Particle Debris (wk. ending 10/22) Right and Wrong Headed Thinking

| Particle Debris

Every once in awhile, a keen observer makes an astounding technological observation that changes our perceptions. Here’s one: “Today, I was watching my son trying to figure out why touching the screen on a BlackBerry Bold does nothing.” You don’t have to think about that very long to realize what Apple has done and RIM has not. If you’d like to read more, including why IT managers will have a hard time forcing specific phones down the throats of users, there’s much more in: “The Enterprise Smartphone is Dead.

Apple is so successful, it’s natural now to ask: “What’s next?” While Apple surely has much more in store for the consumer, as we saw with Mr. Jobs’s Lion demo, a worthy challenge now for a company on the threshold of US$100B in annual revenues is the enterprise. Yes, I know. I was there, in Apple Federal sales, so I’m familiar with every nuance and everything ever written about Apple and the enterprise. And written my fair share about in the last 10 years. However, one can argue that Apple was just putting the pieces in place for a more serious assault at the proper time. Take a look at “Apple Sees a Ripe Corporate Market” by Ian Sherr at the Wall Street Journal. What’s changed? The iPhone and iPad.

Here’s a novel way of looking at Browser market share. The way to read this is that the circumference of each ring is 100% of the market, independent of its actual length. The market share of each browser is the length of its arc. This is a great chart because it shows ebb and flow. Growth, as in Chrome. Or stagnation, as in Safari. Click on a ring (in the link above) then slide to see details for that browser.

Browser Market Share

Snapshot: Browser market share over time

During the “Back to the Mac” event on Wednesday, Apple COO Tim Cook provided some astounding data about the Mac and sales. For example, Apple’s annual sales for just Macs is US$22B. If the “Mac corp.” were a company, it would be #110 on the Fortune 500 list. (Not to fear, Mr. Cook says. Apple isn’t going to spin out a Mac subsidiary.) With all that and more, I find it interesting that the Mac, as a percent of sales, isn’t growing over time. Is the average selling price going down? Anyway, here’s the SAI sand chart that shows the revenue growth of all Apple major products, up to date for September 2010. Ideas welcome.

We’ve heard from time to time about the iPad competitors, but no one has heretofore put the competitive picture into focus. Now we have it. Jason Hiner has published a list at the TechRepublic of all the known iPad competitors and also ranked them based on the probability of success. I’ll be referring to this list often.

iPad competitors

iPad Competition (TechRepublic)

How many Macs are in active use world wide? (Installed base.) I used a couple of different methods recently to predict the number (60M), but Apple public relations wouldn’t verify. They stated that Apple has never publicly disclosed that number. However, at Apple’s “Back to the Mac” event, Mr. Jobs did for the first time. Answer: 50M. What’s cool about the graph, if I’m perceiving it correctly, is that it’s exponential.

Are one of those people who can’t wear earbuds? Suffering from “Earbud Cartilage Deficiency Syndrome.” David Pogue has the answer.

Frankly I don’t know how Ryan Faas does it. He must have a Dragon dictation system because no one can write this fast. Want to read a great summary of Apple’s event on Wednesday that includes a lot of insight and explanation? Read: “Apple’s Lion:A marriage of iOS and OS X.” Highly recommended.

The Virtuous CircleThe Virtuous Circle (Apple)

Another great observer of Apple is Philip Elmer-DeWitt. In this Fortune piece, he tells us about a rare mathematical approach by an analyst, Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore. Namely that Apple seems to be exploiting “Metcalf’s Law” that relates to the value of networks. Just go read it. Thank me later.

Steve Jobs moves us inexorably forward in technology. The computing world is littered with the debris of technology that Apple killed. And Mr. Jobs just keeps doing it. Here’s a recap from Wednesday’s event: “The Eight Technologies That Steve Jobs Killed Yesterday.

