Tag Archives: apple

service

What companies have the worst customer service?

Ranker.com, a platform that produces thousands of crowdsourced answers to opinion-based questions, has collected nearly 14,000 votes on what people think are the companies with the worst customer service. Nearly 5,000 votes were also collected on what people think are the most evil Internet companies. Here are the current rankings for both lists:

Companies With the Worst Customer Service

1. Time Warner Cable
2. AT&T
3. Bank of America
4. Walmart
5. American Airlines
6. Comcast
7. Citibank
8. Best Buy
9. Gold’s Gym
10. Ticketmaster

The Most Evil Internet Companies:

1. Facebook
2. Comcast
3. Apple
4. Time Warner Cable
5. Go Daddy
6. AOL
7. Electronic Arts
8. Microsoft Corporation
9. Google
10. Twitter

phoenix

GPEC Earns Economic Development honor

Cited as one of the Best to Invest Top U.S. Groups of 2013, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) has once again made Site Selection magazine’s annual ranking for top U.S. Economic Development Groups.

“This recognition is a reflection of our elected and business leaders working together to promote Greater Phoenix and Arizona as business friendly,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The Arizona Competitiveness Package of 2011 and subsequent economic development policies have dramatically shifted our market’s competitive position towards advanced manufacturing and other high-tech industries.”

The ranking took into account four objective categories: new jobs, new jobs per 10,000 residents, new investment amount and new investment per 10,000 residents. “This year’s Best to Invest Top Groups in the U.S. all demonstrated an ability to reach new markets while reaping significant reinvestments from their existing industries,” said Ron Starner, general manager and executive vice president of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection magazine.

The magazine also features a ranking for top North American deals of 2013, highlighting the Apple, Inc. locate to Mesa, Ariz. The collaboration included a partnership between GPEC, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the city of Mesa, DMB Associates, Maricopa County, and Salt River Project.

Several factors contributed to determining the Top Deals of 2013, including: level of capital investment, degree of high-wage jobs, creativity in negotiations and incentives, regional economic impact, competition for the project and speed to market. “Trends among this elite group of projects include a penchant for free trade zones and an awareness that sometimes facility reuse is as good as brand new,” said Adam Bruns, managing editor of Site Selection.

Broome credits the successful consummation of the project to “years of work on infrastructure, permitting, and crafting performance-based incentives.” He also cited the ability to offer a “turnkey real estate option” as a key factor in sealing the deal.

manufacturing sector expanded

Brewer OKs tax cut law for manufacturers

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill that eliminates sales taxes on electricity and natural gas purchased by manufacturers and mining smelters, a move she said was needed to make the state more attractive to large businesses.

Brewer signed Senate Bill 1413 at a Capitol ceremony attended by a couple of dozen business leaders, calling it “another smart tax reform that will bolster job creation in Arizona and our competitive edge.”

The tax cut is expected to cost the state general fund at least $17 million a year. Brewer also vetoed money in the state budget designed to help counties make up for the losses, saying their loss was small and would set a bad precedent.

“Since becoming governor, my cornerstone priority has been to make Arizona as attractive as possible for new and expanding businesses, particularly for our manufacturing industry, which generates quality jobs and high-wage salaries,” Brewer said. “I want Arizona to be No. 1 and be the pro-business state in the nation and we have worked relentlessly to accomplish that.”

Later in the day, Brewer also signed a law providing a $5 million tax credit many say is aimed directly at Apple Inc. Senate Bill 1484 grants the tax credit to a company that installs at least $300 million in renewable power capacity to supply its own plant.

The governor touted other tax cuts, regulatory reform and business-friendly policies that she has championed since she took office in 2009. Those tax cuts have affected the state’s revenue, but she said they are important to growing the economy.

“When we bring in these new businesses it drives our economy, they bring in construction jobs, they bring in employees, they bring in money into the state,” she said. “So in the end, everybody’s ship rises.”

Brewer called for the elimination of the tax in her State of the State address in January, saying it was needed to make Arizona more competitive and draw new manufacturing to the state.

The bill received bipartisan support in both legislative chambers, although one conservative Republican in the House of Representatives dissented when it came up for a vote earlier this week.

Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, says the bill places a burden on rural counties that rely on that tax base. She and other rural lawmakers managed to get $1.3 million in the budget to make up for the cuts, but Brewer vetoed that money Friday afternoon.

“I am getting to the point that a lot of these special legislation bills that we are promoting are harming the state of Arizona, and they are harming our rural counties and our rural cities, and I don’t believe we are doing a very good job of doing what’s right for the right reasons,” Barton said during debate earlier in the week. She didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Others defended the bill.

“I think anytime we can support small businesses and reduce their taxes and large businesses and reduce their taxes, and allow them to reinvest in their business and reinvest in the communities and reinvest in their employees, I think we need to be looking for opportunities to do this,” Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, said.

Steve Macias, chairman of the Arizona Manufacturer’s Council and the operator of a machine shop that will get a small direct benefit from the tax cut, said it could bring in more manufacturing.

“Seventy percent, 80 percent of the business we do is right here in Arizona,” Macias said of his operation. “And almost all of that is to larger manufacturers, the General Dynamics of the world, the guys who make equipment for the solar industry. So when they attract those guys, I get excited because to me those are all potential customers.”

Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said 38 other states do not tax electricity use by manufacturers and cutting the tax will help the state.

“These are jobs that pay more than the median wage. They’re jobs that every other state competes for, and we’ve done something significant to make Arizona more competitive today,” Hamer said.

The tax credit bill drew the ire of conservative House Republicans, who said say the bill is unfairly tailored to benefit Apple’s planned Mesa sapphire glass manufacturing plant and picked winners and losers among the state’s industries.

Apple said in November it will open the plant and eventually employ 700 workers to provide material for its iPhone 5 cameras and fingerprint reading sensors.

The tax credit could also be claimed by other companies that build similar facilities. Tesla Motors Inc. is currently looking for a battery plant site and often mentioned as a possible candidate.

“We as conservatives have got to step away from this crony capitalist style of development,” Rep. Adam Kwasman, R-Oro Valley, said during debate on the bill Tuesday. “We cannot afford to pick winners and losers in industry. We believe in low taxes for everybody. We believe in simple rules for everybody.”

But the bill sponsor defended it, saying it was a small amount of money to help establish a large manufacturing operation. The Arizona Commerce Authority helped seal the deal with other incentives.

“I believe that they did the right thing to bring Apple here,” Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, carried the Apple bill, saying he did it because the Arizona Commerce Authority had made a commitment to the company as part of the deal to draw them here. “And the dollars are very small in the whole scheme of things with Apple being in the Valley. They could have gone to Texas, they could have gone other places and we wanted them here. It’s a good decision.”

APPLE-IPHONE_Goss-547x198

Apple Manufacturing Plant Brings 1,300 Construction Jobs to Valley

Apple Inc. says it will open a manufacturing plant in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will eventually employ 700 workers. About 1,300 construction jobs will also be created as the First Solar plant designed to make thin-film solar panels is converted. The company sold the plant last month.

