2013 Winners And Losers In Tech

We track, analyze and oftentimes promote technology because of its overarching, mostly positive impact on our own lives and throughout the world. It’s many disparate parts, incorporating intellectual property and global manufacturing, hardware and software, content and creativity, when brought together at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way can be both uplifting and magical.

While we may not fully understand all the long-term ramifications of what our technology has wrought, we can know its winners and losers. In 2013, much like the harsh, unblinking truth at the final whistle of some great sporting clash, knowing who won and who lost was surprisingly rather easy to discern.



There wasn’t even a close second.

Hardware, content, search, real-time pricing algorithms, personalization and a near-infinitely scalable platform. There is no more high tech company than Amazon. Yes, $AMZN has (only) gone up this year. If Jeff Bezos is to be believed, and the evidence certainly suggests so, then the company is just getting started. Amazon is the low-price leader in retail, a behemoth in cloud services, the first place most of us think to visit when we think about buying anything — and the unmatched leader in big ideas.

Google Glass is so Spring 2013. All anyone is talking about now are Amazon delivery drones. Amazon is more than talk, of course. It took Amazon to offer live, personal (“Mayday”) support for every new Kindle tablet user. Did Apple, king of the locked-down, high-margin, customer-focused hardware-based ecosystem, even consider such an audacious idea?

Amazon, not Silicon Valley, is the new home of really big ideas. Amazon embodies a scope of business, a level of execution, and a breathless vision that I don’t think even Google can match. They won 2013.


A highly successful IPO, a highly engaged user base, the new home for breaking news, the place we share our most joyful moments, greatest tragedies, and idle thoughts.  Apple execs say damn near nothing outside of highly staged events. Yet both Tim Cook and Phil Schiller tweet often.


What, exactly, is the purpose of a tablet? No one seems to know. I cover the industry and typically recommend them only to grandparents and toddlers.  Microsoft finds the tablet so utterly confounding — despite 10+ years of effort — that they can still only envision such a device with a keyboard attached. The numbers do not lie, however. At least, not in 2013. Tablets are everywhere. Per IDC, 220 million tablets moved just this year alone.

Team iOS 7

iOS 7 is audacious, shocking, beautiful as a European runway model, and just as brittle.

If you were part of the team that developed iOS 7, congratulations. The iOS 7 adoption rate is already nearing 75%. With around 500 million iOS devices in use, that’s 375 million devices running with your OS — about triple the latest Windows operating system.

iOS should fuel Apple for at least another generation, and iOS 7 points the way forward.

Gaming and Gamers

A new Playstation, a new Xbox, and a new chip (A7) powering Apple iOS devices make 2013 the best time ever to be a gamer. Add in social media gaming, a billion smartphone users, and ‘computer games’ are now as ubiquitous as Miley Cyrus gifs.

Female Tech Execs

I believe Marissa Mayer’s strategy, such as I can divine, consigns Yahoo to a permanently middling presence in our lives. Much content, some personalization, cloud-scale, new acquisitions and several new mobile apps all point toward nothing more than news, views and reviews of the sort our parents now get from morning TV talk shows. Doesn’t matter. The market has spoken and the money people obviously like what Mayer is doing.

Meanwhile, Meg Whitman is righting the busted ship that is HP and Sheryl Sandberg is making the day-to-day adult decisions at Facebook. Since Tim Cook is determined to transform Apple into a “casual luxury” brand, I can absolutely believe the rumors that Apple’s next CEO will be Burberry’s Angela Ahrendts. That’s quite a line-up.

Road Warriors

All praise the glories of the market. In-flight WiFi became possible, then practical, then profitable, then widespread, and then the government — surprise — changed the rules. Now we can keep our electronic devices turned on, legally, throughout our entire flight. Self-interest mixed with technology is a powerful combination.

Google Lawyers

What a year! Google lawyers fought off Oracle, got a judge to agree that digitizing and making “out of print” books freely available was a public service, signed a sweetheart deal with the FTC, despite a monopoly position in search which they have frequently abused, and the late Steve Jobs’ thermonuclear war on Android has not slowed down the world’s most popular OS even in the slightest. I’m assuming there will be quite the cash bonus from Larry Page to his merry band of lawyers.

Considered: Kickstarter, Pinterest, iTunes (seriously), iPhone 5s, and the ‘smartphone’. 


Computing technology is deeply personal yet seeks to connect us with everyone and everything. It can eradicate the worst parts of our past, re-invent our very notions of the future and captivate our present. Oftentimes, however, it flops worse than a petulant soccer player on a losing team. This year’s biggest losers in tech:

Facebook Home

Facebook Home was such an utter, abject, laughable failure that you probably already forgot that it ever existed. I suspect that the mysterious illness that prevented Google’s Larry Page from talking for so many months stemmed from his laughing hysterically when he first saw Facebook Home.

Steve Ballmer

I believe no non-founder ever gave more of himself, his talents, his passions, his sleepless nights, as Steve Ballmer gave to Microsoft. Ballmer helped Microsoft become so big that it — literally — scared governments and sent the mighty Steve Jobs, fortuitously, scurrying off as far away from “personal computers” as he possibly could.

Nonetheless…Microsoft’s stock has done better since Ballmer announced his “resignation” then it did during the decade he actually ran the company. Worse, much worse, and nearly inconceivable, is that there are over a billion smartphones in use plus hundreds of millions of tablets and nearly everyone has absolutely no Microsoft software inside.

For all I admire about Ballmer, and I admire much, the company’s failure in mobile computing is, in my opinion, a far more devastating capitulation than Time Warner buying AOL at the absolute top of the market.


Samsung’s Galaxy Gear commercial is glorious. The watch itself is Kanye-cool. Only, no one bought one because there is no need for one. The year of the smartwatch was anything but. Galaxy Gear flopped. Apple’s iWatch never appeared. The Pebble watch was essentially a high-margin toy purchased by Silicon Valley insiders. Not wanted, not needed.

Google Maps

Every quarter, as Google reports anew the latest Motorola loss, we are presented with yet another reminder that Google’s purchase of Motorola was a profound strategic mistake.

I don’t think it’s their biggest. Rather, that would be Google’s decision to consign iOS users with an inferior version of Google Maps — for years. That led to Apple’s decision to offer its own mapping service. As Charles Arthur notes, Google Maps has already lost tens of millions of iPhone users — possibly Google Inc’s most lucrative customer base. Hubris.


Apple’s existence now spans across five decades. In all that time has the company ever promoted a device or a service as prominently, as consistently and as aggressively that has gone so utterly unused as Siri? Siri is now more than two years old and still doesn’t work as it should. Worse, even if it did we would still rarely use it.


We all learned what this word meant when Apple killed it off. It was time.

The Third Mobile Platform

As of this moment, smartphones now sell about a billion units a year. This massive, industry-shifting market belongs almost entirely to two platforms: Android and iOS. Symbian is dead. BlackBerry is at death’s door. There is effectively no Tizen, no Firefox OS in actual use, no Ubuntu and nearly no Windows Phone.

Has the industry consolidated this quickly, despite being this big, this global? As much as I believe there is room for a thriving Windows Phone ecosystem, the market itself, in every region and across every demographic, tells us that iOS and Android are enough for nearly everyone. Perhaps 2014 will surprise us.

Considered: Obamacare website, PCs, privacy, BlackBerry, the “cheap” iPhone, and RSS.

The Mobile Wave

1) We all know that sales of smartphones and tablets are are growing fast, however…

2) Those sales are growing even faster than we may realize, and…

3) The implications of this new wave of computing devices is going to be enormous; is going to impact us sooner than we anticipate, and…

4) We have to make ready or it will pass us by or, more likely, sweep our current way of conducting our businesses away.

Part 1: The Exhibits In Evidence

The iPhone & iPad Lit A Fuse Under The Rocket That Is Post-PC

— Most of the growth in mobile computing has come in just the last three years. ((This year we will sell around 300 million PCs and laptops while we will also sell just over 300 million tablets. By the end of 2015, we will be selling less than 300 million PCs and laptops and will be selling well over 350 million tablets. In fact, some market researchers think that by 2017 we could be selling 500 million tablets a year around the world. This makes tablets a serious growth market. While I state that the tablet journey has gone on for well over 20 years, its accelerated growth has come in just the last three years. ~ Tim Bajarin (@Bajarin)))

After only being in existence for 5 years, the iPhone is the second best selling product of all time – the 1st is the Rubik’s Cube. ~ UberFacts (@UberFacts)

I believe that the iPhone and iPad is to mobile computing what the Model-T was to cars.


The above chart, from Horace Dediu of Asymco, shows the growth of the car industry before and after the introduction of the Model-T. There were literally hundreds of car makers who, in the twenty years prior to the introduction of the Model-T, were all trying create THE car that would make the fledgling auto industry viable and profitable. As it turned out, it wasn’t so much the car itself, but a new method of cheaply mass manufacturing cars in quantity, that proved to be the key to unlocking the value that lay the car industry.

Similarly, while the iPhone was a brilliant achievement in itself, it wasn’t until the next year, when Apple introduced what was later to be known as iOS, along with the App Store, that the modern Smartphone was truly born. The combination of the iPhone, iOS and the App Store were the modern day equivalent to the procedure for mass producing the Model-T. The Model-T cracked the problem of production. The App Store cracked the problem of mobile software distribution. Both changed their respective worlds, forever. ((Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by parochialism. Nowadays, Apple isn’t happening to mobile. The future is happening to mobile.))


— As you read the follow data concerning mobile, keep in mind that Black Friday sales were DOWN this year.

— However, online shopping was UP.

— And sales of electronics were up; sales of mobile devices were up, Up, UP; and sales of tablets, in particular, were out-of-sight.


— Apple has 500,000 iPhone 5Ss being made every day, its highest ever output.

1.7bn mobile phones (feature phones and smartphones) were sold in 2012 alone
– 3.2bn people use a mobile phone worldwide
– Smartphones gain quickly as phones are replaced every 18 to 24 months. ~ Jean-Louis Gassée



— eBay reported selling one iPad per SECOND as of midnight on Black Friday.

— iPad Mini the top seller at Walmart.

— Apple products were 22% of Target’s sales on Black Friday.


Source: Mobile Is Eating The World, Benedict Evans


— Estimating tablet sales increase of 38% from Q4 2012. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)

— Worldwide sales of tablets and PCs are going to be very close this Q4. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)

To chart how quickly the market is shifting to tablets, consider that in February 2013, Canalys noted that tablets accounted for only one-third of all personal computers shipped. For all of 2013, Canalys had predicting originally predicted that tablets will account for 37% of all PCs shipped, with some 182.5 million tablets out of a total 493.1 million units, although today it is revising that up to 40%. ~ Techcrunch


(Author’s Note: Ben Bajarin did all the research and hard work necessary to create the above chart, yet was kind enough to allow me “steal” the fruits of his labor. Thank you, Ben.)

Tablet sales will probably overtake TV sales in the next few quarters. Getting internet video onto the TV itself might not matter. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

Stop! You might want to re-read the above. Tablet sales might overtake TELEVISION sales in the next few quarters!



From talking with many friends and family over the holidays there was one tech product I heard no one say they were buying – a PC. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)


(Author’s Pet Peeve: Tablets are not “cannabalizing” PC’s. Sharks don’t “cannabalize” fish, they devour them. Tablets are not “cannabalizing” PC’s, they’re eating them up.)

Interesting to hear more and more consumers tell us they are self aware of the fact that the PC is overkill for their main use cases. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)


I think there’s effectively going to be a consumer strike for q4 for PCs. Only if you completely need one would you buy. ~ Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur)


Source: Mobile Is Eating The World, Benedict Evans

The global iOS & Android install base is about to pass PCs ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

— Some say that PC sales are going to decline by 10%

— Some say more than 10%

— Some are predicting that PCs are going to decline further than projected, and…

— Some say that as ugly as those forecasts look, reality is going to be worse.

Part 2: The near-term — not the far-term — implications of Mobile Computing are enormous


In 2013 the Tech CEO Bodycount ((Courtesy of Horace Dediu (@asymco))) included Microsoft, BlackBerry, Acer, Nokia with HTC teetering on the brink. And that’s just in 2013.



Rule of thumb: iTunes accounts are growing at the rate of 100 million every six months. ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco)


Mobile Is The Only Media That Is Growing – TV, Print, Radio Are All Shrinking ~ Aravind S (@aravinds)


Source: Horace Dediu of Asymco


Take a good hard look at the mobile broadband is growing and wired broadband is tapering off.


Source: Horace Dediu of Asymco


The online shopping “Pie” is getting bigger.

Online holiday shopping (desktop and mobile) in the U.S. was up 14.5% from last year.

You spent $1.2 billion shopping online on Black Friday. ~ Arik Hesseldahl



Mobile is becoming a bigger portion of the bigger pie.

— “As of 9AM mobile accounted for 40.9% of online sales and iOS for 83% of those mobile sales.” ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco)

— iOS Devices Drive more than $543 Million, Android $148 Million in Online Sales on Dual-Billion Dollar Days ~ Adobe

It’s entirely possible and even probable that next year less than half of the online holiday shopping traffic in the US will come from PCs. Put another way, next year less than half of users will hire a PC for the job of online shopping. ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco)


Per 100 people there are 96 mobile subscriptions and 42 households with a PC. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)

How is that possible?

Well, mobile devices are personal. Each person uses their own phone, they don’t share it with family members. A family, for example, may share a single PC at home, but each family member may own their own phone and even their own tablet, too.

(M)ost homes in developed markets have one PC or laptop. By 2016, these same homes will have about three tablets each… ~ Tim Bajarin


(I)t’s pretty clear that the tablet is on track to become the most pervasive personal computer the market has ever seen. The tablet has literally redefined what a personal computer is to people all over the world. ~ Tim Bajarin

Part 3: The Sea Change

Just two more points. And if you remember nothing else from this article, remember these two things:

1) The SCALE of the mobile computing revolution is larger than we think; and

2) Mobile computing is our PREFERRED way of computing.

This represents a true sea change in computing.





Source: Mobile Is Eating The World, Benedict Evans

I spend half my time trying to get people to grasp the scale of mobile and the other half trying to grasp it myself. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)


IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark has published, for the fourth year in a row, US online shopping traffic data with a split between mobile and fixed online traffic. It reveals a pattern of consumer behavior which is quite startling: people seem to prefer to shop using mobile devices. ~ Horace Dediu, Asymco

(Emphasis added)

When people are away from home or office, they choose the phone. When people have a choice between a phone, a tablet and a PC, they choose the tablet. The traditional PC has become the last choice, not the preferred choice, for the majority of computer users.

Part 4: It’s Not Enough To Predict The Rain; We Have To Build The Ark

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. – George Orwell


The entire understanding of a PC has changed and the term needs to be re-defined. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)


Constantly impressed by how much iPads have helped simplify computing for those previously overwhelmed by it. ~ Lessien (@Lessien)


Getting computing devices in the hands of the masses is the goal of the next 20 years. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)


There were these two cows, chatting over the fence between their fields.The first cow said, “I tell you, this mad-cow-disease is really pretty scary. They say it is spreading fast; I heard it hit some cows down on the Johnson Farm.”

The other cow replies, “I ain’t worried, it don’t affect us ducks.”

If you don’t think that mobile computing is coming for you and your business, you’re either mad or you’re a dumb duck. Either way, you’re in big trouble.

