The Apple Watch is a great accessory- but if you expected Apple to break new ground in wearables, you would be left disappointed. Is this the pass-over of Apple to the banal.
The Apple watch has been around in discussions and blogs for a while. Coming after a slew of Android wearables,the Apple watch was supposed to be what the iPhone was to smartphones: Jesus. The announcement came yesterday night and oh Jesus! My only reaction to the Apple watch is that Apple is blowing it away. Every single point of advantage painstaking built by Steve Jobs is being undone.
We didnot want a iPhone mini – we wanted a wearable – Apple read it wrong- and created a iPhone mini with a few modifications here, there and everywhere.
Any new category needs one “hero” thing it needs to do – in the case of wearables – create alternate health as a business. Apple Watch just created a lot of apps- that can open hotel doors and do other random things. But it didnot do – what it ought to have done – layout an eco-system roadmap that combined technology, body hacking and the health eco-system in one neat package.
I didnot assume Android would do it – but i thought Apple with its consistently disrupting innovations would lay the roadmap to fulfilling this eco-system. The answer to which is – in the current settings – Apple seems to have not done that.
The good thing is that the Apple Watch with its array of sensors has the doorways in place – and possibly Appsters will pick up – but i had expected Apple to come up neat on Health integrations. Mr. Cook didnot get his balance right- and that’s why my expectations from Apple watch remain unfulfilled.
Apple has leveraged its App eco-system to merely create interfaces that complement the iPhone features and functionalities. I expected a novel new device – not an extension of the smartphone.May be Apple is loosing its edge – may be its time for others to push over with disruptions!
Leave your comments on Apple Watch?
(Back Blogging after a month of travel. Besides the habit of blogging seems to be missing out – hopefully, will be more regular)
At a time when Google steps out of the hardware business, Microsoft steps in. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s incoming chief executive, faces some urgent questions: Does the Nokia deal still make sense? And how does Microsoft expect to survive, let alone prosper, in a cut throat hardware market where Google is giving up?
Windows and Nokia marriage makes sense in combining hardware, software and appware – but Nadella and Microsoft are 4 years too late. In an email to Microsoft employees on February 4, his first day as chief executive, Nadella said, “Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.” It’s hard to imagine how Microsoft could be “mobile and cloud-first” without mobile. Does mobile necessarily have to be owning a mobile company?
The basic problem with Microsoft is not technology – but choice and the effects of scale. Android had an opportune entry when Smartphones were gathering momentum and Android took the game away from every one – Symbian, Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft. Now with the effects of scale – Android is the best suited for low end smartphones where as others are still planning forays into $50 smartphones. The basic problem for Microsoft is that Android has won the smartphone war. Not withstanding the din of the third eco-system, Android has taken it away. Today Messrs Brin and page are not worried about Android on smartphones, that is a default arrangment – they are looking at Android in Cars, Android in Glasses, Android in the toaster, fridge – Android as the enabler to Internet of things.
That in sense and effect is the crux of Microspoft’s problem – in a post PC world, where devices are increasingly non- enterprise – they have lost their raison d’etre. Google has successfully migrated itself from Search to the OS synonymous with all things internet. Apple is very clearly the best in terms of combining hardware, OS-ware and App-ware. Come to think of it Microsoft is missing a very clear proposition like Google or Apple. It has enterprise, it has cloud, it has search, it has some gaming, it has a mobile OS, it has a hardware company, it has many things – but it doesnt have the ONE BIG THING. The one big thing from which the future roadmap follows – it is key that Mr. Nadella defines that ONE BIG THING – and creates that. So long, Microsoft continues to be a relic of the past – a jack of many spaces, and the master on none.
I fell out of love with Apple when they launched iPhone5S. I fell in love back again when i read their iWatch concept.
In an earlier post, i had written about iWatch and the path breaking dimensions it was adding to the whole technology domain by being able to monitor (and possibly measure) the state of being. The state of inner being is key to Apple’s ambitions.
By being able to infer a person’s inner state of being, inferred by changes in Systolic, Diastolic pressures, pulse rates, Apple has an algorithm that estimates the person’s mood and serves him with suitable triggers based upon a variety of other external coordinates such as time, location,visit frequencies, past behavior. Apple has filed a patent application that describes a system that would try to gauge some of the user’s physical and behavioral facets to serve up ads that may better appeal and contextually relevant.