“Apple’s presence in the region will be a game-changer for the Greater Phoenix area, its innovation landscape and future ability to attract other high-tech companies,” said GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome. “Between their plans to hire 700 direct employees and run completely on renewable energy, I’m convinced Apple could not have chosen a better location than Mesa and Eastmark. This deal is the result of the cooperation and support of several parties, including Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri, City of Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, DMB Associates, the ACA and SRP, whose infrastructure will enable more projects to move forward in the surrounding area.”

To read more, visit azbigmedia.com

data.center

IO Attracts Top Tech Talent

IO, the leading provider of next-generation modular data center technology and services, today announced Alan McIntosh, former chief information officer at Groupon has been appointed senior vice president of global technology delivery and Apple marketing veteran Anne Wolf has been appointed senior vice president of global marketing and communications. Additionally, Bob Butler has been promoted to chief security officer (CSO) in charge of global information security and privacy.

These executive appointments follow a blockbuster quarter for IO with the Goldman Sachs adoption of IO Data Center 2.0 technology, the award of the Underwriter’s Laboratories first ever certification for a modular data center product, and a $90 million funding round. IO’s solutions enable organizations to shift from real estate-based data center infrastructure to efficient, sustainable, and software-optimized IO.Anywhere modules. These highly experienced additions to the management team will better enable IO to manage the rapid growth at IO due to the accelerating adoption of Data Center 2.0 by global enterprises, governments and service providers.

McIntosh will help drive this growth and apply his deep knowledge in cloud infrastructure to IO’s global technology delivery strategy and implementation. He has a proven track record in designing and operating web scale global Internet infrastructure at Groupon, CBS Interactive, CNET Networks and Oracle. McIntosh brings both the operations and technical experience that is essential for successfully managing the day-to-day operations at a company that is moving as quickly as IO.

Wolf brings more than two decades of Fortune 500 technology industry experience that includes a ten-year product and solution marketing tenure with Apple. She most recently held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for 41st Parameter, a leading fraud detection solution provider for the world’s top financial institutions and e-commerce companies. At IO, Wolf will drive the global brand, strategic product marketing, corporate communications and Data Center 2.0 market education.

Formerly Vice President of Government Strategies at IO, Butler has been promoted to Chief Security Officer at IO, where he will oversee internal information security, privacy and cyber security readiness for our products and among our global customer base. Butler has over 32 years of multinational experience spanning Defense, Intelligence, National Security and Information Technology positions. Prior to IO, Butler served two years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, where he was responsible to the Secretary of Defense and senior Defense leaders for recommending and implementing policy strategies to improve the Defense Department’s cyber position.

“At IO you are the average of your team,” says George D. Slessman, CEO of IO. “As we approach the tipping point for Data Center 2.0 globally, IO is succeeding by attracting, developing and nurturing world class talent like Alan, Anne and Bob. “

 

Apple

Apple’s iPad Mini priced at $329

Apple Inc. is refusing to compete on price with its rivals in the tablet market — it’s pricing its new, smaller iPad well above the competition.

On Tuesday, the company revealed the iPad Mini, with a screen that’s about two-thirds the size of the full-size model, and said it will cost $329 and up.

Apple starts taking orders for the new model on Friday Oct. 26, said marketing chief Phil Schiller at an event in San Jose, Calif. Wi-Fi-only models on Nov. 2. Later, the company will add models capable of accessing “LTE” wireless data networks.

The price fits into the Apple product lineup between the iPad 2 at $399 and the latest version of the iPod touch at $299. But company watchers had been expecting Apple to price the iPad Mini at $250 to $300 to counter the threat of less expensive tablets like Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire, which starts at $159. Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook HD and Google Inc.’s Nexus 7 both start at $199.

Apple shares fell $14.83, or 2.3 percent, to $619.20 when the price was announced. Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. jumped 91 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $15.35.

Shares of Amazon.com Inc. were down 12 cents, or less than 0.1 percent, at $233.66 while the rest of the stock market was in retreat.

T Mobile IPhone

Release of iPhone 5 gives retail a boost

The new iPhone 5 goes on sale in retail stores later this week, but buyers went online early last Friday to gobble up the latest Apple offering.

Apple opened online pre-orders of the new smartphone at 3:01 a.m. last Friday and sold out of its available stock within an hour.

According to Apple’s website, people looking to order the iPhone 5 now will need to wait two weeks before getting the new device.

“Our online systems have performed flawlessly. We have seen significant volume since we started to accept the pre-orders at 3 a.m. There is clearly strong interest from our customers,” said Michelle Gilbert, spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless.

Gilbert said customers were asking questions about their account to see if they were eligible to upgrade to the new phone, its costs and what would be the correct rate plan for them.

“We’re very pleased with our customers’ initial interest in the iPhone 5 on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Our stores will be open early at 8 a.m. [Friday] when the iPhone [officially] launches,” Gilbert said

The iPhone 5 will cost $199 for a 16 GB version; $299 for a 32 GB version; and $399 for a 64 GB version.

 

Phil Schiller

New iPhone 5 will be taller, skinnier

For the first time, the iPhone is growing. After sticking for five years to the same screen size, Apple on Wednesday revealed a new phone that’s taller, with a bigger screen.

The iPhone 5 will go on sale in the U.S. and eight other countries next Friday, Sept. 21.

Even though it’s taller than the iPhone 4S, it’s lighter, thanks to a new screen technology that makes the whole phone thinner.

The bigger screen — 4 inches measured diagonally — creates room for another row of icons on the screen and lets widescreen movies fit better. Previous iPhone models carried 3.5-inch screens.

In another big change, the iPhone 5 will come with the capability to connect to the fastest new wireless data networks in the U.S. and overseas.

There was little in Wednesday’s announcement that surprised Apple watchers. Despite the pains the company takes to hide its plans, the rough launch date, the new screen and the capability to connect to so-called LTE networks had been reported for months by blogs and analysts.

“There was nothing unexpected in terms of the new features of the iPhone,” said Tavis McCourt, an analyst with Raymond James.

That’s a contrast to last year, when Apple watchers were first surprised by a delay in the launch, and then by the fact that the phone that was revealed was the iPhone 4S rather than a more radical update.

One thing that did surprise McCourt this year: Apple is launching the phone in so many countries so quickly. On Day One, the phone will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the U.K., besides the U.S.

A week later, it will go on sale in 22 more countries, including Italy, Poland and Spain.

It’s the year’s most anticipated phone. The number Apple can sell, analysts believe, is limited mostly by the production capacity of its suppliers. There had been concerns that supplies could be tight. Even so, analysts were expecting Apple to sell tens of millions of phones before the year is out.

Another surprise was that the phone will be 18 percent thinner than its predecessor. The company was expected to use the space freed up by the new screen technology to expand the phone’s battery, not make the phone thinner.

