The Smartphone Wars: 48% and rising

There’s been a lot of talk in the trade press over the last month by people who believe – or want to believe, or want us to think they believe – that Android’s momentum is slowing, and in particular that the multicarrier release of the Apple iPhone was a game-changer that will eventually pull Apple back into the dominant position in smartphones. Most of these talkers have been obvious Apple fanboys; a few have been contrarians, or tired of reporting the same old Android-wins-again stories, or merely linkbaiting.

The last week has not been kind to these people. First, Canalys reported that in a survey of usage in 56 countries, Android has reached 48% market share worldwide. Then the comScore figures on US installed base up to June 2011 came out, and report only 40% share here.

I think comparing these sources is instructive, particularly with the longer-term trends as context. It’s also worth noting a couple of other recent developments that cast doubt on the Apple-comeback scenario.

The 40% to 48% discrepancy is easily explained. With Nokia and RIM in collapse and Microsoft failing to gain traction, the smartphone market is increasingly just a two-horse race – Android va. Apple. Android does better against Apple in price-sensitive markets; U.S. consumers are the least price-sensitive in the world and so Apple competes better here.

More interesting, perhaps, is what is not happening in the latest figures. Tragically for the contrarians, it is Apple’s U.S market-share growth rather than Android’s that has stalled. Android share growth continues to bucket along at about 2% a month, while Apple’s shows no increase in the latest figures.

The future is another country, of course, but right now it looks like those of us who thought that multicarrier iPhone was going to be largely unable to fix Apple’s long-term positioning problem were correct. The iPhone’s market isn’t exactly saturated in the normal sense, but sales volumes are only growing as fast as the smartphone userbase as a whole; the multicarrier ‘breakout’ only netted Apple about a 1% competitive gain, and that gain now appears to be over.

Apple is now relying on smartphones for 68% of revenue, so they’d be very vulnerable to an actual drop in marketshare. I’ve taken a lot of flak for saying the company looks like a late-stage sustainer with a principal product line about to experience disruptive collapse, but this is yet another straw in the wind. If next month’s figures show an actual share drop, expect it to be self-reinforcing and get the hell out of Apple stock.

Meanwhile, the whole smartphone market may be undergoing some sort of subtle shift. Microsoft didn’t hemhorrage any share this month, which compared to their performance since the WP7 release is a major victory for them – they even gained a few users. I have no theory about what this means.

HP’s WebOS has fallen so far (below 2.2%) that comScore has stopped reporting it, probably because it’s now below their normal statistical noise level. Now they’re tracking Symbian instead.

In other news, Google is buying patents from IBM, doubtless with the intention of turning the confrontations with Sun and Apple into Mexican standoffs. My evaluation continues to be that the smartphone patent wars will be like a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but in the end signifying nothing.

Finally, there’s really superb article on Android vs. iOS. Anybody still laboring under the delusion that iOS’s toolset for app development is unequivocally better than Android’s should read this.

114 thoughts on “The Smartphone Wars: 48% and rising

  1. I believe that you’ve said at some point in the past that Android is likely to exceed 50% share by October of this year. (Or was it just fourth quarter? Can’t recall.) Is Android still on track to reach that goal?

  2. Anybody know what’s up with “Tabco”? So far it’s just a reasonably well-executed viral-ish marketing campaign (the odd homepage, skywriting at Apple conferences), and clearly it’s for a new tablet…

    Most of the speculation puts Tabco as a marketing front for Nokia (with a new Meego or maybe WP7 tablet), HP (an update for their tablet?), or Motorola (Xoom 2 with a custom shell?), but Amazon has also been mentioned as a dark-horse candidate. About all you can tell from their videos is that it seems to be a conventional-looking tablet, maybe with a 16:9 form-factor.

    Anyhow, apparently we’ll know in a week – they claiming they’ll announce it 8/15.

  3. @esr: “eventually pull Apple back into the dominant position in smartphones.”

    Apple was never dominant. They had a few brief peaks at about 30% when new models were introduced early on (2007-2008). If you have data showing the iPhone was ever dominant, I’d like to see it. RIMM was ahead of Apple until recently anyway, so I don’t know how you could claim Apple was ever dominant.

    ” If next month’s figures show an actual share drop, expect it to be self-reinforcing and get the hell out of Apple stock.”
    are you shorting Apple?

    Here’s what I predict: Apple might lose some marketshare (I’m talking phones sold for current qtr, not necessarily comscore). But the iPhone 5 announcement will happen before any earnings announcement happens so that will more than compensate for any temporary market share loss. So I’m not going to say Apple is going to go up necessarily as I have no idea what the general stock market is going to do. But I will say the stock won’t tank because of any short-term loss of iPhone marketshare. If the share doesn’t pop back, then yes. But I don’t see that happening.

    I know this pains you but a sizable chunk of people like good design – and they will pay a bit more for it. I’m going to guess that sizable chunk ends up at 30-40% long term (US).

    What long term iPhone market-share are you thinking these days? You’ve often compared it to mac vs windows. That would mean 5% worldwide, ~10% US. Is that your take?

  4. @fake account – Google will probably have to pay Oracle something. The one time cost isn’t interesting. What happens if Google ends up having to charge for Android? Could get messy. If it’s $5/phone – no biggie probably. But $10-20? how would that work with the existing license?

  5. @esr
    “Finally, there’s really superb article on Android vs. iOS. Anybody still laboring under the delusion that iOS’s toolset for app development is unequivocally better than Android’s should read this.”

    That’s not exactly what I got from that article. But anyway, I can say as an iOS developer – it sucks. The people touting how great it are have never used a decent toolset. The certificate management/provisioning profile stuff is an error prone nightmare. Stuff like renaming your project is a PITA. Interface builder is behind where VB/Delphi were 15 years ago.

    I haven’t tried Android development myself (since people tend not to buy Android apps, it’s not interesting to me). But Eclipse is far better than XCode (Xcode lacks even basic refactoring). Java is a much cleaner lang than Objective C. (I don’t like java either really, but compared to Obj C, it’s a no brainer).

    The most positive thing I can say about developing for iOS is that it’s way better now that back in 2008. Apple has dramatically improved it. But when you start with such a crappy, developer hostile experience – it’s easy to improve. And the frameworks are pretty decent – they did a good job with them despite the crufty Objective C.

  6. Despite Florian Mueller’s efforts to confuse the issue, deciding to go ahead without a license is not the same thing as willful infringement. It’s only willful infringement if Sun had any actually valid patents or copyrights that Android actually infringed.

    By analogy, consider if I’m running a film studio, and I talk with Zorro Productions, Inc., about buying the rights to do a Zorro film. After talking, I decide to go ahead and make a Zorro film without paying Zorro Productions, Inc., anything. Willful infringement, right? Well, no. Though Zorro Productions, Inc., claims that it “controls the worldwide trademarks and copyrights in the name, visual likeness and the character of Zorro”, the actual fact is that Zorro is in the public domain, at least according to a ruling in Federal court. There, the judge said “since the copyrights in The Curse of Capistrano and The Mark of Zorro lapsed in 1995 or before, the character Zorro has been in the public domain”, and that “Plaintiffs’ argument that they have a trademark in Zorro because they licensed others to use Zorro, however, is specious. It assumes that ZPI had the right to demand licenses to use Zorro at all.”

    Google’s on the hook for willful infringement only if Sun/Oracle has any right to demand licenses for the stuff Google used.

  7. >Google’s on the hook for willful infringement only if Sun/Oracle has any right to demand licenses for the stuff Google used.

    That is correct. Such a finding would also somehow have to dismiss a pretty telling estoppel argument based on public statements by Jonathan Schwartz and other Sun executives.

  8. >What long term iPhone market-share are you thinking these days? You’ve often compared it to mac vs windows. That would mean 5% worldwide, ~10% US. Is that your take?

    Yes. The Mac’s market share measures the percentage of users willing to pay Apple’s premiums over PCs for Apple’s industrial design. I think we’ll find that at equilibrium the percentage of smartphone users willing to make a similar tradeoff is similar.

  9. >I believe that you’ve said at some point in the past that Android is likely to exceed 50% share by October of this year. (Or was it just fourth quarter? Can’t recall.) Is Android still on track to reach that goal?

    For the U.S., it is. Linear regression has pointed steadily at the end of October since mid-2010.

    Worldwide, 50% will be reached sooner. Like, probably next month.

  10. Careful not to get confused:

    Canalys global — 48% share of smartphone shipments last quarter.
    Comscore US — 40% share of smartphone installed base of users over the age of 13 averaged over 3 months.

    Bearing this in mind, the US market is probably a couple of points closer to the international market than these numbers suggest, because installed base lags shipments.

    Of course, the detractors will claim that 40% of Android customers merely take them back to the store or some kind of bullshit nonsense like that.

    @fake account:

    Florian sometimes makes good points, but he certainly seems to have an agenda. I don’t find his characterization of what the judge said at all persuasive.

    @esr:

    I think we’ll find that at equilibrium the percentage of smartphone users willing to make a similar tradeoff is similar [to the Mac].

    I think it will be a bit bigger domestically. At least as long as the maximum difference between carrying an iPhone and another smartphone is only $200. Apple is perceived by a large proportion of the population as desirable, and for those people, cost is the major deciding factor for which platform to buy. More people using prepaid will skew Apple’s share down; Apple dropping the price will skew Apple’s share up. With MP3 players, the absolute cost of the player is quite affordable, and Apple has almost 100% share. With Macs, the absolute cost of having a Mac is noticeable, and so it has low market share. I expect that Apple’s domestic share of the smartphone market will be bigger than its share of the Mac market, but nowhere near as big as its share of the MP3 player market. Maybe between 15% and 30%.

  11. >Canalys global — 48% share of smartphone shipments last quarter.

    Good correction. It will take a while for that to feed through to installed base.

