By Greg Mills
Prognosticators of all things Apple are reviewing their previous posts to count off the things they got right and the things they got wrong. The realization came to me as I read a post on the event written by a CNN tech writer stating that the big event wasn’t any big deal. When there are so many Apple hardware products that are ready to upgrade, why didn’t any hardware at all get announced? Clearly new Wi-Fi servers are in the works, for example.
The answer is something CEO Steve Jobs has in spades: FOCUS. Apple plays the press like a violin. They know that only a few new things can get the full press treatment and, hey, why not split the product releases info multiple events to maximize the free press Apple gets? That free press is worth a fortune.
Within a few weeks there will be special events where things like faster routers, new iPhones and the other cool new Apple products will be released. They will also get the major press treatment they each deserve and not simply share the stage with Lion, iOS 5 and the iCloud.
Keep in mind, the event that is going on is the Worldwide Developers Conference. Duh, read that software and platform infrastructure. Apple wants the important things they are doing in the platform area to be the focus of this event. The iPhone 5 will come out, not to fear. The pattern of having fewer products released in a batch makes perfect sense.
The focus on iCloud as a sync mechanism between Apple devices is really more the intent of Apple’s cloud innovation than merely a hard drive in the sky. As it is now, when I get an email there is a ding, dong, ding as my email@example.com account distributes the message on all my Internet devices. That may soon include Apple TV. The iCloud will extend that syncing feature even more.
The US$25 a year “ripped music recognition and catalogue” concept is designed to minimize server farm memory use on repetitive data. Why store 1,576,453 copies of a popular song on the servers when using a tiny amount of memory you could list the all iCloud customers who have a right to access that particular song and simply have one copy on the servers that everyone shares?
The benefit is that the quality of the song Apple has in its servers might well be better than the copy you ripped sometime ago. This makes sense for Apple and consumers alike. It was the music companies that feared they wouldn’t be compensated for pirated music found on users iTunes files. The $25 will, no doubt, be shared with them.
Also cool is the picture sharing feature through the cloud. I have been testing a Wi-Fi flash memory card that automatically downloads pictures from my Sony digital camera to my laptop. The new iPhoto feature will automatically sync those new pictures with my iPad and iPhone when they are in Wi-Fi range.
Automatically updating software in the background is also slick. I suppose Lion users will be able to configure their computer to automatically update itself. Some people don’t bother to update their software regularly and with the expectation of Mac specific malware to increase, having an ability to quickly patch a vulnerability on millions of Macs would go a long way in reducing threats to the platform.
The Lion new feature information is still mostly held in reserve, with only about 10 out of 250 new features released. Details about the new Lion will come out in a way that can be fully absorbed by the press and consumers alike. What surprised me was the new price of only $29. Compare that with Microsoft’s PC OS prices.
While the history of Apple allowing its OS to run on non-Apple hardware is well known, I think Microsoft would roll up the sidewalks and sell off the office furniture if Apple were to release a 30-day trial version of Lion for use on any old PC. After that, PCs would have to junk their junk and buy a Mac.
I think people, long abused by the buggy software Redmond throws out the door, would be blown away when allowed to compare their Windows experience with Mac OS X, even running on a junk PC. The technical issues are really not a problem; it is only an Apple policy that needs to be reconsidered. Apple could destroy Microsoft with such a trial version program.
Remember, when dealing with Apple, they think differently.
That’s Greg’s Bite.
(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He’s also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustrySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg’s art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org )