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The PC is dead. Why no angry nerds? :: The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It

Famously proprietary Microsoft never dared to extract a tax on every piece of software written by others for Windows—perhaps because, in the absence of consistent Internet access in the 1990s through which to manage purchases and licenses, there’d be no realistic way to make it happen.

via The PC is dead. Why no angry nerds? :: The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It.

While true that Microsoft didn’t tax Software Developers who sold product running on the Windows OS, a kind of a tax levy did exist for hardware manufacturers creating desktop pc’s with Intel chips inside. But message received I get the bigger point, cul-de-sacs don’t make good computers. They do however make good appliances. But as the author Jonathan Zittrain points out we are becoming less aware of the distinction between a computer and an applicance, and have lowered our expectation accordingly.

In fact this points to the bigger trend of not just computers becoming silos of information/entertainment consumption no, not by a long shot. This trend was preceded by the wild popularity of MySpace, followed quickly by Facebook and now Twitter. All platforms as described by their owners with some amount of API publishing and hooks allowed to let in 3rd party developers (like game maker Zynga). But so what if I can play Scrabble or Farmville with my ‘friends’ on a social networking ‘platform’? Am I still getting access to the Internet? Probably not, as you are most likely reading what ever filters into or out of the central all-encompassing data store of the Social Networking Platform.

Like the old World Maps in the days before Columbus, there be Dragons and the world ends HERE even though platform owners might say otherwise. It is an Intranet pure and simple, a gated community that forces unique identities on all participants. Worse yet it is a big brother-like panopticon where each step and every little movement monitored and tallied. You take quizzes, you like, you share, all these things are collection points, check points to get more data about you. And that is the TAX levied on anyone who voluntarily participates in a social networking platform.

So long live the Internet, even though it’s frontier, wild-catting days are nearly over. There will be books and movies like How the Cyberspace was Won, and the pioneers will all be noted and revered. We’ll remember when we could go anywhere we wanted and do lots of things we never dreamed. But those days are slipping as new laws get passed under very suspicious pretenses all in the name of Commerce. As for me I much prefer Freedom over Commerce, and you can log that in your stupid little database.

Cover of "The Future of the Internet--And...
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Expect the First Windows 8 Snapdragon PC Late 2012

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, speaking during the San Diego semiconductor companys annual analyst day in New York, said Qualcomm is currently working with Microsoft to ensure that the upcoming Windows 8 operating system will run on its ARM-based Snapdragon SoCs.

via Expect the First Windows 8 Snapdragon PC Late 2012.

Image representing Qualcomm as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Windows 8 is a’comin’ down the street.  And I bet you’ll see it sooner rather than later. Maybe as early as June on some products. The reason of course is the Tablet Market is sucking all the air out of the room and Microsoft needs a win to keep the mindshare favorable to it’s view of the consumer computer market. Part of that drive is fostering a new level of cooperation with System on chip manufacturers who until now have been devoted to the mobile phone, smart phone market. Now everyone wants a great big Microsoft hope to conquer the Apple iPad in the tablet market. And this may be their only hope to accomplish that in the coming year.

Forrester Research just 2 days ago however predicted the Windows 8 Tablet dead on arrival:

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Image via CrunchBase

IDG News Service – Interest in tablets with Microsoft’s Windows 8 is plummeting, Forrester Research said in a study released on Tuesday.

Key to making a mark in the tablet computing market is content, content, content. Performance and specs alone will not create a Windows 8 Tablet market in what is an Apple dominated tablet marketplace, as the article says. It also appears previous players in the failed PC Tablet market will make a valiant second attempt this time using Windows 8 (I’m thinking Fujitsu, HP and Dell according to this article).

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AppleInsider | Apple’s tablet

Theres no way the tablet will be as hot as the iPhone
There's no way the tablet will be as hot as the iPhone

Market projections are a black art. How big is the market for an as yet unreleased product? Marketing departments always have to do the  research and focus groups and test marketing to see what the projections are. But even these can be wrong or misleading. Based on this article one Wall Street analyst firm bases their projections on the market for the Apple TV a niche product if there ever was one. In the first year of it’s production the Apple TV sold 1.2million units. Given the appeal of the iPhone and iPod Touch, the projections are the Mac Tablet will sell far better than the 1.2 million units of the Apple TV. And with a list price of ~$600 US then the revenue generated would be approximately 3% of total revenue. This is all pad on paper estimates based on the up take of a somewhat less successful product, so it could be way off the mark. I’m hoping there’s something new, something nobody has guessed at so far that Apple will include in this device that will help really, really differentiate it. It should be unlike other tablets, and unlike its little brother the iPod Touch.

We believe an Apple tablet would be priced 30%-50% below the $999 MacBook, and would offer best in class web, email, and media software,” the report reads. “In other words, we believe Apple’s tablet would compete well in the netbook category even though it would not be a netbook.”

via AppleInsider | Apple’s tablet will be more than a niche product – report.

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Tablet device coming early next year

True to form, Apple is keeping a tight lid on their Mac Tablet. But all rumors are pointing to a release early in 2010. The announcement of the device may come in September of this year at the point where new iPod products are announced. Other scuttle-butt indicates Verizon may be providing it’s Fourth Generation (4G) network for the new device so that it can stay connected to the Internet wherever Verizon cell phone towers are available. It will be interesting to see how the market might fracture between cell phone and tablet users. I would guess this whole project may turn into an Macintosh Cube experience where Jobs reach exceeded his grasp.