  12. @Steven Ehrbar:

    Google’s on the hook for willful infringement only if Sun/Oracle has any right to demand licenses for the stuff Google used.

    And if the jury finds the unsent email compelling.

    @esr:

    Good correction. It will take a while for that to feed through to installed base.

    That’s true, but remember the international “installed base” is Nokia, Nokia, Nokia, Rim, (Apple)

  13. I hope you are right about the patent dispute. It is certainly instructive as to what modern patent battles are really about: not protecting some brilliant innovative invention, but rather a fatuous legal tool to beat on your competitors if you are both big, or to squash any up and coming competition from spunky small start ups.

    The only way to protect yourself from patent trolls like Apple is to become a patent troll yourself.

    Even if it works out, I have to wonder about all the billions of dollars spent by these innovative companies on meaningless nonsense. If they had been able to use it to innovate instead, how much better off would we all be.

    I really don’t understand how anyone who knows how it works can defend any part of the patent system. I’ve met a bunch of patent lawyers and they are actually under the delusion that their profession contributes to innovation. I guess that would be the essence of a cargo cult.

  14. In regards to XCode being a great development system: I have used Visual Studio for nearly a decade now, and I have also used XCode. In my opinion XCode is about equivalent in capability to Visual Studio 2003. And Ojbective-C is just plain horrible.

    However, if you gruel is all you eat, then you probably think it is pretty tasty.

  15. @Jessica Boxer:

    I’ve met a bunch of patent lawyers and they are actually under the delusion that their profession contributes to innovation.

    It’s easy to be part of a religion that rewards you handsomely for your part in the rituals.

  16. I really don’t understand how anyone who knows how it works can defend any part of the patent system.

    People in general are not good at being able to separate intended function from actual effect. Thus the continuing delusion that regulatory bodies can be used to give the little guy a chance, when instead they inevitably suffer capture and are used by the big guys to smash the little guy.

  17. “Modern patent battles”? Patent battles happened as long as patent existed. Most major (and a lot of minor) advances lead to lawsuits of different sorts. Usually one party (who manages to get patent first) wins and others are either go out of business or are forced to pay for something they themselves independently invented.

    Here is good article on subject: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1856610 (click “One-Click-Download” link to get a PDF).

    P.S. Even there it looks like authors start with the presumption that patent system is force for good – and it just need small changes. While for anyone who actually do development it’s quite clear that existing patent system is huge drag on the innovations and it’s not even clear that ANY patent system can be helpful WRT innovations: negative aspects are so large and positive ones are so small that it’s not clear how the sum can ever be positive.

  18. Patents are a bigger problem in the USA than in the rest of the world. Many aspects of the US legal landscape contribute to that.

    One is overly broad patents and things like business method/software patents. The biggest problems seems to be that in the USA, the winner is burdened with the cost of the lawsuit. So even winning a lawsuit can bankrupt an accused party.

    In most of the world, the loser pays the costs made by the winner. So the costs of winning a lawsuit are generally small. Therefore, accused parties are more willing to stand up against frivolous suits. This is a large deterrent to any type of “see if it sticks” type of patent charges.

    For the rest, I would like to suggest reading
    Patents against prosperity
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/08/intellectual-property

  19. Thanks for the link Winter, I think it makes some great points, and I agree that both the form of US patent law and the manner of its execution makes it especially egregious. (Though, if fairness, it is quite common for winners to successfully sue loosers for costs in such matters.)

    However, I did want to say that I think the article you cited misses something important. It rightfully criticizes patent trolls, but patent trolls are simply a magnifying glass on the system. All they do is bring a small amount of efficiency to the system. The problem is not patent trolls, the problem is that the patent system provides an ecosystem for such organizations to survive. The only protection we have from the patent system is the brutally slow and inefficient legal system. Patent trolls make this less burdensome, and thus are not a problem themselves but rather they shine a light on the system as it is constituted to be.

    The whole patent system is a big lumbering patent troll, and if it were not for its sloth and dimwittedness it would quickly consume us all. As it stands, it is only the isolated Billy Goat Gruff, unfortunate enough to be crossing the bridge that gets consumed.

  20. Yes. The Mac’s market share measures the percentage of users willing to pay Apple’s premiums over PCs for Apple’s industrial design.

    You’re repeating some tired, old myths about Apple products that ceased being true a long time ago. Go spec out a Mac, and then go spec out an equivalent PC from any other vendor. They will be similarly priced; if anything the Mac will be somewhat lower. The “Apple premium” is no more than what you would pay to any other vendor for a product that isn’t absolute garbage, and may in fact be somewhat less because when Steve Jobs says “jump”, the suppliers say “how high?”.

    I say this as someone who bought a ThinkPad a year ago, which was probably more expensive than its equivalent MBP and is really, really lacking in the industrial design department like all ThinkPads. Good, solid machine, though. Good Linux laptop.

    There are other deterrent factors that dissuade people from purchasing Macs: Mac OS is unfamiliar compared to Windows, there’s a dearth of games for it, and some people just don’t want to become one of those “snooty Mac people”. PCs have a more proletarian appeal. There’s also the fact that electronics vendors actively dissuade people from purchasing Apple products; this was one of the reasons for opening the Apple Store: they were getting screwed by their retail partners.

  21. Apple does not need to lose in order for Android to win.

    I don’t know why you like predicting this but it wasn’t true when Wintel dominated the PC market and it wont be true if Android ends up with dominant share.

    Regarding phones making up 68% of Apple’s revenue, Apple is in no danger of losing revenue if their market share drops if they continue to ship more and more iPhones YoY. 142% YoY increase from Q3 2010 despite ever increasing Android share is not indicative of a platform losing steam or a mature product line about to collapse. Especially since that 1% share increase occurred in the face of an impending iPhone 5 launch in the next couple months.

    Android is taking over the feature phone market (i.e. smartphone share growth) but that leaves plenty of room for the iPhone to have significant share at the top end of the smartphone market…and a huge share of the profits as seen in the PC industry. 7% unit share and 35% profit share. Predictions of imminent Apple doom are simply not supported by either data or history at this point.

    Interestingly Apple computer share is up and given the pricing of the MacBook Air the other manufactures appear to be having difficulties in meeting that price point for the ultrabook category. The VAIO Z is rather nice machine but $2700. Even the Samsung Series 9 starts out higher than the MBA. There’s no Apple tax there…nor in the tablet category.

    And frankly, counting out MS/WP7 in your prediction is premature. Mango is a significant update and unlike the iPhone/iOS, WP7 competes directly against Android for feature phone share cannibalization. There’s still a lot of Symbian share to take and with Nokia as a primary partner they are well positioned to do so for folks that like Nokia hardware design.

  22. @phil – regarding iPhone dominance

    Even ESR’s comscore share chart linked in the post never shows any iPhone dominance. From Dec 2009 to present Apple’s been steady at around 25% share. There’s no reason to ever expect iPhone/iOS share to increase from 25% (unless Apple actually has an iPhone Nano in the works for the feature phone market) and little to believe any imminent drop from 25%.

    The only place iOS ever dominated is in the tablet market. Whether that can be sustained remains to be seen. You can argue it both ways with equal conviction. Seems like Android tablets are still seeing a lot of returns.

    http://www.sethclifford.me/stream/2011/7/25/why-yes-that-is-a-galaxy-tab-101-in-my-pocket.html

  23. @Nigel
    > Apple does not need to lose in order for Android to win.

    It does if you understand the actual battle being fought. See the many previous Smartphone Wars posts for more.

  24. What long term iPhone market-share are you thinking these days? You’ve often compared it to mac vs windows. That would mean 5% worldwide, ~10% US. Is that your take?

    Mac market share in the U.S. is somewhere between 12.5% and 15% these days — and growing. (Meanwhile, desktop Linux share has vanished below statistical noise levels…)

  25. @Jeff Read – first of all I don’t think there really is an equivalent to the mac’s hardware in the windows world. No one else had made a trackpad that doesn’t suck (WHY?!). They all have clunky power adapters/connectors. No one else does unibody cases. No one competes on battery life in the same weight class. Sony is closest I think, but they are still clunky in comparison.

    “You’re repeating some tired, old myths about Apple products that ceased being true a long time ago. Go spec out a Mac, and then go spec out an equivalent PC from any other vendor. They will be similarly priced; if anything the Mac will be somewhat lower. The “Apple premium” is no more than what you would pay to any other vendor for a product that isn’t absolute garbage, and may in fact be somewhat less because when Steve Jobs says “jump”, the suppliers say “how high?”.”

    Check this out:
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/popular-laptop-deals?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn
    Dell starts out at $479. Apple’s cheapest laptop is $999. Now yes the Dell’s suck. But if you just look at specs, they are a lot cheaper than an equivalent mac.

  26. @Jeff Read
    Obviously no one is using Linux anymore, except geeks and the girl next door who got sick of Windows. And her friend. And some other high school kids and students.

    Just as I have been told for two decades now.

  27. Winter,

    Desktop Linux used to be around 3% — a blip on the radar at least. These days it’s around 0.5%. What happened? Hypothesis: Most of the geeks and girls next door who got tired of Windows realized that the Mac offered a vastly superior user experience, while still gaining the advantages of Unix and having Microsoft Office available, native and supported. That left Linux as being strictly for the hardcore, and for those screwdriverheads who wanted to wring some more use out of an old PC.

    Try this experiment:

    1) Go to a technical web site — Slashdot, certain sub-reddits of Reddit, HackerNews, Stack Overflow, and pose the question “Which laptop should I get for development?” to the broader community.

    2) Observe the thunderous, near-unanimous response of “Get a MacBook”.

  28. I’d hardly argue that its a statistical significant amount, but around here old “prefurb” Apple iBook G4’s sell like hotcakes with unformatted hard drives. People are putting Debian PowerPC linux on them.

