New Apple goodies

The evening the big 2015 Apple event took place again. A lot of the predictions came out, so no big surprises; a iPad Pro, a new iPhone and Apple TV. This will not mean it will not have an impact.

The iPad Pro was needed as the gap between iPhones and iPad became too little and there is no need for using the iPad anymore for normal tasks. The new iPad is aiming for specialising uses like reading, drawing or professional use. I don’t know about the keyboard but a stylus is very useful for drawing.

Talking on the Apple TV. With the big words in the legacy of Steve Jobs it was to be expected that the result of the reinvention of TV is less excited than hoped. Nevertheless it app model could make it possible to give the TV a new place in the home, especially if the apps can link all devices.

Most interesting is the new step with Siri for interacting with Apple TV. The conversational interface is definitely on the rise and we will see a lot happening. Apple TV can help to accelerate this trend.

The iPhone 6s has two important new things. The force touch -now called 3D Touch- in combination met haptic feedback will create a revolution in the design patterns from mobile devices. Touch and feel is a very powerful design material that has been underestimated till now. Just like a lot of product inventions of Apple the impact is in the detailing and possibilities it unlocks.

The second important introduction seems not so big maybe. The lease option for the phone offered by Apple, a subscription model with guarantee for the latest models now, but this could be very well the first step to a total package of Apple that surpasses the mobile carriers with a software based subscription.

So as always not the direct news is the most important and impactful, the possibilities and hints to the future are.


Metcalfe’s Law for the Apple Watch

Unboxing an Apple Watch and having the first experiences using it did deliver an interesting insight: it triggers the Metcalfe Law with the new form of communication.

Metcalfe’s Law describes how the value of a networked product increases with the number of nodes in the network. This goes in extremes with complete new technologies. For instance, the first owner of the fax machine had a useless machine. And so had the first couple of hundred or even thousand. The essence of using a fax machine is to have someone else to be able to receive the message.

Within the Apple Watch the same is happening with the taptic communication. It is a rather interesting feature to be able to share messages with others via the tapping on your watch. Just like the heartbeat and the little drawings. I believe that it could be very powerful in setting a new way of sharing your nearness on a more serious level than for instance Yo.

Still with so little people in your network having a watch, that is typical for this moment in the roll-out, it is hard to find others to seriously use this function. Everyone knows someone to create a little demo, but the real value of the function will arise if you can use it with lots of people.

This also part of the strategy of course. If this function turns out to be so strong and wanted by people it could trigger the sales of the watches. You need to have one not to be left out.

How enthusiastic I am on haptic interactions like this taptic communication, I doubt that it will be strong enough to trigger the sales. Or more precise: the on boarding for new users is to high with 350 euro’s. But maybe Apple will integrate this system into other devices in the end translating the tapping into sound for instance on your phone. If certainly would help Apple Watch grow benefitting Metcalfe’s Law.

Will Apple kill NFC?

We had a keynote address on the new iPhone last Tuesday as you probably know. And a lot of people were disappointed with the news. But what else is new. At the same time the strategy of Apple remains as it was and will be: making the best products for premium prices, and earn a good living. Going for mass markets with cheap phones does not fit this idea. But I will not go into that discussion, enough people said smart things on that.

In the new presented phones there are enough interesting aspects. First is the way the 5s is becoming a hub for everything. Connecting a screen together with the move to more streaming than storing in Apple TV and we see that this is the TV set we will have. In that sense it looks a lot like the model of Google’s Chromecast, but they will be creating a more seamless experience I expect. The difference will be in connecting and connection.

One of the most interesting parts of the new step in their smart product strategy is the role of NFC. Or better, the neglecting of NFC. It seems that Apple is choosing for another technology; bluetooth, and then especially the low energy variation. They combine this with the iBeacon option in the SDK to create a better solution for NFC. The well-known strategy to try to make an experience better. This article does a good analysis on the consequences.

The use of a near field technology is highly dependable of market adoption. So we can expect a fight here on standards. It seems like Apple is planning to break the market with their preferred technology. Just like with Flash and the Floppy disk. Sometimes they win that war sometimes they don’t. Let see what happens here. It will depend on the adoption by products and services like this Estimote. One of the strong aspects of the Bluetooth model can be the possible interoperability with other solutions like mesh based product to product networks.

We enter an interesting future, that’s for sure.