The bigger screen moves Apple somewhat closer to competing smartphones, but the iPhone is still small compared with its main rivals. Samsung Electronics Co., Apple’s biggest competitor, has increased the screen size of its flagship phone line every year, and it’s now 4.8 inches on the diagonal, about 45 percent larger than the one on the new iPhone. The new iPhone is lighter than Samsung’s new Galaxy S III.

Among devices with even bigger screen — tablet computers — Apple is dominant. This summer, Apple watchers were expecting the company to trot out a smaller version of its iPad when it launched the iPhone 5. But those expectations have been adjusted recently, and that launch is now believed to be next month.

The phone will cost the same as the iPhone 4S did when it debuted, starting at $199 with a two-year contract in the U.S. Meanwhile, the price for the iPhone 4S will drop to $99 for new contract signers and the iPhone 4 will be free.

In the U.S., advance orders will start this Friday.

With the new model, Apple is ditching the connection port it’s used for iPods, iPhones and iPads for nearly a decade in favor of a smaller, narrower one. That means Apple is still the holdout in an industry where other manufacturers have settled on a standard connector for charging and computer backups.

There will be adapters available so that the new phone will be able to connect to sound docks and other accessories designed for the old phones.

The camera on the back of the iPhone 5 has the same resolution as the one on the iPhone 4S, but takes pictures faster and works better in low light, Apple said.

The front-facing camera is getting an upgrade to high-definition, letting users take advantage of the faster data networks for videoconferencing.

The iPhone 5 will arrive with a new version of Apple’s operating system, iOS. It will be available for download to older phones on Sept. 19.

One feature missing from the new phone is a chip for near-field communications, or NFC. Other top-of-the-line phones are incorporating such chips, which let phones work as credit cards at some store payment terminals. They also enable phones to share data when “bumped” into each other.

Apple also announced a new iPod Touch model that brings over the changes applied to the iPhone 5, including the bigger screen and smaller connection port. For the first time, Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant software, Siri, will be available on the iPod. Apple is also updating its iTunes software for the Mac and PC, with what it says is a “dramatically simpler and cleaner interface.” It will be available as a free download in October.

In another audio-related update, the white earbuds that ship with all of Apple’s portable devices are getting an update. Now called EarPods, they’re tube-shaped, which Apple says will help meld them to the shape of your ear. The EarPods took three years to design, Apple said. They’ll go on sale Wednesday as a stand-alone accessory for $29, but will be included free with new devices out in October.

Since Apple’s main announcements were largely in line with expectations, investors registered a tepid response. Apple shares rose $9.13, or 1.4 percent, to close at $669.72. The shares have been on a tear as expectations rose for the iPhone 5, rallying 16 percent since Apple’s latest earnings report, in July. On Monday, they hit an all-time high of $683.29.

 

87735339

Could Apple’s $1B patent verdict help it corner market?

It was the $1 billion question Saturday: What does Apple Inc.’s victory in an epic patent dispute over its fiercest rival mean for the U.S. smartphone industry?

Analysts from Wall Street to Hong Kong debated whether a jury’s decision that Samsung Electronics Co. ripped off Apple technology would help Apple corner the U.S. smartphone market over Android rivals, or amount to one more step in a protracted legal battle over smartphone technology.

Many analysts said the decision could spell danger for competitors who, like Samsung, use Google Inc.’s Android operating system to power their cellphones.

“I am sure this is going to put a damper on Android’s growth,” New York-based Isi Group analyst Brian Marshall said, “It hurts the franchise.”

The Silicon Valley jury found that some of Samsung’s products illegally copied features and designs exclusive to Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The verdict was narrowly tailored to only Samsung, which sold more than 22 million smartphones and tablets that Apple claimed used its technology, including the “bounce-back” feature when a user scrolls to an end image, and the ability to zoom text with a tap of a finger.

But most other Apple competitors have used the Android system to produce similar technology, which could limit the features offered on all non-Apple phones, analysts said.

“The other makers are now scrambling” to find alternatives, said Rob Enderle, a leading technology analyst based in San Jose.

Seo Won-seok, a Seoul-based analyst at Korea Investment said that the popular zooming and bounce-back functions the jury said Samsung stole from Apple will be hard to replicate.

The companies could opt to pay Apple licensing fees for access to the technology or develop smarter technology to create similar features that don’t violate the patent — at a cost likely to be passed onto consumers.

Apple lawyers are planning to ask that the two dozen Samsung devices found to have infringed its patents be barred from the U.S. market. Most of those devices are “legacy” products with almost nonexistent new sales in the United States. Apple lawyers will also ask that the judge triple the damage award to $3 billion since the jury found Samsung “willfully” copied Apple’s patents.

A loss to the Android-based market would represent a big hit for Google as well. Google relies on Android devices to drive mobile traffic to its search engine, which in turn generates increased advertising revenue. Android is becoming increasingly more important to Google’s bottom line because Apple is phasing out reliance on Google services such as YouTube and mapping as built-in features on the iPhone and iPad.

Some experts cautioned that the decision might not be final, noting the California lawsuit is one of nine similar legal actions across the globe between the two leading smartphone makers.

Samsung has vowed to appeal the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that Apple’s patents for such “obvious” things as rounded rectangle were wrongly granted. A Sept. 20 hearing is scheduled.

The $1 billion represents about 1.5 percent of Samsung’s annual revenue. Jerome Schaufield, a technology professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute said the verdict wouldn’t upend a multibillion-dollar global industry.

“Samsung is powerful,” Schaufield said. “The company will regroup and go on.”

Samsung engineers have already been designing around the disputed patent since last year.

“We should never count out Samsung’s flexibility and nimbleness,” said Mark Newman, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein. “This is merely an embarrassment and annoyance to the company that they will have to find ways around.”

The dispute centers on Apple’s dissatisfaction with Google’s entry into the phone market when the search company released its Android operating system and announced any company could use it free of cost.

Google entered the market while its then-CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board, infuriating Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who considered Android to be a blatant rip-off of the iPhone’s innovations. Apple filed its patent infringement lawsuit in April 2011, engaging the country’s highest-paid patent lawyers to demand $2.5 billion.

The verdict didn’t faze some iPhone users, who said that they already know Apple phones are superior.

The rivals are “modeling phones based on what they see with the iPhone,” said David Green of Wareham, Mass., finishing a call on his iPhone while waiting to catch a train.

He switched to Apple from a BlackBerry about a year ago, after becoming disenchanted with the reliability and technological features of non-Apple smartphones.

“When I got the iPhone, it worked so well that I told my friends, ‘Now I have a REAL smartphone,’” Green said.

ShopKeep POS

Business Makes Technological Leap With Shopkeep’s iPad POS System

Stacey Barnes, owner of Scottsdale GoodyTwo’s, shares the benefits of using Shopkeep’s cloud-based, iPad POS System for easier transactions and manageability.


Bulky, noisy and generally unattractive, cash registers are not particularly glamorous, and by today’s standards have limited functionality. And local businesses, including GoodyTwos Toffee Company, have upgraded to a much more economical, manageable and accessible point of sale (POS) system for the tech-savvy age — ShopKeep’s cloud-based POS.

