Apple Pip Squeak

What new growth from old ideas spring?

What do I want to achieve on my Mac which is almost possible, but remains just short of reality. It could be "oh so good if only..."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

iWear it

A watch? Apple will create a watch? I don't think so. Oh, a smart watch. No, not Apple.

I don't really see Apple doing anything as prosaic as a watch. I like watches and I like watches with extra functions such as barometers and altimeters and chronometers and any other sorts of meters, but I am of a certain age and I don't mind having a wrist wearable reference device. But mostly, people have a different reference device these days which has many more functions than a watch.

But wearable sensors, multiple wearable sensors for input and measurement with "Handed off" processing and data presentation - now that is something Apple would do very well. Now that is a whole new market. Even fashionista's would find that interesting what with clothing jewellery and even watches sitting under the iWear title, not to mention health conscious sports jocks and bio-monitoring physicians or home connection engineers.

Many low cost small sensors which can slip into various form factors and deliver specific information to your iPhone or Mac like personalised iBeacons. You simply (hah, simple for some companies, like Apple) need to be able to read or hear the data and add to it with voice, keyboard or camera input. Oh, wait you have all those things already in your iPhone.

It may look like a watch, or hairband (not much good for me I'm afraid) or spectacle frame (I really do need this), but it will be a sensor by any other name, wrapped in an easily comprehended story with unimaginable social consequences.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Dearth of Apple

OK, it has been long enough now... any day now...maybe tomorrow. Is anyone else missing the excitement of the Apple announcement?

I have read that Apple is maturing, growing out of its start-up ethos into a large more sedate regular corporation, but I just don't buy it. It always was large, initially in ambition and then in numbers. It has been large for decades. And it still remains ambitious to develop new magical products. It is just that I miss the excitement of the unfolding story. Trying to second-guess what is next in the either OS or software updates or to figure out pathways leading to hardware innovation and connectedness.

Not that the announcement always matched initial expectations. Often there was a burn-in period where the significance was a gradual discovery. A collective recognition by press and watchers alike that the iMac was a cultural more than manufacturing shift. That the unlikely middle ground of iPad use was so significant because of its instant on, always there, mobility and sheer sofability.

I think the lack of announcements has influenced the recent negative press and the share price as a consequence of the unknown and therefore potentially more volatile future. Let's face it, we all like a story and if we feel we can share in the development of that story, then we get drawn in to in in the same way that TV or radio series, or a good book will pull you in.

So, I am really beginning to miss the next instalment. I wouldn't mind so much if I new when it was going to play. The key dates in the Apple calendar evolved over the years, but there were always at least two annual events to rely on, to build up to and to savour. Don't get me wrong, I think the format should be different to the "Job's show". But I still think people enjoy a show, fronted by a charismatic compere. We want to be entertained, and it need not be the CEO.

My hope is that the current no-doubt frantic effort being invested in delivering a brand new clean and non-skeuomorphic interface will be unveiled at a fantastic new annual Apple extravaganza along with upgraded Mac's iOs devices and as yet unimagined stuff. I'm not sure that the show is less important than the stuff, because it is the story which we buy into, which has value for users and shareholders (and media) alike, not the hardware. The hardware value only comes to light after its position in the story unfolds.

And so children, snuggle down, switch off the light, and wait for the next exciting chapter...tomorrow, .............. perhaps.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Apple Flash-killer

This is the time for Apple to launch its own Flash-killing media viewer. 

No Flash availability on iPhone, slow Youtube streaming on phone-speed networks and pressure from Google's own sandboxed, fast browser (yet to be tested), means the time is right for that special Apple magic. With talk of a special iTunes deal with certain bands including additional media options with the download of their music, well how are you going to view this media? Using youtube on your iPhone is possible, but hardly revolutionary.

I predict a new media player, an additional platform for moving images and sound, a new software framework for AppleTV, a Joost-like online TV from any source, BBC iPlayer done properly.

Add this to the iPhone and Apple will take another evolutionary leap with its product range.

Add a sim card to your Macbook Air, or tether your iPhone to your laptop to connect online content through this new, miniscule, compressed data transfer route for media access anywhere.

...Or maybe just a new iPod?

[update] Hmmm... There is no word on the street about this guaranteed new feature. Google's new Chrome browser has the speed, could Apple be waiting for Chrome advantages to port back into Webkit before launching their player? NO. My considerably reliable sources tell me it will be available from tomorrow. Definitely. Yes. It will be. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

dot me authorised device sync

I have a syncing feeling about the dotmac iphone news all about us. 

I can currently use iTunes to sync info (contacts, calendars, mail accounts and safari bookmarks)  on one mac and sync all other items (ringtones, music, photos, podcasts and video) from another mac. While this is ostensibly manageable, I find that I sync music etc at home in the evenings, but Podcasts throughout the day, whenever my laptop is online - iTunes subscriptions are good for that. This means when I sync my music (home machine), I wipe all my iPhone podcasts which have been synced after quietly seeping  into my laptop. Inevitably I only find out when I'm already on a train, with time to soak up the seepage.

So why do I have to connect to one or another mac? Why connect at all? My mail is collected by my iPhone directly from .Mac, no wires, no messing. Just let .Mac soak up all my tabbed resources from iTunes and deliver whichever tab I require to any of my authorised devices, wired or wireless. I can save local drive space AND have my info/music/audiobooks/tv shows/films delivered to where I happen to want them. Now that might well be worth the subscription. Just get me a Flash-like player for all that video and nevermind the bandwidth or better still get me an Apple version Flash-beating video streaming codec with stunning compression and forget about the bandwidth.