Tablet & iPhone
This is how big the 10" tablet might be

However, the past six months have reportedly seen the critical pieces fall into place. Jobs, who’s been overseeing the project from his home, office and hospital beds, has finally achieved that much-sought aura of satisfaction. He’s since cemented the device in the company’s 2010 roadmap, where it’s being positioned for a first quarter launch, according to people well-respected by AppleInsider for their striking accuracy in Apple’s internal affairs.

via AppleInsider | Apple’s much-anticipated tablet device coming early next year.

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Apple lineup: The Netbook is already here.

iPod Touch-the real Mac Netbook
iPod Touch-the real Mac Netbook

I’m beginning to think the iPod touch is not an end-of-life product that should be ignored. Oh, I did at one time due to the torrid pace at which Apple was releasing new iPhone products. Seemed like the old iPod was absolutlely superfluous. As the iPhone models increased their storage and speed, the iPod touch tagged along, but not too closely. Currently the iPod touch is consider a second generation device (2G) versus the iPhone in its 3G and now 3GS forms.

Like most of you who may not own an I phone, I have felt the pressure of seeing all my friends of Facebook buying iPhones and cross-posting from Twitter to Facebook via their iPhone. So caving into peer pressure, I’m considering buying an iPhone maybe in October when I reach the 3 year mark as a customer with AT&T. I have some things working in my favor though. I lucked out with being a Cingular customer before they combined with AT&T and before the exclusive distribution deal for the iPhone. But do I really need to buy an iPhone to get all the benefits of the App Store? Do I need to pay for the big hefty data plan?

Maybe not. Just this past week Mark Sigal @ O’Reillycom followed up all the rumors and speculation about Apple entering the netbook market with a Tablet PC. He claimed then Apple was already making a netbook and it was called the iPod touch:

But, perhaps the real story with respect to the forthcoming Apple Tablet Device is that Apple has already released a tablet computing device.

It’s called the iPod touch, and because it’s often overshadowed by its noisier sibling, the iPhone, we sometimes forget that it has already sold 15M+ units.

via: O’

Today J.P. Morgan is also saying, Apple is already in the netbook market. They have a device called the iPod touch.

The J.P. Morgan report views the iPod touch as Apple’s netbook, of sorts. At least, the analysis says, until Apple officially enters the netbook market – something the firm expects the Mac maker to do.

via AppleInsider | iPod touch seen as small but stealthy asset in Apple lineup.

Given the confidence level of reading these two articles I am more willing to consider an iPod touch. It seems like a more frugal choice without the burden of un-ending data plan fees. True the cost is not susidzied by AT&T, but that one time shot of money is about what I was willing to spend on a netbook anyways. So maybe an iPod touch is the better option if you want to save a little cash by not purchasing a huge data plan from AT&T.

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Apple web tablet on the way???

Mac Tablet PC
Mac Tablet PC

The answer to the question in this picture to the left is a resounding NO! All bets are being placed on Apple using a custom processor for it’s version of a Tablet PC. This is interesting in that everyone in the Technology Computer Gizmo/Gadget news circles has pursued this as a story starting last week.

China Times Daily apparently is hinting a new Mac Tablet is being manufactured for release in October of this year. I’m surprised they decided to go with a custom processor for the tablet. But given the ultra-competitiveness of the Wintel netbook market, CPUs are the next big thing in product differentiation. There are manufacturers now using Google’s Android cell phone OS paired with cell phone processors from ARM and Motorola for a new generation of battery conserving netbooks. Most of those products are targeted at the Pacific Rim market and will never see the American market at all. Which made me sad because I would love to have a netbook with extra long battery run times.

I have adapted much of my computer needs to what can be delivered through a network, web-browser and web apps. So the netbook to me is a nice analog to a cell phone and I’ve been waiting to jump into the market until some bigger innovations occured. Maybe this product will help shift the market the way the iPhone has done for cell phones. And with their new found CPU designs maybe product differentiation will even be easier.

However, hairy eyeball of experience rears it’s ugly head and takes the shine of this buzzing hive of technology press bees. Enter Mark Sigal @ O’ Mark doesn’t think the tablet is the real story, but that the iPod Touch IS the Mac Tablet right here, right now. Given Mark Sigal’s earlier survey of the mobile computing landscape he proposes a unified matrix of Apple computing products rather than phone vs. computer. So the longer one waits, the less we have to worry about whether we should be buying a Tablet or an iPhone. Personally I think the bigger screen and the new CPU from PA-Semi does warrant some extra attention. I think we’re going to see either longer battery run times, or maybe mix of iApps and iLife and iWork on the same happy device. But, who knows? We all have to wait until October.

From the Register

The VentureBeat note says that Apple divided the PA-Semi designers between two projects: ARM-based mobile phone processors on the one hand and a tablet processor, possibly ARM-based as well, on the other.

So we are looking at an Apple CPU-powered Mac tablet with touchscreen functionality and an October launch. The timing is said to be suitable for sales in the lead up to Christmas. Neither the manufacturers nor Apple are saying anything.

via Pssst… Apple tablet on way, whisper Chinese moles • The Register.