Tag: Apple

Who’s Got Your Privacy Back? Twitter, But Not Some You’d Think

Great summary of a privacy report today over on the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) site. Among the most important reveals:

Of six criteria for complete privacy protection, only Twitter and Sonic.net manage a perfect score. Dropbox, Google, LinkedIn and SpiderOak (a Dropbox competitor) manage five out of six. (I’m going to see if I can help the first three in that list see the light because I use them a lot.)

But here are the losers who get zero or one star in the evaluations:

  • Apple
  • AT&T
  • MySpace
  • Verizon
  • Yahoo!

That is pathetic. Apple? Come on, Cupertino! Smarten up.

Great Fake Ad for Apple iWatch. 2019 Release Hinted

Apple-logoThis is easily one of the best fake TV commercials ever, for anything. The fact that it’s about the possible iWatch from Apple makes it even more intriguing.

I love the fact that someone has such a vision. I wonder at how anyone finds the time and money to put together these great products. What’s in it for them?

Anyway, I want one. iWatch that is.

Caught in the Apple-Google “Wars”…And Delighted!

Google-AppleOne of my favorite technology writers is Salon.com’s Andrew Leonard. In his most recent article, Leonard talks about about finding himself as an unwitting participant in what’s being called the most important battle in tech. Interestingly, it’s the very same battle in which I find myself at the moment.

I’m speaking, of course, of the battle for eyeballs between Google and Apple. As a self declared “Goodict,” I am a fairly heavy user of Google’s applications. But I’ve been an Apple user and supporter for many more years than Google has even been around.  Most days, I touch an iPad,     an iPhone, and at least one Macintosh. I also run a minimum of six Google apps:  mail, chat, tasks, drive, word processing, calendar, and of course search. Many days, other Google apps get my attention as well.

Leonard worries about the degree to which Google gets to know too much about him in the course of his using their software. It’s an understandable concern, but one that I’ve long since dealt with. Everyone who works online makes continuing trade-off decisions between convenience and privacy. The more an application knows about you, the more likely it will be able to help you accomplish a task or solve a problem. On the other hand, that knowledge can also be put to what may be considered undesirable ends.

When most people talk about their privacy concerns with respect to Google, it seems her focus is on targeted advertising. I’ve never understood that concern. In fact, I welcome targeted advertising. To the extent that I’m even aware of and ad’s presence on the page, I’d much rather see a message that I might potentially be interested in than, say, one aimed at a much younger female.

It’s certainly true that the more information we give people like Google, and the more people like Google we work with, the more potential evil we open ourselves up to. But if we are reasonably judicious, and if we at least a think about the question of whether information were about to divulge could be used nefariously, we can stay about us private as is remotely possible on the Internet. The fact is, that not only on the Internet but in broader society, privacy has become a common casualty of our collective living and wisdom.

And, so far at least, I’m OK with that.

“My Phone Has More Apps Than Your Phone!”

I find it ironic that Apple is now being touted as the juggernaut in the technology industry because of its larger ecosystem. When Apple was strictly a computer company battling Microsoft Windows, the folks who supported Windows often argued that it was superior  simply because it had a larger number of applications available.

Now the shoe’s on the other foot, as it were. Apple’s edge in the smartphone and tablet markets is seen as  largely based on the significant number of apps available for the platform.

In truth, judging the value of a platform based largely on the size of its ecosystem is a misleading approach. As we supporters of Apple in those early days were fond of pointing out, there is a limit to how many of a specific type one user could need.The fact, for example, that there might be 27 general ledger programs available on Windows and only a half dozen on the Mac was largely irrelevant. So long as the leading programs were available on both platforms, or, alternatively, data could be interchanged between different applications, the issue is essentially moot.

I would say the same thing in evaluating the ecosystems of today’s smartphone platforms. While there are substantially more apps available for the iPhone then for android phones, a failure to distinguish application types can lead to a wrong-headed conclusion about which platform is preferable.

So while it’s true that I continue to prefer Apple products, and am all but addicted to my iPhone and my iPad, it isn’t the range or number of apps available that causes that preference. As is often the case, platform choice bears a strong connection to user intent. I’m not even sure that any one smartphone platform could claim to be the best common denominator space for a broad range of uses.



iPad 3 Out-Searches Olympics, All Other Computers

Google announced the top searches of 2012 today, and the one stand-out fact from my perspective, at least, was that the iPad 3 outranked searches for other, more broadly used terms, than I would’ve expected.