“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.” ~ Richard Hooker

One of the things that happens in organizations as well as with people is that they settle into ways of looking at the world and become satisfied with things and the world changes and keeps evolving and new potential arises but these people who are settled in don’t see it. That’s what gives start-up companies their greatest advantage. The sedentary point of view is that of most large companies. ~ Steve Jobs

“People don’t resist change.  They resist being changed.” ~ Peter M. Senge

Change is coming and it’s coming a lot faster than we think. We can ride the wave, or we can get swept away. The choice is ours.

An Open Letter To App Developers

The smartphone has quickly become our primary interface to the world. The app has become our primary interface to the smartphone. Apps matter. Therefore, app developers matter. Unfortunately, too many apps, too many app developers, likely in pursuit of riches that shall never come, continue to offer copycat apps, apps poorly designed, apps that value ads over users.

I want to help. I know apps, good and bad. I was analyzing the “smartphone wars” back when most tech blogs were still talking Mac vs PC. I have used most major smartphone platforms, at length. This includes Palm and BlackBerry, Windows Phone, iOS and Android, Symbian, Asha and, yes, Meego.

I offer the following rules and declarations in the interest of creating more and better apps for everyone.

  1. The world does not need another weather app.
  2. By 2015, at the latest, I expect Windows Phone will garner at least a 20% share of all new smartphone sales. Create apps for this platform.
  3. It’s absolutely appropriate to ask me to rate your app. Once. If I choose not to, accept this — and never ask me again.
  4. Life is much easier when I can sign in to an app using my Facebook credentials.
  5. Never — not ever — should you request anything beyond my Facebook credentials, however. Do not ask to post my purchase of your app to my Facebook page, do not ask for my location unless there is a clear and present and ongoing user benefit. Do not ever ask me, and especially never require me, to tell you my Facebook friends.
  6. You have 3 seconds, tops. If I cannot fully immerse myself within the wonder and scope of your app in 3 seconds or less, then your app gets abandoned.
  7. Care about your app icon. It really does matter.
  8. Apple does not care about you. Apple provides you, for now, with the single greatest platform for monetizing your app. But do not believe they are your partner. They are the world’s largest (tech) company and do not like to share. iWork, iPhoto, Garage Band, Weather, Maps and more are just the start. Should a new app opportunity arise, possibly one you helped create, Apple will not hesitate to move in. Be ready to out-innovate, pivot, or die.
  9. We take our smartphones with us everywhere. For many, they are the first thing we see at the start of a new day, the last thing we see before going to sleep. This is a tremendous opportunity. At perhaps no time in human history has a single tool been used so fully throughout the day, everyday, for work and play, by child, teen, adult and senior, all over the world. Take pride in your work.
  10. You deserve to be paid. Of the hundreds of apps I have purchased, minimum, I have never once thought that I would rather choose the app with ads over paying $1, sometimes more, for an ad-free app. Even large display smartphones have relatively small screens. Cluttering it up with an ad, ever, is annoying. Worse, it’s a clear intrusion upon my privacy and a waste of time. I never click on a mobile/in-app ad. I can assure you that my time and my privacy are worth far more to me than my ad view is to you.
  11. Users deserve a second chance. Apple, especially, should offer an app trial period. Yes, even for a 99 cent app. Should they ever agree, these rules become even more important.
  12. Apps must be optimized for the platform and device. Always. Smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop. I subscribe to several web services (e.g. MyNetDiary, New York Times). The smartphone app version may look similar to the website, but must be optimized for the device itself (e.g. iPhone). There are no excuses for failing this.
  13. Touch, pinch, swipe. The touch interface is a beautiful thing. Yet, I have absolutely no use for apps, Clear, for example, or Tweetbot, that insist upon a needlessly expansive variety of gestures to access its data and features. This is nothing more than too many fonts on a Word doc.
  14. Almost every single app I have purchased over the past 18 months I discovered from a Twitter follower or a Facebook ad. Nowhere else. Not Apple genius. Not Google search. Not any app-focused website. You should know this.
  15. Specials are viral. I find out about your app on Twitter, for example, and learn it’s half-priced for today only, I am both extremely likely to buy and to tweet my purchase to others.
  16. Apps are like sperm. Only the first survive. If I have a decent grocery list app, say, there is an extremely good chance your far better, newer grocer list app will be irrelevant to me. Similarly, an app not on the ‘home’ screen is likely not long for this world. No advice, merely an acknowledgement. Your work is hard.
  17. Hold the line. Google has taught us that other’s information should be accessible, for free. Apple has taught us that hardware, not software, should be paid for. I don’t really know how you can succeed in this environment. But I hope you do. Most of you do great work.
  18. You get one chance only to ask if I want to connect with my friends. I should not have to repeat this. Ask once, then accept my ‘no’.
  19. I have a lot of friends. I know a lot of people. When you show me people I know or may know or should know and ask me to connect with them via your app, you make me feel nearly as dirty as you are.
  20. Never scan my contacts. Never ask to scan my contacts. It is a betrayal. This is why I can’t have LinkedIn on my phone.

As the world goes mobile, connecting everyone and everything, focused, functional and highly usable apps will serve as the entry point to all the world’s data, resources, people and content. The humble app, then, is a rather noble device. Treat it and its users with all due respect.


Truth And Lies About Apple

I regularly provide analysis of the computing market, trends inside Silicon Valley, the current state of the smartphone wars. This week, I offer instead my observations on Apple. Starting now…

The persistent view among analysts that Apple can (magically) go down market, whenever they want, is, in my view, utter nonsense. It’s the same as suggesting Burberry, for example, can be WalMart. Apple is high-end, high-margin, brand and image focused, and companies cannot magically transform their market approach. To remake their products, their hardware, to radically expand customer service and to effectively give up the lead role in their global retail footprint — all necessary to go down-market — would make Apple no longer Apple.

To those that point to the iPod as some sort of proof that Apple can go down market, even that is wrong. The iPod was (always) a high-end flash drive with minimal computing capabilities.

That Google continues to develop and support services optimized for iPhone is all you need to know about those who scream that IPHONE IS DOOMED. They are either ignorant or they are lying to you. Why do you continue to reward them with your attention?

Google’s biggest mistake was wildly overpaying for Motorola, which continues to be a noose around the company. The second biggest mistake, however, was saddling iPhone users — for years — with an inferior version of Google Maps. I am not the only one that now uses Apple Maps almost exclusively. I suspect they have learned their lesson, the hard way.

In the most recent Apple patent trial, Phil Schiller stated that “almost everyone” at Apple works on iPhones, not Mac. This is true. It’s also remarkable. The iPhone was an unexpected blessing for Apple, raining down more in profits than anyone ever imagined it could. But, Apple’s management team still doesn’t get the credit they deserve for effectively re-making Apple, once the Mac company, into the iPhone company.

The next iPhone will be just like the new Nokia Lumia 1520. Large display. Unapologetically plastic. Colorful. 20mp camera.

Apple will be forced to develop a “phablet” because the market wants larger display devices. For most, a phablet is simply a better alternative to buying both a smartphone and a tablet. This is especially true for Apple, with its over-priced iPad line. Steve Jobs intended iPad to rest in sort of that middle ground between laptop and smartphone. A great idea for those who can afford three devices. The vast majority of the world cannot.

iOS 7 is beautiful. There is a core design flaw, however. The world is eagerly embracing the visual web — Pinterest, Snapchat, the new Twitter. In an increasingly mobile, real-time existence, visuals convey a great deal of information in an instant. iOS 7 runs counter to this trend. Note that your iOS 7 device insists on using text even where visuals would obviously work better, such as when telling you the current weather. Jony Ive’s legend is no doubt secure, but I expect iOS will quickly evolve to incorporate more visual elements. Form should follow function and most of the time the market wins.

With Rockstar, Apple becomes a patent troll. Rockstar is absolutely no different from Lodsys. That said, there is absolutely validity to Jobs’ thermonuclear war. There was nothing available like the iPhone or like the iPad until the iPhone and iPad. Intellectual property and design should be protected and compensated. On this, I fully stand behind Apple.

I have covered the smartphone wars as long, as diligently as anyone on the planet. Nonetheless, despite the growth of iPhone and the global smartphone market in general, I never thought it would be easier for me to buy more and better software for Apple products than Microsoft products.

Nintendo is hurting. Sony is hurting. We recently discovered that Xbox may not even be a money-maker for Microsoft. The premiere gaming company in the world is…Apple? I know, shocking. At least for those of us who grew up on PCs and game consoles.

The new iWork is so bad primarily because of Apple’s insistence on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ software strategy, forcing the product to be the same on a smartphone, a tablet and a laptop. This will always fail. Giving it away won’t change how bad it is. The only question now is, how long before Apple abandons this silly notion and gives us a productivity suite that works well?

As bad as the new iWork is, Apple does not get the credit it deserves as a software company. iTunes may not be on every desktop, but its close. iOS is now on hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets. Mavericks is on millions of laptops. Apple’s global software presence is approaching Microsoft’s. This was even recently unthinkable. Even more, Apple’s software is on a larger array of usable devices — tablet, phone, laptop, desktop, set top — and built for multiple modes: touch, keyboard and voice. Remarkable achievement.

Every tech blogger I read, and I think I read them all, is a poor stock analyst. Please do not buy or sell stock, whether $AAPL, $AMZN, $GOOG or other, based on what a tech blogger says. Ever. They are cheerleaders. Save your money.

The next Apple app revolution will be…email.

Email, that boring, dated, derided yet almost universal tool, used — with great reluctance — for personal and professional reasons, is on the cusp of a revolution. At least, I hope so. Here’s an example of what I think Apple will do — what I think only Apple can do. Use the Open Table app, for example, to make a restaurant reservation. Now imagine that the reservation confirmation email you receive contains visually appealing, pre-embedded Yelp reviews of the chef’s best dishes, a PassBook coupon, Facebook credits, Foursquare check-in rewards, your friends list for those having dinner with you, and Apple Maps directions to the restaurant. This is all contained within the email. All secure because each ‘chunk’ of personalized app data is run only through Apple servers. Speed, simplicity, convenience, enhanced benefits. Think Google Now, only on steroids, because Apple will allow its massive app ecosystem to take part. Delivering it all through iOS Mail servers is a nice little knife in Google’s side, as well. That’s my vision, at least.

I look forward to your comments on what you think is true and what you think are lies.

Next week: Truth and lies about Silicon Valley

How I use the iPad Air

I spend most of my working week being extremely mobile. I spend more time mobile during the work week than I do being stationary. This is why, for me, the iPad Air is the perfect mobile computing companion.

Now, I make the above statement recognizing that I still need a bigger screen, mouse, and keyboard computer in my life for my more in depth creation of content like presentations, reports, columns, etc. As a percentage of my weekly schedule those tasks are not 100% of the time. In fact they are less than 50% of the time. The rest of my working time requires me to take meetings, attend events and conferences, network with thought leaders, and more to keep close to the heartbeat of the technology industry.

Portable vs Mobile

I need a traditional PC in my life for a number of dedicated tasks where a workstation environment is necessary. For these tasks I have a MacBook Air and most of the week it stays docked and connected to my large screen monitor. What I have come to realize, as I think about the notebook form factor specifically, is that the notebook is simply a portable desktop. When you think about it this way then you ask the question who needs a portable desktop? There are many mobile workers who need a portable desktop / workstation for their jobs but I promise you it is a lower amount than people think.

This is what makes certain class of tablets ((not all tablets are created equal and not all tablets can replace a PC for the mass market.)) very interesting. They fill the role of the mobile computer for the worker who does not need a portable desktop to be a part of their mobile work flow. I realize that for a good portion of my weekly work time this profile is very much me. But prior to the iPad existing I did not know this about myself. The portable desktop was the only mobile computing solution I had so that is what I used. Now that there is an alternative, I’ve concluded there is a better mobile form factor for my mobile workflow.

Because I bounce all around the Silicon Valley taking meetings with all kinds of people and companies I generally only take the iPad Air with me when I know I will not be stationary for long periods of time. In this mode, the iPad Air is used to do things like take notes, keep up on email, twitter, and show presentations or data. But if a need comes up for me to edit a presentation, or work on a column, or edit a report I can do that as well.

Every now and then a day comes around where I will be stationary for the good part of the day either in a few long meetings or one all day meeting in the same location. When this comes around I bring my notebook instead of my iPad Air. The primary way I decide whether to tote my notebook around or carry my iPad Air around is whether I will be stationary or mobile a greater percentage of the day.

Computing Solutions Not Computing Islands

For my work flow, the iPad Air and a MacBook Air is kept in sync through iCloud and is the ideal multi-screen mobile computing solution for me. Originally, my belief was that the iPad Mini would be more of a second screen companion to a heavy notebook user like myself. But the larger screen of the iPad Air and now its new thin and light form factor, favor me using it as a replacement for my notebook when I am highly mobile. For me, this has become a real revelation.

With the new iPad Mini Retina being available, I know many are still wrestling with which iPad to get. My true sense is that for those computer users who are stationary for long periods of time and use a notebook or desktop in that context they will favor the iPad Mini as a companion to that computing context. But I share my experience for those who are more mobile than they are stationary and are looking for a device that lends itself to more heavy lifting while still being extremely mobile friendly. Which for me is the iPad Air.

Making the Case for Better Document Management on iOS

For my birthday two years ago, I treated myself to an 11-inch MacBook Air. I bought it with the intention of using it mainly as a writing machine away from home, for my blog and for school. It was (and still is) a terrific little dynamo of a computer, but I eventually grew tired of the burden of managing multiple Macs. Thus, I decided to bequeath the Air to my sister, and committed myself to using my iPad 3 as my "laptop".

I adore working from my iPad, but there is one constant point of friction that at times makes me yearn for my old Air: managing files — in my case, text files — is a pain. It's a problem that certainly isn't insurmountable, but one that throws a wrench into my otherwise seamless workflow.

Like most nerds I know, I use Dropbox to store and sync my data across my devices. All of my important documents are spread across folders inside of folders. Dropbox's hierarchical file system works well for the most part, but it's not perfect. I still have to navigate folders and then use iOS's 'Open In' command to get to the file I want. On an operating system where Apple's purposely abstracted the file system from users (nerds included) in an effort to eliminate complexity, using one effectively bolted on (the Dropbox app) feels weird and, as Rene Ritchie writes, downright archaic.

By contrast, I don't know anyone who uses Dropbox outside of my fellow nerd friends on the Internet. That is to say, none of my "regular" user family and friends have a Dropbox account. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most of them have no clue what Dropbox is or does. Moreover, I'm positive that these same family and friends have no clue (or care, really) about the complexities of iCloud — more to the point, they don't understand iCloud's many idiosyncrasies involving sync.

iCloud For Everything

Given this context, and given how much Apple pushes iCloud as the "everything" solution, I think it would make sense for them to give users a central location on their iOS devices from which to access and browse their documents. Apple's servers will always be the canonical place, of course, but an iCloud Documents app would, in my view, be a more straightforward and easier to understand concept than having to remember which app one used to create a document, and bear in mind that said document can only be opened in the same app. While I feel completely comfortable navigating my myriad of files in Dropbox, I would like a simpler, more forward-thinking way to manage my documents. Ideally, such a solution would use iCloud because, when it works, it works like magic. To that end, an iCloud Documents app for iOS is highly desirable to me. All your documents, all in one convenient place. If Apple sells iCloud as being "the easiest way to manage your content", then it surely should include a one-stop shop for one's important documents.

