Microsoft’s Competition for Windows 7

Microsoft’s Competition for Windows 7 →

Gruber nails it:

Put another way, the idea that Windows 7’s quality will spur upgrades from XP is predicated on the fact that the people holding out on XP make their computing choices based on quality.

He makes some strong points about Windows 7 and its impact on the market. I don’t think any XP users will be upgrading to Windows 7. However, unlike with Vista, they will be more open to having Windows 7 installed on their new computer.

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HAVA video-streaming app launches for iPhone

Monsoon Multimedia has launched HAVA Mobile Player for the iPhone and iPod touch, allowing users to remotely watch and control cable, satellite, DVD and TiVo video sources. Users must have a Wi-Fi connection and a HAVA box, which enables people to remotely control and channel any TV source in their home. App users can additionally browse program guides in order to see schedules and content descriptions….




Microsoft stores to open near Windows 7 release?

Microsoft’s planned retail store openings will start just in time for Windows 7’s appearance next week, a leak late yesterday may reveal. A single source for the WSJ says the first store, in Scottsdale, Arizona, should open either on Windows 7’s October 22nd release date or within a few days afterwards. However, it would be the only store to launch near the OS as the Mission Viejo, California store would only open a few weeks later….




A Sense of Entitlement

A Sense of Entitlement →

Brandon Pittman is certainly disturbed by the constant bickering over the Tweetie 2 upgrade pricing:

What you deserve is what you pay for. Do you expect a furniture company to add new features to your sofa at no additional cost? How about your car? Should GM continue to upgrade your stereo every year for free? If you said yes, you’re a jackass.

It’s a good writeup—if maybe a little offensive—which will come in handy if you come across whining.

I believe there were a couple of different issues that were unique to the App Store. First of all, people are very used to getting free feature updates to almost all their apps. Even Twitterrific 2 was a free update. Comparatively, Tweetie 2 (and Simplify Media 2.0) were the lone rangers who charged for the next update. The way I see it, is that this full year round, apps were in their infancy, trying to catch up to be worthy contenders in their own right. Now that they are mature enough, to take them to the next level involves considerable effort, which can only be expected if there’s economic viability. This ‘free feature updates’ phenomenon will soon start waning, as developers realise that the only way they can make it possible is by charging for new features—as they always have.

The major problem that developers face, is that there is absolutely no upgrade path. If Brichter could charge $0.99 for existing customers, and provide those who bought Tweetie 1.0 after say June ‘09, for free, he would. But developers have to choose between making the app free for existing users, or charging the same amount for everyone. Brichter discusses this with Dan Moren on the Macworld Podcast.

The end result is, do the features make sense for you. If they do, you have no option but to pay the price (which is mostly a dollar or two anyway). And Tweetie 2 definitely merits the $2.99 price it commands. And if you’re getting tired of Tweetie 2 coverage, that’ll be the last of it unless something dramatic happens.

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Dropzone makes it easy to copy files, install apps

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We’ve mentioned Dropzone before as a Friday Favorite, but I just happened across the app while I was trying to solve a problem.

I suspect many TUAW readers find themselves in the same situation that I am in: I use a desktop and a laptop. I often find myself wanting to move files between these two machines, so here’s what I do: switch to Finder, click on the shared Mac I want, navigate to the folder I’m looking for, and then track down the file I want to copy there and drag it over. I could drag a folder from the other computer to my “Places” sidebar in Finder, but honestly, I just never do.

What I wanted was something quick and painless. I tried to whip something up using Automator and Folder Actions where it would copy/move files saved in one folder to the other machine, but even that would get messy. Most often I don’t want to move the file, I just want to copy it. I could put the files in Dropbox, but some of these files are sizable (i.e. the 30+ MB iMovie update). To use Dropbox for this would take a long time.

Turns out that Dropzone offers the perfect solution: by enabling FTP on both Macs (System Preferences > Sharing > File Sharing, then click the “Options” button, and check the box “Share files and folders using FTP”) I now have a drag & drop solution to copying files between computers. Simply drag the file to the Dropzone icon on the dock and then drop it onto one of the many “dropzones” which I have defined, and Dropzone does the rest.

