Conventional wisdom is that it will happen, it’s just a matter of when. What I found interesting about this AP article is this passage:
That helps Apple in another way, too. Because users of iPads and iPhones are tapped into Apple’s iTunes store, where the company rents and sells movies and television shows, you could easily consider Apple a cable company as well. If you look at it that way, its base of 200 million customers makes it five times larger than Comcast Corp., the largest cable company in the United States.
Wow. I doubt Apple’s iTunes customers have the same average monthly recurring charges (MRC) as Comcast’s customers, but it is still a staggering number.
This is Apple’s ace in the hole for future growth. It’s also a competitive advantage that I don’t think will be trumped anytime soon by their competition in the mobile space.
For the Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard release, Apple removed and/or deprecated a number of command line tools. One of these is Wget. Wget is a command line tool for retrieving files from HTTP, HTTPS and FTP. Apple’s logic in removing Wget lies around the command line tool, Curl, which does pretty much the same thing as Wget.
However, if you need Wget, you’re in luck. Andrew Merenbach has created a package installer for Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. You can download it here.
Like most professionals in the web development industry, I have tools that I’m required to know and use. For platforms, I have a choice between Mac OS X, Windows or Linux. Each has it’s advantages and disadvantages, but any of these options can get the job done. As you can guess from the name of this site, I’m a Mac user. I have been since 1992.
Being a longtime Mac user also means that I’m a longtime Adobe user. When I used my first Mac in 1992, the software I used was mostly Adobe (with the exception of Freehand and MacDraw). Illustrator and Photoshop have been part of my toolbox for nearly 18 years.
I’ve owned Adobe products for nearly as long as I’ve owned Apple products. Even when I couldn’t really afford them (and while many in my age bracket were just pirating them), I’ve purchased Adobe’s software. I started with Adobe Photoshop 3, and purchased every upgrade through 7. I bought Adobe Illustrator 5 in 1995 and owned every version through CS3 (AI 13).
The last Adobe purchase I made was for Creative Suite 3 in 2007. I upgraded from my copy of Macromedia Studio MX 2004, which was the least expensive upgrade option available to me. Ironic, isn’t it? To get the best upgrade price to CS3, I had to use my license for a non Adobe product (Macromedia Studio MX 2004) over my license for Adobe Photoshop. Go figure.
Jump to 2010. To upgrade to Creative Suite 5 Web Premium from the Creative Suite 3 Web Premium is a whopping $799. I understand that covers upgrades for 9 applications, but really I only want upgrades for the core set. I don’t use Flash anymore, so I have no need to upgrade to the latest versions. I don’t use Contribute, so I don’t care about that either. I haven’t used Dreamweaver in years, so I don’t really want that either.
Really, all I want is Photoshop, Fireworks and Illustrator. You would think that I’d be able to upgrade just those applications.
You’d be wrong.
Adobe will not let you upgrade from a suite to an individual product. This essentially leaves me with no affordable upgrade path for my Adobe products.
So, with this new reality, I’m forced to re-evaluate my Adobe needs. Do I need Fireworks? No. The number of people who send me Fireworks files are zero. I used Fireworks as a quick prototyping tool. But to be honest, the Mac version has been buggy/crashy, and long standing bugs have yet to be addressed. In short, Fireworks was a want, not a need. So, it’s removed from the equation.
Then there is Illustrator. I do receive Adobe Illustrator files from time to time from people. Thankfully, most of them are on versions even older than CS3 (what does that tell you?), so I can probably make due with CS3 for a bit longer. So, it’s removed from the equation.
Which brings us to Photoshop. More than any other application, Photoshop has been the cornerstone of my career for as long as I can remember. When I was a print designer, to when I moved over to web design, Photoshop has been the tool that was almost always open on my computer.
Lately, that has changed a bit.
Mac OS X native image editors like Acorn and Pixelmator have come a long way in the last 2 years. Pixelmator, especially, has added some great features that I use daily, like Slices and Web Export. In basic image editing usage, Pixelmator:
1. Opens quicker.
2. Is easier to navigate.
3. Integrates better with standard Apple technologies (media bin, Aperture library)
Not to mention that Pixelmator’s developers aren’t behind some great big wall. You can email them directly. You will receive a response. You can log bugs with them. And amazingly – the bugs even get fixed!
A company the size of Adobe’s should have world class customer service. Instead, Adobe has some of the worst customer experiences in the software field. Hell, just ordering their products is an ordeal in figuring out which version you are eligible for an upgrade to, and what price you’ll pay.
Adobe has gone from a company that I want to give my money to, to a company that I will delay giving money to as long as I can.
At some point in the future, I will probably need to purchase Photoshop CS5 or it’s successor. But until I absolutely need to, I will hobble along with Photoshop CS3, and continue to use Pixelmator for every task it’s suited for. That currently stands at about 80% of what I used to use Photoshop for. If Pixelmator were to add vector tools and improve their text editing tool, that would probably reach 95%. At that point, I have little need for a bloated, aging dinosaur of an application like Photoshop.
Part of me is saddened by this. Adobe has become that friend that I used to hang out with on a daily basis, to a friend that I only call on when I absolutely, positively need something that only they can provide. And they are currently working themselves out of that position as well.
