Apr 30

There has been some … interesting news from the tech sector this week.

Firstly, the Apple vs. Adobe vendetta gets even nastier, with a public letter from Steve Jobs explaining why Adobe’s Flash multimedia format will not ever be allowed into the garden of pure ideology that is the iPhone/iPad fork of OSX.

Secondly, Hewlett-Packard are buying Palm, apparently for Palm’s WebOS — with rumours of plans to deploy a range of WebOS tablets to rival the iPad — at the same time, they’re killing their forthcoming Windows 7 slate, just as Microsoft are killing the Courier tablet project.

Finally, gizmodo (not, perhaps, an unbiased source in this regard given current events) have a fun essay discussing Apple’s Worldwide Loyalty Team, the internal unit tasked with hunting down and stopping leaks.

It’s probably no exaggeration to say that Apple’s draconian security policies are among the tightest of any company operating purely in the private sector, with a focus on secrecy that rivals that of military contractors. But even so, the control freak obsessiveness which Steve Jobs is bringing to bear on the iPad — and the desperate flailing around evident among Apple’s competitors — bears some examination. What’s going on?

I’ve got a theory, and it’s this: Steve Jobs believes he’s gambling Apple’s future — the future of a corporation with a market cap well over US $200Bn — on an all-or-nothing push into a new market. HP have woken up and smelled the forest fire, two or three years late; Microsoft are mired in a tar pit, unable to grasp that the inferno heading towards them is going to burn down the entire ecosystem in which they exist. There is the smell of panic in the air, and here’s why …

[From The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash]

Interesting analysis from SF and former tech writer Charles Stross. He may be onto something.

Apr 29

Steve Jobs has taken a break from his iPad e-mailing spree to post another long, open letter to Apple’s website, this time about Flash. The letter goes into detail as to why Apple chooses not to allow Adobe’s Flash technology on the iPhone and iPad, claiming that the decision isn’t as business-driven as Adobe would like to believe.

Jobs’ opening remark is about Flash’s openness, or lack thereof. “While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe,” writes Jobs. He acknowledges that Apple has closed products as well—namely the iPhone, iPod, and iPad—but that the company believes that all standards on the Web should be open. Naturally, this leads into Apple’s support of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, not to mention Apple’s support for the open source WebKit.

Jobs also believes that Flash isn’t quite as dominant on the Web as Adobe claims, noting that “almost all” video that is available in Flash is also available in H.264. YouTube is among the most successful apps on the iPhone OS, Jobs points out, and there are numerous other apps that support video streaming available for the iPad (Netflix, ABC, NPR, New York Times, and more). Again, Jobs makes the concession that iPhone OS users won’t be able to play Flash games, but says that there are plenty of other games on the App Store. (Someone let me know when there’s a version of Winterbells for iPhone.)

Read the comments on this post

[From Poll Technica: Steve Jobs’ letter on Flash]

It seems most readers agree with Steve Jobs so far, according to the poll.

Apr 28

So the rumor is true, and Apple has indeed bought Intrinsity. Apple confirmed to The New York Times today what Linkedin profile updates have already indicated, with Intrinsity’s employees naming Apple as their new employer. As for the price, NYT cites MPR’s Tom Halfhill, who claims that the purchase price was $121 million. Halfhill has been around the processor scene since forever, and he has great sources, so this number is probably in the ballpark.

Read the comments on this post

[From Apple purchase of Intrinsity confirmed]

It’ll be a while before these moves result in products.

Apr 27

tcd004 writes “At a conference on digital media at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI attacked the idea of transparency in the Internet age, warning that digital transparency exacerbates tensions between nations and within nations themselves. And increases the ‘dangers of… intellectual and moral relativism,’ which can lead to ‘multiple forms of degradation and humiliation’ of the essence of a person, and to the ‘pollution of the spirit.’ All in all, it seemed a pretty grim view of the wide-open communication environment being demanded by the Internet age.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[From Pope Rails Against the Internet and Transparency]

And it lets us find out about what the catholic church has been up to that it would rather not have us know about.

Apr 26

My postal ballot for the parliamentary election arrived this morning. It’s filled in and I’ll post it next time I walk the dogs. Then I can ignore everything until the result 🙂

Apr 22

Interesting. Apple has responded publicly to Adobe’s Mike Chambers’s claim that Flash is an open platform:

“Someone has it backwards — it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264
(all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard,
while Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary,” said spokeswoman
Trudy Miller in a statement.

Spot-on.

[From ‘Someone Has It Backwards’]

It’s nice to have a little clarity in these matters.

Apr 21

Tomi Ahonen, former Nokia executive and self-professed expert on mobile phones, 11 days ago:

You read it right. I am writing the first history of the
once-iconic iPhone, written now in early April 2010, before Apple
has released its first quarter earnings for 2010. This is
literally the peak of the short reign that Apple’s iPhone had as
the most emulated smartphone. […] And mark my words, the numbers
are now very clear, Apple’s market share peak among smartphones,
and among all handsets, on an annual basis, is being witnessed
now. Yes its true, Apple cannot grow market share into 2011. But
its not for reasons you might think.

[ten thousand words of gibberish snipped]

The Apple iPhone sales pattern differs from all other major
smartphone makers because Apple only releases one new model per
year. So the sales take off strongly and then decline as the
rivals keep releasing newer phones. Apple’s best quarter is its
Christmas quarter. This year they were not able to grow market
share. And we already know, that Apple’s January-March quarter was
a heavy fall from the Christmas level of sales (as it always is,
this is the normal pattern).

Apple, today:

The Company sold 8.75 million iPhones in the quarter, representing
131 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

So the “heavy fall from the Christmas level of sales” we “already know” about was, uh, an increase of 50,000 iPhones. This was the most iPhones Apple has ever sold in a quarter. (And does not count the 63 percent year-over-year growth in sales of the iPod Touch.)

[From Claim Chowder: Tomi Ahonen on iPhone Sales]

Making predictions is a tough business 🙂

Apr 17

Brilliant, must-read piece by Stanislav Datskovskiy:

I argue that Apple now has not one but two monopolies:

I) A nearly-total monopoly on computer (and pocket computer)
systems designed with good taste.

II) A total monopoly on the Microsoft-free, hassle-free personal
computer.

Mr. Jobs is indeed starting to behave like that other convicted
monopolist we know and love. Yet unlike the latter, Jobs did not
engage in underhanded business practices to create his
monopolies. They were handed to him on a silver platter by the
rest of the market, which insists on peddling either outright crap
or cheap imitations of Apple’s aesthetic.

(Via Alex Payne.)

[From Non-Apple’s Mistake]

This is quite a funny article actually 🙂

Creativity requires a mind, and a herd has none.

Apr 14

Ordered Monday 3PM, arrived Tuesday 11AM (free delivery). Yum!

IMG_5218.JPG copy IMG_5220.JPG IMG_5221.JPG

Not enough room on the table for all of them, but every variety in my order is there.

Apr 12

Best piece I’ve read on the whole thing, by a long shot. Must-read.

[From Louis Gerbarg on Apple, Adobe, Game Interpreters, and Section 3.3.1

This topic has attracted a lot of interesting commentary.

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