The differences between the way Apple does business and how everyone else in the industry do business are well documented. For most of the Mac's existence, the largest software developers for the platform were Microsoft and Adobe, with Apple barely making the list. Microsoft has produced Word, Excel, PowerPoint and even a version of Internet Explorer for a period of time. Adobe has produced what is currently called the Creative Cloud, which includes products like Photoshop and Premiere. Even Google produces Chrome for the Mac.
What does Apple produce for Windows? iTunes and QuickTime. For a while they produced Safari, but that was short lived. That leaves their software products, like Photos, Pages, Numbers and Keynote, available only on their own platform. Considering the overall adoption rate of Mac, which is higher than in previous years, but only around 10% of active computers, this represents a lot of development cost for very little reward.
The company's focus on hardware has been successful for them for many years, but has certainly slowed in recent years. While Microsoft's foray into hardware, the Surface, has continued to see sales growth, the iPad has retreated over the past few quarters, despite new hardware. The iPhone has similarly seen sales declines, but not of dangerous amounts. So, while hardware in general becomes less attractive to consumers, how is Apple to compete in an industry that they have never participated in? We might find out on September 9th at the next Apple event.
Apple may not have teased or leaked any information about Windows software coming our way, but the event page does give a little hint to a change within the company. To watch the livestream of their event, they have always required an Apple product - Mac, iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. On this event page, however, is this text:
Requirements: Live streaming uses Apple's HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology. HLS requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with Safari on iOS 7.0 or later, a Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OS X v10.8.5 or later, or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. Streaming via Apple TV requires a second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later.
Supporting Edge is a very big deal, because it represents a shift in mentality for the company. It could also indicate an announcement for the event of Apple software coming to Windows, likely Windows 10. The most logical product for them to bring over to Windows would be their iWork suite, which would attempt to compete with Microsoft's own Office suite. While the prices might be less for the product, the capabilities are also far less - an issue that has helped drive adoption of Office on iOS and Mac. Another good choice could be Photos, which would give Windows users easier and direct access to the iCloud photos takes with an iPhone.
The problem here will be whether Apple can get adoption on these products off their own devices. To accomplish it, they will need to increase the capabilities of their products. For example, expanding the iCloud storage available to customers paying $10 per month: Apple currently gives 500GB for that price, while Microsoft gives 1TB of OneDrive plus Office for Windows and Mac and Skype Phone for $7 per month. It will take a big move to get people consider the change.
So, is this the beginning of a change in culture for Apple, or did Microsoft simply implement HLS in the new browser? We only need to wait a few more days to find out. Would you consider using a product like iWork or Photos on Windows? Let us know in the comments.
RIAA took offense to BitTorrent, while they obviously didn't understand what the company does, they did have something right: it can be misused. One of the products that is misusing the protocol is a site called Popcorn Time. If you have not encountered the site you're in luck. Using the BitTorrent protocol, Popcorn Time allows you to stream television and movies with or without legal access.
Clearly, it was not going to take long before the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) took action. That action came this week in the form of a lawsuit, whose defendants are named as "Anonymous Users of Popcorn Time: Does 1 - 11." Obviously this is a suit focusing on copyright infringement, as the defendants are being sued for accessing torrented, protected content.
Cobbler Nevada, LLC, the plaintiff, is looking for a jury trial, but needs one thing before they can do that: to know who the defendants are. They are seeking a subpoena for Comcast, demanding they turn over the names attached to the IP addresses currently named "Does 1 - 11." Comcast has refused information requests like this until a federal judge required it, so it is possible they could put up a fight, but not under the circumstances.
As the owner of NBC Universal, Comcast actually has a dog in this race. Helping to make it less desirable to use a service like this could directly affect their bottom line, encouraging people to, instead, use a service like Hulu, in which they are also partial owners.
The plaintiff is using a warning on the Popcorn Time website as proof that the defendants knew ahead of time what they were doing was illegal. Given that RIAA never had any success with suits like this one, it will be interesting to see if the MPAA can change that statistic. The moral of the story is, don't use Popcorn Time, as users are being watched.