ShopKeep POSLike many business owners, Stacey Barnes and Donna Gabrilson of GoodyTwos Toffee Company (founded in 2004 by the mother/daughter duo) decided to make the upgrade and switched to the sleekly-housed, web-based program, which delivers the cash register’s essential capability, while also providing data that informs smart, timely business decisions.

ShopKeep POS not only receives your payment, it simplifies and automates the complicated process of reporting on sales, which permits business owners to track up-to-the-second sales data and inventory. This data can be segmented and presented in multiple formats, enabling business owners to make better decisions. This same data can also be accessed from any device because all of the intelligence is stored in the cloud.

Shopkeep created an app for the iPad,” Barnes says. “The iPad was more affordable compared to the other hardware you would have to buy with traditional POS.”

With iPad registers and a streamlined back-end portal, ShopKeep utilizes tools that assist small businesses to grow more cost effectively, minimizing time, labor and the risk of the unknown.

I can see daily, monthly, annual, top selling items and what time of the day is the busiest for GoodyTwos,” Barnes says. “You can generate reports, manage your inventory and control your employee access ― all of which helps us run our business smarter.”

Chris Pace, managing principal of Congruity Solutions, is an authorized reseller partner for ShopKeep for the Phoenix area, and he personally installed ShopKeep at GoodyTwos.

Pace encourages owners and managers of businesses small and large to make the switch.

ShopKeep is simple in design; young and old alike use Apple technology, so the learning curve is quite simple for most people,” Pace says. “Large companies benefit from having data outside of their walls, with tighter security and redundant backup, all with no incremental hardware investment. Cloud-based systems mean you only pay for what you use.”

Barnes and Gabrilson say they are confident that the switch to the cloud-based POS represents their dedication to a quality product with an innovative twist.

The system allows us to show our brand in a new, exciting way,” Gabrilson says. “GoodyTwos has always been about our wholesome products showcased in a modern, fun light, and this adds an element of technology.”

For the ladies of GoodyTwos Toffee, Shopkeep has made managing their business and checking out customers not only more efficient, but also a bit sweeter.

For more information about GoodyTwos or ShopKeep, visit goodytwos.com and shopkeep.com, respectively.

Mint.com screenshot

Five Great Apps For Mobile Finance

Mobile finance is about to boom (some say we’re already there). You may have dabbled a little with your own bank’s mobile app for easy money transfers and to check balances. Or you might be quite savvy with Google Wallet and PayPal on your phone. There are a myriad of new apps to help you with all of your financial needs and are great for both personal and business use.

Most of these apps are available across Apple, Android and Blackberry platforms, and new ones are coming out every week. They help with everything from debt reduction, to managing how payments, to investing.

Here are five mobile finance apps to check out:

Debt Tracker

Most Americans are carrying some debt right now, and businesses are no exception. Debt Tracker helps you store all of your debt information in one place, plan how to pay it off quickly, and it calculates how long it will take you to pay off each debt. This app subscribes to the popular “snowball theory” of debt-repayment — where you aggressively pay off one debt at a time, while paying the minimums to the rest — and has tools to help guide you through. Free and paid versions are available.

Mint

You’ve probably heard of Mint.com, as one of the first free and easy-to-use budgeting tools to hit the Web. This app is free and connects your phone to your bank accounts. It helps you track spending, and stick to a budget. The features in both the online version and the app make it almost a no-brainer, doing all of the hard work for you. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, this is a dependable way to go.

Pageonce

This company claims to manage all of your financial data, and lets you pay bills, from one simple app. They also claim to take security quite seriously, which is important for anyone accessing financial data online. Keep in mind that the payment card industry hasn’t kept up with mobile transactions, in terms of security standards. Anyone who accesses financial information via a mobile device should heed this. However, Pageonce makes a point of touting security as one of the best values of this application.

BillTracker

Sometimes you just forget to pay a bill. It happens to even the most responsible of us. BillTracker keeps you in line and lets you know when bills are due, so you’ll never suffer from a late fee again.

iExpense

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little financial planner in your pocket? That’s the point of this nifty app. iExpense does more than just help you budget and make payments, it actually gives you advice on how to achieve financial goals — whatever those goals are. This app was designed by financial advisors. While it can’t quite replace a real professional, it can act almost like a coach to keep you in line between that annual visit with your planner.

Just keep in mind that mobile finance apps like these are only as good as the person using them. They won’t suddenly make you a financial guru or do all of the work for you. But they can help keep you in line to achieve your financial goals — whatever they may be.

iPad

The New iPad Vs. iPad 2

I heard a colleague pondering out loud the other day about the new iPad. He felt that because this tablet is now three generations in, it’s probably time to get one. So I asked him, “Why get the new one when you can get an iPad 2 refurbished for half the cost?” (In case you haven’t been following, I’m a sucker for second-hand). In truth though, even a new iPad 2 is still cheaper than the most recent iteration, and it’s almost as good.

So this was an honest question. The iPad 2 is incredible — beautiful display, fast, sleek, dual-core processor and a camera. My colleague looked at me like I had grown another head. For him, it was the new iPad or nothing, though I’m not sure he had a valid reason other than it was the new, shiny toy on the market.

For those of you wondering what you can get from the new iPad and if it’s worth the cost, here’s a run-down of its key features:

5MP iSight Camera

Well there’s that. Rabid iPad fans have been waiting for this feature, especially as people turn to their tablet to store pictures and create amazing-looking online scrapbooks. For those not into manual camera tinkering, this camera has features like auto focus, tap to focus, and tap to set exposure functions. In other words, it’ll be hard not to take amazing photos. You can also record 1080p HD video on this iPad, which is great for those who like to record and store stills and video all in one place. But unless you’re a camera junkie, you may not even notice a difference between this and the camera on the iPad 2.

Improved display

Apple is making a big hubbub over the retina display in the new iPad, claiming that it makes images, movies and text remarkably more clear. I’m not entirely sold. Again, to the average, not-terribly-geeked-out eyes, the difference is minimal. The iPad 2 was a substantial improvement over the first iPad. While Apple says it has done it again, and the technical data is there, I’m not calling this as a game changer.

Speed

The new iPad is built for speed. That is, it’s built for the 4G network. It claims to work beautifully on both AT&T and Verizon, and can even support a SIM card. Something else kind of nice, especially for the executive who uses an iPad for work, you can use the iPad as a hotspot. If your carrier supports it, iPad can connect wireless for up to five devices over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB. Not too shabby.

iCloud

The iCloud was one of the best releases for Apple in the last year. For business executives who are nervous about storing content on mobile devices, the iCloud can be seen as a lifesaver. I recently lost my iPhone and was able to quickly track it down using iCloud, then swipe all of the content off my phone, remotely, when I saw that the phone had been picked up by an evil thief. Restoring everything to a new device took mere minutes. And aside from the 20 minutes I spent watching my phone drive through Scottsdale via Google Maps, the iCloud saved me from a lot of anguish. Mostly, I wasn’t concerned that confidential data would be taken from my phone because I had total control, remotely, to save that data and plant it on a new device. Because so many more people are taking the iPad to work, this is absolutely a must. Of course, you can get this with your iPad 2.