  29. Jeff Read Says:
    >Try this experiment:

    Sounds like a great idea Jeff. Why don’t you go ahead and perform your experiment and post a link here for us all to follow. I suggest you also put a price on your request just to keep it fair and address the very matter under discussion.

  30. Jeff Read Says:
    August 8th, 2011 at 10:59 am

    …There’s also the fact that electronics vendors actively dissuade people from purchasing Apple products; this was one of the reasons for opening the Apple Store: they were getting screwed by their retail partners.

    And there was a reason for that. Purchasing a mac locked you into a system that was incompatible with most of their other products they sold. This was a poor choice by Apple at the outset. Why would a vendor try to sell you something that would encourage you to never again visit them to purchase software, peripherals, or anything else to upgrade that mac? Lets be honest, a large chunk of this was Apple screwing itself. If you purchased a PC, all software on their racks, and all addons were potential sales for that electronics store. Not so if you purchased a Mac.

  31. SPQR,

    I have an old G4 Mac lying around that’s useless qua Mac. (Remember the days when Mac hardware was forever, and you could get the new hotness in Mac OS running on your five (or more) year old box, provided you feed it enough RAM? Not anymore…) I’ve been meaning to put NetBSD on it.

  32. Jeff, didn’t know there was a NetBSD distro for the PowerPC. Thanks for the headsup.

  33. > Jeff, didn’t know there was a NetBSD distro for the PowerPC. Thanks for the headsup.

    Then you didn’t look. I was running NetBSD on a G4 (in a B&W chassis) in 2000.

  34. Jeff Read Says:

    > I say this as someone who bought a ThinkPad a year ago, which was probably more expensive than its equivalent MBP and is
    > really, really lacking in the industrial design department like all ThinkPads. Good, solid machine, though. Good Linux laptop.

    Unless something has changed in the last couple of years, if you really value a keyboard, the ThinkPad is still the laptop to beat.

  35. @jsk

    There is a difference between one form of “Apple must lose” by esr (ie Apple doesn’t achieve world smartphone dominance) and the other form that he espouses when he states that Apple revenue will fall off a cliff due to “disruptive collapse”.

    Given that Apple’s original stated goals were never to dominate the phone market (10M sales by CY 2008 or 1% market share) anyway it’s not going to be hard to keep them from achieving smartphone share dominance that they never had nor had any intention of chasing (over profit). It is a ridiculously easy objective for Android to meet with the only real challenge to be WP7.

    Also, given esr’s goals of no one having smartphone dominance, Apple at 40%, WP7 at 30% and Android at 30% would result for a win for both Apple and esr.

    The smartphone wars as described is imaginary and the Android victory is illusory anyway if what folks object to Apple’s lock in. If Apple is bad for their user experience control over iOS then Verizon and AT&T are evil incarnate for all the cruft they do to Android handsets and nothing in Android has stopped that. Carriers have been far more evil toward users than anyone else and Apple actually broke their stranglehold and reduced them to data pipes.

  36. @Nigel Carriers have been far more evil toward users than anyone else and Apple actually broke their stranglehold and reduced them to data pipes.

    Sorry, but “world != US”. There are a lot of countries where carriers were (and are) “dumb pipes”, so THIS “revolution” is quite limited. Customer is still a slave, just now with two masters… and because one of them lines simple and clean things he does not see as much cruft.

    It’s interesting to note that where Apple was unable to cleverly exploit carriers to reduce perceived cost of the iPhone market picture looks quite different.

    ESR predicted that carriers will be defeated when Android phones will be available for $100 without subsidy… well, who knows, may be, but I don’t hold my breath: as long as people buy phones from carriers they’ll be captive and I don’t see how “$200 iPhone” is any different from “$0 Android phone”.

  37. @fakeaccount, didn’t claim that I had looked actually. But I did have a Debian DVD burned in case I ran into an inexpensive iBook at the refurb computer outlets.

  38. Static or even slightly shrinking market share is an irrelevant number in a market that is forever growing and being redefined. And there’s no reason to believe that if Android obtains some arbitrary magic number in market share that a “disruptive collapse” will occur for iOS.

    The assumption that this will play out like wintel vs mac on the desktop is so incredibly arbitrary that it leaves me a bit speechless. Different products, different markets, different consumers.

    Apple will keep selling increasing numbers of iPhones. iPads are selling as fast as they can make them. And with both of those, a robust revenue stream for purchasing content is being constructed. By next year, iOS’s lead in the tablet sphere will be even greater.

    If customer satisfaction numbers are any indication, a great majority of these people will update to a future iOS device. Considering the amount of content available and the amount of content many have purchased, many will stick with iOS just to avoid transfer hassles. All of this is contributing to a steady growth in Mac sales and along with it the userbase of OS X.

    Apple consumer loyalty is simply too high and the buy-in to great to assume that some market report is going to cause the platform to collapse.

  39. @Jeff Read

    Go spec out a Mac, and then go spec out an equivalent PC from any other vendor. They will be similarly priced; if anything the Mac will be somewhat lower. The “Apple premium” is no more than what you would pay to any other vendor for a product that isn’t
    absolute garbage, and may in fact be somewhat less because when Steve Jobs says “jump”, the suppliers say “how high?”.

    I am in the market for something comparable to a MacBook Air 13.3″ – I don’t need an optical drive in the chassis, I do need at least an Intel i5.

    I do heavy graphic design and page layout work; 4 GB RAM is a minimum spec, 8 GB RAM is preferable. It has to connect to my existing 42″ HDTV that I use as a monitor, so it needs to connect to an HDMI port.

    I am willing to offer you a wager:

    If I can find a comparable Windows ultra-light laptop that has equal or better CPU, RAM, HDD space and graphics performance, for less than the cost of the MacBook Air, you can pay me an amount equal to the price differential between the machines. If the MacBook Air is cheaper, I will not only buy the MacBook Air, but I will make a donation to the Democratic Party equal to twice the price differential the comparable PC has over the MacBook Air.

    In any category where one machine has a piece of standard hardware, and the other machine can buy an option that gives the same capabilities, the option must be purchased. Both computers must come with the best available warranty.

    An optical drive is non-negotiable. It need not be a Blu-Ray drive.

    I suggest Patrick Maupin as the technical referee to determine if the specifications are equal or superior between the two hardware kits.

  40. @laughing, I think your response is pretty far off. One can argue that Apple will maintain enough market share to avoid collapse but you can’t argue that collapse is impossible regardless of market share just on the basis that selling a large enough number avoids it.

  41. SPQR: That’s precisely what I’m arguing. Market share is an irrelevant construct shaped entirely by how people define a market. Change the definition of the market and the percentage share changes without any changes in Apple’s revenue or user base.

  42. Ken: you ought to define ultra-light to avoid any argument. My research says the ultra-lights that are cheaper than the MacBook Airs are also a pound or so heavier, and they’re not cheaper than a MacBook Pro. Sony makes some really light ones that cost a lot. I think this is probably one of the key reasons that arguments by cost comparison don’t ever settle anything.

    Windows version can also vary the cost by fifty to a hundred bucks either way.

    Oh, and 13.3″ is one way to measure screen size. 1440 x 900 is another way. I think to be fair and really equate hardware specs you’d want a monitor that was a) the same size and b) the same resolution. I dunno, would you make the bet given that condition on the monitors? And let’s say ultra-light means under 3 pounds.

  43. >Finally, there’s really superb article on Android vs. iOS. Anybody still laboring under the delusion that iOS’s toolset for app development is unequivocally better than Android’s should read this.

    Uh, my takeaway from reading that article was that iOS toolset *is* unequivocally better.

  44. “Modern patent battles”? Patent battles happened as long as patent existed. Most major (and a lot of minor) advances lead to lawsuits of different sorts. Usually one party (who manages to get patent first) wins and others are either go out of business or are forced to pay for something they themselves independently invented.

    My understanding of the situation is that the idea of a patent troll (i.e. a company whose sole purpose is to acquire patents and attempt to extract royalties from them) is a relatively new occurance. Also the current reality of the smartphone industry where the graph of lawsuits is almost a complete graph (major exception being that Android partners haven’t started suing one another yet, to my knowledge) is also fairly unique in my understanding.

    Also your linked paper (Great read btw… thanks for linking) does mention other circumstances that are “more so” today than previously. Namely that information is more available now (and thus a greater likelihood of simultaneous invention), and that more patents are being applied for and thus the turn around on processing has increased dramatically.

  45. Uh, my takeaway from reading that article was that iOS toolset *is* unequivocally better.

    You and I were reading different articles then.

    A quick comparison :-

    * Development Environment:  Eclipse vs XCode. 
        = They're both esoteric and weird. Ergo pretty much the same. (Yes you might be used to XCode, but thats personal preference)
    * The language: Java vs ObjC.
        = The languages end up looking much the same in the wash.
    * Debugging: iOS "Simulator" vs Android Emulator (vs Just plug a damn cable into a phone ya nit)
        + iOS isn't really real. Given that you're running on bare metal, thats not a bonus.
        - Android is apparantly dog slow (not my experience personally but thats irrelevant)
        + You can just plug a phone in and test like that. Speed and accuracy. WOOO.
            * this is more of a mixed bag but unequivocal it ain't. Speed Vs Test Accuracy is at least an open debate. 
            * Also note the fragmentation message "Android has no more of a problem than iOS".
    * UI Design Tools: Interface Builder vs XML Layouts
        = Both suck under their own unique circumstances. Nothing to see here.
    * Box Models : Android layouts vs iOS "springs and strus"
        + Android win. iOS's model is "absolutely primitive".
    * Animation : Android in software vs iPhone in hardware
        = Technical win for iOS except that Android 2.4 also supports hardware rendering. Also note that there seem to be only a few exceptions to "Software Rendering is mostly fine" (The LG Optimus being a stand out from comments here)
     

    So we have three categories where the message is “there is no difference” One where there’s no clear winner, one where android is the clear winner, one where iOS is the winner. I could see how someone reading that with iOS tinted glasses could see the toolset *is* better but *unequivocally better*?!?

