As one MSFT exec said to me, "my kid can’t even name an iPod competitor, much less want one."
More news from PDC. Michael Gartenberg blogs about Expression:
Eric Rudder just announced what Expression is all about. Expression is actually a suite of applications made up of three products. Acrylic is both a vector and bitmap program, Sparkle is for 2D and 3D animated apps and Quartz is for web designers. This is pretty huge, marking MSFT’s return to the professional graphics market. Microsoft pulled their last set of graphics tools from Office XP (the late Photo/Draw product). This is a going to be a real challenge to some other folks in the marketplace, notably Adobe.
The story of the Nano started nine months ago, when Jobs and his team took a look at the iPod Mini and decided they could make it better. On the face of it, that wouldn’t appear to be a fantastically smart decision. The iPod Mini was and still is the best-selling MP3 player in the world, and Apple had introduced it only 11 months earlier. Jobs was proposing to fix something that decidedly was not broken. "Not very many companies are bold enough to shoot their best-selling product at the peak of its popularity," Gartner analyst Van Baker says. "That’s what Apple just did." And it did that while staring right down the barrels of the holiday retail season.
Much as I love my iPod Shuffle, I’m kind of annoyed that I didn’t wait for this one!
Some great comments about panic buyers of petrol on the BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Have you been buying extra petrol? page. This one caught my eye:
The panic buying is typical of the stupidity of an increasing number of people in this country – nobody has threatened to blockade fuel depots and the country has sufficient reserves but still the idiots keep topping up their tanks! Do they not realise that their actions, not the supply chain, is causing stations to run dry! Ridiculous
Actually, people today are no more stupid than they were years ago. I distinctly remember in the 1970′s, as a wee boy, panic buying of salt (leading to empty supermarket shelves) because "the Siberian salt mines were shut". The only problem was that Britain didn’t get any salt from Siberia. The story was completely false.
Me and Cory aren’t known for our ability to agree over much to do with copyright, but he’s bang on the mark with his post over at Boing Boing about how TiVo won’t save certain shows or allow moving them:
TiVo has added several anti-features to its PVR. Now, some shows can’t be saved forever, or moved using TiVo2Go.
It used to be that it was hard to explain the TiVo. I’d tell people, "It’s like a VCR, but it’s smart enough to program itself."
Now I’ve got a new description: "It’s like a VCR, but it it’s evil enough to screw you over if some rightsholder demands it."
Hey, TiVo: since 1984′s Betamax decision, Americans have had the right to record TV shows even if the rightsholder doesn’t like the idea. That’s straight from the Supreme Court’s mouth. I don’t know what kind of special privilege the enteraintment industry has offered you in exchange for this spectacular display of wanton shark-jumping, but it wasn’t enough. I sold my TiVo when I left California. You can be goddamned sure I won’t be buying another one. Ever.
Note to potential TiVo competitors: MythTV is like TiVo except it includes all the features that the entertainment industry has intimidated TiVo into leaving out. And it’s free. Go make a product out of it, put it in stores, and you will sell a squillion of them. Now that TiVo’s blown its brains out, the field is wide open.
The abilty of people to record and keep shows as long as they want has not only been a great benefit to consumers, it’s benefitted the content industries by preserving interest in shows that would otherwise be forgotten – making it much easier for the content companies to later re-show or release the programmes. Adding a self-destruct on the shows is stupid – it’s like saying that the show has a shelf life, and after that forget about it.
Crucially, Apple also claimed its internal investigation to be a trade secret, demanding it be sealed from the defendants.
The defendants representatives appealled and last week won against this assertion in the courts. These documents are now available to the public (in PDF format).
They show that the only computer forensics conducted by Apple were a search of Apple’s email servers and a rudimentary examination of a single file server.
Apple failed to examine employees’ individual work computers, hard drives, telephone records, photocopiers, "or otherwise investigate the possibility that information about Asteroid was transmitted by means other than email", the EFF said.
Apple also failed to obtain sworn statements from employees who had access to the leaked information.
"The First Amendment requires that compelled disclosure from journalists be a last resort," said EFF staff attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Apple must first investigate its own house before seeking to disturb the freedom of the press."
Not entirely surprising. Apple’s aim in this case was always more to do with attacking the press than actually plugging its own leaks – in other words, to enact a "chilling effect" over websites.
Of course, this has largely failed – and that larger media organisations like the Wall Street Journal are now blowing the trumpets for Apple’s "trade secrets" weeks before announcements are made officially.
It is being announced at PDC05 that OEMs will be allowed to ship Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 (aka Lonestar) on their touch-enabled tablets. Why is this significant? Because a lot of our user audience (and some potential users) have asked for touch input for a while now. Why has it taken til now to get this done? *shrug* I don’t know.
For those who don’t know much about Tablet PCs, at present all models must use "active" digitisers, which work only with special pens. The huge advantage of this is that you can rest your hands on the screen without a huge blotch of ink splurging all over it – which means it’s much more like writing on paper.
However, the problem with this is that these digitizers are expensive, and you need that special pen – lose it, and you better have a spare or you’re stuck with an expensive laptop.
And what this opens up is the smaller end of the market. Imagine a tiny machine, the size of an old Newton, but running a full-blown copy of Windows.
Jon Udell has a podcast up of An interview with Bill Gates from PDC 2005.