Will iOS Rally Against Android?

ios

In the battle between Android and iOS the next move will be Apple’s and likely announced at WWDC, which is already underway.

So far the tide seems to have shifted in Android’s direction and it seems likely iOS will have to bend in the direction of being more customizable going forward. That’s a big change for Apple, which has so far remained tightly in control of the user experience. Android is open and customizable, iOS far less so.

More Than Lock Screen Widgets

Users want more than screen widgets from Apple, they want apps that can manage calls, change the keyboard layout, customize the home screen and make substantive changes to the user experience. All things allowed with Android, but not iOS. It will be interesting to see how far Apple is willing to go in letting users and application developers run as it quickly runs into functionality such as application data sharing and allowing users to select default applications, two features currently not available on iOS.

Not The Only Challenge For Apple

Apple is facing challenges on several fronts, including phasing in streaming from iTunes which hit an early snag when a bug allowed test users to stream any pre-release album. Oops. Getting out from under the iTunes download only model has put Apple behind the curve in some respects to more established competitors and playing from behind is an unaccustomed position for them.

They’re also facing litigation by the DoJ that paints Apple as the ringmaster in an ebook price fixing scheme. It’s good to remember that the last time a government lawsuit actually changed anything was 1984 with the breakup of AT&T, though it’s an unneeded distraction at a time when Apple should be focusing on its product pipeline and customers.

The Post Steve Jobs Era

Apple is the same company with mostly the same people running it and only one big change at the top. Yet ever since Job’s death it seems as though Apple has struggled to find its footing in product development. For the first year afterwards it seemed like they were going to pull it together as their share price continued to climb, but recently Apple stock has returned to prices not seen since Jobs was alive and product development has lost its cutting edge appeal.

Pro users are hoping for a reason to stay with Apple and the Mac Pro product manager’s promise of “something really different” is coming late as many have already started considering PC alternatives. Video pros were already feeling snubbed by the FXP X fiasco and if the “something really different” doesn’t wow video editors, many of them could drop Apple altogether.

Perhaps WWDC will put all these fears and the sense of general unease to rest and demonstrate that Apple’s problems are related to communication rather than any real issues with their product development. It promises to be an interesting day for Apple watchers and many of those watchful eyes will be on Wall Street.

My, How Things Have Changed in Android Land

Came across this today in reading a great back-and-forth about Apple, Google, manliness and win between John Gruber and Joe Wilcox. That’s worth reading by itself (start here, go backwards through the links John gives), but what I really loved was his link to what the Android operating system used to look like, circa 2007 (before the iPhone, which Android devices now look suspiciously similar to, was announced):

That’s the phone (looks a lot more like a certain fruit-named phone than what it looks like now, no?), and click through for pictures of the operating system (think Windows Mobile and Blackberry had an illicit, business-friendly affair and conceived an open-source child).

See it at Engadget.

24 Killer Apps for the iPad

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

The “Killer App” is a neat concept. It’s not just apps that are killer, rad or awesome. A killer app is the application or feature that makes you toss out what you’ve already got, buy something new, fight with your spouse over the credit card bill, and giggle all the way to the poorhouse because your new thing is so incredible.

Killer apps vary enormously. When you bought an Xbox 360 even though you already had an Xbox, it was Xbox Live that made you do it.  Of course, you bought the Xbox in the first place because you wanted to play Halo. You bought a smartphone when you already had a perfectly good phone, because this one had the Internet.

For the iPad, the killer app is unclear: is it a gaming console, a netbook, an e-book reader, a TV, or something else? I think the answer, and I’ll grant you that this is a cop-out, is that the killer app for the iPad is its versatility. It’s all of those things and more, rolled into one device.

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15 Podcasts Your Brain and Ears Will Love

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

Podcasts are a funny technology: they’re incredibly simple, but for some reason no one really understands what they are, what they do, how to use them, or why you’d want to be in a pod or a cast in the first place. So what’s a podcast? The best way to explain is AP test-style: TiVo is to television as podcasts are to radio and Internet video. That is to say it’s a way to get it on demand, consumable whenever you want. Fast forward and rewind to your heart’s content, and keep as much content as you want – until your hard drive gets full.

