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Archive for May, 2009

The Big Apple Gets Bigger: New 32GB iPhone

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What could possibly be better than a bigger, better memory? Not much, especially if you’re an Apple iPhone. News has been circulating that Apple plans to release a new Apple iPhone, and the latest rumor on the scene is that it will be a 32GB iPhone. In fact, it seems likely that this bigger, better iPhone will hit the stores before this fall. Some say it could even be as soon as July 17. If that is the case, Apple should be able to market their phone to those who may have been part of the Palm Pre shortage.

Not only does the new iPhone boast of a bigger memory, but rumor also has it that the look of the new iPhone will remarkably differ from its metal-banded predecessors. Bigger memory? Well, that’s really no big surprise, though it might be a little bigger than most originally anticipated. But a different look? Now that could potentially alter Apple’s market. It’s highly unlikely to drive its hardcore devotees away, but it may attract new users.

In addition to the bigger memory, some of the other exciting new features are likely to include an illuminated logo on the back, an FM transmitter, a 3.2 megapixel camera, a video camera, and built-in compass, just to name a few.

The quickly approaching June 8 Apple WWDC conference should reveal additional features and surprises of the 2009 Apple iPhone. But there’s no doubt it will be bigger, and that iPhone fans will be anxiously awaiting its release.

New Tablet Likely for Apple

Apple finally came out with a word on their mystery product, ending one chapter of speculation and beginning another. Speculators were split between Apple’s development of a netbook vs. Apple’s development of a tablet. Tablet it is-probably. If it is a tablet it will be Tablet Mac-style, of course. Apple CFO Tim Cook stated that the netbook is simply ‘not something we would put the Mac brand on.’

Why wouldn’t Apple play in the netbook sandbox with everyone else? Probably because everyone else is already there. Apple does its best when it comes out with a product that is distinctly different from the products being produced by the rest of the pack. Going the direction of a netbook would not involve being different enough. Besides, a netbook-style Macbook would essentially be a cheap version of the Macbook, which might risk the sales of their high-priced laptops.

Instead, Apple might come out with a tablet device. Right now, there are very few players in the tablet field, and the existing tablet technology has so much potential. Apple intends to be the pioneer. It just makes sense. Already, Apple holds multi-touch patents that would revolutionize tablet technology. Why not grow it on a new line of tablet products? In addition, the tablet choice is natural because it furnishes the expected link between Macbook and iPhone. From a price-perspective, too, it would fall between them, coming in around $700. Unlike the iPhone, the new tablet will utilize a far more powerful OS, possibly even OS X. The device would be sized at 7 x 10 inches, and boast a multi-functional touch screen.

A tablet-device could also give Apple a foot in the door of the ‘reader’ market. With the kindle warming up, Apple could stock iTunes with e-books, and ramp up sales for a Kindle-competitor device that could do oh-so-much-more. Don’t expect it until spring of 2010.

New Snow Leopard screenshots emerge

As the release date of Snow Leopard (the anticipated version 10.6 of Mac OS X) draws near, numerous sites are beginning to display screenshots showing off the new operating system’s features and tweaks.

Apple Insider has a round-up, including numerous screenshots, of several upcoming enhancements. (It’s worth noting that the rumored “marble” user interface style is not readily apparent in these images save for a black title bar in a QuickTime X interface screenshot. Perhaps Apple is saving the rumored new look for WWDC in June.)

The biggest changes for most users will be the new Image Capture app, which has finally grown up and received a modern Mac UI from Apple. QuickTime X also gains a screen recording ability and new options for exporting videos to iPods, iPhones, or Apple TVs. The other big change is a new Chinese handwriting recognition system. Chinese users will be able to draw characters on multitouch-enabled trackpads.

Text While You Walk—Safely

Now you can multitask in safety with this new iPhone app. This app allows you to write e-mails while still watching out where you’re going—on your iPhone. The image from the camera is projected onto the screen, but is overlaid by the text and keyboard. This way, you can pleasantly tap out e-mails, all the while keeping a careful eye on harmful objects, people, or pitfalls in your path. The new app should be a welcome boon for those frenetic multitaskers who can’t bide the thought of a walk without doing something.

