So Apple has announced that the iPhone will be getting an SDK in February. There’s not direct link to the news so if you haven’t read it yet (where have you been?) check http://www.apple.com/hotnews/ and look around.
There are still lots of unanswered questions though. John Gruber goes over some of the remaining questions. It seems clear that Apple will still want to control what apps your are allowed to install on your iPhone and will void your warranty if you try to do an end run around their system.
I haven’t bought an iPhone yet, but that seems like it is only a matter of time. My 2 year contract with Verizon ends in March, which would make switching less painful.
Wondering how Steve Jobs feels about the DRM they are required to include in music from the iTunes Music Store? Wonder no longer: Thoughts on Music by Steve Jobs. There’s some great stuff in there (emphasis mine):
Today’s most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats. Its hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future. And since 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store, iPod users are clearly not locked into the iTunes store to acquire their music.
The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.
In 2006, under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves. The music companies sell the vast majority of their music DRM-free, and show no signs of changing this behavior, since the overwhelming majority of their revenues depend on selling CDs which must play in CD players that support no DRM system.
Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100% owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50% owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly.
This could be a very big day for the future on online distribution of music. Here’s hoping that Steve is able to pull this off, I’d love to have DRM free music available from the iTunes Music Store.
It would be really great if Apple would integrate into this OS X. It has a BSD license so that shouldn’t prevent them from using it. Making it work with the Finder would be helpful though.
So John Gruber (Daring Fireball) takes on the TechCrunch spin of Zune by describing it as High on Vapor Fumes. The point being mostly that until the device is actually out, ranting about how successful it will be is premature at best.
John ends his post with a few questions:
If they’re “not done with it yet”, on September 14, when will they be? How late can they wait to go into production and still hit shelves for the holiday season?
And if this really is a killer feature in a product they honestly expect to ship within the next month or two, why are they talking about it now? Why tip their hand to Apple in advance? Why blow all this media attention before people can actually fork over their money for the thing? Why not go for maximum impact with a “Here it is and you can buy one today!” debut a few weeks from now?
And the most important question of all: Brown?
When will they be done? Who knows. How late can they get it in to production to make into the holidays? I don’t know that one either, but it may not be that important. The telling question to me is asking that if this is so great, why talk about it now, possibly giving your competition ideas and time. Very simple, getting it into the minds of the consumer. If people believe that Zune will be many times better than the iPod, they’ll put off buying a brand new iPod of the holidays and wait for the new Zune device. Think of it as a battle for hearts and minds.
Microsoft may even realize that they aren’t going to make this holiday season at all and are doing this in a attempt to do nothing more than dampen iPod sales. That scores a little too high on the over the top conspiracy meter for me, but then again Microsoft if known for releasing products late.
As for the brown thing, no idea.
Yesterday was a bummer. The hard drive on 15″ PowerBook G4 died. Thankfully the folks at the Apple Store at Arden Fair Mall replaced it quickly, after I spent the $99 for Pro Care. I dropped it off yesterday afternoon and it was ready first thing this morning. It was still under the three year warranty so the repair didn’t cost anything.
After I got back to the office this morning I noticed that the system only showed 1 Gig of RAM instead of the 2 that I had before. Back to the Apple Store. Both of the memory sticks were still in the system, but it would only recognize one slot. Looks like the logic board is going to need replacing. To see if I could get things done any faster I went to the CSU Sacramento Computer Store where they have an Apple tech on site. He seemed to think that it was just one of the memory chips that was bad. So we pulled the bad one with then intent that it would get replaced next week (there was a life time warranty on the memory).
Back to the office one more time. The system would work for a few minutes and then freeze. Then it wouldn’t boot. Then it paniced while booting. Ug, not good. So then I moved the one remaining memory stick from the slot it was in into the other other slot (there are only two slots). After that it has been fine. Looks like the Apple store folks were right, the logic board needs to be replaced. Ick.
I’m bummed to spend so much of the day running around trying to get my two year old PowerBook G4 going again. While I still do a lot of (I mean a lot) of Windows work, not having Unix like guts on my primary development system is a real pain. Of course if things got bad enough perhaps work would spring for a new MacBook Pro
Hey, I can dream.
I’ve got to get this out of my system first: This Is So Freaking Cool! Okay, I feel better now.
With Boot Camp you can dual boot between Windows XP and Mac OS X. Details are still coming out, but I’m going to guess that this contains updates to EFI to support BIOS dependent operating systems. If that is the case then you should be able to multi-boot between other operating systems also (like FreeBSD or Ubuntu). Perhaps even Windows Vista when it is released. If you combined this with something like Mac Drive 6, which allows Windows to read/write to HFS/HFS+ (the Mac OS X file system), you’ll have a pretty reasonable setup.
Boot Camp will be included in the next version of Mac OS X (10.5) Leopard. I don’t believe that a release date has been talked about yet for Leopard, but we are supposed to hear more this summer (August). This also brings into question the rumors about virtualisation software being included in Leopard. How far with Apple really go with allowing/supporting other operating systems on their hardware? As much as I’d like to see this rumor be true, part of me things that it isn’t likely that Apple as a company would be thrilled with the idea. They have to draw the line some where on encouraging people to use non-OS X software.
At this point I see Boot Camp as good news for Apple and consumers. For die hard Apple fans this won’t change anything, but it makes for one more reason for Windows users to make their next computer a Mac instead of a traditional PC.
Om comments on Apple’s storage sales of the Xserve RAID unit. Although sales of the unit seem to be do well, especially considering that this was a market that Apple has zero presence in only a few years ago, many analysts are frowning on Apple for not doing enough to promote these.
We’ve got a couple of Xserve RAID units at work (one with an Xserve G5, the other plugged in to two Dell 2850s) and I’m definitely a fan. Right now you can order up an Xserve RAID with all of the options for under $18,000. This is simply amazing for 7TB in a RAID box. Sure you could go buy 14 500GB drives from NewEgg for less than $5,000, but what would you put them
I think Apple is still trying to figure out how to market their server and storage products. I guess the folks like me who see these things and start to drool aren’t as common as the folks itching to buy the consumer level product. More than once I’ve gone into an Apple store and told them they need to be showing off their server and storage products, not just the home systems. My requests obviously haven’t had any impact.
I was driving home the other day and a song popped in to my head out of nowhere. After replaying it a few times in my head I realized that this would make the perfect theme song for Apple‘s switch to using Intel CPUs. So what song am I thinking of? None other than “Weird Al” Yankovic’s geek inspired tune:
If you are having a hard time remembering how this song goes check out the sample on the Amazon.com: Running With Scissors page.
While your computer’s crashin’, mine’s multitaskin’
It does all my work without me even askin’
Got a flat-screen monitor forty inches wide wide
I believe that your says “Etch-A-Sketch” on the side
In a 32-bit world, you’re a 2-bit user
You’ve got your own newsgroup, “alt.total-loser”
It’s all about the Pentiums, baby!
This afternoon we were at Arden Fair Mall to pick up a couple of thing and I stopped by the Apple Store in the mall to see if they had any of the new MacBook Pros out to play with. They didn’t have any so I didn’t stay there very long. As we continued to another part of the mall we passed a group of three teenagers, one of whom was asking the others if they had seen the “cool iPod store on the second floor”. I realized immediately that he was talking about the Apple store. Although the Apple stores certainly carry other items besides iPod, that was obviously what he was most interested in. I guess this shouldn’t really come as a surprise given the iPod sales figures that Steve Jobs shared during his keynote last week.
Perhaps Apple should start opening smaller versions of the stores and put a big sign up front: “The iPod Store”.