The Smartphone Wars: The world turned upside down

It’s always a good day when you get to wield the Righteous Cluebat of Reality straight into the teeth of dogmatists and downshouters – and no, I’m not talking about being Andrew Breitbart, though I do like to think I’m at least as capable of upending smug certitudes as he is. Today’s cluebatting concerns two developments that, taken together, put paid to a lot of negative mythology around Android.

In our first swing of the Righteous Cluebat, we cite the news that Samsung just shipped an instance of its new flagship phone to a CyanogenMod dev with the invitation “Get CM7 working, please?” Heh. So much for the theory that having boob-baited the geeks with illusory openness, the handset makers and carriers were collusively scheming to lock us all in again. Yes, there is a school of geek paranoia out there that maintains Android to be a nefarious scam aimed at, I dunno, cramming us back into the carrier-controlled silos of pre-Android days?

Me, I’m wondering what took Samsung so long. I’ve pointed out before that the interests of the handset makers and cell carriers are not identical. The handset makers want to increase the value of their product to the people who actually buy them, and a non-boot-locked CyanogenMOD-ready phone is more valuable to a customer than a locked one is (duh, because he customer has an upgrade path even if the maker end-of-lifes it). Boot-locking is a customer-control mechanism that is only valuable to the carriers, and an economically rational handset maker will only ship boot-locked phones under carrier pressure.

As with HTC’s recent reversal back to shipping unlocked phones, this move is a sign that carriers’ ability to dictate terms of trade that are actually injurious to the handset makers (and their customers!) is fast vanishing. This correlates with the rise of Android, the accelerating decay of the carrier contract system, the continuing fall in smartphone prices, and the increase in customers buying handsets through WalMart and other third parties rather than the carrier stores.

All these trends are mutually reinforcing, and simple analysis of incentives tells us they will lead to a world of smartphones that are both inexpensive and fully open to personalization, rooting, and modding. While it may be that only a small percentage of smartphone customers will explicitly use this capability, the carrier control it denies will be nearly as important as the individual control it affirms.

Our second swing of the Righteous Cluebat concerns the news from WWDC about the new features Apple has announced for the upcoming iOS version 5. Trade press reaction is well summarized by this story: Apple’s iOS 5 Directly Lifts Features from Android.

Oh, how delicious a headline that is. After four years of unceasing Apple-cultist insistence that Android is a pallid knockoff of the iPhone and all true goodness in user interfaces flows from Apple, iOS 5 is now reduced to copying actual UI innovations from Android. Mind you, I’m not saying they shouldn’t have done it; the particular lift everyone is noticing most, Android’s event-notification system, is one of the best features of the Android UI. But even the normally Apple-friendly trade press found it pretty hard to point at anything interesting in the iOS 5 announcement that isn’t an obvious lift from Android.

To say that this bodes poorly for Apple’s self-positioning as the master innovator and premium product is to belabor the obvious. In fact, the iPhone is now chasing Android’s taillights in every area – behind in market share, behind in 4G/LTE support, and now behind in UI as well. It’s not easy to see how Apple will sustain its margins unless the delayed iPhone 5 has something novel and spectacular going for it.

139 thoughts on “The Smartphone Wars: The world turned upside down

  1. > the rice of Android

    Hmm… I didn’t know Android had ‘rice’. Is this a bootlocking-related innovation or something?

  2. Me, I’m wondering what took Samsung so long. I’ve pointed out before that the interests of the handset makers and cell carriers are not identical. The handset makers want to increase the value of their product to the people who actually buy them, and a non-boot-locked CyanogenMOD-ready phone is more valuable to a customer than a locked one is (duh, because he customer has an upgrade path even if the maker end-of-lifes it). Boot-locking is a customer-control mechanism that is only valuable to the carriers, and an economically rational handset maker will only ship boot-locked phones under carrier pressure.

    You are forgetting (or deliberately omitting) the fact that at the flip of a switch any cellphone can become an instant surveillance device, even when “turned off” by the user — and since we live in PATRIOT Act America rather than Fourth Amendment America, surveillance probably takes place at the flip of a switch — with little oversight save the whim of an officer — alarmingly often. (Funny how they of the “1984″ commercial would eventually build their business around small, portable telescreens that people want to own.)

    Anyway, that’s a baseband firmware feature, most likely — so it’s orthogonal to the hackability issues under which you champion Android. On the other hand, openness of the device’s main OS appears to be orthogonal to the issue of whether that device can betray you.

  3. so is your point that apple is full of a bunch of incompetent idiots that can’t compete?

  4. > so is your point that apple is full of a bunch of incompetent idiots that can’t compete?

    More that rabid Apple cultists are a bunch of crow-eating fools.

  5. I can think of one iOS 5 enhancement that does not appear to be lifted from Android: the camera access button directly from the lock screen. However, that was lifted from Windows Phone 7, and was one of Microsoft’s big advertising points they used to tout the “superiority” of WP7 over its competitors. The Beast of Redmond is gonna be pissed.

    (Of course, it may have been lifted from Android as well, I don’t know for sure.)

  6. @Erbo
    > (Of course, it may have been lifted from Android as well, I don’t know for sure.)

    Not sure about other roms, but the CyanogenMod rotary unlock has a customizable button that will launch a specified action upon unlock. A user could make it start the camera or anything else. The catch is that you don’t get that if you use a passcode/pattern/gesture, and the iOS method gets you the camera in a jailed, can’t-do-anything-but-take-images mode. It’s a nice little trivial addition, and something I wouldn’t mind seeing on my own phone, really.

  7. Seems kinda odd to lift the WebOS notifications guy from Palm, just to go lift notifications from Android.

  8. > behind in 4G/LTE support

    Yeah, this is rapidly shaping up to be the next must-have feature:

    http://www.abiresearch.com/press/3691-LTE+Subscriptions+Racing+Ahead+of+Expectations

    and Apple is falling even farther behind:

    http://www.techeye.net/mobile/qualcomm-messes-up-jobs-lte-iphone-plans

    It’s no wonder Jobs is trying to bring more and more silicon design in-house. He’s probably feeling a distinct lack of control over his own destiny about now. (Whether things would go faster in-house is a whole ‘nother question, but at least he could fire the slackers more easily.)

  9. >”However, word on the street is that Apple will delay the launch of its LTE-enabled iPhones to 2012″

    Wow. That is serious bad news for Apple. It means Android phones will almost certainly be over the 50% mark by the time the first LTE-capable iPhone ships. And by “almost certainly” I mean that for this thing not to happen, Android’s takeup rate would have to drop by more than a third, even assuming Apple ships early in 1Q2012.

    Along about December, Apple’s market position is going to suck. Badly. What shift of the fox will we see this time?

  10. > It’s no wonder Jobs is trying to bring more and more silicon design in-house.

    Let them dabble in that and spend their billions in cash there. Reality will catch up with them sooner or late.

  11. @esr”Wow. That is serious bad news for Apple. It means Android phones will almost certainly be over the 50% mark by the time the first LTE-capable iPhone ships. And by “almost certainly” I mean that for this thing not to happen, Android’s takeup rate would have to drop by more than a third, even assuming Apple ships early in 1Q2012.

    Along about December, Apple’s market position is going to suck. Badly. What shift of the fox will we see this time?”

    So Eric, if this is true (dunno if it is or not), why do you think they wouldn’t ship an LTE phone until 2012? As in what is the hold-up?

    And what does Apple’s “market position is going to suck mean”? You have a %?

  12. @uma:

    > Let them dabble in that and spend their billions in cash there. Reality will catch up with them sooner or late.

    AFAIK they don’t appear to have any RF chip aspirations. But if they do really well on the UI chip, then they might get overconfident. Time will tell.

  13. >And what does Apple’s “market position is going to suck mean”? You have a %?

    Here’s what I mean. Android’s probably going to cross 50% U.S. market share in late October. That’s a big deal because it’s going to accelerate the shift of app developers to Android as they all bank on network externalities to lock in an eventual rise to 75% or even 95%. On the hardware side, the market’s likely to be awash with cheap SoC Android handsets that do LTE by then.

    So, OK, say Apple ships an LTE phone three months later in January. Relative to the competition it will be way late and way expensive. What’s Apple’s value proposition going to be given that it’s now copying UI features from Android?

  14. > But even the normally Apple-friendly trade press found it pretty hard to point at anything interesting in the iOS 5 announcement that isn’t an obvious lift from Android.

    You aren’t paying attention. They moved their entire OS filesystem to the cloud. Who knows if it’s a good idea or not, but it’s a big deal and I can’t see Google doing the same anytime soon.

  15. Isn’t Qualcomm the only manufacturer of LTE chips right now? There’s not really any other choice, so if Android can put up with them surely Apple can.

    Perhaps it’s a bet of the market demand for the feature vs. how long Apple thinks it can risk waiting for additional incentives (battery life, manufacturing influence, etc). Apple has to try hard to maintain the share they have now; surely they’re not foolish enough to risk it all on the proposition that LTE chips would give a battery life profile more like the first generation of 3G touch-smartphones (iPhone 3G, Palm Pre-esque; less than a day) than current 3G smartphones.

    To suggest as they have through delays and press leaks that 4G isn’t a priority, they must have some significant motivation to bet their hard-wrought and incredibly fragile marketshare against it (assuming they don’t surprise everyone in three months and say “ha, we had you fooled!”. Or at least you’d think that they’d be that intelligent about it.

  16. @esr

    I don’t see the magic around 50%, but that’s me.

    You’re really banking on the system on a chip concept. People have been talking about soc for laptops forever. But last I checked, they are full of chips.

    Do you have a source for why you think soc is imminent? And do you think apple can’t leverage soc?

  17. @twilightomni:

    Isn’t Qualcomm the only manufacturer of LTE chips right now? There’s not really any other choice, so if Android can put up with them surely Apple can.

    It is my understanding that Apple placed its bets for its next phone on a one-size-fits-all GSM/CDMA/WCDMA/kitchen sink chip that Qualcomm has designed and is trying to bring to market.

    This understanding could be flawed, or Apple could scramble and do something else instead, but to scramble and change up things involving Apple-sized volumes would be a significant undertaking, and if other issues, such as reduced battery life, arise during the process, then the end result will probably wind up with similar delays and worse cost of goods or performance.

    To suggest as they have through delays and press leaks that 4G isn’t a priority, they must have some significant motivation to bet their hard-wrought and incredibly fragile marketshare against it

    I think the cheap all-in-one chip that Qualcomm is providing may not do 4G/LTE, in which case the iPhone 5 (or 4S or whatever) is probably primarily a SKU-consolidating cost reduction.

    I have seen it suggested that Apple was going to bring out the cheaper any-network phone this summer, then maybe the 4G enabled one early next year. Then this summer slipped into the fall, and now is maybe slipping into next year.

