Tim Cook told Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco that, ”Innovation is strong as ever and in the DNA of the company.” This from a company that has been playing catch-up and suing it’s competitors for the past two years other than really innovating. Noting that the smartphones and tablets are the backbone of Apple’s cash cow Cook underlined its “experience” is the true force of Apple’s innovation. ”Apple has skills in software, hardware and services. The model that grew the PC industry where companies specialized. That model is not working for what consumers want today,” said Cook. “Consumers want this elegant experience.” Why service definitely helps pack Apple Stores and customers snap up shiny new products, it’s not the only thing that keeps them buying. No, true innovation keeps them coming.
Apple brought itself into a new era, and market, with the iPod. It innovated a product that the founder of the MP3 player, Rio, couldn’t manage. Then again Apple innovated a product that was birthed elsewhere and took away the smartphone market from Palm. Lastly, it showed Microsoft, the company that first brought the tablet to us in 2001, how to really innovate.
So now Apple has over $100 billion in the bank, packed stores, and enjoys the majority market share for tablets, smartphones (hardware), and even still for audio players. But all those numbers are slipping and show little sign of reversing. Sure, Cook can tell worried investors that the market is just increasing in size and it still has a larger chunk than it originally had, but those are excuses, not innovation. Instead of showing the world anything of great significance in the last three years, we simply hear how great Apple is and nothing more. No talk of the future. No talk of pushing the envelope. No talk other than a nice shined marketing speech.
Apple’s last true innovation was the release of the iPad in 2010. That’s three years ago and in that time, the Android Army has been hard at work chipping away at Apple’s market dominance and even forcing Apple into a product it bad-mouthed later that year. Steve Jobs famously told investors, “7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad. ….7-Inch tablets are dead on arrival.” Dead, huh? As not to further damn his himself, Jobs went on to state, “While one could increase the resolution to make up some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one-quarter of their present size. Apple has done expensive user testing on touch interfaces over many years, and we really understand this stuff.” Last I saw in the Apple Store, the iPad mini does not come with sandpaper. No, Jobs didn’t understand that the market actually DOES know what it wants sometimes – another famous saying Jobs liked to quip – and Apple’s own Eddie Cue urged Jobs to his death bed to let Apple make a 7″-ish tablet. Clearly, innovation was ignored, bad-mouthed, and fought before it was it acknowledged. Of course, in classic Apple style, it was quick to point out that the iPad mini isn’t really a 7″ tablet and it has “features” that improve the experience of an Android tablet. Please…
Moving on, let’s look at the iPhone now. Again, a truly innovative product when introduced, Apple seemed to slow down the gears of innovation and trickled out features year by year. Even though 3G was active in nearly half of AT&T’s network, Apple waited until the second generation to release a phone that supported the faster data speeds. Outside of that, the iPhone 3G had little more to offer than a new look. The camera still sucked, battery life was still dismal, and the OS had little advancement.
Apple continued this little-by-little strategy with each release all the way to the iPhone 5. Instead of caving into the larger screen that has pushed sales of the Samsung Galaxy S III to a market leader and the talk of the town, Apple stretched the screen and chimed about how it was still easily used one-handily. That, was its innovation. Apple’s previous yearly trickle of innovation was Siri. Siri, the voice-to-text software, was an application in the App Store for about a year that gained much attention when it first was released. Quickly scooped up by Apple and re-established as an integrated aspect of the operating system, Siri was reborn an Apple innovation. No, excuse me, as a beta. Now as we near two years – in beta – Siri is nothing more than a feature to ask it silly questions and become extremely irritated at its inability to send a text message that is even 40% accurate or – heck – even finish your sentence as it often just gives up leaving a partial text output. In the meantime, Google released it’s Google Now app for the iPhone with stunningly quick and accurate speech-to-text. No, it’s not beta, either.