There are several plugins available to extend Dropzone to other services such as ImageShack, TwitPic, Flickr, and more. For Internet services, not only will the file get copied to where you want it to go, but the URL will be placed on the clipboard so you can paste the URL wherever you want it to go. I often FTP files to my website, and files Dropzone FTPs to a website can also support putting the URL on the clipboard.

There are several other nifty options, Dropzones for starting the screensaver, putting your Mac to sleep, or ddrag & drop printing a file to the default printer. You can also zip files (or zip and email them) and many other conveniences.

The biggest feature of all was one that I almost overlooked until I watched a screencast from macosxscreencasts.com about Dropzone. A built-in Dropzone called “Install Application” will allow you to drag a .dmg onto Dropzone and have the DMG mounted, the app installed to /Applications, the DMG moved to the recycle bin, and the app launched (it also works with applications which have been .zip’d instead of put into a disk image).

If you are anything like me, the “install a new app” process is several steps that you repeat a lot. Dropzone’s handling of it is incredibly fast and works really well. If it opens a DMG it cannot handle (such as an installer), it will simply open the folder. Great, start stuff that saves you time and frustration. Remember how computers were supposed to make our lives easier? Dropzone does just that.

Continue reading Dropzone makes it easy to copy files, install apps

TUAWDropzone makes it easy to copy files, install apps originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Thu, 15 Oct 2009 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Trillian instant messaging app still waiting for approval

Cerulean Studios has complained that a new Trillian instant messaging app, for the iPhone and iPod touch, has yet to be approved. The app was submitted over 60 days ago according to the company, but at last check is still winding its way through Apple evaluation. A steady stream of e-mails is said to have been sent, but met only with generic form letters, giving no indication on whether changes are needed or how much longer the company may expect to wait….




AT&T Removes All Remaining Doubt: No Tethering This Year

It seems AT&T is on a quest to cause as much damage as possible to the already flaky reputation it has with its iPhone customers. In an oddly confrontational email to 9to5 Mac, a spokesman for the communications company took issue with one of their recent articles that said AT&T would be delivering tethering services to iPhone customers by the end of the year.

The email, as quoted by 9to5 Mac’s Seth Weintraub, says:

Just reading again – where did anyone promise tethering by EOY? Where did you see that? We promised MMS by end of summer and ended up being a few days late for that…

In their defence, 9to5 Mac was channeling reports from TechCrunch and CNET which got them to arrive at the “before end of year” conclusion. You can hardly blame them — CNET’s headline in November 2008 read “AT&T confirms tethering coming to iPhone in 2009.” That’s pretty unequivocal as far as assertions go, right? Yet, I don’t recall anyone from AT&T sending CNET a snippy email in the interim…

Last week I wrote how AT&T told the Wall Street Journal that it needed ‘more time’ to work on tethering functionality. I also mentioned how AT&T’s CEO Ralph De La Vega said, way back in 2008, that tethering would be available “soon.” A year later it’s not unreasonable to wonder just what De La Vega’s definition of “soon” might be.

Add together the history of dropped calls, patchy 3G coverage and recent reports that the company might start throttling data for iPhone users, the snarky email above only adds to the sorry state of affairs at AT&T. However kindly you may choose to interpret that email, there are countless ways it might have been more professionally composed.

For a company still enjoying exclusive distribution and service rights for the iPhone across America, (and the prestige and profits that partnership with Apple entails) its performance in the last two years can only make us hope Apple is considering offering the iPhone to other cell carriers willing (and actually able) to do the job properly.

In any case, while the email doesn’t specifically deny tethering will become a reality this year, it certainly makes the proposition sound unlikely. AT&T announced last month it is working to expand its network, and have invested heavily in the hardware upgrades necessary to do so. That’s welcome news to long suffering customers, but those upgrades aren’t going to be completed until the end of 2011.

Or, as Mr De La Vega might put it, “soon.”



As Q4 begins, online video is now mainstream. Read the, “Connected Consumer Q3 Wrap-up.”