    Here is some information on the new baseband:

    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4216578/Analyst–Qualcomm-in–Intel-out-of-iPhone-5

    Note that it doesn’t say anything about 4G/LTE.

    Here’s qualcomm saying LTE’s not their fault a couple of weeks ago. Note how circumspectly it is worded:

    http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=208208

    That’s probably in response to Apple saying 6 weeks ago that Qualcomm’s LTE doesn’t meet Apple’s requirements:

    http://blogs.forbes.com/briancaulfield/2011/04/20/4g-iphones-chip-wont-come-in-until-q1-2011/

  18. >People have been talking about soc for laptops forever.

    Yeah, I think the reason it hasn’t happened is the volume isn’t there for any individual laptop CPU, though it would be for the laptop market in aggregate. Expected volumes are much higher in the smartphone market, making it easier to amortize out the SoC R&D.

    >Do you have a source for why you think soc is imminent?

    Reread http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=2835

    >And do you think apple can’t leverage soc?

    Maybe they can. Their problem is that they can’t follow other SoC phones down the price curve without a serious sacrifice of margins.

  19. So if Apple *lacks* any feature Android has, it’s dooomed…but if Apple then *adds* those features, its somehow even more doomed because this signals that they’re “behind in UI”. Because you wanted them to instead do…what, exactly? *Not* close any gaps they find? *Not* take the best ideas from wherever they find them (while continuing to keep and improve their own unique advantages)? It can’t be bad news for Apple *both* to not have a feature *and* to have just added that same feature – one of those has to be good news.

    On the other hand: I’ve had an app in the App store for years and last week – for the first time ever – somebody emailed me to ask if I could write a version for Android/HTC.

  20. >Competition for B&N Nook Color:

    Um, does anyone have a plausible theory for why Froyo (2.2) is still showing up in new designs? I can’t make any sense out of that.

  21. > Um, does anyone have a plausible theory for why Froyo (2.2) is still showing up in new designs?

    Chip vendor did a reference design 6 months ago when it created the chip, didn’t bother updating it…

  22. >It can’t be bad news for Apple *both* to not have a feature *and* to have just added that same feature – one of those has to be good news.

    Oh, don’t be deliberately obtuse. Having the feature, good; being seen to have copied the feature, bad. It clashes with Apple’s own brand positioning.

  23. I think it’s too early to be crowing about any missing LTE phones. I mean, look at the maps the carriers provide:

    http://network4g.verizonwireless.com/pdf/VZW_4G_LTE_Coverage_Map.pdf

    Sprint’s map is pretty similar, AT&T is too embarrassed to even provide a map, and the best T-Mobile will give you is a list of cities.

    That’s spottier coverage than even 3g when the iPhone was new. And remember how the lack of 3g was going to doom the iPhone from the start?

    The fact is, while LTE may be a nice feature check box, it isn’t yet a must have feature. And certainly being a step behind the bleeding edge of tech hasn’t really been a problem for Apple before.

  24. >Um, does anyone have a plausible theory for why Froyo (2.2) is still showing up in new designs? I can’t make any sense out of that.

    Remember what I said about hardware products still having a really long product cycle? Well, this thing isn’t a phone – they can’t just mix standard off-the-shelf hardware and software together to get something that’s just like what everybody else has but comes in a different color. This is new hardware with a unique feature set. It’s got a *stylus*, for bog’s sake! That means it had to have a *real* test cycle and those can cost a lot of time. They started with the software they had and couldn’t afford to change it later – they’re shipping with the configuration they tested well enough to have reasonable faith in.

  25. >The fact is, while LTE may be a nice feature check box, it isn’t yet a must have feature.

    On the other hand, Patrick just linked to an article pointing out that LTE takeup is proceeding faster than expected. Sure it’s not a must-have feature now; the issue is whether it’ll be a must-have in six months. I’m thinking yes.

  26. @tmoney:

    > I mean, look at the maps the carriers provide

    Yeah, and mentally overlay a population-density map.

    The thing is, any educated prospective phone buyer who spends a lot of time in one of the areas where 4G exists or is expected soon will be considering it seriously.

  27. On the other hand: I’ve had an app in the App store for years and last week – for the first time ever – somebody emailed me to ask if I could write a version for Android/HTC.

    Absent any other information I could spin that as one customer who’s almost ready to make the jump from their old crufty iPhone to a shiny new Android…

  28. The cited article isn’t “trade press”, it’s a blog.

    That you can’t tell the difference speaks volumes.

  29. You aren’t paying attention. They moved their entire OS filesystem to the cloud. Who knows if it’s a good idea or not, but it’s a big deal and I can’t see Google doing the same anytime soon.

    You can’t see Google moving things to the cloud?

  30. >The cited article isn’t “trade press”, it’s a blog.

    Yes, I deliberately picked a relatively mild criticism. The actual trade press was saying things like “Apple Rips Off Android” :-)

  31. > being seen to have copied the feature, bad. It clashes with Apple’s own brand positioning.

    I dunno, it seems to me it’s much more about the execution. The iPod wasn’t the first mp3 player or even the first hard-disk-based mp3 player, it was just the *best* hard-disk-based mp3 player…and stayed so by adding features pretty gradually. As it developed, iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player to have a color screen or to play video or to add a radio tuner or pretty much any other feature other than the click wheel. Still, Apple owned that market for as long as it was worth owning by maintaining the *right* mix of features, original or not.

    With the iPhone, they’re in much the same position as they were with the iPod. Because they are now the biggest single hardware vendor in their niche, they have to pass up a lot of smaller opportunities in favor of relatively few big wins. If some new chip is available in very limited volume and is really power-hungry a manufacturer with 4% of the market can afford to go with it and market to the customers who care more about whatever feature that chip enables than about the drawbacks; somebody with 30% of the market has to hold back and wait until it’s more of a clear win. In short, somebody other than Apple has to be “the Apple” of this market, if you’re thinking about the brand positioning that the Mac used to have (or that iPhone had when it was a new entrant.)

    Incidentally, many of the core ideas they just showed were at least as plausibly “stolen” from individual iOS software developers as from competing OSes. Relevant press reaction here: http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/07/technology/apple_dropbox_sparrow/

  32. tmoney Says:
    > Sprint’s map is pretty similar, AT&T is too embarrassed to even provide a map, and the best T-Mobile will give you is a list of cities.

    >That’s spottier coverage than even 3g when the iPhone was new. And remember how the lack of 3g was going to doom the iPhone from the start?

    You’re assuming the future will be identical to the past.

    Spoke with an AT&T exec just the other day who was emphatic and excited that 4G was going to be essentially everywhere *much* faster than 3G got to it’s current buildout. And there’s a reason for that…

    Currently all cell towers consist of a tall tower, big equipment shack at the base, massive coaxes running 170′ up the tower. 4G will be *one* small equipment box located up there *with* the antennas. Ponder the cost savings in equipment and personnel and how much more mileage the carriers can get out of a given dollar of capital. It’s in their best interest to build out 4G as quickly as possible – which means this is one of those rare times when the carriers interests actually align with the customers.

    This is why AT&T has shut down U-Verse deployments in favor of 4G buildouts. This, even tho U-Verse is very profitable for them.

    And AT&T is pricing 4G data plans on some “phones” actually cheaper than equivalent 3G data plans.
    http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phone-plans/data-connect-plans.jsp

  33. Speaking of 4G/LTE, Google’s high-stakes gamble from almost 4 years ago on the C block auction is now starting to bear fruit:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20069580-264/complaint-to-fcc-verizon-mustnt-bar-4g-tethering/

    This is going to get interesting. Will Verizon start pricing 700MHz LTE access differently from other LTE access? That sounds dubious, contentious, error-prone, and customer alienating.

    It seems more likely that tethering restrictions will go the way of the dodo, and tiered pricing will be based solely on bandwidth and usage. Hopefully competition will start increasing bits per buck.

  34. @Michael Hipp:

    Those data plans are completely irrational. Never mind comparing the 3G to the 4G. Why on earth would I buy a 3G 5GB plan at $60/month with $50/GB overage, when I can buy a 3G 3GB hotspot plan for $35/month, with $10/GB overage??!?

  35. Patrick Maupin Says:
    > Why on earth would I buy a 3G 5GB plan at $60/month with $50/GB overage, when I can buy a 3G 3GB hotspot plan for $35/month, with $10/GB overage??!?

    Perhaps that’s the point?

    Of the first 3 lines, the only one that makes sense (for the prospective customer) is the 4G at $50/5GB with $10/GB overage. Or at least it’s the far better deal if you expect to use it much (esp. in an area soon to have 4G).

  36. > Perhaps that’s the point?

    Possibly.

    I remember when I first signed my daughter up for Virgin Mobile, they had per-minute plans, and then two plans that were for people who wanted monthly fixed costs (to compete with non-prepaid, I suppose).

    But the latter two plans were only for people who couldn’t do math. One of them was only cheaper if you used between 100 and 120 minutes/month and the other one was only cheaper if you used between 200 and 220 minutes/month, because the per-minute overage was higher than the stock per-minute on the non-monthly plan.

  37. > You can’t see Google moving things to the cloud?

    No, I can’t see them moving *everything* to the cloud, because they have no control over the hardware.

  38. > Yes, I deliberately picked a relatively mild criticism. The actual trade press was saying things like “Apple Rips Off Android” :-)

    So when google provides deep integration of Twitter in Android 3.x, will your “trade press” cite same as a rip-off of Apple?

    Your “trade press” is a pack of rabid, confused dogs. They’re oblivious to what happened Monday. Apple re-invented the industry. Again. Google can’t respond with a legal, coherent, stable offering like iCloud in the timeframe of interest (September). Jebus, they have yet to get a descent tablet release.

    The reality of missing September is that, as Apple starts to run its marketing engine around iCloud, customer demand will rise (with a new iphone, ipod touch, as well as what-are-now current generation models going on-sale, ($50 iphone 4? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?) just in-time for the Christmas shopping season.

    When their order volume falls, the Android OEMs will be screaming for a matching solution. (And no, it can’t just be rdist and RSS.)

    Your precious, oft-bleated $85 Android SoC-based handset won’t go anywhere, because customers in first-world geographies don’t want it, and neither the OEMs or carriers can make any margin on it. (Meanwhile, Apple’s market cap exceeds the combined caps of Intel and Microsoft, and Apple’s *cash* nearly exceeds the combined market caps of all of their hardware competitors in the smartphone space.)

    The app devs will hate it, too. If you buy a phone for $85, how willing are you to spend $20 on apps?
    The phone obviously didn’t have much utility to you. Having 70 new Android variations will only further fragment the space, as well.

    Apple is now taking direct aim at Google. “No ads”, Steve repeated that three times. Every iOS app is a web app that didn’t happen, with less content for Google to scrape and resell as advertising.

  39. @Life as we know it
    “Apple re-invented the industry.”

    So let’s give them a statue and move on.