Here's how I envision such a hypothetical iCloud Documents app working. First, as I stated before, it would house all the user's documents within the app. Apple could design the user interface in such a way that it would automatically separate document types. You could have a toolbar at the top with tabs allowing you to switch to and from text files and Keynote decks, for example. Most of all, though, it would be searchable, as well as offer optional folder creation, a la Photos today. Programmatically, Apple would create a Photos app-type app where, instead of the ImagePicker API, it used a FilePicker API to find and display documents.

In addition to the iCloud Documents app, Apple could also incorporate a dedicated iCloud Documents Web app into iCloud.com. The idea would be the same as on iOS: one central place that keeps all your documents, all up to date. Furthermore, it could be built could so that a user could choose to open, say, a text file in Byword or iA Writer on their Mac, or Notepad if on Windows.

While using iCloud to sync documents would seem to be the perfect solution — I use it for a few things, and it generally performs well for me —, it does have its share of hiccups. For one thing, iCloud can be notoriously unreliable. Another issue is that documents in iCloud are confined to their own silos. iOS itself is similar in this regard, which is great in terms of security, but not so much when it comes to accessing documents.

Yet another stumbling block is iOS's Open In command. It works, but it only works so well. The big problem with Open In, as Federico Viticci writes, is that users end up with multiple copies of files spread across a multitude of apps, which in turn causes headaches when deciding which copy is the canonical version. Again, Open In does work to an extent, but it's messy and far from the ideal solution. I try my best to avoid Open In, because I know its limitations, and, frankly, Dropbox is much easier to use.

You might ask, "What makes a hypothetical iCloud Documents app better than just directly going to the app in which you created the file?" That works, to be sure, but the my point is I believe documents needn't be strewn across a bunch of apps. If you're like me and use your iPad for productivity, there should be one place, one app, where you can see all your documents — and it should be different from Dropbox or Google Drive or whatever. You shouldn't have to remember that you created that parent newsletter in Pages. Rather, you should just be able to open iCloud Documents, tap on the file, and have it automatically open in Pages on your iPhone or iPad. Again, the current methodologies work, but they're far from ideal.

To be clear, The ideas I posit in this piece are not meant to imply that Dropbox is bad, or that I don't appreciate it for what it does. On the contrary, I love Dropbox. My argument is simply that I agree with Rene Ritchie insofar that Dropbox is a system built on the past, whereas iCloud, with all its mystic magic, feels like the future. Steve Jobs himself said as much when he said "the truth is in the cloud". More to the point, Apple gets a lot of flak, and rightly so, for not doing Internet services well. I feel iCloud has a lot of good points, but right now it isn't living up to its full potential. And, frankly, I feel, with all the talk of past and future, that a solution built on iCloud is better suited than Dropbox for the long-term, indispensable as Dropbox may be at this point.

I so enjoy working from my iPad not only because the tablet, hardware-wise, is so thin and light and power-sipping, but because iOS is so powerful. Thanks in no small part to third-party developers, the app ecosystem is rife with desktop-class apps that are so good that I don't require a Mac to get the majority of my serious work done. Add in iOS's one-app-at-a-time approach, which I find refreshing and which helps keep me focused, and the iPad truly is one terrific productivity device. As a writer, I couldn't be happier that my iPad's become my laptop. On the whole, the experience of getting real work done on my iPad has been awesome. That I (and others) are able to do so is a testament to just how powerful Apple's made the iPad and iOS. The reality is that, as a nerd, I get by fine with Dropbox. However, just because one solution works for me doesn't mean Dropbox is the answer, or that iOS and iCloud are above improvement. On the contrary, this piece (hopefully) illustrates that iOS and iCloud can be much better at certain things, like document management.

It's only one piece of a very complex puzzle, but it's my opinion that an iCloud Documents app would be a big step in solving the problem of how to directly access files on a system where, at least on the surface, the classic file system doesn't exist. My hope is that sooner or later, Apple will give users direct access to documents much in the same way Photos gives direct access to photos, and Passbook gives direct access to movie tickets, boarding passes, and so on. Such access would make working from my iPad orders of magnitude better, and make me quit longing for my old MacBook Air.

iWork vs. Office: Apple Chooses, Microsoft Faces a Dilemma

iWork photos (Apple)

Apple took a big step last week when it made its iWorks apps–Pages, Numbers, and Keynote–free to buyers of new iPhones, iPads, and Macs. But the redesign of the programs themselves may have been a bigger, if less commented-upon move. Apple has finally decided what it wants iWork to be, and the decision should cause some real unease at Microsoft.

Apple has always been ambivalent about these productivity apps, first announced for the Mac in 2005. On the one hand, it seemed to want to challenge Microsoft Office. On the other, it wanted them to be simpler tools for the rest of us. As is often the case with indecision, Apple landed squarely between stools. Although the apps, particularly the Keynote presentation program, were embraced by some professionals, they never posed a serious threat to the domination of Office, even on the Mac, in business. At the same time, the desktop programs, which were last updated in 2009, were more complex than necessary for most consumers.

The rise of the iPad forced a choice. Apple knows that its customers are increasingly using iPad as primary computing devices, so it is promoting the use of its tablets to create documents, not just look at them or edit them lightly. To promote this, it has redesigned both the OS X and iOS versions of the software to be as alike as possible in both appearance and function.

Pages Mac and iPad screenshots

A Rich UI for the Mac. The apps are still significantly different. The OS X version has a considerably richer user interface that takes advantage of the larger displays and pixel-precise selection available on Macs. The only real storage option available on the iPad is iCloud, though that does make syncing documents between devices simple (The real time updating demonstrated in the Apple keynote was an illusion; in the real world, it takes up to a few minutes for documents to sync across the internet.) And the Mac, you has access to all the fonts installed on your system, but if you go beyond a core selection, substitute fonts will be used on the iPad (I’m assuming that no one wants to do much of this on an iPhone) because on iOS, the fonts you get are the fonts you have. But in many key ways, the apps are remarkably alike on different types of devices.

Of course, the price paid for this is a considerable simplification of the OS X versions. This set off predictable protests from the vocal minority of professional users who had come to depend heavily on the advanced features. Apple support forums filled with complaints, especially about Pages. (Keynote, perhaps because it is widely used internally to create Apple presentations, underwent less change. No one seems to much care about Numbers.) Seth Godin, who understands why Apple made the choices it did, complains, “Features and the goal of building for a craftsman are exchanged for the cross-platform ease and gimcracks that will please a crowd happy enough with free.”

Upsetting the faithful. It is unfortunate that in simplifying iWork, Apple has upset some of its oldest, loyalist customers, who may now need another program for creating complex documents (and it will be interesting to see where they turn, but that’s another article.) Apple wants iWorks to be software for the mass market, a customer base that increasingly wants to create on their iPads. For most of them, iWork is good enough on the Mac and the best thing available on the iPad. Consumers who don’t need to create (or handle; iWork apps can read Office document formats, but the conversions are often imperfect) large or complex documents or formula- and macro-laden spreadsheets don’t need Office. And if they want to switch freely between Macs and iPads, they don’t want it.

Microsoft, meanwhile, doggedly refuses to get it. In a blog post following the Apple announcement, communications chief Frank Shaw wrote:

And so it’s not surprising that we see other folks now talking about how much “work” you can get done on their devices. Adding watered down productivity apps. Bolting on aftermarket input devices. All in an effort to convince people that their entertainment devices are really work machines.

In that spirit, Apple announced yesterday that they were dropping their fees on their “iWork” suite of apps. Now, since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it’s hardly that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn’t change the fact that it’s much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking.

As Harry C. Marks wrote in a Tech.pinions post yesterday, Microsoft has long avoided making hard choices between consumers and enterprise, between tablets and traditional PCs. The result is “no compromises” hardware and software that, in fact, represent the most dreadful compromise of all. So far, Office has remained true to its heritage.  It exists primarily to serve enterprise and government users, who are dependent on such features as very sophisticated, fine-grained change tracking and citations. But even the touch-enhanced Office 2013 remains all but unusable on a pure touchscreen tablet.

Choices for Office. Microsoft has promised touch-first versions of Office apps next year for both Windows and iOS and Android tablets, and it will be very interesting to see what choices they make. The complex, multilayered interface has to be simplified drastically, and unless Microsoft has found some until-now unimagined UI trick, that means that a lot of features are going to have to be stripped out.

But Microsoft has far fewer degrees of freedom than Apple. For one thing, Office is crucial to the company’s continued prosperity, while iWorks wasn’t even a footnote for Apple. Apple could afford to throw iWork power users overboard because, despite their passion, their numbers are small, while the users of advanced Office features are the heart of the market. Microsoft can afford to lose the Office consumer market, but it cannot ignore the growing use of tablets, most of them Apple’s, in the enterprise.

Will a redesigned Office be simple enough to work well in a touch-only environment? Will it still be Office in more than name? Apple has made its choice, though, in fairness, it wasn’t a terribly hard one. Microsoft has no easy way out of its dilemma.


When Genuine Data Leads to Disingenuous Conclusions

I genuinely love the industry analyst business. I love the role we analysts, our data, and our commentary play in helping companies make strategic decisions. However, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. ((It’s a “Jump to Conclusions” mat! You see, you have this mat, with different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO! — Tom Smykowski from the movie Office Space))

The challenge with data is that the truth lies in the interpretation. Without context genuine data can lead to disingenuous conclusions. This is why data cannot be put out in the public without context. Yet this is exactly what happens. It creates a scenario where a media industry who thrives on negativity can take genuine data, miss the context, and create stories around a false narrative. It is not their fault entirely. It is the fault of the data firms who release data to the public, without proper interpretation or context, and allow the media industry to draw their own conclusion, and often a false one.

Genuine data should point out market truths. However, when presented in the wrong way, it has the potential to do just the opposite.

Why We Count Things

The bottom line is data matters. If you are a company that makes touch-based displays or sensors you need a fairly accurate view of shipment growth related to the areas you care about so you can plan your long term product cycle. If you are a company that makes screens you don’t necessarily care what the operating system market share is of specific platforms. All you care about is how many screens will be sold over the next few years, and what the likely segment mix of screen size will be. For you, the data matters because you need to know how many to make. This is why forecasts and segment tracking statistics are relevant.

Data, forecasts, and other statistics, should help reveal an opportunity to the interested party. It should also help point out where there are not opportunities.

Not all data that gets put out in the public leads to disingenuous conclusions. However, it is the market share statistics that do so more often than any other. To make my point, and highlight how this happens, I will use the tablet market share narrative as an example.

The iPad Has Lost to Android

When you track the global sales of tablets, it is easy to look at the market share statistics and say that it is game over for the iPad. You can stare at the chart and conclude that the iPad can no longer grow as the world and the growth shifts to Android. There is some truth to the global statistics of Android’s tablet market share. At face value we create charts that look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 7.10.08 AM

That is genuine data. Android is being shipped on more tablets than iPads. Therefore, the narrative that Android tablets outsell iPads is accurate at a bullet point level. However, the graph does not tell the whole story and yet so many are left to conclude it does.

If you are a software developer ((Software developers are ones for whom a market share discussion does matter. Perhaps the investment community does also but at large it is irrelevant for most.)) you will look at that chart and say “I should be writing tablet apps for Android.” The problem is… that is an incorrect conclusion when you have the context of the market share data points.

The picture starts to get more clear when we look at the market share of each vendor as a makeup of total sales. Here is that chart. ((Graph viewed with a stack chart. Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 11.43.31 AM ))

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 4.48.10 PM

When we look at that chart we realize that the name brands shipping Android tablets are not shipping nearly as many as the iPad. We will also notice that the largest segment of Android tablets being sold come from this category labeled ‘other.’ Upon learning that ‘other’ makes up a significant portion of the number of Android tablets being sold; we must seek to understand what ‘other’ is and ask if it represents the same opportunity as the vendors who are shipping Android as a tablet platform tied to services and app stores.

Understanding Other

The category ‘other’ represents the no-name brand white-box tablets being sold at razor thin margins mostly in China and other emerging markets. Here are some visuals to help with some context.


I wrote about this point in particular where I dug into the gray market for tablets in China. It is a big market.

As I have been digging into the white box segment–which makes up the bulk of Android tablet shipments–I have been trying to understand what consumers are doing with these extremely low-cost devices. As we know, Android tablets globally make up a minuscule share of global web traffic. The latest estimates I saw peg Android tablets at less than .08% of global traffic while iPad is at 4% of global internet traffic. This has always been the stat that has caused us researchers to raise an eyebrow. Android has more volume but significantly less internet traffic. So what is happening?

Nearly all evidence and data we find comes back to a few fundamental things. First, most of these low cost tablets in the category of ‘other’ are being used purely as portable DVD players, or e-readers. Some are being used for games, but rarely are they connecting to web services, app stores, or other key services. I have asked local analysts, local online services companies, app tracking firms, and many many more regional experts, and the answer keeps coming back the same. They affirm that we see the data showing all these Android tablet sales. But they aren’t actually showing up on anyone’s radar when it comes to apps and services in a meaningful way.

Understanding the context, it is hard to genuinely conclude that ‘other’ represents an opportunity for anyone but the white box hardware companies making less than a dollar of profit and component vendors who can supply the parts to make such low-cost tablets. It is certainly not a genuine revenue opportunity for app developers, services companies, or other constituents in the food chain. And other makes up almost 40% of the Android tablets shipped world wide.

So let’s look at the chart without ‘other.’

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 5.30.05 PM

Now we get a slightly clearer picture. If we eliminate ‘other’ Apple’s tablet share goes to over 50% WW with the closest competitor being Samsung at 18%.

Yet we are still left with a legitimate question which is relative to vendor growth. ‘Other’ is causing a downward trend for the competition. We know that ‘other’ was growing but ‘other’ is not an area any branded hardware OEM wants to go near. So, can vendors grow their share in a growing market against other? That is the key question. To shed insight into that question a little more context is necessary.

Our research, and many others, suggests that over half of first-time purchasers of low-cost tablets had buyers remorse and intend to spend up on their next one. This is why with many of the latest branded crop of OEM tablets, prices went up in order to invest in better components to better the experience.

Our research also suggests that those in the market for a tablet–who plan to use it to do meaningful things for the value chain–prioritize the experience over price. The tablet market as a whole is growing and I tend to view that growth separately from the ‘white box’ category. ((There is likely some percent of ‘other’ that does represent an opportunity, however, we have no idea how much. My suspicion is it is very small so I lean toward leaving it out entirely.)) Doing so brings much more clarity to what is happening in the market for the stakeholders.

We are still waiting for updated figures on these but I wanted to add the needed context about what is happening in the tablet market so that accurate opinions, and more importantly accurate business decisions, can be made with regard to this category.

A similar analysis can be done on the market for smartphones, but I will leave that project for another time. Data is good. But it is dangerous when it is released into the public without context. Data should inform not confuse. Yet, more often than not, data that gets thrown around in the public sphere clouds the truth rather than brings clarity to it.

Apple’s Grand Strategy

Grand Strategy

Grand Strategy is not about winning the war, its about winning the peace. It’s not about destroying your competitor, its about preserving who you are. It’s not about moving toward a destination, it’s about knowing what your destination is.

Too many countries and too many companies lose sight of their Grand Strategy in their desire to win the war. They forget why and what they’re fighting for.

The fact that Apple started Tuesday’s event with a repeat of the video shown during their WWDC event clearly demonstrates that they have a Grand Strategy and that they are determined to be guided by that strategy first, and foremost.