You can listen to podcasts on your mp3 player, on your computer, or anywhere else you so desire. They get downloaded over the Internet, and are just simple RSS feeds, so anywhere you’ve got the Internet, you can get podcasts. iTunes is becoming the gold standard, though, and provides a great store for finding podcasts (“store” here is used loosely, because they’re mostly free). Many radio stations are syndicating their stuff to podcasts, and there are a huge number of podcast-only “stations” out there now. Unlike producing a TV show, creating a radio show of sorts, whether it’s video or audio, is relatively cheap and simple to do.

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Why I Bought an iPad (And Why You Should Too)

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

Exactly 32 hours after the iPad was released to the masses, I walked over to the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in New York City. I stood in a line of about 40 people, walked down the spiral staircase feeling like the belle of the ball, plunked down $520 or so, and bought myself an iPad.

I’d never actually done that before. I’m typically a “wait and see-er” when it comes to anything that costs more than $5, and like to be a version behind because it’s too easy and too expensive to get caught up in being an early adopter. But the iPad was different.

The biggest question most people have for the iPad is simple: “what will I use it for?” It’s bigger and less pocket-friendly than your cell phone. It’s smaller and less versatile than your laptop. It’s not really a netbook, or an ebook reader. So what is it, and why do I need it?

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How I Work

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

This is a long-overdue post for me. I even promised to write this post tomorrow, five weeks ago. But, at long last, this is the full explication of how it is that I get things done.

The first thing I should tell you is that this is an ever-evolving system. There are a few things, hardware and software, that have been around for a while, but there’s also a rapidly revolving door of applications, gadgets, and all sorts of things that come and go from my desk. What I’m sharing here is a snapshot, a look into the things that make me tick and keep me ticking right now.

I share these things not because they’re unique, or even particularly interesting. I do it because I’ve gotten so much from reading how other people organize, get things done, and work – this is me giving back, so to speak. And here we go!

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11 Great Apps for iPod Touch Owners

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

I don’t own an iPhone—I have an iPod Touch. Every list of “Best iPhone apps” includes a lot of apps that are totally useless to those of us without constant Internet connection. Do you see the problem here?

For an application to be great for the iPod Touch, it needs to meet a few criteria: it has to have excellent offline capabilities, as well as fully-functioning online usage when you’re connected to Wi-fi. It has to be simple to use, because many Touch owners aren’t super tech-savvy. And, last but not least, it has to make your Touch a lean, mean, awesomeness machine. Which is a totally objective measure, I promise.

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MobileMe is a No-Brainer for Mac Users

Post by Josie from the great Geekulous blog. Find her on Twitter.

mobilemeAs an Apple fangirl I feel it is my duty to convert all of my PC using friends and family members to Macs, freeing them once and for all of their suffering of blue screens of death, unknown errors and other PC related stressors.

Once I’ve succeeded in converting them one of the first questions I get (aside from, ‘how do I right click?’) is – “should I get MobileMe?”  My answer is always a resounding YES!!!

Some people view MobileMe as a way for Apple to get more money out of you, but they couldn’t be more wrong.  I have found that this misconception is due a misunderstanding of exactly how MobileMe can be utilized.  MobileMe is a necessary utility to keep your life in sync and is essential for anyone who works on different computers or works in multiple environments.

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21 iPhone Apps That Make Everything Awesome

iPhoneOkay, I don’t have an iPhone. I have an iPod Touch. But, for all intents and purposes, the app situation is exactly the same, and I’ll probably use the phrases iPhone and iPod Touch interchangeably. Is that lazy and misleading? Maybe. But you’ll get over it.

I’ve had my iPod Touch for two years now, and have spent an awfully long time trying to figure out which apps to put on it in order to get more out of it. It’s a difficult balance, actually: trying to get fun apps, useful apps, and cool apps is a tough thing to do. Games just go nuts and ruin all of my productivity – that’s why I banished them to the last page.

Anyway, I decided to settle on 20 apps, and a total expense of no more than $25. Most great apps in the App Store are free, but I came across a few that were worth buying.

I found it. I haven’t downloaded a new app in a few weeks, and probably won’t any time soon – I’ve got everything I need. It ended up being 21 apps, and cost me a grand total of $26.95. Close enough. Here’s what I’ve got:

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