    @Life as we know it
    “The reality of missing September is that, as Apple starts to run its marketing engine around iCloud, customer demand will rise (with a new iphone, ipod touch, as well as what-are-now current generation models going on-sale, ($50 iphone 4? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?) just in-time for the Christmas shopping season. ”

    Yes, the Cloud. Invented by Apple. Or was it Bill Gates.

    @Life as we know it
    “When their order volume falls, the Android OEMs will be screaming for a matching solution. (And no, it can’t just be rdist and RSS.)”

    So Google will be unable to provide a “Cloud” environment? Are you serious. Or do you really do not know what you are talking about?

    @Life as we know it
    “Your precious, oft-bleated $85 Android SoC-based handset won’t go anywhere, because customers in first-world geographies don’t want it, and neither the OEMs or carriers can make any margin on it. ”

    So they will have to settle for the other 5 billion people? They will cry all the way to the bank. Actually, I understand that there are some Americans too that might have a small cash problem.

    @Life as we know it
    “…”

    Calm down. Take a deep breath. It will pass and you will be fine.

  40. > It’s not easy to see how Apple will sustain its margins unless the delayed iPhone 5 has something novel and spectacular going for it.

    You missed it; it’s right there. They’re going to “Google” your data. “Hey, get rid of your PC or Mac. Upload all of your data into our cloud.” They think they’ve got a market for their users’ metadata. They think there’s enough money in it that they’ve built a huge new data center for it, and are willing to give you the space and the bandwidth for free. I don’t know if they’ll succeed, but that’s their plan.

  41. No, I can’t see them moving *everything* to the cloud, because they have no control over the hardware.

    Wait wait wait…. you can’t see GOOGLE, the people who have basically no skin at all in the hardware game, moving everything to the cloud, where they basically entirely live baring a single smartphone OS, because they have no control over the hardware.

    I’m hoping this doesn’t come as a shock to you but… [citation needed].

    Seriously people… anyone who for a millisecond thought that Google can’t or won’t do a cloud offering needs to go back to bizarro world. Google LIVES on the cloud. Google was the cloud before cloud computing was cool.

    Hell if Ferris Bueller, er i mean Florian Mueller, wants to talk about patents it wouldn’t surprise me if moving to the cloud brings Apple right in range of several high quality Google patents.

  42. LAWKI> So when google provides deep integration of Twitter in Android 3.x, will your “trade press” cite same as a rip-off of Apple?

    Possibly. Doesn’t WP7 do something similar too?

    LAWKI> Your “trade press” is a pack of rabid, confused dogs. They’re oblivious to what happened Monday.

    All press is.

    LAWKI> Apple re-invented the industry.

    No, they just marketed it better.

    LAWKI> Again.

    Stop it… My sides hurt.

    LAWKI> Google can’t respond with a legal, coherent, stable offering like iCloud in the timeframe of interest (September). Jebus, they have yet to get a descent tablet release.

    Counter-point: Google Docs. They are also working on a music offering.

    LAWKI> The reality of missing September is that, as Apple starts to run its marketing engine around iCloud, customer demand will rise (with a new iphone, ipod touch, as well as what-are-now current generation models going on-sale, ($50 iphone 4? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?) just in-time for the Christmas shopping season.

    Don’t count your chickens and all that…

    LAWKI> When their order volume falls, the Android OEMs will be screaming for a matching solution. (And no, it can’t just be rdist and RSS.)

    s/When/If/. As in porcine aviators.

    LAWKI> Your precious, oft-bleated $85 Android SoC-based handset won’t go anywhere, because customers in first-world geographies don’t want it, and neither the OEMs or carriers can make any margin on it.

    There you’d probably be wrong. A shrewd operator could increase his margin and still sell the handset cheaper than current handsets. If the wholesale price drops by $200 you could just drop your retail price by $150. SoC also will have power benefits, and probably performance benefits as well.

    LAWKI> (Meanwhile, Apple’s market cap exceeds the combined caps of Intel and Microsoft, and Apple’s *cash* nearly exceeds the combined market caps of all of their hardware competitors in the smartphone space.)

    The market cap thing is _today_. The stock market being what it is, Apple could shed 50% of its market cap if Steve Jobs dropped dead next week. Most investors are scum remember. Also, Microsoft has a huuuge cash pile, and their not exactly burning up the OS and Office suite space with innovation, are they? What is Apple going to do? Buy out the competition and hope the the world’s competition watchdogs are asleep at the switch while doing it?

    Market Cap is derived by speculation, and they cash pile is the difference between past success and past failure.

    LAWKI> The app devs will hate it, too. If you buy a phone for $85, how willing are you to spend $20 on apps?

    Depends, a single $20 app, not so much. Ten $2 apps I can probably do, if they have utility. Hell, I probably haven’t installed 10 apps on my N900, and they’re all free/open source except for Angry Birds and its level packs!

    LAWKI> The phone obviously didn’t have much utility to you. Having 70 new Android variations will only further fragment the space, as well.

    Isn’t ‘fragmentation’ the big FUD point? I think you’ll find more fragmentation in the Linux/GNU space than there is in the Linux/Android space. I’m sure I read somewhere that Apple won’t let you code for an old iOS version, maybe I’m delusional/drunk.

    LAWKI> Apple is now taking direct aim at Google. “No ads”, Steve repeated that three times.

    Sorry, but I don’t see advertisements on my Galaxy Tab, except in web pages. Fairly sure Safari shows them too…

    LAWKI> Every iOS app is a web app that didn’t happen, with less content for Google to scrape and resell as advertising.

    No, every iOS app is a web app that had to be made because iOS doesn’t give you the “whole web experience”. I don’t need a special app to watch that Youtube clip someone sent me, or the latest Zero Punctuation, because I have Flash 10.3 on my Tab, and get the true web experience where ever the site doesn’t gimp it because they figured I’m on a mobile device.

  43. Seriously people… anyone who for a millisecond thought that Google can’t or won’t do a cloud offering needs to go back to bizarro world. Google LIVES on the cloud. Google was the cloud before cloud computing was cool.

    True. This makes it all the more surprising that Android has no equivalent to the iCloud API.

  44. @life as we know it:

    The reality of missing September is that, as Apple starts to run its marketing engine around iCloud, customer demand will rise

    I last heard that tune about the Verizon iPhone. After the so-called “pent-up demand” for a non-AT&T turned into a fizzle, I will need to see this before I will believe it. [Steve Jobs' mythical "reality distortion field" aside, cloud computing is the current trade press hyperbole, used to mean 10,000 different things for every product offering.]

    Google can’t respond with a legal, coherent, stable offering like iCloud in the timeframe of interest (September).

    Odd, “Google Apps” has been a cloud computing offering around since 2006; using that, Google can just toss off an easy solution, so what prevents a “legal, coherent, stable offering”?

  45. > “Google Apps” has been a cloud computing offering around since 2006; using that, Google can just toss off an easy solution, so what prevents a “legal, coherent, stable offering”?

    You’ve not actually looked at the two offerings, have you?

  46. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    CITIZENSHIP IN A REPUBLIC
    The Man in the Arena
    By Theodore Roosevelt
    University of Paris, Sorbonne
    April 23, 1910

  47. True. This makes it all the more surprising that Android has no equivalent to the iCloud API.

    Yeah… no equivalent…

    Photos… picasaweb.google.com (there’s an app for that)
    Mail is on gmail… natch. Same with contacts and calendar.
    Apps… market already does what the “Apps” description says with the possible exception of “automatically pushing them to all your devices”. Not sure thats a killer feature.
    Books… not sure. Since Amazon is the other big cloud player(pronounced EC2) i doubt iCloud has anything special here. No direct info however.
    Documents… Google apps. Not perfect but at least as good as any smartphone implementation i’ve seen.
    Backup… Ok… maybe this is new. Nope just kidding, a short search said google was launching “google backup” dated march 3rd 2010.

    You’re right, this is a totally unique thing that Google hasn’t even attempted at all.

    Sarcasm aside, the sum total of potential interesting here is the actual client API and we’re looking at SMOP territory to wrap an API around the webget stuff that android comes with it. I’m not seeing anything either revolutionary or game changing. Certainly nothing that is stopping a “legal, coherent, stable offering”.

  48. You’ve not actually looked at the two offerings, have you?

    Yes, have you?

  49. @not(Andy Rubin):

    “Google Apps” has been a cloud computing offering around since 2006…

    You’ve not actually looked at the two offerings [Google Apps & iCloud], have you?

    Actually, yes, I have. But you’ll notice I said in the paragraph before that “cloud computing” has several, disparate meanings; some people use it to mean “web apps” or networked scalable computing (e.g. processor-on-demand) and others to mean “network file store”.

    So I do recognize Google’s service (central file store & web based apps) differs greatly from iCloud (a more DropBox-like automatic file synchronization service). But my standing question remains: given that Google has been doing “cloud” services for 5 years — even if it’s not feature-identical to iCloud — why should I believe they will be challenged in any way by this development?

  50. > why should I believe they will be challenged in any way by this development?

    long-term, they’re not. But to get there (feature-for-feature) Google is going to need deals with the labels (for Google Music .v iTunes Match), get Google Music out of beta, and get a deal in-place with the publishing houses (who are quite leery of Google), architect, implement, test and document a new set of APIs for Android for file and metadata sync, get Android App authors to start using these, etc.

    On the subject of new APIs, many developers reacted badly to this announcement:
    http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2011/05/spring-cleaning-for-some-of-our-apis.html

    But, yes, they’ll have a parity offering eventually. The important point, as the other guy said, they’re not going to make Christmas. (And, as he also noted, Google still hasn’t caught-up after Jobs’ last course change (iPad))

  51. Sarcasm aside, the sum total of potential interesting here is the actual client API and we’re looking at SMOP territory to wrap an API around the webget stuff that android comes with it. I’m not seeing anything either revolutionary or game changing. Certainly nothing that is stopping a “legal, coherent, stable offering”.

    You’re confusing “difficult” with “useful.” I agree that it’s not difficult, and Google should be able to roll this API out in no time at all. So where is it?

    Look: half of the original post was Eric crowing that Android beat iOS to a UI concept. Point taken. But online services should be Google’s advantage… so isn’t it just as interesting that Apple beat Android to this one?

  52. The (ahem) more traditional tech press weighs in:

    http://allthingsd.com/20110608/icloud-the-mother-of-all-halos/

    Now, we all understand that John is in Steve’s pocket, but your typical WSJ reader believes all that is printed therein.

    Nobody here can relate, but It’s not that others haven’t done it before. It’s that Apple hasn’t done it until now.
    That is the big thing. Not the technology in itself.

    iCloud is not (just) a hard disk in the cloud (as Steve Jobs said during the keynote). More defining is the API that makes it seamless for applications (and consequently users) to sync data to the cloud.

    In a year, the average iOS app will automatically sync data across devices using iCloud, while there won’t be a simple knob you can twist to store it in Dropbox instead.

