Quite a lot of interesting stats here. Would be interesting to see how some of these data points have evolved over recent years. I also wonder how many Indian app users are on 3G vs 2G vs WiFi. Conversations I have had with industry players suggest that cellular data is still not the primary medium.
Much more here.
Excerpt: "In the future, you will talk to your computer. Voice, the predominant mode of human-to-human communication, has been migrating to silicon for more than a decade and is now poised to hit the mainstream."
This piece isn't really about Siri, don't worry. It really focuses on whether voice-to-text technology will change the way we write -- and think.
Somehow the question of what it means to 'write' in a voice-to-text world is never explored. That's a particularly interesting question when you consider that text-to-speech is even more advanced today than speech-to-text. So do we even need the written word as an intermediate step then?
There's no denying that my views on Apple's stock price were wrong last February and remain wrong today. The stock is today up about 15% since my prediction of a fall. But Wall Street has also started looking at the company's broader impact on the world, something I mentioned briefly in this post. Take a look at what Henry Blodget says at Business Insider:
Daisey interviews dozens of (former) workers who are secretly supporting a union. One group talked about using "hexane," an iPhone screen cleaner. Hexane evaporates faster than other screen cleaners, which allows the production line to go faster. Hexane is also a neuro-toxin. The hands of the workers who tell him about it shake uncontrollably.
Some workers can no longer work because their hands have been destroyed by doing the same thing hundreds of thousands of times over many years (mega-carpal-tunnel). This could have been avoided if the workers had merely shifted jobs. Once the workers' hands no longer work, obviously, they're canned.
If Apple decided to build iPhones and iPads for Americans using American labor rules, two things would likely happen:
- The prices of iPhones and iPads would go up
- Apple's profit margins would go down
Neither of those things would be good for American consumers or Apple shareholders. But they might not be all that awful, either. Unlike some electronics manufacturers, Apple's profit margins are so high that they could go down a lot and still be high. And some Americans would presumably feel better about loving their iPhones and iPads if they knew that the products had been built using American labor rules.
In other words, Apple could probably afford to use American labor rules when building iPhones and iPads without destroying its business.
So it seems reasonable to ask why Apple is choosing NOT to do that.
I really hope Google succeeds at this:
Google’s smart TV software platform, Google TV, is poised for its first significant overhaul since it launched in Logitech and Sony hardware a year ago. Via over-the-air updates that should begin streaming to hardware devices on October 30, Google TV users will find new TV-optimized Android Apps, an improved YouTube experience, and new features that provide easy, direct discovery of TV and movie content. When Google TV launched, it was supposed to seamlessly co-mingle “live TV” (read: broadcast, satellite and cable) with streaming video services like YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Video On Demand. You could also use your Google TV software to search the web, and even access digital content from your home network or attached storage.
I used an Apple Macintosh as a teen and liked it very much so let it not be said that I speak with zero prior knowledge. In more recent years, I have stayed away from Apple products partly because they started out being too-cool-for-you and are now everyone-has-one, and partly because of the closed walled garden ecosystem that they put in place and vigorously enforced. [Update: And they're expensive!] Now we have this more complete description of Apple's (and Steve Jobs's) failings:
In the days after Steve Jobs' death, friends and colleagues have, in customary fashion, been sharing their fondest memories of the Apple co-founder. He's been hailed as "a genius" and "the greatest CEO of his generation" by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man's reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.
Stuff like this has got to affect the prospects of the company itself at some point, because surely consumers, the media, government, Apple's suppliers and maybe even Wall Street (!) don't only care about the pretty gadgets the company churns out.
Nice piece on innovation by Malcolm Gladwell in his usual breezy, readable style. This bit in particular resonated with me:
“You can be one of the most successful makers of enterprise technology products the world has ever known, but that doesn’t mean your instincts will carry over to the consumer market,” the tech writer Harry McCracken recently wrote. “They’re really different, and few companies have ever been successful in both.”
Nice little ending too. Read all the way through without skipping. Cheating won't be as fun!
This was published a few months ago. Not directly related to Steve Jobs's demise.
...on current evidence. Six months ago, I called a top on Apple. Since then, the stock price has continue to rise, briefly making it the world's largest publicly listed company by market capitalisation last week. Cue many excited articles. I can't be bothered to link any more. There were also more sensible articles from Paid Content (which contains the hilarious quote: "Microsoft is finally taking mobile seriously but its legal department has had more success than its product development people") and the WSJ among others telling us why such comparisons are, apart from their entertainment value, pointless and stupid.
More important than the symbolism of becoming the world's most valuable company -- note that they were helped by a 14% fall in Exxon Mobil's share price -- is the fact that Apple's stock price rose 4% over the same period, going bang against my prediction.
However, what does all of this mean for the future? Will Apple continue to generate outstanding returns for its shareholders? I remain cynical, but maybe that's just bias. There is the problem of being so big: how do you grow even bigger at the same pace as historically? Lex is doubtful, but perhaps not as much as me. Aswath Damodaran was optimistic as of January. Time will tell. Let's check back in six more months.
The idea of checking back in six months reminds me of this funny Ellen Degeneres quote I once came across, which you are welcome to use to make fun of me:
The good psychic would pick up the phone before it rang. Of course it is possible there was no one on the other line. Once she said "God Bless you." I said, "I didn't sneeze." She looked deep into my eyes and said, "You will, eventually." And damn it if she wasn't right. Two days later I sneezed.
Ok, new to me but perhaps not to others who follow the space more closely than I do.
Brim Brothers have been working for a couple of years on a power meter that works on a quite different principle from others in the market. Now they're ready to tell the world a little more about what they've been doing.
The standard model used by companies like PowerTap and SRM is to measure power directly off cranks and wheel hubs. This is expensive, cumbersome and inflexible, because you can't easily switch bikes or wheels, plus (if you're not a cheapo like me) you most probably wouldn't race with your training wheels.
The iBike, which is what I use (and love), measures power indirectly using Newton's third law. It measures the forces acting on the cyclist and therefore knows what forces the cyclist is putting out. The iBike is more affordable than its rivals and more easily transferable from one bike to another, but is criticised as being "inaccurate". (If you're interested in getting into that debate, first go through this benchmarking data.)
Brim Brothers's approach is very different. They stick a couple of pods on the cyclist's shoes and measure the power put out by the cyclist directly off his feet. What this means is that cyclists can jump on any old bike with no prior setup or customisation and start getting results. It also means that the setup may be pretty affordable compared to the SRMs of the world.
Very interesting idea in theory. But, as they say: in theory, theory is the same as practice; in practice, it isn't. We'll just have to wait and see.