I could go on about how iLife, once considered a stunning collection of multimedia applications for the Mac, hasn’t even been touched in over three years and languishes away or how its extremely expensive Thunderbolt technology two years later lacks a plethora of accessories. Financial analysts bonked Apple over the head on the market a few weeks ago after Apple produced its best quarter ever. Why? Analysts see little in the future to hold Apple up and the numbers are indicating this. Apple continues to be mute on future product and shows little innovation in the last three years. Sure, the Retina display has dawned screens across the board, Bluetooth 4 graced wireless devices, and a great camera in the phones. But it’s not enough when compared to the competitors. Instead of really kicking its competitors butt, Apple sues them. Real innovators respond with, “Top this!”
History shows that Apple is on a four-year cycle of innovation. The iPod, iPhone, and then iPad. That gives us about a year before the next big thing. Many think it’s a TV and I can see that. Apple’s true innovation is taking something that already exists and making it better. TV sales have declined and consumers aren’t fooled by bells-and-whistles such as 3-D. The networks are the issue for release just like the labels were for the iTunes Music Store. I feel Apple can overcome that opposition but without Jobs, it will be tougher.
What after the Apple TV television? I can’t imagine that the road map goes dry after that. I’m sure what ever it is, it’s already on the books and is being ironed out. But will anyone care by then? While the four years worked in the last decade, competitors and patent trolls have changed the landscape accelerating change. Apple has already shown with the last two iOS updates, iPad mini, and the iPhone 5 – to a point – that it does better at catching up than pushing the competition. If it doesn’t wish to become the next Sony – one of Steve Jobs’ biggest fears – then it needs to stop this madness of its delusional outlook on innovation and actually innovate again. Stop riding the gravy train and trickling out features. Apple had the money to demand LTE chips that are low power consuming a year before it finally hit the iPhone. Apple had the money to make Siri actually work…upon initial release. Apple has the money to force new technologies to market quicker than the other guy. Jobs pushed Corning for a glass iPhone when its own CEO said it couldn’t be done. Apple shoved a desktop operating system into a handheld device while others said it couldn’t be done. Apple can do it. If it wants. Right now, it looks like it just wants to pats its own back. Ask Sony how that’s working, Tim.
Remember that classic look of radios from the late 80s and 90s? Relive the past in three colors along with the ability to stream from your Bluetooth device. That’s right, the Geneva WorldRadio lets you listen to FM, wakes you up, belts out Pandora via your smartphone, and even supports DAB+ if you are in Europe. It’s a bit on the pricey side at $300 but it sure is versatile and stylish.
If battery life has got you down on your new iPhone 5 and you’re looking to extend it, now you can while protecting it as well. iBattz brings the first-ever battery case that is also a snap-on case for your iPhone 5. According to iBattz, “The Mojo Hi5 case is a two-part protective case that features a detachable 2500mAh aluminum battery to keep users powered up on the go.” You can use it to charge other USB devices as well. The unique thin case will set you back $80 but for extra juice in a “…minimalistic design…”, you are getting off with a pretty good dea.
The dearth of iPhone 5 docks is disappointing and the few – literally – that do exist are complete nonsense. Sorry Belkin, I do not wish to advertise your company when docking my phone. Fortunately, within sixty days, you can have a truly fitting dock for your iPhone 5, or older, that not only looks killer but compliments your Mac and as a magnificent bonus, keeps things tidy!
The OC Desk Display Stand ingeniously removes any hint of cables by placing a super thin cable under your Mac’s stand. Routing the cable up the rear and through the wire hole of the stand allows the cable to never be seen by the casual user. Even looking behind the Mac reveals a clean cable connection. The stand itself sticks onto the lip of the stand but is easily removable, leaving no evidence of stickiness once removed. The adhesive is strong enough to allow you to remove your iPhone single-handed without any fear of the stand coming up with your device. If you like to protect your investment with a case, no worries, as the OC Dock even allows for you to dock the phone inside the case. For those that prefer to show the beauty of your iPhone, you can purchase the more slim OC Dock for naked iPhones.
This is a Kickstarter project, so I would strongly recommend helping the boys out and donating to the cause so we can all clean up our desk and dock it right!
