Who Wants An Apple Watch? Nobody?

I wear a watch. And I have a collection of watches which range from sport to luxury and a dozen in-between. For me, most watches are fashion statements, jewelry, or convenience pieces. Writing for the New York Times’s Brian X. Chen says the watch buying public is not interested in Apple Watch, mostly because watches have become somewhat passé, are either utilitarian in nature (cheap) or fashion and prestige statements (expensive), but certainly not smart enough to trick people into buying something so unnecessary.

The first batch of smartwatches from companies like Samsung Electronics, Motorola and LG did not sell well, nor were they particularly well reviewed.

True that. Not sure how many so-called smartwatches were sold last year, though. One survey said less than 1-million while another said 6-million, so maybe we need an agreed to definition.

Wearable devices like the Google Glass eyewear that got mainstream attention — if not sales — were greeted with considerable skepticism.

Seemingly true, too. Wearables isn’t really a well defined product category, nothing has sold well, manufacturers are many but with no clear leader, and no clear reason to own a wearable.

Hmmm. That sounds awfully familiar.

Apple has been in this situation before. Most consumers didn’t care about computer tablets before Apple released the iPad, nor did they generally think about buying smartphones before the release of the iPhone. In both cases, the company overcame initial skepticism.

With a product that people could not wait to use, and loved so much they wait in line to buy the latest. Here’s where Chen’s so-called analysis goes off the tracks.

Three employees briefed on the project agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.

Brief? So, the sources were not firsthand, and probably not secondhand. It’s probably a good thing they’re anonymous (anonymous could be defined as imaginary).

When Apple releases its watch in April, it will enter a market already flooded with smartwatches running Android Wear, a version of Google’s Android software system tailored for wearable computers… The results so far for Android smartwatches have been disappointing. About 720,000 smartwatches with Android Wear were shipped in 2014.

Wait a minute. ‘Flooded?‘ And ‘disappointing?‘ Which is it? Chen said the first batches didn’t sell well, and most estimates agree. So where does ‘flooded’ come from? Probably from one of those imaginary thirdhand sources.

But it is unlikely to be a game-changer for Apple, at least anytime soon. Toni Sacconaghi, a financial analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein research, thinks the watch will make only a modest contribution to Apple’s bottom line this year. He predicts that Apple will ship 7.5 million watches in the second half of Apple’s fiscal year.

That is peanuts compared with the tens of millions of iPhones that fly off the shelves every quarter.

Since Watch needs an iPhone to be fully functional, no one with an ounce of brainpower should expect numbers like those for iPhone (currently; first year, maybe) or iPad (fastest new tech product success ever; even topping iPhone).

App developer David Barnard is both bullish and skeptical about Apple Watch.

I really wonder exactly how I’m going to use it and how often I’m going to use it.

Which, by the way, implies actually using it. Therein lies part of what makes Apple products special. If Apple Watch is a worthy device and integrates well within Apple’s ecosystem, people will use it, love it, and spread the word. That will bring more iPhone customers to the stores to check it out, buy it, use it, love, and spread the word, which, in turn will sell more Apple Watch models, rinse, repeat.

Every one of Apple’s success stories has started the same way. Critics howled ‘It will fail.’ Few Apple products failed, and fewer in the 21st century. Mac, iPod, iTunes Music Store, Apple Stores, switch to Intel, iPhone, iPad, and so on.

With a company that has that kind of track record of success I’m willing to wait to see how it can make my technology life better; Apple Pay with a flick of the wrist. Alerts, alarms, notifications, email, texts, reminders. And, ways to control various apps without digging the iPhone out of bag, pocket, or purse.

Plus, it’s a fashion statement, tells time, and everyone who sees one will want to look, touch, and ask about it. What’s not to like? Isn’t that much like how the world took to the iPod, iPhone, and iPad?

Samsung’s Galaxy S6: Too much like the iPhone?

File this in the ‘duh’ compartment. Chris Matyszczyk confirms what everyone expected. Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 looks much like an iPhone 6.

Samsung launched its Galaxy S6 today and I imagine the people least happy to see it were Apple’s lawyers. The poor things likely had their Sundays disrupted by their competitor’s new phone, alarmed to see just how similar it was to the iPhone 6.

