What’s Wrong with this Picture?

There seems to be a huge discrepancy between what the law [seems to] say and what auto makers are introducing…

A short while ago, I wrote a huge article that outlined my vision for iOS in the Car. There had been much speculation that the effort had stalled or had died at Apple, as there had been no real news, development or even concept art that had been introduced or released since Apple originally announced the effort. So, I stepped up and offered up what I thought, at a bare minimum, should be covered in the technology.

I saw an article on Apple Insider early on Monday morning (2014-03-03) where Apple had not only announced what iOS in the Car – now called CarPlay – will do, but which manufacturing partners will introduce the first versions of it. There are even some photos. Whether they are concept or production photos remains to be seen. I just hope that Apple sells the infotainment system so that aftermarket installers can retrofit vehicles with it. It looks like a great setup.


However, I have heard of some developments here in the States that gave me what I like to call a V-8 (smack myself in the forehead due to previously missing the point) moment. There seems to be a huge discrepancy between the law and what automakers and technology companies are providing. That’s something that needs to clear up ASAP.

You may be familiar with the Cecelia Abadie case in California involving Abadie’s use of Google Glass while driving. There’s a California law that states that drivers can’t have any kind of video screen playing in front of them while they drive. This is the law that the citing officer used when issuing the ticket Ms. Abadie received. Interestingly enough, another California court also indicated that using a navigation app on a smartphone or other device in a vehicle doesn’t violate that same law.

There’s a discrepancy here that needs to be resolved.

The problem is that distracted driving was already against the law well BEFORE smartphones were invented and became popular. So from a legal perspective, the EXTRA legislation is redundant, and somewhat contradictory. The other problems evolve around the mixed message from the legislature, and the car manufacturers.

Some pretty high end car manufacturers – Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo to start – will join Ford, GM, Honda, Jaguar, Kia, Nissan and Toyota, among others, and will provide CarPlay infotainment systems from Apple in coming model years. Formerly called iOS in the Car, the system sounds a little like what I speced. The system’s main interface is Siri and is accessed from a hardware button mounted on the steering wheel. Vehicles that come with a touch screen will also allow drivers to operate the system via touch. Manufacturers are left to their own devices for creating designs for consoles equipped with CarPlay systems.

The issues here are many :

→ Current legislation prevents users from using video screens in vehicles, yet many popular and high end models, Tesla’s Model S for example, which includes a portrait mounted 17″ screen mounted in the center console, as well as any CarPlay enabled vehicle, include video screens that the driver can not only see, but interact with.

→ Current legislation doesn’t seem to include navigation apps, contradicting laws currently on the books, or at the very least, making the application of those laws more confusing (at least in California, where the above ruling has jurisdiction).

→ According to the current press on CarPlay that I have seen, playing video while the vehicle is moving, on these screens is not prevented. At least, I couldn’t find any information indicating that it was…

→ The car manufacturers I’ve noted, as well as others interested in providing the systems, all do so, apparently inviting users to violate distracted driving laws.

The system will allow drivers to place and receive phone calls, listen to voice mail messages, access contacts and have text messages read to them by Siri. Navigation is an inherent part of the system and includes turn-by-turn directions, likely provided by Apple Maps, and will display on the video screen that is part of the system (and not on your docked iPhone). Video is displayed on CarPlay systems via an adaptation of AirPlay technology. Drivers will also be able to access all iPod content as well as streaming services like Spotify, iTunes Radio and Beats Music, among others. The system will appear in 2014 model year vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo and will come to all current iOS iPhones running iOS 7. It will work with Lightning-enabled iPhones, including the iPhone 5s/5c/5.

The issue here is the contradiction between (most of) the distracted driving laws that specifically deal with smartphone use while users operate a motor vehicle and what will be provided by manufacturers supplying CarPlay compatible vehicles. The equipped car by its very nature, violates the law. Its enticing the driver to drive distracted because many smartphone-specific distracted driving laws prevent users from making calls without hands free equipment, but prevent them from using video screens in the car unless that video screen is displaying a navigation app. Unfortunately, the display changes when calls come in to display caller ID information. Notification bars appear on the top of the screen when email, text messages and other events occur. The very nature of the systems functionality seems to violate the law as it attempts to alert the driver to the incoming events, taking their attention away from the screen.