For your new product/tech/organization features, please consider OC Desk – revolutionizing the workspace organization industry, OC Desk iPhone docks eliminates excess wire with a wireless appearance due to its paper-thin cable connection that runs underneath the stand. Often referred to as “Obsessively Clean Desk,” OC Desk has a missive to clear wasted space – allowing for a minimal, simple workspace, which results in performance efficiency.
Today, launches the official Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness and funds before the e-commerce launch set for mid-December.
Affordably priced at $79 to $98, OC Desk has the capabilities to fit iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 (upgrade kit is priced at $98) and will be available for purchase at www.ocdesk.com.
What is Apple’s Siri and should you be worried about your privacy?
Siri is a speech-recognition software application found on the iPhone 4S that acts as a “personal assistant.” As of right now, it’s only available in the iPhone 4S models, but it may eventually come to other Apple devices such as the iPhone 4 or iPad. Siri utilizes natural language processing to interpret questions and commands inputted through speech. There are two aspects of Siri that make it such a revolutionary technology when utilized on handheld devices such as the iPhone. First, its ability to interpret spoken natural language enables the user to give commands as if talking to a living person. This has potential to change the way in which we humans interface with computers.
Second, Siri is exceedingly observant and even learns, perhaps more observant than many of us have yet to fully appreciate. Siri knows what you ask, when you ask it, how you asked it, even where you were when you asked it; Siri won’t forget. As time goes on, Siri will grow increasingly knowledgeable about you, your associations, and your habits. The computing power behind Siri isn’t sequestered on your iPhone – it’s in the cloud and, therefore, everything it learns about you may be utilized in ways you never intended it to be. Think of Siri as omniscient personal assistant who serves each and every one of the millions of iPhone users at once. Although Siri has promised to keep your secrets – perhaps she’s even signed a confidentiality agreement – Siri may rely upon something she learned from you today to assist your neighbor tomorrow. Is this a bad thing? Well, maybe not, provided you’re aware Siri is doing this.
Siri’s ability to learn is perhaps one of the most exciting traits the technology has to offer, but it’s also potentially alarming if privacy is one of your top priorities. This is because of the way Siri relies on cloud computing to understand all of the data it learns about you, which includes information you directly input (such as a question or command) as well as other contextual data that you may not think you are sharing (such as your location or even your tone of voice). Siri processes and analyzes all of this information using an amalgam of applications, which include voice recognition and output software, natural language searching algorithms, and an iteration of Wolfram Alpha (a sophisticated answer engine) to generate a relevant and seemingly sentient response. Over time, Siri builds a contextual understanding of you and what it learns about you is ultimately stored somewhere.
A lot has been made of the iPhone 4S star studded feature named Siri. She’s the helper inside Apple’s new smartphone that can take actual natural speech questions and give you an answer in return. Web sites, Twitter, and Facebook all have postings of the whacky and funny things Siri answers to such as marriage proposals and requesting to be beamed up. Many, however, are scratching their head how Siri knows who your wife is or sibling or parent. You know that video where Apple shows the iPhone 4S user calling “mom” and Siri dials it for the person? Man, Siri IS pretty smart, but how does she know my mom from any other women on my phone? Well, she doesn’t until you tell her.
The secret lay in a new field in your Contacts. It’s called Related People, as seen in the above screen capture. Simply find your mom, or any other relative, in your address book and tap the Edit button and then scroll down to “add field” to which brings up another window. At the end of it, you will find “Related People”. Tap it and up comes a relation, maybe mother, and a blue arrow. Tap this arrow to find your mother and select her. If you need to change the relations, tap the name for a list of other labels. You are not limited to family either as you can select assistant and manager as a relation. So if you want to tell Siri to call your boss, she may figure that out by the manager mark, too.
Don’t forget to select yourself in the Mail, Contacts, Calendars in the “My Info” section under Settings so the bond is obvious to Siri.
So you didn’t stay up until nearly 3:00 am last Friday morning to pre-order your iPhone 4S like I did, huh? Well, you missed out on all the fun! So there you are contemplating if you should go stand in lines Friday at one of the three cellular carriers or at the Apple Store. What to do? If you’re thinking, ‘No way I’m standing for hours only to be told there are none left,’ then you have the online alternative. BUT, which one should you go with? Best Buy? Radio Shack? AT&T? Verizon? Sprint? Take a look at STELLAService found before making your next click below and do it the easy way!
