Friday, July 29, 2011

Apple Becomes The World's Biggest Smartphone Vendor On The Eve Of A Coming Patent War

After selling over 20 million iPhones in the past quarter, Apple has now officially become the world's biggiest smartphone vendor in the number of units shipped, and all in barely a four-year period! And this after becoming, a little earlier in the year, the world's biggest phone manufacturer in terms of revenues.

What I, and others, might find a little bit shocking is the fact that Apple's smartphone business has grown more than 12 times that of the rest of the industry combined, which grew at a mere 11.3 percent, compared to Apple's own, and I might add whopping, 141.8 percent.

However, Apple has to keep its eyes on its back as Samsung, which some predicted would actually surpass Apple...... almost did! With shipments of 20.3 million units, Apple takes first place, followed closely by second place finisher Samsung, with some 19.2 million units shipped worldwide, a mere 1.1 million short of the iPhone! The third place holder is the former champ, Nokia with some 16.7 million units shipped in the last quarter.

Of course, all Android phones are now legally threaten by a host of patent suits that could snuff out Android completely in a moments notice, and which now has Google scrambling to buy up as many patents as it can in order to help protect itself from the coming legal onslaught.

Google recently lost out in the biggest of all patent sales, after Apple and others successfully out bid it in obtaining Nortel's treasure trove of over some 6,000 patents. Just this morning, it's being reported that Google has announced that it has succeeded in buying several IBM inventions, as it appears ever more likely that it too will becoming under direct legal attack by Apple.

Some are speculating that Google is really now feeling the heat after Apple's preliminary win over two critical patents in its dispute with and against HTC, which ended up with one of its top executive's begging with Apple to make a deal with them, since the patents in question could easily legally prevent HTC from selling any Android phones at all, and, as well, literally every other Android OEM as well, and all that in short order. As James Kendrick noted in his piece on the matter for ZDNet:

"If Apple puts HTC out of the Android device business, its next order would likely be to go after Samsung. Samsung is coming on strong in the mobile segment, due primarily to its Android business. Apple laid the groundwork to go after Samsung with the current suits for copying design, and the next step will be to file infringement suits for the same Android technology it has successfully defended in court against HTC. That would almost be a slam-dunk.

That would pave the way to stop Samsung from selling Android devices since the infringed technology is actually part of Android. With the top two Android device makers out of play, the platform would be in serious trouble. That is when Apple might finally go directly after Google for developing the infringing Android platform.

However this shakes out it is going to be a bumpy ride for Android device makers. Apple was brilliant to go after them and not Google, as it keeps the platform under a dark cloud for a longer period. It is not certain that Apple will ultimately win all legal battles against Android, but the ruling against HTC gives it a great start."

In conclusion, Google's decision to trample on Apple's, and other company's, patents without any regard what-so-ever, may now be about to turn around and bite them on their ass big time, and, likewise, from now on we may be about to see that things are about to get really ugly, really messy, and really, really expensive.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this Friday, July 29, 2011

Image via: Chaaps

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Apple And The Mother-Of-All-Piggy-Banks

Not too many people will ever get to amass a million dollars in their life times, let alone earn a whopping million dollars per year!

For the typical five-day work week, some 52 weeks in a year, that million-per-year would amount to a mind-blowing $19,230.77 per week, or some $3,846.15 per day!

Now, as amazingly sweet as it sounds to earn a million dollars per year, imagine just how long you would need to save up a million dollars each year in order to equal what some companies have just sitting there in their overstuffed piggy banks?

Well, let's put it this way, if you where around on July 2nd, 1776, the day of America's Declaration of Independence, you would have now accumulated a rather nice tidy sum of, $235,000,000 by now! Now that indeed is a sweet and tidy little sum of money, and so much so that if you got a measly interest rate of three percent, that would still give you another rather nice tidy interest payment of $7,050,000 per year, or some $135,576.92 per week, or almost ten times the weekly amount you got from your original million per year.

Ok, now this is getting a little silly, but what the hell, silly is what I do, because silly is what I am, so let's be silly and imagine that you started earning and saving $1,000,000 per year since around the time of Christ, or a little before, let's say 2,000 years ago. Well, if you saved that amount regularly you now have the very princely and tidy sum of $2,000,000,000 dollars..... yes, you got it..... you be a real-live billionaire (and a hell-of-an-old one at that!), and your three percent interest would now be earning you a jaw-dropping $60,000,000 per year, or over $1,000,000 per week... yes, each and every single week!

Ok, now here's the thing, if you wanted to save an equal amount to that of Apple's current piggy bank, how long would it take you?

Well, in that case your going to have to go back a little farther than the time of Christ, because 2,000 years of saving would only be 0.026% of the time needed, or in other words - you would have to go back over 76,200 years ago, because that's how much money Apple currently has on hand, some - $76 billion! That kind of moo-lah, at three percent interest, would also give you a yearly income of some $2,286,000,000 per year, and yes that's billions folks, or equal to $43,961,538.46 per week, or the tidy, little sum of $6 plus million per day, and that's for every day of the week!

Apple is currently, by-far-and-large, the largest corporate piggy bank holder in the world, with Microsoft and Cisco coming in second and third, with piggy banks equalling $41 billion, and $40 billion respectfully. According to the Business Journal, the top ten largest American corporate piggy banks are:

1. - Apple with $76 + billion

2. - Microsoft with $41 billion

3. - Cisco with $40 billion

4. - Pfizer with $36 billion

5. - Google with $35 billion

6. - General Electric with $30 billion

7. - Johnson-Johnson with $28 billion

8. - General Motors with $27 billion

9. - Intel with $24.4 billion

10. - Oracle with $24.3 billion

Wow, in conclusion, now those are some pretty big and impressive piggy banks indeed, and that goes especially for Apple which has almost double that of second place holder, Microsoft. With over 76 billion in its piggy bank, it's no wonder that Barron's reported that when it comes to the current patent wars, and the rush for companies to buy and secure even more patents, Apple is now indeed the most "Formidable Bidder For Any IP Trove", and all thanks to its little-itty-bitty piggy bank.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this glorious, and I mean absolutely glorious Thursday, July 28, 2011

UPDATE: Appleinsider, among others, is now reporting that Apple's piggy bank has now more cash on hand then that of the entire U.S. federal government.... now that's what I call a piggy bank!

