28 August 2014
Remember back in June when I said Apple hoped to schedule a special event in October to show off a new wearable device? Remember how I also said this: “Could things change between now and fall? That’s certainly possible.” Turns out that was a prescient hedge, because things have changed. Apple now plans to unveil a new wearable alongside the two next-generation iPhones we told you the company will debut on September 9th.
There is no way this watch/band/thing is being released in September, although that’s not what is surprising. If you look at history, the iPad was announced in January and released in April. The iPhone was announced in January and released in June.
What’s surprising is the announcement in September, alongside the new (big deal) iPhones. Apple has no clear motivation to rush an announcement — they could easily wait until October (just like their original plan that Packzwoski reported on a few weeks ago).
You could argue that coupling the products at the event is a sign that the iPhone and iWatch are meant to go together, like the iWatch is some ‘minor’ accessory. I just can’t get behind that, though. The whole community has been hyping this product for a long time now. If expectations were inflated, I think Apple’s PR team would have got the word out by now. They haven’t. This product is a big deal.
So, here is my guess, the iWatch is demoed in September but only briefly. The star of the show will be the phones. Needless to say, release information for the watch will also not be available. (Think how the Mac Pro was a sneak peek at WWDC). Then, in October, Apple can finalise details and really get the marketing train pushing for the watch’s public debut — I’m guessing late November. This gives people a taste of Apple’s trump card, but September is still firmly cemented as iPhone month.
27 August 2014
Includes 3 characters; Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach and Link. 4 vehicles including the Blue Falcon kart representing the F-Zero franchise. 8 course packs including classics like Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii,as well as the world of The Legend of Zelda.
Is this a sign of Nintendo modernising with the times?
27 August 2014
USA Today has revealed that it will soon be added to Apple’s list of supported third party apps with support for CarPlay. The mention slipped into the release notes of the USA Today’s latest iPhone app update mentioning that the app would no longer feature audio versions of articles as it prepares to add integration with CarPlay.
What’s funny is that any app can integrate with the CarPlay API’s in their code today. Everything’s fully documented. However, Apple must then add the app to its golden whitelist for it to actually show up in the CarPlay UI.
25 August 2014
Mario Kart 8 will now save your most-recent kart settings between play sessions – so there’s no more setting up your racer every time you load the game.
The menu options for “Next Race” and “Watch Highlight Reel” will be switched – a much-requested change by fans – and you’ll be able to alter options for other user’s highlight reels to watch different characters or events.
Thank the lord. It felt like Mario Kart’s menu designer was the same person who made iOS 7’s Shift key.
23 August 2014
The most expensive and complicated things we have to create and shoot are kitchens. From both an environmental and time point of view, we don’t want to have to ship in all those white-goods from everywhere, shoot them and then ship them all back again. And unfortunately, kitchens are one of those rooms that differ very much depending on where you are in the world. A kitchen in the US will look very different to a kitchen in Japan, for example, or in Germany. So you need lots of different layouts in order to localise the kitchen area in brochures. Very early on we created around 200 CG exchanges versions for 50 photographed kitchens in 2008, with the products we had – and I think everyone began to understand the real possibilities.
IKEA trained its photographers in 3D modelling and its 3D artists in photography. This was something I didn’t expect from a flatpack furniture company.
22 August 2014
Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July. One said Apple, aiming for the thinnest phone possible, initially wanted to cut back to a single layer of backlight film, instead of the standard two layers, for the 4.7-inch screen, which went into mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version.
Every year, it is reported that Apple is facing production problems with new products. With Apple’s relentless push to adopt new technologies at immense scales, like the single-layer backlight mentioned in this case, it’s not really that surprising that they frequently have issues. However, as long as Apple is equipped to deal with such problems (that they must expect), there isn’t really a “problem” at all. Given the iPhone’s consistent release cycle, I think you can say that it is true.
17 August 2014
According to a listing on Best Buy’s site for the Moto 360, we could end up paying $249. The device is also listed as having a 1.5-inch backlit LCD touch screen, with a 320×290 resolution, 205ppi, and Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. Matching up to what we learned from a leak a week ago, we are also seeing mentions of a heart rate monitor, water resistance (up to 3.3 feet for up to 30 minutes), and an ambient light sensor. On a specs tab, the listing suggests that there is 512MB of RAM, Wireless N connectivity, and a Texas Instruments processor inside.
Just because this article prompted me to think about it, if you asked me today to guess how much the iWatch will cost I would say $299. $350 at most.
15 August 2014
That’s exactly what’s happened to Billy Hanshaw, a motion graphics specialist from Leeds. He created his own title sequence for the new series of Doctor Who, complete with Peter Capaldi, a spinning Tardis, intergalactic vistas, and an eye-catching swoop through the gears of a clock. It became a viral hit on YouTube, notching over 700,000 views.
Now Moffat has acknowledged it as inspiring the actual opening credits sequence in the finished series. “Hanshaw created this title sequence, put it up on YouTube. I happened to cross it, and it was the only new title idea I’d seen since 1963,” he told a New York fan event. “We got in touch with him, and said, OK, we’re going to do that one.”
That’s pretty cool. You can find Hanshaw’s original on Vimeo. The finished version (which will air on the 23rd August) is similar in concept, although some of the rough edges (like the cheesy Capaldi-in-timepiece shot) have been removed.
14 August 2014
Ahead of Apple’s new iPhone event on September 9th, Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (that nation’s version of what we know in the U.S. as the FCC) has approved two new iPhone models for sale in the country. The approval was confirmed on Twitter by the country’s Secretary General for these matters, and a local report indicates the model numbers for two new devices: A1524 & A1586.