Right now, the app is free. Who knows where this technology will go from here. Some project it being a growing technology that will expand in its appeal and in its versatility. We shall see. So far, it’s more of a novelty than it is a necessity, but it does work quite nicely, according to reviews.

You can now take your multitasking to the next incredible level. If you live your life on the iPhone, here’s another way to deprive you of the enjoyment of facing the world during a walk, but will still allow you to keep a careful eye on things. But in case you were wondering, no, it doesn’t work very well for driving. It doesn’t have rear view mirrors. Yet.

Apple’s App Store Not as Lucrative as Expected

For all of its millions of apps sold, Apple may not be making as much cash from their App Store as once thought. The Apple Insider reports fresh metrics, that indicate the App Store is bringing in a meager 3% of Apple’s revenue, not as much as you would think, concerning the staggering number of apps downloaded to date.

Here’s how the metrics flesh out. Most apps are free. More than likely, you paid for only a couple Apps on your iPhone. Analysts estimate that Apple only sold less than 50 million apps, and possibly even as low as 25 million. Either way you slice it, that is a paltry number of paid apps when compared to one billion total downloads. Based on the average price-per-app, Apple could not have made more than $160 million from these downloads and even as low as $70 million. Since almost half of that revenue must be paid to the developers, Apple registers further losses on a potentially profitable store. But the lion’s share of the revenue feeds operating costs. Advertisements, engineers, administration, overhead—all of these cost another 50% of the shrinking cash pile. At the end of the day, Apple is left with just a few coins to rub together. App Store

But before you wipe a tear and pull out your checkbook to make a charitable donation, be aware that Apple is making a profit. The app store does not exist as a cash cow in and of itself, but it does generate business for the company. How? By driving up sales of the iPod and iTouch. Essentially, the App Store is a gigantic advertisement (a profit-generating advertisement) that bolsters the real cash cow—iPhones. Whether its Tap Tap Revenge (although its free), Tweetie, NetShare, or Trism, four of the most popular iPhone apps, Apple uses these apps as come-ons for purchasing its devices. After all, you can’t very well play with Shazam on your Blackberry.

Thus, while the App Store may not be the king of the hill in terms of Apple’s revenue distribution, it certainly bears the blame for Apple’s ever-increasing popularity and share value.

Mac OS X Update

“New software is available for your computer,” according to the dialogue box that hailed Tuesday’s release of OS X 10.5.7, the latest improvement on the current Mac OS X. So, Mac OS X User, if you haven’t clicked on the little jumping globe icon in your menu bar, you should probably go ahead and do that now. Successfully completing the download will mean that you are completely up to date with Mac’s latest software, but please note, the update could take a while to download.
Mac OS X  Update
Any update that changes one digit that is three decimal points down the line isn’t going to be earth-shaking, so don’t expect a totally new OS. After all, Apple has almost run out of big cat names. (Can you think of any after cheetah, puma, jaguar, panther, tiger, and leopard? Maybe lion is next; who knows?)

Generically, the update contains improved security and some fixes to little bugs, plus better integration with certain hardware. Thus, nearly all the updates are things that you probably won’t notice unless you are carefully digging deep into the structure of the OS (e.g., the BOM file).

From a more detailed perspective, here are just some of the changes:
- RAW image improvement, which better integrates third-party digital cameras
- Smoother video playback for Macs with the Nvidia chip
- Fixed bugs that occasionally prevented access to third-party networks (e.g., Yahoo and Gmail)
- Smoothed out some potential conflicts with the Dvorak keyboard layout
- Refinement of Dashboard widgets, specifically Movies, Weather, Stocks, and Unit Converter
- A change to the printer removal options from the Parental Control Systems Preferences

As mentioned, the update will not be a huge change for any current Mac user, so you can continue to use your new update with ease. Just leave yourself enough time to download the update. Some users noted that this is Mac’s biggest update yet (in terms of byte size).