Google is in the middle of an
Inception-style moment. When the European Union ordered Google, Bing and Yahoo to offer the ability to request content removal from the search index, a lot of places wrote about the order. It was, after all, a strange requirement of a company whose whole business model revolves around knowning everything people want to know. Since then, many articles have been written about requests that have been made through the system
Now, the company is being ordered to forget about the order to forget. The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office has ordered Google to remove links to articles about the "right to be forgotten" requests in Europe. They have been given 35 days to comply with this odd meta request, though it is not clear what the punishment might be for non-compliance.
The order comes in response to a previous request from someone who had what they called a "relatively minor offense" nearly 10 years ago. Google complied with the request, removing links to articles about the incident. However, sites wrote about the removal, because they were relevant to current events - namely the right to be forgotten law. Google refused to continue sensoring new content under the request, because of the fact that the content was in the public interest.
If Google complies with the order, it will essentially be accepting that the EU has the right to censor the content on the web on a very wide scale. This is not the first time that a government has ordered Google to highly censor their search results. In 2010, Google was ordered to censor a tremendous amount of content in China, which resulted in the company
abandoning the country entirely, making way for Baidu to take the reigns in the country. UK Deputy Information Commission David Smith said,
The commission does not dispute that journalistic content relating to decisions to delist search results may be newsworthy and in the public interest. However, that interest can be adequately and properly met without a search made on the basis of the complainant's name providing links to articles which reveal information about the complainant's spent conviction.
So, the order wants to censor journalistic content because it contains someone's name in regards to a modern and lawful activity, required by the government. Censoring access to the free press is a major step in the direction of a totalitarian government, and Google has proven over the past few years that they do not want to be a part of that process. It will be interesting to see how Google responds to this order.
Almost exactly 1 year ago,
Nintendo announced the 2DS, a handheld designed to be less expensive than its larger 3DS and 3DS XL siblings. It removed the 3D capabilities, as well as the hinge, making it a dual-screen tablet design, rather than the better-known clamshell design.
The device was launched to coincide with the release of several new games for the mobile environment: particularly the new Pokémon games, which launched the same day. To play these games, you needed a device within the family. The company's fear was that not enough people would be willing to pay the retail price for a 3DS, hence the less expensive alternative.
This week, coinciding with the anniversary of the launch, the company announced yet another reason to consider getting a 2DS - a price cut. The company is cutting the price almost 25%, or $30, from $130 to $100. The handheld also comes with
Mario Kart 7, making it a truly great deal. It is no wonder the company sold over 2 million devices in its first few months.
Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, said of the price cut,
At a suggested retail price of $99.99, Nintendo 2DS is an even more attractive introductory option for first-time gamers. The new lower-priced hardware combined with the strong lineup of new games launching this year and arguably the best library of games in this generation makes it a great time to be a Nintendo fan.
If you are in the market for a new handheld gaming device, the 2DS might just be the device to check out.
Advertising has always existed in electronics as a way to overcome the large costs of product development. Obviously, the most common place we see them are on websites and in free apps, though we are beginning to see them in other places. Earlier this year, HTC introduced advertising into the notification system in Android, bringing a lot of negative attention to the already struggling company.
Proving that insanity known no bounds, Samsung has apparently begun experimenting with the same concept. Examples published online include an ad for Million Dollar Listing on Bravo (sponsored by Land Rover), Galaxy S6+ and Peel Smart Remote, a part of Samsung's included application suite. According to the initial report, the Bravo ad simply opens the Peel app, where you can set a reminder for the show.
This means that, for now, Samsung is technically only advertising their own products through their own products and/or services. That does not mean that it will stay that way. One of the recent HTC ads pushed to phones was for
Fantastic Four, this year's entry into the disastrous movie franchise. It is always possible that HTC has a financial interest in the success of the film, which would play nicely into their last couple years of losing money, but it is more likely that they were paid to advertise the film.
We support responsible digital advertising, as it does make services like ours available to the public for free. The difference here is that you are not receiving a product or service for free - you have paid a lot of money to Samsung and HTC for your device. You have the reasonable expectation that the price you paid, likely through your carrier, would have paid for the cost of the device, therefore receiving advertising from the manufacturer, for their products or not, is an unexpected development.
Obviously this is not a legal issue, though it is definitely a customer service and expectations issue. If this continues, will it affect your future smartphone buying decisions? Let us know in the comments.