Apple logo via: the Business Journal

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Watch Out Exxon, Here Comes Apple!


Yesterday, Apple's stock closed at $403.41, giving it a capitalization of a whopping $374 billion, or more than Microsoft and Intel combined! Coming after its recent record breaking Q3, it's not surprising.

Apple's latest financial gains, as pointed out by Boston.com, now put it within easy striking distance of it becoming the most valuable company in the world, a position now held by energy giant Exxon, who's market cap is now a staggering $418.36 billion. Not long ago Apple was about $80 billion shy of that, but of today it's only around $44.36 billion. If Exxon's stock, in the meantime, doesn't appreciate too much, but Apple does, then it's easy to imagine Apple replacing Exxon, an amazing feat considering that Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy a mere short 10 years ago.

Quoting Boston.com, they state that:

"Apple’s rise comes amid a reversal of fortunes for rival makers of smartphones, including Research In Motion Ltd. and Nokia Oyj, which have lost market share and fired workers.

On Monday, RIM announced that it plans to cut 2,000 jobs amid slowing sales.

In April, Nokia said it would eliminate about 7,000 jobs."

I hate to see a single person, let alone thousands of people lose their jobs, but when it comes to jobs I was completely fascinated by a television comment on the CBC, Canada's national broadcaster, that noted that even though Apple hasn't really created many new jobs in the U.S., where it employs some 49,000 people directly, and mostly in its retail sector, Apple also just happens to indirectly employ another 1,000,000 contract workers through its Asian suppliers in China, South Korea and Taiwan!

Also interesting, is the statement, also from Boston.com:

“It started with the Mac, then iPods, iPhones, and now the iPad,’’ said Giri Cherukuri, head trader for Oakbrook Investments, which manages $2.7 billion, including Apple shares. “It’s incredible.’’, and, Cherukuri added: “I don’t see too much slowing them down....’’

Wow!, considering the above statements, it really is incredible that anyone could achieve so much in such a short time, and all I will say is: "Exxon, you better watch out because here comes Apple, and if your not careful your about to lose your position as the world's most valuable.

In conclusion, as valuable as Apple is today, I can't even begin to imagine just how valuable it will be tomorrow, if reports are also true that Apple is already working on 15 and 17 inch versions of the MacBook Pro that'll be just as thin and just as light, but only a lot more powerful, then its new MacBook Air, or especially just how much more valuable it will become if its next smartphone, the iPhone 5, happens to be another runaway hit? And since that is now expected to be around September 5, we may not have that much longer to find out.


And that's my 2 cents 4 this rainy, and I mean rainy, Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Opening photo via: iEvolution.ca

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

News No Android FanBoy Wants To Hear About!

Even though Android fan boys love to constantly brag-and-boast none-stop about their daily high activation numbers, maybe they should get ready to show a little more humility.

This is because of a recent survey that showed that a whopping One-Third Of Consumers Can't Wait to get their hands on the much hyped, and highly anticipated iPhone 5 ... and long before we even really know anything for sure about the bloody-dang thing!

Another thing, that rabid iOS bashing Android fan boys should take some humility in is the fact that not only is the iPhone now outselling Nokia, but according to Good: IOS Is Significantly Beating Android in The Enterprise.

Accordingly, IDG News, Nancy Gohring, writing above, notes:

"Despite Android's strong overall growth, enterprises appear to continue to be wary of the mobile operating system, according to data released by Good Technology.

Apple's iOS operating system is so much more popular than Android among Good's enterprise customers, that in the second quarter there were more activations among Good customers of just the iPad than all Android smartphones and tablets combined."

Of course, considering that the Android's App Market is also more of a type-of-wild-west experience, that also just happens to offer a lot of security concerns on top of its very well known fragmentation issues, is it any wonder that enterprises would want a much more mature, stable and secure platform, and one that iOS offers in spades. Besides, having the richest and biggest tech company in the world, namely Apple, behind you must also be very reassuring to big and small business's everywhere.

The fact that the"iPad Trumps Android Smartphone Activations in the Enterprise." is really quite amazing indeed, and especially considering just how high Android's activations have been on the consumer side, as eWeek reported:

" the iPad isn't just the hottest consumer tablet in the market; it's also beating all Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android-based "Honeycomb" tablets and smartphones combined in the nascent enterprise market for mobile devices.

The iPad, which sold more than 28 million units worldwide, accounted for 95 percent of business tablet activations, according to Good Technology's latest data report on mobile devices in the workplace."

What I hate the most about Android, besides its wholesale ripping off of iOS, is the unadulterated bragging and smugness of its fan boys who constantly boast how their platform is so much better, so much more innovative than iOS, and how it will eventually kill off iOS and its many users, who they see as being nothing more than dumb and blind followers of the cult of Apple.

In conclusion, maybe, just maybe some of them will now begin to look objectively at the reports above and will humbly begin to wipe some of the stupid grins from off their smug little faces and get real for a change, but I somehow doubt it. Android fan boys have been drunk on the Google kool-aid for so long now that they only see what they want to see.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this cold, wet and cloudy Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Transparent iPhone 5 mock-up via: PhoneReview

Monday, July 25, 2011

Management Styles : The Difference Between Apple And Google

Apple is firing on all cylinders these days, but just what is it exactly that makes it so successful, and the absolute envy of every other high-tech firm out there?

Well, if you look carefully at the above cartoon, via the New York Times, (click to embigen) you'll begin to realize that it's really very simple: its management style.

Apple's management style, on one hand, is as simple as it comes: namely, that when it comes to making any final decisions the buck stops squarely at the desk of one man, and one man alone.... Steve Jobs.

In stark contrast, Google and other companies make their final decisions by first passing through a process that includes many different and various focus groups and committees, all consisting of many various different people, who's various different and competing ideas and values all tend to weaken any final decision and outcome.

Apple and Google are both great company's, of course, but what really gives Apple its edge over Google and all of the various other companies out there, as Randall Stross elegantly points out in his New York Times article, is simply that:

"AT Apple, one is the magic number.