The ad delivery system would start by compiling a “baseline mood profile” against which it can compare your future moods. Information that might be captured would include your heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline level, perspiration rate, body temperature, vocal expression, and even your facial expression. The time of day and your current location may also be incorporated to associate those factors with your various moods.The system would then select a specific type of ad based on your current mood and other criteria. As one example listed in the patent application, certain ads might be sent to someone with the following characteristics: gender, male; age, 19-24; location, Northern California or New York City; mood, happy.
It may not be exactly music to advocates of privacy – who could be considered to getting creep-ed out, but this is one exiting dimension which could do a new tthing to the world of ads…
The Macintosh is credited as the machine which transformed home computing and was at the core of the rivalry between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. However the softer aspect that is often lost in translation is the impact that Mac as a design concept had on Apple’s devices, designs and interfaces – it set the gold standard in design expression. Accompanying the launch, was the hugely famous big-budget Ridley Scott-directed commercial called 1984 – named so because of its depiction of a grey, soulless, totalitarian computing environment where one woman dares to break the mould – it promised to change the world forever.
This weekend, the iconic Mac will celebrate its 30th birthday. A quick Look back at the Mac and its Impact on History.
Simply as the Apple Macintosh but has since come to be remembered as the Macintosh 128K. The Macintosh 128K might not have been a perfect machine but its importance as the first computer to offer normal people an acceptable and affordable graphics experience is utterly undeniable, along with its status as the first in a line that’s still with us today.
Macintosh II (1987)
The Macintosh II was a series of computers that represented the very best in what Apple could make in its first golden age. Unlike the 128K, the 512K and the hugely popular Macintosh SE/30, the Mac IIs were modular machines in the true desktop computer sense. Unlike the previous all-in-one devices, you had to buy a monitor separately and you were welcome to expand and add on hardware as you pleased.
They were the first Macs to support colour screens and the first to cope with high resolutions, meaning that you could really see the effects of all that superior graphics processing with which the Apple Macintosh had made its name.
These bumpy beige boxes might not be much of a looker to our modern eyes but they were some of the most powerful personal computers of their day. In processing terms, they had the grand elegance of what the 128K had always been born to have.
PowerBook 100 (1991)
In May 1990, Microsoft released Windows 3.0 to the world. It was the first of the company’s operating systems to be graphically based. It was the same black and white command line system of DOS but dressed up and represented in a pictorial way that made sense to normal people for the very first time. What’s more, it came on IBM and other Intel-based machines that were far cheaper to own than the Apple Macs.
Apple was forced to diversify to survive and its greatest achievement in that period of its history has to be the PowerBooks: miniaturised and actually portable Macintosh computers. The company had a crack at the idea with the Macintosh Portable in 1989, but it was the PowerBook 100 that got it right. It was the first true Macintosh laptop.
The PowerBook 100 came with a built-in trackball and space on the chassis for users to rest their palms – two areas that any portable PCs at the time had entirely missed. By the second generation there were even stereo speakers, colour screens and Ethernet sockets too.
Running all the way from 1991 until 2006, it remains one of the longest-serving lines of Macintosh computers and, in all likelihood, an important the precursor to a laptop you own today.
Power Macintosh 6100 (1994)
Another success story in what were the darker days for Apple was the Power Macintosh. In 1993, Intel introduced the Pentium processor as the successor for the 486 CPU for Windows PCs, and the advantage that it gave over the old Motorola chips at the heart of the Macintosh threatened to flatten Apple.
After rejecting Intel’s advances, Apple funded and designed its own microprocessor known as the PowerPC. It brought the computers coming out of Cupertino (home to Apple’s HQ, in California) back up to speed with the competition and it was the Power Macintosh 6100, with its affectionately dubbed ‘pizza box’ design, that was the first machine to hold one at its core. It was fast, upgradeable and it allowed users to run all kinds of software the like of which they’d never dreamed before. It might not have changed the game, but it certainly kept Apple in it.
Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (1997)
To celebrate the 20th birthday of the company, Apple came up with the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh in 1997. Known to those who owned one as the Tam, it was something of a disaster.
