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  • Google Photos now streams photos, video to Apple TV via AirPlay

    @Herbivore and @Macxpress:

    Sigh. Why is Google doing this? Because unlike the Apple-only zealots - which are very few in number - the vast majority of tech users are multi-platform. So while Android phone sales are great, Android tablet and especially Chromebook sales are (comparably) horrible. So lots of people who take pictures and sync them to Google Photos using their Samsung, LG or Moto phones use their iPads and Macs to view them later. Just as most iPhone and iPad users actually own Windows PCs instead of Macs and use iTunes on that platform as well. The difference is that where Apple actually did try to use iTunes - as well as some of their hardware offerings such as the Mac Mini, MacBook Air and iPad - would cause Windows users to switch to their platform, Google doesn't care what platform you are on so long as you are using their software and services.. Please remember: Google created Android as a defensive measure against Microsoft, not as some grand scheme to compete against and bankrupt Apple. At the time, the iPhone did not even exist and even if Google knew that Apple was working on it, Google had no way of knowing that it would be anywhere near as massive. Apple had launched their various MSN-branded portals, was (at the time) huge in gaming with XBox and Direct X PC gaming, and gotten Yahoo to switch from Google to them on the backend. Microsoft also had a smartphone and feature phone platform, was using it to funnel search to what later became Bing, and was even using Microsoft Office applications to launch IE and perform searches. Had Google not come out with the Chrome+Android combination, Microsoft - at the time a much bigger and more powerful company that both Google AND Apple COMBINED - would have dominated search, eventually gotten much of Android's market share in mobile (though it is conceivable that Nokia and Symbian might have fared better at least for awhile) and Google would no longer exist. But apart from using Android to save itself from Microsoft, Google doesn't care what you use (so long as it isn't Windows Mobile). Even some Google executives use iPhones and a lot more of them use iPads. 

    Cloud storage is not necessary because flash storage is so cheap? Sure ... except those local storage flash media options can't travel with you all the time. And since flash media is clearly preferable, I suppose you don't use iCloud either? Or watch HD movies rented through iTunes without downloading them? 

    As far as Google not committing to anything without dropping the service in 12-18 months ... Google Photos has already been out 2 years. And considering that it's predecessor was a feature in Google+, that means going on 6 years. And Google Photos' true antecedent was Picasa, which has been in existence since 2004. Yes, Google does discontinue unsuccessful products. As does Apple ... remember iTunes Ping? But as Google Photos has over 200 million monthly active users, rest assured it isn't going anywhere. The Samsung Galaxy loyalists who also own iPads will be enough to keep Google Photos on iOS by themselves. If they had to buy the app on Android and then buy it again on iOS it  would at least make them think about it, but since it is free on both, why not?
  • No, Apple won't move the home button and Touch ID to the back of the 'iPhone 8'

    "But doing so would be a huge blow to the ease of use and intuitiveness of the current home button Touch ID design. And that seems out of whack with Apple's philosophy." Ummm ... headphone jack anyone? Also, before now the LCD screen and the 4' display were "huge blows to ease of use/philosophy." You can go on this very blog back in 2013 and 2014 and see endless columns and comments on how bigger phones were vulgar, unsightly, poorly designed, would not fit easily into pockets and made single hand operation impossible. Now Apple sells an iPhone Plus that is larger than any mainstream Android device except the Galaxy Note line and no one says a peep. Also, I doubt that Apple is having all the problems with TouchID on the AMOLED screen as is being reported. Samsung almost got it working, but was unable to meet the cutoff line needed to mass produce a device that is going to be shipped worldwide in 8 days. Had they been given another couple of months - or perhaps had used a lower profile device that they weren't expecting to ship in such large numbers - they may have made it. I fully expect the fingerprint sensor/home button to be on the screen for the Galaxy Note 8, and it may even be on their midrange Galaxy A series phones (that cost about the same as the iPhone SE) that gets released during the summer. So if Samsung nearly got it working for the S8 and will definitely have it for the Note 8, Apple will have no problem meeting an October ship date with that technology. Finally, Apple is only obsessed with lighter and thinner for their existing designs. A radical redesign however would justify a thicker device that they could then make "lighter and thinner" in subsequent iterations. You speak of the horror of having the 10th anniversary iPhone being thicker than the iPhone 4. I say that failing to offer a drastic redesign and essentially only offering an iPhone 7s with some gimmicks and whistles would be even worse. Especially considering how the competition - LG, Samsung, Huawei and if the rumors are to be believed Google with their Pixel 2 - are winning raves for their redesigned phones this year, especially Samsung and Huawei.
    avon b7
  • Analyst floats idea of Apple buying Disney to make 'tech/media juggernaut'