New York City (October 13, 2011) – For consumers seeking to avoid lines by purchasing the iPhone 4S online, a report out today says Apple.com is hands down the best choice over the four other online resellers thanks to its consumer-friendly services and policies, including the superior quality of its customer service phone support and its expansive AppleCare+ warranty program.
“Apple.com outperformed its reseller partners hands down when it comes to customer service, and we found no reason that consumers should look anywhere else,” said STELLAService co-founder and CEO Jordy Leiser. “With pricing for the iPhone 4S uniform across all online sellers, the overall quality of customer service should be the deciding factor in choosing where to buy the iPhone 4S online”
For the report, STELLAService looked at the five retailers and carriers offering the iPhone 4S online – Apple.com, BestBuy.com, VerizonWireless.com, ATT.com, and Sprint.com. In addition to evaluating key policies and features, such as return and warranty policies, STELLAService rated the quality of customer service phone support by placing ten phone calls to each retailer and asking ten questions — from how to buy insurance to how to change a pass code lock.
Dedicated to helping consumers make more informed buying decisions, STELLAService is an independent company that leverages a nationwide network of full-time mystery shoppers to evaluate online retailers across more than 350 customer service metrics, including shipping, returns, and customer support.
Leiser said STELLAService conducted the study to provide consumers with clear guidance in light of unclear policies, misinformation, rumors, and scams relating to online retailers selling Apple products. Leiser points out that Apple.com, which provides a list of authorized online resellers for its popular products, such as the iPod and iPad, does not provide a list of authorized online sellers for the iPhone.
Other findings from the study include
To evaluate the quality of customer service phone support, STELLAService rated each seller based on factors such as product knowledge, issue resolution, and overall tone and attitude of the customer support representatives. Apple.com’s representatives earned the highest score overall (4 out of 5), significantly outpacing others when it came to their ability to address questions (4.4 for Apple vs. 3.6 for AT&T and Verizon). STELLAService said the average customer service quality score for consumer electronics retailers was 3.7.
While BestBuy.com allows customers to purchase the iPhone 4S online, it does not offer shipping and delivery. As of the days leading up to the iPhone 4S release, customers could only pick-up the product in stores.
Apple.com’s AppleCare+ warranty program is by far the most cost-effective. Even though it does not cover loss and theft, the monthly fees and deductions for BestBuy’s Geek Squad and AT&T’s and Verizon’s Asurion warranties come close to the cost of buying a completely a new iPhone.
Apple.com and BestBuy.com offer the most generous return window for a refund (30 days) versus 14 days for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon
Apple.com and BestBuy.com do not charge customers for returning an iPhone 4S, while AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon each have a $35 restocking fee.
AT&T is only online seller that does not allow customers to trade-in old phones by mail. AT&T customers can only trade-in phones in-store.
Dedicated to helping consumers make more informed online shopping decisions, STELLAService is the first and only independent provider of customer service ratings for online retailers. The company leverages a nationwide network of full-time mystery shoppers to evaluate each site undercover, ensuring findings that are unbiased and true to the shopping experience. STELLAService has been profiled in Advertising Age (“STELLAService strives to give e-tailers credibility”) and its data has been featured in outlets such as Time, SmartMoney, Consumerist, and CBS Money Watch . Based in New York City, the company also publishes reports and other research to help companies worldwide improve their service operations. For more information, visit http://www.STELLAService.com. Follow us on Twitter at @STELLAService. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/STELLAService
The news around Twitter and Facebook is the new iPhone from Apple. Apple’s newly crowned CEO, Tim Cook, took the stage at 4 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California, for his first Stevenote, er, Keynote. Cook quickly passed the presentation off to familar Apple faces to essentially drag through a complete recap of iOS 5s features shown off four months ago. Reporters grew weary 20 minutes into the WWDC rehash and began playing Angry Birds. In the course of nearly an hour, Apple only disclosed three new items in conversation! If this is what we can expect of future Apple Keynotes, the Jobs Era of slick presentation has already vanished.