It featured a 12.1-inch LCD screen, a 2GB hard drive and a custom-made Bose 2.1 sound system with satellite speakers and a sub-woofer built in. The trouble is that it was something of a design mess and absurdly expensive given that the Power Macintosh 6500 had similar specs but was $6,000 less expensive.
At the beginning of its year-long life-cycle, the Tam retailed for $9,000. By the end, it had been cut to just $1,995. So, why was this an important Macintosh? Well, because it just might have been the moment that someone on the board decided to give Steve Jobs a call and tell him it was time to come home.
iMac G3 (1998)
In 1997 Steve Jobs returned to Apple and with the British industrial designer Jonathan Ive in charge of the look and feel of its machines, Apple’s dream team was finally in place. Their first project was the Apple iMac G3. It was an all-in-one machine, just like the original Macintosh 128K, and is probably the most important Apple computer of all time.
Up until the G3, all computers were ugly. No one expected anything different. The brightly coloured, translucent plastics that came in a choice of 13 designs, most famously Bondi Blue, was so beyond what everyone else was creating in the computing world at the time that it’s one of the real occasions that can truly be described as a paradigm shift.
With the iMac G3 came the first of those white-background Apple adverts that are still part of the company’s sales patter today. This wasn’t just a Macintosh, nor simply the turning point. It was the moment that Apple became cool.
iBook G3 “Snow” (2001)
While the PowerBook series was seminal to Macintosh laptop history, they still look rather ludicrous in comparison to what we’d carry around today. It required the iBook line to turn up for us to get an idea of the Apple-filled future that lay ahead.
Arriving in 1999 with the rather bizarre clamshell iBook G3 – it was essentially the Bondi Blue iMac G3 squashed flat – the idea was to create a range of laptop computers for the entry-level and consumer markets; laptops for real people.
It took until the 2001 Snow edition for Apple to ditch the bulky build and extraneous carry handle and come up with recognisably portable solution that was now 30% lighter and took up half the volume of the previous model.
With more USBs and connectors than ever before, this was pure Macintosh convenience of the type we all expect modern laptops to be. It was a true answer to a genuine computing need. It was a laptop at which no one would snigger.
The iMac G3 was important. It was. It was the turning point, it was colourful, it was cool. But if you really want Apple style on a plate, if you want a piece of industrial design so very rooted at the heart of what this company is all about, then you need look no further than the Apple iMac G5.
It was this machine that ditched the idea of a computer altogether and it’s so very bang-on a piece of industrial design that it’s still the basic face of iMacs 10 years on. The G5 got rid of the desktop box and hid everything into the screen. For the first time, all your needed was your monitor and a keyboard and mouse to go with it.
It became the gold standard of desktop PCs and every other company wanted to make something like it. They still do.
MacBook Pro (2006)
There are a lot of reasons that make the MacBook Pro both classic and important. It remains very much the laptop of choice for those that can afford it. From its beginnings in 2006 to its Retina Display present, it has provided a compelling combination of processing power, portability and stylish good looks.
Whether you work in technology, the movie industry or you just fancy sitting in Starbucks and looking at Facebook, the MacBook Pro is that one that lets you do it all. From video editing to sending emails, with this machine you’ve got it all covered.
The reason it makes it into our list, however, is because it was the first Macintosh computer to run an Intel chip. Sure, the PowerPC plugged the gaps but teaming up with the king company of microprocessors is what cemented the Mac’s unbeatable status in the modern era. It represented a great unification – great for the two companies and great for the consumer.
MacBook Air (2008)
It took years for the Windows-based PC world to come up with anything to compete with the MacBook Air. Apple proclaimed it to be the thinnest in the world when it was first held aloft in 2008 and, even though its tapering design caused some disputes on that fact, what nobody can deny is that it heralded the dawn of yet another era in computing – the ultraportables.
Having decided that tiny netbooks were not actually what people wanted to use for their computing needs while on the move, Jobs and his pals were able to keep that full keyboard size and ease of use by creating something that was convenient to carry around thanks to its relatively small weight and super-slim lines. What they came up with was the 13-inch MacBook Air – the beginnings of a Macintosh line that still exists today.