One person is the Decider for final design choices. Not focus groups. Not data crunchers. Not committee consensus-builders. The decisions reflect the sensibility of just one person: Steven P. Jobs, the C.E.O.

By contrast, Google has followed the conventional approach, with lots of people playing a role. That group prefers to rely on experimental data, not designers, to guide its decisions.

The contest is not even close. The company that has a single arbiter of taste has been producing superior products, showing that you don’t need multiple teams and dozens or hundreds or thousands of voices."

And you know what?, he's totally spot-on-the-money. Yes, focus groups and committees certainly have their place, but not in the final decision making process. Clearly, that is best left to a-one-man, or a-one-woman management style of governance, such as Steve Jobs and company, who's success, time and time again, have proven beyond any doubt just how effective that style of management style can be. After all, you can't argue success!

On the other hand, Google's and other companies, particular style of management invariably can and will lead to competition within itself and among its employees, which also invariably leads to friction, confusion, jealousy, envy and numerous other bad effects which ultimately ends up weakening its overall decision making process and thus its overall success.

In conclusion, and in stark contrast, however, when you have a company with a one man, or a-one-woman management style of governance, you can end up having a company with a much more united and a much more focus response, or in other words: a company just like Apple, a company that is now on pace to possibly become the most valuable company in the world, like ever!



And that's my 2 cents 4 this Monday, I can't believe it's July 25 already, 2011.

Friday, July 22, 2011

OS X, Q3 And The New MBA's: Apple's Big Week

News stories covering Apple for the week were plentiful and interesting to say the least. First off, it was the week that Apple posted its biggest revenues and profits in its entire history, a whopping, absolutely mind-blowing $7+ billion in profits, on revenues of over $28+ billion!

Relating to Apple's mighty Q3, it was reported that Apple has now close to some $80 billion dollars in cold-hard cash, which has prompted even more speculation on just what Apple should do with it. Personally, I would like to start off by suggesting that they donate a measly $100 million or so to little old me, and I'd be more than happy to troll for them big time in return... ha,ha, ha! Seriously, there's certainly no number of things that Apple could do with that kind of cash.

Apparently, one possibility could be buying Hulu. Apple is now reported to be in the early stages of considering buying Hulu, an American only TV on-demand service. One of the more interesting notes, regarding Apple's massive piggy bank, however, was the fact that Apple's Cash Hoard Now Exceeds The GDP Of Some 128 Countries! Now that truly is amazing, even though Apple's recent quarter were being directly compared to the 2009 statistics for the world's poorest countries. Impressive, nonetheless indeed!

This was also the week that the mighty iPad broke its own sales records, even though, as expected, the hoard of non-iPads copy cats have finally taken a bite out of its share. Android, for example, is now picking up, resulting in the iPad's share dropping from approximately 84 % to 61%. Android's share is now around 20%. However, sooner or later this was to be expected. The fact still remains that the iPad is still by-far-and-away the biggest selling tablet out there, dwarfing all comers, with no other single tablet getting anything but disappointing results in comparison. However, Android's smaller share of tablets is actually shrinking when it comes to the enterprise, with the iPad now increasing its share to a whopping 95 %!

This is also the week that OS X Lion was finally set free to roar, with the press's usual crop of love/hate reviews of the big new cat. Most reviews seemed overall quite favorable, with the New York Time's, David Pogue, saying: "...It follows an old Apple pattern of embracing what’s cool and progressive, and ruthlessly jettisoning what it considers antiquated. That’s...not so great if you hate people moving your cheese.
...
There are some very attractive elements to the download-only system. No serial numbers to type in. No family plans to buy. ... No discs to store and hunt down later."

Along side Lion, of course, Apple finally launched its latest versions of the MacBook Air, featuring at long last the return of its back lit keyboard...... yeah! Amazingly, the new MBA's actually, and as unbelievable as it may sound, blows the doors off of Apple's slightly older, high-end 2010 MacBook Pro models! Now that must make all of the 2010 owners feel a little crappy right now. These little suckers might be small when it comes to size and weight, but boy, oh boy, do these babies fly-like-the-wind!"

It was also the week that Apple did something that was once thought of being impossible ... it dethroned mighty Nokia as the world's number one smartphone maker! Some still see the need for Apple to get into cheaper phones, especially prepaid ones, but nonetheless even if Apple doesn't even increase its market share, it's still seen selling as many as 190 million phones annually by 2016!

All-in-all, and in conclusion, it was quite the week for the boys and the girls in Cupertino, with the new MBA's and Lion highlighting on "Why Apple Is Today's Tech Juggernaut", and on why some people now believe that Apple is now gunning to replace Exxon as the most valuable company on the face of God's green earth.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Amazing Chinese Fake Apple Store Clones!

It's one thing to make a copy or clone of a single Apple product, like this MacBook Air clone, but it's entirely another thing altogether to clone an entire ........... Apple Store!

The video above, via the LA Times, and the photo below, via the Guardian Newspaper, could have surely fooled me as they look exactly like the real deal. The Guardian has more photos here, and the more that you look, the more amazing it is to realize that maybe all of the products in the store, as well as the store and its employee's themselves are all fake! Everything looks so amazingly detailed that I suppose it is possible that some of the products might actually be real Apple devices, but are being sold without Apple's approval, who really knows for sure? According to a report on NBC news that I saw last night, the really sad thing is that the employees actually believe they are the real Apple employees!

According to the Guardian, these amazingly fake Apple Store clones were discovered by an 27 year old American, who posted her amazing find on her blog, Abirdabroad, which details the entire scoop and the photos to go with them.

Personally, I can't even begin to imagine anyone trying to clone another company's entire product line, or its entire retail experience other than one company..... Apple! Can you imagine someone trying to clone every little thing Microsoft? I thought not, and as bad as it is that Android totally clones and rips-off iOS and the iPhone, or how others all rip-off the basic design and features of the iPad, OS X, etc., these Chinese take the cake!

In conclusion, I'm beginning to think that the great nation of China has just got to be one of the most interesting and absolute amazing places on earth, for where else could you possibly go and see something like this? Mind you, I'll still rather go to amazingly beautiful Deutschland, but boy-oh-boy are these Chinese clone makers good or what?