Some of those lawyers get paid up to $1,000 an hour so I doubt if they’re feeling badly about Samsung’s latest copycat smartphone.

The new metal and glass design is clearly meant to appeal to a more refined palate. And look, there’s even a fingerprint scanner.

Customers might hope it works better than last year’s fingerprint scanner. The refined design, while reminiscent of an iPhone, still runs Android which is reminiscent of Windows.

There’s surely little doubt that Samsung has taken a look at the core of Apple’s success and decided that it’s better to compete head-on.

That didn’t work with the Samsung Galaxy S4 or S5, so why would it work now? Because the S6 looks more like an iPhone than an iPhone.

Give It Up, Already

David Lieberman tells the cable and phone companies to give in to net neutrality.

Forget about it. Move on. It will pay off in the long run… Giving up isn’t in their nature. Comcast, Verizon and fellow Internet service providers (ISPs) hired some of the best legal, lobbying and PR talent that money could buy to pummel opponents in the typically closed-door battles over laws and regulations. But net neutrality is different. They can hope only to win a Pyrrhic victory if they reflexively wield their K Street clout and battle the FCC over the issue in the courts or in Congress.

The public, including me, views net neutrality as a good thing, not so much on the technical merits, but because anything that AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner want to stop so badly must be good for you and me.

Big Bang, Deflated?

Science just ain’t what it used to be. Remember the Big Bang theory (not the TV sitcom)? Well, it turns out that it’s a ‘theory‘ just like evolution, with constant changes. Here’s the latest version, from Tia Ghose.

If a new theory turns out to be true, the universe may not have started with a bang.

In the new formulation, the universe was never a singularity, or an infinitely small and infinitely dense point of matter. In fact, the universe may have no beginning at all.

For one, would appreciate it if science would make up its collective mind.

According to the Big Bang theory, the universe was born about 13.8 billion years ago. All the matter that exists today was once squished into an infinitely dense, infinitely tiny, ultra-hot point called a singularity. This tiny fireball then exploded and gave rise to the early universe.

Sounds good until one digs into quantum mechanics and general relativity which don’t seem to co-exist too well, hence yet another theory on how we got here.

It’s A Fact: OS X and iOS Are The World’s Most Vulnerable Operating Systems

That’s the gist and part of the headline from Cristian Florian from GFI who quotes the National Vulnerability Database as proof (put your wading boots on; it’s slick and deep at NVD. It should be pointed out that GFI is in the operating system security business so might be a bit biased toward any news that would help it secure more customers.

The problem with GFI’s headline and graphics and tables which list the offending operating system and corresponding stats is multiple; there’s no glossary of terms, and no questions asked about the data.

For example, ‘What’s a vulnerability?‘ And, ‘What does a vulnerability mean to me, a Mac, iPhone, and iPad user (using OS X and iOS, respectively)?‘ How about, ‘Should I be worried?‘ Or, ‘Are there specific apps I should avoid using?‘ And, with little effort, I came up with, ‘What should I do about it?

Neither GFI nor NVD bothers to get that granular, but it took all of about 12 seconds for me to come up with a few questions.

First, what’s a vulnerability?

In computer security, a vulnerability is a weakness which allows an attacker to reduce a system’s information assurance… Vulnerability management is the cyclical practice of identifying, classifying, remediating, and mitigating vulnerabilities.

That brings up more unanswered question. ‘Are all vulnerabilities the same weight?’ I asked around and the answer is ‘No.’ And, ‘Are all vulnerabilities also exploited?’ Same answer; ‘No.’ Though you can’t have the latter without the former, which is worse; Vulnerability or Exploit? Easy answer. The latter.

Second, what’s an exploit?

An exploit is a piece of software, a chunk of data, or a sequence of commands that takes advantage of a bug, glitch or vulnerability in order to cause unintended or unanticipated behavior to occur on computer software, hardware, or something electronic (usually computerized). Such behavior frequently includes things like gaining control of a computer system, allowing privilege escalation, or a denial-of-service attack.

See? A vulnerability is one thing, but an exploit of a vulnerability is something else again. I’m less worried now but I still have plenty of questions for both GFI and NVD.

What comprises the NVD list of vulnerabilities? Vendors report vulnerabilities, and that includes Apple and other OS publishers. So, isn’t the list really more of a list of self-reported and reported vulnerabilities than it is an indictment against a particular operating system? Maybe Apple is just better at reporting such issues, or reports them differently than Microsoft or other OS publishers.