To conclude, the third generation iPad is a beautiful device but may not be worth the cost for the first time iPad buyer. Instead, I would recommend it for folks who bought a first generation iPad and are ready for an upgrade. There are significant differences between these two versions. But if you were smart enough to purchase the iPad 2 last year, my advice is to hold on to it and get your money’s worth for another year.

iPad connection to computer

Apple’s New iPad 2 ~ A Faster And Efficient Upgrade

The iPad 2 — It’s thinner; it’s lighter, and it’s faster.iPad 2, released March 2011, Flickr: Robert Scoble

Apple’s new toy was released to the public in early March and with it came several much-anticipated features that makes its predecessor look like a relic.

So what are some of the differences in Apple’s newest project?  Is the hype deserving of the product? Yes, and here’s why:

Size

Slimmer than the previous iPad, the iPad 2 dropped from 13.4mm to 8.8mm — a 33 percent drop in weight, making it significantly lighter and easier to manage on the go.  Its flatter back design makes carrying it an easier task and mobility of it as easy as possible for those who enjoy the ease of online news feeds with your morning cup of coffee.

Battery Life and the Case

Running off the same style of lithium-polymer battery, the new iPad gets an astounding 10 hours of life!  That’s 10 hours to surf the web, check sports scores, edit video from your family vacation, FaceTime with friends, and the endless fun that applications provide you with.

As an optional feature, Apple is offering a new magnetic case. This new case offers valuable protection to a fragile product while doubling as a fold-able stand for viewing.

Processor

In addition to larger RAM capability, Apple offers arguably its most significant upgrade in the iPad – a Dual Core.

Applications and screen resolution have taken much of the spotlight when judging a tablets value by consumers, but the addition of a Dual Core A5 chip to the iPad is something that has been considerably underrated. Aiding in nearly all aspects of the iPad’s performance, processing will run faster, smooth, cleaner and more efficiently than any competing product by far.

Cameras, HDMI, and FaceTime

FaceTime was a major selling point for the iPhone 4 – as it is for new iPad.

With the addition of two cameras (one rear facing and one front facing), the iPad 2 allows users to access FaceTime and video chat at blazing fast speed.

Back Camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with a 5x digital zoom
Front Camera: Video recording, VGA up to 30 frames per second

In addition to being able to record and stream HD video, the iPad 2 offers an HDMI output for your home television.  HDMI allows the iPad to connect and play any recorded or online video in high definition – a must-have for those Netflix addicts out there.

Conclusion

This powerful new addition to Apple’s arsenal provides for an amazing look into emerging mobile technology.

It seems that just a few years ago the iPhone was a marvel unto itself, and now with the second edition of the iPad, HD video recording, mobile video conferencing and multitasking online interaction is easier than ever.

Apple's iPad 2

Apple is notorious for its sleek style of user-friendly products and machines that make navigation an ease.  Multitasking, apps, pictures, video/music editing, and FaceTime will all occur at mind-blowing speed and make the mobile online experience with Wi-Fi and 3G quicker than ever.

With several important and significant upgrades, Apple is dominating the tablet industry (by no surprise) and is continuing to push for an increasingly mobile device with powerful user capability.

There seems to be a notable trend in technology to become faster, sleeker, mobile and overall more efficient than its precursor – and the iPad 2 is no exception.

 

For information on the iPad 2, check out Apple’s website www.apple.com.

Provided By Flickr

Five Monopolies, Methods of Communication Losing Their Hold

1.

Landlines

According to CITA, an International Wireless nonprofit organization, 91% of Americans carry a cell phone as of 2009, and those numbers have continued to expand.  Now more than ever, with the growing popularity of the iPhone and Droid, cell phones have become both a necessity and an addiction.

In past decades, landlines were an essential part of the home, but with cell phone giants like Apple, wireless communication is quickly eliminating the need for both a home phone and cell.  Now, phones do much more than dial, and let’s be honest — landlines don’t have Angry Birds or Restaurant Finder Apps.

Landline Phones No More

2.

“Snail” Mail vs. Email

Once a monopoly on long-distance communication, mailing letters to friends or loved ones has been virtually phased out of everyday conversation and proven to be the least efficient means of interaction.  What was once a necessity for love notes, bank statements, and college acceptance letters, “snail” mail is quickly becoming replaced with the popularity of social media platforms and widespread use of email.

Since cell phone’s and the internet explosion in the early 1990’s, this generation’s lack of composition skills have been harshly scrutinized.  In 2009, The United States Postal Service stated that 177 billion pieces of mail were delivered in the US, compared to 14.4 trillion by email.  Now, young people rely heavily on a keyboard, 140 characters and auto-correct spelling.

"Snail" Mail Replaced by Email

3.

Newspapers

Electronic tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Pad, Amazon’s Kindle or the BlackBerry Playbook, have been 2010’s newest toy.  According to the Washington Post, “average daily circulation of all U.S. newspapers has been in decline since 1987″ and “has hit its lowest level in seven decades.”

Newspapers have been undoubtedly hit hard — as major stations are reporting record losses, cuts and even closures across the country.  Despite the change in the medium which news is delivered, there will always be a desire and need for the public to be informed and educated on current events.  It’s just that now news is viewed on a 9 x 5 LED screen — not paper.

Physical Newspapers Moving Online

4.

Video Rental Stores

Some of my fondest childhood memories include “Power Rangers:  The Movie” and the newest Nintendo 64 game — both of which were rented from the local Blockbuster.  Video rental stores, like Blockbuster, have been slowly declining in business over the past 6 years as online sites such as Netflix and RedBox have stolen much of the business which these stores once had.

Having closed over 600 stores in just the past three years and reported record losses in the hundreds of millions, it’s no wonder Blockbuster is struggling to stay afloat.  According to an article by MSNBC.com, “Blockbuster Inc. may close as many as 960 stores by the end of next year,” primarily in response to appeal and ease of online streaming — in a society glued to their computer screens.

Video Rentals Like Blockbuster Replaced by Nexflix, Flickr, Scott Clark

5.

In-Person Classrooms

As a current student at ASU, I recognize that most classes still meet in a physical room with a paper syllabus and wooden desks from the Jimmy Carter administration.  However, as technology of educational tools increases, so does the medium with which it is taught.

Arizona State University offered over 700 online classes this spring, which range from Managerial Economics to History of Hip Hop.  It’s not just ASU, but virtually all major universities across the country offer online classes and degrees, and sites like Blackboard allow professors to post assignments and readings for the week online.

Classrooms Moving Online
Apple Banner

Apple Now Worth Over $300 Billion

As of January 3, Apple’s market capitalization passed $300 billion, making them the second most valuable company in the world (just behind Exxon Mobil).  Since the bump that put them over the $300 billion mark, Apple’s value took a slight dip with the news that Steve Jobs, CEO and public face of the company, would be going on medical leave. However, the company is holding on to its second place position for now.  Check out the infographic below for more information.

