Thursday, July 26, 2007

My first poll

This social experiment enters a new phase, as I invite everyone to start speculating with me. I have created a poll to learn why you think Mac sales have reached a new record despite the delay in the release of Mac OS X Leopard (I expect Mac sales to jump again in October).

I wonder if the increase is due to the release of pent up demand triggered by the release of Adobe Creative Suite 3 for MacIntel, and other universalized software? Maybe the release of Microsoft Vista knocked fence sitters off their perches into the switcher camp. Conversely, maybe Vista made Boot Camp and Parallels look much more attractive.

What do you think? Please vote.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Experimental Status Report

I started this blog one month ago, as a Social Experiment. While I am not ready to draw any conclusions, I do have a few interesting statistics to report.

In the past month I have received 16 emails in the inbox of my associated gmail account, 519 emails that gmail decided were spam, and 8 emails that gmail decided were trash. The 8 trash emails were actually spam. I don't know how or why they went to the trash - not that I care. Of the 519 spam emails, 518 were spam and 1 was a feedback notice from Gene Steinberg's Mac Nightowl. Two of the 16 emails in my inbox were also from Gene Steinberg's Mac Nightowl, and arrived the day after the one classified as spam.

This is an email account that I only use when commenting on other blogs, and all the emails in my inbox are either activation verification requests, or feedback notices.

To mark the start of month two of this Social Experiment, I have added a new feature - Digg. I used Wayne's Add Digg to BLogger script after changing the background color from black to white. Visit his website and you'll see why I had to do that. The day isn't even over, and I got two diggs. Auspicious!

Anybody care to comment?

Some REAL good reasons not to buy an iPhone tomorrow.

Reading Confessions of a Mac Convert by Rich Duprey @ The Motley Fool triggered the following thoughts. Purely Speculational of course. Rich explains that he bought an iMac for one daughter who will be going to college soon, and that her sister wants a Mac laptop. He ends the article wondering whether he can get volume discounts.

I wrote him to tell him not to ignore Apple's EDUCATIONAL discounts, and also mentioned that several states offer several tax free shopping days for back to school buyers (Here, it's called Tax Free PC week, and is not limited to PCs). I speculated that the combination of discount + no taxes could result in savings of 15% or more depending on what state he lives in.

Now I'm thinking that by August the iPhone might appear in the Apple Store for Education. In addition, buying an iPhone for a student might qualify for back to school tax rebates if your state offers them.

Rather than waiting for some nebulous time when iPhone prices "come down", just wait for Apple to announce that the iPhone is being offered on the
Apple Store for Education. Then go to your states website to find out when the back to school tax free shopping days will be.

Note: Teachers, students, and parents qualify for discounts at the Apple Store for Education. These discounts are available at school stores, too.

If you can hold your horses until mid-August, you might save big. Purely Speculational. Too bad that Leopard won't be available then.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How can Apple avoid all the hype generated by the media?

For years, pundits have been complaining that Apple's "we don't talk about future products" stance results in lots of buzz and free publicity. Apple responds by announcing the AppleTV and Apple iPhone six months in advance. Does this reduce the amount of buzz being generated? NOOOOOO!!!

It's the product, Stupid!

The more information Apple releases about the iPhone, the stronger the buzz reaction. Blackfriars' Marketing even publishes a daily iPhone Buzz Index. They say, "...the press is starting to sound like movie critics raving about the latest box office smash. And you know what? That's exactly the type of phenomenon we are looking at".

Like the reviewers that have actually used the iPhone, they suggest that the phone is as good as the "hype" suggests. They continue, "After all, the iPhone faces its "opening weekend" starting Friday, and we'll get our first assessment of public, not paid critic, reaction then. And just as in movies, my guess is that the public reaction will be even more positive than the critics".

I speculate that some people (myself included) expect great things from Apple, and Apple delivers. Pre-announced or un-announced makes no difference.

Monday, June 25, 2007

New Math uncovers iPhone flaw.

There's less than four days to go before the iPhone's release, and 8,000 bloggers have been frantically searching for a silver bullet that will put the iPhone out of their misery. They can all take a deep breath, and relax; because I found it.

The iPhone's 4GB memory can hold 800 songs at the default 128k encoding, and 400 songs at the new 256k "Plus" encoding. 400 songs translates to 1200 minutes or 20 hours. There are 24 hours in a day, and the iPhone's "new improved" battery can power 24 hours of audio playback. An iPod addict will run out of Tunes before the battery dies. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a real honest to goodness flaw! Actually, you don't even have to be an addict to listen to 24 hours of music between recharges; the 24 hours don't have to be contiguous. A user can sacrifice 3 hours of audio playback for 30 hours of standby time, and still run out of music before the battery dies.


This leaves the iPhone buyer with a conundrum: buy the 8GB iPhone in order to hold 40 hours of iTunes+, or stick to iTunes basic in order to cram 40 hours of music into the measly 4GB of the standard iPhone.

Third option: remove tongue from cheek. I'm tired of reading that the iPhones memory is too small, when I can't name many cellphones with more than 8GB.

How many friends do you have that will sit through 8GB of baby pictures? That's over 2000 pictures (I'll concede that you might have friends that will look at 2000 wallet sized porn pictures, but don't expect to find any of those friends in my contact list).

The Eagle Eyes were right.

It turns out that those who proclaimed the 12th icon in the iPhone commercials were right. It shows up in the iPhone tour as YouTube! Unfortunately for the eagle-eyed, none of them predicted that.

It's still a win for YouTube fans.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Weakest Link?

Todays "Apple a Day" by Baltimore Sun's David Zeiler is called Apple's calculated risk: The iPhone. He presents most of the arguments of both sides of the iPhone-will-soar and iPhone-will-flop debate, before siding with the "monster success" contingent.

As I was reading it, I kept wondering what he thought the "risk" was. Using Firefox's excellent Find feature, I discovered that the word risk does not even appear in the article. The closest thing to it is "taking a risky leap into the cell phone business". I concluded that Mr. Zeiler is referring to the risk of flopping. Meanwhile I came up with a different risk, or should I say, a different "risky leap".

I'm talking about Apple's risky leap into bed with the new AT&T (I started to write "monogamous leap" or "leap into monogamy". Then I realized it's one-sided monogamy - AT&T sells other phones, too. That's beside the point). Mr. Zeiler writes that Apple is creating an almost irresistable urge to try the iPhone in all put the most technophic. Thing is, when consumers try the iPhone, they will also be trying the new AT&T. AT&T can make or break the iPhone experience.

That's a risk that comes with partnering.

Apple has historically avoided that risk by going alone and making "the whole widget". Yeah, Right! Actually, Apple's AIM partnership (Apple, IBM, Motorola) almost killed Apple, and Apple's foray in Mac OS licensing was about to drive the final nail in the coffin. Rokr, anyone? That's why many iPhone predictors expected Apple to setup it's own cellular service. These days Apple also partners with manufacturers and suppliers.

My previous posts express my belief that AT&T has the ability to make the iPhone experience all that consumers desire. They just have to execute. I predict the weakest link will be component suppliers trying to keep up with early demand.