Some pundits seemed to miss, dismiss or ignore the importance of that video. In doing so, they’re missed, dismissed and forfeited their chance to understand Apple.


— Microsoft makes its money by licensing software to hardware manufacturers.
— Apple makes its money by selling hardware to end users.
— Google makes its money by attracting your attention with free services and then selling your attention to advertisers.

If you were Apple, what could you do to enhance your strengths while weakening or negating your competitor’s strengths?

Strategy #1: Focus on the user experience.

It’s perfectly fine not to care about quality. What’s not perfectly fine is criticize those who do care about quality for seeking it out and enjoying it.

Strategy #2: Give away your software in order to make your hardware more valuable and your competitor’s software less valuable.

AAPL’s business model is hardware. Giving away a free OS is a natural step. Puts even more pressure on MSFT though. ~ Sameer Singh (@sameer_singh17)

Strategy #3: Make your platform so valuable that your competitors will feel compelled to put their services on your platform.

I destroy my enemy when I make him my friend. ~ Abraham Lincoln


Apple is very consistent. Worth remembering that in ’01 they bought SoundJam (which was $50), renamed it iTunes and gave it away for *free*. ~ Carl Schlachte, Sr. (@carlsuqupro)

Make Software Free
— Make all Operating System software free.
— Make all Consumer software made by Apple free. (iWork — Pages, Numbers, Keynote — iLife — iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand — iTunes Movie Trailers, iBooks, Maps, Find my iPhone, Podcasts, Keynote Remote — 20 apps in all.)

I estimate the drop in OSX and iLife/iWork prices means about $450 million foregone software revenues for Q4. ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco)

Folding reporting Software into iTunes now makes sense: Software revenues were going to go to zero. ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco)

Make The Look And The Feel Of The Software The Same
— Update (almost) all Apple consumer software;
— Make (almost) all Apple consumer software available across all screens (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Macs and Apple TV).

Make Online Software Cross-Platform
— Create on-line versions of on-device software;
— Make on-line versions free;
— Make on-line versions of the software look and feel like the on-device software.
— Make on-line software collaborative.

No iCloud account required to open Pages files? Nice! Collaboration? Very nice! ~ Joseph Thornton (@jtjdt)

iWork collaboration means … I’ll never have to open Google Docs again! ~ Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie)

Unify Hardware
Almost all new iPads & Macs are:

— Retina Screen
— 64 bit

“The iPad is 64 bit. Windows is, by and large, still 32 bit. Enough said.” ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)

— A7

Apple’s messaging of the A7 in iPad: desktop-class architecture. No desktop needed. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)

— M7
— Lightening Cables (except iPad 2)
— Touch ID

Lack of fingerprint scanner in iPads points against it being an ecosystem play. Convenient in phones, not needed in tablets. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

I respectfully disagree. There is not a doubt in my mind that the next generation of Apple tablets AND notebooks AND desktops will have Touch ID. Why? Many reasons, but one is that Touch ID is a habit. Once people get used to it, they’ll want it everywhere.

Unify Software

By making the operating systems free, and by extending updates as far back as practicable, Apple is doing its very best to remove fragmentation and consolidate their devices on the latest operating system versions.

Apple’s free software is the ultimate fragmentation fighter. ~ Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken)

Target Usage & Engagement

“Usage share is what’s important to us.” ~ Tim Cook

Apple is not after total share, they’re after meaningful share. If a tablet owner isn’t using their tablet, they’re of no use to the platform. And if they using they’re tablet but not engaged in activities that strengthen the platform, they’re of no use to the platform.

“Tim Cook says Apple has sold 170m iPads and iPad usage is 81%.” ~ Ed Baig (@edbaig)

Eighty-one percent of the usage share. Now THAT’s meaningful share.


1) Apple showed an incredibly strong commitment to the Mac. While others are looking for a PC exit strategy, Apple is making it clear that they’re all in.

Apple didn’t get the memo that Apple killed the PC market. ~ Jay Yarow (@jyarow)

If you still had doubts that Apple thinks notebooks still have a role to play just look at the line up & the price points they now have. ~ carolina milanesi (@caro_milanesi)

2) Apple made it clear that they are committed to the tablet as a category. They literally mocked those who make tablets that are PCs and PCs that are tablets. Anyone who thinks that the iPad lines and the Mac lines are ever going to unify really need to give the matter another think.

3) Apple made two pricing moves that show that they feel they are totally alone in the premium tablet space.

First, they dropped the iPad Mini by $30 (to $299), rather than the traditional $100 dollars, then they INCREASED the price of the Retina iPad Mini by $70 (to $399).

Second, instead of dropping the price of the iPad 4 to $399, they retained the iPad 2 and at $399.

Apple has a total lock on 10″ tablets. Question is the smaller cheaper space. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

Those two moves make it abundantly clear that Apple thinks it is dominating that sector and that they don’t need to make price concessions.

Wondering if Apple was thinking about the weakness of the Android tablet offer when it priced the mini. Limited competitive pressure. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

Further, by offering the iPad 2, instead of the iPad 4, as the low cost large screen iPad, Apple is pushing buyers up market to their higher quality and higher priced iPad Air.

Apple may not have a lock on the 7-8 inch tablet space, but their pricing indicates that they have a lock on the PREMIUM 7-8 inch space and – so far as platforms and profits go – that’t the only space that matters.

Apparently Apple is not worried about the competition. Instead, they think that the competition should be worried about Apple.

Schools and Tech: A Long-Running Tragedy

Classroom photo (© Tom Wang - Fotolia.com)

Last year, the Los Angeles Unified School District had a great idea: Provide all 640,000 students in the system with iPads equipped with custom software from Pearson Education at a cost of $1 billion. Today after 47,000 tablets have been distributed, the project is looking shaky. According to the Los Angeles Times, The LAUSD has ordered students at two of the pilot high schools to turn their iPads in. The problem:  The students, entirely predictably, have figured out how to load apps, play games, and get to Facebook, circumventing the school district’s controls.

The LA iPad fiasco is the latest act in the never-ending drama of technology in K-12 education. A quarter-century after forward looking schools got their first Apple ][s, Commodore PETs, and Ohio Scientifics, educators are still trying to figure out how to use them as something other than glorified typewriters and calculators and as a substitute for spending money on real libraries.

The use of computers in schools has been hobbled by risk-averse educators who apply a particularly repressive version of the precautionary principle: The top priority in any technology deployment is making certain that it is not misused (i.e., used in ways other than what is officially sanctioned) even if that means it cannot be used effectively. The result is a heavy emphasis on potential risks, while little thought is given to potential benefits, especially those that might arise serendipitously–say, by students figuring out something clever that teachers and administrators hadn’t thought of. Hence, LAUSD was ready to go back to square one at the first sign of trouble although it is far from clear to me there much danger of real harm. (The problem with students using Facebook or Twitter on their school iPads while at home is?)

My local district, the Montgomery County Public Schools, in the prosperous and tech-savvy Maryland suburbs of Washington, is a depressing example. Six years after the introduction of the iPhone and three years after the release of the iPad,  MCPS policy states:

High school and middle school students may have cell phones or other portable communication devices on school property and at school-sponsored activities, but may not turn them on or use the devices during class time. These devices must be kept out of sight. Students should be reminded that setting the device to “vibrate” is not the same as turning the device off. ((Although the policy statement was last updated this year, there is no mention of either tablets or laptops. This replaced an earlier policy that ineffectually banned students from bringing mobile phones or pagers to school, period.))

This was probably a sensible policy in 2005, when there was no benefit to students having phones in class. That was before the proliferation of apps, many of them potentially useful in class. How many times have you been in an adult conversation where someone added a useful insight gained by looking something up on a smartphone or tablet? Any chance that might happen in school, too? Students might even learn some useful research skills along the way.

MCPS is spending millions of dollars to finally set up wireless networking in schools. But students are theoretically prohibited from using their own devices on the school Wi-Fi (of course, access is controlled by WPA passwords it took them maybe 30 seconds to find the key.) Of course, wireless networking is useful to teachers and administrators, but it would be at least as beneficial to students.[pullquote]The top priority in any technology deployment is making certain that it is not misused (i.e., used in ways other than what is officially sanctioned) even if that means it cannot be used effectively.[/pullquote]

Allowing students to use personal wireless devices in schools does raise a variety of problems. Phones and tablets are powerful distractors and you don’t want students sitting in the back of the room tweeting. But students have found ways to be distracted in class since the Neanderthals set up the first cave schools. And good teachers can be as effective as catching the tweeters and texters as they were at catching note-passers in my day.

The use of the devices as aids to cheating is a more serious issue. But again, they are simply the latest tool for which cheaters have found ingenious uses. One solution is more effective  proctoring; a teacher who would let a student get away with looking something up on the internet in the middle of a test probably shouldn’t be in a classroom. Another is swift, certain, and effective punishment for students who get caught (something schools are all too reluctant to do today with students caught at more prosaic forms of cheating.) In some cases, teaching approaches and evaluations will have to be modified to cope with students having wireless access. But an obsessive focus on potential harms, such as cheating, must be measured against the potential benefits.

Higher education has far fewer qualms about the use of technology and seems to be reaping greater benefits. At Hood College in Frederick, Md., introductory calculus is taught entirely on iPads (video). Students complete worksheets inking in their answers using Notability (entering math from a keyboard on any sort of computer remains daunting) and turning in their work and sharing materials through Dropbox. It can be done.





Martha Stewart vs Mark Zuckerberg. Seniors vs Silicon Valley.

Help! My iPad’s fallen and it can’t get up!

Much mirth ensued across both Twitter and tech blogs last week when the very entrepreneurial — and very senior — Martha Stewart broke her iPad. Perhaps she only has herself to blame considering the series of naive tweets she unleashed upon her followers, including:

No, Martha. There is no magic button — yet — that alerts Apple that your iPad is broken. Nor does Apple — yet — offer a service where they come to your home and repair or replace your device, not even for the very wealthy. Except, that is not the real story here. Rather, it is this:

Is Silicon Valley really so blind to the computing revolution taking place right in front of their eyes?

I suspect the answer is yes.

The evolution of computing is very clear on this: it starts with a few than spreads to the many, with each new computing revolution touching exponentially more lives: mainframes to minis to PCs to, now, smartphones and tablets. The market for these latest personal computing devices is literally in the billions of users. These billions of users include potentially a billion senior citizens.

Silicon Valley, however, appears utterly blind, even disrespectful to this market; to its size, its wealth and to the fact that it is growing faster than any other demographic, at least in the developed world. Mocking older people’s inability to “google” or to “turn on the Internet” or effectively service their iPad limits us to the incredible opportunities just around the corner.

The Valley’s notorious cult of youth is the most obvious telltale sign.

Consider Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, who said a few years ago: “I want to stress the importance of being young and technical. Young people are just smarter. Why are most chess masters under 30?”

In the Valley, youthful smarts trumps all, apparently, and all flows from that.

Now the head of a publicly traded company, Zuckerberg no doubt still believes his youthful words. As the New York Times noted, the median age of workers at Facebook is a mere 28. This is not uncommon.

The seven companies with the youngest workers, ranked from youngest to highest in median age, were Epic Games (26); Facebook (28); Zynga (28); Google (29); and AOL, Blizzard Entertainment, InfoSys, and Monster.com (all 30). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only shoe stores and restaurants have workers with a median age less than 30.

Ask yourself: if a tech company had a median age of, say, 60, would you believe it could effectively build devices and services optimized for twenty-somethings? Yet all of Silicon Valley is absolutely convinced of the reverse.

That Zuckerberg and other leaders in Silicon Valley clearly favor young over old is obvious in so many ways. This shows up not just in the age of their workers. Their ongoing lobbying efforts with FWD.US, for example, are  part of a multi-pronged effort to bring talented — young — workers into the US. Perhaps this is wise, possibly even necessary. But shouldn’t such efforts come after they have thoroughly proven their willingness and their ability to hire and train older workers?

Unfair? I don’t think so. The stated mission of FWD.US is “to promote policies to keep the United States and its citizens competitive in a global economy—including comprehensive immigration reform and education reform.”

Given the median age at the many tech companies supporting FWD.US, I confess I find it difficult to accept that their leaders care all that much about keeping the citizenry competitive. Forty year olds can’t learn to work for Facebook?

Which brings me back to my larger point: can today’s youth-obsessed tech companies effectively build products and services optimized for people of advanced age? Is Silicon Valley about to cede this giant market to others?

The demographic that will experience the biggest growth over the next decade — by a vast margin —  is seniors. In the US, there are already over 40 million seniors — age 65 or older. Many of today’s seniors, including my parents, are only just now using their first-ever computing device. Almost certainly they can benefit from new form factors, new modes of input, new ways of thinking about UI.

Regrettably, the Valley appears convinced that its devices, such as iPads, and its platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, are magically optimized for all, just as they believe twenty-five-year-olds make for the very best workers. Such a blind spot will no doubt create opportunities for others, elsewhere.

Consider the latest offering via the very creative Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. The company’s new Kindle Fire HDX now includes “Mayday” — a one-click service that instantly connects the user to live person-to-person video chat. According to Bezos, this will “revolutionize tech support.” This may not be a hollow boast:

With a single tap, an Amazon expert will appear on your Fire HDX and can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you—whatever works best.

Did anyone in Silicon Valley even contemplate such a thing?

Isn’t this the land of bold ideas and audacious, daring new creations?

I am not calling on Silicon Valley tech companies to build devices and services explicitly for senior citizens. I am asking for far less than that. I am urging the region, filled with some of the world’s best and brightest, to understand that by expanding their worldview — and ridding themselves of their bias of working with and alongside old people — they might understand and then capture a market possibly far larger than any they are in now. All while helping to empower millions as never before.

The Role of the iPad for Apple’s Growth

Analyzing the pricing strategy of the iPhone 5c has led me down some interesting trails of thought. Brian wrote yesterday that Apple simply doesn’t have the DNA to go down market.

I disagree with Brian here. I believe Apple has shown that they can make products for everyone with how they built out the iPod line. I simply don’t think the iPod lines downstream philosophy applies to the iPhone. I do, however, believe it applies to the iPad–at least to a degree. ((there is a difference between the iPod and the iPad. One is a computer the other is not.))

In my opinion, with where the market is right now, I believe it is more important for Apple to be aggressive (not cheap) with the iPad. ((The tablet segment in many regions is growing faster than the smartphone segment))

Stating My Case
The argument many are making about Apple’s need to be more aggressive about the price of the iPhone is to acquire customers at the $400 price range. The counter argument to this is to question the value of a customer in that price range to the ecosystem. The theory I would posit is that the customer of a lower price iPad is more valuable to the ecosystem then the customer of a lower price iPhone–at least right now.

I started thinking about this when I started digging through the results of our consumer research panel on late adopters. Specifically I intended to understand the intent to buy smartphones from those who had feature phones. What I found was interesting. The majority of those who still had feature phones were adamant that they did not need a smartphone. Many stated with confidence that all they do is make phone calls and many of the smartphone features were not of interest to them. What’s more is that 60% of these non-smartphone owners were interested in tablets.

I bring this up to make a point. I’d argue that there are large sections of the market who are not fully reaping the benefits of their smartphones. Perhaps even less so than we originally thought. Even if this segment was to get smartphones they would probably not contribute much to the ecosystem by way of apps, services, etc, at least not yet. Perhaps it’s possible that for a segment of the market even smartphones over serve their needs.