And that's my 2 cents 4 this cloudy, but nice Wednesday, July 21, 2011

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that all of the products are indeed, real Apple products.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Apple's Q3 Results: The Mother Of All Blow Outs!

Yesterday, it happened yet again.... Apple utterly smashed the Street estimates after it reported its latest 3rd. quarterly results. Apple has blown past Wall Streets and its own guidance guidance so many times now that Forbes, Brian Caulfield, has officially declared: "Apple’s Guidance Is Now, Officially, A Joke"

Some of Apple's Q3 highlights where as follows:

- $28.57 billion in revenues

- $7.31 billion in profit

- $7.79 per diluted share

- 20.34 million iPhones sold (e-gads!)

- 09.25 million iPads sold (el-manifico!)

- 3.95 million Macs sold (e-mazing!)

- 7.54 million iPods sold (ehhh... not bad!)

One of the most interesting things to come out of Apple's Q3, as pointed out by Matt Rosoff, was the fact that in a little more than a year "The iPad Is Now Bigger Than The Mac!" This is truly amazing when you consider that the Mac has been around for over a quarter-of-a-century! As Matt points out, "Overall, iOS products made up more than 2/3ds of the company's revenue."

With over 20 million iPhones and 9 million iPads having been sold in the past three months, not only does the iPhone blows past RIM's Blackberry, but Brian Caulfield goes on to note that: "...... iOS (now) Eclipses Dell And HP’s PC Businesses. Now that really is amazing and is something that at one time would have been almost impossible to imagine. HP and Dell have for ages now been the world's two biggest sellers of PCs, and for a time when Apple was consider to be a company that was just about to go out of business any day now.

Another amazing fact, from Apple's amazing Q3, is the fact that most of Apple's growth is now coming not from American or European customers, but from Asia and particularly from China which has apparently gone absolute Apple crazy! As Forbes, Ray Kwong recent post entitled: "China + iPhone = Beaucoup Bucks" notes:

"It doesn’t matter how you do the math. Because by any measure, Apple’s China iPhone sales are going to be mind-boggling.

And with everything pointing to all three of China’s mobile carriers selling the iPhone, it’s a lock.

China Mobile, the world’s largest cellphone network, with 611 million subscribers (that’s almost twice the number of people living in the U.S.) will likely offer the iPhone within the next 12 months, reports the Wall Street Journal.

China’s second-largest carrier, China Unicom, with a notch under 200 million subscribers, already sells the iPhone (since 2009). And China Telecom, with 106 million subscribers (more subscribers than Verizon, the US’s second-largest carrier), will probably start selling the iPhone in November.

Analysts say the size of the potential market is so enormous that iPhone sales there would dwarf sales elsewhere around the globe, writes Fast Company."

Well, in conclusion, when it comes to Apple's just released Q3 numbers all I can say, like one recent analyst, is "WOW......way to go Apple Baby!" As I predicted, even though Apple's Q3 results utterly put Google's recent, and great, Q2 results to utter shame, for some strange reason, so far Apple's stock has risen only some 4.55 % as compared to Google's, which rose over 12%. Hopefully, at the end of the day Apple's stock will hit past the $400 per share mark, something that it briefly did in late after noon trading when it hit $405.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Steve Job photo via: All Things D

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Samsung Pulls Anymode's Smart Covers: Did Samsung Lie?


Samsung recently pulled from its official site a blatant rip-off of Apple's Smart Cover, namely Anymode's Smart Case. As you can see from the photo above, well it looks like a perfect twin of Apple's, complete down to its pastel colors!

Samsung said that they never really certified Smart Cases, but that begs the question: If Samsung didn't certify or approve of it, how pray-tell then did it ever get on Samsung's official site without Samsung knowing about it in the first place?

Personally, I believe that Samsung lied through their nose by saying that they didn't approve of it, and only took it down after sites like Engadget picked up on all of the flack that it was generating.

As you can see from the enclosed pictures of Anymode's Smart Case, all via 9-t0-5-mac, who also noted the family ties between Anymode and Samsung, that these blatant attempts to copy Apple would harm its on-going legal battles with the world's most valuable brand, which in my mind is the only reason why Samsung removed them from its official site.

So, did Samsung lie about the whole affair with Smart Cases?

As far as I'm concerned, they most certainly did. Actually, I really would have preferred if Samsung would have just left them there, as it would have made it that much easier for Apple to prove that Samsung was indeed copying Apple's every little move.

In conclusion, and on a more serious note, Eric Schmidt has vowed to assist HTC in its patent fight with Apple, especially now that the ITC has ruled against HTC on two extremely important patents. Google, quite frankly, has really no other choice, as it is literally fighting for Android's very survival, as Android is the biggest and ugliest rip-off ever of an Apple product yet.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this sunny, delightful Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Apple Wins Patent Dispute With HTC: Can Android Survive?


Last week HTC got hammered by a decision by the ITC that says HTC is violating two very important Apple patents. The headlines, more-or-less, say it all, that not only is HTC in big trouble, but more importantly that the entire Android platform is in big, and I mean really, really big trouble.

Some of these include Adrian Kingsley-Hugh's headline: "Apple deals massive patent blow to HTC, Android in serious trouble." Adrian notes that:

"This is a very significant development since these two patents are also in dispute between Apple and Motorola and Apple and Nokia. This decision is also landmark in that it is the first legal judgement that finds Android in infringement of third-party intellectual property rights.

Just how serious is this ruling for HTC? Very serious. The worst-case scenario is that the ITC imposes an US import ban against all of HTC’s Android products. That’s how serious this is for HTC.

According to intellectual property activist Florian Mueller, Apple is unlikely to grant HTC a license for these patents and might make a damages claim."

This news was indeed significant enough that Reuters reported that Taiwanese stocks fell by 0.59%, with HTC taking a direct hit, and losing at one point as much as 6.5% of its value and prompting the company to shore up its shares by buying some of them back.