Again, the problem is the SPECIFIC legislation regarding smartphone use in the vehicle. Obviously the solution would be to let the PREVIOUS legislation that prohibited distracted driving take precedence and to remove the contradicting, smartphone specific legislation from the books. However, I don’t think this is going to happen. It’s too logical and straight forward for our legislators to adopt.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like what Apple is going to do with CarPlay. The next big vehicle I buy is going to have the system built in. If I can purchase CarPlay as an aftermarket add-in for my 2003 Toyota Camry, I will; but likely AFTER it won’t send me to traffic court…or jail.

What do you think? There are going to be a great many articles about what CarPlay is and what it can do in your vehicle. I’ll probably write a few more as additional details come out about the system in the coming days and weeks. However, I wanted to post this question to everyone first.

You can see a full demo of Volvo’s implementation below.

Is CarPlay a good idea? Will it cause a legal quandary? Will distracted driving laws get clarified or will they become a bigger mess due to the Abadie case and the ruling by a CA judge that navigation apps don’t violate the distracted driving laws? Can users of these systems successfully challenge smartphone-centric distracted driving laws and have them struck down? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Please join me in the discussion below and let me know what you think.

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Tesla Would have made a Cool iCar

Though it’s not going to happen, here’s why I think a Tesla-Apple marriage would have been cool.

The first thing I thought when I saw this story was… iCar.  This is the place where you go when you want to take your iPhone and dock it with your car, and have your car turn into a wheeled version of your iDevice.  This, I thought, would be the one place that my vision for iOS in the Car would find expression.  This could put Tesla on the map!

Then, I woke up.


Yes, Apple has a boat load of cash.  Yes, it would be really cool if they could do something cool like, acquire an electric car company where they could integrate all or most of their iVision and bring back the “one more thing” and a little 21st century “ohh” and “ahh” to both the technology and auto industries.  Besides, it would be totally cool to plug your iPhone into the car and have it ask, where you want to go, and then automatically navigate you there.  Along the way, it could (and should) point out necessary charging station layovers, and build charging time into the destination’s ETA.  Ooh-hoo-hooooooo!  It gives me shivers just thinking about the pairing!

See, something like that is where Apple and Tesla are [mostly] DNA compatible. Tesla’s product(s) are gusty, cutting edge and cool. Having Apple branding in a vehicle like that is certain to be a success, and if there is truly an opportunity for some sort of partnership between the two organizations, this is definitely it.  If you can’t showcase what iOS in the Car really should be in a Tesla, then I’m not certain where it can find the expression of its ideal vision.

Elon Musk, is like, the Steve Jobs of automobiles. I mean, by all accounts, anyone who can dream up a mode of transportation that can take you from New York to LA via magnetic vacuum tube has got one HELL of an imagination. This is the kind of product-centric CEO that Apple needs. They need someone with a vision on the future. Someone who can look at the technology of the day, figure out what you can do, and then create a vision of where you should go based on how far the current technology can be stretched before it breaks.

This is the kind of guy that Apple needs, and it may be one of the reasons why Apple and Tesla recently spoke. While neither Apple nor Tesla will comment any further than to say, “yeah… we talked. What of it..??”; the world is excited and intrigued by the possibility that Elon Musk and his vision may meet Apple’s cash and technology and design machines and create something truly magical. This is what made Apple special. This is what Steve Jobs did, and did very well.

Tim Cook is a great guy, but he’s really just a logistics guy. He can figure out how to make the supply chain work. He can figure out how to insure that the current products in production get built, and get built on time; but he’s not the kinda guy to move the company forward…as much as it pains me to say that. He just isn’t…

Since Time took over, that’s all Apple has really been able to do. They’ve kept the supply lines to the current components flowing and have been getting buy with minimal visionary input. Tim is a business guy. He’s not a product visionary like Jobs was and like Musk IS. Again, as much as it really kills me to say it, I don’t know if or how Tim can keep Apple on the ragged, hairy bleeding edge of greatness without a serious infusion of vision. Wall Street is only going to put up with incremental improvements on current designs and product groups for so long before it declares the magic that was Jobs’ Apple gone.