  46. Next round in the patent battles:

    Apple sued over Mac OS X ‘quick boot’
    Battle of the, um, CONFIG.SYS
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/08/apple_sued_over_mac_x_fast_boot/

    “The method for a quick boot process includes the steps of performing a power-on self test (POST) operation when a personal computer system is powered on or a reset button is pressed; performing a normal boot process after the POST operation; saving the contents of memory and the status of the attached devices to a hard disk; checking if a reboot is requested; restoring the saved boot configuration information from the hard disk, after POST is completed during the reboot process; checking whether or not an initial device configuration file and/or an automatic batch file were changed; and executing commands in the two files and saving a newly created boot configuration information to the hard disk for future boot,” the patent reads.

    “The personal computer system, may reboot quickly because of omission of execution of the initial device configuration filed and the automatic batch file.”

    Suing always trumps innovating in profits.

  47. @khim the reason that a $200 iPhone is better than a $0 Android phone can be seen here regarding the Samsung Charge:

    From the second we turned it on, the user experience was astonishingly bad. … Once you’re done with the setup, enjoy the apps that Verizon and Samsung think you should use: a terrible golf game, a Samsung branded Twitter client, Verizon’s half-baked navigation app.

    Seeing the basically useless state of the phone on initial boot, I told my mother that I’d take the phone for an hour or so and give it back to her “cleaned up.” I deleted apps. I configured notifications. I set up accounts. None of it was easy, and every step of the way I ran into really bizarre problems. The elegant Google widgets that come with stock Android were stripped out of the phone. The camera app, besides looking like it had been designed in 1995, just wouldn’t rotate when I turned the phone on its side. Apps that worked on my Droid Incredible crashed as soon as I opened them on the Charge. After about an hour of poking and prodding the battery had dropped from 95% to 50%. Completely frustrated, I turned to the internet, where confused users were posting questions with titles like “Should my battery last more than 6 hours?” and “I think my phone is broken…”

    http://www.betabeat.com/2011/07/29/why-my-mom-bought-an-android-returned-it-and-got-an-iphone/

    Google allows Verizon and AT&T to butcher the Android experience and it’s part of the design/feature set of Android. Apple insures that this sort of behavior is not allowed. And given that you can jailbreak as easily on iOS as you can root on Android there’s no real advantage in terms of being able to customize your phone.

    So no, carriers won’t be defeated by a $100 android phone because Google doesn’t care. Even MS appears to care more about the user experience than Google. At least they allow you (by design) to delete all the bloatware the carriers install on a WP7 device.

  48. @jobB I wrote our android app while another dev did an iOS version of our app. I think that creating a good looking iOS app is a lot easier than for Android despite what was written in that post regarding layouts. In fact the layouts were a constant source of tinkering for me to get the app to look just right. Just like with swing, you can make an app look really clean and nice in Android but IMHO you have to work harder at it than on OSX/iOS. On the plus side, I didn’t have to worry much about memory leaks if I didn’t do anything particularly stupid.

    Since I’ve been a java dev for a while I was used to Eclipse but as an IDE it does suck in comparison to almost anything else (Visual Studio, IntelliJ, arguably even NetBeans). XCode lacks some of the refactoring and other tools that Eclipse has but it’s a lot like vi vs emacs. XCode is an IDE. Eclipse is a “platform” with far too much complexity and settings scattered everywhere. Moreover, finding the plugins that actually work vs not really work is an annoyance. Meh, Eclipse just sucks IMHO and I use it every day. Some days it just sucks less.

    I’m just not used to XCode enough to give it a real evaluation.

  49. Bryant: Thanks, those are good questions.

    My definition of “Ultra-Light” is 4 lbs and under – that extra pound doesn’t matter much to me. It still gets put in my bag and taken with me whether it’s 4 lbs or 3.

    I would find either 1366 x 768 or 1440 x 900 acceptable, but to be honest – 90% of the time it’s going to be plugged into that 42″ HDTV. Nobody does multi-page layouts on a 13.3″ monitor if they can help it…

    With my eyesight, higher resolution on a 13.3″ monitor isn’t doing me a lot of good, since I’ll have to scale everything up to be readable anyway. It’s not getting me any more useful screen real estate. More RAM is useful since I’ll be opening and working with large files. A dedicated video card is useful for the same reason.

    I am also aware that, in comparison to my current machine, damned near anything on the market that’s $500 or higher in price tag is probably miraculous. (Eric’s phone is probably a higher end machine than my current 2008 vintage $400 laptop…)

  50. JonB: Obviously he made points in favour of Android. But the points against are pretty damning. You have to have several hardware devices for development (not just final testing). The development environment is not ‘pretty much the same’ according to Farina’s article – it’s Eclipse which you’re ‘going to hate with the heat of 1000 suns’ vs. XCode which was ‘pretty damn weird at first’. If you think that’s equivocal well you just can’t be reasoned with.

    On the animation front, you have ‘limited’ support for hardware-acceleration in Android 3, which is ‘causing pain’, vs iOS which is ‘hopelessly fast’.

    Seriously, if you see that article as equivocal regarding which app-development experience is better, you need to read it again.

  51. Once again, I should say I’m not trying to make an argument here that *in my opinion* android’s app dev experience is worse. I haven’t tried it, so I wouldn’t know. I’m just arguing in favour of basic reading comprehension.

  52. So here is the latest: Apple uses patents to block Android tablets in all of Europe. German court issues a TRO.

    Here is the money quote from the commentary:

    “But Apple plays a dangerous game, because other vendors, including Samsung, might well find grounds to block the iPad in the same way. And thus, we see innovation grind to a halt as grasping and desperate companies do anything in their power to own markets and avoid competition.”

    Isn’t that what I said?

  53. Ken — I think those are all fair definitions of your needs. I’m also 99% sure that a Dell Latitude would serve those needs better, at a lower price, than a MacBook Air. On the other hand, that’s a different statement than equal specifications; you don’t need the things that drive an Air’s cost. (Weight, screen resolution, and SSD.)

    You can compare the Dell XPS series vs. the MacBook Pro and get a cheaper price for the Dell on roughly equivalent hardware, FWIW. The MacBook Pro shaves some weight again, but it’s more like half a pound difference than a full pound. So it depends on where you’re looking in the product line and what you need.

    I personally am not comfortable making blanket statements about which direction is cheaper for equivalent hardware. You can absolutely say that if you want lowest end hardware, Apple’s not a good supplier.

  54. Despite its supposed decline, Apple is worth more now than the FRIGGIN’ OIL COMPANY. Making money hand over fist, staying innovative, and in so doing breaking all the rules about how large companies are supposed to act. Betting against Apple is a fool’s game.

    As for Samsung, if they try to get the iPad blocked then guess who will not be supplying any more parts for Apple kit. That’s an account I don’t think they want to lose.

  55. >That’s an account I don’t think they want to lose.

    Don’t bet on that. Samsung is doing well enough in the Android midrange that if I were them I’d figure I could tell Apple to take a flying fuck and make more money selling own-brand phones. Samsung’s marketshare is already three times Apple’s in the U.S., according to comScore.

  56. >That’s an account I don’t think they want to lose.

    But Apple already indicated their intention to pick up their ball and go elsewhere months ago…

  57. @Ken Burnside:

    I suggest Patrick Maupin as the technical referee to determine if the specifications are equal or superior between the two hardware kits.

    I’m flattered and will try to be impartial. Just don’t blame me if your non-Apple breaks and you can’t get it fixed or replaced as quickly as if you took an Apple down to the Apple store. Also, don’t let your daughter trip over your non-Apple power cable while it’s plugged in. As long as those aren’t part of your criteria, you might be good to go :-)

  58. Nokia seems to be doing some sort of Viking death ride from my point of view. Am I the only one expecting some sort of palace coup soon?

  59. >Nokia seems to be doing some sort of Viking death ride from my point of view.

    I’ve been known to emulate a Viking from time to time, and I say there’s not enough glory in it for that.

    >Am I the only one expecting some sort of palace coup soon?

    No. If Mango flops – and it’s nearly certain it will – good odds the shareholders will toss Elop out on his ass.

  60. Patrick:

    Nearest Apple store to me is a day’s drive, or (effectively) a day trip to Chicago, but one of the comparison criteria is that AppleCare (and the comparable warranty on the other side) is mandatory.

    I don’t have any daughters. I have had my cat break the plug in a headset plugged into the laptop, but was able to remove the broken stem without hindrance. (Sadly, the nice headphones proved to be more expensive to fix than to replace…)

    Bryant:

    While I don’t need an SSD, for comparison purposes for this wager, it would be added on the Windows side. Otherwise, it’s not comparable hardware.

    I don’t find the extra pound any more onerous – or the extra half pound. I don’t want anything heavier than 4 lbs – at that point it becomes less of a “throw it in the bag and not worry about it” item. It becomes a “Do I really need this with me today?” item.

    I have had enough bad experiences supporting Dells when I worked at the University of Wisconsin that they’re pretty far down my list of acceptable vendors. They’re ahead of Acer, but when I’m down that low, it’s time to readjust my wants.

    Does Apple still have a 13.3″ MacBook Pro? That might be a better comparison point.

  61. @Ken Burnside:

    A reasonable starting point is to browse to Amazon’s main page and type in “laptop”. That will take you straight to their laptop store, where if you choose an Intel i5, and choose only those units rated 4 stars and up, the first unit you are shown is a Toshiba Portege R835-P56x 13.3-Inch LED Laptop, for $820, weighing 3.2 pounds. At a glance, it might meet your criteria. I don’t know where you go to get it fixed, though.