The new phase of the iPad

Well, there was a keynote of Apple again today with some serious product introduction. In case your read this some months later and already forgot about it; the new iPad was introduced. Mainly. Just like the last couple of keynotes the specs where predicted in advance and in the fight for the best news the expectations where set higher than was met. On first sight. This keynote has as most of the Apple events relevance for the development of the brand. In short some thoughts.

First of all on the evolution of the iPad. The upgrade seems to be a good one. The new iPad is definitely desirable and has some serious improvement in the experience of the device. With a stunning screen and quicker processor. And better cameras (less important). The most important shift in the device angle is the name. Everyone expected a succeeding number like iPad 3, or iPad HD for the new screen. It became just iPad. GigaOM did a good analysis that I highly agree on: this is the way to express the iPad to be grown up into a category product. Just like the iMac is for the desktop and the MacBook for the laptop. From now on we will see incremental upgrades on this setup. That is also the reason the design of the outside is almost the same. That makes it possible to keep the iPad 2 as a cheaper version. This trick was already tested with the iPhone introduction and it works. In this sense they becoming a solution for an even bigger audience.

Next up will probably a smaller screen to diversify the range somewhat more. It is as Tim Cook told us, the best proof of the new post PC area we have entered. The introduction of iOS5 last year was key, with the over the air updates. The iPad will be the primary and maybe even only ‘traditional’ computing device. It will be interesting to see if the iPhone will change radically on the outside later this year, or will be a internal based upgrade (like NFC chips).

The software changes are also more and more important again. iPhoto makes the iPad a default device for photo editing. And the same goes for iMovie and even iWork, that becomes sufficient for home use. You can expect that we will see more accessories for using that kind of programs (like keyboards). Also the use of more than one iPad together which is possible with the new Garageband is an interesting development to watch. One aspect is that we will have more and more personal iPads (not family based) and the connection of all the family devices and temporary guest devices to a local subset of iCloud to a HomeCloud will a logical step. Something where the BergCloud is also a nice example.

Here it is interesting to make the step to the AppleTV that was also introduced with an upgrade. Some find the upgrade disappointing, but I think that it is just an incremental upgrade to the fit the HomeCloud standard, and we can expect some true upgrades with the iTV empowered with an Appstore in the summer. At that moment the HomeCloud will be injected in all our devices and maximize the share of life. As Tim Cook ended his talk; this is just the beginning of a defining year for Apple. With the next iPhone becoming our identity provider and wallet I think they will dominate a complete the post PC era.

How Apple boosts the real Internet of Things

We are entering a new phase in the Internet of Things. It is a promise for years, but it seems that we are heading to a tipping point. And Apple’s new iOS5 could be a accelerator. Tomorrow the new version of the mobile operation system for the iPhone will be introduced, and one of the most interesting speculations on the news is the integration of Twitter deeply in the OS, together with the introduction of iCloud. The real difference of a Twitter integration comes not with the sharing your pictures directly from the tools, but will be the way Twitter will evolve in a notification platform for smart objects via your phone. How does this could work?
Continue reading How Apple boosts the real Internet of Things

The hidden next steps of an Apple keynote

Why are those Apple keynotes of new products always that big fun. Of course it is the excitement of the new great products that are introduced. But even more the knowing there are some serious steps ahead which we cannot think of yet. These steps are in a way hidden in the talk.

The real surprises are not anymore the product that is introduced. The secrets are not kept anymore, deliberately or not. The interesting guessing starts only after the speech: what are the real consequences of this new product.

So we have a new iPhone and it is beautiful. But what are the hidden developments this time? Some thoughts.

  • rebranding iPhone OS to iOS is expected to be the sign of making this OS a carrier of a lot of new devices that will be connected: of course the iPad and the expected new AppleTV. But maybe even a small desktop. As Steve put it: “we will be connecting ten million of devices this year”
  • especially on the AppleTV the expectations are high. Will it be just an upgrade of the current concept with the new iOS or will Apple make real TV’s as an intelligent screen. I think the last is not so logic, but there is a chance that the new AppleTV will turn every screen in an internet connected TV by adding live TV capabilities.
  • with the introduction of an open standard for FaceTime the are going for videochat domination in the device world. Well maybe, but it is of course crucial that as many people as possible are FaceTime enabled, you have to obey Metcalfe’s Law.
  • creating a new gesture interface experience with the glass back. Adding tickling-on-the-back features in coming releases will be interesting. Or just adding new sensing possibilities for light our devices will be more an more sensors to our environment.
  • the introduction of iBooks, iMovie, unified inbox and later as expected also iWork shows the cloud computing focus where the device is just the remote control of the mobile life service Apple is providing. Seamless syncing will be a central feature.

