Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Thursday, May 29, 2008

PSP Sony PlayStation Portable UMD Storage Case - Proporta

Proporta don’t like to see anything go uncovered, which is why they’re offering you a 50% discount on the Proporta Aluminium Case, UMD Storage Case, Four UMD Case and Single UMD Case for your Sony Playstation Portable – for a limited time only.

Simply visit www.proporta.com, select the PSP case you desire and enter the promotion code ‘LOVEMYPSP’ at the cart page to receive your discount*.

Proporta UMD Storage Case (Sony PSP)

Made from a tough translucent plastic, this case will store and protect up to four UMD cards and three MemorySticks for your PSP.

Proporta Four UMD Case (Sony PSP)

A secure plastic clip keeps your UMDs safe and sound in this tough, protective plastic case. Ideal for those on the move.

Proporta Aluminium Case (Sony PSP)

The Proporta Sony PSP Aluminium Case is precision moulded and custom made to become the perfect partner to your Sony PSP.

A note from Proporta:

*Although we like to be super generous, please be aware that this offer does not include all Sony Playstation accessories and is only available until the 30th June 2008 or whilst stocks last. We can however offer you a 10% discount on all other Proporta branded Sony Playstation products, just because we’re nice. Enter ‘PSP10’ at the cart page to receive your discount.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

FotoNation, Inc. announced today that it has been selected by Sony’s Professional Printer Group to provide its award winning digital Red-Eye Correction technology for new professional Sony photo printers, Picture Station Kiosks, and photo application products.

“Sony is a premier provider of superior digital photography products within the industry,” said Eran Steinberg, CEO of FotoNation. “Being selected by Sony as their provider of Red-Eye Correction technology reflects our commitment to providing the highest quality products in the industry for this solution,” he continued.

Sony’s first professional products to incorporate FotoNation’s Red-Eye Correction technology will include Sony’s PictureStation™ Digital Photofinishing System version 4700.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Sony Ericsson P1i combines business with pleasure in one stylish, compact package. This new device offers users the efficiency of keeping in touch and keeping up to date in one simple to use phone ˆ to keep your connectivity protected, Proporta have a number of solutions made to measure for this particular device.

Protect your Sony Ericsson P1i with the Proporta Alu-Leather Case . This beautiful product is hand-crafted and meets the exact specifications of your device and incorporates our trademark ‘Screen Saver System’. Made from a sheet of rigid, lightweight aircraft grade aluminium, the ‘Screen Saver System’ lines the case to makes sure your device never suffers the effects from crushing and impact shocks. Cut aways give access to ports and controls so that you can use your device in the case. The Proporta Sony Ericsson P1i Series Alu-Leather Case also gives the option of a removable belt clip which allows you to wear your device whilst on the move, for quick and easy access to your mobile device.

As with all modern Smartphones, the delicate screen plays an integral part of the Sony Ericsson’s functionality. To protect the screen from scratches, scrapes and dust evasion, Proporta recommends their Advanced Screen Protector . It incorporates an improved thickness, made from a new ultra high-clarity plastic, without impairing screen brightness and clarity. This screen protector reduces glare from sunlight or bright lighting and is fully washable and replaceable.

To get Proporta protection for your P1i.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Number two video destination on the web for low quality entertainment (and we mean both visually and in content), MySpace, announced some new deals today. MySpace is upgrading its video content and has signed big names on board to make sure it has a fighting chance against Google’s number one video site, YouTube. With the upgrade, viewers will now be able to enjoy Sony Minisodes which features five-minute versions of classic television shows. Perfect for the ADD MySpace-generation of today. User-generated content and more “polished” Internet video, such as Prom Queen, from Michael Eisner’s Vuguru company, will also find its way on the MySpace video area.

We kept this short so MySpace readers wouldn’t become fatigued reading this post. We apologize for the easy-to-read format and lack of blinding colors.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

If you successfully dodged the bullets at your local Best Buy at the PS3 premiere event at the wee hours of the morning but still couldn’t get your grubby little hands on one of the few PlayStations, then we have good news for you. Even you slackers that slept in can benefit from out news!

This Friday, Costco.com will be selling every single PS3 it has in stock online. Yes, that means PS3 purchases can be made in your underwear without fear of a violent outburst from others. Friday morning beginning at 8:00 PST, Costco.com will open sales up to its load of PS3s. No digging through the site will be necessary as it will be plastered on the front page. Click and buy. That’s it.

This offer is only valid to current Costco members in good standing and of course, is only valid while supplies last. So, Get up at 7:59 a.m. PST (-8 GMT) Friday morning and stumble onto your computer and type in costco.com in the address bar and buy, buy, buy! Oh ya, no limit was given for purchases! :)

[Via Black Friday Ads]

Monday, July 3, 2006

Camcorder buyer beware: the new breed of “tapeless” camcorders, that is, those that record to DVD or built-in hard disk, record in MPEG-2 format, which is NOT a good originating format, especially for editing.

A few months ago I had a friend call me who was eager to get into video production. He called me
and said, “I want to start editing some stuff. I bought a new Dell and Sony Vegas and I’ve got this DVD
camcorder and I can’t wait to put something together. But I can’t figure out how to get the footage into my computer.” At the time, I was under the impression that NO low-budget editor was capable of editing MPEG-2 natively, and I gently told him he’d have to find some utility to convert the MPEG-2 footage to an “editable” format such as DV. I’ve since discovered that Sony Vegas Movie Studio ($89.95) does have the ability to import footage from DVD Handycams, although I have not tested this and don’t know how well it works or if it works with footage from the hard-disk-based camcorders (non-Sony). Having worked with MPEG-2 footage and knowing how it’s encoded, I remain skeptical of this prospect, particularly the stability and the quality. I do understand this stuff is not intended for professionals, but I can’t shake the video purist in me that demands a higher quality video format to edit with. I would assume these cameras are intended for those that don’t want to edit, but simply want to shoot casually and have unedited archives on DVD. So if that’s you, this article is not for you. Grab one of those cams and shoot to your heart’s content. If you do want to edit your footage, or may want to some day, and are eyeing these new “tapeless” camcorders, read on.