However, we know that tablets, and the iPad in particular is not the kind of product you buy to use for its basic features. People who buy these products are doing so for a vast majority of more computing centric reasons and many that infringe on the value of the traditional PC.

What if they can’t Afford Both?
While debating with myself on this topic, I brought up the point that what if the customer in this price range can’t buy both? This is a good point. But if the iPad was to be more aggressive in price, say less than $300 or even $250, perhaps said customer would opt for an even lower cost phone in order to save money to get an iPad.

I’m not insinuating this logic would represent the totality of this part of the market. I’m mostly just thinking out-loud. But I do think the competitive landscape not just on tablets but also more mid-range phones could face some interesting new dynamics if the cost of the iPad was to get even more aggressive. I also wonder the effect this would have on big phones in the few regions of the world where they are selling somewhat well.

The iPad may be the product that most closely emulates the halo strategy and gateway product to the Apple ecosystem that was the iPod. The time to be aggressive with the iPad is near. Apple has much less legitimate competition in this space and lowering the price would further exploit the vulnerability of the PC and potentially hurt Microsoft even more. The iPad is also the right product to lead Apple’s invasion strategy to China.

Tablets are an area of extreme growth despite what people may say about it slowing. Here is my firms chart showing what is happening in the overall PC space. Yes we count PCs as tablets because our research indicates that is exactly how consumers view them–as computers.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 8.50.16 AM

Food for thought.

How Apple Could Lead the Next Big Tech Trend–Security As A Service

Security is a hot topic in many countries at the moment. And it is going to be a hot topic for the foreseeable future, perhaps for reasons you may not even know yet. It is fascinating to listen to water cooler conversations from folks on the topic. Security, or a lack-there-of, is quickly becoming top of mind for many human beings and rightly so. The question that I think is interesting in all of this discussion is the role technology can play around the topic of security. More importantly, what can technology companies do with regard to security.

Computers come in all shapes and sizes these days. Some go in our pocket, some go in our bags, some sit in our desks and others in large cooled warehouses. Soon we will even have computers that we wear on our person. What comes with this new era of ‘personal electronics’ is new levels of intimacy with our devices. Our smart phones are very personal and more importantly heavily personalized. They contain quite a lot of data about us and are gathering more each and every day. We use them to communicate, participate in commerce, gather information, etc. As I look out at the markets I study and the technologies orienting themselves to serve them, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the idea of security and, more specifically the idea of security as a service, is about to get a lot of attention. And given Apple’s leadership role on a lot of digital things, I expect Apple to lead the charge in next generation of personal digital security too.

An Embedded and Integrated Experience

There are several reasons I think Apple will move the goal posts as it relates to security. The first is related to their acquisition of AuthenTec in 2012. We had been tracking AuthenTec at the time and they had many of the leading solutions for mobile security and biometric sensor technology. AuthenTec also conveniently holds the vast majority of patents in many key areas related to this type of security.

The second reason, which is why Apple bought AuthenTec rather than license the technology, is because Apple is a highly vertically oriented company. Meaning they own and control all the essential elements for them to create the Apple centric experience.

By owning all the key components from designing the system-on-chip, to the hardware and software security layers, the operating system, the hardware itself, and the underlying cloud framework, Apple is uniquely positioned to create a security solution unlike many others.

Security as a Service

Traditionally we think of security as a feature. I’m proposing we think of it as a service. This would include a set of features, when combined and continually implemented, it will be embedded into the fabric of the computing experience.

Earlier this year, in an article for MacWorld, Rich Mogull wrote a great piece. In this article he made many astute observations and comments. This one in particular:

Despite a rocky start, Apple now applies its impressive design sensibilities to security, playing the game its own way and in the process changing our expectations for security and technology.

Apple can afford to play the game their own way since they are the most vertically oriented personal electronics manufacturer on the planet. This will let them do things like bind elements of device security to their processor designs. This follows Intel’s logic with their purchase of McAfee to create new generations of secure silicon adding new levels of encryption to local data. Apple being in control of their hardware and software also would allow them to offer customers the ability to do a thumb scan or image recognition before engaging in a transaction, manage all our passwords in the cloud, etc, and ultimately give us more control of our own digital identity and security.

No Trivial Problem

What I find fascinating about what Apple and others in the industry moving in this direction is not only how complex this problem is but also how risky it is. On device security is one thing but securing data between the device and others as well as the cloud gets even more complex. But I’d argue that tightly integrated solutions stand the best chance to deliver.

Security is a big deal and any company touting the benefits of security as a service has just put a target on their back. But, that doesn’t change the fact that it is important and necessary for companies providing solutions to the consumer market to address this issue. That is what makes this discussion incredibly strategic to Apple as well as others. [pullquote]It is a battle field their core perceived competitor has no interest in playing on[/pullquote]

Security as a service could become a key differentiator for Apple products and a driving reason to choose Apple products over others. But even more interestingly, their competition (Google) doesn’t care about security. It is a battle field their core perceived competitor has no interest in playing on. And that makes it all the more important.

I’m not going to go speculate on how this is going to play out. I just feel the trend bubbling up in a way that makes me believe more security centric solutions are coming and it will be made a big deal. What’s more, only a few companies seem like they have it in their interests to offer this service to their customers as a part of the holistic computing experience.

I Love The App Store. I Hate The App Store. I Love The App Store. I Hate The App Store.

Apple’s App Store is a bloated, visually appealing, industry-shifting revolution. Forget tales of Google Glass, the Internet of Things or talk of HTML5. The App Store — the home of the humble app — has only just begun to completely re-make computing, user interface and hardware design.

The App Store has permanently altered the fortunes of iPhone, which has permanently altered the fortunes of Apple, which has  upended the personal computing industry yet again. The App Store binds Apple products with one another and with every user.

I both love and hate it.

The App Revolution

I love the App Store, first and foremost, because I am so in awe of it. For those of us who lived through the dark times, when Microsoft ruled over all, it wasn’t even imaginable that it could ever be easier to have more and better and cheaper software available for Apple products than Microsoft products, no matter how far into the future we dared look.

Thanks to the unerring vision of Steve Jobs, we now barely give this once-unfathomable reality a second thought.

We have nearly a million apps to choose from: well-designed, tightly-focused, highly intuitive software programs constructed for all manner of activities, and offered at amazingly affordable prices. From my iPhone or iPad, with a few swipes of my finger, I find, review, buy, download. Takes maybe ten seconds.

Again, this is all once-unfathomable.

Apps that make my work more productive, my free moments more fun, my decisions better informed. Apps that connect me with my friends, my colleagues, and my self. I know with absolute confidence that every single app I purchase will work just fine on my iDevice. It just works.

But, damn, I can also hate the App Store.

Attention App Store Shoppers

More than half a decade in and Apple insists upon offering search options that wouldn’t pass muster on the world wide web in the 1990s. Given Apple’s loathing of Google, I fear a remotely workable solution may be years off. The “genius” service is a joke. Unless, of course, Apple actually believes that because I have purchased the Weather Channel app that I want half a dozen other weather apps on my phone.

There is no trial period, no money back option. Reviews are a jumbled mess, and I never know if an angry review is over the very latest release of an app, or from year’s past. If there are methods to filter an app quest – from the phone – I have yet to discover any. Nor are there any usable methods of ‘bookmarking’ an app for later reference, as Apple apparently believes that every app purchase is an impulse buy; now or never.

Plus, my God, forget the flat vs skeuomorphism debate. Who do we need to get fired so Apple will stop with the whole 99 cents nonsense?

And speaking of firing people, how is it even possible that there is still almost no social integration with the App Store? Whose app reviews should I most trust? Which of my friends have recently purchased what apps? I’m at a baseball game, which apps are most popular with this crowd? Which of the “hot” apps are just right for me? I will never know. Fact is, they are “hot” at this particular moment in time because Apple’s user base is downloading them right now, for inexplicable reasons. By this logic, my favorite cereal is the unbranded Cheerios sold at WalMart.

I am hopeful, however. As I wrote a few months ago, the upcoming iPhone (5+) AirDrop feature could enable one-to-one and one-to-group sharing of apps and other content. This would be a great way to trial an app, and a clever workaround to Apple’s failed search and recommendation functions.

Billions And Billions Served

The smartphone is how we connect to the world. The app is how we connect to the smartphone. Apple’s App Store leads the way, and has from the beginning. Yet for all the App Store has done, for all it has wrought, Apple can do better. Much, much better.

Apps are software and services, deconstructed. The App Store, however, is the reverse. This strikes me as a disaster waiting to happen.

For more than a generation, Windows dominated the personal computing landscape. It was an intensely popular, global standard — and a  hideous, ungainly mess. Until it became largely irrelevant. Windows worked for everyone yet was optimized for no one. Apple is now in a similar position with its App Store (and iTunes). The company has hundreds of millions of users, soon a billion, spread across iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and next, iPhone 5S, 5C and beyond. Plus, multiple iterations of iPad. Is it even possible to please — to delight — so large a user base? I’m not so sure.

Yes, Apple controls both hardware and software, unlike Microsoft. But, doing right by a billion people may simply be a hopeless endeavor, even for Apple. See also: Facebook.

The App Store helped Apple achieve what I once thought impossible. All I’m asking for now is that Apple do so again.

We Took Grandpa’s Keys Away. Now We Have To Take His iPhone.

Is there any more magical device than the iPhone? With this amazingly light, utterly beautiful device, we can call and text, email, video chat, play games, watch television, read the great books of history.

We tweet and Facebook. We buy and sell stocks. We set our home alarm, monitor our blood pressure, pay our bills – all with a few swipes of our fingers.

Perhaps this is simply too much power to possess by someone on the verge of senility.

Some of us have already had the discussion over taking away a parent’s car keys. Soon, we may all need to decide if we should take away their iPhones, iPads, Kindles and Androids.

The very technology that connects them with the world, with their grandchildren, that entertains and enlightens them, may – regrettably – become more than they can properly control.

Forget Nigerian email scams, what of FaceTime video scams? Will your aging mom or dad accept calls from anyone? Might they give away – to that friendly man on the screen – their banking information? Their Social Security number?

Will your father or grandmother, say, in their current mental state, tweet pictures of themselves – to Facebook or Twitter – that are entirely inappropriate?

Who will they text? Will your daughter in high school be troubled by the increasingly irrational emails her grandmother is sending her?

Will grandpa leave the device open, allowing hackers complete, unfettered access?

That Zynga game that your dad spends so much time with – will he spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on in-app upgrades?

Your mother has repeatedly posted embarrassing information about her adult children on Facebook. How do we make her stop?

How will we take away our dad’s iPhone, or our mother’s iPad?

How do we initiate this conversation?

How do we cut off our loved ones from connectivity and all the joy it offers? These are difficult questions but we may have to face them.

Tech companies are designing smartphones and tablets to make it increasingly easier to connect with search, the web, friends and family. Should we demand tech companies also build devices that are harder to use – at least for some?

Is it right – or necessary – to require Apple, for example, to build in a set of “anti-accessible” controls such that we can limit the functionality, use and time our parents and grandparents spend on their devices? Will Silicon Valley create a start-up that uses biometrics, for examples, or other identity tools to ensure a device is “locked down” when we are not around, or that only the “good” gets through, and no bad can get out?

It seems that tech companies, from Samsung and Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, ought to bear some responsibility to ensure that the powerless elderly aren’t handed a truly powerful device without any consideration as to the potential harm it may cause.

With smartphone or tablet in hand, everyone and everything becomes instantly accessible, all over the world. The frightening corollary: Everyone and everything now has instant access to your parent’s (virtual) front door. At some point, you may be forced to take away the keys – for their own good.

You should not have to undertake this rather depressing familial obligation all on your own.

Image courtesy of ThinkProgress

A Requiem for ‘Classic’ iOS

On the iOS 7 Design page, Apple says:

The interface is purposely unobtrusive. Conspicuous ornamentation has been stripped away. Unnecessary bars and buttons have been removed. And in taking away design elements that don’t add value, suddenly there’s greater focus on what matters most: your content.

In the weeks following the WWDC keynote, much has been written about iOS 7's redesigned user interface. The word that keeps coming up to describe the changes is polarizing. Some people like it, whereas others hate it; there seems to be no middle ground. However, I think it's fair to say that everyone can agree that iOS was long overdue for a facelift.

While I'm in full agreement that iOS needed its user interface refreshed, a part of me is genuinely sad to be losing the "classic", Forstall-era iOS. For all Apple's boasting about doing away with "conspicuous ornamentation". I very much enjoy several of the skeuomorphic elements of iOS, such as the faux wooden shelving in iBooks and Newsstand. Other graphical favorites of mine include the paper-shredding animation in Passbook, as well as Cover Flow in Music. These bits of eye candy give iOS personality and an air of playfulness, and I'm going to miss them. Conversely, there are elements I won’t miss, like the Corinthian leather in Find My Friends and the yellow legal pad in Notes.

The arrival of iOS 7 this fall will truly mark the end of an era. That iOS's user interface has undergone such a dramatic overhaul is great in the sense that it's more modern and fresh-looking, but it's also a clear sign that Apple has driven a stake through the heart of the canonical design. That's sad for me, because not only am I losing beloved graphical elements like Cover Flow, it feels like the iconic design is gone forever. In other words, the iOS that made the iPhone and iPad what they are today will soon be a relic, ancient history. ((To be clear, iOS 7, conceptually, remains true to the iterations before it. What I'm addressing here is purely the Jobs and Forstall-influenced aesthetic.))

Of course, the impetus for giving iOS a complete makeover is precisely because it was looking like an ancient relic. My feelings are conflicted, though: on one hand, I feel wistful towards the "classic" design, yet on the other I use my iPhone 4S running iOS 6, and it looks and feels old. It reminds me that iOS needed a change, and makes me even more excited for iOS 7.

I'm sure that once I've used iOS 7 for awhile that I'll love it, and complain that some of my "legacy" apps look dated within the context of the new design. My sentiments aside, I know updating iOS's design was the right thing to do, long-term. I understand that iOS 7 is about putting content first. I look forward to seeing how Jony Ive and his team evolve the operating system from here on out. It's an exciting time — iOS 7 lays the foundation for the next phase of the OS's life.

I think the iOS as we know it today will always have a place in my heart. I'm going to miss the page-turning animation in iBooks and the reflections of the icons in the Dock. I'll even miss the linen and the ON/OFF toggle switches. But I am undoubtedly excited for iOS 7 and beyond, and I realize change is good and inevitable. The good part is I still have my original iPad running iOS 5. If I ever find myself getting sentimental over the old design, I can always fire up the old iPad. That'll be a nice stroll down memory lane.

Well, until I see Game Center's green felt.

In Education, The Tablet Tide Has Turned…And It’s Turned Into a Tidal Wave

Apple introduced the modern day tablet in April 2010. That’s just a little over three years ago. Educational institutions are notoriously conservative – slow to change and slow to adopt new techniques. Yet, here are two stories that show just how quickly tablets are being adopted for use by school age children:

An iPad For Every Student In Los Angeles Public Schools

Los Angeles’ school system, the second largest in the country, is ordering iPads for all its students…$30 million worth of iPads as the first part of a multi-year commitment…Apple says the initial order is for more than 31,000 iPads.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

It wasn’t even close. The vote of the school board was 6-0.