The model identifiers are puzzling. The current 5s and 5c goes up to A1533 and A1532. It would make sense for the the device labelled ‘A1586’ to be somehow next-generation (as it is significantly beyond the 5s and 5c identifiers). The specification of the A1524 model number is much less obvious. Painting by numbers, as it were, the A1524 should closely resemble an iPhone 5c.
Gurman speculates that the model number could represent variants of the iPhone 5s and 5c, such as antenna tweaks, which probably makes the most sense.
11 August 2014
In the first six months of 2014, 15-inch laptops accounted for 69 percent of consumer Windows laptop sales in the US, according to NPD data provided to The Verge. (17-inch laptops take another 12 percent of sales.) Forty-eight percent of those 15-inch laptops were priced between $300 and $500, right in the sweet spot (or just above) where the best Chromebooks are already priced.
Comparatively, MacBook sales are predominantly 13 inch notebooks, the 13 inch MacBook Air and the entry-level Retina MacBook Pro. I suppose a lot of this disparity can be explained by the difference in product variety between OS X and Windows machines, but it’s an interesting comparison nonetheless.
6 August 2014
“Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” the companies said in the statement. “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.”
A bit random timing for this to come about, but I suppose it is a good thing for all this to end. It’s slightly strange to me how the two companies continue to fight in the US though. Assumedly, the US is the market with the highest number of affected devices, making it worthwhile to continue chasing royalties and such.
Let’s hope this doesn’t flare up again in two months, when Samsung and Apple inevitably steal from each other for their wearable products. From what I can see, this agreement doesn’t preclude that from happening.
4 August 2014
Union Street Guest House:
If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review. (Please NOTE we will not charge this fee &/or will refund this fee once the review is taken down). Also, please note that we only request this of wedding parties and for the reasons explained above.
Not a joke.
1 August 2014
From ISPs I have spoken with, they tell me Apple has put a massive amount of capacity in place, with many saying that Apple has more than 10x the capacity they are using today, all ready to go.
Based on my calculations, Apple has already put in place multiple terabits per second of capacity and by the end of this year, will have invested well more than $100M in their CDN build out.
I don’t believe Apple expands capacity by an order of magnitude merely for future-proofing reasons. Adjustments to user growth happen gradually, not in one burst. My guess would be that this is for video content tied in with some new Apple TV (or iTunes Movies) initiative. Bitrates for high-definition video content are high enough to explain such increases in CDN bandwidth potential.
28 July 2014
Unread for iPhone has earned a total of $32K in App Store sales. Unread for iPad has earned $10K. After subtracting 40 percent in self-employment taxes and $350/month for health care premiums (times 12 months), the actual take-home pay from the combined sales of both apps is $21,000, or $1,750/month.
Considering the enormous amount of effort I have put into these apps over the past year, that’s a depressing figure. I try not to think about the salary I could earn if I worked for another company, with my skills and qualifications. It’s also a solid piece of evidence that shows that paid-up-front app sales are not a sustainable way to make money on the App Store.
You have to be efficient with your time to make good ROI’s on the App Store. I think that is a much more important than what app pricing model you choose. Betting on apps of incredibly large scale means you bear proportionately more risk, with the possibility of no return whatsoever. If you want to maximise your profitability, make small apps that do a few things well. The amount of effort you put into an app has very little to do with how much of the market will buy it. This means that making big apps exposes you to substantially more risk, which is not fairly counterbalanced by significantly higher earnings potential.
In my opinion, you make money on the App Store by selling small things — it’s very nature is a bitesize marketplace. This is how you maximise your effective hourly wage. This doesn’t mean you have to turn around crap. You can still output quality pieces of software. Pour your heart into something for a short while (a month, maybe three), then ship it. Make your easy money (the first couple of weeks of sales). Iterate until interest dies away. Work on something else. Repeat. If something becomes a smash hit, then by all means develop it.
Unread is the complete opposite of this, it’s a beast of an app. It took Sinclair a year of development time. As a result, Unread faced massive risks when it finally shipped. Recouping months of development time is a lot more painful than recouping weeks of work. Sometimes you will get lucky, often you won’t.
I made Writing Aid in under a month, on and off. Thankfully, it sold well and produced a fantastic sales to hours ratio. Imagine a scenario where it didn’t do that well. I would have essentially wasted a month of work … but that is a hell of a lot better than wasting a year of work. You hedge your bets by moving fast and moving on.
26 July 2014
TechCrunch has learned that Apple has made another acquisition, one that it is using to boost its e-books effort and “beat Amazon at its own game.” It has bought BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services.
I’m not quite sure what ‘beating Amazon at its own game’ entails, but from the outside, iBooks has always seemed like a runt in the litter. Apple pays as much attention to books as they do podcasts, yet they push iBooks as a mainstream operating system feature. Crucially, books costs money. Users expect more from stuff that they pay for and today Apple doesn’t really deliver.
24 July 2014
Kamcord, the SDK that lets iOS developers offer gameplay recording and sharing functionality, is today launching a redesigned community iOS app while announcing some impressive new milestones for the service.
Kamcord’s Eric Edelman tells me the company is doing “greater than 1% of YouTube’s upload volume now,” which means it’s uploading more than 1 hour of gameplay videos every minute. In total the platform is now at 14 million videos uploaded by users accounting for a 4x growth in share rate and up 9M videos since May. It’s also now in over 340+ mobile games, up from 200 mobile games in February when it launched official integration for Unreal Engine developers on both iOS and Android.
Twitch announced a competing SDK in March, although it doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the adoption that Kamcord has attained. It’s just another example of mobile being an equaliser for new entrants and incumbents. Twitch may be the largest video streaming platform for desktop games, but it hasn’t been able to translate that into mobile streaming dominance.