Posted on October 4, 2012
Background. Recently the Wall Street Journal reported consumers are increasing complaining that phone and tablet wireless Internet fees are causing a reduction in discretionary household spending elsewhere. Even 37% of presumably well-heeled Journal readers replied to an online poll confirming monthly mobile data bills are forcing them to sacrifice other items in the household budget. The problem is particularly acute for families with children where membership plans can easily reach $300 monthly.
The two dominant carriers, Verizon and AT&T, readily concede they expect monthly bills to climb steadily higher as they adopt metered bandwidth rates. As long as wireless traffic congestion is managed by granting exclusive frequency allocations in a manner originated a century ago, carrier executives can smile at the future like a roomful of bankers fondling TARP bailout money. Yet escalating Wireless Internet access fees will not only be more costly for consumers, they also damage future growth opportunities for powerful companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Read more…
Posted on August 14, 2012
As the chart below indicates, Nielsen confirms that YouTube has become the most popular source of recorded music for teenagers in the thirteen-to-seventeen age group. CDs ranked fourth whereas conventional radio barely nudged-out Apple’s iTunes for second. Furthermore, YouTube ranks third for all of us over seventeen, trailing only radio and CDs which ranked first and second. Yet the most significant point is the behavior of the thirteen-to-seventeen year olds. Their consumption patterns are likely a leading indicator for the mass market model of the future. As they age they will take their habits with them into older demographics.
Posted on June 11, 2012
Today’s post summarizes my first three days of switching my office computer from a Microsoft XP unit to an iMac. This may be the first in a series of such posts as I progress through the transition.
Prior Apple Experience
Although I bought multiple versions since the first iPod-for-Windows was introduced ten years ago, my only other experience with Apple hardware includes two iPhones and an iPad-2. After twenty years of Window exclusivity, instinct suggested the navigation learning curve for an Apple computer would be much steeper than for Apple’s IOS units. Nonetheless, a few years of fun with iPhones and the iPad-2, persuaded me to risk it.
Both machines will be available in my office until I am fully comfortable with iMac. For example, despite several days of iMac experience, this blog post was prepared on the familiar XP computer. Read more…
Posted on May 30, 2012
Last week a Presidential Panel urged a radical shift in spectrum management principles toward White Spaces as a means of relieving increasing traffic congestion resulting from the century-old method of exclusive frequency licenses. Inside Digital Media subscribers realize we’ve been advocating just such a change for over a year. Among the report authors for President Obama are (1) Google’s Board Chairman, Eric Schmidt (2) Microsoft’s Research & Strategy Officer, Craig Mundie, (3) Hummer Winblad Partner, Mark Gorenberg and (4) U.S. Venture Partners partner and New York Times Board Member, David E. Liddle.
Essentially the report advises the President to authorize – or even require that – those government agencies with lightly used dedicated frequency bands enable commercial users to access such channels when not in use. Future smartphones could be equipped with frequency agile transceivers capable of accessing vacant channels in authorized bands when they’re momentarily free of traffic. It’s the same principle underlying TV Band White Spaces. The entire process is transparent to the user and accomplished on-the-fly by embedded electronic intelligence cooperating between hand-held smartphones and base stations. Read more…
Posted on April 11, 2012
The four reasons I’m buying more books than five years ago are (1) Internet interactivity, (2) second-hand markets online, (3) Amazon.com rewards points and (4) iPad.
The ability to interact over the Internet stimulates my book buying in two ways.
First, I can buy books with a mere mouse-click which is more convenient than driving to a store where the desired title may not even be in-stock. But there’s more to it than that.
Almost unconsciously I’ve become increasingly skilled at using Amazon’s tools for browsing. For example, Amazon routinely provides suggestions of alternate titles, similar to the one being considered for purchase. Another is the ability search for key words (e.g. topics) within many books remotely over the Net. It’s a more powerful way to learn how much of a topic-of-interest might be covered in a given book than examining the index of a physical book. Read more…
Posted on March 26, 2012
A little under a year ago, we posted four reasons why Apple may decide to become a Wireless Internet Service Provider. Presently, we conclude that if Apple doesn’t do it, one or more of the other Internet-dependent giants shall, by the year 2020. Companies like Apple, Amazon, Google (YouTube), FaceBook, and Microsoft cannot permit their futures to be controlled by today’s dominant wireless carriers. Increasingly, their growth will be throttled as cellular carriers expand bandwidth-metered pricing.
The new competitors shall use (1) licensed and licensed-exempt frequencies in combination with (2) cognitive white space manipulation as a new incremental paradigm for efficient bandwidth allocation. Licensed channels may be purchased from current holders of lightly-used spectrum. One example could be Clearwire. Assuming government approval is denied, the channels Verizon is trying to buy from the Cable TV industry might be a second example. Read more…
Posted on March 8, 2012
Smartphones have already supplanted personal wallets in several ways. Perhaps the best example is how they’ve displaced the paper family photos that were customarily tucked behind a plastic window in leather wallets. Furthermore it’s easy to envision how smartphones-as-wallets could replace the clutter of discount coupons clipped from newspapers and sundry items, like laundry claim checks, often stuffed into conventional wallets.
But there are two reasons why smartphones are also likely to become the prime tool for retail monetary transactions. First, they’ll be more economical for the consumer by automatically tracking and applying (when desired) (1) discount coupons, (2) rewards points, and (3) special offers derived from our purchasing habits and ephemeral geo-location based on the phone’s location-awareness. Second, they’ll enable faster “check-out” thereby benefiting both the retailer and consumer. Read more…
Posted on February 13, 2012
As much as any contemporary book can be, Adam Lashinsky’s Inside Apple is about Apple, not Steve Jobs. While Jobs and his legacy permeate the entire story, Fortune Magazine’s Senior Editor-at-Large provides two key insights.
One is an exploration of the methods and other personalities that transformed the company into the enviable success it became over the past dozen years. A second is an evaluation of how those factors might sustain, or alter, the company’s future.
Presumably at his insistence, three key points drove the company to undisputed leadership following Jobs’s second coming. Read more…