Snow Leopard on DVD

Did Google rush the Google TV to market? Are they technologically naive? Or arrogant? Some people thought Google TV would solve problems that Apple could not. Not so, Ethernet breath! As Rachel Maddow advices, I hate to say, “I told you so.” But maybe this once…

Googlr TV (Sony)

Google TV (Sony)

Finally, Steve Smith at VidBlog wonders if the record labels have ever made a good move with consumers. Now, they’ve apparently made another incredibly wrong headed move. For Friday comic relief, read: “Here’s An Idea: Let’s Insult and Offend the Consumer.” Featuring Gilbert Gottfried no less.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The list of technologies Apple killed this week doesn’t mention Java. I guess everyone missed that.

The frog boiling pot is at 180? and Mac people are mostly treating it like a boys-only hot tub party.

John Martellaro

Bosco: Apple is not killing Java.  They’re just letting Oracle/Sun maintain it—like they do for Windows and Linux.

BTW, I don’t miss 1.4 MB floppies, SCSI and VGA connectors.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

So you missed Gosling’s reaction then. In short, the Java implementation on the Mac maintained by Apple uses plenty of private APIs for integration and there’s no arrangement for either Snoracle or “the community” to maintain it. Dead as OpenDoc.

John Martellaro

I did miss it. And we certainly have to have to take Mr. Gosling’s comments as Gospel.

Something’s up, and we won’t know all the details right away. I have a feeling that pushback and then cooperation from the community will keep Java viable on the Mac.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Compare the timing and the company line with Flash no longer pre-installed on Macs.

John, what the hell can the community do about this? What can Oracle do about this? Apple made a proprietary bridge to an industry standard, marketed it to developers as a *wonderful* (the word before *magical*) technology for all sorts of applications from server-side to scientific for more than a decade, then just up and deprecated it without even warning anyone.

Steve can and will do what he wants. It’s even more offensive now that he’s being so blatantly passive aggressive about it.

John Molloy

It seems to me that Apple are taking a step back and removing Java from the runtime from the OS release. For years people have complained that Apple have had older version of Java. Simply put you should now be able to download Java from Oracle and get a release that is in sync with everyone else’s OS.

But as usual this seems to hit all Brad’s buttons and he shouts ‘conspiracy’. Here’s the thing. You don’t have to do things the Apple way. in fact is it 90% of the market these days that don’t? Why are you bothered Brad?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Ratty: There is no conspiracy. You are just missing one fact. Oracle does not have a version for the Mac. So you cannot just simply download Java from Oracle. Read Gosling’s reaction. He is the father of Java and knows the whole landscape.

And I do not appreciate your mischaracterization of my response. I do not shout conspiracy at anything. But I’ve come to expect those mischaracterizations from you. Just sad that nobody is allowed to disagree with Apple (Steve) without being accused of heresy. Sad that the community has turned into that.

John Martellaro

rattyuk: Bosco is right. There is much to be concerned about here.  But the very fact that there *is* much to be concerned about means that a lot of stakeholders are going to try to work around the situation.  Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Time will tell.

John Molloy

One assumes that Apple are handing back the reigns. There was an update today which brings the VM up to 13.3.0 not certain how this syncs with other versions in the real world.

So the advice at this link here:

Is still applicable… Going forward then if Oracle don’t want to do the work then it could be an issue but as of today it is not a problem.

Brad: you are missing the fact that up until today Oracle didn’t need a version for the Mac. And as I say what you do as of today is follow the advice given on the oracle page and everything works.

John: Yes there is the possibility that Steve’s mate Larry would do the dirty as all Apple’s mates seem to be doing recently and not bother to support the platform going forward but perhaps there is something else going on here. Apple is extracting from their core OS all the bits that cause problems with end users and thus allowing the user to download the most recent versions of these things from the most reliable source, the developers of the original works.

Thus if Flash has a horrible security issue - heaven forbid, it could happen you know. Then the onus is on Adobe and not Apple to sort the issue. It is the same now but by bundling these things Apple is ensuring greater security out of the box.


