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Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Apple Doldrums


Apple didn't wait until August when we go into a lingering state of inactivity or stagnation as many businesses do.

A lot of the inactivity came in June after the WWDC where Steve Jobs made a series of non-announcements -- a 3G iPhone that people had wanted in January at MacWorld SF, another follow-up announcement of the forthcoming results of the iPhone SDK and new apps on the way, and the long anticipated iPhone 2.0 upgrade.

One phrase mysteriously missing from Jobs cannon of keynote punctual was "Shipping today!"

Nothing he announced was shipping immediately after they keynote. No Apps Store. No iPhones in the stores until July 11th and no MobileMe. No iPhone 2.0 software update. Nothing appears to have been ready for WWDC, so Jobs made announcements of products that would be released on a future date. Apple stock, that had been surging toward $200 a share with predictions by analysts it would bound as high as $215, slipped back to $172 as of end of day Friday.

The following day, Fake Steve Jobs posted an hilarious spoof on the WWDC keynote called Holy Crap, I forgot to announce the new MacBooks in which he reports that the new MacBooks were ready to go and it completely slipped his mind to introduce them from the stage. "And I just spaced it. My bad," he blogs as first person Steve.

At the same time Apple has been remiss in addressing some of the major drawbacks to the iPhone software interface and hardware that was expected to be fixed. For instance, there has been no mention of remedy for problems such as no copy-and-paste function; the inability for the iPhone to read Flash or Java; upgrades to the camera and improving the keyboard functionality on the iPhone touch-screen. These are no brainer fixes that apparently just announcing a 3G iPhone (without shipping it) Apple feels will distort the reality field enough for the tougher questions to go unanswered.

MobileMe was probably the biggest surprise announcement, although, on this blog we had it covered the week before. Still, we have yet to see MobileMe roll out to the old .Mac account holders.

And so we sit in early summer doldrums brought on by Apple's meager menu of product roll outs and basic software fixes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

dotMac Web 2.0 Coming?

If you have read my previous blogposts about Apple and its products, you know I've been humping Apple for some time to improve its .Mac service. At least, I've ranted, make it Web 2.0 in scope and potential.

Well, my frequent feedback comments to Apple on the web and often deleted posts in the .Mac tech discussion groups might finally start to bare fruit. Rumors abound on the Mac rumor sites that one of the big announcements planned for Steve Jobs June 9th keynote is a wholly-designed .Mac under the banner MobileMe.

In previous posts I pointed out Google Gadget's energy in software development is around online applications, and this would a no-brainer evolution for Apple’s iLife and iWork software. But since the first day I bought the iPhone, I've was immediately aware that iPhone and iPod Touch are particularly suited to services that blend small local applications on the handset with storage and other processing handled on the .Mac server. The best answer to iPhone's internal flash memory limitations is saving desktop states, applications, and media to "the cloud" as Jobs himself would want to word it.

When a person wants to do project management on-the-fly it is absolutely essential that you have the push capabilities to update calendars, address books, and integrate with maps without having to sync the iPhone via USB. Add to that, an ability to link a document or possibly a stripped down spreadsheet with an overall budget for your project and store it on .Mac and access it at the time and place it is most needed -- often not while you are seated in the cradle next to your host CPU for the iPhone.

Recently, it has been reported by MacWorld, Apple has filed for a number of domains in the new “.Me” top level domain. Some of the geeky sites started digging around the new 10.5.3 version of the Apple operating system and found what is called placeholders where the .Mac strings would exist, suggesting that Apple is also going to change the name of the service. All this points to a big redesign of .Mac.

It is long overdue!