Apple Stumble, maybe not.

Some new numbers are out (Strategy Analytics) which got me thinking.

iPad shipments are down quarter to quarter and year to year for Q2.  Which really means absolutely nothing because at this time in 2012 the short lived 3rd gen iPad was only 4 months old and the iPad mini and surprise 4th gen iPad were still 3 months off.  So the Apple number really can’t be compared.

Interestingly, Apple believes that the iPad mini will out sell its larger brother by over 1.6 times in 2013. (appleinsider).  Its has been stated a lot (iMore) that for reasons of size, weight, battery life the iPad mini couldn’t go retina at the end of 2012. So the mini is non-retina 163ppi, 310g, 7.1mm thick, 9-10 hour battery, and a price tag $329-$529.

Then enter the 2013 Nexus 7.  A 7 inch tablet, with 323ppi, 290g, 8.65mm thick, a reported 9-10 hour battery life, and a price tag of $229 or $269.  New and shiny.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting.  Apple is rumored to not refresh the iPad mini this year, the source is Digitimes so that make it rather unreliable.  Still the rumor is out there.  IF there is no refresh Apple misses the all important holiday season, but more importantly they will also miss out on the mindshare of all the people wanting to buy their first tablets for christmas.  When presented with the option of new, shiny, fancy and cheaper tablet, vs a 1+year old, shiny, fancy and $100 more expensive tablet Apple is going to lose that fight.  These people are not early adopters, they aren’t techy people, they are not going to be swayed by the fruit logo.

That scenario doesn’t seem very Apple like to me.  They don’t have lapses that cause the loss of a holiday season.  They have something up their sleeves. I think that Apple has a plan, but I don’t think it involves a new Retina iPad mini for christmas. It might be a price drop, it might be a cheaper version of the mini, it could be colors, or any number of things.  Will it be enough to overcome the growing sales and mindshare of Android tablets?  I guess we’ll find out in 2014.

Chromecast solves an age old problem

Ever since the “lean in” experience began with online videos someone has been looking for a way to turn it into the old “lean-back” experience of the television.  Many have tried webTV, XBMC, Windows Media Center, Apple TV, Xbox, Playstation and all have been met lukewarm receptions.

The main flaw in all the current solutions to convert “lean-in” to “lean-back” is complexity.  All the current solution are basically a box run some version of an OS which needs to be navigated via remotes, controllers, motion, or other devices that are slow, cumbersome, goofy, and easily misplaced.  They try and recreate the lean in discovery experience on the larger screen.  This is a mistake.  Its adding a layer that doesn’t need to exist.  You already have a an expensive, sophisticated device which you know how to use, why do you need another?

Chromecast eliminates the pain.  There is nothing to be navigated, turned on, or switched so there is no need for a remote.  Just find your content via your normal lean-in way and hit a button.  BOOM, now lean back and enjoy.  No UI to navigate, no controls to learn, no voice commands needed, and no pain.

Icing on the cake. First  the price.  Even without the 3-month netfllix offer $35 is a steal.  One can easliy outfit his home for under the cost of one Apple TV.

Second, its silent.  I’ve been annoyed at how loud my xbox is during a netflix movie, now I don’t even notice.

Third, portability.  Have a large screen at work?  Netflix during lunch?  why not?

Fourth, OPEN SDK.  Less than 200 lines of code and an app is enabled for chromecast, google provides the code.

Fifth, you can view your content socially, with other people.  If you have to ask why someone would want this you need to go outside.

Sixth, it works with any device.  I’ve handed control off to a Chrome Browser to an Android phone, to an iPad mini, back to the Android phone without issue.

Seventh, Roaming.  Started a movie in the living room but you’re tired.  Two taps and its playing in the bedroom, no rewinding, scanning, or transferring necessary.

Finally, once you’ve set it up, you don’t even know its there.  There is no box to look at, no remote to lose, no fans to hear.  Its virtually invisible.

Do you self a favor and order one today.

Choice, its a good thing.

I have a thought on why app retention for iOS is so high.   The development tools given to ios App makers are so limited and crippled in what parts of the system they can access and how they can use those resources, leading to lackluster apps.  You don’t even get the option of changing the default program for a defined action.  Case and point Chrome, amazing everywhere else, hamstrung by iOS limitations.

iOS apps hit the ceiling with what they can do very quickly.  No innovation can happen past the 3 or 4th version of an app.  There is no competitiveness between apps over features or speed, its just first one to the finish line of a good UI.  Also in the case of a browser, mail client, launcher, keyboard, etc, iOS users don’t  get a choice.  Click a link in iOS, it will open in safari, never in a browser of your choice.

Android I haven’t even decided on a default launcher. Apex and Nova keep outdoing each other and I switch back and forth.  Both are much better than the default launcher, which is also great, and luckily I have the option of a choice.

If you chose to switch, it doesn’t mean what you are leaving is terrible, it just means that you made a choice

TL;DR Choice is good, iOS apps are crippled