  62. Apparently Samsung is getting smacked down in Europe for selling products that infinged on iPhone/iPad trade dress.

    Black rectangular slates with four rounded corners are apparently Apple’s intellectual property. This one’s pretty airtight in favor of Apple.

  63. @Patrick Maupin:

    Actually, the best Dell and Lenovo warranties are *better* than what you can get from Apple (and, at most, they cost about what AppleCare does, sometimes they are cheaper).

    There are two key advantages:
    (a) They come to you, instead of you going to them.
    (b) They cover accidental damage, Apple does not (at least officially, unofficially people sometimes get lucky).

  64. Since Jeff is declining the wager, here’s what I’ve learned in doing some digging.

    Patrick, can you weigh in on anything I’ve missed in the comparison?

    Doing a side by side. I will try to match capabilities between these two systems.

    ASUS U36SD-A1

    MacBook Air 13.3″

    Here are the options I’m checking:

    Base price: $969 // $1299
    CPU: 2.3-2.9 GHz i5 // 1.7-2.3 GHz i5
    RAM: 8 GB (+$89)/ 4 GB (No upgrade option)
    GPU: 1 GB vid card + Intel HD 3000 using system RAM // Intel HD 3000 using system RAM (no upgrade option)
    Display: 13.3″ (1366×768, 117 PPI) // 13.3″ (1440×900, 127 PPI) [Thanks, Bryant, for pointing out the difference in resolution. I would've missed it, otherwise.]
    HDD: 160 GB SSD (+$229) // 128 GB SSD
    Ethernet: Built in // USB Adapter Required (+$29)
    Optical: External DVDRW (+$19) // External DVDRW (+$89)
    HDMI Port: Built in // Adapter Cable ($35).
    WiFi: Built In // Built In
    Magsafe: Not Available // Built In
    Thunderbolt I/O: Not available // Built In; cable costs (+$45)
    USB 2.0: 2 / 2
    USB 3.0: 1 / 0
    Warranty: 3 years global, 1 year accidental: (+$129) // 3 years global (+$249)
    Clean OS Install: +$29 // Not Needed
    Recovery DVD: +$15 // Not Needed
    Mass: 3.74 lbs // 2.98 lbs
    Dimensions: 12.9″ x 9.28″ x 0.76″ (W x D x H) // 12.8″ x 8.9″ x 0.68″ (W x D x H)
    Battery Life: 10 hrs // 7 hrs
    Real World Battery Life: 8 hrs // 6.5 hrs

    Final cost: $1545 // $1739

    For closest comparable configuration, I’m paying $260 less and getting the following:

    1) 25% more SSD disk space.
    2) Twice the RAM
    3) a 33% faster CPU
    4) A dedicated graphics card.
    5) One additional USB port.

    I’m missing out on:

    1) Thunderbolt I/O. I have no devices that use this.
    2) Magsafe power adapter. While nice, I’ve never had problems with conventional power adapters.
    3) 127 PPI screen resolution versus 117 PPI screen resolution – which, given what I use this for, isn’t that important to me. I concede it might be to someone else.
    3) A very nice touchpad. I use a mouse over the touchpad, anyway, but that’s because touchpads suck. (Apple might make me a convert if I go MacBook Air. I’ve had people swear they’re never going back to a mouse after using MacBook touchpads.)
    4) 0.75 lbs (!) of luggable weight, which is impressive.

    Configuring with the 500 GB Momentus Hybrid Drive, the ASUS drops to $1323. I would change the warranty to 30 days, no dead pixels, and 3 years North American, rather than 3 years global. Based on my actual needs, the price differential is closer to $450.

    I consider switching to Mac OS Lion to be neutral. I’m using XP now, so I’ll be learning new UI conventions no matter which computer I use.

    I primarily use Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office; both exist on Windows and Mac. While I can reinstall my vintage 2007 versions of both packages under Windows 7. I would have to buy new again for the Mac, since neither Microsoft nor Adobe have “cross platform” upgrade licenses that I’m aware of. Or I’d run Windows on the MacBook Air under Bootcamp or Parallels, as I still have an install DVD, and take a performance hit.

  65. PC Guy: “A Mercedes is too expensive.”

    Mac Guy: “No they aren’t! They aren’t any more expensive than an equivalent car from any other manufacturer.”

    PC Guy: “I can get a new Accord for two thirds the price of a new C Class.”

    Mac Guy: “That’s not comparable! The comparable Honda product is an Acura TL, and it’s inferior, because it’s built on an Accord platform instead of the C Class’s custom platform. And the TL is the same price as the C Class.”

    PC Guy: “I’m buying a car to commute to work. The Accord is fine. I don’t need the luxury bells and whistles on a C Class.”

    Mac Guy: “But the C Class is so much nicer!”

    PC Guy: “But the niceness isn’t worth the 50% premium.”

    Mac Guy: “There’s no 50% premium! An Acura TL costs the same as a C Class!”

  66. Ken: couple of points of information:
    – The Macbook has a very good SSD, probably a comparable PC option will cost more than the basic-model OCZ you’ve priced at $229. A fairer comparison would be with Intel SSDs. This is likely to be +$100 or so for the PC if you want to compare apples to apples
    – I question why you’re buying a Thunderbolt cable if you have no thunderbolt peripherals, -$45 for the mac.
    – You can use any old external DVD drive with the mac, $-70 for the mac
    Purchase costs are now at around $1645//1624, actually cheaper for the mac.

    Now, you’re right that you get a faster CPU/GPU and more RAM for your PC, and an additional USB port. Those are real advantages. But consider as well:
    – The ASUS has a lower-grade non-IPS, screen, much worse in terms of contrast ratios and viewing angles
    – The mac has other very useful features, like instant resume. In my experience, s3 sleep in PCs (desktop and laptop) is flaky to say the least, and it certainly doesn’t have the instant-on feature of the new Macbook Air models.
    – The ASUS model gets uncomfortably hot, the mac doesn’t
    – There is reportedly some flex in the chassis of the ASUS model, this is true of nearly every ultralight Windows PC, perhaps it doesn’t matter to you but it matters to me.
    – The mac has backlit keys
    – You don’t take a performance hit when running Windows in boot camp

  67. You have to have several hardware devices for development (not just final testing).

    I take it you missed “We need quite a few iOS devices in our lab too. One tiny unexpected OS or device difference can bring your app crashing down, on any platform.”? So the message is very literally the platforms are basically the same.

    iOS simulator is a poor testing platform because of inaccuracy in the simulation.
    Android emulator is a poor testing platform because it’s slow.

    Same same.

    The development environment is not ‘pretty much the same’ according to Farina’s article – it’s Eclipse which you’re ‘going to hate with the heat of 1000 suns’ vs. XCode which was ‘pretty damn weird at first’.

    Yes… all you XCode users which the author is talking to will hate eclipse with the heat of 1000 suns because it’s weird compared to XCode at first just like XCode was weird compared to whatever you used before that. Just like all us Eclipse users will (and I certainly did) hate XCode with the heat of 1000 suns because it’s weird at first.

    Same message… everything’s pretty much the same.

    On the animation front, you have ‘limited’ support for hardware-acceleration in Android 3, which is ‘causing pain’, vs iOS which is ‘hopelessly fast’.

    I’d argue this but I really don’t need to. This was iOS’ victory point in my tally so I’ve conceded animation already.

    Seriously, if you see that article as equivocal regarding which app-development experience is better, you need to read it again.

    If you believe that this article _unambiguously_ says “iOS is better than Android for development” despite the constant message of “this wasn’t as different as we expected” and saying at least twice that Android is better in certain ways, then, to borrow your phrase, you just can’t be reasoned with. If you’re saying that this article says that iOS is overall better than android for development then… sure… ok… i disagree but perspective is everything. but “overall better” is not “unequivocally”.

    It does say that unequivocally say that parts of iOS development are better than android… But i doubt thats what you’re trying to say(if you are then apologies i’ve misread your very broad original statement).

  68. The Macbook has a very good SSD, probably a comparable PC option will cost more than the basic-model OCZ you’ve priced at $229. A fairer comparison would be with Intel SSDs. This is likely to be +$100 or so for the PC if you want to compare apples to apples

    +$285 for the Intel X25-M G2 option(so $56 more than the OCZ model) which will handily defeat the Apple Samsung SSD (if you’re lucky and don’t get the Toshiba model) on every benchmark with the possible exception of write throughput (assuming it’s a modern samsung drive they’re wacking in the macbook).

    - You can use any old external DVD drive with the mac, $-70 for the mac

    But the $89 would also mean it’s being covered under AppleCare, like i assume the $19 external DVD is covered under the ASUS warranty.

    Also it’s fair to point out that he’s actually put himself $89 in the hole by getting 8Gig of ram compared to Apple’s 4Gig.

    So thats $1601//1624 for a machine that is a (marginal) improvement in almost every standard computer metric. or $1511//1624 for a machine that’s a closer match.

  69. >Yes… all you XCode users which the author is talking to will hate eclipse with the heat of 1000 suns because it’s weird compared to XCode at first just
    >like XCode was weird compared to whatever you used before that. Just like all us Eclipse users will (and I certainly did) hate XCode with the heat of
    >1000 suns because it’s weird at first.

    I don’t know… I think his statement is applicable to Eclipse in general. Don’t get me wrong, XCode really is weird, but even working with Eclipse every day, I still hate it with the heat of 1000 suns.

  70. > iOS simulator is a poor testing platform because of inaccuracy in the simulation.

    I’m sorry, but you’re blowing that way out of proportion. The actual experience of writing software for iPhone (even games) is that you get it to beta on the simulator and then start worrying about any inaccuracies. The inaccuracies are minor, to say the least. I encourage you to actually try developing in Xcode+simulator, and tell me if it’s as poor as you say. The only time I’ve had issues is when my app needs hardware features my laptop doesn’t have: accelerometer, compass, and multitouch.