Also, why does the list break out versions of Windows, but not break out versions of Linux or OS X or iOS. It took all of 20-seconds to add up the various Windows versions and the result is that Windows has far more vulnerabilities than OS X.

Oh, one more thing. Where is Android OS on the list? GFI couldn’t find any numbers reflecting issues with Google’s Linux-based OS, or decided not to list anything about Android OS, or it was an oversight, despite the fact that over 98-percent of all mobile malware– including actual exploits– occurs on devices running Android OS.

You get the idea here, right? A company that specializes in security issues found a way to highlight security problems with major operating systems using supposedly non-biased government data without highlighting or explaining any details and completely missed the world’s most used mobile device operating system.

Yep, it’s another example of lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Google For Kids

Google just launched YouTube for Kids:

Families worldwide are watching millions of videos on YouTube. And lately, those of us at YouTube have been working on a new way for our kids—and yours—to discover and explore videos on every topic in, well, the universe.

Today, we’re introducing the YouTube Kids app, the first Google product built from the ground up with little ones in mind. The app makes it safer and easier for children to find videos on topics they want to explore, and is available for free on Google Play and the App Store in the U.S.

Good idea. Now Google should introduce Google for Kids, a search engine that curates and cultivates website search engine results aimed at kids, not profit barons, a search engine where kids can find what’s good for them, not what is hunting them down and tracking them like underaged cattle.

More Free Office 365

I’m still having trouble grasping Microsoft’s business model in the mobile world (other than the company’s inability to sell many mobile devices). Chris Smith on the latest for Office 365.

The company said that millions of students and teachers around the world are now eligible for free Office from their schools, a promotional offer that was previously available only in the U.S.

Free? What’s the catch?

In addition to access to the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher for PC, Mac and up to five mobile devices including iPad, Android and Windows tablets, users get 1TB of OneDrive storage and access to Office Online.

What? No catch?

Microsoft’s previous CEO, Steve Ballmer, was known for making profits. This year’s CEO, Satya Nadella, knows how to give away products for free. Free only works for so long.

NYC Cabbie Suspended

From AP:

Leslie Cooper says she climbed into the cab in Manhattan last week, and the driver told her his credit card reader was broken. She offered to stop at an ATM near her Brooklyn home, and he told her to get out of the cab. It was cold, and she refused.

Video cameras are everywhere these days and one caught the cabbie on a surveillance video.

Surveillance video shows the driver pulling up to a curb, getting out and pulling Cooper from the car. She landed on the ground, and he drove off.

The cabbie’s license was suspended. Cameras are everywhere these days, which is bad for creeps and politicians. They’re ubiquitous; except where Bigfoot walks, and when UFO’s land to abduct someone.

On Hype And Hot Air: The Audacity Of Being Apple

The news is abuzz about Apple’s latest forays into new products. It’s not enough that we heard that Apple’s retail stores would be utter failures and shuttered within a couple of years, but we heard pundits and market prognosticators tell us the iPod was too expensive, that iTunes Music Store was doomed because it didn’t run on Windows, that the Mac’s switch to Intel was proof Apple was about to go under, that the iPhone was an expensive bauble that would never catch on, and that the iPad was merely a large iPhone without a phone and would be priced at about $1,000 (it started at half that price, and remains Apple’s most successful new product launch).

With all that history going against those who predict the future you would think a lesson or two would have been learned by now. Yes, Apple is an audacious company that does not deserve to exist because it does not play by the same rules as most technology companies. Yet, here it is, the most successful technology company in history with riches beyond competitors combined, over half a billion happy customers, and a few new tricks to set critic’s hair on fire. Again.

Apple Watch is due to hit the streets in a couple of months and it’s already been called a flop. The rumor mill is working overtime manufacturing hype and cranking out news that Apple is working on an electric car; news that is referred to by those who think they’re in the know as ‘hot air.’

In short, Apple Watch will flop, and Apple Car is nonsense.

