Friday, February 20, 2009

5 Top Apple Posts of the Week

It's been awhile now, so I decided to do another one of my 'Favorite 5 Apple Posts of the Past Week', with my first revolving around Microsoft's plan to ape Apple yet again with their own brand of retail stores. This post, from the Balitmore Sun, not only highlights Microsoft copying yet another Apple innovation, but even more importantly, it proves to me that Microsoft lacks any innovation or originality of it's own!

In this post, the writer, David Zeller, states:

"It’s enough to make you rub your eyes, blink and squint to make sure you’re not hallucinating. But it’s true. Microsoft plans to open its own chain of retail stores. On Thursday the Redmond company announced it had hired former Wal-Mart executive David Porter to make it happen. Microsoft seems to think it can duplicate Apple’s retail success, using a chain of stores to improve the “Microsoft retail purchase experience” and to combat the stereotypes – artfully reinforced by Apple’s “I’m a Mac” TV ads – that owning a Windows PC is fraught with difficulties. I hardly know where to begin, so let’s start with the first thing many people will think when they hear of a Microsoft Store: “Oh, just like Apple.”

Well, for one, I have to agree that the idea of Microsoft opening it's own chain of stores is pretty amazing - amazingly stupid, that is! Apple's own stores have been big money makers, and have become social gathering places, not only for Apple fans, but for Windows and Linux fans as well! After all, it's not by accident that over 50% of new Mac's are sold to Windows users!

I also have to agree with David, that I too hardly know where to begin? I mean, seriously, what are they going to stock these stores with? Maybe box's and box's of Windows box's! Yes, Microsoft also does hardware, such as keyboards and mice and what have you, but really, a whole store full of them doesn't sound too interesting to me. They could, of course, like Apple, sell third party equipment, such as HP's Touch Smart computers, who knows?

Whatever, like a lot of folks, I think this is totally lame, and a very, very boring idea to begin with! And like all lame and boring ideas, Microsoft will probably and eventually try to sweep it under the carpet like they have with Vista, because, like Vista, I think this thing is going to end up becoming just another huge embarrassment for Mr. Softie. I won't say it will fail, however, because that is exactly what they said about Apple opening their stores, and we all know what happen there, don't we?

My second favorite posting for this past week comes from Pocket Gamer and their article entitled, "Oberon: iPhone will put pressure on Nintendo's handheld dominance." Indeed it already has, and it should continue to do even more over the next few months and coming years.

Stuart Dredge, who wrote the post, says, regarding the iPhone gaming abilities:

"It's leap years ahead of the carrier decks, it's made mobile gaming sexy again, it's making some companies fortunes."

Yeah, tell me about it, or better yet just talk to some of the people who are making fortunes overnight developing games for the iPhone/iPod Touch, just like the fellow who's game, iShoot, shot to the number one spot in the App Store, netting him in a few months the incredible sum of $600,000! No wonder he decided to leave his full-time position with Sun Micro! Why work for a sinking ship when one can work at home doing something a lot more fun, and obviously, a lot, lot more profitable!

Apple's App Store, like the iPod and the iPhone, has been shaking up the the very nature in which applications are bought and sold, allowing more titles, at less cost, to find their way to market. The App Store delivery system is not only revolutionary, but it also has turned Apple into the Microsoft of the mobile space, and basically overnight!

My third favorite Apple related posting from the past week was from Forbes and their post, " Steve Jobs Haunts Barcelona". In this post they describe how Jobs and company have become the 800 pound gorilla, overshadowing everyone and everything else in the room, despite not even setting foot in the place.

Yes, it seems that everyone and everything in the room revolved around products or plans for new software, hardware and services that, in one way or another, was designed to emulate the iPhone and it's App Store. Companies like Palm with their much touted Pre, Microsoft with it's newest Windmobile 6.5, Nokia and virtually everyone else - they have all become Apple wannabe's these days!