On the flip side of this whole deal is how Apple and Tesla are not compatible.  First, Elon Musk wants to be in charge. Period. I don’t know if Time would give up the big chair without some serious prodding.

And as much as Apple and Tesla may be good for each other, they could also turn out to be a huge train wreck.  Apple has high end products that provide a solution for 90% of the market they cater to and accomplish 90% of what that demographic wants to accomplish.  They’re elegant, well-built products that hold their value and provide life to a number of other industries including accessory companies and a huge resale movement that is pushing older Apple devices, in good shape, to emerging markets.

Unfortunately, you can’t say the same thing about Tesla, well… not completely.  Tesla DOES have high quality products, but they speak to a much smaller market.  Tesla’s products are really what the top 10% (or less) of the market can afford to do, 10% of the time. While on the surface, they do seem like they would fit together very well, you aren’t going to get a lot of market intersection between Tesla customers and Apple customers.  For example, short of hitting a huge Powerball jackpot, most of the people that have iPads or iPhones aren’t also going to be able to afford a Tesla vehicle.

So, kids… you need to give me your thoughts on this. What do you think? Would Tesla and Apple make a good marriage? Does Elon Musk have what it takes to make a good exec or CEO at Apple?  Can the two exist together or am I full of hot air and hype? Why not give me your thoughts in the discussion area below and tell me what you think?

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Recover all of the data from your iDevice

With EASEUS MobiSaver – a must have, multiplatform tool.

0024695It totally sucks when your iDevice locks up or dies and you lose your data. If you live in your iPhone, like I do, having something like this around for those times when the world turns upside down is a must have…a must have. That’s where EaseUS MobiSaver comes in. It’s a data recovery utility for your iPhone and Windows machine.

EaseUS MobiSaver is an easy-to-use iPhone data recovery app that allows you to directly scan your iPhone – or extract iTunes backup files – to recover deleted iPhone dat. You can recover notes, text messages, call history, calendar data as well as photos and videos. EaseUS MobiSaver supports iPhone 5, 4S, 4, and 3GS. EaseUS MobiSaver can solve all data loss problems with 3 simple steps. You can preview your lost files, and get all your missing data back in minutes.


EASEUS MobiSaver has two recovery modes – direct from the device and from iTunes backup. The app lets you scan your device, and with one click to recover data from iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS, New iPad and iPod Touch 4. When recovering data from an iTunes backup, you can extract the files and then send them to your device quickly and painlessly.

EASEUS MobiSaver is a great app. If you’re in a bind where you can’t get regular access to your iDevice or if your iPhone just isn’t doing what you want or need it to do and you MUST get your data off before you wipe it, then this is the app that you need. Its just that simple. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that you MUST have iTunes installed on the PC you use do to the recovery. This is the only fault that I can find with the app, however. So, other than that, this is a total winner of an app.

download EASEUS MobiSaver


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Apple Reveals 2013-10-22 as iPad 5 Day

apppppleApple will announce a bevy of new iPad and MacBook hardware in time for the 2013 Holiday Buying Season
Apple has recently announced that 2013-10-22 is the day they will unveil a boat load of new hardware for both their iPad and MacBook lines. For those keeping score, that’s twice in two months that Apple will be announcing new products, which is unusual for the organization that prides itself on secrecy and exclusivity. I mean… you don’t usually get this much Apple goodness shoved together. They usually take a while between announcements to allow us to lather ourselves up into a rumor frenzy.

While details of the event remain on the most part under wraps, the date of the event was uncovered more than a week ago.


Details on the specifics of the event are still a bit sketchy. However, it is anticipated that the iPad 5, iPad mini 2 and updates to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines of Apple’s laptops will be announced. Apple should also announce the general availability of OS X 10.9 Mavericks as well. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and will start at 10 a.m. PT.

I’m still working on my Mavericks review, and I will have it completed before Apple’s alleged announcement on 2013-10-22. Please watch for it on Soft32 as there’s some really GREAT stuff built into the latest version of Apple’s desktop OS.

Additional rumor fodder has the iPad 5 sporting a 64bit processor. This could put additional pressure on the PC market as virtualization apps allow lean-back devices, like the iPad, to make better use of both network and stationary PC resources. It’s going to be a lot easier to connect your iPad to your work network and make use of the office PC through your iPad. With the right kind of keyboard and cover, your iPad 5 is going to give serious competition to ultrabooks and other tablet like PC’s like Microsoft Surface/Pro and Surface/ Pro 2.