    And even if there was, there is a huge usability difference between putting a file in some folder, and having it synced, and automatically syncing all relevant data in an application.

    This is easy to underestimate for us technical people, but it is very difficult to explain to Eric’s Aunt Tillie that she has to put files in, say, Dropbox on her iPod Touch to be able to access it on her iPad.

    Do something on the iPod Touch, have it available nearly instantly on the iPad in the same application, this she understands. (“Oh look dear Eric, It Just Works!”)

  53. Something else to posit. There is something ‘up’ between Twitter and Apple. Apple has allowed far too much of Twitter’s brand to be splashed over iOS 5 and MacOS X Lion for there not to be something much deeper than, “here is some OAUTH code to use.”

    And the betting money is on prohibiting Google from obtaining a similar deal. There has been a general level of upset over Twitter’s dealings with its developers in the past 6 months as Twitter’s management has moved to close the protocol to all but the most popular clients. Very Apple-like, if you ask me.

  54. @not(Andy Rubin):

    Do something on the iPod Touch, have it available nearly instantly on the iPad in the same application, this she understands. (“Oh look dear Eric, It Just Works!”)

    Or, because grandma has been using computers for awhile, she complains “I accidentally deleted it off my iPhone, so I went to get a copy from my iPad, but it was gone there, too!” This could go either way.

    [Twitter is] Very Apple-like, if you ask me.

    That’s an interesting observation. And while twitter is on an Android-like growth curve, it seems that its growth is primarily driven by convenience. I don’t know how many twitter users have to have twitter, vs. simply find it easy to use. In any case, it seems unlikely they would ditch the web interface, and the sort of cat and mouse game that would make it difficult for a company like google to mediate between a phone and a standard browser interface would wind up having legal as well as technical implications.

    BTW, the twitter demographics are interesting:

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2386283,00.asp

    Apparently Oprah brings a lot to the table. I can see Jobs wanting to tap into that.

  55. Google is going to need deals with the labels (for Google Music .v iTunes Match), get Google Music out of beta, and get a deal in-place with the publishing houses (who are quite leery of Google)

    Which has nothing to do with anybody that I know of who are small businesspeople and run their businesses off of Google Apps, in the cloud, several with Apple platforms, including the dearly beloved iPad, today. None of whom, FWIW, have ever uttered a peep about Google not being Apple-y enough for their tastes. Stipulated that this is a small sample size of ~15 clients, depending on the time of day.

    Is business, and specifically small business, and I mean the 1-20ppl shops doing under $1MM in top-line revenue, simply not a consideration to the various market makers in this space? Because that’s a whole hell of a lot of people who buy phones and make that decision with an eye towards running their business.

  56. > Is business, and specifically small business, and I mean the 1-20ppl shops doing under $1MM in top-line revenue

    20 people sharing under $1mm top-line?

    Even 10?

    Really?!?!!?

  57. > iCloud is not (just) a hard disk in the cloud (as Steve Jobs said during the keynote). More defining is the API that makes
    > it seamless for applications (and consequently users) to sync data to the cloud.

    I agree this is the real jewel of the offering, and something difficult to compete against when you don’t have fairly-draconian control over the environment. I personally wouldn’t use it; I don’t trust anyone with my private data but myself. Not Apple, Google, or anyone.

    Still, it is Apple, so I expect: A clean, well-documented API. Highly-polished user interface. Simple (or no) configuration.

    I also expect it to be limited in some strange, brain-damaged way that won’t be immediately apparent, like how my work iPhone 4 can’t do a mass delete of all SMS/MMS messages and not just single conversations. (A Big Deal when you receive a lot of e-mail-to-sms based notifications each with a unique phone number id)

    In the end, it looks like it will be a Nice Feature, and help people who don’t need a full desktop get away from needing one altogether, but game-changing? Eh.

  58. 20 people sharing under $1mm top-line?

    Even 10?

    Really?!?!!?

    Construction, oilfield services, chiropractor, real estate, equipment rental, restaurants…$1MM might be a bit low, but not by much. It’s not that hard to live comfortably on that.

    Not everyone is struggling to manage wheelbarrows of sweet internet / apps cash, but, actually more like SO, they ALL want to be as efficient as possible and that means smartphones, tablets and clouds. All of them see it as an aid to growth, too.

  59. > On the other hand, Patrick just linked to an article pointing out that LTE takeup is proceeding faster than expected. Sure it’s not a must-have feature now; the issue is whether it’ll be a must-have in six months. I’m thinking yes.

    Six months? You’ll be lucky to have a widely-deployed LTE footprint (in the US) in 24.
    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9203420/AT_T_to_start_LTE_rollout_by_mid_year_finish_by_end_of_2013
    http://www.esphoneblog.com/2011/01/15/verizons-lte-roll-out-plan-for-2011-leakead/

    T-Mobile is silent on LTE.

    Just what do you think the T-Mobile acquisition by AT&T is about, Eric? T-Mobile doesn’t have the money to fund a LTE roll-out, AT&T does. AT&T lacks sufficient spectrum to have 3G and LTE rolled-out simultaneously, so they’re after T-Mobile’s towers and spectrum, and will move all T-Mobile 3G customers out of 1700MHz , stuffing more load into a combined 2100MHz, 1900 MHz and 850 MHz. (The iPhone 4 supports these three bands.)

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/21/confirmed-atandt-wants-to-use-t-mobiles-aws-spectrum-for-lte-bui/

    Getting T-Mobile’s userbase would be a nice kicker, but I expect most T-Mobile customers to run to Sprint, in search of a bargain.

  60. Of companies that currently exist, only Facebook can destroy Google.

    Indeed, Zuckerberg is Frodo.

    The Google business model devours and destroys everything in its
    path. In fact, it’s business model, so amazingly proficient, so
    frighteningly infinite, gets *more* hungry and *more* aggressive
    and *more* virulent the bigger it gets.

    And it consumes data. All data. A never ending stream of data. And,
    since nearly everything is data or can be broken down into data,
    Google will destroy everything in its path. I do not care if you
    like Google, admire Google, or any of its products or people. I do
    not care if you think they really ‘get’ open or web or standards
    or any of that bullshit. None of that matters. Absolutely none.
    Zero. That is merely the optimum path — at this moment — for its
    advertising beast. And it is that advertising beast that destroys
    everything. Because it can constantly take in one more sliver of
    data and pump out one more tiny advertisement and in doing so, can
    fund, in perpetuity, a competitor — to any product, business or
    market — at a loss.

    No one else can do this.

    Even with all its Russian billionaire and private market money,
    Facebook cannot sustain a long-term fight against Google. But, if
    it grows big enough over the next few years, if it can figure out
    how to make *any* money on mobile, if it can capture more and more
    ads — which is the sole foodstuff of Google — then it can halt
    the Google beast.

    And once halted, like a shark, it dies.

    This is why Apple’s iPad, the keystone of the company’s future,
    must be significantly better than all competitors. Because the iPad,
    as the core of the future cloud-based digital hub, with all its
    apps and games and subscriptions and videos and non-ad-based emails
    and web pages free of “clutter” represent not so much a threat to
    Google, but a (large) area of the planetary datasphere that Google’s
    ad beast cannot penetrate.

    This cannot be so. Google, for all talk of open, must reside at
    *every single touchpoint* across the global Internet. Including
    within Apple. Inluding within China. On our televisions, in our
    cars, within Cisco routers. Great, insanely great, user friendly;
    none of that matters. Beta, good enough; all fine — as long as the
    beast is fed. The Google ad beast consumes all data it touches and
    grows stronger, faster, more ravenous with each bite. There can be
    no sanctuaries. None.

    Which is why they scrape Facebook. Which is why they run to regulators
    re open. Or market standards to naive geeks.

    The Google ad beast can live, happily, while losing tens upon tens
    of billions of dollars of (shareholder) revenues simply to destroy
    the Apple iOS ecosystem. Jobs knows this. Tim Cook probably knows
    this. That is why they do everything they can to raise the walls,
    to lock users in, to keep Google out, to extend the ecosystem. And,
    ultimately, to stay at the very top of the market.

    Free from Google and their advertising monster.

  61. > Construction, oilfield services, chiropractor, real estate, equipment rental, restaurants…$1MM might be a bit low, but not by much. It’s not that hard to live comfortably on that.

    I know way more about this than you might think. $1mm top-line was enough in the 1980s, but not now.

  62. > Six months? You’ll be lucky to have a widely-deployed LTE footprint (in the US) in 24.

    Why do you quote from Verizon’s plans from January? Currently they seem to be on schedule to have over half the US population covered by year end. If they execute well, that ramp will create a buzz that will have a lot of people wanting an LTE-ready handset, starting… about 3 months ago.

    http://blog.connectedplanetonline.com/unfiltered/2011/05/23/verizon-revs-up-lte-engine-delivers-app-discoverability-app/

  63. > I know way more about this than you might think. $1mm top-line was enough in the 1980s, but not now.

    Do you know enough to know that it depends on where you are???

  64. > Do you know enough to know that it depends on where you are???

    Yes. If you think you’re right, let’s see your tax return.

  65. I think this does a much better job of picking knowledge out of the comscore data:

    http://www.asymco.com/2011/06/06/peak-rim/

    and I liked this comment:

    For Android to be a true success it must deliver the revenues and profits while growing the base. Android is not growing the base except the number of people who use Google services. Android OEMs are losing customers ( except HTC, who truth be told have achieved moderate growth given their historic numbers, meaning a correction for the most part).
    It is hard to be impressed with Android when all things are considered.

  66. Folks:

    There are “over 200 features” in Lion. From what I was told (confirmation anyone ? ) one of them is resizing a window from all 4 of its edges. Yaay.

  67. > There are “over 200 features” in Lion. From what I was told (confirmation anyone ? ) one of them is resizing
    > a window from all 4 of its edges. Yaay.

    Truth. Also, windows can now be for-reals full-screened.

    The fact that Apple is now focusing on really basic things that have been asked-for by users for years and years is quite telling: OS X is or has become strategically irrelevant, much like Windows.

  68. not(Andy Rubin):
    “For Android to be a true success it must deliver the revenues and profits while growing the base. Android is not growing the base except the number of people who use Google services. Android OEMs are losing customers ( except HTC, who truth be told have achieved moderate growth given their historic numbers, meaning a correction for the most part). It is hard to be impressed with Android when all things are considered.”
    (emphasis mine)

    So success == money? And only money?

    But then we can all be right. Apple “wins” because they earn the most money, from their 500 million users. And at the same time Android wins because 6 billion people end up using Android phones.

