“Ballmer was right not to make any major tablet announcement, showing off something that wasn’t ready. Any zealous tablet push would have led to bloggers, journalists and Wall Street analysts making iPad comparisons. By staying away from Apple and iPad, Ballmer kept the message pure, which is good marketing. Ballmer set the keynote agenda on his terms rather than taking the position of following a competitor. Surely there was temptation, and pressure, to directly respond to iPad. Ballmer showed leadership by waiting.”
Joe is absolutely right. The last thing that Microsoft needed from this year’s CES was another version of the Courier debacle. By focusing on products that it was ready to announce rather than products the pundits think it needs, Ballmer did the right thing – and, of course, copied something straight out of the Apple marketing playbook.
As a bit of background to the story: reading through various Mac forums it seems there’s a common misconception that Mac App Store stuff is “personal use only”, and can’t be used for business (this thread is typical – but there’s plenty more out there). So I did some digging through the license, and asked some developers for their perspective, and ended up writing a far-too-long explanation of the details. I think I’ve managed to get the definitive answer, short of getting something out of Apple (and we know what that’s like).
Ken Case of Omni and Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater are quoted, but I should also thank Daniel Counsell of RealMac and Fraser Spiers of Connected Flow for their help – although they aren’t quoted, both of them contributed to me getting my head straight about the license and what developers were thinking.
“It seems likely, then, that as soon as the Verizon iPhone comes out, Apple will pump an official iOS update for all devices down the pipeline, bringing the Hotspot app to all devices, including iPads. Naturally, the carriers probably have some control over how a subscriber can use that Hotspot app on their existing plans, but it seems pretty likely that all iPhone owners will be able to tether their devices to their 3G connection via WiFi soon enough.”
Phone companies do have ways of spotting people tethering, the easiest being massive spikes in data usage. But some Android users have had tethering built-in for a while (notably on the stock Nexus One), and I’ve yet to hear of anyone having problems.
What I’ve found using tethering occasionally on my Nexus One, though, is that it reduces the battery life massively: an hour of use, and it’s gone. By comparison, a dedicated device like the 3 MiFi 2 gives me several hours, easily.
Given that Apple focuses hard on battery life, and making sure that no app drains the battery too much, it will be interesting to see what its done to stop WiFi sharing killing your battery in record time.