Apple Worth $300 Billion

the majority own phones with Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Windows Mobile operating systems

Which Smartphone Is Right For You?

Smartphones are becoming more and more a part of everyday life.  As of October 2010 data from the Nielsen Company shows that 29.7 per cent of U.S. mobile phone users have smartphones with full operating systems.  Of those, the majority own phones with Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Windows Mobile operating systems.  However, as the mobile phone market becomes flooded with a slew of smartphones, the decision on which phone to pick becomes increasingly more difficult.  The following infographic will guide you through the decision making process and illustrate smartphone trends in the U.S.

Smartphone operating system trends in the U.S.

Mobile Phone From iPhone to Android

Mobile Phone News From iPhone to Android

Almost every American owns and uses a mobile phone. They’ve become such an integral part of our lives that we feel naked without them. People of my generation (I’m a recent college graduate) wake up to their phone’s alarm, then they text, tweet, call, chat, e-mail, or BBM until the moment their heads hit the pillow. Then they wake up and do it all again.

Since they’re as everyday as eating and sleeping, here’s an update on what’s happening in the mobile world.

Kik It Up A Notch

The newest app to take the world by storm is Kik

Kik is a free messaging system similar to Blackberry’s Blackberry Messenger (BBM) or AOL’s Instant Messenger. Kik works across several platforms, including Blackberry, iPhone and Andriod.

Last week this app hit two million users in only three weeks.

Kik’s goal is to bring instant messaging away from the computer and onto the phone so that you’ll never leave home without it.

Information from Mashable.com’s Kik article.

Netflix Holds Out On Android

iPhone, iPads and Windows 7 have a Netflix streaming app, but Android users will have to wait a bit longer.

According to a Wired.com article, the Android platform’s security issues made Hollywood take a step back. Piracy is a major issue with the film industry and most of the Android phones didn’t meet its standards.

However, since there are several Android models, some Android users will be able to get the Netflix app starting in early 2011.

And finally the old stand by question:

Will Apple Stop Teasing Verizon Users?

According to a Wall Street Journal article, the answer is, yes.

In October. an article detailing that Apple is making an iPhone for Verizon Wireless appeared on WSJ.com, whetting the appetite of all Apple-loving, Verizon-using, smartphone junkies.

There has yet to be any final word. However, another WSJ.com article claims many Verizon users are so sure the iPhone is coming their way that they’re waiting to update their phones until the magical day Apple stops teasing them.

Executive gadgets

Cool Gadgets For The Cool Executive

 

Getting a shiny new toy for the office doesn’t always have to be justified by how much money it will save or how much more productive it will make you (unless you’ve got one of those CFOs). Sometimes you just want cool gear. Here are some fun gadgets just out that get business execs into the cool zone.

We all know a hand talker. Those ever expressive types who accentuate any conversation with their hands waving about. If you have one of these in your office, put those hands to good use with the Air Mouse Elite. Using your own natural hand movements, this uber-sensitive mouse turns into a master presentation controller. You can walk freely and flail your hands every which way while giving a killer presentation. The cursor even turns into a highlighter, laser pointer or pen. You can even gently swipe it in mid-air to activate embedded media and other special effects. It works with both PCs and Macs, retails for $79.99, and it’s carried at a slew of retailers, including Amazon.

 

Keep your laptop and hand-held devices juiced up wherever you go with this slick new universal charger from Targus. The Targus Premium Laptop Charger is smaller and lighter than other universals, and it lets you charge your notebook, plus one low-power device, at the same time.  The charger comes with nine “tips” the enable the connection between the charger and most laptop brands on the market, so you’re likely to find one that works with your laptop.  It also includes a mini-USB tip and an Apple iPod/iPhone/iTouchcharging tip. Power up in the wall or in your car with both AC and DC plugs. $149.99 at www.targus.com.

 

 

Are you fairly certain you’re wasting time in meetings? Want to know exactly how much is being wasted? Not time — money. The Time Is Money (TIM) clock shows you exactly what you’re tossing in terms of cash as every minute passes on the clock. You simply enter your hourly rate, the number of people in the meeting, hit start, and as your team blah, blah, blahs you can see very clearly what it’s costing the company. Now if only they could somehow integrate this with Facebook … This little guy is $24.99 at www.bringtim.com.

 

 

If you’re one of the millions of people who use their iPad for business, then you probably enjoy carrying it around in a stylish case. Why not let your case do more than just protect the device inside? The M-Edge Method Portfolio, while pricey, is a multi-functional, modern portfolio that lets you organize and carry your business wares in the same swanky sleeve as your iPad. This portfolio is designed with a sleeve that holds the iPad in place, four credit cards slots, a clear ID window, and a business envelope/boarding pass pocket. Two leather pockets are sized to fit your smart phones (up to two). A handy zipper pocket keeps all of your other incidentals. $119.99 at www.medgestore.com.

close up of broken control key on keyboard

Microsoft Needs To Get Moving Or It Could Get Lost

If you’ve been following the chatter among the techno-literati, it’s become almost fashionable to predict Microsoft’s demise. We see headlines like: “The Odds are Increasing that Microsoft’s Business Will Collapse.” At first blush that seems ludicrous to me. But could there be some truth to it?

Not so long ago, Microsoft seemed unassailable. Even now, the Windows operating system exceeds 90 percent market share. Internet Explorer owns 60 percent of the browser market. And Office — where Microsoft really makes its money — still owns over 95 percent of its market.

But Microsoft has become synonymous with “slow” and “stodgy.” Which brings to mind a possible precedent: IBM. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, IBM was by far the dominant player in the computing world. It felt like they had invented the category and they certainly were a marketing juggernaut. IBM was so dominant that there was a well-known catch phrase that went, “no-one ever lost their job choosing IBM.” In fact, it was more than a catch phrase. It was the commonly accepted wisdom.

But by the early 1990s IBM was in crisis. The world around had changed and they’d been unable to keep up. There was speculation that they wouldn’t be able to survive. They did, by radically changing their strategy to one that is largely based on services. Now they’re still huge and successful. But also largely irrelevant.

Could the same thing happen to Microsoft? In the late ‘90s I did some work with them. They were top dog but acted like they were running scared. They said it was an essential part of their corporate culture and was critical to them remaining on top. But now I can say from personal experience that the healthy paranoia is completely gone, replaced with an attitude that Microsoft can’t truly be threatened. The only thing that truly matters is hitting the numbers that determine your annual bonus, and it’s OK to do that at the expense of other parts of the organization.

Now, I don’t believe for a second that there isn’t a level of paranoia building at the highest levels of Microsoft. But it’s going to be a massive undertaking to do at Microsoft what Steve Jobs was able to do at Apple, meaning completely turn the company around. Microsoft’s incredible financial strength gives them a lot of breathing room, but without wrenching changes, they’re in danger of becoming just another IBM. Huge. Successful. And irrelevant.

