Particle Debris (wk. ending 9/24) Never Say Never

| Particle Debris

One of the cool new features in iTunes 10 is the ability to create Smart Playlists based on the existence of artwork. So if you’re fussy about blank artwork in Cover Flow, you can filter them out. TJ Luoma at TUAW explained how to do it.

CNET wonders if Apple killed a Newsday TV ad for their iPad app. The problem was that an iPad display got smashed in the ad, and I can see how Apple would get upset. First of all, any special effects that accentuated the glass smashing could well be different than what would happen in the real world — and that would lead to dangerous misperceptions about the product. Worse, it sets a bad example, though Apple hasn’t had a gripe with “Will it Blend?” Watch the commercial and see if you would object if you were an Apple attorney. Keep in mind that the commercial could be misrepresenting how an iPad would really break under those circumstances.

Oh, those clever people at Hewlett Packard. Buy an HP eStation printer, and you’ll get a detachable print console, um, a tablet computer that runs Android. It has some limitations, but it’s connected to the Barnes & Noble eBook store and has a browser. Gulp. And the printer is only $399 which means that the ink you buy subsidizes the tablet price, estimated at $150. ZDNet thinks this is very clever and so do I. Only one question: why isn’t it running PalmOS? Anyway, here’s the scoop on how “HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer).

This article didn’t get much press perhaps because it wasn’t what one would call classic geek news. But Particle Debris is a very good home for it. Read about how an iPhone changed the life of a blind person in Austin Seraphin’s “My First Week with the iPhone.”

Jonny Evans is back in form at Computerworld. In his blog this week, he plays connect the dots and comes up with six future Apple technologies by combining the tea leaves from patent filings, corporate purchases, and news leaks. Mr. Evans weaves a credible tale in “Join the dots on six future Apple technologies.” Good tech journalism comes from sitting, pondering, investigating, and putting two and two together. I like it.

One of the persistent rumors in the Apple world, promoted a lot by gene Munster at Piper Jaffray, is that Apple will eventually get into the retail HDTV set market. In order to do that, Apple has to wrestle with the “3D situation” as I call it. Namely, manufacturers, buzzed by Avatar, have been pushing 3D TVs all through 2010. The problem is that many customers just recently purchased a new (2D) HDTV and aren’t in the mood spend more money right now. Worse, many customers are reporting headaches when watching these 3D sets. So it wasn’t surprising to me to see “TV Buyers to TV Makers: No 3D!” If Apple is indeed planning to get into this market, it’ll be interesting to see how they handle 3D technology — if at all.

I love charts that tell a story. The best ones are sand charts over time like this one that shows who’s earning the profits in the mobile phone industry. It shows you who’s making progress and making money — independent of just market share. Check out this chart and telling story: “Can Android change the distribution of profit among phone vendors?

A companion story to the above goes into much more detail about how Apple has structured its products to create an “iProduct” universe that acts like a Death Star, assimilating whatever comes into its orbit. “Apple clobbers the competition” is a long and detailed article by two authors, Ashley Allen and Douglas McIntyre, that provides a boatload of insight into the products and players in Apple’s sphere of influence and how they’re faring. If you click on one link today, click on this one.

Is the Apple TV delayed? No one knows for sure yet that I know of. Jay Yarow at Silicon Alley Insider says his Apple TV is delayed and drew the conclusion that Apple’s having production issues. Have you ordered one? If so, tell us your estimated delivery date. [UPDATE: Macworld disagrees.]

Finally, we’ve mentioned Mike Abramsky at RBC Capital many times in our news here. This week, Mr. Abramsky asks an interesting question: “What if Verizon never gets an iPhone?” He makes the assumption that all the rumored CDMA iPhones are headed to China, Japan and Mexico and then looks at the implications for Verizon. Given that Apple really wants to expand carriers beyond AT&T, the prospects for T-Mobile and Sprint look promising. If I were, say, a T-Mobile exec, I’d jump all over this opportunity created by the difference in philosophies (putting it politely) between Mr. Jobs and Mr. Seidenberg.


Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The very funny Newsday ad has been pulled from YouTube, so we can’t even have an academic discussion about it. According to CNET, Apple threatened to pull Newsday’s apps from the App Store unless Newsday complied with the C&D.

Maybe Newsday will redo their ad with a Galaxy Tab. I bet Samsung would be totally thrilled.


Can Android change the distribution of profit among phone vendors?

Yes.  It will shift profits away from the Android handset makers (actually, it has already started).  In the same way that fierce price competition took place among Windows PC makers, Android handset makers will be driving down their margins to barely profitable.