For many, myself included, Apple's legal abstract of the patents in question seems all rather vague, but Philips Elmer-DeWitt, writing for CNN Money, helps to simplify matters in his article, "Apple vs Google: Inside an Android patent violation", which breaks down in layman's English just what the core of the whole matter is about, and I quote:

"Steve Jobs claimed that Google "stole" this Apple innovation. Last week, the ITC agreed.

When an iPhone receives a message that contains a phone number or an address -- e-mail, Web or street -- those bits of data are automatically highlighted, underlined and turned into clickable links.

Click on the phone number, and the iPhone asks if you want to dial it. Click on the Web address, and it opens in Safari. Click on the street address, and Maps will display it.

Any Android phone will do the same.

Unfortunately for the three dozen companies that make Android devices, Apple (AAPL) filed for a patent on the underlying system and method that performs these actions in 1996. The patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647, was one of 20 that in March 2010 Apple accused HTC, a leading maker of Android phones, of violating."

This certainly, as many are noting, is bad news indeed for Android, as it threatens the very future of Google's so-called open platform. One expert in such matters is Germany's Florian Mueller, an award-winning intellectual property activist with some 25 years of software industry experience, who basically sums up Apple's proxy war against Google and Android, as being a case where "Google's Android mobile operating system is in serious trouble."

In conclusion, this is a pivotal moment for not just HTC, but for the entire Android platform as a whole. Not only because it will increase pressure on HTC to find a work-a-round solution, something that may be impossible according to Florian Mueller, but because it lays at the very heart of Android survival and its future as a viable alternative to the iPhone, and surely that must have anyone working on the Android platform quaking in their boots, despite anything that they might say to the contrary.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Google And Android Are On A Rip-Roaring-Roll, But Can They Keep On Rolling?


It was barely a month ago that Google announced that it was activating some 500,000 Android phones per day, and now it's reporting that it has already grown to some 550,000 per day - a sizzling 10 percent higher in barely a month or less!

Considering the above figures, well I guess it's no wonder that Google just easily managed to post profits of some $ 2 billion plus, on revenues of slightly more than $9 billion. Nonetheless, according to some, all of this apparently still does not pose much of a threat or concern to the iPhone itself, which it is believed will benefit handsomely from the continuing trend in smartphones, a trend that was also clearly kick-started by the iPhone.

Amazingly, Google's stock rose over 13% in after hour trading, or a whopping $70 per share! Since Apple easily bested Google's present quarter the last time around, could Apple's stock also surge 10% or more once it posts its latest quarter on July 19? After all, Apple's last quarter was much bigger than Google's current one, or approximately $6 billion of profit on revenues of some $26 billion, which Apple is easily expected to beat come next Tuesday, July 19th.

Also, with the MacBook Air, the white MacBook, Mac Mini's, iOS 5 and the next version of the iPhone about to hit the streets any day now, I have the feeling that as impressive as Google's recent quarter was, Apple's July 19th. posting could make it look down-right anemic in comparison. By all accounts, Apple's next quarter should be a real hummer-dinger. It will also be interesting to see if Apple gives us a breakdown for the current daily activation rate for iOS, and in particular for the iPhone. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, it was approaching approximately some 275,000 activations per day, so it will be interesting to see what, if any, growth in might have occured.

So, even though it's abundantly clear that Android and Google are both on a rip-roaring-roll, the question is, however, can they continue to keep on rolling, or is there an end to its seemingly unstoppable roll?

As far as Google itself goes, I have no doubt that it will continue to keep on rolling and growing, but I'm not too sure if the same can be said for Android? It might be, for now, clobbering the iPhone in overall daily activations, but Android still remains a very serious patent suit magnet, and a virtual patent minefield of legal doom continues to surround it.

Unfortunately, in conclusion, when it comes to Android itself, well it may just be too weak, patent wise, to be able to survive the ever growing legal threats by the likes of Oracle, Microsoft, Apple and others. Clearly, Android's legal problems are only going to get a lot worse, and that's especially true after losing out in its bid to buy up Nortel's threasure throve of curcial mobile patents, and patents which were seen as being its last and only great chance of defending itself.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this mile, sunny and glorious Friday, July 15, 2011

Google/Android logos via: ASF-Mobile

Thursday, July 14, 2011

iPad Accessories: The iPad Calls Home With Line2

One can already do a lot with an iPad, but now, apparently, your iPad can also call home, thanks to Line 2's new iPad accessory, which also works on the iPod Touch and various Android devices, and all at the reasonable cost of only $10 per month for unlimited local calling, and unlimited texting, plus low international rates.

Line 2 offers 3 different pricing plans: Line 2 Standard, @ $9.95 per month; Line 2 Professional @ $14.95 per month, and Tokum Custom who's price is unspecified. All pricing plans include:

- New local or transfer existing number

- Visual voicemail (also Email Delivery)

- Conference call up to 20 people; Mobile application (Apple & Android)

- Tri-mode calling (Wi-Fi, 3G/4G, or Cellular) and Unlimited US/Canada calling & texting *, with extra plans, of course, including extra features. However, for the most part the standard package should suit most people just fine and dandy.

As you can see in the two following videos, Line2 looks to be a rather interesting concept indeed, and I'm really eager to see how all of this is going play out down the line. Certainly, the prices seem more than reasonable, but you know what they say, "you get what you pay for," so only time will tell how it's all going to shake out, but at least at this point it looks very intriguing to say the least.

In conclusion, if it works as advertised, Line2 could be just another great reason for you or I to own an iPad, even though personally I'm not really sure I even need it since at the moment I don't even own a regular phone, but down the road, well, you just never know, you know?


And that's my 2 cents 4 this cloudy Thursday, July 14, 2011

Via: Engadget

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Patent Wars: Apple vs Everybody Else


There is a tech patent war going on out there and the world's biggest player, Apple, is in the smack, dead center of it.

This, of course, mostly revolves around the iPhone and all of the copy cat Android OEM versions out there. With Apple suing HTC, Samsung, Nokia and others, and vice versa, it all makes for some high drama, but not in the saloons of Dodge City, but rather in court rooms worldwide.