Mac Sales Up, But Netbooks Way Up

The good news is that preliminary estimates from both IDC and Gartner for the third quarter have Mac sales up and Apple ranked fourth in overall PC sales. The potentially bad news is that Apple will probably drop in ranking next quarter due to the increasing popularity of netbooks.

q309_pcs_idc

Nonetheless, despite more unemployment and less consumer spending, Apple managed moderate year-over-year growth in both reports. Although neither Gartner nor IDC ranks Apple in worldwide PC sales, the U.S. market accounts for about 40 percent of Macs sold, so the numbers are instructive of the overall health of the platform. Of the two reports, IDC  shows more robust growth for Apple during the last quarter.

According to IDC, Apple shipped some 1.64 million Macs in the third quarter, up from 1.467 million for the same period last year, a growth rate of 11.8 percent. That puts Mac share of the overall market at 9.4 percent, verging on double digits not seen since the halcyon days of the early 90s. However, like 1994, before the deluge of cheap PCs with Windows 95, there may be danger for the Mac from cheap PCs with Windows 7.

While HP sales were up only 3.2 percent, and Dell saw its sales drop 13.4 percent, both Toshiba and Acer are up, up, up. On the steroidal strength of netbooks, Toshiba sales jumped 37 percent. With an 8.1 percent share of the market, the company will likely pass Apple in ranking next quarter. As impressive as Toshiba was, Acer was even more so. With sales up nearly 50 percent, Acer has already passed Apple and now holds 11.1 percent of the US market. Gartner tells a similar story.

q309_pcs_gartner

For Apple, Gartner estimates 1.572 million Macs sold in the third quarter, up from 1.471 million for the same period last year, a 6.8 percent increase. Apple’s share of the U.S. market is now at 8.8 percent, barely up from 8.6 percent last year. While both Dell and HP declined slightly, once again Toshiba and Acer are the big winners in market share because of netbooks, Toshiba up 45.8 percent, and Acer up 61.4 percent — that’s like iPhone growth.

The question then becomes: is the lack of a MacBook mini hurting Apple? In terms of market share, definitely, but as Mikako Kitagwa of Gartner points out, “preliminary research shows consumer mobile PC ASPs declined more than 20 percent compared to a year ago.” Netbooks are clearly hurting HP and Dell, both in terms of market share and profit. In contrast, Apple is slowly making gains in market share and continues to profit handily from its portable lineup, which starts at $999. Apple’s move to counter Toshiba and Acer will likely be the long-rumored tablet device, anxiously anticipated for the first quarter of next year.

As for the quarter just ending, Apple will announce its official numbers on Monday. As always, TheAppleBlog will have the numbers and pretty graphs, as well obfuscating quotes from Apple executives about future products.



What was the big news that happened in your sector in Q3? Catch up with GigaOM Pro’s, “Quarterly Wrap-ups.”

atPeek 1.0 previews resources within iPhone apps

atPurpose has launched a new iPhone development tool, atPeek 1.0. The software is designed for professionals, but said to be simple enough for casual users. Through Apple’s Quick Look architecture, it explores and displays fully-functional previews of the resources found in iPhone apps. The tool can discover normally inaccessible details, and export specific assets or entire folders for follow-up viewings….




FakeSteve: iTablet announced in January, Ships in June, ushers in golden age of journalism

Doing his day job at Newsweek, Dan Lyons reports that Apple’s tablet warrants the hype that it is getting (without even officially existing) because it will usher in new era of computing – where the Internet is always on "Like the air you breathe".  If that is really the case, then we’re hoping that Apple picks a different provider because we’ve been suffocating on AT&T for too long!

These devices will play video and music and, of course, display text; they will let you navigate by touching your fingers to the screen; and-this is most important-they will be connected to the Internet at all times. For those of us who carry iPhones, this shift to a persistent Internet has already happened, and it’s really profound. The Internet is no longer a destination, someplace you "go to." You don’t "get on the Internet." You’re always on it. It’s just there, like the air you breathe.