Six years on and you can pick up thinner and lighter Windows-running Ultrabook laptops for a fraction of the cost and, indeed, the MacBook Pro line has become so small itself that we might see the end of the Airs in the next year or two. Nonetheless, the MacBook Air will be remembered as the one that was bold enough to rid itself of an optical disc drive and slim enough to fit into a Manila envelope.
Mac Pro (2013)
With both the iMac and MacBook lines all but perfected, there had been little going on in the way of obvious innovation with regard to Cupertino hardware for a few years. Perhaps it had something to do with getting over the sad passing of Steve Jobs 2011 but it went against the grain for a company like Apple. Sure, we saw some Retina Displays and a change from white polycarbonate to a unibody aluminium but the core of the older designs had yet to move on.
It took the arrival of the Mac Pro desktop computer in 2013 for things to get exciting again. It’s hard to know quite how significant this Macintosh will be, given that it’s only just gone on sale, but the look and the features have all the hallmarks of a classic.
The 2013 model shifts things from a desk-hogging tower to a sleek cylinder the size of a cocktail ice bucket. There are enough ports to power as many 4K TVs and displays as you can find and more dual graphics card, quad-core CPUs and insane additional amounts of RAM to keep it relevant for many years to come.
What’s more, the whole design is set around a unified thermal core that draws cool air up through the bottom of the Pro with a single fan of such efficient performance that you’ll barely hear it at all.
Innovation is the name of the game and none understands this better than Apple. So just when their device and design innovation was hitting the plateau – they got the other enablers firing. The one being discussed here is Apple’s 64 bit A7 micro-processor.
The industry standard in micro-processor is a 32 Bit thingie – which plays in all smartphones. A 64-bit processor handles data in bigger chunks than 32-bit processors, so it can get jobs done faster. PCs have had 64-bit chips for a while, but until Apple introduced the iPhone 5s in September, nobody had put one in a smartphone.
While both Samsung and Qualcomm, both key players in the Android eco-system have the 64 Bit micro-processor in their roadmaps with a Q1 2014 and Q2 2014 time frame of launch – Apple’s Q3 launch of the A7 – puts Apple ahead of its rivals – in terms of perfecting the chip and rubbing off the rough edges. In the past, the iPhone was zippy not because it boasted a super-powerful processor, but because of the way Apple integrated the whole system — hardware and software — and the fact that Apple could tightly control how developers wrote code for the iPhone. An analogy would be a sports car that manages to be fast with a small engine because it is light, well-engineered, and has a great suspension. But now Apple can also claim an advantage in raw horsepower. The new 64-bit A7 chip is the smartphone equivalent of a big V12 engine.
Many in the industry do not still behold the importance of 64bit microprocessor. If the convergence industry is venturing into uncharted lands such as wearables – with different other functions such as Body monitoring or Augmented Reality applications, a higher order chipset will then become the next essential. Apple with its iWatch sees this as the promised land and the 64bit chip as the deliverance and has made the jump. It would have a 1 yr experential advantage with this 64 Bit chip when compared to others. Deep down, I am sure that a 128 Bit Chip could also be in the Horizon.
So what Android dominates device shipments with a 80% market share and Apple is dropping down at 14%. NetApplications’ November 2013 report shows that Apple still rules the mobile internet space contributing to 55% of traffic to internet from devices.
Apple has been loosing on the mobile internet share over the last 12 months given the onslaught of Android devices. Given that Apple is now reduced to a minority with no low end presence to take on the might of the Android’s, this share is set to fall further.
The worldwide smartphone market grew 38.8% year over year in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13), according to the IDC. Thus, a total of 258.4 million smartphones were shipped in 3Q13, establishing a new record for units shipped in a single quarter by more than 9.0%. The previous high was 237.0 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2013. Price points have declined significantly, driven largely by low-cost Android solutions.China has become one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, accounting for more than one third of all shipments last quarter. This trend is expected to continue going forward. The Android smartphone platform has created vast opportunities for new vendors to get into the smartphone space and, in turn, has produced new competitive pressures at the top of the market. Vendors from outside the top 5 continue to control nearly half the worldwide smartphone market in terms of shipments. In 3Q13, Chinese vendors Huawei and Lenovo moved past LG, and not far behind are two more Chinese companies, Coolpad and ZTE. Any of these vendors could change position again next quarter. But in addition to having close shipment volumes, they all have one key ingredient in common: Android. This has been a huge factor in their success, but it also speaks to the challenges of differentiation on the world’s most popular platform.Looking ahead, strong momentum is expected to continue going into the fourth quarter, and another record quarter and year in the worldwide smartphone market. With already strong growth in 3Q13 and multiple vendors launching flagship models, the market will be poised to reach one billion units for the year. It’s a significant milestone considering the market shipped just half a billion units in 2011. Moving forward, what remains to be seen is how the various companies and platforms will stay differentiated and relevant in the increasingly competitive market.
