How Bright is Apple’s Future?

New iDevices and a new version of iOS hit the streets beginning 2013-09-18. What does this mean for Apple? I have a couple of thoughts…

I’ve been in the biz for a while. I started using computers when Compaq was still COMPAQ, giving IBM a very serious run for its money back in 1980-blah, blah, blah. The first real portable computer, in my mind was the Apple IIC, though, honestly, while it was smaller than Compaq’s 20lbs+ portable, it still required a heck of a lot to take with you. Its monitor was small and movable, but it was still a CRT that required special care…nothing like the notebooks and ultra-books of today.

Beginning 2013-09-18, Apple has new versions of its mobile device OS – iOS 7 – hitting the streets. The new mobile OS will begin hitting compatible devices soon. I’ve already had 1-2 people ping me, asking me where it is, and why it hasn’t hit their iPhone yet.

Patience my minions…patience. You’ll get it soon enough.

The iPhone 5C is also available for pre-order as of this writing and will ship beginning on 2013-09-20, with the iPhone 5S available for pre-order beginning 2013-09-20. The devices are in the hands of many reviewers now, and many of them like what they see… as far as the hardware is concerned. The devices are solid, well built, with both the polycarbonate backing and its varying colors being well received. Many reviewers are saying the 5C is a much better feeling device than other, newer, high end Android devices. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to put my hands on one yet.

Reviews of the iPhone 5S are equally positive. The most pleasing and, I think, surprising feature is its Touch-ID Home Button. Fingerprint readers have been around for a while. The Compaq iPAQ 51/5400 series devices had one back in the 2004 time frame that was OK, but required a swipe instead of a press, and half the time, the reader didn’t read the biometric data correctly. I’m not sure if it was a hardware issue, a software issue or both. In general, the technology stunk; and I think many were expecting that the same level of performance from Apple’s latest feature and flagship phone. To most everyone’s delight and surprise, that doesn’t appear to be the case. I think the New York Times put it the best:

The best part is that [the fingerprint reader] actually works — every single time… It’s nothing like the balky, infuriating fingerprint-reader efforts of earlier cellphones. It’s genuinely awesome; the haters can go jump off a pier.”

5s-5c

The biggest concern, I think, will come from iOS 7, and it will mostly come from iPhone 5, 4S, and iPhone 4 users who are used to iOS 6 and will upgrade. I’ve said this before. The glitz, polish and 3D look of iOS 6 and earlier is gone. The flat, stark white look of iOS 7 is prevalent throughout the new OS and provides a very different look and feel. Many users will upgrade and, in my opinion, immediately regret it.

To those users, I have one thing to say – Wait.

You’ll notice that iOS 7 is faster than previous versions of iOS 6 and iOS 5. Yes, they’ve changed things, added some new system functionality here and there, moved some options around, but give yourself a month or two before you throw your iPhone across the room. While you’re sure to get used it, you may find that you like it.

However, you may not.

A lot of the exclusivity of Apple’s iDevices used to come from the finish of iOS 6’s 3D enabled UI. With it gone, replaced by the flat look and feel of iOS 7, I think many people are going to be unhappy. It’s a radical change over the past 5 years; and I’m not sure it’s the type or kind of change that people were hoping for.

My daughter just got an upgrade notification on her iPhone 5 for iOS 7, and as you can see from the attached screenshot, not only is it going to be a large upgrade, it’s going to take quite a long time to download, and I have a very fast cable connection.

iOS 7 update

So does this dim Apple’s future? That’s a great question. I think the answer is mixed. Wall Street hasn’t been too pleased with Apple since the announcement of both the iPhone 5S and 5C. Apple’s stock price dipped quite a bit after the announcement. The Tech World’s reaction was also tepid, but has improved over the past week or so.

I’ll have more user feedback as I receive it, as well as the write-up I promised on some of the newer, final features of iOS 7 in the next few days. Please watch Soft32 for these articles.

 

In the meantime, why don’t you join us in the discussion, below, and let us know what you think of the iPhone 5C and 5S.

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Microsoft embarrasses itself… again!