[UPDATE] It seems some of my reflections were not all illusions. Push data from Apple and SimplifyMedia have provided more, but not all of the above features. At least SimplifyMedia means iPhone memory is of little consequence within a wifi environment - as much music as I can store on my home mac, all served and searchable in a pocket sized 8gb.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

iPhone for Business

With the demise of my current basic business phone, I need a replacement. BUT... i have an iPhone for personal use which is more than capable of all my current business requirements. I don't really want another device to carry.

I wonder if Apple are considering business phone account models which suit ordinary people; you know, the ones with full-time life-partners and children, and family and friends as well as part-time business-partners and colleagues and customers. What I could really do with is an iPhone account with two faces and two numbers. One device, two personalities, (just like me).

Now I know the billing arrangements might be complicated for corporate businesses, but if this were split by the network operator, it need not be too onerous. At least there could be a clear demarkation of personal and business uses, but it would need to be set up between Apple and the networks for it to work properly. Can you imagine the demand from users who want an iPhone for both home and work (what other kind of user is there?).

And what a scoop for employers, competing to look after their staff. "We will provide you with the best communication device currently available to maintain contact with your loved ones, you just pay for the call time to them". I can see the Apple advert now - busy worker breaks off to video conference with family while away from home. "Happy birthday". 

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Last chance post

Whew, I do like to get at least some predictions in vague terms out before Macworld SF. Just made it on the following items published today. 

Looking forward to an iPhone update so I can find where I am at any given moment (even if it's not where I should be). And just hoping that App knitting gets another step closer this year.

Happy new year.


Compact computing

This is a term for “not really a laptop”. And I suggest that it is not really (a current concept of) a laptop that we desire. Consider mobile computing for a moment. It needs more than anything to be lightweight if one is walking about with it. To slide easily into everyday compact bags with other everyday “stuff” and remain light enough to carry about, all day.

It has threfore to be inherently robust with few moving/breaking parts. It needs a reasonably sized visual interface easily manipulated (like the iPhone touch sceen), and ubiquitous data capture i.e some form of keypad but not necessarily permanently attached to the screen, perhaps part of the (rubber) cover? Wifi and usual wired connectivity to go, together with add-on options for data storage - USB sticks, firewire hard drives. Oh, and a docking option for home or office base use with additional drive capacity and ability to run other more demanding applications.

I really want to take all my communications with me on the road, some of my applications, those that allow note capture, visual presentation and contact and task management, but leave all my heavy-lifting high-memory-overhead applications at my home base or office. And yet why would I want two machines with all that syncing and potential for data mismanagement? When I get back to my base I just want more oompphh less compromised ergonimics and a wider (read “giant”) monitor with instant backup for all that external effort.

Data defectors

And what about data detectors in Leopard Mail. They are available, but hardly intuitive. Many years ago I cobbled together an Applescript which copied a name from any application using the clipboard, looked it up in the address book, then updated the clipboard to deliver all address, phone and email details back to the original application, in fact any application that could use the clipboard. Clunky but functional. 

I was looking forward to a similar but system pervasive “dictionary” style lookup in Leopard for any “person” so that data could be attached to people - I would call it “body tagging” but that has too many negative, morbid undertones, but you know what I mean. Tag a person to any data and when you look up that person you can view any system wide info, emails, notes, documents with their name in etc. Weren’t computers supposed to be able to handle such relationships easily? Type in a name, why look up data, get phone or email linkages instantly in a contextual pop-up derived from the address book app. System-wide Bento. I just cannot understand why data is corralled in such narrow confines, especially when the system databases are blatantly able (Bento, CRM4Mac) to work seamlessly together.

Monitor as Camera

Whatever happened to the “my monitor as camera” patent that Apple supposedly registered more than twelve months ago? The one that uses your monitor as a lens, with software to adjust the optics. Is it due to emerge in the rumoured compact laptop offering?

It would fit well with the iPhone, especially if it would allow VOIP. It might even be secreted away as a hidden application in the existing iPhone OS. Imagine speaking and viewing at the same time. Ichat on the move, now that would be cool. I just can’t imagine that Apple have not got iChat working on the iPhone.

Not that any recently contracted network provider would be too keen, but just hold your scepticism for a moment and imagine the convenience, the low cost, and the sheer magic of it. Communication for the 21st century or what? It’s bound to arrive in some future version of the iPhone even if it is not a hidden feature in the current offer. I live in hope

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

iPod connect

Well everyone is trying to second guess what Apple will do in early January, so here is my contribution to the "what" of "possibilities" for the New Year 2007.

iPhone (iPod) predictions

(December 2006)
Actually these are iPod predictions. Why call it a phone? Just add functions to an iPod with something like an iPod Connect moniker and build on the successful name and market share.

Ringtones from iTunes. Mobile phone through SIM card (any network). VOIP via Skype and iChat using voice and video with iSight camera built in to the phone combined with auto connection to wireless network or hardwire USB to Mac (and PC).

iPod (Advanced)
An iPod with input mechanism for text (keyboard) and numbers (phone requirement) and calculator/unit convertor etc with internet lookup for currency conversion, in fact a palmtop PDA by any other name.

Email access (blackberry style) via phone connection and wireless access (Airport). See December release of developer update to Tiger requesting refinements for sync functions.

Video capabilities as a webcam to replace the missing independent iSight camera. The "screen as camera" patents could allow video to work from the iPod Connect without a separate lens device. All it needs is a bracket to hang it on your monitor.

Try video blogging from your phone direct to the web via Google video/ Youtube connection.

Many palmtop functions are synced with Mac apps already on the iPod. An input mechanism would enable these functions to be live and mobile. (See "iPod Advanced" above)

With evidence of games developer recruitment for the Mac it is possible to imagine the social interaction of Youtube and Myspace for video and music could be further cemented with network gaming via iPod Connect. Use iTunes Music Store to sell games and connect wirelessly via Airport for a shared gaming experience.