So it is that time of the year again, with Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference taking place this week. But what can we expect from Cupertino? We already know that they will unveil the new versions of iOS and OS X, and they are garnering more interest than in the past. The mobile operating system from Apple has evolved very little since their initial release and are facing pressure from investors and consumers alike to come up with something bright and new.
It is indeed an important time for Apple as they have not been performing at their stellar levels in the last 12 months. The stock price has fallen dramatically in recent months, and for good reason. iPhone sales aren’t growing as fast as it did in the past and the first half of this year lacked any kind of innovation or new product launch. (more…)
We have seen a leaked promo video in the past, and now it has finally been made official. Google Now is available on iOS, compatible with iPhone and iPad. We first saw it with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but it is now available to the hordes of iOS users.
One of the great things about the Amazon Appstore is that it gives away a different Android paid-for app for free every day, which means you often find great gems for your phone, provided you check in every day. Apple is now taking a similiar route, and is starting to give away one app on the iOS App Store and another on the Mac App Store for free every week.
For example, this week you can download Cut The Rope: Elements to your iPhone for free, and of course it is the number one downloaded app on the Appstore.
On the Mac App Store you can now find the brilliant Cobook app which enables super-easy address book changes, and syncs with social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. The app quietly sits on your taskbar, and when you need to search for a specific contact’s details you just click on the cobook icon (or tap the hotkeys) and start typing the name or business name.
You can also easily add to or edit existing contacts, which will then be synced back with the Address Book app on your Mac. So if you use a service like iCloud or Google Contacts, the changes will reflect on your phone as well. Nifty.
Microsoft is slowly but surely starting to cater for people who use Apple’s devices – and the latest app from their stable is the My Xbox Live app. If you are a big online game player, and you hate tearing yourself away from your Xbox, the Xbox Live app will keep you posted on all the activity in your Xbox community. The app is beautifully made, and gives you a very special preview to how apps look on Windows Phone – it feels a little strange having a Metro interface on your iDevice.
Here is the feature rundown: (more…)
In the past, enterprise was the natural habitat for BlackBerry – but with the recent shift in popularity to other smartphones it means that businesses are stuck with BlackBerry because of previous capital outlay for Blackberry Enterprise Servers. RIM is now approaching the Mobile Device Management market, and has smartly built in control of Android and iOS as well in its upcoming solution.
Research In Motion today introduced BlackBerry Mobile Fusion – the Company’s next-generation enterprise mobility solution and RIM’s entry into the multi-platform Mobile Device Management (MDM) marketplace. Building on years of leading enterprise mobility management solutions from RIM, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion will simplify the management of smartphones and tablets running BlackBerry, Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems.
“We are pleased to introduce BlackBerry Mobile Fusion – RIM’s next generation enterprise mobility solution – to make it easier for our business and government customers to manage the diversity of devices in their operations today,” said Alan Panezic, Vice President, Enterprise Product Management and Marketing at Research In Motion. “BlackBerry Mobile Fusion brings together our industry-leading BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology for BlackBerry devices with mobile device management capabilities for iOS and Android devices, all managed from one web-based console. It provides the necessary management capabilities to allow IT departments to confidently oversee the use of both company-owned and employee-owned mobile devices within their organizations.”
RIM is the leading provider of enterprise mobility solutions with over 90 percent of the Fortune 500 provisioning BlackBerry devices today. The enterprise market for smartphones and tablets continues to grow in both the company-provisioned and employee-owned (Bring Your Own Device or BYOD) categories. BYOD in particular has led to an increase in the diversity of mobile devices in use in the enterprise and new challenges for CIOs and IT departments as they struggle to manage and control wireless access to confidential company information on the corporate network. This has resulted in increased demand for mobile device management solutions. (more…)
BlackBerry might be attempting a very risky move soon with BBM. Many BlackBerry users stick to the platform primarily because of BBM – it is free and (arguably) a lot more stable and reliable than other mobile services like Whatsapp. It does however have a few criticisms – biggest of which is the BlackBerry only nature of communication. You might have BBM, but if your buddy does not have a BlackBerry, well, you will need to use other channels.