To put it simply, these tapeless camcorders don’t play nice with most NLEs (non-linear editors) like iMovie. Specifically with iMovie, there is no way to import footage from these cameras directly. You might be thinking this is a deficiency of iMovie and it’s imitators, and I somewhat agree, but before blaming the software developers, you might point the finger in the direction of the camera makers. These new cams record in MPEG-2 format, which is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. MPEG-2 is a highly compressed format that traditionally been used as a “finishing” delivery format. After you’ve edited and want to burn a DVD, you encode in MPEG-2. This has been the routine for anyone who’s ever shot and edited with miniDV. The camera-makers have decided to speed up the process and encode straight to MPEG-2 while video is being shot. This does take you one step closer to DVD, but it limits your opportunities for editing as well as lowers the quality.

Standard DV, including miniDV, utilizes the DV codec, which is a compressed, but still a frame-based codec. In English, this means every frame is specifically written to tape. Contrast this with a codec like MPEG-2, which basically only writes a few frames per second, and lots of “predicted frames” in between to fill in the gaps. This is similar to the difference between RAW and JPEG formats in digital photography. The result is smaller file size, but as with any compression, you also get a significant quality loss when you decompress the files (say, when you want to edit it).

In my opinion as a “no compromises” video professional, these cameras are a step in the wrong direction. Until they include the option to record in DV, I would avoid them altogether. I’m surprised to see that even JVC’s newest offering in the HDD (hard drive) market, which sports a high-quality 3-CCD imaging system, does NOT include the option to record in DV. There are some major advances in tapeless acquisition happening in the pro video market. Panasonic’s newish HVX-200 records a myriad of high-quality formats directly to a pair of P2 memory cards. There are also several add-on devices available that record to an external hard drive via Firewire.

My fear is that lots of people are snatching these things up not realizing that editing their footage is not going to be as fun and easy (if possible at all) as it’s been with the likes of iMovie and miniDV. The camera manufacturers certainly don’t make it clear that this is not the same game as miniDV, and why would they? They want to sell cameras, and even if they did want to fully disclose this disadvantage, it would be tough to explain. It’s certainly not a selling point in my book.

The pie in the sky: a consumer-market camcorder with a built-in 80 GB hard drive, and switchable recording formats including DV. Frankly, I’m surprised we haven’t see it yet, but I have a feeling it’s due in part to the fact that Sony, Panasonic and the others want to keep selling us removable media like tape.

Apple’s “MACjr”, the Pippin

Author: Sven Rafferty
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Forgotten failures, how fun to find them. The other day, I was browsing the web — I don’t even know how I tripped over this — and I stumble upon an Apple gaming console. “What! Apple had a gaming console?” I thought to myself in complete disbelief. “When?” I continued in thinking I had completely missed something in life. Well right around the time Windows was making it’s big move up from 3.11 to 95. That’s when. One reason many of us may have missed it was because everyone was too busy accusing Microsoft of ripping off the Mac interface. That and maybe because in truth, this game console had to compete with the Sega Genesis, the Nintendo SNES, and the Atari Jaguar. Oh wait, no one was really competing against the last.

So what was the Pippin? Well for starters, it is a type of an apple that is smaller than the McIntosh variety. Apple described the gaming console as a, “multimedia player platform derived from Apple’s second generation Power Macintosh hardware and system software. It is designed as a playback tool for multimedia CD-ROMs initially created for the Macintosh and/or IBM compatible PC and at a low cost.” Unfortunately, Apple thought $599 was low. Yikes. Apple continued to describe it on its now defunct Pippin site as a device directed toward the home market and, “probably schools,” for the consumer AV market. Schools? Did Apple have a real game plan for this or what?

Basically, the CD-ROM was making a large impact in the computer world and Apple thought with it and the PowerPC chip, it had a winner. To even push the unit further and faster, Apple tapped on a popular name to move the game console. Bandai. Don’t recognize the name? Well its parent company owned the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers which was hot stuff back in the mid-nineties. (Remember Vanilla Ice was in one of those movies?) Bandai Digital Entertainment group had a good chunk of marketing change to push this unit and Apple hoped it would be a major success.

But as history would show, it was a flop. There were too many things wrong with the unit from poor text display, to wired controllers, to forcing use of PSInet as the only way to get on the Internet, to having not enough RAM to even run Netscape 2.0, to the silly name @World which most wouldn’t have understood back in early 1996. Add all that up on top of the amazing $600 price tag and you have a have another Lisa.

Like the Lisa, this game console is a fascinating study. From the ADB being changed into a joystick port to the large 4 MB RAM cartridge to that shiny PowerPC logo on the right side of the console. Seeing pictures of Mac OS on a TV from a black box that looked very much like a first generation black Sony PlayStation is trippy. It’s a read I suggest you take a look at and waste countless hours with. The good folks at Mac Geek have documented this lost wonder very well and I know you’ll be just as amazed as I was when I read it.

And I thought the 3DO unit was the only causality of the game console wars. :)