Microsoft released a new series of Apple-mocking videos but pulled them after negative reception

Not too long ago, Microsoft released a series of ads, comparing the Surface RT directly to the iPad, trying to boost their disastrous sales of its tablet. Which didn’t work out that well…

Now, Microsoft released a series of videos on their Windows Phone Youtube channel, called “A fly on the wall in Cupertino”, spoofing Apples newly released iPhones. The 7 videos show 2 employees presenting the new iPhone models to their executives in a product pitch meeting. The executives can only be seen from behind but bear a striking resemblance to Jony Ive and Tim Cook. Some even say that,in fact, the resemblance of the Tim-Cook-character is intended to resemble Steve Jobs.

The biggest mistake, in my opinion, Microsoft made with this videos is that at one point in the video, one of the employees says “And the beauty part is we can charge whatever we want,”. Then, the hashtag #timetoswitch then flashes on the screen, a reference to Microsoft’s Windows Phone. The message received by the public is exactly the opposite of its intentions: the iPhone users are insulted to their face and, at the same time, expected to switch to the Windows Phone.

microsoft_anit_apple_video

After a short while and, probably, a lot of negative reception, even a lot of mocking on numerous social networks, Microsoft decided to pull the ads, stating that the campaign was “intended to be a lighthearted poke at our friends from Cupertino. But it was off the mark, and we’ve decided to pull it down”. Fortunately, one of the videos was reposted by another user and can be watched here:

watch Video

While the commercials were clearly supposed to be funny, they mostly make Microsoft look desperate. It’s somewhat understandable but not excusable. You would expect any public material to be thoroughly reviewed before releasing it, especially from a giant like Microsoft.

Microsoft clearly has a lot of issues and troubles lately, not only regarding their products and sales, but especially with their public image. I really hope that this will be the last of Microsofts public self-humiliation and that they start doing things right.

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What to Expect from Apple’s iPhone Event

Without [completely over] stating the obvious…

September 10, 2013 was the day.

It was iPhone 5S day. Nearly everyone that I’ve talked to over the past few days have asked me what I think will actually happen with Apple’s release of the new iPhone. With the caveat that it ain’t over until Apple says, “thanks and goodbye,” here’s my brief rundown of what I felt Apple would have announced at the event.

Apple-Event-1

In summary, I think we’ve heard and seen everything. I don’t think there’s going to be too much new or previously unknown or unannounced. These were my thoughts prior to the event:

New Models

I think you will see two new models of iPhone released. The iPhone 5S – a premium model, and the iPhone 5C – a more affordable device. I don’t think that the 5C will be labeled as a budget model. Unless Apple sells it at a loss and prices it at $299-$349, the device while perhaps “more affordable” than the more familiarly priced 5S, at $499, $599 and $699.

I also think that the 5C WILL make an impact with customers of budget conscious, post paid carriers like T-Mobile in the States, NTT DoCoMo in Japan and China Mobile. Its possible that tens of millions of additional iPhones could be sold due to the addition of these last two carriers.

The reported color choices of the plastic-backed 5C are also a likely lock. I’d also call the 4 color variations of the 5S – white, black, graphite and champagne – a done deal.

Biometric Sensor

This is all but a certainty at this point. Tools like this will pair well with the enhanced security measures in iOS 7, and make the iPhone a very difficult phone to steal and then sell. Security is a huge deal in iOS 7, so enhancing it with this type of hardware tool is more than logical.

iOS 7 and Other Software
You’ve seen my predictions and thoughts on iOS 7. The mobile OS is going to take a GREAT deal of getting used to. I’ve been using it for months and I’m still not completely sold on it. Apple is going to take a ton of grief on it, as I do NOT think the masses will receive it well. The flattening of the OS will not be well received, as it doesn’t appear to have the Classic Apple spit an polish that most of us are used to. The new editions to the OS are simply additions that have already been seen and added to other platforms. The Notification Center and Control Center are both remakes and overdue on iOS.

We’re also going to see iTunes Radio finally get the limelight it has been craving. The free service has pre-created music stations, as well as stations that can be created based on individual songs or artists. Apple will offer it ad-free to subscribers of its iTunes Match service.

AppleTV will also see updates to it that will allow Apple’s set top box add-on to play additional content. Some of the additional options/ apps are really very nice, especially if you have a cable subscription.

We’ll also likely see the iPod Classic finally retired, and will see updates to the iPod Touch line; but probably not a price cut. Updated iPads will be announced at a later date. Don’t look for updated models on Tuesday. That day will be all about the new iPhone 5S/5C and iOS 7.

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