  69. Not only does Verizon plan to have half the US covered by LTE by the end of 2011, but you can now preorder an LTE Samsung Galaxy Tab:

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/02/lte-galaxy-tab-10-1-gets-official-on-verizon-orders-start-june/

    and apparently Mot is finally starting to begin to commence to think about maybe getting around to those promised LTE upgrades, possibly:

    http://phandroid.com/2011/06/07/motorola-contacting-xoom-owners-about-4g-lte-upgrade-process-underway/

  70. I see others have done a better job of rebutting the “Apple reinvents the industry with the cloud” nonsense, given that Google has been pioneering web-based apps so long.

    Having “everything” on the “Cloud” means having to transmit everything over the network, so I guess Verizon and AT&T really going to love Steve Jobs even more.

    The question I don’t see answered by Apple fanboi is just how many consumers know what a “cloud” is, and have any reason to care that their data is exposed there?

  71. > The fact that Apple is now focusing on really basic things that have been asked-for by users for years and years is quite telling: OS X is or has become strategically irrelevant, much like Windows.

    Very true. Futile attempts to please customers in the middle of tectonic plate shift that both MSFT+AAPL are ill-equipped to deal with.
    Especially this particular “feature”. Apple has fought this one through and through. Telling us all how -in their eternal wisdom as UI gods- we were all morons for wanting to re-size windows from all 4 edges.

  72. Winter, not(Andy Rubin) and the guy he quoted are being even more asinine than that. They’re saying Android is unimpressive because it isn’t driving an increase in overall phone sales.

    An analogy with computers makes it pretty clear. Imagine, for a moment, that 65% of personal computer next year shipped with Linux, that Apple’s Macintosh year-over-year sales increased 10%, and that all non-Apple PC makers sold no more computers next year than they did this year. In that case, not(Andy Rublin) is saying it would be “hard to be impressed with” Linux, because even though it jumped from single-digit marketshare to two-thirds in a single year, “when all things are considered”, it didn’t grow the market for PC hardware. The only “true success” in the scenario would be the Macintosh.

  73. >Currently [Verizon] seem[s] to be on schedule to have over half the US population covered by year end.

    Yes. By the earliest plausible ship date for iPhone 5, LTE will almost certainly be more generally available than 3G is now. The reasons I expect this are deeply rooted in the underlying technology and economics. The key term to understand here is “ephemeralization”, and you need to look at what costs for that upgrade are not already paid.

    Initially building out cell towers is a big deal. You need to move around lots of mass. You need cable backhaul to your operations center(s). But these costs were mostly paid already for the 2G networks when 3G became a possibility. There were significant bandwidth issues in the cable backhaul (this in particular is why AT&T 3G sucks so badly), but even if you have to pull new cable to address those it’s a lot cheaper than buying the rights-of-ways. Thus, the 2G-to-3G upgrade (still in progress) costs less than the 2G buildout did.

    The LTE upgrade will cost less still because the differences are confined to the digital-radio electronics, and those are getting cheaper and lighter and more efficient on a Moore’s-Law curve. In fact Patrick Maupin has already pointed at sources indicating that some carriers are interrupting 3G buildouts to jump straight to LTE, because it’s cheaper. This utterly fails to surprise me, because I grasp the underlying trend – ephemeralization, the substitution of software and information complexity for physical mass.

    Thus, the LTE gear is essentially high-efficiency SDRs (Software-Defined Radios). The next upgrade, after LTE, is likely to be merely a firmware upload, rather than a physical change that requires guys to climb towers. See the trend here? At each stage of ephemeralization the upgrade cost drops; thus the speed at which you can upgrade on equal dollars (or equal projected demand) rises.

    I deliberately glossed over some things in the preceding paragraph, because they don’t change the underlying logic. One is that a lot of towers still need to be built – but that’s not going to slow down the 3G->LTE upgrade other than indirectly by competing for the carriers’ capital pool. Another is that while programmable signal modulation is easy, efficient gain and frequency-shifting for RF stages is hard. So that individual piece may still need physical upgrading even if the rest of the gear is an SDR.

    But the underlying trend is clear. LTE will come on fast – even faster than the carrier planners presently understand, because they’re costing upgrades based on the price of the gear right now as opposed to what it will cost when they want to deploy it.

    What this means for Apple’s failure to keep up is left as an easy exercise for the reader.

  74. @esr:

    > One is that a lot of towers still need to be built

    The part of that has to do with natural population growth (~ 1% in this country) is a non-cost. The economics of that would not need to be factored in. For a company like Verizon (with the biggest coverage out there), they probably have no need to build new towers other than pretty much cater to new population growth.

  75. > OS X is or has become strategically irrelevant, much like Windows

    Yes, and that’s Apple’s intention as illustrated by Jobs’s “demoted” comment. Ultimately they don’t want to be selling general purpose computers to normal users, because they allow easy exit from the walled garden.

  76. Yes, and that’s Apple’s intention as illustrated by Jobs’s “demoted” comment.

    Well, when you consider that the iPad is what a personal computer was supposed to be in the first place, then that makes a lot of sense. The Mac is a fine computer. The best computer ever to emerge out of the CPU/hard-drive/keyboard/monitor peecee form factor[0]. Compared to the iPad (which the iPhone was actually a side effect of, not the other way around), it’s a clunky mess. The iPad is a single solid-state device that powers on in an instant, lasts a whole day and gives you information literally at your fingertips. It is what the future of computing has been since Star Trek: TNG and Beyond 2000.

    As for walled gardens, Apple is just giving the customer base what it wants. America, the land of the free — also the land that invented the suburb.

  77. Apple has fought this one through and through. Telling us all how -in their eternal wisdom as UI gods- we were all morons for wanting to re-size windows from all 4 edges.

    Apple has made a lot of concessions from the Macintosh Way since the OS 9 to OS X crossover. I think it’s done to woo over Windows users.

    The biggest compromise was the spatial Finder. A masterwork of UI design that leveraged human’s spatial memory in order to provide a navigable, memorable view onto your files. Now it’s on the dustbin, probably due to stupid UI decisions made for Windows 98. (“Let’s break down the barrier between the desktop and the Web!” My arse.)

    When Apple chases taillights, Bad Things happen.

  78. >It is what the future of computing has been since Star Trek: TNG and Beyond 2000.

    No. This is not the future of personal computing, because the person doesn’t control it.

    The iPad is a media-delivery device controlled by Apple and the RIAA/MPAA content cartel, not the person who ostensibly bought it. It’s not empowerment, it’s a glossy-surfaced pretense of empowerment. That fundamental dishonesty is what will doom it in the end.

  79. > As for walled gardens, Apple is just giving the customer base what it wants

    It isn’t. It is giving the customers what it (Apple) wants. How is it that a customer (any customer) does not interoperability with existing hardware via say USB port on his/her iPad? Just because most of them are ignorant of the penalties they pay by walking into the walled garden, doesn’t mean they actually want it.

  80. @Jeff Read: “The iPhone was actually a side effect of [the iPad], not the other way around…”

    Jeff, if you can document that, I would appreciate a pointer to your sources. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you are correct, but I have not read anything that supports your statement.

  81. @Jeff Read:

    correction. msg should read:

    “does not want interoperability”

    instead of

    “does not interoperability”

    uma

  82. > America, the land of the free — also the land that invented the suburb.

    You write that like there’s some contradiction, that suburbs are inherently unfree.

    Like every possible living arrangement, suburbs have pluses and minuses. For some, suburbs are better than the alternatives. For others, suburbs aren’t better than the alternatives.

    Note that there is one difference – almost no suburb dwellers lecture folks who make other choices about how bad those choices are. Hive-dwellers are different. Is that because they’re insecure or because they’re frightened of anything different?

  83. >The fact that Apple is now focusing on really basic things that have been asked-for by users for years and years is quite telling:
    >OS X is or has become strategically irrelevant, much like Windows.

    Or alternatively, they feel OS X has gotten to the point where the real upgrades are under the hood or less applicable to all their users. Among their other new features are improved support for visually impaired users, the entire auto-save system, which is actually pretty damn awesome, improved searching (another feature designed to eliminate the file system), Resume (which yes, is like session saving in Linux, but combine with autosave and it’s even more awesome), and better international character support: instead of having to remember arcane alt codes, or even the Apple short cuts, hold down a letter for a selection dialog for international characters. In fact, despite the claim that they’re “focusing on really basic things” the four corner resizing is listed at the very bottom of the features page under “Other”, hardly a huge headline.

    >I see others have done a better job of rebutting the “Apple reinvents the industry with the cloud” nonsense, given that Google has
    >been pioneering web-based apps so long.

    See this is what I see is the fundamental difference between Apple’s approach and Google’s. Apple isn’t making web-based apps. They’re making regular apps like you’ve always known them, with hooks into the web to make the data, not the app, available everywhere.

    >The question I don’t see answered by Apple fanboi is just how many consumers know what a “cloud” is, and have any reason to
    >care that their data is exposed there?

    Ideally, they should’t have to know what a cloud is. The idea is that you shouldn’t have to worry about this crap. As for caring about data exposure, bear in mind this is the generation that sold their souls to Google Mail and Facebook.

    >Apple has fought this one through and through. Telling us all how -in their eternal wisdom as UI gods- we were all morons for
    >wanting to re-size windows from all 4 edges.

    I don’t recall any fighting. Seems more likely that it’s only recently they’ve crossed the threshold where the number of people requesting it was worth devoting the resources to implementing.

    >No. This is not the future of personal computing, because the person doesn’t control it.
    >The iPad is a media-delivery device controlled by Apple and the RIAA/MPAA content cartel, not the person who ostensibly
    >bought it. It’s not empowerment, it’s a glossy-surfaced pretense of empowerment. That fundamental dishonesty is what will
    >doom it in the end.

    Such anger, yet it reads to me much like the rantings of GPL advocates, talking about how they “guarantee user freedom”. Ultimately that level of control doesn’t matter if the the people have no need or desire to use it.

    >How is it that a customer (any customer) does not interoperability with existing hardware via say USB port on his/her iPad?
    >Just because most of them are ignorant of the penalties they pay by walking into the walled garden, doesn’t mean they actually want it.

    Ah the fundamental geek misunderstanding. Customers want interoperability of their data and content. How the content and data gets from one device to the other is irrelevant to the customer provided it’s transparent and simple, hence the new cloud APIs. Trust me, I spent years trying to explain things to customers, and a vast vast majority of them just don’t care. It doesn’t matter to them the hows or the whys, it just matters that it happens. This is the fundamental difference between you and the average consumer.

  84. Andy Freeman,

    I think Jeff Read is claiming that people like suburbs and that suburbs are like a walled garden. There is something to this. I live in Overland Park, which made a White Castle restaurant be painted beige so it would match the existing, surrounding shopping mall. I know a man who is on his condominium board. There are a bunch of old folks living there. They are incredibly picky about the way their neighbors condos look. People like rules, that’s why we have so many.

    Yours,
    Tom

  85. @not(Andy Rubin)

    I know way more about this than you might think. $1mm top-line was enough in the 1980s, but not now.

