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All posts tagged "apple"

Friday, December 31, 2010

What The Geeky Got for Gifts

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 05:30 PM


"If you got an iPad as a gift during the holidays, you certainly weren't alone. In a recent poll of holiday gift recipients, iPads accounted for a full 22.7% of all gadget or hardware gifts, making iPads the single largest category in our gift poll, outstripping the nearest runner-up by nearly 14% of votes. That runner-up was Amazon's Kindle - not surprising considering that the Kindle is the best-selling product in Amazon's history."

It's a relatively small sampling size - less than 2400 votes, and only from people who read Mashable - but among the geek-set, there are a couple of stand-out points: the iPad was the #1 gift, more people got Macs (60%) than Windows machines (40%), Android phones let the way in the smartphone category with a hefty 50.3% figure (iPhones were 30%), but Windows Phone 7 devices at 10.3% just eeked out Blackberry devices (9.4%). Not bad for a brand new platform that most people still haven't heard about! Lastly, the Xbox/Kinect one-two punch clobbered the PS3 with a 54.3% figure versus only 11.9% for the PS3. The Kinect really is driving the Xbox 360 to new heights of popularity!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Official Windows Phone Connector for OS X

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Software" @ 05:56 PM


"Windows Phone 7 Connector is coming, for all you Windows Phone 7 obsessives stashing media on your previously incompatible OS X machine. No, it's not Zune for Mac, but it does get the job done: we've been testing it out over the last few days, so read on for our impressions."

As I suspected, 99% of the headlines out there over the past week the were proclaiming that the "Zune desktop software is coming to OS X" are flat-out wrong. It's amazing how people twist and conflate pieces of information. Anyway, if you're an OS X user and you want a simple way to get music, photos, and videos onto your Windows Phone 7 - the reviewer doesn't say whether it also works with the Zune...I'd like to think it does given the platform similarities, but I can't say for sure. The beta comes out October 24th, at which point I'll take it for a spin myself and see what works and what doesn't. What I don't understand is why Microsoft is being so coy about this - it's a pretty significant move!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Apple Ousts Microsoft as Technology Company with the Biggest Market Cap

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 04:30 PM


"In the less-than-three months since Apple first passed Wal-Mart to hold the third highest market capitalization among U.S. companies, Apple's stock price has continued to increase while second-place Microsoft has seen its shares drift downward. The combination of events has quickly closed the gap between the two companies, and today Apple finally surpassed Microsoft in market capitalization for the first time in 20 years, although second-by-second fluctuations currently see the two companies frequently swapping positions."

This happened two days ago, but the results are still basically the same: Apple is now worth more than Microsoft. Looking back a decade or so, I doubt anyone could have predicted this - Apple was on the verge of going bankrupt, and Microsoft had more money than they knew what to do with. Microsoft is still worth a great deal in terms of market cap, but so is Apple. Personally, the stock market puzzles me - it's irrational and often ignorant. Microsoft posted some stunning results last quarter, earning a huge bump in profit, and their stock barely blipped. Not a great time to be a Microsoft shareholder (which I am, in a small way).

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Cost of Our Shiny Gadgets

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:00 PM


"It's obvious, by now -- or it should be -- that something's going on at Foxconn -- the owners of massive factories in China which most famously assembles Apple products (though it's also responsible for many, many others). There have been several suicide attempts this year -- at least a few of them successful (though it's been pointed out that the number is pretty much on par with the rest of China) -- and over the past few days we've seen what can only be called a shocking expose by a worker who went undercover there."

Engadget's Laura June shares her thoughts on the real cost of the gadgets we know and love - because this Foxconn issue isn't just about Apple; they make products for HP and other big OEMs. I share June's thoughts that I'm not an economist; I know enough about wages to know that they need to be appropriate for the country the workers are in...you can't just take a North American minimum wage figure and use that. On the other hand, I support the concept of a "living wage" no matter what country we're talking about - if someone can't make a reasonable living working 40 hours a week, then they're not getting paid enough (and that applies to my own country as well).