I've noticed, for example, that if you go to the comment sections of sites like Engadget or Gizmodo, most of the comments seem to be totally against Apple and the commentators are all seemingly foaming at the mouth in their criticisms. HTC, for one, says in effect that Apple should be "competing in the market place, and not suing the market place", which strikes me as being a little hypocritical. Nonetheless, the Android fan boys, and all of the iHaters, out there just lap it up, cheering them on.

Now, the funny thing about all this bitching, complaining and whining about Apple is rather strange indeed. The reason: they all knew that when Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone that he warned that not only did they have over 200 patents for it, but that they intended to enforce them big time! In other words: HTC, Samsung, and all the Android fanboys, out there shouldn't be too surprised or shocked that Apple is now suing their patent-violating little ass's off!

A lot of Android fanboys are basically saying that Apple and its iPhone's glory days are just about over, because it's now Android all the way baby! So, is that true? Of course, that is not the case at all, but it does show just how silly and how out of touch many of these commentators are. For example, Jonny Evans writes in his article, "Where were you when Apple declared war?", some interesting facts that say otherwise, including:

An orange isn't an apple, but today it is clear Apple is ascendant:


- Mac sales climbed 28 percent during the last quarter, while PC industry sales declined 3.2 percent.


- iPad sales are reaching 5 million a month, if you read between the lines of reports from upstream component suppliers.

- A recent Nielsen study says new iPhone owners jumped to 17 percent from 10 percent at the beginning of the year, while percentages of new Android phone owners plateaued at 27 percent.

- Apple recently sold its 15 billionth app.

- Including iPad sales, Apple is expected to become the world's biggest notebook vendor next year.

On the Android front, which he refers to being an allusion, he writes:


A wave of litigation threatens the license fee free status of the OS; and it is only because Android devices are cheap that people purchase them. When you get an Android, you get one because it is a little like an iPhone. Or because you 'hate' Apple. Is that kind of reverse polarity competition, or symbiosis?

Android versus Apple is a simplistic characterization of the conflict.
In the UK, 74.3 percent of new Android sales come from feature phone owners, but only 1.4 per cent of new Android owners are former iPhone owners.

Well, in conclusion, I think good-old Jonny boy is right on the money here. He's one of a rare breed of writers who can think critically and can blow past all the hype and rhetoric and come to a sane and more correct overview of the situation at hand. I honestly don't know how this patent war will end, but I do know that with a treasure trove of Nortel's patents, plus its previous horde of patents, including many of its multi-touch patents, something tells me that just mayby, just maybe some day all those Android fanboys might just have a hell of a lot more to bitch and complain about!



And that's my 2 cents 4 this glorious and sunny Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Apple/Android photo via: TNW

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The MacBook Air Backlit Keyboard Returns


This is great news! According to some sources, the one thing that I really, really wanted to see return in the next MacBook Airs was its backlit keyboard, and now that appears that it will indeed be returning!

Not only is it expected that the next MBA's will include backlit keyboards, but to sweeten the deal they'll also including Intel's Sandy-Bridge architecture, ThunderBolt ports, and possibly a new type of 400MBps high-speed memory chip.

According to AppleInsider:

" Given Apple's energy saving controls, software expertise, and the nominal cost associated with including keyboard backlights, it was never particularly clear why Apple opted to leave out the feature when it redesigned the MacBook Air line last October. One industry watcher even went as far as to call it "planned obsolescence" on Apple's part."

AppleInsider also reported that: "analysts like Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore sees the upcoming generation of Lion-equipped Airs boosting sales by some 50%, or to 1.5 million units per quarter."

The latest MBA's are expected to also ship with Lion on board, and apparently Apple has already pre-stocked up to 400,000 units that are expected to be released immediately along side Lion, sometimes later this month.

What can I say? It has been a long wait and the only thing negative I can say is that a lot of folks who may have recently bought a new MBA might be a little ticked off that they hadn't waited a wee-bit longer. Not that the current MacBook Air is a bad machine, not at all, but knowing that Apple likes to upgrade its hardware and features at current prices, well, I can see why some might be a tad-bit disappointed indeed. But, that's progress, I guess, as painful as it seems at times.

So, in conclusion, let me say that the return of the MacBook Air backlit keyboard is great news for people like me. Unfortunately, for people like me, the only other negative thing about the new MBA's is that I can't afford one....... that's cause I'm saving up to return to beautiful and wonderful Germany in the fall.... yeah! However, in the meantime, for all you lucky stiffs out there that'll be getting your hands on one of Apple's new wonder-lust devices, well, then ..... I'm jealous, just plain and down-right jealous of you, so there!



And that's my 2 cents 4 this rainy, cloudy and dreary Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MBA backlit keyboard photo via: zanoii's Flickr, via AppleInsider

Monday, July 11, 2011

Patent Wars: Is Android Doomed?


Regarding Apple's recent victory in winning Nortel's coveted patents, Google's former CEO, Eric Schmidt, said, "I’m worried and disappointed that we’ve gotten to this point in the industry,’" and according to some he definitely should be worried, and worried big time.

Some say that the only thing Google can do now is to complain that there was a conspiracy to keep those patents deliberately out of Google's hands, thus making it into a type of anti-trade restriction, which would be illegal. Unfortunately, however, for Google, it really doesn't have much time on its hands as American and Canadian regulatory agencies are expected to approve the deal base on its own rules as early as today.

Google, on the other hand, was apparently very cocky and had arrogantly assumed that it would win any bidding war, as was reflected in some of the very strange bids that it had made. Google's loss, however, is now making a lot of people now question whether or not it will totally derail Android?

I'm not sure of the above, but one thing is for sure: it's now going to be a lot harder going on for anyone who thinks that they can just get an iPhone clone for free. With Microsoft, Oracle and possibly soon even Apple demanding licensing fees from Android OEM's, well making Android devices in the future might just prove to be a little too unappetizing for many OEM's to swallow. This could end up with a lot of Android OEM's abandoning the platform, and end up licensing either Windows Mobile 7 or WebOS instead.

TechChrunch's, MG. Siegler has an excellent post on just how Apple led its winning bid, and on why Google may have just blown its last great chance to defend Android against any future patent claims against it. This leads some to believe that there are at least 10 reasons on why Google will eventually end up trying to buy out RIM. RIM, of course, is one of the winning Nortel bidders, and if they were to buy it it would give Google fair use of the very patents that it just lost.