In the worldwide mobile phone market (inclusive of smartphones), vendors shipped 467.9 million units in 3Q13 compared to the 442.7 million units shipped in 3Q12, representing 5.7% year-over-year growth. Third quarter shipments were up 7.0% when compared to the 437.4 million units shipped in 2Q13.
Interestingly enough the category of phones apart from the smartphones reduced by 18.4% from 256.5mln handsets in Q3 2012 to 209.5mln Q3 2013. Feature Phones are thus a shrinking category globally!
“I think the wrist is interesting” – Tim Cook
A compelling solution on the wrist is what Apple is focussed about as the next path of evolution in devices. Apple has also filled for a patent for an advanced wearable computer in the form of a bracelet that also doubles up as a watch.Apple’s patent details include:
1) A flexible substrate having a flat state and a curled state.
2) A flexible display disposed upon a first surface of the flexible substrate, where in the curled state the flexible substrate conforms to an appendage of the end-user.
3) The flexible substrate also includes an electronic module in communication with the flexible display, the electronic module providing information to the display, at least a part of which is presented in real time for presentation by the display.
4) The patent also states the use of a solar panel beneath the display of the watch as well as energy from the body movements/kinetics
In terms of features, one would expect a lot of sensors to go with the iWatch as is evident from the recent hiring trend at Apple (they have been picking up people from AccuVein, C8 MediSensors and Senseonics. Sensors would be key to Apple’s iWatch as it prepares to take the technology game into the “state of being” – Keiros as i had earlier blogged about.
The other definite spot on the Apple iWatch belongs to AMOLED/ OLED screens as light sources to use the light as a probe to collect a variety of biological information backed by a very high fidelity light sensor/ detector.
Apple has a lot of competence in the sensor space which it acquired a series of sport related patents from PhatRat years ago which covered medical sensor strips and a body area network that we reported on back in early 2010.
Apple also has launched the M7 motion coprocessor in the iPhone 5s. The key task of this processor would be to collect motion data (via accelerometer, compass and gyroscope). Apple could bring in a whole new generation of more advanced health and fitness apps based on this processor. The magic about M7 also stems from its “contextual sensitivity”. The processor identifies user movement and can tell apps if the user is stationary, walking, or driving based.
To keep the ball rolling, Apple had a striking message in the WWIDC on creation and focus – and in the order of Apple’s culture – it is telling..
For the sake of the next in technology – let us hope the iWatch be the deliverence of Apple. The Apple that we have missed of late!
Apple has been one of the most innovative companies in the world. Based on the vision of Steve Jobs, it has created products that truly changed the world, such as the Macintosh, iPod, iPad, and App Store. Despite these accomplishments, Apple’s pace of innovation has slowed, causing the company to lose its edge as a market leader. Aside from creating products that delight consumers and starting an entire industry of app developers, Apple’s relentless and rapid drive for innovation has made investors wealthy. When the company released the iPod in 2001, Apple had less than $5.5 billion in revenue and its stock price hovered around $20; the company’s total market capitalization was $7 billion at that time. Today, Apple’s market capitalization is about $500 billion and its stock price is currently around $500.
Apple’s poor record on innovation in recent years is also reflected in market share numbers. According to IDC, Android has 75% of the smartphone market, compared to Apple’s 17%. In addition, Samsung holds a much larger share of the world smartphone market than does Apple.
Apple was once the leader, innovating rapidly and bringing the most interesting products in the world to market. Today, the company lives on past success and future promises, without the innovation we expect. So, yes, the lack of new products has hit Apple hard. For proof, look no farther than Apple’s poor stock performance, which is truly a measure of confidence in the company.Since Steve Jobs sad passing, Apple has released extensions to existing products rather than anything profoundly new. Product line extensions represent a natural evolution for established brands. For example, Apple has released new iPhones, faster laptops, and better screens on the iPad but nothing game changing since the original iPad.
