the thinking and maneuvering behind the scenes, reported at Media Post.

Many people have their doubts about Apple’s Time Machine. It works fine, and it isn’t broken per se. It does have some major UI deficiencies, and its functionality is limited. But it works fine for most home users — and that’s exactly what Apple wants. However, for those who want to dig a little more or for IT managers who need additional background, here’s some food for thought on why certain kinds of users may need something else that’s more robust. Offered FWIW.

One of my pet projects and enduring technical interests is e-mail. I won’t go into details here except to say that I am unhappy with every e-mail program ever written. If you don’t care for Apple’s and want to explore, here’s a neat summary: “8 Awesome Alternatives to Mail.App on Your Mac.” But be careful. One could write a very fat book chapter on each of these mail apps and still not understand the full benefits and limitations — depending on your own needs. That said, if you’re unhappy and shopping, check it out.


About once a week, I run across a really remarkable, full-length article that has lots of insights. No bite-sized morsels, but rather a treatise. But those are the kinds of articles that are rare on the Internet. We’re led to believe that we can learn all we need to know in 10 seconds, then we can go save the universe. (With a few commercial breaks.) In fact, it takes time to read and ponder and learn, and I like it even more when someone cuts through the conventional wisdom. If you have the inclination, try: “Apple’s segmentation strategy, and the folly of conventional wisdom.” by Mark Sigal.

We’re hungry to learn more about the new Apple TV because Apple always leaves a lot of juicy technical details out from the announcement. Then we dig in, learn more, and it’s like unwrapping a present. Here’s a chance to do just that in the luridly titled: “3 secret Apple TV features Steve Jobs hasn’t told you about.”

Apple TV

Have you ever considered that Microsoft might use legal means to bludgeon partners? Some how, some way Microsoft has to breathe new life into Windows Phone 7. But instead of making it the best, coolest mobile OS on the planet, Microsoft has other ideas in mind. Mary-Jo Foley makes an interesting point about Microsoft’s new lawsuit against Motorola, “I hadn’t really thought until today about whether Microsoft might be counting on patent-infringement suits against its smartphone competitors as one way to give Windows Phone 7 a boost.” Read the details in “Microsoft stops rattling sabres and starts slashing at Android.” This is industry intrigue in action.

Steve Ballmer