Ever wonder why the established Windows PC makers shied away from full-on Android smart phones?  HP even went to the extent of buying their own smart phone OS.  They’ve seen Microsoft yank their chains and extract profit from them at will.  They’re not looking for a second go-around with Google.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Ever wonder why the established Windows PC makers shied away from full-on Android smart phones??

You’re talking about Dell and ASUS, right?


I know I’m not interested. Not interested for the same reason I only got HD a couple of years ago. To paraphrase an old chestnut “It’s the content stupid”. Sure there are some movies in 3D (a couple of them good) and a few sporting events in 3D, (like 3D adds anything to The Masters) but that is not enough to justify the added cost. Call me again when there are a bunch of networks running only 3D content. Call me again when I don’t have to hunt for something marked 3D. I’ll think about it when it’s the norm, not the oddball exception.

Remember: nobody watches TV. They watch what’s ON TV

As a secondary issue call me when I don’t have to wear uncomfortable and expensive glasses to watch 3D content. The technology is not really any more advanced than it was when this came around in the 1950s. Sure the glasses are polarizing rather than red/blue but it’s still an immature technology that tricks the brain into seeing 3D (and gives a significant part of the viewing audience a blinding headache). Call me when I can just look at the screen and see 3D.

I’m laughing at the companies that are jumping on the bandwagon. It will be an expensive fiasco for the TV manufacturers, and frankly the studios who will in a couple of years find for all their investment in production, few places to broadcast 3D content.


Call me when I can just look at the screen and see 3D.

I’ve a feeling you’ll be waiting a long, long time for that call!


I?ve a feeling you?ll be waiting a long, long time for that call!

Maybe not as long as we think


Check out this chart and telling story: ?Can Android change the distribution of profit among phone vendors??

Thanks for this, John.

It underscores a harsh reality, market share per se does not drive markets anywhere near as effectively as does profitability. For profit organisations need to make profit, and if they are to gain relative to the competition, they have to make more profit than the competition.

Apple enjoys a minority market share in computers, yet is a clear market driver in that space because they are garnering more profit than other hardware manufacturers. Market share is relevant only insofar as it influences profitability. In this graphic, Nokia, who enjoy the largest global market share, are haemorrhaging profits (if they were an ICU patient, they would be on pressor support and massive blood transfusion to stay alive).

The key value to profitability (apart from return to shareholders) is the ability to reinvest those profits into further R&D to keep a company ahead of its competition. If manufacturers who use Android are unable to make substantial gains in profit share, irrespective of market share, they are unlikely to go out of pocket for expensive R&D, and thus not keep pace with Apple. Profitability is their biggest threat if any of them are to keep pace with, let alone outpace, the Apple juggernaut.


?Apple clobbers the competition? is a long and detailed article by two authors, Ashley Allen and Douglas McIntyre, that provides a boatload of insight

BTW, an excellent and insightful read.


Is the Apple TV delayed?

I ordered one before Steve had finished his presentation. My order states I should expect delivery on Sep 1 or 2. I’m still waiting.


Only one person seriously thinks that Apple would get into manufacturing TV displays, and that is Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray, and he has been banging on about this idea for years, since before the first Apple TV was announced. There are others, deluded bloggers who do no serious thinking, who spread Gene Munster’s fatuous attempts at “analysis”.

Why would Apple make TVs when others do it so well and for so little reward? OK, Apple once made printers, back when Mac users faced problems in getting decent printers. Now they don’t.

TV displays are an even harder business to be in. I just looked at a Sony website, there are 12 models in the size I wanted. Why would anyone think Apple could or would want to compete in such a field?

Some of those were 3D TV’s, and you need to wear glasses to watch them. If I wanted to wear glasses, I could buy a “face-mounted display” at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent 60-inch TV. If buyers really cared about the quality of their experience, they would invest in surround sound before surround video. Most people don’t.

The small number of displays that Apple sells (currently 2) are made by Japanese or Korean makers who also sell under their own name. If they came up with a 2-sizes fits all, best in class TV display, why would they let Apple sell it for them?


I’m going to have to get on board here and say that if it means putting on glasses I could care less as well. I don’t need to see everything in 3D.

Though I don’t doubt that the technology will become ubiquitous at some point and will likely mature into it’s own lucrative format, I doubt that it’ll be the end of 2D anytime soon. The geeks among us in particular have a tendency to over-reach in our expectations for technology at times.

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