Particle Debris (wk. ending 2/18) Left Behind: The Apple Rapture

Have you ever wondered what all those cryptic symbols are on the back of your AT&T iPhone? ars technica explains in detail. But what about the Verizon iPhone? Harry McCracken has additional explanation for the Verizon version. Your Jedi training isn’t complete until you understand those symbols.

It turns out there are two reasons why competitors are forced to price their tablets higher than the iPad. The first reason is that Apple’s huge amount of cash on hand allows them to lock in cash in advance purchasing contracts with suppliers. Because Apple has sold about 18 million iPads to date and expects to sell 40 million in 2011, they have credibility with suppliers and can lock in volume contracts. Meanwhile, the total number of Xooms, PlayBooks and TouchPads sold to date: zero. As these competitors seek to purchase displays, they’ll be fighting for the remnants.

But there’s a second reason why Apple tablet competitors have announced prices that are so high. It’s the fact that Apple has its own retail stores and can capture the profit the other guys will have to extend to retail partners. Jason Hiner explains the economics very well at the TechRepublic. No doubt this double whammy approach is being taught right now in business school.

And it’s only going to get more miserable for Apple’s competition who didn’t have the vision to project the tablet market because they were mode-locked into the thinking surrounding Microsoft’s failed Windows tablets. If only someone with a time machine could have shown this chart of the tablet market potential to Hewlett-Packard in 2008… “The Market For Tablets Is A Lot Bigger Than You Think.

There are few tech columnists out there who have any confidence whatsoever in Nokia’s recent decision to deprecate Symbian and go with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 (WP7). Last week, I provided Horace Dediu’s alarming fatality listing of previous Microsoft partners. This week, the overwhelming evidence by Bob Cringely and Don Reisinger are adding up to a virtual epitaph for Nokia. By the time Nokia figures out what went wrong, Apple and Google’s Android partners will have taken total control of the mobile phone market.

A lot has been written this week about Apple’s subscription policy. Some are alarmist and some are apologetic for Apple. Here are the best, most balanced and most analytical of all that I’ve seen.

“Apple’s Big Subscription Bet: Brilliant, Brazen, Or Batsh*t Crazy?” by M.G. Siegler.

“Why Apple Won’t Kill Print and Google Won’t Kill Apple” by Mike Elgan.

“Inside subscription content: Apple iPad vs Google One Pass vs Amazon Kindle” by Daniel Eran Dilger.

My take so far is that Apple is entering new ground in the tablet market and can experiment with rules that make the company money. As my esteemed colleague Ted Landau reminded me this morning, Steve Jobs just hates when other people make big bucks of his elegant creations. There’s plenty of competition out there, and the tablet category which Apple dominates, has not yet been declared a unique product category in itself, so antitrust issues don’t yet seem to apply. In the end Apple will do what’s best for itself and its customers until the the competition and the publishers either get a clue — or the government steps in and draws an arbitrary line in the sand for this new breed of product.

I have been using Windows 7 on and off inside Parallels 5 & 6 for awhile now, and I’ve been favorably impressed. My wife has been using it intensively for Java development. Our impression over the past year is that, unlike all Windows OSes before it, Windows 7 is a passable, usable, fairly secure OS. One of my former bosses at Apple agrees: “A Mac user reports after one year on Windows 7.” While I’d always pick Mac OS X over Windows 7, it’s a good thing Apple is on a roll with iOS, iPhones and iPads because, Windows 7, at least on a conventional PC, is not bad. But too late, Microsoft. Apple has warped into the future, left Windows in the dust, and Microsoft is now struggling with an OS that was never designed for tablets. Cruel fate.

Here’s a stunning example of what SAI’s Chart of the Day calls “The Death Of The Music Industry.” What I find interesting is that the industries that Apple has disrupted, both Music and CDs and book and newspaper publishers, saw the future coming, but were powerless to change the course of their own technical future. Highly paid executives didn’t really care, I suspect, so long as they had their golden parachutes packed and ready. Later in the week, an update was published.

What’s your Klout Score? How well do you influence other people? That skill may turn out to be more important in the future than you may think. The penetration of social networking by advertisers now means that if you don’t do your share in influencing people to buy something, you’re a technical nobody. Go to the back of the line of life. I found this article just this week, but it’s from September, 2010. It’s worth pondering. “Need a Reservation? That Could Depend On How Big You Are on Twitter (Really)

Each week, I try to collect the most interesting but offbeat articles of technical interest that weren’t primary for TMO news. But sometimes, we need to have some fun. Here’s a neat slide show of the “The Coolest And Wackiest Gadgets We Saw At Mobile World Congress” presented by Silicon Alley Insider. Enjoy.