    Anti-trust regulators, both domestic and foreign, would never approve. And Sony has shown what happens to tech companies when they try to transcend tech. Not only are they running the entertainment properties that they acquired (including Columbia Pictures, RCA/BMG and other record labels etc.) into the ground, but where once they are among the biggest and most powerful tech companies in the world - more so than Samsung, Google, Apple and Amazon - now they are pretty much just the PlayStation and the #2 maker of TVs (behind Samsung). They don't even make PCs anymore, and where they had the potential to rival Samsung in the mobile device market, they so badly bungled marketing and product development efforts that now they don't even try to sell smartphones outside Japan, and it is unclear whether they still make tablets at all. Sony proves that if you try to dominate everything you become good and competitive at nothing. They are certainly a cautionary tale for Apple and all the people who claim that Apple should buy Disney or even Netflix. If you ask me, Google is another cautionary tale. Of all their efforts to expand beyond their initial search engine/web browser/email product - synergy that they did not innovate as AOL first started combining the 3 back in the early 90s - pretty much everything else they have tried their hands at since then but YouTube and Android have failed. And even those have qualifiers. Google bought an already successful YouTube only after years of trying and failing to compete with them with "Google Video". Android only succeeded because of the efforts of Samsung and the other hardware partners. That is why the other Android products where Google hasn't given manufacturers the freedom that they gave them with smartphones and tablets to control their own products so long as they retained the mandatory apps and Google branding i.e. Android Wear, Android TV etc. have failed, as has Google Fiber, Google Fi, the Nexus/Pixel programs, Google Home, Google VR, Google+ and so on. Even their Google Cloud venture, something that they should be great at, has been only a small success at best. Apple should not try to be Sony or Google.
  • Canonical kills its Ubuntu smartphone, tablet, convergence plans

    crowley said:
    A shame. Seemed like good tech.
    It wasn't. Canonical is the Ubuntu/Debian version of Red Hat I suppose. The problem is that as most enterprise Linux users prefer Red Hat, Canonical chose to focus on consumer users ... while still using Red Hat's open source business model. So while enterprise users are perfectly willing to pay huge amounts of money for what is essentially a free and community supported OS for support reasons, consumers had no reason to do the same. Ubuntu's first strategy was to try to get consumers, small businesses, schools etc. to switch from Windows to Ubuntu for PCs. There was a little avenue there, because Ubuntu still runs great on older hardware that performed poorly on Windows 7, and Ubuntu lacked the virus problems that Windows had before they started putting security tools in the base software. 

    But after Apple created the iPhone and iPad, they shifted from trying to get PC users to switch - again  where they were making slow but steady progress - to trying to take on Apple and Android in mobile. Like Ballmer, they had the great idea to try to use the same UI for their mobile, desktop and server versions of the software. Well the mobile version had no chance of succeeding. They lacked the money that Apple, Microsoft and even Google had to get their products out to people. They also had no apps. Like Microsoft is currently pushing with Windows 10 and Continuum (Ubuntu had this idea first) they felt that they could close the app gap with Android because their desktop applications could also run on phones and tablets because Ubuntu really only needs 1 GB of RAM. Had no chance of working because Ubuntu applications were not designed or optimized for small touch screens, and there was absolutely no developer interest in adapting them because there was no money in it. Ubuntu also tried to come up with a new, innovative UX/UI to differentiate themselves from iOS (and Android), and also to provide people with a practical way to use desktop application on a mobile interface, but it was unusable.