Finally, at 55 minutes, the iPhone 4S was revealed. Nothing changed on the outside – no teardrop case like earlier “leaks” reported – but rather under the hood is were the real stuff was. At the heart of the iPhone 4S is the same processor that runs the iPad 2, the dual-core A5. Also sharing components with its big brother is the graphics processing which is told be 7 times faster, though the demo didn’t really seem to indicate this. The antenna has been completely reworked to include not one but two which the iPhone 4S can use both or one or the other for optimal signal. It also uses the new system for premium bandwidth. In fact, Philip Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, made a jab at the competition and its 4G speeds pointing out the iPhone 4S 3G speeds equaled that of the LTE phones. Mmm, we’ll see about that, Philly, remember, we’re mostly using AT&T. Additionally, the new 8-megapixel camera was shown off along with the claim of faster access with the ability to take the first picture in 1.1 second. With new infrared and back light technology, this aims to be the best camera on a phone yet with its extreme low light and improved white balance features. The camera will also record 1080p HD video catching up to many Android devices which have been able to make this claim for nearly a year.
The big announcement, the One More Thing if you will, was the fact that the phone will now work at your command. No, not that Voice Command feature we all forgot about, but true voice instructions using the technology of Siri which Apple purchased last year. Siri will do amazing things like tell you the current weather conditions by just asking, “What’s the weather like?” as well as read your incoming SMS and then respond to it with your voice-to-text copy. You can tell it, “Wake me up tomorrow at 8 am” and it will create the alarm for you. Send email, search for a place to eat, add calendar events – to which it will even respond if you have a conflict – and many other features. This is the game changer, as Apple put it, for the iPhone 4S. Because all the text-to-speech and vice versa is happening on the phone and not on the Internet like the original Siri, it requires the power of the A5 chip and thus this iOS 5 feature is only for the iPhone 4S.
On the surface, these features do not sound all that great. Essentially, it’s a tuned up iPhone 4. Additionally, it’s pretty much what everyone expected, no real surprises like past models. In truth, all this iPhone does is catch it up with most Android phones. Google has had text-to-speech for nearly a year on its operating system and HD video is old shoe. Schiller can claim similar speeds with the 3G equipped iPhone 4S but truth is, LTE blows the doors off of AT&Ts network and Verizon’s older EV-DO. In fact, AT&T ignores equipment investment as proof of the many EDGE towers found easily a few miles off of California Highway 99 in the Central Valley at nearly every exit outside of large cities like Stockton or Sacramento. I think Apple is setting itself up for some uproar by neglecting LTE. This will only further Android’s dominance for another year while we await the LTE iPhone.
Now, that said, here is the if of all of this, and it’s a BIG if. If Apple has genuinely pulled off Siri without a hitch, this could blast the iPhone past any Android. With the ability to add calendar events, have SMS conversations, send and receive email, and buy movie tickets, all hands-free in your vehicle, this would make Siri the killer-feature. Now, of course, there’s that IF. While Siri performed well in the quiet auditorium of Apple’s theater, my noisy F-250 cab is a whole different story. I long ago stopped using Voice Command because of it. Even cars with better cabin noise control can struggle with voice and it will be mighty interesting to see if Apple over came this issue.
Now, if Siri turns out to be a dud and unusable in the real world and those Schiller claimed broadband speeds never really happen, then you have just another iPhone 4 with an extra letter. Google will continue to make further inroads with Android and widen the lead over the iPhone reminding many of us of the Windows vs Macintosh days of the late 80s. Interesting enough, that decline came soon after Steve Jobs left Apple the first time. Will history repeat itself?
Boy oh boy, am I getting tired of all these iPhone 5 delay stories. First we got the suppliers leaks that there was not enough activity happening to prime the pump for an iPhone summer release. Then the Japanese earthquake added some spin into it. Now the latest is Apple’s own WWDC announcement only talks about – gasp! – software. I mean, shouldn’t a developers conference be talking about hardware?!
I don’t get the short-sightedness of everyone.