I'd be a hypocrite if I said that the plight of the workers making my gadgets was at the forefront of my mind when I opened the package on a new device, but it's definitely something I've been thinking about more lately. Do I like cheap gadgets? Yes. But would I be willing to pay 10% more, knowing that money would make its way back to the workers in the form of better pay (which would be hard to do, but possible)? Yes, I absolutely would. Would you?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Windows 7 Market Share After One Month Surpasses Entire Apple OS X Installed Base

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 06:00 AM


"Windows 7 passed the 5% market share milestone last weekend, which put it, if only temporarily, above the total market share of all versions of Apple's Mac OS X, a Web measurement firm said today. Last Saturday and Sunday, Windows 7 powered an estimated 5% and 5.14% of all computers that were online those days, according to Internet metrics vendor Net Applications. The two-day average of 5.07% was higher than the 5% of the market that Net Applications said Apple's operating system averaged for the week of Nov. 15-21."

This is a welcome reality check. I know that Apple has tremendous mind-share because they spend an ungodly amount of money on prime-time TV advertising telling us how much Windows "sucks", but at the end of the day only 5 out of 100 computers on this planet are Macs running OS X. The market share for Windows that same week was 92.64%. The numbers say a lot - and no amount of reality-distortion field spinning is going to change that. Macs might be the perfect computing solution for some people, but they're not a mass-market product, no matter how hard the Mac faithful want to believe that.

There's also a weird reality distortion bubble in the media - many people in the media/blogging tech world use Macs. A far higher percentage than the rest of the world; just look at figure 2 in this article. I don't know whether it's techno-savvy people who got sick of Windows, or the uber-geek's desire to try the next shiny and new thing, but at many tech events I'm in the minority using a Windows laptop. At that Mobius event OS X had 53% market share; in the rest of the world, 5%. Funny things can happen when you get a bunch of Mac users in the room: they think their platform always matters, even when it doesn't. Sounds harsh, right? Let me explain. Read more...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reactions of a Zune Fan to the September 2009 iPod Announcements

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 12:33 PM

Because I'm sitting here watching the superb gdgt coverage of the Apple iPod event, I figured I might as well multi-task and jot down some point form reactions and thoughts on what I'm reading. It's important to understand what "the other guys" are up to - that's the main reason why I bought an iPod Touch earlier this year; I wanted to understand how the App Store worked, to see how good the browser was, and to get experience using the on-screen keyboard. Here are my reactions to today's Apple event, in chronological order:

  • Good to hear Steve Jobs is healthy - organ donation is so important. I've signed my organs away if something happens to me, and you should too. If you're dead, they won't do you any more good, so why not share?
  • 1.8 billion applications downloaded - that's a huge, impressive number. Apps matter. Microsoft has always said that software matters, but they've historically done a poor job of showing that on Windows Mobile and the Zune. They're finally getting rolling with a Windows Mobile app store, but apps on the Zune are still a bit of a question mark. Sure, we've had a couple games since the last generation units, but no cohesive plan on Microsoft's part to roll out a Zune games store, or to sync up with what the Xbox guys are doing.
  • iTunes is in 23 countries. The Zune Marketplace is in one. Microsoft's US-centric approach with the Zune is maddening...I thought there was some light at the end of the tunnel when they launched the Zune in Canada last year, but we never got the Zune Marketplace here, and now the devices being sold here are being killed off. "Disaster" is a good word for how well the Zune launch went in Canada. Between the Zune HD being US-only at launch, and all of the IP-based geographic blocking madness that the Zune software and Web site does, it's like the Zune team is doing everything they can to alienate everyone in the world outside the US. More after the break. Read more...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Apple Matters: Zune is Serious

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 06:23 PM


“The Zune’s introduction was met with much criticism from the Apple community and was passed off as an iPod knockoff. Recently, Microsoft updated the platform and proved why Apple should be wary of the Redmond based company.