I think a lot of us were stunned when we heard the announcement about Java being deprecated.  However, Apple would not do something like that unless they had a VERY good reason for doing so.  Remember 5 years or so ago they really started talking up Cocoa?  They also started hinting that the Carbon API was just an interim solution for developers to port their program to OS X.  Then they announced that there would be no updating of Carbon to make it 64 bit.  They have essentially deprecated Carbon.  I think they are hinting that Java does not have a place in the long term for developing on the Mac or iOS.  Perhaps they feel that Java is not keeping up with Cocoa or is not going in the direction they see Cocoa going.  Or perhaps is is just part of their “make the whole widget” mindset.  (I’m not saying that that mindset is necessarily good).  Remember:  Apple is going to do what is in their best interest in order to sell more Macs, iPhones, iPods and iPads.  They are happy to have a developer write software for their hardware as long as it meets their standards and as long as it is a “win-win” for Apple and the developer.  But there is no doubt that they want the first win to be for them.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Brad: you are missing the fact that up until today Oracle
didn?t need a version for the Mac.

And you are missing the fact that requires Java. Of course they need a version for the Mac and have needed one going back to Sun’s work. Java for the Mac is now deprecated, so if you or your organization has come to rely on that product in place of Microsoft Office, you are hung out to dry until the issue of who will supply Java for the Mac is resolved. Imagine how dumb someone who didn’t even figure Apple into the equation looks now. Will the Macs you buy next summer when 10.7 is released be able to run the software you depend on now? Answer right now is no. And unless Apple can spin off what they have and continue to support the private APIs it uses for the wonderful integration achieved, the answer is doubtful. Which means the answer is doubtful because they won’t spin that out to a third party and then have to continue to support the private hooks.


I’m not waiting to see what happens.  I will start the arduous task of moving stuff from OpenOffice to iWork. Pity - I’m really going to miss the ability to freeze rows in my spreadsheets - for example.  Some of my stuff started life in MS Office 95.

Maybe I’m being too hasty - but I can’t afford to get caught out.

Very disappointing. First Apple screw up my perfectly good iPhone 3G with an update, then tell me there’s no way I can get it back to its out-of-the-box state. Then they mess with my Calendar and have the cheek to take money every year for the confusing experience called MobileMe. Now this.
End of rant.


Here?s a novel way of looking at Browser market share.

Novel is being polite, It’d call it terrible.

If the totals had been normalized properly there wouldn’t be the random amount of dead space at the end of each row. This makes the stats themselves suspect. The layout makes it very hard to follow trends. It’s exceedingly difficult to compare proportions on the small circle vs on the big circle, especially as they slide laterally around the circle due to these same changes. Yes you can mouse over and see the percentages but the idea of this chart was to make trends visible, and at that it does a lousy job. Perhaps the increasing diameter was meant to represent growing web use. However the growth has not been linear so it’s further misleading.

Unwrap this and it would be somewhat more useful. Then you’d have a stacked bar chart. Oh that’s right. When I took a course on the Graphical Representation of Data the instructor came right out and said that the stacked bar was one of the worst ways of presenting data, unless you were trying to mislead your audience. This takes a stacked bar and then rolls it into a circle to further hide what’s really going on.

Novel is being polite. I think I’d use amateurish or sophomoric. It’s a pretty piece of interactive art, but not actually very informative unless you fight with it to extract the data you want. It’s a mess.


Steve can and will do what he wants. It?s even more offensive now that he?s being so blatantly passive aggressive about it.”
Bosco: really? It’s just not possible that Apple has a good reason—just as they did with Flash? All this sky-is-falling ranting while having so little information—as John stated, we nor you, have all the info—so why do you turn this into a “Steve rant”?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Phil: Steve did not have a good reason for banning Flash and other third party tools from iOS development. That’s why he got his arse handed to him by the EU last month and had to change App Store acceptance policies. So no. There is no chance he has a good reason or a “plan” for Java.

And also, no, nobody is saying the sky is falling. Windows 7 is an even better alternative now.

John Molloy

By taking third party code out of the core OS Apple are ensuring reliability and security. Apple maintains OSX and the others, Oracle and Adobe, are responsible for their parts.

“And you are missing the fact that requires Java.”
Not an issue… under OSX currently we have Java. There was a new version released last night.

“Windows 7 is an even better alternative now.”


Er, is it a coincidence how much that graph resembles the Firefox logo, or was it made with fake numbers as a gag?

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