Chalk this one up to accelerating change.
Engadget reports that the owner of a super-thin Macbook Air
laptop was held up by disbelieving TSA inspectors for
such a long time that he wound up missing his flight.
Certainly the Air is a cool, nearly mind-blowing product, but
don’t you think these folks should’ve grabbed another computer,
hopped on the Mac site and confirmed that yes, this impossible
consumer technology is actually real? That would’ve taken all of
what, 3 minutes?
I’m already starting to feel bad for the airport screeners of 5
years from now. Imagine the new products and micro-technologies
they’ll be required to identify and guard against. No longer will
$8/hour (even if it is mostly for show nowadays) for an airport
screener suffice, unless of course the scanning devices they employ
improve very quickly.
AP reports a new deal between Apple and cell provider
will bring the iPhone to “Austria, Belgium, the Dominican Republic,
Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland
and African markets later this year.”
Though the iPhone presently costs more than a OLPC PC, $399 vs. $100, that price is due to sharply
drop (perhaps to the $100 -$200 range) with the imminent release of
the new 3G iPhone, which itself may be priced at just $199 if
about a hefty AT&T subsidy prove correct.
While lack of comm infrastructure and politics will certainly
remain the primary barriers to diffusion, it looks as though these
low-cost yet high-value products, driven by large companies getting
accustomed to rapidly exploding markets in which first-mover
advantage is critical, may catalyze a perfect storm for
connectivity in under-developed nations, most notably African
The release of the 3G Iphone last week (which
featured GPS function and encouraged 3rd
party application development) and the first prominent commercial
installation of the Microsoft Surface
table at Rio’s in Las Vegas signals a shift in the way we are going
to interact in public spaces. It also marks the beginning of a
dramatic increase in device and location driven 3rd party
application development. Take a look at the Surface promo video
below (warning – it’s a little cheesy).
Mac Rumours who first discovered the patent application:
The most interesting technique described by Apple … is the
integration of the solar panels behind the actual LCD screen of a portable device. The solar panel
would absorb ambient light that passes through the LCD screen of the device. ... If successfully
implemented, Apple’s iPhone, iPod and laptops, could require no
outward changes in design to add solar power.
As the price of both iPhone components and photovoltaic
(PV) cells comes down steadily, this will add to the appeal of the
increasingly coveted device, especially in resource-strapped areas
as rising oil prices gradually push up the cost of manufacturing,
transportation and electricity.
Adding solar cells beneath LCD screens
is such an elegant no-brainer that it’s difficult to imagine a
period in the near future when all mobile phones/computers
aren’t forced to integrate solar. The main plausible
alternative I can see is the prevalence of small plug-in PV power
stations (either based at home, mounted on the car or worn) that
can directly or indirectly charge mobile devices. But even then,
just knowing that your device can charge autonomously still seems
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) yesterday announced
the launch of the iFund with $100 million in
venture capital to invest in companies developing applications and
services for Apple’s iPhone and iPod
touch. The iFund, managed by KPCB, will
be invest in companies with “market-changing ideas and products
that extend the revolutionary new iPhone and iPod touch
By establishing a $100 million fund dedicated exclusively to
iPhone applications, KPCB is letting us
know it expects ongoing iPhone market penetration to be massive,
resulting in a multi-billion $ industry.
“A revolutionary new platform is a rare and prized opportunity
for entrepreneurs, and that’s exactly what Apple has created with iPhone and iPod
touch,” said John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield &
Byers. “We think several significant new companies will emerge as
this new platform evolves, and the iFund will empower them to
realize their full potential.”
By “significant”, Doerr most likely means companies in $50-200
million range, which reveals an expectation that the mass of iPhone
app developers could in and of themselves claim $1 billion
in valuation sometime in the next few years. Just imagine how many
iPhone users there will have to be to pump revenue into these new
“Developers are already bursting with ideas for the iPhone and
iPod touch, and now they have the chance to turn those ideas into
great companies with the help of world-class venture capitalists,”
said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t
wait to start working with Kleiner Perkins and the companies they
fund through this new initiative.”
Of course they can’t wait. This is going to be huge for the
spread of their platform and for their stock price, which may well
pop when the market opens Friday.
So, when will you buy your first Apple iPhone? KPCB is betting it will be soon, if you don’t already
Leaked photos of the
new 3G Apple iPhone reveal that it’s very sleek and, best of
all, supports video-to-video calling. If rumors of serious
subsidies in the neighborhood of the -$200 range prove correct,
then we could have a mobile video-to-video revolution on our hands
the second half of this year, certainly by the holiday season.
