All posts by Janet Tokerud

Web and personal technology enthusiast. Maker and architect of Studio Manager business software for creative services firms and work groups.

State of Apple – April 09

It’s about time for an Apple update. The Expo is well behind us now and new Macs have been recently released. We know that iPhone 3.0 will be out by July. Here are the recent high points and things to look forward to.

The Return of Steve Jobs? At Apple’s Annual Meeting on Feb 25th, spokes people seemed to hint that Steve was returning and was in communication on a regular basis with Apple’s board and key execs.

Steve_Jobs_Jan_08My take is that Steve’s health situation is serious enough that we can’t count on him to fully recover. In fact, he may not make it. But, he can afford the best medical care and is making his health priority one. He has a lot to live for. If his health is good at all, he’ll be champing at the bit to get back full-time to Apple. I sure hope he comes back soon.

iPhone Update. The iPhone is still unrivaled and is moving smartly towards a dominant position in the mobile market. All I know is that:

There are iPhones everywhere I go.

There are bajillions of iPhone apps and some of them are quite good like Tweetie, Evernote, Fieldrunner and Todo.

Apple keeps improving it – they are finally releasing cut-copy-paste.

I love my iPhone. A new, faster, more capacious (32gb) iPhone with a better camera is rumored for release in June or July.

Here’s the competition in order of strength: Blackberry, Palm Pre, Google’s Android phones like the G1, Nokia, Windows Mobile phones. Palm Pre looks hot but pre-release, so Palm has a lot to prove. The Blackberry Storm, released in November, was a disappointment. The first Android phone, the G1, is OK but development of the platform has been disappointing to observers like engadget and gdgt. Nokia’s Symbian platform lags technically even though Nokia dominates the smartphone market.

mac_mini

Mac Update. Yay for the upgrade of the Mac mini. The updates of the iMac and Mac Pro were good but mostly speed bumps with decent pricing. A lot of people hoped for even lower prices to suit the economy but that didn’t happen. I look at that as a sign of strength on Apple’s part.

New iPod Shuffle. I do like the new iPod Shuffle, by the way. What I like is the introduction of which_ipod_are_youadditional functionality via voice feedback. This innovation opens up a whole new avenue for gadget-human interaction. I hear it is well-implemented too. Multiple playlists are now supported.

Rumors of a mini-tablet or 10-inch notebook. I vote for the mini-tablet but since it is a new form factor am afraid the odds favor a smaller version of the macbook air that somehow manages to be cheaper. Not sure that is possible. Maybe it will be more like a small version of the Macbook. What I want is something the size and weight of the Kindle for $800 or less — hopefully less. Rumors have it that a device like this might possibly appear between August and October. Or maybe a netbooklike device will come out. I’m happy with my full-sized Macbook Air, so am not netbook-inclined.

Remaking tokerud.com as a Blog, Day 1

The tokerud.com site has been around since 1995, but I’m a blogger and wanted to make tokerud.com revolve around a blog. From my point of view, blogs are superior technology. They package together a ton of functionality and allow me to formulate content in bite-sized chunks.

Blogs make it easier for our visitors to see what is new, recent, or about a particular topic. Blogs make it easy for people to interact with us through comments and create interesting conversations. Blogs organize site content so that others can link to it so they don’t have to just say – “you know, that paragraph in the upper right corner”.

Since I started blogging in 2003, WordPress has become dominant as a blogging tool. My other blogs are TypePad-based. Now I want to make my previously *static* websites: tokerud.com and eventually studio-manager.com into blogs with extra pages for content that is relatively static or for reference.

I just started this blog tonight and plan to back fill in my blog-like posts that are currently up and running on the tokerud.com site. Eventually, this blog will take its place but there’s lots of research and design and learning to do before that happens.

If you happen to discover us here in our formative days, welcome. Keep in mind I am shopping for a the ideal wordpress theme. Right now I’m using a free WordPress theme called Connections Reloaded. I like it, but I really want 3 columns so this is just temporary.

What you are seeing if you are reading this at a later date is probably much different by now. I’ll document what I use once I’ve settled on something. By the way, I won’t just use a theme as is, I’ll tweak it further.

Let’s Rock!