However, the one thing wrong with the above is the simple assumption that Google can or will be even able to buy RIM in the first place, just as it was assumed it would win the Nortel patents outright. I would also tend to think that Microsoft, Apple and others are now also thinking along the same lines and will try to bid on the beleaguered Canadian company themselves. After losing the Nortel patents, you can bet your last pair of pink-puffy, poky-dotted bloomers that Google will try even harder the next time in any bidding war.

A lot of people also assume, again falsely, that Google is unbeatable, that it is just too big and has just too much money for anyone to go after them. This, of course, is also totally false. For example little-old Apple is actually not only big in and of itself, but it's a far lot bigger and a far lot richer than Google, or anyone else in tech for that matter. Likewise, so is Microsoft.

So, after all is said and done, is the Android platform really doomed?

That is yet to be answered, but it isn't looking all that great at the moment for a platform that was originally built on the very premise of using other people's patents, such as Apple's iPhone multi-touch patents, or Oracle's and Microsoft claimed patents, but, in conclusion, I think MG Siegler summed it up best in his post above, when he stated:

"And if the U.S. and/or Canadian governments don’t now either block this result (which seems unlikely given that they approved the bidders beforehand) or force fairly drastic changes (such as they did in the Novell patent case) — which Google will have to lobby heavily for — Android seems to be in some very serious trouble.

Things didn’t ultimately end well for Le Chiffre, remember."

Indeed!


And that's my 2 cents 4 this cloudy Monday, July 11, 2011

Android logo via: Zazzle

Friday, July 8, 2011

Macs And Blu-Ray: Together At Last!


For what ever reason, Mac users have pretty much been left out of the game when it comes to playing Blu-ray titles, but not any more thanks to MacGo software that allows Macs to finally get in on the Blu-ray game.

Yes, you could always buy an external blu-ray player for the Mac, but without the software to run it, what's the point? As MacGo says:

"Mac Blu-ray Player is the first universal media player for Mac&PC in the world. It can not only play blu-ray HD movies on Mac or PC, but support any movie, video, audio, music and photo you have ever seen.Bring your PC or Mac with the most popular Blu-ray HD video enjoyment, and this is what Mac Blu-ray Player can do."

MacGo claims perfect support for Blu-ray decryption and that it is capable of removing AACS, BD+ without any limitation. They also claim that it offers outstanding universal performance, and is capable of playing anything including: movies, video, audio, music and photos, as well as offering hardware acceleration. All media formats are supported, including: VideoCD, Mov., MKV, FLV, WMV, MPEG, RMVB, MP3, WMA, AAC, AC3, MP4 and more!

Steve Jobs once called Blu-ray a "bag of hurt", but now if your hurting from not being able to play Blu-ray movies or what have you on your precious Mac, well now you finally can. A life-time license can be had for only $39.95 U.S. for what they describe as being the best and most unique Mac blu-ray player in the world, which, by the way, also comes with a free 3 month trial period, so you can try it, before you buy it.

In conclusion, even though it would be great if Apple actually bundled its own Blu-ray unit and and the software to go with it, until it does (which is very doubtful) we Mac users at least don't have to be left out in the cold anymore when it comes to blu-ray, which I happen to think is pretty hot!



And that's my 2 cents 4 this Friday, July 08, 2011

Via: Techgage, CNET

Thursday, July 7, 2011

iPad Speaker Docks: The iLuv ArtStation


As you can see above, iLuv's new ArtStation Pro can turn your iPad into a type of retro iMac G4. It's a neat idea all right, but honestly I just don't think it's anywhere near as beautiful as the original iMac G4 seen below.

Unlike the original iMac G4, however, the ArtStation will be available in a lot more colors.... two of them to be exact, namely good-old black or white. However, that big square base is not only a dock, but includes a big-old speaker system to boot. In addition, it also comes complete with its own BlueTooth remote and keyboard, but it is its swiveling arm that holds the iPad, or the Samsung Galaxy 10.1, that really makes it stand out, reminding you of the original iMac G4.

When I first saw the original iMac G4 I gasped in utter disbelief, thinking that Jonathan Ive went bonkers. It was just so radical, so different, at the time, that it seemed to be madness, utter and total madness! But what I originally perceived as being ugly, well wasn't really all that ugly at all...... it was in fact absolutely beautiful!, and like many, I sometimes wish that they would bring it all back, but only with newer Intel iron and more powerful graphics, etc., of course.

The ArtStation is a cool idea and reminiscent of Apple's hot computer of yesterday, but without those lovely curves from the original, well the ArtStation's big, square speaker/dock base is frankly quite ugly! I would have loved to see this concept done with a far smaller, far slimmer and sexier base, replacing those speakers with a wireless version of Apple's original speakers that you placed on either side of the original G4. Now that would be cool, and sexy!

In conclusion, even though there is no word on the ArtStation's pricing or availability, and even though it's a little ugly for my taste, I still have to admit that I really like the overall concept behind the ArtStation and am looking forward, if not from iLuv themselves, that somebody, somewhere, in the future will eventually come out with a slimmer, more sexier version.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this sunny Wednesday, July 7, 2011

Via: UberGizmo, Gizmodo and ChipChick

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

3D Chocolate Printers And Blowing Up Your iPhone

Well, talk about a delicious piece of tech news, the University of Exeter, the University of Brunel and software developer Delcam have come up with the yummiest tech idea yet..... a 3D chocolate printer, and all funded by U.K. taxpayers through its Research Councils UK's Digital Economy program and with the oversight by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council!

Yuppers, it sure would be great to get one's hands on such a printer, but alas, according to Engadget that won't be possible, even though they do say," there are plans for a made-to-order retail site that'll let you contribute homemade creations or modify someone else's"

Imagine printing out your own little chocolate iMacs, iPods, or iPhones! Hmmm, sounds downright delicious if you ask me.

