REPRINT: Blackberry – The Problem (7/19/12)

Here is a reprint of my 2012 post on why RIMM (Blackberry) failed.


What Happened – A Lesson in Psychology

The simple answer is that they have totally flubbed the move from feature phones to the modern smartphone and tablets. The Blackberry Storm did not go over well, largely due to quality of interface issues, and the PlayBook tablet was a total flop.

But for the investor this information is not enough. This is 20/20 hindsight. By the time RIM dropped to a four year low on June 17, 2011, it was too late. We want to know: How did such a smart company make such a huge mistake? What where the early warning signs?


Full post here

 

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Apple developers conference – the coming revolution


UPDATE

The WWDC has come and gone with no announcement of an updated Apple TV nor network streaming. Still, rumors continue that the Apple is waiting to seal deals for the streaming. With all that was announced, it is likely what I discuss here is merely posponed.
As for the Apple TV – Jonny Evans at ComputerWorld writes:

HomeKit support has been present in the Apple TV firmware since v7.0, though Apple hasn’t discussed it.

So this, at least, is going forward.


On June 8 Apple (AAPL) opens its World Wide Developers Conference, a week long event for developers of apps for both the Mac and iOS platforms. The schedule is full of workshops and sessions that instruct software engineers and designers on the technicalities of the trade – how to program Apple products.

No session is more anticipated than the opening keynote address (10 AM Pacific time). Here CEO Tim Cook and cohorts will present several important classes of information:

  1. Key updates and statistics on the various platforms and products,
  2. Introduction of new versions of iOS and Mac,
  3. Possible introduction of important product upgrades.

The first point will eye-popping figures of product sales, usage statistics for various features such as Apple Pay, the number of billions of dollars that have been earned by iOS app developers, and so on. Hopefully, there will be some update on Apple Watch sales, a topic of great interest.

Number two is a longer section which will detail all that is new in the upcoming versions of the two operating systems. There are rumors that new features will be few as Apple may have focused more on improving performance. This is what it did with the Snow Leopard release, one of its most successful. However, there will be new features added to each system, but that is not my focus here.

In this article I will focus on number three. While there might be an upgrade to the Apple Watch – most likely with a new, faster processor, there is another product that I believe will take center stage.

Continue reading

Interesting iPhone Ad in China

A friend pasted on Facebook this very interesting/cute video of kids in a “China has talent” type of show. (Anyone out there who can correct me on the details, please do.)

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All is fine with the little dribblers, until we get to the 39 second mark, when one of the judges pulls out…

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I guess iPhone IS really big in China. Looks like he has the gold model. I can’t believe that this went unnoticed.

By the way – the kids are awesome!


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Apple Pay – Superficial Critiques

I really do not like to get snarky, but sometimes I see blog posts that are so superficial that I cannot help but be a little testy.

Case in point Apple Pay Has Finally Arrived! Great – But Here Are 7 Reasons It Won’t Be A Slam-Dunk Success by Robert Hof, in Forbes.

First – I totally agree with Hof when he writes

it’s apparent that Apple Pay is far from a guaranteed success.

This definitely is true. No one can predict with surety two basic factors:

  1. Will it work properly?
  2. Will the public accept it?

Typically, Apple’s products and services work pretty well, but there have been some notable exceptions. The move from .mac to me.com was a tremendous mess, and the introduction of Maps seriously flawed. Any system failure even vaguely approaching those will be a disaster. This is people’s credit cards and payments, not simply directions to the nearest movie theater.

As for number two, Apple seems to have a really refined system, and if it works as effortlessly as in Apple’s demo, it will certainly be the easiest method of paying yet available. A simple swipe of your iPhone or Apple Watch by the NFC reader while holding the home button (on the iPhone) and you are done.

But none of this is guaranteed. That is the nature of any business, especially one that is creating a whole new product.

But Hof goes on to list seven important areas where Apple Pay is lacking.

1 –You can’t use Apple Pay unless you buy an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus

Continue reading

The Definitive Debunking of Touch ID Fingerprint Hack

When Touch ID was announced at the iPhone 5s launch, it was immediately besieged by detractors.

One area in particular for detractors is that the Touch ID system is susceptible is via spoofing an owner’s fingerprint. If true, this would  pretty much leave the whole system open to an attacker, and now, with the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay, spoofing would easily expose the owner to fraudulent charges placed on the his credit cards.

The most convincing  exposition on this was by the German Chaos Club group which quickly posted online video of how to spoof the Touch ID sensor system.

With the advent of Apple Pay based on Touch ID, this issue becomes even more critical.

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Two facts are clear:

  1. it works,
  2. it is not all that difficult.

However, there is one clarification to point #2. It ought to read:

Continue reading

Apple Metal Explained

Pedal to the Metal

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In my post to Seeking Alpha I wrote:

  • The final sleeper feature with deep implications for Apple’s future is Metal.
  • Metal is a new technology for writing graphics programs, particularly animations and games. It allows programmers to write code at a much lower level than previously, and this produces a real, up to 10x performance improvement.

Clearly the newest Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad,a nd possibly Apple TV box) will be getting upgraded processors (system on a chip or SoC), the A8. I wrote in detail on the current A7 in this post, and I also presented my speculations on the A8. While Apple’s creative design keeps them a step ahead in the processor race, because they control both the operating system (iOS) and the processor technology

  • Apple is in a unique position to optimize system graphics performance

 

So what is it that they have done?

Continue reading

Microsoft Surface vs Apple: DATA – Make your own analysis

Microsoft has introduced its new Surface Pro 3 computer, billed as both a tablet and a laptop. Naturally, they promoted it as the greatest thing, both at the announcement event, and on their website.

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There, under the selection Surface Pro 3 vs. MacBook Pro, they do a comparison with the MacBook Pro. For those who think that comparing the Surface Pro 3 to a MBP is stretching things a bit, below is a list of comparison figures for you to contemplate. Meanwhile, others say that SP3 is really targeting the MacBook Air ( amore reasonable comparison in my view. At Seeking Alpha, Quoth the Raven has a reasonable analysis, although I think he should to examine the real comparison data here.

[click to enlarge]

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 7.48.06 AM  Notes:

  1. Processor – I am asserting that Apple’s A7 64-bit SoC is roughly equivalent to the Core i3 in the low end surface. Geekbench data below more or less corroborate that, and the Anand tech graphics data indicates the A7 may have a significant edge.
  2. Graphics Processors (GPUs) are built into the Intel chips. Microsoft did not provide detailed specs with its news release, so real comparisons are impossible to make. Just learned the i5 model is the i5-4300U model with HD 4400 GPU running at 2.5Gz. this is similar to the previous model, so I do not expect the benchmarks to increase significantly.
  3. Prices are rounded up $1 or less to nearest multiple of 10.
  4. Keyboard for the Surface 3 costs $130. A similar keyboard, Logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth for iPad Air costs $70 on Amazon. (Weight = 330 g)
  5. Memory – On the MacBooks, I have included both RAM and SSD (RAM based drive) sizes. On most configurations listed, the RAM can be increased as a build to order option.
  6. Weight – I list here the weight both alone and with the keyboard

Unfortunately there is no way of making an objective comparison Continue reading