4G iPod nanos

Apple Keeps on Rocking. The Apple innovation machine continues to delight. The rumor sites had the outlines, but didn’t do the 4G nano justice like the photo above does. The new nanos have the same size screen in a vertical orientation. But the built-in accelerometer allows you to turn sideways to view content horizontally. Vertical is a better orientation for the basics and horizontal gives you a wide screen when you need it.

4g_nano_new_menuShake your groove thing. Shake your nano to shuffle the songs. Voice record with the microphone built into the headphones. Those headphones let you adjust volume and go to next or previous song. The improved headphone controls work on both the 4G nano and 2G iPod touch.

New Menu: Now you press and hold the center button to navigate around your nano.

Feather weight. The 4G nano, an impulse buy at $149 for 8gb, weighs 1.3 oz. That may be why these things end up going into the laundry. Be careful.

new 2g iPod touch2G iPod touch. We expect more of the touch because it is truly a handheld computer. New are external volume control buttons, built-in speaker and the ability to use a microphone input via Apple’s new headphones. Nike ipod integrationfor tracking your workouts. The genius feature (see below). An $80 – $100 price drop!

genius iconGenius Feature. iTunes 8 brings smarts (“genius”) to iTunes and the new crop of iPods. The scenario is you hear a song you love and want to hear more songs like that right now. Just press the center button and have your built-in genius create a playlist for you. How well it works is yet to be determined but they’ve sure got my attention!

State of Apple — August 2008

iPhone3G_AppStoreiPhone 3G + App Store + Booming Mac Sales. Despite turbulence at the simultaneous launch of the iPhone 3G, App store, iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe, Apple is going gangbusters.

But, the number of problems occurring in recent weeks may be a new record for Apple.

A lot of people (including me) believe that Apple was getting overconfident. They started believing they were infallible. Now they know better.

On the bright side, though, Apple is disrupting and raising the bar in the industries they’ve chosen to participate in. They are making a difference that I and many others appreciate. Ultimately, I attribute the innovation Apple has achieved to: opportunity, vision, people and passion.

In the late 90’s, after Steve Jobs came back, Apple started a concerted effort to gain marketshare for the Mac. This wasn’t easy but they attacked the problem with relentless gusto and creativity. Steve assessed his competition (Microsoft) as formidable due to extreme marketshare dominance. But, he saw a long-term opportunity when comparing the technical potential of OS X vs. Windows.

Jobs bet on Apple’s technology, team, vision and design sense. The least that could be achieved was survival as the BMW to Microsoft’s Ford.

The massive undertaking of launching and realizing the potential of OS X was carried out successfully. The iPod, a whole new product initiative, was orchestrated to great success and segment dominance. Apple’s success with the iPod gave them the wherewithal to try an even more ambitous project: the iPhone.

iPod_Nanos

It took three years to bring iPhone to market. In the meantime, Apple pulled off a complete switch to Intel processors from the PowerPC chip architecture. Steve said Apple needed Intel’s planned low-powered chips to drive growth in smaller computer devices. We are still seeing the fruits of this transition.

The MacBook Air is an example of a smaller device that uses Intel’s low-power chips. Lots of people are hoping for a tablet Mac or a large iPod touch in the next year. This seems likely now as other smaller devices are gaining some traction. The EEE PC, Nokia’s N810 and the PSP all may be carving out a spot for better devices made by Apple.

MacBook_Air

Right now, the iPhone has center stage and looks poised to radically alter the cell phone industry as we’ve come to know it. Leading tech pundit, Walt Mossberg, has taken to calling the cell phone, the device formerly known as the cell phone. The phone part of the iPhone is the tip of the iceberg.

Apple announced in March that it will begin a campaign to sell the iPhone into corporations, supporting Exchange and addressing the issues corporate IT deem deal-breakers. The App store introduced in July with over 1300 applications at last count seems to make the iPhone into a platform. The battle for dominant mobile platform is not over, but Apple currently occupies the front-runner slot.

Lastly, Macs are selling 3 times faster than PCs these days. Apple is taking PC marketshare quarter by quarter. There’s more to say but you get the idea. I’ve got some gripes with the stability of iPhone 2.0 software and MobileMe, but I’ll get over it and those problems will be addressed. Meanwhile, I’m absolutely in love with the App store.