History since the second coming of Steve Jobs should tell us that Apple views the world differently than most technology companies, and that view has paid off handsomely. Watch will be labeled a ‘flop’ because it’s not going to have the same success as the iPhone. Sorry. That’s just math since a Watch requires an iPhone. That does not mean it will not be a successful product because Apple has a history of cobbling together features and functions in ways that competitors haven’t fully understood, that critics do not initially appreciate, but that customers come to love.

Could Apple put the same kind of magic into the automobile?

Why not? Cars today are computers and sensors on wheels and Apple has the technical chops and the money to pull together all the resources necessary to design, develop, and manufacture a variety of new era transportation devices (I’m think self-driving electric vehicles with extended range, low maintenance, and plenty of creature comforts). A new automobile factory costs a few billion dollars. Pffft! Apple lost more money than that last quarter on currency exchange rates. Engineering talent, monetary resources, and design capabilities are not the issue here.

One must ask ‘Why?’

The answer to that is more obvious than mere profits. Apple has always been, even somewhat during Steve Jobs years in the wilderness of NeXT and Pixar, and certainly since, an audacious company. If any company can figure out the right combination of technology and design to move the automobile into the 21st century, it’s Apple.

12 Signs Apple Is Expanding

File this list under ‘Duh!’ Jonny Evans lists the obvious on a very slow news day for those who love to bash Apple wherever possible.

New industries, new staff, new roles and a huge investment in clean energy for its European cloud services – put it all together and it seems clear thatApple is expanding.

I’m shocked. Who would have thought Apple would attempt to expand its business. Let’s hope Google or Microsoft or Samsung doesn’t try the same thing. Otherwise, you know, doomed.

Spoiler Alert.

  • Apple Watch
  • Apple Pay
  • Beats
  • IBM
  • health
  • iBeacons
  • Clean Energy
  • Human Rights
  • Battery Engineers
  • Car Engineers
  • Journalists
  • iOS and OS X Free

iPad Pro Specifications

The rumored iPad Pro remains a rumor but now it has a release day, a price tag, features, and specifications. Christopher Morris has details:

Well, the first question to answer is when it will be released. Apple has naturally not confirmed this yet, but numerous sources have suggested that it will hit the market at some point during 2015.

So, the headline says release date, but there’s no date. What else.

There has been some debate about the size of the iPad Pro’s screen. Some sources have claimed that the display will be 12.9-inches, while others state that it will be no larger than 12-inches. There is no concrete information from Apple regarding the display size, so it is difficult to deduce which one of these decisions will turn out to be correct.

So, specifications but no specifications. The article goes on to speculate that the iPad Pro might have a 64-bit CPU, which is already in the current iPad Air 2 model. How about the price?

While Apple is in the privileged position of pretty much every device it releases selling like hotcakes, the corporation still needs to be wary of pricing for the iPad Pro. As discussed previously, the tablet market has not been on fire recently, and overpricing the device could alienate people that are interested in purchasing the iPad Pro.

So, no price, either. Here’s the article’s title: “iPad Pro release date, specs, price, features” for an article which does not contain release date, specifications, price tag, or known features.

Purple UFO

I love UFOs. Never saw one, but the truth is out there. Here’s news of a purple UFO that interrupted a TV show. Lee Speigel:

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the aerial object for up to two hours, and yet, no video has emerged showing how the UFO left the scene. So, the question remains: How, exactly, did it go away? Did it fall to the ground, float away or speed up and vanish over the nearby ocean? Or perhaps (as in some UFO reports over the years), did it simply vanish?

With a few billion cameras in the world why is it that they don’t work whenever a UFO is nearby?

Apple Watch, Apple Car, And Apple’s Trail Of Disrupted Industries

For all of Apple’s reputation as an innovator, where the company excels, at least in the 21st century, is disrupting the profit share of industry after industry. As to market leaders, only the iPod and iTunes have garnered both market share and profit share leads among competitors. Every other product has low marketshare but dominates profit share.

Think about the list of major products and the impact Apple has had on each industry. The Mac owns more than half the PC industry’s profits. The iPhone and iPad account for over 90-percent of the smartphone and tablet industry’s profits. In just a few months, and only with the iPhone 6 models, Apple Pay already is the leader in mobile payment processing in the U.S. Apple’s App Stores take home the lion’s share of application profits. What retail store chain has more profits than Apple’s stores (already the leader in sales and profits per square foot)?