    The worst part was that where the previous Ubuntu interface - a ripoff of Windows XP - was outstanding, and in fact better than Windows XP in many ways, Unity - a lesser ripoff of iOS I suppose - made everything more difficult on a non-touchscreen desktop. As a result, the slow momentum that Ubuntu had in getting Windows users to switch came to a standstill and was reversed. Ubuntu couldn't even take advantage of the mess that was Windows 8 because their desktop was actually even worse. So scores of former Ubuntu users ultimately switched to Fedora, which is Red Hat's desktop competitor to Ubuntu. This despite Ubuntu having much more software available for desktop users due to being the Linux desktop of choice for ages. 

    It is not an exaggeration to say that Canonical ruined Ubuntu when they took control of the formerly open source community led effort and tried to make money off it. Thanks to their failed meddling, lots of even the Ubuntu diehards switched to Debian (on which Ubuntu is based). Even if Ubuntu had come out with good tech and a good product - and they did neither - they didn't have the billions of capital that it took to compete in this space anyway. Had they stuck with getting schools, techies and small businesses to switch from Windows PCs as well as doing a better job of competing with Red Hat and the other enterprise-focused distros in the server market, they would have done a lot better for themselves.
  • As Apple's GPU plans go public, Imagination fears becoming a tech orphan

    Much of this is ... well ... not true.

    Calling Tegra a failure - and then moving the goalposts by claiming that it is only a failure in MOBILE when the article itself referenced GPUs for Macs - is simply wrong. Nvidia makes much more on their Tegra line than Imagination ever did. In fact, Nvidia has a new Tegra chip coming out in a few months!

    Second, this article (falsely) implies that Apple alone was driving advanced mobile graphics, and that their taking their designs in house was somehow going to harm the competition. For this to be true, it would have to mean that A) Imagination relied on Apple's designs and B) competitors such as Mali, Adreno, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Intel etc. all subsequently copied the Imagination designs. Neither is true. Imagination developed their own IP which Apple licensed. This is why Apple considered buying Imagination, and then why they hired Imagination's talent, and is also why Imagination is leaving open the option of suing Apple for IP infringement. This would not be the case if Apple supplied Imagination the IP in the first place, as Apple did to Samsung and TSMC on the Ax processors. Second, the competing GPU tech is not based on Imagination design. They have their own IP and do not pay licensing fees to Imagination. If they did, Imagination would not be dependent on Apple as their primary source of revenue. Instead, they would be receiving royalties for every LG, HTC, Motorola, Huawei, Samsung etc. mobile device also. That is why "What stops another large company like Samsung from buying Imagination and then taking legal action to prevent Apple from using the technology?" as asked above is not going to happen ... there is no need to do so because Imagination isn't the only GPU outfit out there and it isn't even the best. The only reason why anyone would consider it to be the best or most significant GPU company - when there are plenty of others that are larger, more successful and whose tech drives much better and intensive graphics - is because of Apple. You can claim that Apple has the best graphics for mobile devices if you want, but no one claims the same for Macs ... not even close. This speaks nothing of high res monitors - which Apple doesn't make anymore, preferring instead to do business with LG - or high def TVs.

    Imagination's losing Apple's business does not keep them from seeking other clients. But good look with that, because virtually no one else in the mobile world uses their IP. That is why losing merely $100 million per year from Apple is such an existential threat to them, in comparison with Nvidia and other companies who make billions annually on graphics components. The competition instead uses GPUs from such competitors that they like better. And again, the opinions that the GPUs offered by the competition are inferior to those in Apple products are just that - opinions - that are only shared by the Apple faithful. They are welcome to those opinions, but they have very little to do with the marketplace. Now if Apple creates their own IP that is legitimately better than what can be found in other mobile devices and PCs, good for them, but we would have to wait until it actually happens first before declaring that they are going to. In order to pull this off, Apple is going to have to step a bit outside of their wheelhouse - taking tech developed by others to make great products - and instead try to beat the basic component manufacturers at their own game, and do it in a way where they maintain a consistent advantage over companies that have been designing GPUs and other components for decades. Getting Apple fans to claim that an Apple design that is used only in Apple products is better than the rest is one thing. Getting the rest of the industry to acknowledge that Apple's graphics outperform those of Nvidia, Mali, Intel and the rest is an entirely different matter.

    So this is just a story for Apple and Imagination. It has nothing to do with the rest of the mobile or tech industry.