Apple The iPad Dazzles - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

The iPad Dazzles, But Is It Worth $500?

It’s only been a few months since the iPad’s April debut, but Apple’s latest light-weight cordless gadget has — for most — lived up to its expectations. Sans keyboard and mouse, the iPad offers a versatile online experience through a 9.7-inch glossy touch screen. You can search the Web instantly, pull up maps that are clearer and crisper than a paper printout, listen to music, read endless amounts of books and magazines, and access many more apps with the touch of one button.

If you own an iPhone and love it, the iPad could be a new favorite, as it is much easier on the eyes and extremely simple to navigate. Even if you are not familiar with the iPhone, the iPad may have you saying “can’t leave home without it,” due to its relatively small size (weighing in at only a pound and a half), slim shape and useful applications.

And, several months later, the iPad continues surpassing demand expectations. With such a tough economy, it seems surprising that people are finding an extra $500 to splurge on a device that is not a necessity. But could it actually be the future of business communications or a corporate norm? We spoke with Pendleton C. Waugh, vice president and co-founder of Phoenix-based Smartcomm, a company dedicated to offering opportunities in the wireless industry, to find out his thoughts on this new device and the implications it has on business users.

How do you see the iPad helping with business uses?
Well, Apple sells all the applications you would normally use on a computer for work, like Word, Excel, even PowerPoint. You can just add those apps. And if you don’t like using the touch screen, you can hook an extra keyboard to your iPad and type away.

What application do you find the most helpful for work, currently?

I like the note taking application. It replaces paper. I can just type up my notes, and then e-mail them to myself or to anyone else — and there you go.

So no more paper and pens for your meetings?
No, I don’t need them. I take the iPad into all my meetings and type away. I did recently add an extended keyboard, but up to now I’ve just been using the touch screen. You just tap on the letters; it’s very easy and user friendly — much like the iPhone interface.

Do you see the iPad complementing or replacing a laptop or computer at work?
The iPad is going to be your computer at work. But it won’t replace your desktop or laptop. Your desk computer will remain at your desk while you’re in the office, but the idea of “desk jobs” is rapidly disappearing. Your iPad will be your PC, so you can work from it wherever you are, and then your desktop will be your server to access any information. We’re going wireless. According to SNL Kagan, a financial information firm that collects, standardizes and distributes corporate, financial, market and M&A data, about 80 percent of households will be wireless within 10 years. If you want to see the future of businesses and communications, walk into an Apple store. There’s the future.

What kind of industries would find the iPad useful?
The iPad provides a more effective way of storing, organizing, using and retrieving information. There are a lot of people who didn’t realize the iPad was going to be a big hit and still don’t think it is. But it is revolutionizing our communication standards, going from voice data to video. We are using smart devices that keep getting faster and more efficient, just like Gordon E. Moore (Intel co-founder) predicted in what we now know as Moore’s Law. So many capabilities of computers are linked back to this law, from processing speed, memory capacity, sensors, and even the number of pixels on a camera. The iPad can help industries communicate more efficiently.

The iPad is supposed to be great for streaming video, but video quality is low With the YouTube application.
It might have something to do with the network. For example, even though I have access to Wi-Fi, I’m using AT&T’s 3-G network. It’s possible that the network doesn’t have enough bandwidth to play the video clearly, but I’m not sure. When you use an iPad, it sucks up bandwidth like there’s no tomorrow.

What are some other observations?
The iPad has definitely been a positive experience for the principals in our company in changing how we approach work scenarios. It beats taking notes on paper or the occasional napkin, and allows the ability to instantly e-mail anything typed up on the electronic tablet. The iPad is travel-friendly and uncomplicated to use. The price is reasonable. It’s not cheap, but it won’t break the bank, and the general consensus, from other media reviews, is that it’s worth the money.

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Apple officially launched the iPhone 4 with its usual mastery

Apple’s iPhone 4 Fumbles

What a crazy summer it’s been for Apple.

On June 24, Apple officially launched the iPhone 4 with its usual mastery. In April, there had been the prototype that was “accidentally” left in a bar and ended up in the hands of Gizmodo’s editor, Jason Chen. The subsequent police raid on Chen’s home a few days later gave new life to the story just as it was beginning to fade. In May, another prototype popped up in the hands of a Vietnamese businessman. Now the renewed speculation had the added spice of mystery: How could Apple lose two prototypes so close to the anticipated June announcement? Were these accidents or a ploy?

The ensuing announcement on June 7 by Steve Jobs answered all the questions about features and everyone now knew when they’d be able to get their hands on the phone: June 24. Some began waiting in line days early, and in Manhattan a few sold their spots in line. The lines were so long, that in places it got ugly. In Los Angeles, 2,000 people were incensed that Jason Bateman was able to jump the line for his iPhone.

And then it really got interesting.

There were immediate reports of a problem: poor reception and dropped calls. At first, Apple let people blame AT&T, an easy target. Next, they said that the problem was with the software in their phone, which was over-reporting the actual signal strength. In other words, ‘”we made a mistake but the real problem is with AT&T.” As evidence mounted, Apple finally acknowledged that there was indeed a design problem: If you held the phone in your left hand to make the call you compromised the antenna. But they also had a ready answer: “Don’t hold the phone like that.”

Gee thanks.

Many Apple customers were understandably incensed. As they were with the suggested alternative: buy a case from Apple. As the anger mounted, Apple tried again. This time masterfully. With misdirection. “All smart phones suffer from this problem,” announced Apple. “It’s called the ‘death grip.’”

Apple’s partly right: the “death grip” problem is a common problem to at least some degree with most smart phones. But the misdirection is this: the original problem is completely unique to Apple. When Consumer Reports called Apple’s bluff, Apple finally relented and announced free iPhone covers that fix the real problem.

Thanks Apple. That was easy.

Steve Jobs Takes On The World - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Steve Jobs Takes On The World … Again

Steve Jobs — the guy who famously flew a pirate flag over the building where the Macintosh was being invented, thus rescuing Apple from oblivion — is at it again. This time the fight is with Adobe, makers of the Flash platform that is currently the dominant software for playing interactive and video Web content.

Some truths about Steve Jobs are undeniable. He’s obviously brilliant, an iconoclast, and supremely successful. He’s so successful that Apple recently passed Microsoft in terms of market value. That’s right, Apple, the company Jobs rescued several times, keepers of “cool,” has passed stodgy Microsoft. Sure, Microsoft owns more than 90 percent of the desktop computer operating systems market with Windows, and an estimated 80 percent of enterprises use some form of Microsoft Office. But the market is betting that “cool” is more valuable than “foundational.” It’s betting that Microsoft won’t be able to innovate fast enough, even as Apple has become synonymous with innovation.

So it’s no wonder that when Apple — meaning Jobs — refused to support Flash first on iPhones and then on iPads, the tech community paid notice. The guessing began. What’s Jobs up to? Will Apple launch a competitor to Flash? What’s Jobs really trying to achieve at the cost of ignoring such a dominant standard? Is it all about controlling the App Store?