    I’m not going to give you my client list, but I can assure you that you are completely 100% mistaken for my neck of the woods. I confirmed that number with two of them today. Actual real live barstool quote: “$1.5 is a really good year.” That’s a guy with 3 full-time, another 15 part-time.

    Anyway, the size of your tax return doesn’t really matter to my customers. Theirs, and mine, are most assuredly smaller. So congrats.

    Now, I’ll ask again…does anybody in this big old dumb UI fight care about, I guess I’ll call them super-small, or microscopic, businesses? Because my barstool guy could care less about Scan and Match, since he hasn’t bought a CD since ZZTop’s Greatest Hits (the first one) and he doesn’t want his employees wasting valuable time streaming The Office while the customer is beating him about the head and shoulders for FASTER!

    I’ll happily tell you that none of these Brobdingnagian battlers really give a flip. All you have to do is look at what they do.

  86. Ideally, they should’t have to know what a cloud is.

    Here’s what they DO know: “This @#$%ing cloud is going to cost me HOW MUCH MORE per month???” Show me the plan out there that lets me consolidate my iFillInTheBlank, from desktop to phone to tablet, and I’ll be on it tomorrow.

    Seriously, think about this in today’s terms: home internet service, office internet service, a phone w/data service, and now a tablet w/ data service. I would be supremely pissed if I was unable to access my project plan just because I wasn’t in cell range, so I download my crap to a laptop, so that I have a workable, usable copy even if I’m in an unincorporated part of notApple’sorVerizon’sWheelHouse like Carrizo Springs or Tyler.

    This is such a NY v. SF battle…I love it.

  87. @winter> So success == money? And only money?

    For people? No. For corporations, yes, duty bound by that fact, normally pronounced, “fiduciary duty”.

    @Scott: the cloud is free, and if your employees are F*#&$(ing around on the ‘net, (looking at Ewe-tube and other pr0n), you’ll soon be broke. Most of the construction world still lives on paper (even for project plans). (Most times someone tries to screw me, they’re from NY.)

  88. >Show me the plan out there that lets me consolidate my iFillInTheBlank, from desktop to phone to tablet, and I’ll be on it tomorrow.

    Agreed. Not going to happen though, until either Apple or Google do it themselves, or the carriers finally resign themselves to being bit pushers, or the carriers get bought out by the broadband providers a la Road Runner mobile (which is still an extra damn charge).

    > I would be supremely pissed if I was unable to access my project plan just because I wasn’t in cell range, so I download my crap to a laptop,
    >so that I have a workable, usable copy even if I’m in an unincorporated part of notApple’sorVerizon’sWheelHouse like Carrizo Springs or Tyler.

    Which is exactly one of the things that Apple’s “cloud” gets right, and Google’s doesn’t. Apple’s cloud is a conduit more than storage, the data resides on your devices, and just get’s pushed around through the cloud. I make a presentation on my mac, it’s on my mac. I can push it to other devices, and as I make changes, those changes get pushed. But it’s always on whatever devices I want it on, so that if I don’t have internet, I still have my presentation. Compare this to Google Docs, where if I don’t have the internet, I’m fucked, unless I explicitly saved a copy and have a program to open it.

    Ultimately if I had to guess, Apple’s plan is to make the file system disappear as much as possible for the user. All of your devices become part of your “personal storage network” linked together with iCloud.

  89. > I’m not going to give you my client list,

    didn’t ask for it. I asked for your tax return.

    > I’ll happily tell you that none of these Brobdingnagian battlers really give a flip

    about Android, either. But that generation demands its Social Security. (Thanks DAD!) They’re going to break the system, too.

  90. > I think Jeff Read is claiming that people like suburbs and that suburbs are like a walled garden.

    “A chicken in every pot and a microwave in every room.”

  91. I’m still shocked by all of the people impressed with iOS 5′s Twitter integration. That’s actually another feature copied from Android, badly.

    With the exception of a few flourishes (that shouldn’t be hard to add), everything Apple boasts about iOS 5′s Twitter integration can be done by a lowly *G1 running Android 1.6*. Tweet from all of the built-in apps? How about tweet from almost all of the apps that can send an email? Using your favorite Twitter client (instead of what Apple feels like building in)?

    And let’s not forget the real trump card… right next to the option to tweet is the option to post to Facebook. Why, exactly, isn’t that in iOS 5? Not to mention posting to WordPress (and sending to lots of other things I don’t happen to have installed, but other people will care about).

  92. I live in Overland Park, which made a White Castle restaurant be painted beige so it would match the existing, surrounding shopping mall.

    Ah, yes, the Beige Castle.

    Before I was able to make a career out of computing, I was in fast-food management. I recall attending a meeting of the Leawood Planning Commission where they were discussing a sweeping new proposed sign ordinance. They wanted all the signs in a shopping center to be the same color and font. I told these morons that major companies spend insane amounts of money advertising a particular logo to get it into the heads of people even if the’re too young to know how to read, or for instant recognition when too busy driving to be able to read. McDonald’s Golden Arches, Wendy and her red pigtails, Col. Sanders and his white suit and black tie, White Castle’s… white castles, the red Mansard roof of the Pizza Hut logo, the Dynamic Ribbon Device and red/white colors of Coca-Cola; all are truly iconic.

    At one point, one of the members of the commission said to the contingent of RanchMart merchants: “Let me see if I have this right… You people think that if you have a bigger sign, you’ll do more business??” I swear every one of us said “YES!” That a person so ignorant of business could sit on a government board with power over peoples’ livelihoods is a big part of what’s wrong with governments.

    I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with those Leawood, OP, or Perfect Village assholes who don’t want their precious property values tainted by any tackiness. And we’re getting Google Fiber in KCK before they do, so booyah!

  93. Using your favorite Twitter client (instead of what Apple feels like building in)?

    Yes, exactly. Apple’s providing a Twitter API — it’s not just for the built-in apps, it’s for any developer who wants to use it. Single sign-on for the entire iPhone, accessible by both Apple and third-party apps. See here for a few more details. We’ll know more tonight, since Twitter’s doing a talk on it more or less as I type. I suspect it won’t be geared towards full-blown Twitter clients, but direct your ire accurately: Twitter is the company that wants to kill third-party Twitter clients. Of course, Apple’s complicit in this, but it’s not like the xAuth/oAuth changes aren’t gonna affect Android clients too.

  94. @esr:

    The iPad is a media-delivery device controlled by Apple and the RIAA/MPAA content cartel, not the person who ostensibly bought it. It’s not empowerment, it’s a glossy-surfaced pretense of empowerment. That fundamental dishonesty is what will doom it in the end.

    This sounds like a line-in-the-ground stance. But against merely Apple and other lock-in interests, or against the form factor in general as being expedient to that paradigm of use?

  95. >[A]gainst merely Apple and other lock-in interests, or against the form factor in general as being expedient to that paradigm of use?

    Um, it’s not obvious? I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with the tablet form factor for certain well-defined uses – as a WiFi terminal for web browsing, for example. It’s the walled-garden, DRM-ful, we-know-what’s-best-for-you model that turns my stomach.

  96. @Bryant

    You’re missing my point. My point is that Android’s architecture lets things like this evolve organically (rather than having to be explicitly built-in). Every Android app already has a Twitter API and a Facebook API and a WordPress API and… All *without* Google’s direct involvement.

    Seamlessly using third-party Twitter clients is just an additional benefit of Android’s way of doing things. Even if all the third-party Twitter clients were shut down tomorrow, Android would still have full-featured Twitter integration unless Twitter also decided to cripple or pull the official Android app as well (which would be stupid and, most likely, suicidal).

  97. I have no idea what you mean at this point. You do know that there are dozens of full-featured Twitter clients for iOS, right? And you know there’s no barrier to writing an iOS app that interacts with the API provided by Twitter?

  98. @Bryant

    Yes, I know there are plenty of Twitter clients for iOS. That’s not the point.

    The point is about Twitter integration for non-Twitter apps. At least that is what I thought Apple was talking about. Looking at the page for iOS 5, Apple’s examples are Camera, Photos, Safari, Maps and YouTube. The Android equivalents are Camera, Gallery, Browser, Maps and YouTube. On a *G1 running Android 1.6* every single one of those apps can directly tweet something (i.e. an image, a web page, a location or a video). On Android (but not iOS so far as we have heard) all of those apps can *also* share those same things via Facebook. And so on.

    How do they do this? When I request an action, they raise the relevant intent (e.g. “I want to share a photo” or “I want to share a web page”). Other apps on the system register their ability to respond to various intents. For instance, the Facebook app and most Twitter apps are willing to share most things (by posting to Facebook and/or tweeting as appropriate – one app I have will even tweet and post to Facebook simultaneously if I want to). Then I pick the app I want to handle my action and use it. Depending on the action it might be completed in the background or I might use the app I’ve selected and then use the back button to go back to where I was.

    Google has done this well enough that this sort of ad-hoc cooperation is easy and common on Android. Developers are encouraged to break up their applications into components and, from there, it is natural to try and integrate with the larger world when you can. Based on how Apple is talking about Twitter integration, the same does not seem to be true of iOS.

  99. Ohh. Yes, iOS has allowed third party apps to register their ability to handle a given content type forever.

  100. Um, it’s not obvious? I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with the tablet form factor for certain well-defined uses – as a WiFi terminal for web browsing, for example. It’s the walled-garden, DRM-ful, we-know-what’s-best-for-you model that turns my stomach.

    The descriptions used are interesting to me, as I don’t look at it that way. I happen to find most stances Apple takes non-egregious ever since they removed DRM from iTunes music, so I’ve gotten past seeing their ecosystem hardware as “we-know-what’s-best/pretense of empowerment/lack of ownership”.

    When I look at iThings, I see really useful tools that runs really useful little software. But I also see that I could just as easily write my own software for it. I’m not a developer; I believed long ago that despite loving computers, I would never enter development as a professional career. My reasons were that I believed development would inevitably be commoditized, and everyone would either be working for pennies, for volunteer/altruism (I like open source, just don’t think I could make a living off of it), or for major corporate houses. Since I’m a greedy person and prefer a bit of autonomy and wanted a field with enough enforced scarcity that I could be guaranteed demand and income, I chose medicine instead. (There’s some irony there).

    Anyway, when I look at the App Store specifically, I see what I thought about back when I was in high school and college and still messing around with Linux and hobby programming. I see that with a bit of luck, I could make a program that I genuinely find useful, and I could actually be distributing in the same channel that other software makers do. The App Store to me seems a little egalitarian in this case, as both EA and myself could submit an app, and despite being in a big sandbox, I could still make a tiny bit of money for my effort. That’s not possible in conventional retail channels unless I have a huge amount of money to invest up front.

    I see that as a valuable system. I think small developers should be able to write software they like and receive some payment for it.

    The same basic idea applies to any of these app ecosystems, but the difference with iOS (as opposed to WebOS or Android) is that it feels like the ecosystem has a vested owner with interest in its advancement. WebOS is stagnant so far (though I watch it with curious eyes), and Google doesn’t need to monetize software.