Speaking of Engadget and the iPhone, they also reported on a project call, Project MGS, seen below, that was created by some big brains at the Technische Universit├Ąt Darmstadt in beautiful Germany. Now this project is really cool, as it allows you to more-or-less blow up your little old iPhone not into pieces, but into a Microsoft's big Surface like device! Engadget says that "the system enables wireless transfer of your iPhone's media to the infrared camera-equipped tabletop for some Java-based, gesture controlling fun." And, for now at least, it's only available for the iPhone, so eat your hearts out all you Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile fans out there.

Well, in conclusion, what a great way to start out a great day! It's sunny, mild and the thought of chocolate 3D printers and coverting iPhone's into giant table surfing devices is kind of cool. Not ground-breaking, but cool nonetheless.


And that's my 2 cents 4 this sunny, mild Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pics-4-The-Day: Dogs That Would Be Pandas, With A Gorrilla Thrown In For Good Measure!

Today, for a change, I've decided to feature something different, something strange, and yet something at the same time that was also just as adorable, and all from the amazing world of animals.

As you can see in Christina Spicuzza's amazing photo above, one 800 pound and very curious fellow decided to monkey-around by playing a quick game of Mario on an Nintendo Gameboy that was accidentally dropped into its cage at the San Francisco zoo. Poor baby gorila looks like he'll just have to wait his turn, ahhhh!

Well now, this has got to take the cake for being down-right silly, yet also just as equally down-right adorable. Yes, in the photo above, what might appear at first glance to be a lovely bunch of pandas, is actually a photo from ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images that is, yes, believe it or not....... DOGS! Dogs who's fur, that is, were first dyed to make them look like gorgeous, and I-just-got-to-hug-em Chinese panda bears, as is the photo of the two dog-pandas below!

Also below, from the same photo source, we have yet another dog that would be a panda and an equally adorable Chinese baby girl. Ahhhh....look at em, aren't they both just so dang-nabbing cute and adorable that you want to pick em up and hug the living-day-lights out of em? I know I would!

Unfortunately, as much as I would love to post these amazing animal photos all day, well there's only so much bandwidth and, under the Fair-Use law, well, dag-nabbit I'm kind of limited, but hey don't fret, if you want to see a lot more, some 58 in total, then just gander on over to ABC News which has a bunch of these little suckers that you can view right here.

In conclusion, these are the kind of photos that I can never tire of seeing. What can I say, if there's anything that I don't love more than little babies, furry little animals, tech, or roaming the beautiful Deutschland country side, then I don't have the foggiest idea what it could be, so, hopefully, all of you..... my dear two or three readers, will also enjoy these dog-pandas and the monkeying around gorilla as much as I did.



And that's my 2 cents 4 this so-so Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Neat Stuff: The iPad And Microsoft's Kinect Together At Last!


It's a little choppy, but still I have to admit that what's going on in the above video of an Apple iPad attached to a Microsoft Kinect is pretty neato! Some people obviously are a hell-of-a-lot more clever than I, and they have succesfully joined the Kinect with the iPad to create the above augmented video tricks.

As Engadgeted pointed out, you'll need: "...... Well, if you've got access to a Kinect, an iPad, and the String SDK, you're in luck. The folks at LAAN Labs demonstrated a nifty little hack that can turn 3D data recorded using the Xbox 360 peripheral into a Princess Leia-esque augmented reality image playable on the Apple tablet."

Yuppers, this is indeed a pretty neat idea, and I'm sure that with improvements to both the hardware and the software that they'll even get that choppiness eliminated and then we'll all be producing some of the coolest personal videos since George Lucas began filming Star Wars.

Kinect and the iPad, Microsoft and Apple together is not that much of a biggie either. After all, they just successfully joined forces to beat Google, Intel and others in grabbing some of the biggest and most important mobile patents ever, including patents that can and, most definitely, will shake up the entire mobile world big time in the near future.

In conclusion, even though producing cool augmented reality with an iPad and the Kinect may not be quite as big as a deal as the sale of the above Nortel mobile patents, but it's still bloody neato and about as cool as hot fudge on ice-cream!



And that's my short post 4 this Monday, while dreaming I was still back in Deutschland, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Patent Wars: Consortium Headed By Apple Wins Battle For Nortel Patents, With Google's Android Being The Big Loser


Android has been described as a patent nightmare, so it's understandable that Google would make a $900M bid to buy Nortel's patent treasure chest of over 6,000 patents.

Those patents cover a lot areas that could have helped Google defend itself from a growing list of companies that claim that Android infringes, in one form or another, on their intellectual properties.

Too bad for Google, they just lost the patent battle to buy those patents to a consortium headed by none other than Apple, Microsoft, RIM, EMC, Sony and Ericsson. The consortium eventually paid a whopping $4.5B for the patents, patents that will help protect themselves, but also patents that they can also use against others if need be, such as Apple's on going patent war with Samsung.

AppleInsider reported that these patents, "........ related to the long-term evolution 4G standard. RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has called Nortel's LTE patents a "national treasure." Other technologies in the collection span a wide-range of fields, such as wireless handsets, wireless network infrastructure, optical and data networking, Internet, Internet advertising."

I would imagine that especially those patent covering both the internet and especially those covering the aspects concerning internet advertising would be of great interest indeed to Google, the world's largest internet advertising firm.

The final sale is still subject to both Canadian and U.S. government approval which is expected on July 11, 2011, but since it's a consortium, rather than any one company, there shouldn't be too much opposition to the sale finally going through.

According to Foss Patents, Google was probably already "too weak" to really defend Android and that Android itself was basically a "suit magnet". Now, with the loss of those patents, I expect that Google will not only be a lot 'weaker and vulnerable', but the loss of these patents will only encourage more patent holders to sue the search giant over every conceivable Android violation that they can think of.

With Android's pace already hitting an activation plateau below that of iOS , and with Apple expected to replace HP as the world's biggest mobile PC vendor as early as next year, Apple has nothing to lose and everything to gain in further pursuing Android over copying the various aspects and features of the iPhone.

In conclusion, with this latest lost patent battle, I can't help but question whether or not Android, one of Google's greatest success's, may, when all is said and done, end up becoming one of its biggest heartbreaks and failures?


And that's my 2 cents 4 this Friday, July 01, 2011

Apple vs Google logos via: Gigaom