Judge: ringtones aren’t performances, so no royalties


companion photo for Judge: ringtones aren't performances, so no royalties

If you have been blessing everyone around you with cell phone “performances” of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” rest assured that your cell phone provider won’t have to pay royalties on it. A federal court has ruled that ringtones played aloud in public are not infringing on the content owners’ copyrights because they don’t constitute a true performance. (In other news, children are still allowed to sing songs without paying royalties.)

Joking aside (actually, that’s less of a joke than you might think), the ringtone argument was made by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) earlier this year when it sued certain mobile carriers in the US in an attempt to force them to fork over royalties every time a customer’s ringtone is played. Even though the carriers were already paying for download rights to the songs, ASCAP argued that each ring was a “performance” and therefore those download payments weren’t enough.

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First Look: ZenNews brings the news cloud to your iPhone

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Zensify announced its latest app, ZenNews [iTunes link], this morning. It’s basically an intelligent news aggregator, using algorithms to find “what’s hot” from a variety of sources including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, the Guardian and more. It parses Twitter and other social mediums to figure out who’s talking about what, and then creates a tag cloud of hot topics. There’s an aggregated view combining all sources, or you can view a tag cloud for each source. You can toggle sources and/or categories on and off in the preferences.

If a keyword in the tag cloud reveals more than 5 articles, tapping it will drill down into another tag cloud, repeated until the keyword returns a list of 5 or fewer articles. View articles within ZenNews using the built-in webkit browser, or open them in Safari. You can always switch from the tag cloud to a list view for any page, and there’s a default view titled “All News” which lists all the aggregated news (in list format) at once. You can drill down to specific topics in the Categories view, and see what’s new/hot from all enabled sources for a single category. As you read, you can mark any article as a favorite, and view a list of your marked articles in the Favorites view. You can quickly share articles via Twitter or email, as well.

It’s all quite slick, and pretty solid for a first release. I did run into a bug which would bring up blank tag cloud pages if a specific combination of being on a certain view and losing a network connection at the right time occurred. I spoke with the developers yesterday, and I’m confident they’ll smooth out any wrinkles quickly.

Zensify is offering ZenNews for free. Their plan is to demonstrate the buzz-detecting algorithms, and then offer white-label versions — using a subscription model — to companies with a need for up-to-the-minute buzz tracking. For the rest of us, this is a good-looking and, as far as I’ve been able to tell, accurate way to see what’s happening in the world at any given moment. Check out the gallery below for a preview, and grab a copy on the App Store.

TUAWFirst Look: ZenNews brings the news cloud to your iPhone originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Thu, 15 Oct 2009 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple marketing plans to exploit Windows 7 switchover

Near-term Apple marketing plans will revolve around countering Windows 7, says the company’s senior marketing VP, Phil Schiller. “It presents a very good opportunity for us,” he explains, noting that many PCs are still equipped with Windows XP, and will thus require a more elaborate upgrade to carry over files to 7. This can include backing up essential files, reformatting, and/or reinstalling old applications. “Any user that reads all those steps is probably going to freak out,” claims Schiller. “If you have to go through all that, why…




Michael Jackson’s Posthumous Album Is Coming to iTunes

this-is-it

A storm sprang up this week around reports that, due to disagreements between Apple and Sony BMG, the upcoming Michael Jackson album “This Is It” — a tie-in to the movie of the same name and bound to be a sales success — would not be available on iTunes, the world’s biggest digital music provider.

When Michael Jackson tragically died in late June, sales of his music on iTunes sky-rocketed. A day after he died, eight of the 10 top-selling albums were from Michael Jackson. Eight of the 10 top-selling music videos, too. Five of the 10 top-selling singles were also from Jackson. It was a trend that would continue for weeks. With interest in (and thirst for) Michael Jackson music and video at an all-time high, online music vendors have a vested interest in the new album.