Recently leaked images (by TechnoBuffalo) of BBM running on an Android device seem to suggest that RIM is looking at broadening the install base of BBM to other platforms. Current supports seem to suggest that BBM might be coming to Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone platforms. The leaked images on the Android device seem to share the same basic minimalistic interface design as the BlackBerry version, and the app logo also uses the BlackBerry Messaging logo.
Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt has stated that its purchase of mobile company Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. in August was for more than just its patents.
Rather, the aim of the search engine giant, that bought the company for $12.5 billion, was to acquire Motorola’s product line. “Motorola has some amazing products,” Schmidt told Salesforce.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff.
The acquisition might have come as a surprise but it makes total sense. Gone are the days of Android being called fragmented because of hardware manufacturers tweaking Android to suit their requirements before shipping their handsets. Google can now control their entire mobile experience from hardware to software (Sound familiar? Think iOS).
The acquisition of 17, 000 patents will also help them defend Android against patent claims by their number one competitor – Apple.
Get out your tinfoil hats, for a speculative ride into the future of Apple!
As you might already know, Mac OS X Lion launched recently with a lot of the new features taken straight from Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS. The Launchpad looks like the iPad, application state-saving, inverted (natural?) scrolling, full-screen apps and an app store amongst other features. There are subtle interface changes that give hints to what Apple are planning.
When you turn on Lion for the first time, you will be faced with inverted scrolling. Scroll up on the trackpad and the scrollbar goes down. Why Apple why? Why break something that is not broken? Let me tell you why. Imagine you have a long piece of paper in front of you. As you start reading, at some point you need to move the paper to read the bottom part. How do you do it? You do it, by moving the paper… up: think Star Wars intro text. Apple is telling you: forget about the screen, just look at the data: that is what is important. As Rian vd Merwe puts it: “Apple wants us to remove the current abstraction from our data (the file system and the ‘window’), and instead focus on and interact with the data itself”. With iOS, this came naturally, as there was only a touch interface. You directly interacted with your data. On tablets and smartphones, this is how you scroll: you move the data around, not the viewport/window.
Pic from Macstories.net
An interesting design choice was removing colour on interface elements and going for a monochrome feel. While Lion’s monochrome feel (gone is the aqua bars as well) seems dull, there seems to be a good reason for it. Apple claimed that its goal is to de-emphasize irrelevant (surrounding user interface) parts and through that, emphasise your content which is more important. This makes sense in addition to the change in scrolling: your data is what is important. They are going even a step further and introduced full-screen applications. Gone is the dock and top bar: it doesn’t matter.
What is with the skeuomorphs?
Skeumorphs are designs that aim to look their previous counterparts in order to create a familiar environment for new users. On the iPad, Apple introduced a calendar that looks like it’s real life counterpart.
As you can see, Lion’s iCal took tips from iPad‘s iCal. It also has a skeuomorphic design. Why include a skeuomorphic design only now? Everyone who has used iCal on previous OS X versions are familiar with iCal’s design. Why change what does not need to be changed? Is it to further emphasise the idea of working with your ‘content’ instead of a screen and your application? Maybe, but I think there might be another reason, answered by asking:
So, why all the iOS?
Apple is betting on changing the way we look at our computers. With the success of iOS, Apple wants us to think anew; changing the user interface that hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Are they trying to be that bold, or is there another part to the story? There might be some clues in the numbers.
Apple’s best-selling products for 2010 was the iPhone and iPad. This wonderful visualisation gives you the best clue. Almost 50% of Apple’s revenue for 2010 came from the iPhone. This is all very well, except the massive Android gorilla looming above the iPhone. Android is now serving almost 50% of the smartphone market and shows no sign of stopping. Now you know why Apple are suing HTC, they are protecting their most valuable asset.
This seems like an unsustainable strategy (even more so with Google’s recent buyout of Motorola Mobility), which leads to the most speculative conclusion: Apple wants to move iPhone (iOS) users to their other products. An iOS user will be familiar with an app store, resuming of apps, the scrolling, the launchpad look and the skeuomorphic designs of the native apps. This idea is further cemented with the addition of iCloud. This way, when you buy Apple, you buy into the ecosystem. Now that Apple has sold so many iPhones, they want them onto the other platforms before Android does too much damage.
What do you think? Do you think Lion‘s interface changes are justified? Do you think iOS’ movement to OS X (and desktop/laptop operating systems) is revolutionary: a breath of fresh air to the decade old interface?