Time will tell whether the upcoming Apple Watch will have a similar impact on the luxury watch industry, but the numbers are not in favor of traditional Swiss designs or their decidedly not-smartwatch industry. John Gruber runs a few numbers and whatever profits the industry makes could easily be impacted within three or four years by a modestly successful Apple Watch.

That brings me to Apple Car.

If the rumors prove to be somewhat correct, Apple might be willing to risk some of the farm– and it’s a huge farm– on the automobile industry; which hasn’t had much disruption anywhere– except in robotics, bankruptcies, and mergers– in over 100 years. Today’s automobiles are constructed and work much like their ancient relatives; assembly line of hard parts slowly assembled into a working vehicle– except for all the built-in electronics, sensors, software, and the user interface. That’s where Apple excels.

The auto industry does not have an Apple-inspired disruptor, either. It’s not Tesla. The high profile electric car company has yet to translate the public relations success, the car’s performance, and customer loyalty into enough sales to generate a profit. In fact, last year, Tesla lost nearly $9,000 for every car it shipped. That isn’t exactly a disruption, and it’s certainly not how Apple works.

What Apple has going for it today is also not exactly like Apple of the past. iPod, iTunes, Apple Stores, and iPhones were all dramatic undertakings with great financial risks. Apple bet the farm often and won, which increased the size of the farm. A new automobile factory could suck a few billion dollars from Apple’s burgeoning coffers, and CFO Luca Maestri wouldn’t blink twice.

Apple would need to build a car that out-Tesla’s Tesla; probably a self-driving vehicle bristling with the latest software and creature comforts, priced to sell substantial numbers which would take a commanding chunk of the industry’s nominal profits. Anything less would be perceived as a failure and any failure would send Apple’s high flying stock into a tailspin.

Apple Watch is a calculated risk which targets the premium end of the traditional watch industry ($400 and above). Apple also leverages iPhone, Notification Center, Siri, sensors, style and fashion, and Apple Pay to make the device as utilitarian as it is beautiful. What does Apple leverage for Apple Car? Apple’s CarPlay already brings iPhone and iPad connectivity to an Apple user interface.

If Apple did not have plans to enter the electric vehicle industry wouldn’t the company leak something to that effect to Walt Mossberg or David Pogue or other noteworthy and well connected Apple insiders, including John Gruber or Jim Dalrymple, otherwise risk a skyrocketing stock price increase which would only be deflated later?

Regardless, if Apple builds a Tesla-like self-driving electric car, I’d buy one. And I don’t even have a place to park it.

What Apple Is Driving At

Interesting perspective from Dan Gallagher on an Apple car.

Apple fans may squeal at the prospect of an iCar. And Apple’s enormous financial resources — which include nearly $178 billion in cash — are often considered a ticket into any business. Questions about a foray into the automotive sector don’t revolve around Apple’s ability to foot the bill, though. They have more to do with how well Apple would take to a highly regulated industry with long design cycles, not to mention one well outside its core competency.

So it is tempting to consider such a move as a fool’s errand. Even so, Apple is making this particular gamble from a position of strength… Apple can’t afford to rest on its gold-plated laurels. Nor can it think small. Growing projected 2017 revenue by just 10% would require another $25 billion in revenue—about seven times Tesla Motors’ current annual sales.

My view is that Apple designed and built the iPhone to protect and grow the iPod business, which was about to decline as music went mobile but on non-iPod devices. Why would Apple want to build a car? What would Apple do differently than GM, Toyota, Honda, or Tesla?

An Apple Car Doesn’t Make Sense

I tend to agree with Zack Whittaker that the premium car industry would be a tough nut for Apple to crack.

Apple first forayed into the automotive world when it introduced CarPlay. Available on just a handful of new cars in 2014, the dashboard-based system allows you to use your iPhone while you’re on the road. But if the story is to be believed, now the company wants to go a few steps further.

But the move might be in response to Google’s recent drive (excuse the pun) to get an autonomous vehicle on the road.

Other than petty rivalry, it just doesn’t add up. A self-driving car? It’s the only time you’ll hear me say, “a television would make a lot more sense.”

And an Apple television doesn’t even make sense.

Apple’s Car Will Drive Itself

So says Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan with news from a Reuters article.