So it came as something of a surprise when, two days ago, news broke that iTunes was to be denied the chance to sell the upcoming album. Paul Reskinoff reported that, according to confidential information leaked to Digital Music News, Sony BMG and the Jackson Estate were insisting downloads could only occur within the constraints of a bundled, full album. So, if a customer wanted just one song from “This Is It,” they’d be forced to buy and download the entire album to get it. Apple’s policy, on the other hand, is well established in these matters; it insists on making individual tracks available for purchase and download. Hence the current standoff.

In his MediaMemo column on All Things Digital, Peter Kafka writes:

…the story is a familiar one, because it’s a longstanding dispute between Apple (AAPL) and the music business. The industry, for both financial and artistic reasons, has tried to keep music bundled together, while Apple insists on selling it a la carte.

Apple usually wins these disputes: Even the stubborn iconoclasts in Radiohead eventually bowed to Steve Jobs’s will and turned their precious albums into individual songs.

Lois Najarian, Sony’s Senior Vice President of Publicity yesterday told Wired.com:

I’m happy to report that… Michael Jackson’s This Is It album will indeed be for sale on iTunes Oct. 27. I don’t have much more information to impart other than that right now, but suffice [it] to say fans will be able to purchase it there.

It was always unlikely Apple would have been blocked from selling the new album — the contract Apple has with Sony BMG to distribute its catalogue of music would see to that. So the question now is not if the album will be sold on iTunes, but how? Najarian doesn’t say, adding only that Apple and Sony BMG are “working on that now.”

Will Sony acquiesce to Apple’s rules, or, controversially, could we see Apple agree to the album-bundling method? It’s not impossible, given how well this release is expected to sell; Apple might be prepared to make an exception to its own (usually immutable) rules in favor of meeting the guaranteed demand of its iTunes customers. Plus, I’m sure the sales revenue it generates will not be unwelcome, either.

Whether temporarily or otherwise, if Apple does indeed make an exception and bow to Sony’s wishes, it’s a decision sure to cause frustration and anger amongst iTunes customers. And you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be hearing from some pretty miffed artists unhappy they weren’t afforded the same special treatment as the late, great, King of Pop.



As Q4 begins, online video is now mainstream. Read the, “Connected Consumer Q3 Wrap-up.”

Apple Hints at Mac Counterattack On Windows 7

With the release of Windows 7 next week, Senior Apple VP Phil Schiller (s aapl0 is boldly asserting that it “presents a very good opportunity for us.”

That opportunity will possibly come in a series of ads contrasting Windows with OS X, at least according to Peter Burrows of BusinessWeek. The expected campaign is expected to take Windows 7 on directly, and will likely “poke fun” at the upgrade process, from backing up data and reformatting drives to reinstalling software.

“Any user that reads all those steps is probably going to freak out. If you have to go through all that, why not just buy a Mac?” says Schiller.


The idea is that, rather than upgrade, people will be buying new computers, but the problem with Macs, especially in difficult economic times, is price. To that end, rumors continue to swirl regarding price reductions. Just last week, Google AdSense placements temporarily appeared in several European countries hinting at new iMacs, Mac minis, and MacBooks. While only the Mac minis listed lower prices, it’s certain that new MacBooks and iMacs will have speed and storage increases, and the rumor of Blu-ray for the iMac persists.

In the interview, Schiller deflected inquires about new Macs and lower prices, remaining dismissive towards Windows and predicting a poor upgrade rate for Windows 7 compared to Snow Leopard. In the end, Windows is “still Windows.”



In Q3, NewNet focus turns to business models and search. Read the, “NewNet Q3 Wrap-up.”

“Most” Sidekick data recovered; lawsuits filed

Microsoft Premium Mobile Experiences VP Roz Ho on Thursday personally apologized for the Sidekick data outage from the past two weeks and now claims that the company has salvaged much of the data. In her letter, the executive claims that “most, if not all” of the contacts and other data has been recovered and that only a small number of users will actually risk losing data permanently. It and T-Mobile had previously warned that all users could face losing their data….




Next-Generation iMac: Quad-Core Processors? No Blu-Ray?

In a brief report, AppleInsider notes that it has received unconfirmed information from several sources indicating several changes from information offered in a previous report issued late last month regarding Apple’s next iMac revision, which is exp…