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Rumors of an iPad Maxi are a Bit Much

apple-logoAside from all of the jokes the rumored name will spawn, 12.9 inches is a bit large for a tablet.

Mac news and rumors site, Mac Rumors reported Tuesday 28-May-2013 that Apple was developing a 12.9 inch diagonal tablet expected to be dubbed the iPad Maxi. Aside from all of the jokes the name will undoubtedly generate, 12.9 inches is a bit large for a tablet. Unfortunately, I don’t think the idea, if accurate, has enough legs to be successful.

The rumored iPad Maxi is supposed to be targeted as a direct competitor to the ultrabook and text book markets. Thirteen inches diagonal is the ideal screen size for ultrabooks. However, as Amazon can tell you, having a large eBook reader did NOT go over well. They discontinued their larger KindleDX, citing poor sales. As the iPad does not come with any kind of native keyboard, producing a 13″ tablet without one doesn’t seem to be a good idea in my opinion.


I have to agree with Paul Thurrott of the Windows SuperSite – (and I’m paraphrasing…) despite where the industry wants PC sales to go, people still want a traditional computing experience right now, especially in the enterprise. Moving to an iOS or Android only computing experience isn’t likely to be a huge success right now. The software providing a similar experience isn’t there, and probably won’t be for a while. People also want a real keyboard; and because Apple hasn’t provided a native keyboard for the iPad and has instead left that to 3rd party providers, I don’t see this being a huge seller, despite what anyone else thinks.

The price point would also be much higher than the $499 entry point of the 10″ iPad. If this is going to be targeted at the academic market, cheaper is better. Students and educators don’t usually have a lot of money to spend on toys or tools of this caliber.

However, Apple has historically been unpredictable. Unless and until this hits the market, I’m going to remain in “wait and see” mode, but gonna say, “not likely to happen.”

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Ballmer – Office for iPad – Kinda, sorta, maybe, not really…

Office for iPadYour guess on whether MS will release Office for iPad is as good as anyone’s…

What follows is a brief rant on the Office for iPad rumors that have been circulating for a few years.

First there was a screen shot, then a denial, and then a confirmation. Then a retraction and then the rumors started up again with the release of Office 2013 and Office 365. The latest word on the street is that Office for iPad – thought to be called Office Mobile – is a definite maybe; and Ballmer may be the one to put the kibosh on the whole ordeal.

I’m sorry… at this point, Microsoft needs to come out and either say yes or no to the Office for iOS rumors and put the speculation to rest. They aren’t doing themselves any favors, and with the way some of the headlines and tag lines are reading, Steve Ballmer isn’t doing himself any favors either.

According to an article by ComputerWorld, Steve Ballmer is putting the kibosh on the whole project himself. Apparently, Microsoft has an issue with Apple taking 30% of the cut on the app. While I don’t blame them – who would want to give another company 30 cents on every dollar they make on the sale of any given product – all of the speculation around MS Office for iOS really needs to stop.

In my opinion, Microsoft needs to come out with a firm statement on the development of the app. Is it in the works or not? Then they need to figure out a way of delivering it. The problem is obviously Apple’s 30% cut on the sale of the app as well as 30% of all in-app purchases. There’s probably a way to crack that nut; but I’m not 100% familiar with Apple’s rules on paid vs. free apps, subscriptions in apps, etc. in their iOS Developer Agreement.

I think the easiest way around this is to make Office Mobile a free Office document reader. If you want to edit, documents, you’ll need to sign into your Office 365 account, which will, of course, require a subscription. If that’s not 100% compliant, then there may not be a way for Microsoft to deliver the solution without paying Apple 30%, or negotiating a new deal for the app, which I’m nearly certain Apple isn’t going to do.

Any way you slice it, Microsoft needs to make a decision – Office Mobile for iOS yes, or Office Mobile for iOS no. Either way, they need to make a decision, communicate it and then follow through. All of the rumor crap that’s going on and the “Office through a browser” crap that Ballmer is currently suggesting needs to get resolved.