Consumer friendly hardware. Those three words don’t seem like something that would go hand in hand with Microsoft, but when it comes to the Zune, the two share the same traits. Compared to the iPod and even iPhone, the Zune lacks in design and capabilities, but after the recent introduction of two new flash players and a product refresh, Microsoft just showed how a product should be made in terms of support. “

Well, the reception that the Zune G2 line is getting is far different than the reception that the G1 line received. There are even Apple diehards who, even if they have no intention of getting a Zune, at least see that Microsoft has a serious entry into the market. Tanner sees what Microsoft is doing with the Zune and he realizes the potential. And while I think we’re a year or two away still from seeing a Zune device that will make people stop in their tracks and buy it over an iPod, the writing on the wall is there.

We may never see that day. I’m not convinced Apple can’t be beat though. The Walkman dominated the market partially due to its innovation and ‘must have’ appeal. That’s what the iPod is doing. The difference, today, is that the world is faster paced than most people can keep up with. If Apple fans can see it, then I think there might be something to it.

Tags: apple, opinion

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sizing It Up: iPod nano (2G) vs. iPod nano (3G) vs. Zune (4GB/8GB)

Posted by Darius Wey in "Smartphone Talk" @ 11:08 PM


As promised, here's the size comparison of the flash-based second- and third-generation iPod nano and the 4GB/8GB Zune. Enjoy!

Sizing It Up: iPod classic (80GB) vs. iPod touch vs. Zune (30GB) vs. Zune (80GB)

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 10:55 PM


Here we go: a size comparison of the 80GB iPod classic, iPod touch, 30GB Zune, and 80GB Zune. Despite sporting a larger screen (please tell us its resolution, Microsoft), the 80GB Zune is noticeably smaller than its predecessor, the 30GB Zune. Thanks to Zune Thoughts reader, enemes, for getting the ball rolling. We'll have a comparison of the flash-based iPod nano and Zune for you in just a moment.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

iPod Amnesty Bin at Zune HQ

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 11:12 AM


This picture needs a witty caption. That's where you come in. Start posting. ;)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Defying the Laws of Physics: Zune on a Mac

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 07:45 PM

Click the image above for a larger version.

Zune on a Mac? Yes, it's possible - and no, I'm not talking about the Boot Camp workaround. Parallels Desktop for Mac makes it easy to run Windows and Mac OS simultaneously, although unlike older virtualization products such as Microsoft's retired Virtual PC for Mac, Parallels Desktop offers an extra set of features that take the virtualization experience to the next level. The latest beta offers a new mode known as Coherence, which blends Windows with Mac OS to create an ultimate desktop environment where interaction is seamless. Both Windows and Mac applications appear on a single desktop and co-exist in the Dock and the Cmd+Tab interface.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

O'Reilly: Half a Dozen Lessons Apple Should Take From the Zune

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 09:00 AM


"Yeah, yeah. The Zune may be a miserable failure according to some, but there are definitely some positive points about the Zune that Apple should take note of and consider emulating. Here is my list of six lessons Apple might consider learning from the Zune and implementing in their iPod line."

Some of Erica Sadun's points are valid. Fingerprint and scratch-resistant? That's a big one. One thing I love about the Zune is its hardiness, though to Apple's credit, the current generation iPod nano and iPod shuffle deserve some of the limelight because they do not share the same scratch-happy characteristics of the hard disk-based iPods. And what about the not-so-valid points? All the chatter about improved menus and a bigger screen had merit prior to the start of the new year, though with Apple's iPhone set to hit us in a few months time, said points are effectively nullified.

Can you think of any to add to Erica's list?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Microsoft Discussed Apple Partnership in '03

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 08:00 PM


"Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, as early as 2003 considered a partnership with Apple Inc. or creating its own digital music player to rival Apple's dominant iPod. Microsoft, displeased with hardware partners Creative Technology Ltd. and Dell Inc. that made players using Microsoft's Windows Media software, talked about building its own device, according to an e-mail exchange between Windows chief Jim Allchin and media software executive Amir Majidimehr. The correspondence, introduced into evidence in a civil antitrust trial against Microsoft in Des Moines, Iowa, was made public today. Allchin, who started the exchange in an e-mail entitled "sucking on media players," also suggested he talk to Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs to get the iPod to work with Microsoft's media software for fear the iPod would "drive people away from Windows Media Player." Microsoft introduced its Zune music player in November. "My goodness it's terrible," Allchin wrote about one of Creative's devices. "What I don't understand though is I was told the new Creative Labs device would be comparable to Apple. That is so not the case." Majidimehr replied "Now you feel our pain." He said Microsoft was providing cash incentives to get the partners to improve devices. If that doesn't work "it is time for us to roll up our sleeves and do our own hardware," he wrote."