Supply concerns or lack of ramp-up: wasn’t that a similar story just as early as late February for the iPad? Then what happened? Oh ya, the iPad 2 was released EARLIER than originally anticipated. Huh, go figure.
Take a short read of Apple’s WWDC 2010 press release and – Holy cow, NO mention of hardware?! Oh man, I bet the iPhone 4 will be delayed then. Oh wait a minute, that’s right, it came out in late June.
Well, what about that TechCrunch story about this cloud thing Apple is working on? Isn’t that just going to shove the iPhone back because Apple can’t possibly do two things at once, right? Maybe, if you believe TechCrunch but if you – once again – just go through Apple’s own press release archive you find some interesting news from the past. Like, “Apple Announces iTunes 6 With 2,000 Music Videos, Pixar Short Films & Hit TV Shows” in 2005 a month before it also released, what were they, oh yes, new iPods. This was BIG news back then so how could it every take on that huge undertaking AND release new hardware the next month? Incredible.
How about the following year when Apple proclaimed, “Apple Announces iTunes 7 with Amazing New Features“. Some of those new features was the ability to play, let me check, yes, movies. I mean, full fledged movies that filled up the screen on your brand new iPod. Dang, two years in a row!
Well that was then and this now. I mean Apple hasn’t really been spreading things out. Look at the iPhone 4 for Verizon for example. That came at the end of January. Sure, but old hardware doesn’t count.
Let’s look to September 1st of last year when Apple presented the world with “Apple Introduces iTunes 10 With Ping“. Ya, big deal, it jumped into social networking and it wasn’t that tremendous – not like a cloud undertaking would be. Um, let me see, oh yes, more press releases such as, “Apple Premieres New Apple TV for Breakthrough Price of $99“. Along came Netflix to the streaming party with that brand new Apple TV and some other amazing features. While we’re talking hardware, let’s remind the reader of the “Apple Introduces New iPod touch“, and of “Apple Reinvents iPod nano With Multi-Touch Interface” (you caught that Reinvents part, right?) as well as that little guy, “Apple Unveils New iPod shuffle“. Phewf, my wrist hurts from so much copy-and-pasting. How did Apple do ALL that in just one day?!
No, I think too many are getting caught up in the “hot story” of now and not looking at the past for some kind validation. Sure, Apple can change how it does things, I fully understand that, but I just do not see strong evidence for a slipped iPhone 5 ship date.
Reality is this for Apple: Android is taking over and the iPhone is no longer the must-have phone it once was. The longer Apple waits to push the phone, the more it slips in market share. Even if iOS 5 is completely revamped like TechCrunch claims, the average consumer won’t even hear about this and will buy what’s in front of them at the local cellular store. “Oh, that new Android just came out and the iPhone is over a year old now? Ya, let’s get the Android instead.”
Jobs isn’t dumb, he invented this game. Keep a steady upgrade cycle with minor but still cool features with each revision and people will keep buying Apple gear. Look to the iPod going on strong with a decade of fall updates.
Heck, I really believe the Ring Master himself is letting these little tid bits of “stories” slip out to throw not the press off but the competition. Give it false hope it has more time. Again, remember the iPad 2.
So what to make of the cloud? This story has been going for over a year now. No one knows for sure why Apple purchased Lala or why it has that massive data center in South Carolina but they both probably do have a relation to one another. When will the news come? Maybe at WWDC but again, how much does it tie into coding? Apple’s cloud is Apple’s cloud. Don’t expect any APIs for it. Because of this, I don’t see the cloud floating in on Moscone West for WWDC 2011. I see it as a separate iTunes event…with, ya, an iPhone 5 shown off.
What this also says is yo can forget any hopes of an iPhone 4 in white. Since it didn’t arrive with the Verizon iPhone, the perfect time for introduction, there will be no need at this point to even try. It’s possible Apple could seed the white version in the iPhone 4 body to get an idea of how well it will work; however, with the iPad 2 being in white just next week, this idea losses most credibility.
So now that we can put the white iPhone to rest, let’s start talking about the silver one like the iPod Classic went to a few years ago.