Apple’s latest tablet came in fourth on the list of all search terms for 2012, ranking ahead of such expected stalwarts as the Winter Olympics. The only three search terms ranking above the iPad 3 were Whitney Houston, Gangnam style, and Hurricanes Sandy. Two of these were news events, though I confess to some surprise that the lead singer Outranked all search terms related to the 2012 Presidential election.

Not only was the iPad 3 the only technology product to rank in the top 10, the only other technology-related term was Diablo 3, a video game that made its debut early in the year. Of the top 10, six were people.

The top 10 search terms, according to Google:

1. Whitney Houston
2. Gangnam Style
3. Hurricane Sandy
4. iPad 3
5. Diablo 3
6. Kate Middleton
7. Olympics 2012
8. Amanda Todd
9. Michael Clarke Duncan
10. BBB12

Microsoft’s Lost Decade and Apple’s Coming Days in the Desert

My buddy George Sidman shared this lengthy article on the decline and fall of Microsoft with me this morning. It’s a great read, if a bit wordy, and though it takes a while to get to the real point, it is nonetheless a very insightful bit of thinking.

Here’s what I wrote in response, edited to remove personal material.

I see this as a continuation or fulfillment of my long-held Saturation Theory. When a company that holds a dominant share of a market reaches the point where there are few if any new outlets for its products, it hunkers down and becomes an uninspired and uninspiring plodder more interested in managing its treasury and avoiding mistakes than in leading a charge that could cost it existing customers. What was the last innovative product Microsoft ever made? (For that matter, what was the first, but I digress.)
Apple is beginning to show the very first signs of this calcification. As it morphs from being a computer company to being a technology company to being a consumer electronics company, it begins to horde and defend. iPhone 5 and iOS6 are the first symptoms of this disease. Incremental improvements (200 of them but none of them world-changing) and poorly executed innovation (which way did they go?) combine to create a head-scratcher for which the Not-Steve rightfully and smartly apologizes. I fully expect to see the day — within five years tops — when Apple will sell its computer line to a company like a Lenovo that is great at commoditizing and carving pennies of profits out of tiny changes.
With Linux floundering on the shoals of Android’s fragmented universe, the most important technology question of the next few years is whether the Web (which is merely a loose collection of protocols) can grow up and become the new OS or whether something radically rethought will emerge and rock the industry the way IBM, Microsoft, Apple and Linux did in their now-fading days.

Tim Cook’s Maps Mea Culpa: Good PR or Big Mistake?

Apple CEO Tim Cook posted a letter on the company’s Web site today profusely apologizing for the terrible Maps app included in iOS6 and suggested users switch to some other app while Apple sorts things out.

Reaction around the Apple business-watching world was swift and split. As is so often the case, The WEEK magazine site did a great job of summarizing and highlighting the reactions.

Some thought Cook’s apology was a sign of weakness, something that would never have happened on Steve Jobs’ watch, and an indicator that the company’s fortunes are headed downhill. Others saw his apology as refreshing, saying the only reason Jobs would never apologize wasn’t because the products were better then (though they were) but because he was too arrogant to admit a mistake (also true).

Chris Ciaccia at The Street captured my sense. A humble apology goes a long way toward making a bad situation less problematic and helps take some of the tarnish of arrogance off a brand that has matured past the taunting stage of marketing its products.

The Apple Map Snafu: What Really Went Wrong

I just posted a new story on the Apple Map app dustup over on Storify. While I think it was ill-conceived of Apple to release the Map app in place of Google Maps (a peaceful co-existence first would have been smarter), one expert cartographer says the problem isn’t with the data sets Apple uses, as some have charged, but rather with purely algorithm-based testing.

Why Apple is Highest-Valued Company in History

Apple has just become the highest valued corporation in world history this week as its stock has surged to over $660/share giving the company a valuation of $622 billion.

The WEEK does its usual good job of rounding up opinions as to why this is the case, particularly in view of the stock's plummet a mere few weeks ago in light of "disappointing" earnings.

Citing a variety of sources (as is its style), the magazine offers four possible explanations for the stock explosion:
  1. iPhone 5
  2. iPad Mini
  3. New Apple TV
  4. The stock is badly undervalued
At least one Apple analyst has projected a per-share price of $1,111 within a year. Apple's market valuation has crossed the $400 billion, $500 billion, and $600 billion marks — all in 2012, so there's no reason to stop being enthusiastic now, right?