So apparently, Jim Allchin was so disappointed with the Window Media software experience on third-party vendors' devices he actually suggested that they speak with Steve Jobs about getting Apple to license the WMP software. Yeah, right. I can just see that happening. Even if it were a good idea, Apple would likely have declined just to see MS flounder. Personally, I'm glad the giant flop that was the WMP initiative fizzled out, 'cause now we have the Zune.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Universal Could Take a Bite Out of Apple

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 06:00 AM


"Other recording companies have yet to follow Universal's hard-line lead, particularly in suing online video and social networking sites. They appear happy to let Morris carry the fight through lawsuits and other measures. In his tussle with YouTube, Morris called the site a hub for pirated music videos and negotiated a licensing deal that landed Universal and other labels small stakes in the company just before it was acquired by Google for $1.76 billion US last year. Morris has already suggested, albeit guardedly, that his next target will be iPod-maker and No. 1 online music retailer Apple Inc. With Apple's licensing deal to sell Universal music on iTunes set to expire in May, Morris said, "there might be other ways to get paid." Last fall, Morris threatened not to license Universal music to Microsoft just days before it was scheduled to launch its own online music store and its Zune digital music player. In response, the software company coughed up a royalty of just over a dollar for every Zune sold and paid music fees."

Whether you like it or not (chances are, you don't), Universal is on a mission to milk everything for what it's worth. Zune, of course, fell victim to the label's strong-arm tactics late last year, and come May, the iPod could be next. And beyond? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

NYT Attacks DRM

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 05:15 AM


"Even if you are ready to pledge a lifetime commitment to the iPod as your only brand of portable music player or to the iPhone as your only cellphone once it is released, you may find that FairPlay copy protection will, sooner or later, cause you grief. You are always going to have to buy Apple stuff. Forever and ever. Because your iTunes will not play on anyone else’s hardware. Unlike Apple, Microsoft has been willing to license its copy-protection software to third-party hardware vendors. But copy protection is copy protection: a headache only for the law-abiding. Microsoft used to promote its PlaysForSure copy-protection standard, but there must have been some difficulty with the “for sure” because the company has dropped it in favor of an entirely new copy-protection standard for its new Zune player, which, incidentally, is incompatible with the old one."

Randall Stross at The New York Times has written a two-page article that attacks DRM - in particular, that of closed ecosystems such as the iPod/iPhone and Zune. Have a read through it and tell us whether you agree or disagree.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Apple's iPhone: Touch Screen Is In

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 08:15 PM


"iPhone is a widescreen iPod with touch controls that lets you enjoy all your content — including music, audiobooks, videos, TV shows, and movies — on a beautiful 3.5-inch widescreen display. It also lets you sync your content from the iTunes library on your PC or Mac. And then you can access it all with just the touch of a finger."

Summarizing the iPhone is no easy feat. There's a huge amount of information, pictures, and QuickTime demonstrations to digest, so I recommend you visit the iPhone page when you have a spare moment. But phone and data capabilities aside, the iPhone is an iPod and it has a new UI and new capabilities that make it unlike any iPod that has ever been released. Let's break it down. It handles music, pictures, and video. It supports large album art on a 3.5" Multi-Touch 320 x 480 display (which supports multi-finger gestures), Cover Flow browsing, automatic switching between portrait and landscape modes, and it has 4GB or 8GB built-in, along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There are definitely features here that no longer make the Zune UI as unique as it once was, but there are also some features it's missing, which gives the Zune a slight edge. Whichever way you look at it, it's healthy competition, and it'll be interesting to see what both Apple and Microsoft can conjure in the months and years ahead.

