Greg's bite: Apple TV, iOS developers, the Stuxnet Worm
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Greg's bite: Apple TV, iOS developers, the Stuxnet Worm

By Greg Mills

Today there are a number of interesting issues in Apple news. The Apple TV is being sliced, diced and analyzed.  

"iFixIt" and others quickly took their new Apple TV device apart and posted pictures of the internal parts. I have not found a list of parts norApple's part costs and assembly estimate, but as with the original AppleTV there may not be much profit in them. It is very common for companies selling video content delivery devices to sell them at a loss to get their "box" in our living rooms. They bet on the long-term profit of selling content and are willing to take a hit on the device up front. My Apple TV device is on the way from China and as of this morning is at the FedEx facility in Anchorage, Alaska.  

A classic example of this marketing approach is the Sony Playstation 3. It was estimated Sony took up to an US$200 loss on each early version of that game console they sold. They were betting the fees they collected on each and every game disk sold from that time forward, would more than pay them back. Thus, while Apple won't be likely to help their bottom line with sales of the hardware element of the Apple TV system, they are launching, the 30 cents they make on each TV show you watch will add up. If the 30% revenue for Apple holds on renting movies at $5 a pop, Apple will gross $1.50 on each movie you stream from them.  

The Apple TV has the same Apple chip as the iPad and holds 8GB of Flash ram. It has a space for a second chip to upgrade the Apple TV to 16GB of Flash ram.  It looks like the additional memory will just plug into the board. The power supply is in the box instead of having a transformer on the cord, which is nice. The 8GB of Ram allows for the operating system and up to two movies to be held in memory. However, the concept is to stream what you want to see from the new Apple server farm going on line soon on the east coast.   

Streaming video content is certainly the wave of the future. We are a society that expects instant gratification. NetFlix has made the business decision to not add any more physical disk processing facilities to the 56 now in operation. They are concentrating on adding more streaming capacity. The list of well-funded companies getting into streaming content to end users is growing quickly. Apple, NetFlix, Amazon, Google, YouTube and a number of others are developing go-to-market plans for streaming content. Right now NetFlix, Google and Apple seem the most likely to be the big guns down stream a few years.  

In other news, App developers are much happier with the Apple App Store than with the Google Android Store for reasons not all related to money. As I explained in previous articles, a big problem is that piracy of Apps is almost a given in the Android Store and almost nil in the Apple App Store. If it is about the same amount of work to develop an app on either platform, one would tend to favor the platform that paid the most money for the effort expended.  

A survey of app developers was made and, as I predicted, Apple came out on top by a wide margin. Open-First (http://www.Open-First.com) surveyed 110 developers who have posted apps on both the Apple and Android App Stores. Apple came out on top by a wide margin. Half of the app developers felt they made more money from the Apple Store than they expected.

The complaints on the Android side of the market also related to problems customers had finding their apps and the money that actually came in from that venue. While it is hard to ignore the Android market share of phones out there, the problem is widespread piracy of apps, which hurts the platform. Another problem is that there are so many lousy apps in the Android Store the quality apps are hard to find. This is going to get worse at the hobby app situation goes mainstream when the drag and drop app inventor program, now in beta, goes on-line from Google. As I have indicated before, Apple must release an Apple App Drag and Drop Program for "hobby apps" to be mainstream.  

Finally, the Stuxnet Worm has set the nuclear reactor back a few months, at least in going on-line. While Iran has not admitted publicly that there is a problem, the announcement that the reactor will not go on-line until next year says much more than the denials from the Islamic Revolution's top management. The worm has shown resistance to being deleted, and new versions are showing up indicating the attack is an ongoing thing and not a one off trick.   

A large number of the centrifuges that concentrate plutonium are also down for reasons the Iranians won't release. Sort of a perfect storm of tech sabotage, so well designed it scares the bejeebies out security experts. The sale of Depends undergarments has surged since the Stuxnet Worm has been fully appreciated. The daunting task ahead is to secure the Untied States and the rest of the civilized world from similar attacks on our industrial systems. When you tell a nuclear reactor to open a cooling valve, it is really a problem when the computer tells you the valve was opened while secretly closing it. That's Greg's Bite for today.

(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is gregmills@mac.com )

 
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