    The same idea applies for Windows Phone. It’s kind of a greedy thought: the ecosystem I admire the most is the one that allows independently-written software a chance of being sold. How they control the distribution of that software is less of an issue to me currently (although it could certainly change). In Apple’s case, however, I know that they have a interest in a good developer ecosystem (much like Microsoft in the 1990s), and I have a certain amount of respect for that.

  101. @Bryant

    You’re still not getting it. This isn’t just registering file types that applications can open with the OS. This also isn’t just implementing a custom URL scheme (that’s closer, but it has the fatal flaw that there’s no way for multiple applications to coherently share the same URL scheme). To put it another way, if iOS has this kind of built-in flexibility why in the world is an OS upgrade required to be able to tweet from the Camera app? Will another be required to upload a photo to Facebook (supposing Apple and Facebook every bury the hatchet, of course)? And another for WordPress? On Android all I have to do was install the relevant application(s) and I am good to go – even if I happened to be using a third-party Camera app.

    What Google has done with Android is fine-grained and pervasive. They let you create handlers that respond to a user or application’s intent (hence the name), not just the kind of data being provided. The system is set up so one application can intentionally launch part of another. This is how Google has made almost every part of Android plug-and-play.. Handle one intent and you can replace the built-in launcher. Handle another and you can provide results to Google’s search widget. Implement the other side of the interface and you can write a search widget. And so on.

    It isn’t completely impossible to bootstrap similar functionality in iOS (see, for instance, the x-callback-url scheme), but it is substantially harder and it isn’t encouraged the way it is on Android. That makes a difference in how applications are built and how they do (or don’t) cooperate.

  102. > I think Jeff Read is claiming that people like suburbs and that suburbs are like a walled garden. There is something to this.

    That’s zoning and/or CCRs, which are not unique to suburbs. Of the two, CCRs are “preferable” in that one can often avoid them. Zoning, not so much.

    Some suburbs have zoning that approaches the norm for cities in terms of arbitrary control, so if you’re going to argue that zoning is a walled garden, suburbs aren’t your example.

  103. So this is the point (Apple copying core Android features) where the OODA looping becomes blatant. And if, on top of everything, there are logistical problems, the end could be swift and ugly.

  104. @twilightomni:

    I happen to find most stances Apple takes non-egregious ever since they removed DRM from iTunes music, so I’ve gotten past seeing their ecosystem hardware as “we-know-what’s-best/pretense of empowerment/lack of ownership”.

    One problem with Apple’s tight-fisted “we-know-what’s-best/pretense of empowerment/lack of ownership” is that that sort of thinking combined with any corporation’s desire for profits, almost always will lead to some evil results. See, for example:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/08/apple_copies_rejected_app/

    Microsoft was notorious for cloning useful Windows programs and selling them (or adding them into the OS base install), but even Microsoft never got around to managing to disallow the original program from being distributed.

  105. >One problem with Apple’s tight-fisted “we-know-what’s-best/pretense of empowerment/lack of
    >ownership” is that that sort of thinking combined with any corporation’s desire for profits, almost
    >always will lead to some evil results. See, for example:
    >http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/08/apple_copies_rejected_app/

    This is absurd. So the argument in this case is:
    1) Apple never had anyone working on wireless sync since before this guy submitted his app, never mind that is was a highly requested feature since the first phone

    2) Instead of being truthful with their rejection (that the application had security concerns), that Apple instead lied and really rejected the application so they can some how profit off of a free upgrade.

    3) That when developing an application that would sync over wi-fi, that no one else except this one guy would ever come up with the idea of using the icon that Apple uses to represent syncing (http://icon.io/icon/isync/) and combine it with the icon that Apple uses to represent wi-fi (http://icon.io/icon/airport-utility/)

  106. @tmoney:

    I easily believe #2. The rest I don’t care about.

    Apple wasn’t concerned about security. They were concerned about “security” e.g. proving to their RIAA friends that, even absent DRM, they would treat the preciousssss IP properly.

    If this is false, and Apple really *was* concerned about security, then:

    a) how come they didn’t explain their concerns any better and give the guy a chance to fix it; and
    b) how come we haven’t heard about this malicious app damaging any of the 50K people who downloaded it from the Cydia store?

    But good job delivering a laundry list of why it’s not an issue, and completely missing the real point which is that if Apple had non-capricious appstore approval, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

  107. @tmoney:

    BTW, if you don’t think Apple attempts to profit from “free upgrades” then you really haven’t been paying attention to where they are making their money, who their real competition is, and how hard they are having to compete.

  108. >If this is false, and Apple really *was* concerned about security, then:
    >a) how come they didn’t explain their concerns any better and give the guy a chance to fix it; and
    >b) how come we haven’t heard about this malicious app damaging any of the 50K people who
    >downloaded it from the Cydia store?

    I can’t speak from knowledge, but if I had to guess, because the application used private APIs, in direct violation of the developer agreement and because security concerns don’t imply maliciousness. Could be as simple as “the private APIs used are not guaranteed secure to be used in the manner they are”.

    >But good job delivering a laundry list of why it’s not an issue, and completely missing the real point
    >which is that if Apple had non-capricious appstore approval, we wouldn’t even be having
    >this conversation.

    True, instead we’d be having a conversation about how evil Apple is for implementing long asked for features even though someone else already did it.

    The fact of the matter is, being in the business of selling obvious unimplemented OS features isn’t a sustainable one.

    >BTW, if you don’t think Apple attempts to profit from “free upgrades” then you really haven’t
    >been paying attention to where they are making their money, who their real competition is, and
    >how hard they are having to compete.

    So explain to me how Apple’s rejection of the wi-fi sync app a year ago allows them to profit from wi-fi sync in the new OS? Because the only people I can see Apple profiting from here are the very very small subset of people who own an iPhone 1 or iPhone 3G who haven’t jail broken them, and who have no plans to upgrade to a new iPhone without wi-fi sync, and would never upgrade if only this 3rd party wi-fi sync app were available to them.

    Now I absolutely agree with the charge that this developer likely would have made more money if the app were available in the app store, but I don’t see any way that Apple profits from rejecting this app a year ago only to implement it now. If nothing else, having the app in the store would have been more profitable for Apple since they had no wi-fi syncing and collect 30% of all payments.

  109. It’s not a surprise that Apple would reject an app that directly accesses iTunes services in a manner not under the control of their terms and conditions.

    Just like Google wouldn’t allow a third-party app that hooks into the Android Market infrastructure unless they had formerly announced an API for such a purchase.

    Security, blah. iTunes is Apple’s service and they want to control how you use it. No different from any other electronic service. (Important difference being that you can divorce an Android phone from Google’s service infrastructure if you so choose.)

  110. > The fact of the matter is, being in the business of selling obvious unimplemented OS features isn’t a sustainable one.

    How come all the Windows security vendors are doing OK?

    In any case, there are a lot of successful businesses that get in, make some sales, and use that to fund the next thing they’re going to work on.

    > So explain to me how Apple’s rejection of the wi-fi sync app a year ago allows them to profit from wi-fi sync in the new OS?

    Apple lives on the appearance of being cutting edge. It’s probably a lot easier to maintain that appearance when they don’t allow the official app store and then the grapevine to expose the majority of their customers to functionality that they should have already provided, but didn’t.

  111. True, instead we’d be having a conversation about how evil Apple is for implementing long asked for features even though someone else already did it.

    That conversation might be taking place, but I wouldn’t be one of the ones bashing Apple for that — just for pretending that they thought it up and that nobody else in the universe could ever be half as clever.

    Having said that, I will still be quite happy to beat Apple up for not allowing others to code similar functionality, even after Apple is shipping it. It’s the same principle that says that no, Microsoft can’t get away with claiming that web browser functionality is core to the operating system and thus irreplaceable.

  112. >Apple lives on the appearance of being cutting edge. It’s probably a lot easier to maintain that
    >appearance when they don’t allow the official app store and then the grapevine to expose the
    > majority of their customers to functionality that they should have already provided, but didn’t.

    And yet instapaper, mms and photo editing apps remain. Given the choice between assuming that Apple had some sort of random and malicious plot to reject and then steal some kid’s icon and software and somehow profit from that rejection, and assuming that they are simply enforcing their developer policies as clearly spelled out before you become a developer, in the absence of any compelling (or really any at all) evidence, I have to assume the latter.

  113. > And yet instapaper, mms and photo editing apps remain.

    Would you say that those were, in your words “obvious unimplemented OS feature(s)”?

    > and assuming that they are simply enforcing their developer policies as clearly spelled out before you become a developer

    Or after, in the case of specifying the source language for applications…

    > in the absence of any compelling (or really any at all) evidence, I have to assume the latter.

    Apple acts evil often enough that in the absence of any evidence, I merely assume they’re being evil again.

  114. @Patrick

    Would you say that those were, in your words “obvious unimplemented OS feature(s)”?

    I think his point is that all of these features have now been rolled into the OS like Wifi-Sync, yet Apple hasn’t decided to prosecute the app makers just because they decided their apps should be system-wide capabilities.

  115. I think his point is that all of these features have now been rolled into the OS like Wifi-Sync, yet Apple hasn’t decided to prosecute the app makers just because they decided their apps should be system-wide capabilities.

    His first “point” was accusing me of thinking “Apple never had anyone working on wireless sync since before this guy submitted his app, never mind that is was a highly requested feature since the first phone,” which implies that he thinks the opposite. He later confirmed it by calling wireless sync an obvious OS feature.

    So, taking him at his word, it’s entirely possible that Apple rejected the app precisely because it was an obvious OS feature, and they were working on it, and didn’t want anybody to steal their thunder.

    As far as the other apps go, maybe they didn’t start work on them that far back. Maybe they decide what to work on based on what people are downloading — after all, they have all the data. That wouldn’t be evil, would it? In any case, Apple is far too shrewd to ban a popular app once they start to work on something similar. But that’s far different from banning an app that nobody has seen yet.

  116. I wrote:>>The question I don’t see answered by Apple fanboi is just how many consumers know what a “cloud” is, and have any reason to
    >>care that their data is exposed there?

    tmoney responded: >Ideally, they should’t have to know what a cloud is. The idea is that you shouldn’t have to worry about this crap.

    Then Apple’s big announcement is a failure as it will create no consumer demand for this thing they don’t know about.

    tmoney continued:
    > As for caring about data exposure, bear in mind this is the generation that sold their souls to Google Mail and Facebook.

    Non-responsive.

  117. >Would you say that those were, in your words “obvious unimplemented OS feature(s)”?

    MMS and photo editing? Absolutely. Lack of MMS was one of the many reasons why the original iPhone was doomed. Instapaper, maybe not so much, but it’s been around a while too.

    >Or after, in the case of specifying the source language for applications…

    Except that isn’t what happened here, so it’s irrelevant.