The only solace I find is in the new friend, who doesn’t do everything I need of him yet, but does enough that I think less and less of the old friend every time I use it.
And speaking of Safari and Extensions… The wonderful Coda Notes that was demonstrated at WWDC by Panic’s Cabel Sasser is now available for download. This slick little tool lets you view a webpage, mark it up with notes, scribbles, drawings and highlights, and send it off to the poor sap who has to take your art direction and make the requested edits. Brilliant.
It’s been over a week since Apple held their “Antennagate” press conference, and while it is still early, I would say reaction to Apple’s free bumper remedy seems to be positive.
Apple is really going on the offensive, trying to communicate their point that all smartphones suffer some degree of radio interference when the phone is held in a person’s hand. Apple launched a new top level directory on their website “antenna” with examples of some of the more popular smartphone models exhibiting the same behavior as the iPhone 4. And it’s keeping this page up to date, adding videos of the Droid X and Nokia N97 in the last week to the previous examples.
Two weeks ago, Apple had a serious problem on it’s hands. I’d argue that it was more of a public relations problem than a product problem. They were getting beaten up in the press, and their flagship product, the iPhone 4 was in serious risk of becoming a punch line.
What was striking about the Press Conference was Steve Job’s tone. He clearly didn’t believe the level of noise surrounding the iPhone 4 antenna was worthy of the heaps of criticism it was receiving in the press (for the record, neither did I). He also clearly didn’t agree with free bumper solution. His tone during this part of the press conference can be described as nothing less than disgust. Hell, even the opening/closing music (Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader”)to the press conference indicates this.
I’m sure the lawyers at Apple saw the free bumper as a relatively inexpensive way to make the problem go away until Apple can tweak their manufacturing process to provide some sort of permanent solution to the problem. Delays in the white iPhone 4 from next month to “some time later this year” seem to support this theory as well.
My guess is that Apple is currently reworking the outer band of the iPhone 4 to remove the black lines, so that it’s not quite as obvious where it’s achilles heel actually is.
One month in to ownership of my iPhone 4 and I feel the same about it today that I did on the day I purchased it. It’s the best mobile device I have ever owned. It’s a marked improvement over it’s predecessor in every category – speed, signal strength, size, build, and fit and finish. Consumer Reports may have a hard time recommending it, but I don’t. If you want the best mobile device currently on the market, the iPhone 4 is it.
I went looking in iTunes today for the link to upgrade my library from old, DRM encrusted files to new, freshly squeezed DRM free iTunes Plus files. After about 15 minutes of searching in the store to no avail, I finally found a link to “Upgrade my Library” outside the store, courtesy of an FAQ on Apple’s Support site.
So, if you are still carrying around some of these neutered music files and would like to remove the DRM (for about $.30 each), click on over.
Well, at least we now know how AT&T plans to fix it’s network woes…by limiting the amount of data iPhone users can use.
From the press release:
- DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 150 emails with attachments, plus view 400 Web pages, plus post 50 photos on social media sites, plus watch 20 minutes of streaming video – for just $15 per month.** This plan, which can save customers up to 50 percent off their wireless data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the cycle. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
- DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, plus view 4,000 Web pages, plus post 500 photos to social media sites, plus watch 200 minutes of streaming video – for $25 per month.** Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle. Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.
- Tethering. Smartphone customers – including iPhone customers – who choose the DataPro plan have the option to add tethering for an additional $20 per month. Tethering lets customers use their smartphones as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks or other computing devices. Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases iPhone OS 4 this summer.
Additionally, iPhone plans will be converted from $30 all you can consume to $25 2GB plans.
Austrailian iPhone OS developers Shifty Jelly have found their app MyFrame rejected by Apple, after it was previously approved 3 times. The reason seems to be it’s Dashboard like functionality, giving it a “desktop” like feel.
From their blog:
Just yesterday the company that I work for (Groundhog Software) got a phone call from Apple, telling us that our photo frame application for the iPad My Frame was to be removed from the Apple App Store. They refused to be pinned down to an exact reason, simply stating that they were doing a cull of any applications that presented widgets to the user. All the guy on the phone would say is how much he liked our application, and how sorry he was, but there was nothing he could do. All we got out of him was that Apple no longer liked ‘widgets’ and wanted all widget apps removed. They refused to say what (if anything) we could remove from our application, or even who we could discuss this with.
An email sent to Steve Jobs ilicited this reply:
We are not allowing apps that create their own desktops. Sorry.
Sent from my iPad
It’s crappy behavior like this that poisions the well of happy, excited developers. Right now, the biggest thing driving developers to the Android platform is Apple itself. I can fully appreciate Apple wanting to prevent apps from duplicating functionality that Apple intends to provide in their operating systems, but they should have to abide by their own playbook, and when giving a developer a red card, they should only be able to do so when they can cite a rule that has been broken.
If Apple is working on adding Dashboard like functionality to the iPad, they should put rules specifically prohibiting such apps in their documentation. Additionally, they should give the developers a clear, concise path to getting their app approved. And for apps that are already in the app store, they should give the developer a grace period before removing the app completely from the store. Something like two weeks would probably be sufficient.
It’s behavior like this that has me pulling for Android, and hoping that Apple is taught a lesson sooner rather than later.