According to an anonymous source close to the project, Apple’s car project is all about developing a competitor to other high-profile self-driving car projects, including Google’s. And apparently, the project is less about the car itself than the software controlling it. “It’s a software game. It’s all about autonomous driving,” says the source in Reuters’ story, hinting that Apple is more interested in owning the operating system and interface that the self-driving cars of the future will run than the car itself.

So, is Apple building a car? Or, Microsoft Windows style, developing software that makes a driverless car drive?

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Poor

Dnaielle Kurtzleben with two charts that describe the historic differences between America’s haves and have nots.

The richest 20 percent of Americans spend an average of $99,000 per year, according to the Labor Department. That’s nearly twice what the median household earns in a year. Not surprisingly, an outsized portion of what the rich spend goes to luxuries, like video games and motorcycles. The poor, meanwhile, spend on food, rent, utilities, and cigarettes.

Revealing. All from he Department of Labor.

A Few Words On Apple Passing The ‘Beleaguered’ Torch

Whenever you read an article that tells you Apple is having problems, well, stop reading. You’re being drawn into a non-sensical argument that on its face is ridiculous. Apple is no longer the beleaguered company that Steve Jobs came back to in 1997, and no amount of ridiculous arguments contrary to Apple’s current level of success will change that.

Trust me, Apple is beleaguered no more.

beleaguer |biˈlēgər| verb [ with obj. ] (usu. as adj. beleaguered)
lay siege to: he is leading a relief force to the aid of the beleaguered city.
• beset with difficulties: the board is supporting the beleaguered director amid calls for his resignation.

In fact, it should be crystal clear that the ‘beleaguered‘ title should go elsewhere, but where? Nokia? They’re mostly a footnote in history today. BlackBerry? Certainly, if BlackBerry were relevant to the smartphone industry. It’s not. What’s worse than beleaguered?

What would you add to the list of beleaguered tech companies that compete with Apple? HTC? Perhaps. On the PC side of the tech equation there’s HP, Dell, Lenovo, and others; most trying to eke out a living selling plastic look-a-like devices while Apple skims the majority of the PC industry’s profits on the Mac.

One could add Google or Microsoft to a list of beleaguered Apple competitors. Android OS has marketshare but hasn’t done much to provide profits to anyone other than Samsung, and very little to Google. But Google still makes billions as an advertising company. Microsoft’s Windows and Office remain cash cows but lead an industry in decline. Efforts to diversify both Google and Microsoft seem to have failed.

That leaves Samsung, itself a diversified conglomerate that makes and sells everything from smartphones and tablets to washers and dryers to chips and cameras to televisions and appliances.

Samsung is beleaguered.

How so? Considering that Apple and Samsung have similar annual revenue, it’s Samsung whose smartphone sales are down, revenue growth has stalled, marketshare is crumbling, profits are in dramatic free fall, the stock price is anemic, market cap is less than one third that of Apple, and the company’s prospects appear dim in the two largest emerging markets, China and India, as competitors with cheaper products that run also run Android have devoured Samsung’s profits at the low end, while the Galaxy maker has failed to make a dent in Apple’s end of the premium market.

Yep, Samsung is beleaguered, not Apple. The torch has passed.

Are You Hooked On iCloud?

When news is boring it’s OK to just make up the news. Jonny Evans claims to know what Apple wants. Addiction to iCloud.

Apple gives you just 5GB of space for free. Use more than that and you need to pay.

This quantity of storage is no way large enough. Just think about it; if you take 1,000 2MB images while on vacation (easy to do) then you will use just under 2GB of your free iCloud space. If you happen to make a PDF book of the best of them to share via iCloud Drive and iCloud email (stored in the iCloud) you can wave farewell to more space…

Good grief. Nobody should be backing up email in iCloud. Settings? Yes. I’m a heavy duty Apple user and I just topped 3GB of the 5GB Apple gives iCloud users for free. 99-cents a month gets you 20GB of iCloud storage. I tried the 200GB option but it took days to get everything worthwhile on my iPhone to backup (a problem with online backups).

Samsung Galaxy S6 Goes All Out To Beat iPhone 6

Jay McGregor can’t find factual news so resorts to the Good Ship Rumor Mill.

Samsung might ditch the plastic design that has long served its flagship S series, in favour of a more premium metal finish. It’s done so with the Note 4 and Galaxy Alpha series – to critical acclaim – and the South Korean company is looking to capitalise on this success by bringing it to its flagship line.