Tags: apple, ipod, iphone

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Zune's 2% (Not 9%) Market Share

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 11:00 AM


"When all the retail sources were polled and the data finely analyzed, Microsoft's fledgeling digital media player garnered a 9 percent unit share of the hard disk drive (HDD) segment -- or just shy of 2 percent of the overall U.S. market -- according to November data from NPD Group. That's a significant correction from an initial sales surge and a more selective data set that awarded Zune a staggering 9 percent share during its first week on the market. In speaking to AppleInsider, NPD analyst Steve Baker said the most recent share data was compiled from a more comprehensive list of retail sources that factored in iPod sales at Apple's own stores, and is therefore more representative of the Microsoft player's overall market share. Figures released by the firm immediately following Zune's launch in mid-November were culled from aggregate sales data coming only from the nation's top electronics dealers, which did not include Apple retail stores."

So it appears that Zune didn't quite do as well as first thought. The initial report of 9% of the market share was quickly corrected to 2%, after factoring in iPod sales at Apple's own stores and resellers. But when you're looking at a first-generation device entering a market that's devoured by the iPod, coupled with the occasional odd bit of marketing, is 2% really that surprising?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

How The Zune Fits In

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 09:24 AM


"What does the future hold for Apple's iPod? Will Microsoft's Zune strike a chord with iPod users? Will the Mac continue to be part of Apple's core business? I recently put these questions to tech guru Bob Cringely, employee No. 12 at Apple, and part of the team that developed the desktop trash-can icon. Cringely is currently the host of the PBS online television show Nerd TV and the author of Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date."

This article is from the financial site Motley Fool, so it takes a different approach toward answering the question regarding why Microsoft entered into the game with the Zune. It also stakes a stab and why Apple will (not a question of "if" according to Cringely) stop making iPods completely. I tend to disagree - Apple is all about controlling every aspect of their platform, from end to end, and for them to give that up and let another company make iPods...it's not going to happen. At least, not while Steve Jobs is alive.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Zune: So Close, Yet So Far

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 10:00 AM


"For two days, Zune was in the top-10 products sold through Amazon and made it as high as number 2. On day three, it dropped like a rock. The first two days showed the potential the right product could have. The third showed this was a swing and a miss... Microsoft gets software and they are learning about services but Apple is the leading expert is hardware and the MP3 player market is clearly a hardware market now. Much like Apple didn't understand the power of software in the 80s Microsoft doesn't seem to grasp the importance of hardware design in the 2000s and that is very telling in this most recent battle. Much like what happened when Microsoft took on Sony with the Xbox, the Microsoft team had to really have a passion for hardware and that simply wasn't the case with Zune."

I think Rob Enderle has a point, but I think people are, in general, taking this whole thing far too seriously. Everyone built up their own expectations, and now are blaming Microsoft for not fulfilling them. Sure, the Zune is lacking in certain areas, but so is the iPod. And every other gadget you carry. The perfect Pocket PC? Camera? Phone? PMP? Ain't no such beast. Maybe Zune was a little over-hyped for what the final product turned out to be, but the hype was far less than the endless fluorescent assault I get from the iPod camp everyday. ;-) It's a first-gen product folks. Even the first-gen iPod was a dud. MS has a long-term plan for the Zune, and it's a few years too early to call it a swing and a miss.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Zune Getting a Bad Rap?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 03:00 AM


"The Microsoft Zune doesn't let you use the Creative Commons license or play stuff from the iTunes store, the pricing system for purchasing music by the song is a little weird, and its chassis isn't quite as tough as I'd thought initially. But after using the Zune for two weeks and a day and being pretty satisfied with its design, features, and performance, I can't believe some of the stuff I'm reading about it. People really seem to have a problem with this thing -- especially the brown model."

Wired makes a good point about the Zune. Despite all of its shortcomings (and I admit that there are a lot of them), it isn't as bad as some people make it out to be. There's no doubt that it's playing a game of catch-up and it has a long way to go before it eats into Apple's marketshare, but the iPod needs a few tweaks here and there if it's to stay solid in the long run. Both devices aren't perfect. It's a battlefield out there, and may the best one win.

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