Despite PC’s “preferred” status, Maine schools go with tablets

Apple’s dominion over Maine schools looked like it would change in April when the Maine Governor’s office announced that the MLTI’s new preferred vendor was Hewlett-Packard – specifically, the HP ProBook 4440 running Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

Maine’s massive Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI)…(revealed) that of more than 69,000 machines, only 5,474 will be the preferred Windows laptops. More than 92 percent of state schools are staying with Apple, the majority of which are turning to iPads… 39,457 students and educators in the MLTI are using iPads for the first time.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Tablets

My father was a school superintendent, so I am painfully aware of how maddeningly slow the wheels of education turn. However, the stars may be aligning for a significant change.

1) A tablet for every school child is a done deal. Most people just don’t know it yet. It’s going to happen and it’s going to happen oh-so-very-fast.


The Pew Research Center has been tracking tablet ownership from May 2010 when it recorded that 3% of American’s 18 years and older owned a tablet. From its most recent survey in May of 2,252 adults 34% of American’s owned a tablet, almost a doubling from April 2012.

Tablets have become an accepted part of everyday life and soon they will become an accepted part of education too. In three short years, we’ve already moved from the “Tablets are a stupid idea and it should never be done” phase to the “Of course Tablets are a great idea in education and why haven’t we done it already?” phase.

padagogy-wheel-450x4502) The tablet software industry is already well-established. Mobile software can be purchased cheaply and easily and installed almost instantaneously.

3) Apple has pulled out all the stops to cater to the education sector in its latest iOS version. Microsoft is giving away Surfaces for $199 each. Heck, everyone is going to want a piece of this market.

4) Win-Win. With millions upon millions of children getting tablets, and with hundreds of thousands of app developers using their creativity to develop educational apps in order to make money, maybe – just maybe – we’re on the cusp of seeing a revolution in computing software for education.

I am cautiously optimistic.


Apple’s WWDC: Instant Analyses


Through the graciousness of Techpinions and Apple Inc., I was able to attend the Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), held this past Monday, June 10, 2013. I have a couple of in-depth articles that I’m working on, but since we, here at Techpinions, are far more about perspective and far less about the latest news coverage, I’m going to give those articles a little time to “breathe” so that I can develop them further. I’m very excited about these upcoming articles and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you in the very near future.

In the meantime, since the WWDC was so broad and so far-reaching, I thought that I would go through the conference video, step-by-step and provide some “snap” analyses of some of the less well known – or perhaps less well appreciated – aspects of the keynote speech. If you have additional insights, please let us know in the comments, below.

Overall Impression: Apple events are incredibly well-organized. The presentation was two hours long and it was packed full. The pace of the presentation was fast and furious as Apple tried to deliver as much information in those two hours as they possibly could.

Apple’s Philosophy

“Only Apple could do this…” – Tim Cook

00:10: If you want to know how Apple sees itself or, at the very least, how Apple wants the world to see them, watch the video that opens the conference. There’s a lot of depth to this short video. Expect to read much more about it, here, in a future Techpinions’ article.

Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers

03:20: 6 million registered developers. 1.5 million new developers in the past year alone. Sold out the developer’s conference in 71 seconds.

07:40: 50 billion Apps.

That’s a lot of zeroes (50,000,000,000).

375,000 apps designed specifically for the iPad. Competitors? In the hundreds. One of Apple’s key differentiators.

575,000 million accounts, most with credit cards attached. Don’t underestimate the value of this. It’s HUGE. Think iTunes. Think iTunes Radio. Think payments. Think BIG.

“More accounts with credit cards than any store on the internet that we’re aware of” ~ Tim Cook

08:48: Apple paid developers 10 billion dollars.

5 billion of that paid just in the last year … three times more than all other platforms combined.” ~ Tim Cook

If there is one thing that the analysts are overlooking, it is this. If you want to truly measure which operating system is doing better, don’t look at the number of sales, look at the number of developers and the number of dollars being paid to those developers. By that measure, Apple is running away from the pack.

OS X: Mavericks

With Apple, it’s not about gathering the latest features together, it’s about having features that work the greatest together. Apple doesn’t strive to be the first, they strive to be the best.

iCloud Keychain

36:15: Apple will suggest, retain and maintain your passwords and credit card numbers. I’ll have to see how this works in practice before I make a final judgment, but this was the first of many times when I thought, “Aha!”:

– My mom could do this, moment #1

Apple’s Technology Philosophy

An aside about Apple’s technology adoption and legacy philosophy. Apple is quick to discard the old, slow to adopt the new. It’s a weird mix that confuses many observers. Google aggressively moves forward. Microsoft aggressively retains backwards compatibility. Apple moves forward conservatively and discards the old aggressively.

Weird, right? Get used to it. It ain’t going to change anytime soon.

MacBook Air

In the age of the iPad, what is the future of the notebook?

48:00: (Hint from Apple: “It’s the MacBook Air”.)

The new MacBook Air is almost identical to the old MacBook Air except that it contains Intel’s newest Haswell processor. The key difference is battery life:

— 9 hours for the 11 inch MacBook Air
— 12 hours for the 13 inch MacBook Air


Of course, no retina display. As Renee Ritchie of iMore is fond of saying, smaller, better battery life or retina display…pick two.

There was no mention of the MacBook Pro at the event, but rumor has it that it too will appear with a Haswell chip AND a retina display in the next 3 to 4 months.

By the way, is Apple seriously going after the PC market too? Stay tuned. More on that from Techpinions, yet to come.

Mac Pro

“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass.” – Phil Schiller

52:15: Some say that Phil Schiller’s comment, above, was defensive. Hmm. I would say that words like “defiant”, “decisive” or “determined” would be much more aptly employed to describe the true tenor of his remark.

The Mac Pro has incredible design, power and speed, all housed in a teeny-tiny casing. The numbers being thrown around to describe the device were pure tech porn to the nerds attending the convention ((Nerds like me)).

However, while the Mac Pro will undoubtably be great…will it be great for anybody? Sure it will be perfect for someone like Pixar. But how many Pixar’s are out there? Will it truly be practical for many others? Not so sure. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Designed in California, Assembled in USA

01:39: This is Apple’s new tagline. Apple is now making the Mac Pro in the United States and they’re naming their OS X software after locations in California (starting with “Mavericks”). This is about as politically correct as it gets.

Expect to see this new tagline…like…ya’ know, – A LOT.

The Mac Is Back

60:00: One. Full. Hour.

Spent on the Mac.

If you thought that the Mac was dead, you were dead wrong. And it you thought the Mac was going to become the iPad, then get used to disappointment.

iWork In The iCloud

Create on your Mac, edit on your PC, present on your iPhone.

62:00: Sort of Apple’s take on Google Docs. I’ll have to wait until I get my hands on it but, without a doubt, a fascinating new direction for Apple.

Is iOS Both The Best AND The Most Popular OS?

69:30: Tim Cook seems to think so.

You can bet your life that I’ll be “liberating” large parts of this portion of the keynote for use in constructing an Insider’s article on this topic in the very near future.

If you can’t wait and want to have it served to you straight from the Cook’s kitchen, go have a look at the video starting at the 69:30, mark.

Apple’s Design Philosophy

“True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It’s about bringing order to complexity.” ~ Jony Ive

75:10: If you want to understand what Apple’s design philosophy is, go watch this video…

…then watch it again.

And again.

Tim Cook And Company Relish The Challenge

79:45: If you want to see a happy Tim Cook – a genuinely happy Tim Cook – just watch the video, starting at the 79:45 mark.

Apple may be under pressure from Wall Street but, if they are, Tim Cook and company seem to relish the challenge. I’ve never seen Steve Job’s captains look more upbeat, more excited, more confident or more determined than they did in this presentation. A lot of humor. A lot of enthusiasm. A lot of energy. A lot of optimism. Lot’s and lot’s of of optimism.

iOS 7’s Icons

81:15: Saying that iOS 7 is doomed to fail just because of the look of the icons introduced at the World Wide Developer Conference, is like saying that a bride is doomed to ugliness just because of how she looks, sans makeup, when she’s having her wedding dress fitted.

Let’s all take a deep breath, step back and give this thing a chance to unfold, shall we?

I’m not saying that there has been a rush to judgment…

…I’m saying that there has been a “gush” of judgment – most of which will, hopefully, be flushed away by the tides of time.

My take: They say there is nothing new in iOS 7. But there’s also nothing new in a cake or souffle. It’s not new ingredients that count, it’s how the ingredients are put together that makes a meal a masterpiece. ((Tip o’ the hat to Jean-Louise Gasse, for the analogy.)) Let’s give this cake a little time to bake and see if it rises, okay?

Gestures For Moving In And Out…

85:10: Universal gesture from left edge of display for moving in and out of apps…

– My mom could do this, moment #2

Control Center

87:20: A universal gesture, available from anywhere, even on your lock screen.

– My mom could do this, moment #3


88:00: Simple. Powerful. Simply powerful.

And as Ben Bajarin reminded me, this may be an even MORE powerful feature on the iPad.

– My mom could do this, moment #4


101:45: New interface; new voices; new commands; answers more questions; hooks to wikipedia, twitter and Bing….

Hmm. Definitely a wait and see kind of deal.

iOS In The Car

103:25 Very quiet introduction. May be a much bigger thing than people realize. Need to wrap my brain around it. Go see Horace Dediu’s initial thoughts on it, here.

Automatic System And App Updates

105:35: – My mom will love this, moment #5

Music Match And iTunes Radio Integration

106:00: Hmm. Not hearing much buzz surrounding this. Yet I think it could be huge.

Music Match iCloud integration makes it easy to recover your music from the cloud. iTunes Radio makes it easy to discover your music from the cloud. Music Match costs $24.99 per year. iTunes Radio is free with ads…or free without ads if you are a Music Match subscriber.

Hmm. Music discoverability…built right into your existing music app…integrated with iTunes…easy, one-button purchases…that play on your iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV. That’s not a big deal?

Now the discoverability portion of the product is a complete unknown. That will make or break this service. Will iTunes Radio be another Ping…or will it be the next big thing?

– My mom could do this, moment #6

Activation Lock

112:05: If an unauthorized person tries to turn off “Find My iPhone” or wipe my device, they won’t be able to reactivate it. A powerful theft deterrent.

– My mom could understand the importance of this, moment #7

1,500 New APIs

112:55: ‘Nuff said. ((One possible caveat: An API to integrate with 3rd party game controllers? Hmm. Start packing your bags, game console makers.))

“Biggest Change To iOS Since The Introduction Of The iPhone”

115:05: By my count, Tim Cook and company said words to this effect on three – perhaps four – occasions.

iOS is not just a coat of paint. It is designed to be a “comprehensive end-to-end redesign of the user experience.”

Apple’s goal with iOS can be summed up this way:

It’s like getting an entirely new phone, but one that you already know how to use.

That is one truly ambitious goal. Only time – and the market – (and definitely NOT the critics) – will tell if Apple was able to pull it off.

Apple’s Signature

116:45 Final video and Apple’s future Ad campaign. A branding campaign, not a product campaign. And what does Apple want their brand to stand for?

— This is what matters.
— The experience of a product.
— How it makes someone feel – delight, surprise, love, connection.
— Does it deserve to exist?

This is our signature…and it means everything.

(M)ore than just words…values we live by… ~ Tim Cook

If you don’t get Apple after watching this video…you just don’t get it.

4 Mobile Business Models, 4 Ways To Keep Score

The hundred meter dash, archery, weightlifting and the long jump are four very different Olympic sports with four very different methods of keeping score. The hundred meter dash is scored on speed. Archery is scored on accuracy. Weightlifting is scored on strength. The long jump is scored on distance. You don’t judge the participants in the hundred yard dash by how much weight they can lift. That would be the wrong way to measure them.

“…looking at ‘smartphone share’ or ‘profit share’ or ‘platform share’ all tell you something about the industry, but all three metrics mislead you if you try to treat them as a way to see who’s ‘winning’, because ‘winning’ means different things for Apple, Samsung or Google. After all, Google may well still make more money from searches on iOS than it does from searches on Android.” ~ Ben Evans, On market share

Hardware manufacturing, advertising, “razors-and-blades” content sales, and platforms are four very different business models and they have four very different methods of keeping score too.

You don’t take the metrics used to measure one business model and apply them to another business model. That would be the wrong way to measure them.

Each business model demands its own specific forms of scoring. The goal should be to devise, discover, or discern a form of measurement that properly and accurately reflects how a business is performing in the business model in which it is participating.

Biathlons, Triathlons and Decathlons are all unusual Olympic events in that they group together several disparate sports and then determine an overall winner. Think of Apple, Google, Samsung, and Amazon as Olympic teams that compete with one another in the four interrelated mobile business models – hardware manufacturing, advertising, “razors-and-blades” content sales, and platforms – a sort of Quadrathlon. Each team has its strengths and its weaknesses, each team wants to win the events that they’re best at and maximize their score in the other events in order to win the overall Quadrathlon.

Let the games begin!

Hardware Manufacturing

Last week I tried to explain how using only market share to analyze mobile hardware manufacturing was not only the wrong way to keep score of that business model but that it was actually obscuring the real score.

“The truth is that focusing on market share as the primary metric is the only way to paint the iPhone as anything other than a roaring success.” ~ John Gruber

I suggested an alternative measurement known as the “Fair share profit analysis,” in order to generate some perspective but, truth be told, the only real way to accurately “score” who’s winning in hardware manufacturing is with net hardware profits. When it comes to selling mobile hardware, do Apple, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc. really care what their market share is? No they do not. That’s the top line, a means to an end. The only thing that matters when they are selling mobile hardware is profit. That’s the bottom line, the end for which the means were made. Market share is all well and good but only if it brings home the profits. Keep your eyes on the prize – and profits are the prize.

So who’s winning the medals in the olympic sport of mobile hardware manufacturing?
Source: “Who’s Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place

Awards Ceremony: Apple walks away with the Gold (both figuratively and almost literally), Samsung takes the Silver and no one else even medals. The Bronze podium stands empty.


The only proper way to score advertising is net advertising profits retained. Market share and platform may be used to garner advertising revenue but they are only the means and they should never be confused with profit, which is the end.

Today, there are three great truths in mobile advertising:

1) Google is killing it in mobile advertising.
2) Google is killing it in mobile advertising…but mobile advertising is still relatively small; and
3) The vast majority of Google’s mobile advertising revenue is generated on the iOS platform, not the Android platform.

1) Google is killing it in mobile advertising.

Google dominates the mobile search market with 93% of US mobile search advertising dollars, according to eMarketer. Facebook is at No. 2.

2) Mobile advertising is still relatively small.

The mobile ad market alone stood at roughly $4.1 billion at the end of last year, up from $1.5 billion at the end of 2011. Google, currently has more than half the mobile ads market with annual revenues of around $2.2 billion.

Just to keep things in perspective, mobile ad revenue only accounted for 9% of all online ad revenue last year, although the percentage of mobile ads vis-a-vis other online ads is rapidly growing. And mobile ad revenues paled in comparison with mobile hardware sales. While it took an entire year for ALL mobile ad revenue to reach $4.1 billion, Apple alone, and in 90 days, and in what many considered a down quarter, brought in revenues of approximately $31.4 billion just from iPhone and iPad sales.

3) Google is making its advertising money on iOS, not Android

“(I)t’s Android’s large market share that is the winner for Google. The more Android devices being used, the more Google services with Google ads are being used.” – Virtual Pants

Actually, not so very much. Most of Google’s advertising dollars are generated by iOS’s relatively smaller market share, not by Android’s massive market share.