  71. Perhaps it would be helpful to point out that the first version of the simulator had a lot of gaps, like it didn’t support OpenAL, and so on. But newer versions have been much more complete.

    There is still some weirdness (the iPad 1, for example, has a GPU that weirdly bogs down when you use nearest-neighbour texture sampling, and this is not simulated) but as I say, you sort that stuff out at beta.

  72. > So thats $1601//1624 for a machine that is a (marginal) improvement in almost every standard computer metric. or $1511//1624 for a machine that’s a closer match.

    I think in even $113 is a close enough difference that the non-standard computer metrics are going to come into play. The rigid chassis, the nice screen, the battery life, the backlit keys, the big multitouch trackpad, instant resume, and the magsafe cord. I would happily pay a $500 for these factors.

    Having said all that, I can’t buy a macbook air because I need 8gb of RAM, it’s not negotiable.

  73. @Patrick Maupin
    This one could have fooled me into being a solid black tablet, portable, tactile display, that precedes Mac tablets:

  74. Bennett: For saving $113 I get the following:

    1) Faster CPU
    2) Double the RAM
    3) Faster & Larger SSD
    4) Much better graphics performance.

    I’m missing a lot of nice touches:

    1) Higher resolution display with wider viewing angles – I plug it into a 42″ HDTV 90% of the time, I don’t do presentations with this machine,
    2) Better build quality – the ASUS model I picked has a magnesium alloy case, but that’s short of unibody construction.
    3) Mac runs cooler – if I actually used laptops in my lap, this would be a concern….
    4) Backlit keys: Nice touch.

    In reading the review of the early release unit, it has the 6 cell battery rather than the 8 cell battery, which cut battery time proportionately.

  75. I think all this exercise proves is that you can’t really make a meaningful comparison, because apple charges you for a bunch of ‘components’ or ‘features’ which nobody else provides, and which may or may not matter to you depending on your usage model.

    For my 2c, if your laptop is plugged in to a 42″ screen most of the time, and if you never use it on your lap, you’re not in the market for an ultraportable. So a more meaningful comparison would be between the 13″ macbook pro and whatever PC you felt was an appropriate pair for it. That yields you user-expandability, industry-leading battery life, up to 8gb of memory, an even better screen, an internal optical drive and lower cost, although you gain some weight and lose the instant-resume compared to the Air. The macbook pros are not as aggressively priced as the airs relative to PC counterparts, but I bet the price delta is still smaller than you think. But if graphics performance is a serious issue is your usage scenario, you need to be using the 15″ mac as the comparison, and then the price delta blows out because you are paying Apple’s ‘pro’ tax.

    Apple has always been very bad at recognizing the importance of gaming to the computer industry, I take it because unlike Bill Gates, Jobs thinks games are a waste of time. Their app store is now dragging them kicking and screaming into a leadership position in the handheld gaming market, to the point where Nintendo is reporting losses and blaming Apple for the flop of their new portable. Anyhow, that’s the biggest flaw with mac lineup, to my mind: there’s no budget gaming machine in their line because they prefer to pretend that this usage case doesn’t exist.

    Since I migrated in 2007, I’ve gotten very used to the premium screens, battery life, large touchpad and working S3-resume on apple portables. I honestly can’t bear to use a PC laptop anymore, although I keep a Windows desktop attached to the TV and have nothing against Windows 7. I refuse to work on shoddy, mechanically-unreliable hardware anymore. If I look at my colleagues in my hall who have Windows laptops, every single one has a major quality issue. On my left, a battery that lasts for literally 15 minutes, one year after sale. On my right, a laptop that stays awake after the lid is closed, and comes to life even if manually put to sleep. And at opposite my door, a touchpad that jumps around after half an hour of use, as sweat accumulates on the touchpad from your finger. These are mostly Dells. I place a high premium on avoiding this kind of thing.

  76. @Ken Burnside @Bennett

    The real problem with this pricing analysis is that it is broken from the start. Apple’s prices are firm (modulo things like educational discounts and refurbs), but prices on the PC side… aren’t. I can mainly comment on Dell and Lenovo (as opposed to ASUS), but they’re bigger higher-end brands, so I’d expect the pricing games to be the same or worse lower down. With the, pricing goes like this:

    1. The list price. I don’t think anyone pays this (except maybe via resellers). It probably exists to make corporate purchasing managers feel good about themselves.
    2. The “standard sale” – the discount you get for walking in the door. Depending on configuration and the current promotions it might be roughly 10-30% off list.
    3. If you’re not lazy / uninformed, you can usually get another 5-10% by Googling for a coupon.
    4. The really good sales, which go even lower. Lenovo’s gambit tends to be starting with employee pricing (30-40% off) and then letting you layer a 5-15% coupon on top of that. You often need to pay attention to the right mailing list / discount program to know about these.They’re not always on, but they tend toshow up for a few days at least once or twice a month.

    I was just in the market for a new laptop and the roughly equivalent Macbook Pro was over $700 (40%+) more than the Thinkpad I picked. And it lost significantly on two important dimension (max RAM possible 8GB vs 16GB now and 32GB when 8GB parts are available) and screen resolution (1680×1050 vs 1920×1080).

    Sadly, I didn’t notice any ultraportables along the lines you’re considering (the lighter laptops were also smaller), but the gap was impressive nonetheless.

  77. Bennett:

    When I need my laptop to be a laptop, it needs to be something I can throw in a bag not notice I’m carrying, because when I need it to be a laptop, I’m usually at a convention or professional conference, and am shuttling from room to room, or demo table to demo table, and carrying a bunch of other stuff. I also use it to print things on-site at conventions; I carry a nice HP P1006 laserjet with me.

    That does put a premium on portability. Yes, my needs aren’t typical – most people when they go business travelling tend to set up at a desk, not migrate to a new location every 4 hours. Most people who go travelling don’t bring a laser printer with them…

  78. I would happily pay a $500 for these factors.

    Right and at this point it becomes subjective. But i will point out that studies have shown that apple laptops have much the same failure rate as other laptop manufacturers. So to me that $500 for those factors is a premium for nothing.

    But like i said. Subjective.

  79. I’m sorry, but you’re blowing that way out of proportion. The actual experience of writing software for iPhone (even games) is that you get it to beta on the simulator and then start worrying about any inaccuracies.

    OK but if we’re going to be talking about personal experiences of software development then i’ll counter with my experience that running both android and windows mobile emulators was while not the snappiest thing in the world, at least somewhat performant.

    Over the years i’ve come to the point where if i’m not testing on an accurate environment what was the point? If it’s just for this build is plausible” purposes i can use automated testing for that. For anything else, you might as well wack it on a proper device.

    But here’s my original point. This is DEBATABLE not UNEQUIVOCAL. And thats what i was arguing against.

    There is still some weirdness

    The weirdness for mine is the whole “it’s a whole different instruction set” thing. Wouldn’t matter so much if it was a HLL (like Java) but since you’re potentially coding on the bare metal…. (again as i said originally)

  80. >Right and at this point it becomes subjective. But i will point out that studies have shown that apple laptops have much the same failure rate as other laptop manufacturers. So to me that $500 for those factors is a premium for nothing.

    I agree it’s subjective. However, I never said that the apple failure rate is lower. Many of the critical parts in a mac are off-the-shelf parts, so the overall failure rate is likely to be identical if we’re discussing electronic flaws. However, most modern computer parts have a failure curve that spikes in the first few weeks of use and tails off rapidly. If your computer (windows or mac) is ok after a week, electronically speaking, it ought to be ok after a year.

    When it comes to mechanical stuff, wear becomes a factor, and that doesn’t hold true anymore. If your mouse button is a plastic hinge over a microswitch, it will wear out. If your display’s hinge is inferior, it will wear out. etc. Most of these things won’t count towards failure rate, as shown in a survey. They don’t run surveys to determine the ‘kind of busted’ rate.

  81. >So to me that $500 for those factors is a premium for nothing.

    This is ridiculous, by the way. I said that the $500 was for battery life, backlit keys, rigid chassis, better screen, large touchpad. Even if the PC and mac have the same failure rate, the $500 which buys these features is not ‘for nothing’.

  82. I’m obviously not going to claim any comparability to Apple products, but I was just astonished yesterday walking into a local non-name chain computer and electronics store in my area and seeing a Windows low end laptop for $279 (discounted from a purported “list” of $379 ).

  83. This is ridiculous, by the way. I said that the $500 was for battery life, backlit keys, rigid chassis, better screen, large touchpad. Even if the PC and mac have the same failure rate, the $500 which buys these features is not ‘for nothing’.

    Sorry thats me being lazy about my comments.

    The only part of that list that matters to me(Subjective again) is the rigid chassis because if my chassis breaks the laptop is (probably) RTB.

    * Battery Life on the Apple(in this case) was less anyway so you wouldn’t be paying for that here.
    * Backlit keys annoy the hell out of me because i don’t need to see my keys.
    * Better screen I find to be mostly a false metric. I’m not going to be doing anything on the laptop(or anywhere to think of it) where I care about 10 extra DPI.
    * Touchpad’s i’d rather smaller, that way i don’t constantly move the mouse while i’m typing. It’s my main gripe with my EEE Pad Transformer.

    Apologies for the confusion.

  84. @Bennett:

    Here’s a more detailed Thinkpad comparison (W520 vs 15″ 2.2GHz MacBook Pro).