Yes, Apple may have not been physically at the big Barcelona event, but it's spirit loomed big over the event and was very much in evidence as Forbes stated:

"Apple's not here, there's no stand and the only iPhones you can see are those in people's hands," said Geoff Blaber, an analyst in CCS Insight, from the Barcelona conference. "But we've seen a couple of "app stores" launched -- they've definitely defined that -- and the focus on touch and user interface all comes back to the fact that Apple have raised the bar significantly."

Apple's impact with the iPhone is clearly seen in the competitions efforts to catch up and surpass it. Whether or not Apple will be able to continue to keep ahead of it's competition, that's something that is yet to be seen, but I believe that as great as some of the competitor's iPhone copycat devices have become, Apple's next iPhone, expected around June, will again raise the bar and will make it all the harder for the competition to catch up, at least for a long while yet.

Just as the iPhone influence has been greatly felt in the mobile area with phones and portable hand-held gaming, Fortune on Wednesday had a great article, my fourth favorite for the week, that talked about just how pervasive Apple's quirky culture has spread far beyond it's own walls and into seemingly every other Silicon Valley firm. The article, written by Brian Caulfield, was entitled, "The Apple Mafia", and in his post, he says:

"The biggest Valley brand, however, is Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ). To the world, Apple is known for its cutting edge devices and its larger-than-life founder and chief executive, Steve Jobs. Inside the Valley, Apple is known for producing hard-nosed industrial designers, interface gurus and entrepreneurs who thrive on turning raw technology into a slick mass-market sensation--people a lot like Steve Perlman, who left Apple in 1990. Perlman, now chief executive of tech incubator Rearden LLC, developed much of the multimedia technology used in the color Macintosh."

Yes, it's certainly true, not only has Apple designers heavily influenced almost every other designer, but many of the highly praise work done by other companies were created, in part, by former Apple employees. Take Palm for instance. Do you think that the much praised Palm Pre would have come about if it wasn't for all of the former Apple designers that it lured away from Apple, including former employees such as John Rubenstein? I don't think so, and if you ask me, the Palm Pre is a phone that comes just a little to bit close for comfort, and it's now a waiting game to see what, if anything, Apple will do about it, since it is clear that Palm is directly in violation of Apple's recently granted patents.

Finally, from yesterday, my last favorite post is from CNet and is entitled, "Apple snaps up flash memory for new iPhone?" Of course, even though a new iPhone is highly anticipated to arrive sometime around June, it's by no means certain that it will. However, this story certainly has raised the likely hood that this will indeed be the case, and some are hoping that finally, like the iPod Touch, the iPhone will see it's memory expanded to a full 32 GBs or above, and some are even hoping that it might even go as high as 64 GBs! Now that really would be sweet!

Tom Krazit, the writer, pointed out that:

"Think Equity Partners put out a report this week, spotted by AppleInsider, that says Apple has essentially cleaned out Samsung's supply of flash memory in recent weeks. Apple has also asked Toshiba and Hynix to step up with more flash memory, according to Think Equity, as it prepares for an iPhone launch."

Well, it would seem to me, if that's the case, and this should indeed put quite some pressure on other OEM's who are looking for adequate supplies of flash memory. This should be reflected in their cost of doing business, making their products just a little more expensive to produce than Apple's, a negative for them, but a positive for Apple!

Of course, as important a having a reliable and inexpensive supply of flash memory is, what we all want to know is just what Apple will be using in the area of other chips, such as possible new CPU's and GPU's as well? It's rumored that Apple will be using newer, more powerful, less engery hungry, multi-core chips and I am expecting, and hoping, to see a lot more 'wow' like additions for the next iPhone, something that will require a lot more flash for it to effectively pull off, and the news that Apple is shoring up adequate supplies of flash is one of the first major indications that it is about to do so.

So, there you have it, five slightly old, but still up-to-date and great posts from some great sources and some great writers and I hope you get to check em all out, if you haven't already. So, until next Monday, have a great and safe weekend.

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Friday, February 20, 2009

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