This year's edition of Apple Mac computers could have support for faster Wi-Fi wireless networks. Apple has in a new beta version of the upcoming operating system upgrade OS X 10.8.4 implemented support for 802.11 ac standard that supports data transfer rates up to 1.3 Gbps in the local wireless network.
During the second half of this year, Apple should introduce MacBook Air notebooks with Retina Display. Although information proverbially comes from unofficial sources, the presentation of Retina screen in the MacBook Air and other products (like the iPad Mini) is expected move for the next generation of Apple devices.
In order to prepare even better for the upcoming launch of Origin on Macs, EA has launched an alpha test booked for several thousand users. The Mac version of Electronic Arts Origin will be available "soon" and EA has started sending invitations for alpha testing of the Mac version of the Origin client.
According to reports on Bloomberg, Apple is working the possibility of a switch of all of their Mac PCs to ARM processors. If they do make this change it will be the third processor architecture they have gone through. Apple started with Motorola 68xxx series processors, to be switched to the PowerPC in 1994, and for the past seven years they have been running on the Intel x86 architecture. Most interesting of all is that Apple managed to successfully, usually with minimal shock to their customers, make such a fundamental transition every time by which they are unparalleled in the industry.
Apple has lost another VP of Hardware this time to retirement. Bob Mansfield, how replaced Mark Papermaster (you know him, he is at AMD now) in 2010 is retiring after being with Apple since 1999. Bob has been the lead of iPhone and iPad hardware since 2010, but before that he was in charge of dealing with Mac hardware (beginning in 2005).
In the IT world there was a time when we all feared the Marco viruses that could be embedded into Word, Excel and other Microsoft Office Products. It was bad enough at one point that I found a single system with over 3,200 counts of an Excel Macro virus (it replicated itself quite nicely). Back then it was common for IT to recommend the use of RTF (Rich Text Format) instead of .DOC for documents and there was even an option inside exchange to force the use of this format even if the end user has Word as their email editor.
Once upon a time Apple’s CEO and PR department constructed a mythology around the computers and devices that they sold. This mythology was needed to compete in the market and at the time was very good for business (even if it was less than honest). The mythology in question was that Apple products were somehow manufactured differently (or better) and that they were unable to become infected with malicious code that we all have come to know and loathe; the computer virus.
There is nothing like a botnet to remind us all that there is truly no such thing as a “secure” operating system. For years Apple presented the Mac as impervious to viruses and Malware. They had commercials stating “Macs do not get viruses” and continued this mythology despite many Java, Flash and other attacks that existed in the wild. The fact that many of these were centered on pirated software or required user interaction did not deter the myth. Now with Flashback things have gotten very real very quickly.
In talking about Apple (and SIri) over the last couple of days I started to think about what Apple does that is “right”. I know that most of the media and many consumers view almost any Apple product as glorious and Apple can do no wrong. While that is not true there is something important in that mindset and it finally dawned on me why Apple is vital to the future of the computer industry. It is not because they make amazing products with quality second to none.
The fact is they make good products with the same quality as everyone else. If you did not know already every iPhone, iPod and Mac is made by Foxconn over in China. The line that assembles these is very close to the line that builds HP, Dell and others (at least they were the last time I checked). This means that the same level of build quality is present in all of those devices. If you are getting an Apple product there is not some magical line that makes their devices better. The same can be said for the components inside. The A4 and the original A5 found in the iPad2 was not manufactured by Apple it was made by Samsung (which makes the lawsuits very interesting and is another case of Apple biting the hand the fed them). The more recent ones (after April 2011) have been made by TSMC. These are the same guys that make nVidia and AMD GPUs as well as many other ARM processors. Again there is nothing that makes Apple product magically better using either of these companies.
No it is not Apple’s hardware that makes them vital to the tech world. It is also not their software. True the iOS is fast and nimble, just like OSX is. However, it is fast and nimble on a very narrow hardware group. If you take it outside that and manage to get different hardware to work you will find that it is not so quick.
In short terms the thing that makes Apple crucial and an amazing company is this; No one can sell a product like Apple. You just cannot do it. All you have to do is look back at recent history to see what I mean. For example, let’s take the MP3 player. Long before the first iPod hit there was an MP3 Player from Creative called Nomad that pretty much kicked things off. Many other companies came along and put out MP3 players at the same time, even D-Link had one.
In fact the MP3 player looked like it was going to fade away when Apple released the iPod with a new device inside, the Micro Drive from IBM (and later Fujitsu). This meant that while other companies were pushing 16, 32 and 128 MB (yes Megabyte) Apple could put 1-2 GB and more space in their products. Later as these drives grew (and the advent of the 1.8-inch drive) the size of the iPod grew while other companies were barely getting by with the smaller amounts of flash memory. Apple’s product was not all that better, it was primitive with basic controls but it was good looking and offered more from the consumer’s point of view. This was even more true when you combined iTunes and the $0.99 song. Apple showed people that they wanted this product. The iPod became a synonym for MP3 player. You can follow this chain through the iPhone and the iPad. On the day the iPhone launched there were more sophisticated phones and phones with better support. However, the iPhone caught the consumer’s imagination. Suddenly they wanted these products. A touch screen phone? With icons. Wow. Of course there had been touch screen Windows Mobile phones and Palm based phones for years before. Still the smart phone market as an entertainment and business tool did not take off until Apple launched the iPhone. It is the same story with the iPad and now Natural Voice Command. Both of these products have been out for a long time, but Apple has been able to make people WANT them.
So you can criticize Apple for their xenophobic ways, their controlling nature, their reprehensible patent policies and legal team (I know I will). In the same breath, anyone in the tech industry should also be thanking them. Without Apple, so many of the cool toys that we love and want would never survive in the market. We might also still have nothing more than boxy and bulky laptops right next to those terrible unstylish off-white cases that were so popular…
Think about it.
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Everyone talks about Apple innovation and how they are great designers and creators. They have come up with some amazing ideas; marketing ideas. If you look at the history of Apple they have really not “created” much. They have taken ideas and concepts and made them work and in some cases even made them better, but for the most part they have not really created anything new.
For those that are going to nay-say this let’s look at a few items. The original Apple, was based off of concepts that were seen at Xerox and also on the IBM “PC” concept that was out. The Original iPad was taken (as proved in court) from the Creative Nomad MP3 player. The iPod was a much better product, but it was based on the Creative design. You can look back and see this trend in almost all of Apple’s devices. I am not calling apple out on anything new here as this is also the trend with most companies.
Where Apple does things different though is to file a patent on their way of doing things and make those patents so vague and broad that they can easily be extended to encompass almost anything in the event that Apple feels threatened. A case in point on this is one of the core patents in the Apple Vs the world of Android suits around the world. The Patent that was granted by to Apple actually covers “the look and feel” of the way a touch screen works. Excuse me? The look and feel? How to you patent that? Maybe I am wrong, but I thought patents were for technology. As such they should be about the actual hardware and workings involved not the concept or thought. Still Apple has managed to push these through even with prior art in evidence and on the books.
So Apple’s success (and bank roll) comes from being able to market old ideas as new and innovative, and to patent concepts and ideas that are so broad that they can sue anyone that even tries to invent a competitive product. Considering they are getting away with it on a massive scale it is really not a bad business model.
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