    In my comparison we have:

    Battery life: 7 hours wireless web vs 8.9 – 10.7 hours – Lenovo (plus Lenovo supports a battery slice via dock connectors, if you want)
    Keyboard: Apple backlit vs Thinkpad keyboard + overhead light (push or Lenovo, depending on preference)
    Chassis: Apple’s aluminum unibody vs Lenovo’s Milspec-tested (push)
    Screen: Apple’s 1680 x 1050 vs Lenovo’s 1920 x 1080 (Lenovo on resolution, at best slightly Apple on appearance, anecdotally)
    Touchpad: Apple (larger and multi-touch) vs Lenovo Touchpad and Trackpoint (Apple or Lenovo, based on preference)
    GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6490M vs NVIDIA QUADRO 1000M (at best push or Lenovo based on benchmarks)
    RAM: up to 8GB 1333MHz for Apple, up to 16GB/1600MHz [32GB when 8GB parts are available]
    Sound: Apple (multiple reviews)
    Weight: 5.6 pounds (Apple) vs 5.95 pounds (Lenovo) – Apple, but not overwhelmingly
    Dimensions: Width and depth are close, but Apple wins on height (0.95 in vs 1.26 – 1.41 in)

    Price: ~ $2650 (Apple) vs ~ $1600 (Lenovo) (I got the price difference wrong earlier because I forgot to upgrade the CPU and GPU in the MacBook)

    In any case, over $1000 (60%+) is a lot to pay for better sound, less than half a pound of weight and less than half an inch of height (plus other personal preferences), especially when you consider all you’re giving up (battery life, screen resolution, GPU, RAM expandability, …).

  85. Ravi: like I said, there certainly is an ‘Apple tax’ when you go to the 15″ and 17″ models. In Apple’s analysis, people who buy these models are not very price-sensitive. And as I said above, I think they’re missing a model for people who are price-sensitive but want to play games.

  86. And thus Bennett and JonCB recapitulate the comment I made 24 hours ago.

  87. Patrick Maupin Says:
    > Samsung’s Bada OS is selling better than anything Microsoft

    What number horse are they in this race again?

    Awesome!

  88. Ah what? Where does he say that? He does say that Google is cheating. Presumably in part by dumping Android on the market and in part by infringing on the IP of others. Who’s IP I didn’t see mentioned but given that it is Oracle suing Google and not MSFT, MSFT wouldn’t have been my first guess even through MSFT is getting royalties for some Android handset sales.

    Google may or may not owe MSFT money but given that HTC has ponied up, it seems some companies feels they owe MSFT money for Android.

    Paul Thurrott is a Windows fanboi that makes a living blogging. What gave that away? The name of his website? Does that mean MSFT is paying him? Meh. The meme that everyone that disagrees with you and favors an opposing platform must be a paid shill is tiresome and actually is a bankrupt attitude that should just stop.

    “It seems almost every post Paul Thurrott makes about Windows Phone has been negatively slanted in some way, which makes his claim to be one of the biggest supporters of the mobile OS seem a bit strange.”

    http://wmpoweruser.com/paul-thurrott-defends-his-microsoft-heckling/

    He’s sure not a huge WP7 rah-rah mango will conquer all cheerleader in here. If MSFT is paying him they probably aren’t getting their money’s worth.

  89. Ah what? Where does he say that?

    Maybe not directly in that article. But, for example, in one of his previous articles that he links to from that one he says “But thus far, Google has remained largely above the fray, because it doesn’t typically sell Android-based devices to customers. So companies like Microsoft—which do own mobile-related patents and must therefore protect them in court—have pursued Android device makers such as HTC and Motorola instead.”

    There are a lot of assumptions there, starting with the assumptions that patents are an unalloyed good and that they must be used offensively.

    Google may or may not owe MSFT money but given that HTC has ponied up, it seems some companies feels they owe MSFT money for Android.

    There’s a difference between “owing money for Android” and “owing money for some particular invention that Android implements.” Given that HTC is the biggest shipper of MS phones, and that the contract is secret, and that HTC denies that it costs them as much as everybody assumes in any case, and that Microsoft has been known to charge “royalties” that aren’t particularly onerous in multiple contexts just to establish precedence, it’s hard to know exactly how true this statement of yours is.

    In any case, there are mobile phone patents, both valid and invalid, that have nothing to do with Android in particular, that will be asserted and that will figure in negotiations before this is all over, and that will probably drive up the cost of making an Android (or other) handset. I just fail to believe, as some observers do, that this will push the additive cost of using Android (vs. say, Samsung’s Bada) anywhere near $40 a handset.

    He’s sure not a huge WP7 rah-rah mango will conquer all cheerleader in here.

    No, he says big bully Android conquered WP7 by cheating (“I think Google’s cheating.”) and it’s a terrible shame (“I wish Windows Phone was doing better in the market; it deserves that.”)

    The meme that everyone that disagrees with you and favors an opposing platform must be a paid shill is tiresome and actually is a bankrupt attitude that should just stop.

    I was trying to be nice and assume that he was at least smart enough to get paid for calling google’s innovation “cheating.” But perhaps you’re right, and rather than getting paid, he’s just plain stupid. Hanlon’s Razor does say we should give weight to that possibility, but it’s difficult sometimes because malice usually pays better than stupidity, and Microsoft has certainly shown themselves capable of purchasing malice in the past, so Occam’s Razor might disagree with Hanlon’s Razor in this instance.

    And there is a difference between favoring an opposing platform (which can be done without asserting “cheating”), and believing that after the dust settles, Android will require per-handset royalties (which can be done without asserting “cheating”), and writing an entire article about google “cheating.”

  90. Maybe not directly in that article.

    So you made up a strawman and called him a shill on that basis? Nice.

    There’s a difference between “owing money for Android” and “owing money for some particular invention that Android implements.”

    That is a bizarre distinction to make. No, don’t mistake that I don’t understand the weird point you’re attempting to make but rather that it is transparent and I think bizarre.

    No, he says big bully Android conquered WP7 by cheating (“I think Google’s cheating.”) and it’s a terrible shame (“I wish Windows Phone was doing better in the market; it deserves that.”)

    Yes, he did say that. Two points you could have addressed in your original post rather than simply making up a strawman and calling him a shill. One path IS easier than the other.

    I was trying to be nice

    That’s you being nice? He’s either a shill or stupid? There must be a definition of nice I don’t know.

    In any case, other than calling his cheating allegation stupid and malicious, you haven’t even addressed that point in any meaningful way. I may not fully agree with his point but given that without Google’s search profits it couldn’t have released Android for free can be viewed by non-stupid people not being paid by MSFT as “cheating”…especially if Oracle can show that it did so by leveraging Oracle IP without paying for it but Sun depended on for income.

    Folks with a different opinion than you, even opinions that you find highly disagreeable, are not automatically either shills or stupid. This recurring sentiment in the F/OSS world is one huge turn off and one we should seriously grow out of. It is non-productive and makes us look like immature jerks.

    Thurrott is biased toward Windows but I vaguely recall some of his books from the 90s. I recall that they were well written, useful and technical. But I don’t do any windows development any more (or buy technical books either) so I don’t follow any of the windows blogs/tech sites.

    But thanks for pointing me at his site. I found the nerdvana article interesting. Every time I do any iOS stuff the weirdness of ObjC gets to me and I guess I’m just getting old and need an immersive boot camp like that to get me over the hump.

  91. So you made up a strawman and called him a shill on that basis? Nice.

    No, I pointed out that that article linked directly to another one. I read them both together, and said as much in my previous comment. My first comment was a couple of one-liners. If I had for one moment thought that someone would read one article and not the obvious related ones and then take me to task over dashing that off, I would have expanded it a bit first. But most of the readers here are capable of following the trail.

    That is a bizarre distinction to make. No, don’t mistake that I don’t understand the weird point you’re attempting to make but rather that it is transparent and I think bizarre.

    It is not at all a bizarre distinction. If Samsung sells a bada phone that works the same as Android, then they theoretically owe the same sort of royalties. In what way would that implicate google?

    Yes, he did say that. Two points you could have addressed in your original post rather than simply making up a strawman and calling him a shill. One path IS easier than the other.

    I didn’t make up a strawman, and it’s entirely consistent with his behavior that he’s a shill. And Microsoft has been known to hire paid shills before.

    That’s you being nice? He’s either a shill or stupid? There must be a definition of nice I don’t know.

    As I said, from my perspective, “shill” would at least mean he is smart enough to get paid for stupid opinions, so in one sense it’s a compliment. Perhaps you’re a paid shill as well.

    I may not fully agree with his point but given that without Google’s search profits it couldn’t have released Android for free can be viewed by non-stupid people not being paid by MSFT as “cheating”

    Not after any serious thought. Is no business allowed to ever branch out into a new business? Are new business models that don’t collect revenue on the front end cheating? How the fuck did we ever get to teh web in the first place?

    especially if Oracle can show that it did so by leveraging Oracle IP without paying for it but Sun depended on for income.

    Whether oracle convinces the court of this or not is one thing. I have read the patents and they are completely bogus. And what the fuck does “depended on [it] for income” have to do with the way the world works?

    Folks with a different opinion than you, even opinions that you find highly disagreeable, are not automatically either shills or stupid.

    Absolutely not. I have had many spirited debates on this very site with people with highly differing opinions whom I have not called stupid. But most of them are smart enough not to accuse me of making a strawman argument when I did not, and certainly smart enough not to repeat the accusation after I pointed out why it wasn’t a strawman.

    This recurring sentiment in the F/OSS world is one huge turn off and one we should seriously grow out of. It is non-productive and makes us look like immature jerks.

    So when somebody’s acting stupid and the most rational explanation is that he’s getting paid for it, we should keep mum. Got it.

    I recall that they were well written, useful and technical.

    Exactly, and I think that a lot of his windows business is probably drying up by now, but he has a platform and probably a lot of contacts inside Microsoft. Hence the “shill” theory. Which, btw, if you paid attention at all, you would realize that Microsoft has historically engaged in a lot of pay-for-play. Knowing this, and then seeing who is defending Microsoft and attacking their enemies, makes it a pretty good fit. But that’s just my theory.

  92. > I think you’re all paid shills.