Source: MoPub

Take a good hard look at the chart, above. The iPhone ad spend doubles the ad spend share of ALL of Android. The iPad almost matches ALL of Android BY ITSELF. And even the lowly iPod has one-quarter of the ad spend that ALL of Android does. Market share is all that matters? I don’t think so. That’s like arguing that acreage is all that matters in real estate. The size of the lot does matter in real estate but location, location, location matters more, more, more. And market share does matter in mobile advertising but it is the location of the market share that matters even more.

Apple’s iOS Mobile Ad Metrics Dominates Android

Why 75 cents of every dollar spent on mobile advertising is spent on iPhone and iPad

iOS leads Android in mobile ad revenue

Apple’s iPad dominates online shopping traffic & revenue generation

iOS Still Top Platform For Monetising Mobile Ads, Opera’s Q1 Study Finds, iPhone Also Beating Android For Generating Ad Traffic

iPad Still Dominates Tablet Ads With iPad Mini Gaining, Velti Finds

“My belief, though, is that what Google is winning with Android is a booby prize — overwhelming majority share of the unprofitable segment of the market.” – John Gruber

When it comes to ad revenues and profits, we shouldn’t be counting Android as a single entity anyway. Ad revenues don’t help Android, the platform. They help specific digital stores. Ads going to Amazon, Google, and the various stores in China and elsewhere need to be broken out separately, not lumped together.

Awards Ceremony: Google wins the Gold and they win it going away. But they receive their Gold medal standing on the Apple iOS platform, not the Android platform.

Silver and Bronze? I’ll let you decide if it’s Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft’s Bing or someone else. They’re all so far back that it doesn’t much matter now anyway. That may change over time but we’ll have to wait and see how this market develops.

“Razors-And-Blades” Content Sales

“(T)he razor and blades business model, is a business model wherein one item is sold at a low price (or given away for free) in order to increase sales of a complementary good, such as supplies…” ~ Wikipedia

The “razors-and-blades” business model is tricky to score.

— Hardware revenues and profits mean NOTHING in the “razors-and-blades” model. In fact, it’s not unusual to LOSE money from hardware (razor) sales.

— Market share means both nothing and everything in the “razors-and-blades” model. It means nothing because it doesn’t actually generate any profits but it means everything because it is a prerequisite to generating profits. In fact, the only reason you’re giving away your hardware in the first place is to acquire massive market share which, in turn, will hopefully lead to massive profits.

— Ultimately, the only way to measure the success of the “razors-and-blades” model is on the net profits generated by the sale of the complementary goods (razors). In mobile, the complementary goods are content such as music, video, books, etc. and apps. Amazon also has the added advantage of being able to sell everything from their sprawling retail catalog.

As I tried to explain in my tersely titled article: “Selling The Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 Is As Silly As Selling Razor Blades To Men Who Love Beards“, the “razors-and-blades” model makes no sense in this market space. At least it makes no sense to me. In the “razors-and-blades” model, the complementary sales – whether it be blades for razors, or ink for inkjet printers or games for gaming consoles – must be proprietary and must command a premium price. That’s the whole point. Give away the razor, make it back – and more – by selling the blades at a premium.

If you’re selling content, you want to be platform agnostic so that you can sell as much content as possible. This, in my opinion, should be Amazon’s strategy.

If you’re giving away hardware in order to sell content, then you want that content to be tied to your hardware product so that you can monopolize the sale of the complementary product and command a premium price.

In the mobile space, the complementary sales ARE NOT proprietary, they ARE subject to competition and they DO NOT command a premium price. Amazon and Google don’t sell content that is any different or superior to that being sold by Apple and other content providers and their content isn’t being sold at a premium. In fact, Amazon often sells their merchandise at a DISCOUNT which – in the “razors-and-blades” business model – is completely bat-manure crazy. ((Then again, we all know that Jeff Bezos is crazy like a fox.))

So who’s winning in the “razors-and-blades” business model? Why, surprisingly, it’s Apple and it’s Apple in a runaway.

Google Play now at 90% of iOS app store downloads; iOS still holds a 2.6X revenue lead

Despite growing competition from other tablets, Apple’s iPad still accounts for a whopping 89.28 percent of e-commerce website traffic, and also rakes in more money on a per-user basis than any other platform. ~ Monetate

Distimo reports that iOS App Store revenues were 430% larger than Android during 2012. ~ Apple F2Q13 Earnings Call

“…iTunes inclusive of Apple’s own Software generates as much as 15% operating margin on gross revenues. That’s over $2 billion a year.” ~ Asymco, So long, break-even


Source: Canalys

Apple sells their content, not in order to make money but, in order to make their hardware more attractive so that they can sell ever more hardware and make ever more profits. With regard to tablets, Apple is playing the OPPOSITE game that the Amazon Fire and the Google Nexus are playing. While Amazon and Google subsidize their tablets (razors) in order to make money on the sale of their content (blades), Apple should be subsidizing the sale of their content (blades) in order to make money on the sale of their hardware (razors). But that’s not how Apple rolls. Instead, Apple sells their hardware at a premium AND they sell their content at a premium. That’s not supposed to happen but that’s just how good the Apple ecosystem is.

It’s like a walk-on winning the Olympic marathon while everyone else is stuck in the starting blocks.

You can say that it’s elitist or arrogant to argue that iOS users are better customers than Android users. But you can also say that it’s the truth. ~ John Gruber, Church of market share

One last thing. If Amazon and Google have an incentive to sell discounted hardware and premium content and Apple has an incentive to sell premium hardware and discounted content, one of those business models is going to fail and it’s going to fail hard. Since Apple is, so far, successfully selling premium hardware AND premium content, I’ll let you be the judge of how this is going to play out.

Awards Ceremony: I’m tempted to award all three medals to Apple just for having the sheer audacity to win a game that they didn’t even enter. But I guess Apple will have to console themselves with just winning the Gold.

And the Amazon Fire and the Google Nexus tablets? Disqualified for not understanding the rules of the game that they were playing.

Remember, Amazon and Google sell their hardware at cost. They don’t make a penny off those sales and they might even be taking a loss.

Market share? Yes, they have taken some minor market share…in a market where they are GIVING AWAY THEIR MERCHANDISE. And market share is not how you score in the “razors-and-blades” game. While the press and the pundits fawn over the market share of the Amazon Fire and the Google Nexus, what they’re entirely missing is that in the “razors-and-blades” business model, market share should be a GIVEN. I mean, honestly, if you can’t obtain overwhelming market share when you’re giving away your product at cost, then you should be ashamed, embarrassed, abashed, chagrined, humiliated and mortified ’cause you’re doing something terribly, terribly wrong.

You win the “razors-and-blades” game by scoring the most content profits. All those Amazon Fire and Google Nexus market share numbers that the analysts are always going gaga over? Meaningless. They should be removed from the count. They’re probably not hurting the sales of the other available tablets and they’re not helping the bottom lines of their makers either. There is zero proof that Amazon and Google’s hardware giveaways have led to increased retail sales which, after all, in the “razors-and-blades” model, IS the point.

And if you’re going to prophesy that market share alone gives Google data that will someday, somehow, be worth something to someone, then you need to go back and re-read how the “razor-and-blades” business model is scored.

What we desperately need in analyzing mobile computing is far more attention paid to profits and far less attention paid to prophets.

Next Time

Next time I will finish with the “mother” of all business models – platforms – and do the medal count.

Google’s Android Activations Are A Lot Less Cash Cow And A Lot More Bull. And That’s OK.

Read Part One of John’s column entitled: Android’s Market Share Is Literally A Joke

Read Part Three of John’s column entitled: Google’s Android Activations Are A Lot Less Cash Cow And A Lot More Bull. And That’s OK.

The author would like to gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Ben Bajarin and Steve Wildstrom. All the great ideas, that you agree with, were theirs. All the bad ideas, that you disagree with, were mine.

Android’s Market Share Is Literally A Joke

This is the first of three articles looking at how we measure – and mis-measure – who is “winning” in the mobile sector. Article one focuses on market share and was inspired by an article written by Bill Shamblin, entitled: “Chasing Smartphone Market Share Is A Chump’s Game.” Article two will focus on the proper way to measure or “score” mobile hardware manufacturing, mobile advertising and the “razors-and-blades” content models. Article three will focus on the role that market share plays in the network effect and will examine the proper way to measure or “score” how well a platform is doing.

The Joke

Have you heard this one?

Two farmers bought a truckload of watermelons, paying five dollars apiece for them. Then they drove to the market and sold all their watermelons for four dollars each. After counting their money at the end of the day, they realized that they’d ended up with less money than they’d started with.

“See!” said the one farmer to the other. “I told you we shoulda got a bigger truck.”

Or how about this one?

Android is winning because they got a bigger truck.

The Joke Is On Us

Both “jokes” are based upon the old saw that one can lose money on every sale but make it up in volume. Unfortunately, the joke is on us because this is exactly the kind of nonsensical analysis that is being doled out by tech pundits and lapped up by the press and investors. You think I’m exaggerating? Take a gander at some of these recent tech headlines:

Android is crushing Apple and Microsoft in the mobile device market
Android looks like it’s winning
CHART OF THE DAY: The iPhone’s Market Share Is Dead In The Water
Despite its upmarket history, Apple needs to compete on price
Gartner: Apple falls below 20% in smartphone market share
Harvard Liquidates Apple Stake After IPhone Sales Lose Steam
How Apple Is Losing Mobile
IDC: Apple’s share of worldwide tablet market drops under 40%
iPhone growth stalls as Android continues to nip away at Apple’s market share
iPhone Market Share Stuck At 18%
Nearly 75% Of All Smartphones Sold In Q1 Were Android
Sharp to seek Samsung edge for survival as Apple sales lose steam
Why Android Is Winning The Tablet Wars

I could link to a dozen more headlines just like them. These headlines – or their underlying articles – all have two things in common:

1) They contend that Android is winning and Apple’s iPhone is in deep, deep trouble; and
2) They point to market share as the sole or primary basis for their conclusion.

TechCrunch sums up the thoughts of many this way:

“The latest numbers are in: Android is on top, followed by iOS in a distant second. There is no denying Android’s dominance anymore. There is no way even the most rabid Apple fanboy can deny that iOS is in second place now. Android is winning.”

ReadWrite takes it one, final step further, stating:

“The Mobile Battle Is Over – And Google Won.”

In other words, pundits think that Android has won because they “have a bigger truck” (i.e. more market share) – regardless of how much – or how little – profit Android manufacturers make. Android, the pundits opine without a hint of irony, is not making much, if any, money but that’s okay because they’re making it up in volume.

But is that really how market share works? Can you tell how well a company or an operating system is doing solely by measuring its market share?

No, of course not.

Quiz #1: Market Share Alone

Question: Company A has 25% market share. Company Z has 75% market share. Which company is doing better?

Answer: With market share alone, there’s simply no way to know or tell. Company A might be bringing in all the profits and company Z might be going bankrupt.

The Wrong Way To Calculate Who’s Winning

(T)he primary problem with using market share as a measure of business health is it provides no insight into the profitability of the product being sold. ~ Bill Shamblin

Scoring by market share alone and ignoring profit is like saying that a baseball team won because it had more hits when the other team scored more runs. Scoring by market share alone and ignoring profit is like saying that a football team won because it gained more yards when the other team scored more points. Scoring by market share alone and ignoring profit is like saying that a hockey team won because it had more shots on goal when the other team had more goals.

Market share without context is not only useless, it is worse than useless because it is likely to be misinterpreted.

First, market share without context assumes that each percentage of market share is equal to another – that every Android activation is equal to an iOS sale. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can’t simply total up market share and determine a winner any more than you could count up coins or poker chips without knowing the underlying value of those coins or chips. A penny does not have the same value as a quarter and only a small child would rather have more coins than fewer coins but more money.

Second, market share without context implies that market share is a zero sum game – that market share gains for one always result in a loss to another. But in a rapidly growing market, a company can actually LOSE market share yet have both positive unit sales and profit growth. Not growing as fast as another company is not nearly the same as “losing”, especially if the growth is coming in a more desirable portion of the market.

For example, despite a decline in Q1 market share, iPhone sales actually increased based on year over year comparisons. (iPhone sales were not declining,they were growing slower than the overall market.)

The same was true of tablet sales. Last quarter, Apple LOST tablet market share, but because the entire market was rapidly growing, they GREW unit sales by 65%.


Source: Apple 2.0, “Pie charts of the day: Tablet sales grew 140% year over year”

The “Fair-Share” Way To Calculate Who’s “Winning”

What matters is not only market share and not only profit share but the ratio between them. This is called Fair share profit analysis. Fair Share Profit Analysis contends that 1 point of market share should deliver 1 or more points of profit share.

Less than a 1-to-1 ratio of profit share to market share demonstrates that a company is buying market share; that the company has not been able to differentiate its product in the market and is likely competing primarily on price.

More than a 1-to-1 ratio of profit share to market share demonstrates a company’s ability to differentiate its products, provide more value than its competitors, command higher prices, charge a premium and enjoy pricing power.

Quiz #2: Market Share or Profit Share

Question: Company A has 25% market share and 75% profit share. Company Z has 75% market share and 25% profit share. Which company is doing better?

Answer: If you said anything other than company A, then you are dumber than a doorknob. Any intelligent person would take company A’s profit share over that of company Z’s market share.

No one would be confused if Apple had 50 percent market share and 50 percent of the profits. But apparently it’s very confusing to some that Apple has only 5 percent of the market share and well over 50 percent of the profits. ~ John Gruber, The church of market share

Imagine, for example, that Apple were a hamburger chain who made more money than McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendys combined, but only sold 5% of the total hamburgers. Would anyone seriously contend that Apple was “losing” the hamburger wars?

Apparently so. For example, take this analysis from Matt Asay of ReadWrite (please!):

For those who say market share doesn’t matter, that Apple still commands most of the industry’s tablet profits, they clearly haven’t been paying attention to the smartphone market.

It turns out it’s a really big deal to maintain market share, and not simply profits. Profit share follows market share.

Profit share follows market share? Are you kidding me? Show me a business sector where profits have a 1-to-1 correlation with market share and I’ll show you the exception that proves the rule. The reason market share doesn’t necessarily correlate to profit share is because profits are made up of both market share and margins. And market share alone tells us nothing about margins, therefore market share and profit share are almost always going to be unbalanced.


Source: Asymco, Escaping PCs

Take, for example, the Apple Mac. As the pie chart above demonstrates, the Mac has 45% profit share with only 8% of the market share. That means that Apple pulls in an awesome 5.63% of the sector’s profits for each and every 1% of its market share.

Profit share always follows market share? Not hardly.

The truth is, anyone can get market share if they want it badly enough. All they need to do is sell their product at cost, give it away for free or, better yet, subsidize (pay their customers) to take the product off their hands. This is called “buying” market share, but it always comes at the cost of profits.

Pricing to gain market share simply for the sake of market share is a chump’s game. ~ Bill Shamblin

The problem is, you can “cheat” and buy market share, but you can’t do the reverse and “cheat” to buy profits. You have to EARN profits. Buying market share is a downhill race to the bottom but gaining profits is an tortuous uphill climb and it can only be made if the manufacturer is able to produce highly valued and differentiated products. The company that buys market share must inevitably go out of business or reverse its course and fight its way back up to profitability. The company with the value and the profits, on the other hand, has the advantage of holding the high ground and can choose to take market share at will.