Overall I think the new iPhone contributes a lot to the strategy of Apple to keep and expand there share of the market by put real focus on the best device experience and above of all the most balanced ecosystem that will be the key to success. In that manner they will keep there differentiation of other players as Google that never can meet up with this product and service quality. There will be room for both in the market but Apple will prove to make the best profit and lock-in.

De nieuwe slag van Apple

Afgelopen 22 mei presenteerde Christian Lindholm op The Web and Beyond zijn visie over social computing. Hij illustreerde dat aan de hand van de Asus Eee PC die hij een gouden toekomst voorspelde. Dat zou wel eens net zo’n succes kunnen worden als Apple heeft geboekt. Gisteren heeft Apple weer een sprong voorwaartst gemaakt. En dan doel ik niet op de nieuwe iPhone die alles doet wat werd verwacht, maar op het nieuwe MobileMe.
Hiermee zet Apple een nieuwe standaard in cloud computing en boort daarbij een nieuwe geldstroom aan. Continue reading De nieuwe slag van Apple

De nieuwe Apple is niet van Apple

Begin van het jaar zat ik te filosoferen over wat mogelijke nieuwe ontwikkelingen voor dit jaar. Een van dingen waar ik aan dacht was een “opgeblazen Ipod Touch” als subnotebook. Waar het toetsenbord dus vervangen wordt door het touchscreen. Grappig genoeg zie je dat nieuwe versie van de OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) die weg is opgegaan.

Overigens was een van de sprekers op The Web And BeyondChristian Lindholm – afgelopen donderdag er stellig van overtuigd dat een touchscreen veel te duur is om als toetsenbord te dienen. Ook hij zag overigens dat Apple met de introductie van de Macbook Air een nieuwe strategie inging waarbij “nieuwe haakjes” worden gemaakt via de Timecapsule en .Mac. Ik noemde het eerder de opkomst van de remote client.

Zijn betoog voor de Eee PC van Asus als de nieuwe 9″-standaard van mobiele devices was zeer aansprekend. Het ziet het als het voorbeeld van een nieuwe vorm van digitale experience: ‘casual computing’. Met als belangrijk aspecten: ‘improved 9″ experience, ‘hardware driver presence’, ‘platform agnostic video calling’, ‘unified messaging’, ‘Blackberry style always on connectiivity’ en ‘Seamless cloud computing’.

Als zijn voorspelling van 0,5 miljard verkochte units uitkomt heeft Apple daar ook een geduchte concurrent. Een van de bezoekers geloofde hem in ieder geval en kocht direct aandelen Asus.

Zorgt Apple voor de social tv revolutie?

Vandaag las ik dat Apple een groot aantal nieuwe patenten heeft aangevraagd voor Apple TV. Een daarvan is een patent voor het toepassen van widgets binnen de tv omgeving.

Dat is geen nieuw idee. Diensten als Ustream en Operator11 bieden de mogelijkheid video en chat te combineren. Net als het nieuwe Yahoo!Live zijn dat echter webcam gebaseerde oplossingen. Joost heeft al sinds het begin de mogelijkheid om binnen hun online tv kanaal tegelijker widgets op te roepen en te chatten en biedt dus eigenlijk hetzelfde.

Maar Apple zou best wel eens het verschil kunnen maken. Omdat het te verwachten is dat een oplossing die ze maken het gebruik wel goed doordacht is. Bij Joost houdt een barriere door in de computer omgeving te werken, maar wel een tv-ervaring te willen simuleren.

Je ziet nu al voorbeelden ontstaan van sociale TV ervaringen in Twitter. Buiten je eigen huiskamer wordt samen met je eigen sociale peergroep over een uitzending gesproken. Dat doortrekken in de live omgeving van de tv uitzending op het toestel kan een interessante toepassing zijn.

Belangrijk is natuurlijk dat Apple geen eigen systeem voor chatten of tweeten gaat opzetten zoals Joost dat wel doet. Als je vanuit je bestaande groep mensen kunt werken zou dat veel krachtiger zijn. Apple laat zien met de eigen widgets dat ze dit op deze manier behandelen.

Bij de laatste keynote van Steve Jobs bleek al dat Apple met de nieuwe versie van Apple TV sociale aspecten wil gaan uitbreiden, en heel belangrijk, de computerkoppeling loslaat. Als ze het mogelijk maken om het ‘gewone internet’ te mixen met live-tv dan zou er best eens een interessante vorm van social TV kunnen ontstaan.

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