Maybe. What took Samsung so long to figure out that metal feels more premium than plastic? In other news, Samsung might leave the smartphone market in Japan after being soundly trounced by the iPhone. Or, was it that Japanese don’t particularly care for Korean phones made in China?

Very Cool Selfies

Some of these selfies collected on Brainjet are clever and that will lead to even more selfies.

Who hasn’t snapped a selfie? It is so common today that selfie has its own entry in Webster’s Dictionary and was the 2013 word of the year!

My favorite.

Selfie

A Few Words On Apple As Record Company, Book Publisher, And Television Network

Have you ever wondered why Samsung, Google, Microsoft and other technology giants stick their respective greedy little fingers into so many pies that are so far removed from their core businesses?

Samsung is a bit different, of course, but seemed to have little issue with competing against one of its largest vendors, Apple, in smartphones. Google, on the other hand, is a search engine advertising company (over 90-percent of revenue and profits), but, when it comes to diversifying new features, has struck more than Reggie Jackson.

Microsoft doesn’t fare much better, either. Windows and Office accounts for most of the company’s revenue and profits, both enormous, but diversifying attempts have left a string of failures through the years.

Apple’s diversification efforts have met with better success, as each product line seems to grab customers from other lines (iPod halo effect helped the Mac, iPhone halo effect helped the iPad, etc.). So, what if Apple decided to diversify beyond the basic hardware lines and get involved in new products; specifically the content which gets stored, used, and played on Apple’s many devices?

We may think of Apple as the world’s largest music store and media mall, but what if Apple decided to become a record company and signed up independent artists instead of waiting for traditional record companies to do the deed?

Apple’s iBooks is a good book publishing and distribution platform, but Apple itself isn’t really a publisher in the traditional sense, right? What if Apple changed that and expanded the iBook business to include signing bonuses, advance payments for writers in exchange for exclusivity?

Apple could easily drop a billion dollars into the television content business with exclusive TV shows and movies for streaming on iTunes?

Granted, such scenarios make for a lot of ‘what ifs’ but Apple has more money than the entire television and movie industry, the music industry, and the publishing industry combined, so why not grab as much of that business as possible and make it exclusively available to Apple’s customers on Apple products?

Antitrust issues aside, Apple would be presented with the Samsung quandary (not exactly a quandary for Samsung, though) whereby it competes against the very partnerships that exist to make Apple’s content business what it is. Lucrative, yes, but a requirement to help sell the devices where the content is displayed.

Content creators want and need a stage for their creations, and a revenue stream to fund more creations. Is Apple willing to do what Netflix and Amazon are doing and fund independent content, exclusive to their platforms?

I don’t think Apple has a choice.

iOS 9’s Best New Feature

Are you tired of trying to figure out how to use new features on your iPhone; features that are troublesome to use and don’t always work right? Apple feels your pain. Darrell Etherington on what Apple plans to put into iOS 9 to assuage your pain.

The major update for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch for 2015 is expected to take a step back from the rapid release of new features in favor of building on the existing framework to make sure everything already offered works more consistently.

Mac users often point to a similar project which birthed OS X Snow Leopard, one of the most stable versions ever. What’s the problem with iOS 8?

iOS 8 was perhaps one of the most ambitious updates ever launched by Apple for any platform in terms of new feature additions – it made a number of new tools available to developers, giving them more freedom than they’d ever had before, for instance. It also laid the groundwork for cross-platform functionality via Continuity, enabled Apple Pay, and included the building blocks for Apple Watch compatibility. Compared to most launches, those combined introductions represent a huge change in even the fundamental building blocks of the OS.

iOS 8 also experienced a slowdown in penetration among users, taking far long to achieve 75-percent usage than iOS 7.

Dumbest iPhone App Ever Is Brilliant

Zack Epstein sums up why LookFor is so stupidly brilliant and why almost everyone I know uses it now.

LookFor is an application that’s so straightforward, when its founder Logan Riley set out to crowdfund the app so he could pay a developer to build it, he only had to raise $1,000. The Kickstarter project ended up exceeding its goal and Riley raised just over $1,500 to build his app.

$1,500 for an app? That’s ridiculously low. What’s it do?

Brilliant. So is the video.