    >As far as the other apps go, maybe they didn’t start work on them that far back. Maybe they decide what to work on based on
    >what people are downloading — after all, they have all the data. That wouldn’t be evil, would it? In any case, Apple is far too shrewd to
    >ban a popular app once they start to work on something similar. But that’s far different from banning an app that nobody has seen yet.

    So now the charge is that in addition to secretly plotting to steal this kid’s software, that all of the applications that are in the app store despite the same tech being rolled into the OS later are there only because Apple wasn’t working on those features before the application became popular? Somehow, of all the features, this was the only one where an app was submitted after Apple had their own people working on it? Seriously, this is easier for you to believe than it is to believe the application in question used private APIs and was disallowed for the same reasons that every other app that uses private APIs is disallowed?

    >Then Apple’s big announcement is a failure as it will create no consumer demand for this thing they don’t know about.

    Not knowing what a “cloud” is != Not knowing about the existence of a “cloud”. Most people have no clue what RAM or a hard drive is beyond the computer needs it to run faster and you store your files on it respectively. The same should be true of any true “cloud” computing process. They shouldn’t have to know what the cloud is or how it works, just that it does and that it does what they want.

    Also pedantry != an actual argument.

    >Non-responsive.

    How so? Privacy as you and I and other geeks think about it is largely a non issue for people. We all know that AT&T is going to sell your information to the government, Sony is going to sell it to thieves, and Google will sell it to insurance companies, and Apple will lock it away in a vault and charge you thousands of dollars to get it back, but for most people, these dangers and the odds of it happening to them do not outweigh the conveniences presented by these various things. This is why despite the fact that everyone knows that Google essentially “reads” all your email, people still use it. Privacy for most people is about being left alone, not about hiding your information.

  118. Privacy is not a non-issue. Its a huge issue and the topic of concern on a daily basis for “non-geeks” with whom I interact.

  119. > Except that isn’t what happened here, so it’s irrelevant.

    It’s completely relevant to my thesis that Apple is an evil empire.

  120. MMS and photo editing?

    Photo editing? An “OS” feature? Seriously? I mean, sure, I can see it being a reasonably standard bundled starter app, but even Apple’s probably planning an upsell on that one. The new built-in iTunes sync is already an up-sell to the old way of plugging the damn thing into your computer.

    So now the charge is that in addition to secretly plotting to steal this kid’s software, that all of the applications that are in the app store despite the same tech being rolled into the OS later are there only because Apple wasn’t working on those features before the application became popular?

    You sure are good at putting words at my fingertips.

    So now the assertion is the Apple was working on everything in iOS 5 back when they disallowed that app?

    Somehow, of all the features, this was the only one where an app was submitted after Apple had their own people working on it?

    This is apparently the most news-worthy app that falls into the category of Apple thought they could get away with disallowing it with as few people as possible noticing.

    Seriously, this is easier for you to believe than it is to believe the application in question used private APIs and was disallowed for the same reasons that every other app that uses private APIs is disallowed?

    I never said that your private API theory was a non-starter, but we seriously disagree on the point of whether that constitutes evil or not.

  121. >Privacy is not a non-issue. Its a huge issue and the topic of concern on a daily basis for
    >“non-geeks” with whom I interact.

    Do they use gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, the Google tool bar (or indeed any of the billions of web bars), facebook or twitter? Do they store their account information on amazon, their Sony PS3 or any other web merchants? Do they use drop box? How about Progressive’s new “Snap Shot” discount, other wise known as an little black box for your insurance company?

    Look, I’m not saying that there aren’t privacy concerns. But to paint the cloud services Apple is providing as particularly more concerning than any of these technologies that they likely use on a regular basis is disingenuous at best. Yes, there are concerns, but note that I qualified my statement with “as you and I think about it” which is likely true. If you ask most people what they’re concerned about as far as privacy and their information online, it will likely be a much different answer than what you and I are concerned about.

    >Photo editing? An “OS” feature? Seriously? I mean, sure, I can see it being a reasonably standard
    >bundled starter app, but even Apple’s probably planning an upsell on that one. The new built-in iTunes
    >sync is already an up-sell to the old way of plugging the damn thing into your computer.

    Should have been more clear, OS in this case referring to the entire iOS bundle. Yes, technically the photo app is not part of the OS, and technically a basic text editor isn’t part of a computer OS either, but I don’t think anyone would argue is isn’t something you would want to include as part of your basic OS install. Basic photo editing, crop and balance and that sort of thing. Apple for the past few years has been adding basic photo editing features all over the place, it’s a pretty obvious feature to add to the photo app on the iPhone too.

    >So now the assertion is the Apple was working on everything in iOS 5 back when they disallowed that app?

    I’m not sure what exactly you’re saying here and I can only assume you mistyped. My assertion is that Apple disallowed the app for reasons entirely separate from their development or lack thereof of their own implementation of wi-fi sync. As further evidence to that fact, I would like to introduce you to a few applications:

    Acrosync: “Wi-fi sync all photos/videos/music/documents on your mac or linux computers to your iphone/ipad/ipod touch!”

    Scotty: “Scotty transfers photos and videos from your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to your Mac over Wi-Fi.”

    Simple Transfer: Simple Transfer is the easiest way of transferring your Photos and Videos to computer and other iOS devices vi WiFi. No need for cable, iTunes or extra softwares.”

    Simply Share: “SimplyShare is the ultimate tool to: … Transfer your Photos, Videos and Files easily to other iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and computers wirelessly…”

    Just a few apps, all available in the Apple App Store that allow you to sync your iPhone over wi-fi. And this doesn’t count the many apps that implement their own sync just for their particular app (common in note apps). And all of these apps were available before the recent announcement too.

    >This is apparently the most news-worthy app that falls into the category of Apple thought they
    >could get away with disallowing it with as few people as possible noticing.

    Or alternatively there’s nothing to “get away with”

    >I never said that your private API theory was a non-starter, but we seriously disagree on the
    >point of whether that constitutes evil or not.

    Absolutely. I find nothing at all evil about enforcing the policies which you lay out clearly at the beginning when you set out to develop an application store with a stated purpose of providing a secured and tested application experience.

    There is a large difference between evil and something you don’t like.

  122. > Privacy is not a non-issue.
    > Its a huge issue and the topic of concern on a daily basis for “non-geeks” with whom I interact.

    I agree people claim it is an issue, but I disagree that they act that way.
    Observe how many people in a Supermarket check-out line use the rewards card.
    Up-thread there was a comment about GMail.
    In a survey of commuters at Waterloo Station, 90% gave away their office computer system passwords in exchange for a pen.
    http://www.out-law.com/default.aspx?page=3496

  123. > There is a large difference between evil and something you don’t like.

    Sure. I personally don’t like mint in my ice cream, but that’s not evil.

    But most things that I truly detest are, in fact, evil.

    Bill collectors who are chasing the son of the people that I bought my house from 11 years ago, who cross-reference the address with my personal phone number (that those people never had) and repeatedly call me up using an automated system that makes me punch buttons and wait to be able to talk to an ostensible human in the vain hope I can convince them that I never met this kid, and thus keep them from calling me again…

    I hate that. And it’s evil.

    Just like Apple controlling aftermarket add-ons for its products.

    Fortunately, Android is there to help insure that this particular evil is not visited on nearly as large a population as it would have been otherwise.

  124. > Perhaps your criteria for evil have high sensitivity.

    Certainly, in some areas.

    For example, while I certainly don’t believe that every person in your field of endeavor is evil, the AMA (and the ABA and any other union that actually manages to keep outsiders from performing useful work) engages in evil on a regular basis.

    In fact, when my daughter (who just finished her second year of medical school) had her white coat ceremony upon entering medical school, afterwards she and I agreed that it was all great and positive and uplifting and spiritual and about the humanity — except for the speech by the local union organizer from the Bexar County Medical Society.

    I found it very interesting that his speech was so transparent that it set off alarm bells inside a girl who had lived in Austin all her life and just graduated from UT. Maybe there’s hope for the future after all.

  125. I empathize with her experience. The inherit value-conflict in American medicine right now seems to be the desire to maintain market scarcity/exclusivity of medical services as a bargaining chip for doctors’ interests…when in fact the best thing for health care worldwide may not be doctors’ interests.

    On the other hand, a recent article argues that new generations of American doctors are losing their independent business spirit. With less concerns about business, maybe more patient concerns will take center-stage.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/30/health/policy/30docs.html

  126. Eh, seems like it will be a hell of an uphill battle to win that. The company operated under a different name until 2005, long after Apple had started using iNoun for just about everything (iMac, iBook, iPod, iLife, iWork, iTools etc). It may not count for much, but it would certainly help any claim that iNoun is generally associated with Apple (case in point, ask people who makes the iHome speakers for the iPod). Second, Apple purchased an actual registered trademark and domain for iCloud from another company. That registration appears to go back as far as 2007. My money is on an out of court settlement at best for the VoIP company.

  127. tmoney, to the contrary, if iCloud Communications has been using “iCloud” for 6 years without Apple enforcing any such “iNoun” argument against it, it cuts against Apple. And in trademark law, first use is how rights are established.

  128. First use is part of it. Per what I read in the relevant Arizona statutes (and quite admittedly IANAL, nor do I play one on TV), area, and extent of use are also factors, as well as how similar the two uses are. Admittedly, VoIP and cloud Computing are more similar than say a music studio and a computer company, but it’s not like comparing a wi-fi portable phone with a cell phone either.

    Also, I again admittedly don’t know much about how local state trademarks interact with national trademarks, but per the USPTO (http://www.uspto.gov/faq/trademarks.jsp#_Toc275426678) having a registered trademark gives you legal presumption of ownership and rights on a national level. So does the fact that iCC didn’t bring action against the previous registered owners and users of the iCloud trademark and name cut against them as well? Does the fact that Apple and Xcerion before them have a national registration on the mark?

    Like I said, my money is on an out of court settlement at best.

  129. The presumption of a Federal registration is very weak. Its not like patent law where it takes clear and convincing evidence to overcome.

    Betting on an out of court settlement is always the way to bet. Almost all civil litigation settles without a trial.

  130. With respect to the Apple patent on an IR based tech to instruct smartphone cameras to shut off, Glenn Reynolds observes:

    “DOES APPLE REALLY WANT TO CRIPPLE YOUR IPHONE? “The leading computer company plans to build a system that will sense when people are trying to video live events — and turn off their cameras.”

    Sounds like totalitarian governments would love this. Kinda makes me wish I’d bought a Droid. If this is really an Apple initiative, I hope that it really hurts their stock price and market share. “

  131. >DOES APPLE REALLY WANT TO CRIPPLE YOUR IPHONE?

    Yeah, I just caught this on InstaPundit. It deserves a blog post.

  132. Pingback: I’m glad I sold my RIM stock when I did . . . « Quotulatiousness

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