Quiz #3: Less Market Share Can Be Better Than More

Question: Company A has 25% market share and 50% profit share. Company Z has 75% market share and 50% profit share. Which company is doing better?

Answer: Anyone with any business sense would say company A.

Company A is commanding 3 times the price of Company Z. The formula is 50% profit share divided by 25% market share (50/25 = 2). This means that for every one percent of market share, company A has two percent of the profit share. Company Z’s position is reversed. For every one percent of market share, they command only 0.5% profit share (50/75 = 0.66). Company Z would have to work three times as hard and sell 3 times as much product just to match the profits of a single sale by company A.

Grading The Contestants

Android accounts for approximately 70% of global smartphone shipments and 29% of global profits. This means that the average Android manufacturer creates just .41% of profit for each point of market share (0.29/0.70 = .414). In other words, the average Android manufacturer needs to capture 2.4 points of market share just to increase their market profit by 1%.

Such a low fair share profit index may indicate that Android manufacturers are:

— Having difficulty differentiating their product;
— Sacrificing profits in order to buy market share (the “race to the bottom”);
— Unable to reach economies of scale in the manufacturing process.

(Profit data, source: Canaccord, Market share, source: IDC)

Samsung is doing far, far better than the average Android manufacturer. Samsung’s 2013 Q1 market share was 33% and its profit share was 43%. This means that Samsung reels in 1.3% of the profits for every 1% of the market share it owns (0.43/0.33 = 1.30). Samsung, unlike all other Android manufacturers, is earning, rather than “buying”, market share.

(Profit data, source: Canaccord, Market share, source: IDC)

Apple’s iPhone 2013 Q1 market share was 18% with 57% profit share. This means that Apple’s iPhone took in a lavish 3.12% ((0.57/0.18) of all profits for each 1% percent of market share it controls.

If Android manufacturers needed to sell 2.4 phones just to gain 1% profit share, they would need to sell a staggering 7.5 units just to match the profits that Apple garnered from the sale of a single iPhone.

As Daniel Eran Dilger puts it:

“… Apple could simply have blown through much of its $13.1 billion quarterly profit to “beat” Samsung in market share, rather than allowing Samsung to do that while earning $4.8 billion less than Apple.”

Further, in 2012 Q1, Apple held 23% market share and 74% profit share. This means that each 1% of market share was equal to 3.22% (0.74/0.23) of the sector’s profit share. Apple’s market share to profit share ratio remains almost identical, which means that Apple has maintained its pricing power. Not only that, by focusing on just a few smartphone models, Apple has become the low-cost manufacturer in smartphones as well.


Source: Ben Evans, Mobile is eating the world

Take a good hard look at the chart, above, then go back and re-read the headlines I listed at the start of this article. What each and every one of those headlines is contending is that Android is winning and Apple is losing because Apple doesn’t control the green portion of the chart, above.

I mean, honest to goodness, take a look at the total units sold compared to the paltry profits obtained from those green sales. Who in their right mind would even WANT that market share?

Price Elasticity

What we’re really talking about here is the economic concept of price elasticity. “Price elasticity” seems to be way beyond the pay grade of most pundits and analysts who follow the mobile sector, but what it essentially means is that when the price of something goes down, sales almost always go up, but the rate of that sales increase depends upon the price elasticity of the product. In other words, dropping prices may increase sales but the increased sales may result in disproportionately larger or smaller profits.

Unless we truly understand the price elasticity of the iPhone, we really shouldn’t be calling for Apple to drop its iPhone prices.


It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so. – Will Rogers

Not only do the high priests of market share have it wrong, they have it exactly backwards. The company with the lower market share and the higher profits has all of the leverage. The goal is to INCREASE, not decrease, the ratio of profits to market share. Increasing market share at the cost of profits is a recipe for disaster, not a formula for success.

Apple may or may not do well in the future but right now, and contrary to popular belief, they are winning the smartphone wars and winning them handily.

3.12% Apple
1.30% Samsung
0.41% All Android

Not only is market share not the best way to evaluate the relative positions of competitors but, without context, it is one of the worst. Assuming that market share will always bring you success is like assuming that a bigger truck will always bring you bigger profits. It’s literally a joke.


Next, I’ll talk about how market share affects hardware manufacturing, advertising and the “razors-and-blades” content models. The series will conclude with a discussion of platforms and the network effect.

Read Part Two of John’s column entitled: 4 Mobile Business Models, 4 Ways to Keep Score.

Read Part Three of John’s column entitled: Google’s Android Activations Are A Lot Less Cash Cow And A Lot More Bull. And That’s OK.

FileMaker Can Settle the iPad Productivity Argument

Filemaker screenshot Of all the endless arguments that roil the tech world, there is none I find more tiresome than the endless debate over whether the iPad can be used for “real work.” My iPad has been an indispensable part of my working toolkit since I bought one on the day the original model shipped in 2010. Over time I have learned what it does well and what it is not so good at, but I have never doubted that this go-anywhere tablet made me a lot more productive. For those who still need convincing, however, the results of a new survey from FileMaker should help. Of course, there’s something more than a little self-serving about FileMaker promoting its success on iPads and iPhones–the database management software is owned by Apple. But the survey of 499 customers –I’m surprised they couldn’t find one more to make it an even 500–sheds some interesting light on how tablets are being used in business.

The most striking finding is the extent to which devices are being used from within an organization’s home network rather than out in the field. (The survey unfortunately does not distinguish between iPhone and iPad use, but a Filemaker spokesperson says the majority of the respondents used iPads. Certainly, the Filemaker Go mobile app is more comfortable on a tablet, as pictured above, than on a phone.) Those survey said that 59% of the time they connect to databases over a local area network rather than over the internet or a virtual private network. Unsurprisingly, just over half said the mobile database was being used to replace pen-and-paper processes and that the most popular taks were CRM, inventory, and invoicing, quotes, orders and estimates. It’s a bit ironic that the iPad is pulling off the original mission that Microsoft saw for the Windows Tablet PC when it released it to general disinterest a decade ago.

It’s hardly surprising that the iPad is succeeding where the Tablet PC failed. Tablet PCs were either laptops that converted to a slate-like configuration with a tricky hinge or a few pure slates that were far bigger and heavier than today’s tablets. Battery life fell far short of the all-day usage we have come to expect and the resistive single-touch displays had severe limitations. Worse yet, except for a few applications aimed at verticals such as health care and some customer line-of-business apps, Tablet PC users had to peck with their fingers or styluses at software that was designed for a mouse and keyboard.

FileMaker, by contrast, is a nice example of how Apple uses its software to drive its hardware business. The FileMaker Pro server and desktop versions run on both Mac and Windows (it’s Apple’s only paid Windows software product, but the FileMaker Go mobile gap is for iOS only.) But a key is they way apple made it extremely simple to deploy a FileMaker Pro application to iOS devices. It takes some database and form design skill to put together a decent FileMaker Pro app on the desktop, but once that is done, creation of a FileMaker Go touch-ready mobile version is a matter of pushing a couple of buttons. FileMaker Go apps are not free-standing iOS apps–you must have the fileMaker Go application installed. But they behave like apps and connect automatically and securely to the server or desktop database. You can use the app to read, edit, and create records and you can take advantage of the special abilities of mobile devices, for example, using the iPad or iPhone camera to fill a photo field.

It’s true that tablets are less than ideal for what are regarded as classic productivity applications. Writing or editing large or complex documents is somewhere between difficult and impossible. The display size renders tablets near-useless for any but the smallest spreadsheets.  An iPad is great for viewing a slide presentation, but terrible for creating one. At the same time, however, some imaginative software, such as the FileMaker Pro/Go combo, enables new uses of mobile devices, increasing the productivity of workers away from their desks (if they have desks to begin with) and sometimes replacing much more expensive and more limited specialized devices.


As a side note, the illustration at the top of this article is an example of a simple little database I created to catalog artworks in my house. I can go around the house to create the records  and snap pictures of the art (by the way, the first use I have ever found for an iPad camera.) Later I can fill in data I don;t have in my head from filed records.


3 Years Of iPad Schadenfreude and Lessons Learned


On April 3, 2013, the iPad turned three. Jay Yarrow over at Business Insider has put together a great summary of How The iPad Totally Changed The World In Just Three Years. A couple of highlights:

— Apple has sold some 140 million iPads for around $75 billion in sales.
— The iPad is one of the fastest growing consumer products ever.
— iPad inspired tablets have virtually destroyed the netbook market, are expected to exceed notebook sales this year and expected to exceed notebook and desktop sales by the end of 2014
— iPad revenue alone is bigger than all Windows revenue
— Traditional software houses like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are all making their own versions of the iPad
— The iPad is popping up everywhere, including airplane cockpits, restaurants and as cash registers. I would add that almost one third of doctors in the U.K. now own tablets and tablets are rapidly spreading into education at every level.


I think it’s an understatement to say that the iPad has been an overwhelming success – the biggest technology shift of our generation – which is why it’s all the more delicious to put on our 20/20 hindsight glasses and mock those who got the iPad oh-so-very-wrong those three years ago. However, rather than dwelling on how wrong the iPad’s critics were, let’s focus instead on why they were wrong and see if we can learn from their mistakes.

Screen Size Matters

“You might want to tell me the difference between a large phone and a tablet.” ~ Eric Schmidt, Google, 10 January 2010

Turns out that size really does matter. Some things are better done on a larger screen. Further, a larger screen demands that apps be re-written to accommodate their larger size. Apple recognized this and now they have over 300,000 apps specifically optimized for the iPad. Google has been slow to recognize this fact and their tablet sales have suffered for it.

Focusing On What It Isn’t

Things the iPad can’t do:

1. No Camera, that’s right, you can’t take pics and e-mail them.
2. No Web Cam, that’s right, no iChat or Skype Video chatting.
3. No Flash, that’s right, you can’t watch NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX or HULU.
4. No External Ports, such as Volume, Mic, DVI, USB, Firewire, SD card or HDMI
5. No Multitasking, which means only one App can be running at a time. Think iPhone = Failure.
6. No Software installs except Apps. Again think iPhone = Failure.
7. No SMS, MMS or Phone.
8. Only supports iTunes movies, music and Books, meaning Money, Money, Money for Apple.
9. WAY, WAY, WAY over priced.
10. They will Accessorize you to death if you want to do anything at all with it and you can bet these Accessories will cost $29.99 for each of them.
11. No Full GPS*
12. No Native Widescreen*
13. No 1080P Playback*
14. No File Management*

What an utter disappointment and abysmal failure of an Apple product. How can Steve Jobs stand up on that stage and hype this product up and not see everything this thing is not and everything this thing is lacking?

~ Orange County Web Design Blog, 27 January 2010

There are dozens upon dozens of these lists and their particulars don’t really matter. The truth is that we often tend to focus on what a new product or service DOES NOT do instead of focusing on what it does really well. The iPad made for a terrible phone and a terrible notebook computer. And that’s as far as most people could see. The netbook did a lot of things but it didn’t do any of them well. The iPad did far fewer things than the notebook or even the netbook, but it did some of those things extraordinarily well. In most instances it’s what something does, not what it doesn’t do, that matters most.


“Why is the iPad a disappointment? Because it doesn’t allow us to do anything we couldn’t do before. Sure, it is a neat form factor, but it comes with significant trade-offs, too. No 16:9 widescreen, for example.” ~ David Coursey, PC World, 28 January 2010

“I don’t get it. It costs $500 for the basic model, when you could get a laptop with a lot more functionality for about the same price. The iPad hype machine has been in full effect this week, and I still think it’s just that—hype. If I turn out to be wrong, I’ll gladly eat my words, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not wrong ” ~ Alex Cook, Seeking Alpha, 3 April 2010

EVERYTHING has tradeoffs. The key is to get asymmetrical tradeoffs that give more than they take away. The iPad gave people mobility, simplicity, ease of use and seamless integration with a virtually endless number of applications. It gave up power, size and complexity. Turns out, for most people, that was a trade that was well worth making.

It’s Not The Consumer’s Job To Predict The Future

“Before Jan 20th, only 26 percent of people said they were not at all interested in buying an Apple tablet. That number jumped to 52 percent after the announcement. Before Jan 20th, 49 percent of people said they didn’t think they needed an Apple Tablet. That number jumped to 61 percent after the announcement. Fifty-nine percent of buyers wouldn’t pay extra for 3G coverage. Whether this device becomes a big hit is anyone’s guess but based on this study it sure looks doubtful.” ~ Retrevo, 5 February 2010

“We of course build plastic mock-ups that we show (to customers)…we had a slate form factor. The feedback was that for (our) customers it will not work because of the need to have (a physical) keyboard. These were 14-year-old kids, who, I thought, would be most willing to try a virtual keyboard but they said no, we want the physical keyboard.” ~ Mika Majapuro, Worldwide Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Lenovo, 22 February 2010

“The recent launch of Apple, the iPad tablet, has won the award for the second edition of Fiasco Awards delivered this Thursday in Barcelona. From the more than 7,000 people who voted via the website www.fiascoawards.com, 4,325 have considered it the fiasco of the year. Voters through the web have decided that they want the iPad to follow a path similar to the U.S. President Obama with his Nobel Prize, receiving an award before its career starts. However, if within a year the market’s response to the iPad is not the predicted fiasco, the organization will present the 2010 edition of the Fiasco Awards as a finalist to receive the same award next year.” ~ Fiasco Awards, 2010, 11 March 2010

Can we just stop pretending that consumer polls and questionaries have any validity when it comes to predicting future behavior? How is the consumer supposed to evaluate a wholly hypothetical product – especially a revolutionary product – before they’ve even had a chance to use it? Heck, the brightest minds in tech got the iPad wrong even AFTER Apple showed it to them. Why then do we constantly put stock in the opinion of consumers with regard to products that do not yet exist?

Sizzle vs. Subtle

“Yet for some of us who sat in the audience watching Steve Jobs introduce the device, the whole thing felt like a letdown.” ~ Daniel Lyons, BusinessWeek, 28 January 2010

“I think this will appeal to the Apple acolytes, but this is essentially just a really big iPod Touch.” ~ Charles Golvin, Forreter Research, 27 January 2011

Turns out that being a big iPad Touch was all that it needed to be.

The tech press always wants fireworks and is immediately bored by nearly everything not new or different. However, that’s not how people in the real world respond to products. Sometimes subtle is more powerful than sizzle and sometimes subtle is more sublime as well.

Tech is no longer the province of an elite. Tech is now a mass market product that is used and mastered by the majority of humankind. We need to stop thinking about how things affect us personally and start thinking about how they affect the majority of their intended users instead.


“Thus, a reasoned analysis is that the iPad is to the iPhone & iPod Touch as the MacBook Air is to the MacBook. In other words, a cool product with a devoted base of happy customers, but in relative terms, a niche product in Apple’s arsenal of rainmakers.” ~ Mark Sigal, O’Reilly Radar, 28 January 2011

That’s pretty much how I saw it too. I thought that the iPad would be a successful niche, like the MacBook Air. I was very wrong about the iPad…and I was wrong about the MacBook Air, too. Sheesh, 20/20 hindsight is a cruel mistress.

Schadenfreude Redux

“Anyone who believes (the Ipad) is a game changer is a tool.” ~ Paul Thurrott, Paul Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows, 5 April 2010

What the heck. Not everything has to be a life lesson. A little Schadenfreude can be a good thing too.