Particle Debris (wk. ending 3/25) Witness for the Execution

| Particle Debris

This week we became aware of the specs for the RIM Playbook. But before that, reviewers were digging into the Motorola Xoom. When I find a really extensive 10 page review, I take note, and here it is: “Ars reviews the Motorola Xoom.”

Along with the RIM PlayBook, it’s becoming clear to me that these manufacturers have fallen into wishful thinking: if only they create a tablet with similar (or a few superior) technical specifications, they will enjoy a healthy fraction of the tablet market. After all, customers really don’t care where they get their tablet or how well it serves them. Motorola and RIM are just good old fashioned household names for companies that build superior consumer products, right? Yeah. Right.

For example, here’s how RIM will (instantly) claim that the PlayBook will have tens of thousands of apps at launch. Hey, RIM. You could be an instant winner! (Not.)

Jim Dalrymple sums it up: “RIM’s PlayBook strategy is now clear — they don’t have one.”

One of my favorite topics is Android fragmentation, especially when the article has charts and some compelling analysis. Of course, the upshot of all this is the impact in the enterprise. With the Apple iPad, you get one really good OS well integrated into a 10-inch tablet. That makes it easy for companies to standardize. See what you think after reading: “Android’s Tablet Issues vs iPad 2.

If fragmentation weren’t bad enough, the way Google may have run roughshod over the IP of others is now coming to light. Android’s competition is taking a two-pronged approach. Microsoft is seeking licensing, which will drain profitability, and Apple is using the courts. Here’s a summary of Google’s copyright problems with Android: “Google’s Android faces a serious Linux copyright issue (potentially bigger than its Java problem)

Despite the ravings by RIM’s CEO about the PlayBook, what is it that people actually want to buy? An inconvenient question to be sure. Here’s a survey: “Who is the manufacturer and what tablet device are you planning on buying?” It makes me wonder: what if the tablet competition were to ask its customers before they go into production: “What kind of tablet would make you immediately stop thinking about an iPad? How would it function? What could you do with it?” Maybe they’d rethink their product plans. Instead, as the survey affirms, Apple’s competition is toast. I’ll reiterate: one year from now, only Apple, Hewlett Packard and Samsung will be selling tablets in any significant numbers with market shares of 65:25:10 respectively. The rest will be a memory.

Along those lines, as I’ve said before, Apple’s competitors are relegated to using specs to lure the geekier of customers to their own tablets. However, Apple has created this game and has set the rules. One rule is that specs don’t matter all that much, so long as the tablet performs well. Here’s the obituary: “RIP feeds and speeds” by Michael Gartenberg.

Notice to the competition: You can’t win. You can’t break even. You can’t change the rules. And you can’t even get out of the game. Exhibit # 947 for the execution (:-)

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to Apple’s competitors. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and art and it lies between the pit of your fears and the summit of your knowledge. This is the dimension of Apple imagination. Your next stop: The Dead Zone. (With homage to Rod Serling.)

How much faster than the iPad 1 is the iPad 2? How do both compare to the iPhone 4 in benchmarks? This benchark article at TUAW has a nicely laid out chart that showcases the A5 in the iPad 2. “iPad 2 benchmarks show impressive gains over original model.” It’ll make you happy you bought an iPad 2.

Everyone wants to love Apple, and we’re enamored by its products. But the messy details behind the scenes, the personalities, the missteps, and the crazy things that happen — stuff that you never hear about — can only be described by someone who worked for Apple for 22 years and who can eloquently document insanities and inanities behind the scenes. If you’ve an appetite for this kind of thing, check out: “Apple’s Psyche.WARNING! You could lose your Apple virginity reading this article.

Dan Frommer thinks The Daily is dead. (In my own language, the Daily has been pinged.) Here’s his explanation. To that, I will add that The Daily apparently wasn’t spectacular enough to stay in the news cycle of all the other news sources. Ironic. And a lesson learned for Mr. Murdoch.

I am always alert to how the youngest of Apple’s customers feel about its products. I am sure Apple pays attention to that too. While the most experienced amongst us grew up with UNIX, the Apple II Red Book, and assembly language, the youth of today are approaching computers, and now the iPad, differently. Insights galore are found here (and don’t be misled by the title) “The iPad is 99% more open than any other computer.

Finally, here’s a really cool product I discovered: Air Display. It allows you to turn a display on a second Mac into a second or third display on your current Mac. However, is does have some limitations. Check it out: “Air Display for Mac Review: Spare Macs Become Spare Screens.

That’s it until next week.

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Hello John, I love your weekly roundups and end up wasting way too much time perusing the articles you link to. I found the article by J-P Teti “The iPad is 99% more open than any other computer” to be an interesting glimpse into the mind of the (young) general public.

I just read an article on Wired that was discussing why people want the iPad, a device that does less than a traditional laptop. They used the analogy of the microwave oven. I was old enough to remember when they began to make their way into our families homes and also remember them being derided as being too expensive of a device that did less than the stove. “Why have a microwave”, they would ask, “when the stove can do much more than just heat up food. Plus it heats up food better than the microwave”. However, as the Wired article presented, the ease-of-use opened up the kitchen to more than just the traditional cook. Now kids could warm up leftovers, cook popcorn, etc. Yes, the microwave did less, but it actually enabled many others to do more.

I think the iPad is following the same pattern. The fact that it isn’t a full OS computer is actually helping, not hindering the adoption by the general public. I have been amazed at how quickly my children have adopted my iPad and have very little difficulty navigating the device. The laptop, often sits unused accept for my wife and occasional use by me.

