By Greg Mills
The combination of the recent conference call regarding the financial quarter and the "Back to the Mac" event on Thursday leaves a number of unsettled issues. I still insist a Hobby App for iOS must be on the way, and I was disappointed iWeb 4 wasn't part of iLife.
Notice the price dropped to US$49 for iLife due to the lack of an updated iDVD and updated iWeb. They included the old version of both programs on the iLife disk but you have to look deep in the information to find that information. While I use iPhoto, I will wait to buy iLife for a while. It is possible the Hobby App iOS creator program will come out with the next iWork release. I doubt the $49 price point will hold for full releases of future iWork and iLife.
The other thing on my mind is the giant bank balance at Apple. Over $50,000,000 in the bank is unusual even for the second biggest company in the world. CEO Steve Jobs mentioned they might be buying a strategic business or two in the future. I think an obvious buy would be NetFlix. Anyone who bought an Apple TV device has surely noticed the most useful function of it is to stream NetFlix video content. In keeping with Apple's moves to be at the forefront of downloaded content, buying NetFlix is a quick way to grab a giant chunk of the market for about five billion dollars or so.
The question of the iPad being a computer or not is being answered by the market place. Net books and PCs are starting to take a hit. Hard drive companies are seeing the shaft coming, as Apple launches new laptops that sport memory chips instead of hard drives. The similarity of iPad to the new MackBook Air laptops is unmistakeable. The iPad is certainly a computer, and that makes Apple the largest computer maker around. Apple becoming the most valuable company in the world is certainly coming soon.
The importance of a Hobby App creator tool for "the rest of us" can't be ignored. As Apple has 300,000 apps, Android 100,000 ( with three on-line stores?) Microsoft with 80 apps and RIM, HP and Nokia also getting apps together, the requirement to stay in the lead on apps is critical. While Apple has a well defined and supported developer base with 100,000 signed up, the notion of easy-to-assemble, drag and drop elements to create simple apps for special purposes is just too good an idea to ignore. Google has a beta "App Inventor" program in the works that makes creating apps literally child's play. Apple will certainly launch their own iOS Hobby App program to both introduce people to creating apps and also to counter the surge in Android Apps that is sure to come.
Finally, a note on the Microsoft Mobile Vista 7 saga. Tech pundit Walt Mossberg blogged today that the new smart phones lacked important features and supported my comments regarding the late to the party aspect of the release. Mossberg, a respected tech writer, thinks the Microsoft phones are not as good as either iPhone or even Android. He tested two Vista 7 phones and could't even open Microsoft Office documents.
Mossberg noted that both attachments open just fine on both an iPhone and an Android phone. New platforms are normally buggy, let alone anything coming out of Redmond, the world capitol of malware, virus, worms and stupid user interfaces. It is interesting that while Microsoft intends Vista 7 phones to be a consumer item, they tout good interfaces with Windows and Office yet the phones won't open Office formatted attachments?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org )