    Certainly, we’re all self-interested to some extent.

  93. Certainly the accusation of “shill” is overused; however, the SCO litigation flushed a lot of Microsoft’s shills into the open.

  94. If everyone accused of being a shill actually had been one, MS would be broke by now.

    No, I pointed out that that article linked directly to another one.

    Actually, neither article states what you asserted. Which was “google owes Microsoft money ’cause they’re using microsoft’s stuff in Android”. In fact, in the snippet you quoted here he specifically states why Google doesn’t owe Microsoft any money. They don’t make phones. This distinction is a thin one but one that Google leverages significantly in order to continue to make Android free. Therefore the GOOG doesn’t owe MSFT anything. ORCL might be a different story.

    SHOULD Google pay for these licenses or does your Bada example hold true? It depends on the business model and what Android customers and Android IP holders ultimately demand. If you get nickled and dimed on all these royalties that Google has declined to pay because it doesn’t need to then another platform starts looking far more lucrative.

    My belief is that Google won’t bother because it doesn’t need to unless Android use takes a big hit. As long as Android remains a cheaper option than WP7 that’s good enough.

    Not after any serious thought. Is no business allowed to ever branch out into a new business? Are new business models that don’t collect revenue on the front end cheating? How the fuck did we ever get to teh web in the first place?

    Reductio ad absurdum. Of course businesses are allowed to branch out into new businesses. For example, Apple entered the MP3 market. But it didn’t use profits from computers to sell iPods below cost but rather they made a MP3 player that could command high profits. Giving a product away below cost to capture market share from companies that MUST charge in order to continue to do business can be considered unfair (aka cheating). You can think that without being either stupid or a shill.

    I mentioned Sun as the example because it is and example of a company going belly up. For sure, that wasn’t the primary cause (idiotic leadership was the primary cause) but losing revenue from licensing mobile java was probably one of the last straws. Having Oracle own Java really pisses me off and Google didn’t even have the forethought or “non-evilness” to buy Sun when it was on the block after materially contributing to its downfall by trashing one of the last significant Java revenue streams from under it.

    That’s “what the fuck does “depended on [it] for income” have to do with the way the world works?”. Googles IP actions have real world consequences beyond what happens to stockholders. That Oracle is suing them is just desserts in my opinion. They are a “highly competitive” (some might call “evil”) company and relish in it. Ellison certainly is no Schwartz.

    I didn’t make up a strawman

    Fine, then go ahead and produce a quote in either of the linked articles where he states that “Google owes Microsoft money” because, yes, that is a stupid meme and he should be called on it. Perhaps I missed that statement.

    Restating “well, that’s what he REALLY meant” doesn’t count.

  95. Re: the weirdness of Objective-C.

    I do game dev in Objective-C. (Not even entirely for Apple platforms.) I switched to Objective-C to get away from the weirdness of C++!

    Cocoa is the easiest and most beautiful GUI library I’ve ever used. It’s like the dream of Xerox Smalltalk realized on a usable office workstation. That’s why so many great things (including a little hack called “the web”) were built on it and its predecessor, NEXTSTEP.

    I haven’t done any Cocoa Touch development yet, but if it’s anything like its Mac cousin it has to be leagues better than what’s available under Android’s (ugh) Java-based environment.

  96. > If everyone accused of being a shill actually had been one, MS would be broke by now.

    Doubtful. Have you looked at what they themselves have to spend for parasites?

    > Actually, neither article states what you asserted… In fact, in the snippet you quoted here he specifically states why Google doesn’t owe Microsoft any money.

    My bad in two ways: (1) There were a few articles linked, I picked the wrong one, and (2) I agree that in my two line original post, I said “google” when I technically should have said “google’s licensees.” The point being, obviously, to drive up the cost of using Android.

    The right article states (my bold):

    “They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents and Nortel’s old patents (the ‘Rockstar’ group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.”

    Actually, using patents in this way is a legitimate business endeavor with no proof of “bogusness.”

    To your other objections:

    Giving a product away below cost to capture market share from companies that MUST charge in order to continue to do business can be considered unfair (aka cheating). You can think that without being either stupid or a shill.

    Supposedly, google is making money on Android. How, then, can what they are doing “below cost?” In any case, there is a huge difference between giving away open source software and giving away a teaser closed source package until you own the market. In the latter case, you have the market by the short and curlies, in the former case, you have just given a leg up to as many competitors as wish to join the fray.

    That Oracle is suing them is just desserts in my opinion. They are a “highly competitive” (some might call “evil”) company and relish in it.

    Have you looked at the patents? At the estoppel issues? If there were any valid patents there (which a court may find, but which in any sane world wouldn’t be found), the fact that Sun (incompetently or not) allowed Google to build a huge business based on those patents should definitely be held against Oracle/Sun in court.

    Fine, then go ahead and produce a quote in either of the linked articles where he states that “Google owes Microsoft money” because, yes, that is a stupid meme and he should be called on it. Perhaps I missed that statement.

    I never said he stated that. The article does reek of that attitude.

    Restating “well, that’s what he REALLY meant” doesn’t count.

    Again, I never said he stated that. I said that was the attitude I got out of reading all the articles. That’s the charitable explanation. The potential uncharitable explanations include “google must die.”

  97. @Jeff, yes, but I grew up with the weirdness of C++. :) What you grow up with generally doesn’t feel weird, which partially explains why I sometimes miss seeing clouds from my OO diagrams…

    Cocoa, near as I can tell, is awesome. I just wish I could use C# when coding it…I guess I should check out MonoMac.

    As far as Android vs iOS goes, while I was futzing around for the umpteenth time trying to get the UI to look better the iOS team was chasing down memory leaks. Dude, it’s 2010 (at the time)! WTF? Still, I gathered that their development was less hairpulling than mine.

    Hopefully, given todays news, Motoblur dies soon.

  98. @Patrick, well yesterday I’d have agreed that Google doesn’t owe Microsoft any money. Today…maybe, maybe not.

    In any case, given that they intend to continue to pursue IP lawsuits against Apple I believe the “do no evil” motto less and less every day.

  99. @Nigel:

    Which lawsuit are you referring to? I lose track. AFAIK, google has launched very few lawsuits. The only one I can remember is against the government for going with Microsoft in an illegal no-bid process.

  100. >In any case, given that they intend to continue to pursue IP lawsuits against Apple I believe the “do no evil” motto less and less every day.

    Defense. As I just pointed out, it was Apple’s choice to get Samsung tablets banned in Germany. If Google now wallops Apple upside the head with the patent equivalent of a baseball bat, the proper category will not be “evil”, it will be “just karmic return”.

  101. I hold companies that state that they will not be evil to a higher standard than those that don’t. Just like I hold Apple to a higher design standard than say, Dell.

    Apple wasn’t in any more trouble today than yesterday given that Motorola was already suing them. That Google isn’t going to stop that action is very telling. It’s only anti-competitive practice when OTHER people are doing it. And those Samsung products really are trying to copy Apple products to the nth degree.

    Why do you have such a hard on in seeing Apple fail anyway? At most it would ever address is around 20-25% of the smartphone market given their penchant for profits. In that sense, Apple never even really competed against Android. Someone else would always have filled the lower end of the spectrum. Whether it was WinMo or Android doesn’t make that much difference to Apple.

    Karmic return would also be letting Oracle buy Sun and then losing Android over Java IP. Especially AFTER the engineering team recommended licensing it which might have let Sun survive long enough to see a minor revival. Not likely though after Schwartz but desktop Java is effectively dead now in Oracle’s hands. They have zero interest in it.

  102. > That Google isn’t going to stop that action is very telling.

    I didn’t see anything that said this, but it would be really stupid of google to stop the action unilaterally, so that’s not surprising.

    We don’t know who started it. Oh, sure, we know that Motorola went to court first, but there’s an extremely good chance they just did that for the venue, and Apple had its counterclaims ready pretty quick. Actually, I personally believe Apple started it, given that they sued HTC several months before that (and the dance with Samsung, the only other Android manufacturer to ship large quantities to the US, can be expected to play out somewhat differently simply because of the customer/supplier relationship there).

    And about those counterclaims. Do you think if google said “My bad. We don’t want to sue any more!” that those would magically disappear? What about the original claims against HTC? Was it google’s evilness that made Apple sue HTC? If google just walked away from the Mot/Apple lawsuit, how could they possibly help Samsung or HTC?

    > Especially AFTER the engineering team recommended licensing it which might have let Sun survive long enough to see a minor revival.

    This severely misconstrues the sequence of events. Google was considering a development relationship with Sun, which is different than simply paying a license to implement something similar.

  103. What have you done to Steve Jobs? You made him retire. What now the future of Apple

  104. While US Android users are all full of glee that they’re finally getting the Samsung Galaxy S II in the United States, a far more significant Android smartphone is being developed… In China. It’s faster than any other smartphone, has a beautiful and fluid user interface, top-notch hardware quality, a dual-partition setup so you can keep using the phone while it updates… And will sell for a mere $310, no contract or whatever other nonsense. Hello Xiaomi Phone.

    This phone is not a copy or a crappy product with even crappier software. We’re looking at a dual core 1.5Ghz chip (Qualcomm MSM8260 SoC), Adreno 220 graphics processor, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of ROM. It has all the usual stuff – WiFi, Bluetooth, AGPS, and so on. It has a 4″ 480×854 LCD built by Sharp, and it even has GLONASS, the Russian GPS alternative. It also has two antennas for better reception, and a massive 1930mAh battery (as opposed to the more common 1400mAh or 1500mAh ones), which promises to deliver two days of “real use” (whatever that means).
    ___

    http://www.osnews.com/story/25118/The_Cheap_Android_Phone_Is_Here_But_It_s_Not_What_You_d_Expect

    This blog post seemed the most logical of the Smartphone wars series to post it too

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