Limiting, yes. Enabling, also yes.



Yeah, that slacker finally deigned to once again publish his Particle Debris blog.  Now I can sound like I know what I am talking about when I discuss the past week’s significant tech news.

Lee Dronick

Yeah, that slacker finally deigned to once again publish his Particle Debris blog

Apple: The Reluctant Arbiter, Exodus & The National Story wasn’t enough smile

John Martellaro

dmuzzy: Just as an aside, I learned years ago about the noxious chemicals in microwave popcorn.  There have been reports of health problems of people who work in the manufacturing facility - exposed even mildly to the chemicals. So years ago, my wife and I started making popcorn the old-fashioned way, with either a traditional stove popper and a stir-handle—or an air popper.  Where do we get our popcorn?  This is the best stuff on the planet, and not expensive:

Crown Jewel Popcorn Company

Tastes like REAL corn!  Not cardboard. We’ve never looked back.

John Martellaro

I heard a great story—forgot who told me. Might have been Chuck Joiner. I’m fuzzy on the exact details, but the punch line is solid.

He was visiting a friend’s home, and the friend had a two year old. There was a color 8 x 10 photograph on glossy paper laying on the coffee table.  The two year old goes over, inspects the photo, tries a two finger (expand) gesture on it to enlarge the image—and nothing happens. Tries again.  Turns to dad and says, “Daddy, it’s broken!”



Hi John, thanks for the info on the popcorn. We also make it the old fashioned way. A little canola oil in a pan and some salt. My kids like it better than the microwave kind. 

I will definitely check out the Crown Jewel Popcorn. Thanks.



Reading Dan Frommer’s review of RIM’s Playbook, and Ars Technica’s of Motorola’s Xoom, one is left with the impression that the Android tablet world is not a pretty place to be in early 2011. Which is a pity, because Apple’s offerings will never appeal to everyone (a fact obvious from TMO’s readership), nor should they. But a competitive set of offerings benefits the tablet as a platform in genesis, and their absence is one of the reasons, I maintain, that Apple did not need to go ‘all out’ on its 2011 iPad refresh.

The issue of Apple’s competition supplanting specs for strategy is an important one. 

This reminds me of my own professional world in which, given the complexities of modern medicine (a relative and location-specific concept to be sure), it is easy to become overwhelmed with facts unless one consistently reads and organises those facts into coherent knowledge. Not infrequently, one encounters someone, usually a doctor in training or a student, who is overwhelmed; and cannot distinguish the torrent of facts they spew out in relation to a patient, from an organised prioritisation of information and a management plan. No worries here; this is why we have senior docs as team leaders. What is worrisome is when the trainee feels that everyone around them is just as confused as they are, and does not comprehend their situation and need for help in formulating a management strategy for their patient. This is the individual who gets my undivided attention in a heartbeat, lest harm come to not only them, but the patient.

This is what I feel is the plight of Apple’s tablet competition; they are so far adrift in this nascent and rapidly emerging field that they have yet to grasp the need for, let alone formulate, a tablet strategy, but instead rely on the vain and magical hope that, if they build it and spec it, their tablet and their company will be in contention with Apple, and that nobody, not their competitors nor the consumer, can see any differences between them and Apple (or at least their tablet).

Dalrymple’s assessment, though harsh, is brutally true and just.

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to Apple?s competitors. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity

Although I don’t think this Fifth Dimension is dawning into an Age of Aquarius for Apple’s competition. Terrific homage to Serling, though.

Also loved the J-P Teti piece. Goes back to one of my favourite themes; Apple are playing the long game, Apple are playing for generational capture, and succeeding.


John, re: the pop corn. I always suspected there was something wrong with that microwave stuff. The smell nauseated me so I have always made my own, the old fashioned way. I use a medium saturated fat, virgin coconut oil. Will think about the fancy pc you recommend.

I have read applepeels before and this latest piece twice now and I have an unsettling feeling that he bears a slight grudge tempered with honest admiration. Interesting, though. Makes one feel a little more secure that SJ’s guiding force is tempered by the eastern philosophy rather that the western kind.

wab96, good insight.

Apple in the twilight zone. I like it. I think all supports my (not necessarily original) belief that Apple is forging our new century with another way for small to monster businesses and corporations to plan beyond quarterly profits. Plato’s shadows and mirror views suggest similarities.

SJ has to be a member of those important earth shakers who defy easy definition. Not a saint, not a devil but certainly dancing to the Muses of both. And that should be enough to keep him interesting for at least the length of this millennium.

And to come down a step, where is our favourite distractor in all this. And I mean this in the kindest way, to (again) quote Maud.

Lee Dronick

Apple in the twilight zone. I like it.

I was taking my lunch hour and reading with my iPad in the vault at bank where I work when the nuclear war started. The thick walls of the bank vault saved me and upon exiting I realized was all alone in the world. However, I finally had time enough at last to read my beloved Shakespeare. To my horror I realized I had no way of charging the iPad.

John Martellaro

My readers are so damn cool.


I was taking my lunch hour and reading with my iPad in the vault at bank where I work when the nuclear war started

Nice one, Sir Harry!

I think the original TZone was just enough ahead of my time that I caught most of it on re-runs, but my knowledge base is spotty. Pity, Serling was a genius who used that canvas to paint social commentary in lurid and instructive detail.

I was more of an Outer Limits man (or kid), myself.

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