Lack of innovation is the kiss of death for a technology company that relies on innovation as the foundation for its existence. Both Google and Samsung now offer phones and tablets in various sizes, experimenting with various form factors, sizes, and operating system features.As an interesting point of comparison, look at this chart comparing the stock performance of Apple and Samsung. The blue line shows Samsung while the red indicates Apple. Note which stock is doing more poorly:
As Apple sits still, competitors are extending the concept of mobile devices and releasing numerous products. Samsung even introduced a smart watch ahead of Apple’s anticipated offering.
With the iPhone 5C and 5S, one has to sadly acknowledge that Apple’s glory days of innovation are past. There are many who opine that Apple’s products are so good that short-term product delays don’t matter in the larger scheme of Apple greatness. This tempting argument is wrong, however, because the company has run out of “insanely great” ideas. That the real problem and explains why the company once known as the world’s innovation king is now relegated to product line extensions and little more.
The iPhone 5C and 5S are great products – but they are not fundamentally new nor are they insanely great!!
Reproduced by ZD.net article by Michael Krigsman
The iPhone 5S and 5C have been announced – and unlike the earlier Apple keynotes have not been able to set the fanboys, device geeks and blogosphere ablaze as is customary. Between the iPhone 5C and 5S, Apple finds itself caught in the middle of nowehere. At $599, iPhone5C is not exactly mid range and it remains to be a Veblen. It remains to be seen if the iPhone 5C with 2 year contract is able to turn the volumes for Apple – the way it would want to.
However, to me the greater dissappointment is the iPhone5S. Innovation can be looked under a 2-axis paradigm. The Vertical axis is an addition of a feature (e.g Siri, Retina Scroll etc); the Horizontal axis is the enhancement of a feature (e.g 8MP with dual flash over 5MP). The 5S scores minimally in the vertical axis and most of the additions are mostly on the horizontal axis.
1. The look and feel of the device doesnot get better. (0 on both axis)
2. The Fingerprint Sensor has innovation and novelty value. However, the Motorola Attrix 4G stakes a claim to the same feature which it launched 2 years back. The iPhone5S does have a 360 degree readibility. (However, this is +1 on the Horizontal axis)
3. Dual LED Flash- There are niceties here – but most of these are innovations or new features on the horizontal scales.(+1 on Horizontal axis)
4. The 7.6 mm thickness is a wow… but when you compare it to Galaxy S4, its just a drab tie – nothing that pushes Apple past the present standards (0 in both axis)
5. 64Bit mobile architecture and a new A7 chip – While the jury is still out on this.. but agreeably there will be some additions to speeds, performance, feel, battery life, processing power etc. (+1 on Vertical axis). For the 64bit architecture to show true colours, Apple will need to have an eco-system of Apps.
6. The iSight Camera takes the camera experience larger image sensor, aperture and increased sensitivity. In terms of usability, it scores well. (+1 on Horizontal axis)
7. iOS7 takes the incremental route to innovation – (+1 on Horizontal axis)
There you have it…. Apple’s iPhone 5S has 2 0s, 3 on Horizontal axis and 2 on Vertical axis. Thats not very Apple-esque.
The greatest grouse with Apple is taking the screen size ahead… With a 4″ screen, Apple is atleast 50% behind the 5.7-6″ form factors. The larger size screens have led the growth of the Android high end devices by leaps and bounds over the last 2 years. In 2012, when Apple announced the 4″ form factir it had seen large migrationsfrom the earlier 3.5″ Apple devices which really helped garnering record volumes. The success of the larger form factors is evident from the fact that Smartphones with screen sizes of 5- to just under 7-inch, colloquially known as phablets, overtook shipments of each of the portable PC and tablet device categories in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) in the second quarter of 2013, according to IDC.
I dont intend to count out Apple for a few of these misses- Tim Cook and the folks at Apple do think that larger is not essentially better – a sound philosophy – but the lack of tangible innovation and features may be garish to the technology crown leader. Does iPhone 5S have it all that it takes to keep Apple out in front? Possibly not