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Explore your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch files with i-Funbox

Apple has always advocated letting the OS and the device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) manage where it wants to put files. Many Apple advocates continually ask me why I care WHERE the computer puts data as long as its, 1. Backed up, 2. Available to my programs. The Windows Camp, coming from a DOS point of origin, is exactly the opposite. Serious Windows users want near total control over where and how their data is organized. This is one of the reasons why many Windows users will appreciate i-Funbox. Its an iDevice tool for Windows and Mac.


i-Funbox allows users to take Total Control of you iDevice’s file system. With it, you can manage files on your iPhone or iPad just like you do in Windows File Explorer. You can easily transmit files and folders to your computer with the app’s optimized file transfer and browsing. I-Funbox now fully supports iOS 6.x as well as Asian/ Long filenames.

You can install and backup all of your applications, This is especially important if you’ve got a custom app that you want to install, like something for work, which may be unsigned. You can also access an app’s sandbox area, giving you access to application created documents as well as the ability to upload audio or video to 3rd party players. You can also export iTunes managed content. The nicest part of all of this is that using the app doesn’t require an installation of iTunes.

The secret sauce is that i-Funbox makes your iDevice function like a USB storage drive. You get access to the storage you need when you need it, as well as all the other benefits. This is a great app and its free price tag, no jailbreak or iTunes required status make this a must have for just about any iDevice owner. Novice users need to take caution, however, as the average user isn’t meant to access the file system directly and you might move or delete something that you shouldn’t.

Download i-Funbox for WindowsDownload i-Funbox for Mac


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Microsoft Mobility – I Don’t Think They Get It…STILL: Part 2

I’ve quipped on leadership before, but fer cryin’ out loud – I’m DYIN’ over here

There’s a lot happening over here at Soft32.  I’ve been doing deep dives on both Apple and Microsoft operating systems and you should be able to see them on Soft32 shortly.  2012 is definitely the year of the new OS; and Soft32 is committed to keeping you up to date on all of the developments.

Last time I was talking about how Microsoft needs to severely clarify the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT.  Let’s get back into it and I’ll let you in on what I’m seeing out of Redmond with both Windows 8 and RT.

Microsoft is currently marketing Windows 8 and Windows RT as a tablet-based OS.  Windows 8 will run on Intel based machines and will include desktops, laptops (including TabletPC’s) and (slate based) tablets, similar to the iPad in form factor. Windows RT will run on ARM based tablets, and ARM based tablets ONLY.

Do you see the common element?  Tablets.  Both will run on slate based tablets.  An Intel based tablet will run the full blown version of Windows 8, which will include a desktop mode.  An ARM base tablet will run Windows RT and will NOT include a desktop mode.  ARM based tablets will support Microsoft’s new UI –  Metro – only.

The problem comes in from an end user perspective. Both Windows 8 tablets run, well…Windows 8; and I don’t think the average user is going to understand the difference between the two tablets.

What’s the difference?  Simple…Windows RT is a direct iOS, and therefore, iPad competitor. The two share the Windows 8 app store; and I don’t think users are going to be able to correctly distinguish between the two different tablets, OS’ and app versions.  It’s very likely that users will have a Windows RT tablet at, say, work…and a Windows 8 desktop/laptop at home.  The Windows 8  app store will sell both legacy desktop Windows software that will run on Windows 8 and Metro apps.

I’m certain that a Windows RT user is going to buy a Windows 8 app in the app store and then get frustrated when they can’t install it on a Windows RT tablet. The similarity between the two operating systems is going to create a huge amount of user confusion. Microsoft is pushing the perception that they are the same OS. Users will see this, and want to install apps from their Windows 8 machine to their Windows 8 tablet.

Windows RT is also not available for purchase or install, anywhere. The only way you get it is if you buy a device that has it on it. This will also confuse consumers, as some head to their local big-box retailer meaning to purchase it.

Windows 8 is great for mobile devices as touch is its focus, and that’s how users interact with those devices. The desktop experience hasn’t responded well to touch. If it did, PC’s like the HP TouchSmart, the Dell Studio One or Inspiron One or Lenovo Idea Center would be everywhere, and they clearly aren’t.

Microsoft needs leadership. It needs vision. It needs direction. It needs Windows 8 not to suck…and I am truly afraid that they are going to lose out on all counts…

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