Although it’s gotten increasing silly to wait for next-gen
technologies, I sure am psyched that I bypassed the first
iteration(s) of the iPhone for the 3G version, which is widely
expected to be released June 9th.
Update: It looks as though this 3G iPhone photo may well be
a FAKE, in which case we’ll have to
wait a few more months or even a year before we get video-to-video.
I dig the joke and feel thoroughly sheeeepish at having taken the
bait. It did seem plausible, though I did pause, for a split
second, when considering the bandwidth requirements.
Prediction: Such believable fake-outs, in the tradition of
google’s April Fool’s jokes, will become far more prevalent as we
enter the knee of the curve and crafty designers take advantage of
the viral opportunities.
In a paper released yesterday, AJ.P. Gownder and James L.
McQuivey at Forrester predict that by 2013
Apple will become the hub of the digital home. They support
this contention by imagining
eight future Apple
products including “wall-mountable digital picture frames with
small high-definition screens and speakers that wirelessly play
media”, “an Apple ‘clock radio’ that pipes in music and other media
across a home network”, and “an ‘AppleSound’ universal remote
control, also with a touch-sensitive screen, that lets users browse
their music collections and change the songs playing through their
stereo as they stroll around the house.”
I tend to concur with the rest of the
blogosphere in that this is quite the tame list and that we’ll
probably see significantly more advanced products from the likes of
Apple circa 2013. With dropping component costs (hi-rez screens,
processors, graphics cards, etc.), rising data transfer speeds
(Internet2, a possible
re-allocation of analog TV spectrum) new competition from
proliferating design & interface companies, and the fact that
most of these concepts already in prototype, I believe such
products are more likely to hit mass-markets inside of 3 years
rather than 5 long years away.
In particular I find the “wall-mountable digital picture frames”
prediction a bit weak. If former Xerox PARC
Director John Seely Brown is accurate
in his estimation that Apple CEOSteve Jobs “is
positioning himself to take over completely the living room,” then
by 2013 I see the company developing radically cooler products such
as a slick telepresence
interface that future blogger Dick Pelletier expects
by 2015 or before .
Being that such devices, albeit clunky and expensive versions,
are already being sold by the likes of
VisBox, and that
holographic and projection technologies could eliminate
the expensive screen altogether, it’s unlikely that Steve Jobs and
his crack team of agile researchers and designers haven’t yet
realized the trumping value of rich multi-purpose,
telepresence-enabling interfaces. (cont.)
The Linux community could be described as a group of people across the globe with the best of intentions, but even within the Linux community there are still splits and divisions.
While the idea is to create community-based software that is free to everyone, getting quality software can be hard since instead of working on one program which can, let's say, edit video, there are multiple programs out there to perform this function. This has always surprised me about the Linux community. I always figured there would be just one program developers would work on to make the best instead of wasting their resources by working on multiple programs that perform the same function.
Why are there tons of media players when there should just be one? Why are there various operating systems when there should be just one? Even Ubuntu has multiple off-shoots which is understandable since people want to gear their computer towards gaming or speed specifically. But a media player?
But now it seems we might be seeing one platform dominating a field where previously there had been over 50 varieties.
Android has made Linux users happy with their Open Source Operating System. You can tell by looking through many of the different forums or sites Linux users use. Just about anytime you see a reference to a mobile phone operating system, Android is referenced in spades. A team of developers recently put the Linux kernal onto the iPhone. The reaction? People couldn't wait to try and put Android onto the iPhone. And while Apple has tried its best to keep the iPhone from being re-programmed, it may prove futile in the end.
The only hope Apple has now of avoiding the loss of its operating system (and becoming only a hardware manufacturer) is if it too opens up its programming to users and generates support from the community. As of now the iPhone is a novelty that, once Android is able to replicate or exceed, will eventually wear off. Then again, it may already be too late for Apple.
A while back I reported on Microsoft's prototype called the SideSight, a cellphone which uses infrared sensors to determine your hand movement. Now it turns out Apple has applied for a patent on just that.
Sure, the image isn't too clear, but what you see is a possible infrared sensor array using LEDs or OLEDs as the sensor. You'll be able to rotate displays with just a wave of your hand if you bring it close to the screen. It doesn't stop there too. Apparently they're looking into the same technology for a possible OLED iPhone that will feature these sensors. Now THAT would be awesome.