In the past few weeks the fight became more public, with both Jobs and Adobe stating their cases. On April 29, Jobs released a statement saying that Apple wouldn’t support Flash because a) it’s not an open standard; b) Flash is unreliable, has security flaws, and lacks performance on mobile devices; c) when playing video on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad it drains the battery too quickly; and d) it didn’t originally support touch screens, though it now does. Finally, Job’s stated “the most important reason” — Apple insists on controlling the hardware and software platform all the way up to the developer. In other words, the developer must use the software tools and development libraries that Apple provides. Period.

Adobe’s official response came in the form of a statement from Adobe’s founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock entitled, Our Thoughts on Open Markets. In it they said, “As the founders of Adobe, we believe open markets are in the best interest of developers, content owners, and consumers. Freedom of choice on the Web has unleashed an explosion of content and transformed how we work, learn, communicate, and, ultimately, express ourselves.” And, “No company — no matter how big or how creative — should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the Web.”

It’s not a completely black and white situation of course, but I think that it’s pretty close. The first several reasons cited by Jobs are simply misdirection. For the most part, they don’t hold up under scrutiny. The real reason is the one that Jobs called the most important: control. And while Flash isn’t a completely open standard, my company, Flypaper, exists because it’s close enough. So the real battle here IS really “open” vs. “closed.” And I’m surprised that Jobs has taken the position he has. I’m old enough to remember a time when Jobs was at a similar fork in the road and made a similar choice — and nearly lost his company as a result. Most people don’t remember that the Mac, with its graphical user interface, preceded Windows into the marketplace. For some time it had a larger market share than Windows. But Apple chose to pursue a closed, proprietary strategy that limited the number of software titles available for the Mac. In contrast, Microsoft chose an open approach; software titles proliferated, and soon Microsoft’s market share was in the 90 percent range. Microsoft came to dominate the corporate space, while Apple’s market share hovered around 10 percent, much of it in the educational space. In the marketplace, “open” dominated “closed,” and Apple suffered through nearly a decade of tough times as a result.

It’s a situation rich with irony. Decades ago Apple and Microsoft faced off on this very issue and Microsoft won. Now Apple, having finally passed Microsoft in terms of value and faced with the same choice, is making the same decision. Will it work this time? I don’t think so. But the winner this time won’t be Microsoft. It won’t even be Adobe. At least not directly. The real winner will be Google. Google is the new champion of “open”’ And most people don’t know that sales for mobile devices based on Google’s open Android operating system recently passed sales of Apple’s iPhone. Right now Apple’s market value of about $227 billion is about $70 billion more than Google’s. As always, the market will ultimately decide who’s right. I’m betting on Google.


Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Dell Mini Notebooks

Netbooks Are Becoming A Crucial Device For Business Executives

Less is more. While the adage might not apply to the appeal of an all-you-can-eat buffet, it certainly explains the recent netbook phenomena. Netbooks are small portable computers designed specifically for Web access and word processing. With screens between 7 to 12 inches, the mini-PCs typically weigh around two pounds at a price averaging around $400. These miniature computers have stimulated a previously lethargic PC market and enhanced electronic usage for users.

The power, portability and price have supported the mainstream adoption of netbooks, which expect to reach nearly 22 million in shipments in 2009. In fact, a survey conducted by Retrevo, a technology review Web site, reported that one-third of students plan to purchase a netbook. With the anticipated sales from students, the netbook would dethrone Apple’s Macbook, a product that has traditionally dominated the education market.

Students are not the only ones using netbooks. The lightweight and sleek design of the netbook has attracted business executives. The product has fallen into the laps of business executives who log onto their netbooks as a practical and portable electronic companion. The growing adoption of netbooks by business executives has shown that this device is more than just a fad. Some business executives believe they have not even scratched the surface of the netbook’s capabilities and are eager to include them more often in their business practices.

Alan Farber, CEO of Scottsdale-based Buildproof, recently purchased and fell in love with his netbook, an 11.6-inch Aspire 1 by Acer. Farber’s company provides a secure payment and project management system for home remodeling and construction projects. Lately, Buildproof has been working with governmental agencies to provide its system for managing contractors. While traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet government officials, Farber relied on his netbook for its dependability and flexibility. His travel preparations have become much simpler. Farber says he can grab his 8GB memory stick, load his files, and toss his netbook in his bag.

At first glance, netbooks seem like dwarfed versions of notebooks; however, netbooks feature unique functions that distinguish them from notebooks. Netbooks contain built-in Wi-Fi and standard Bluetooth connections to support Web access on the go. Installed with either Windows XP or Linux, netbooks allows users to perform basic functions such as checking e-mail, using Skype, creating documents and organizing spreadsheets. In addition to Web access and word processing, netbooks offer convenience with their element-resistant design.

With a low RAM, netbooks are not suited for complicated graphic processing. Most importantly, netbooks do not include an optical drive or Ethernet port, so users will need to invest in separate hardware such as a USB connected drive to use CDs. Netbooks also require some technical skills to adopt external drives to replace the nonexistent optical drive.

The size and power of the netbook can also be a setback.

“The screen size can make it difficult. I squint a lot while viewing e-mails,” Farber says. The miniature size limits the power of the speakers, which makes using Skype challenging for Farber. He also notes that battery life seems limited.

“You can get an extended battery, but that seems to defeat the purpose,” he says.

Accustomed to traditional notebooks, Farber expected his netbook to be difficult to configure. His netbook quickly challenged his expectations.
“It was a piece of cake to set up,” he says.

Farber also anticipated floundered typing due to the cramped size of the keyboard, and yet again he was corrected.

“It was an easy transition from a full notebook,” he adds. “I was quite surprised.”

Nearly every PC maker has incorporated netbooks into their product lines. In 2008 alone, netbooks garnered approximately 16 million sales in North America, which is not bad for a two-year old category. In order to expand the market, PC makers have developed netbooks with ambiguous distinctions between netbooks and notebooks, such as a larger size and more power.

Additionally, the distinctions between the smart phone and netbooks are also vague. Critics of netbooks often note that smart phones have similar features and more functions than netbooks. Although they enable Web browsing, document editing and the useful phone call, smart phones do not have the same comfort and power of netbooks — and mobile phone manufacturers definitely have noticed. In January, AT&T announced the development of a netbook that can access the Web with just a cell signal. With a two-year contract, AT&T’s netbook could cost as low at $99. The convergence of netbook and mobile markets also has interested Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who announced in August that Nokia plans to explore the netbook market. The interest from mobile phone producers such as AT&T and Nokia suggests greater potential for netbooks to become an integral device for business executives.

Farber recommends the netbook to any business executive.

“It is an absolutely fantastic resource to supplement a regular notebook or desktop,” he states, but he advises against replacing a notebook or desktop with a netbook due to the limited memory and battery. “For an executive, the netbook is an excellent supplement for travel.”