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iPad Developers will be Sorely Disappointed at Launch

February 8, 2010 Leave a comment

When the iPhone App Store launched, iPhone developers were impressively rewarded for their hard work and determination to get their apps on the App Store on launch day. Reading through a number of the iPhone/iPod/iPad developer groups, a similar level of excitement exists for the launch of the iPad, but unfortunately, that enthusiasm is going to die down quickly with a dose of reality.

There are a number of things that made the launch of the iPhone App Store an incredible success. Fist, there were already more than 8 million iPhones in the market by the time the App Store launched and that doesn’t count the millions more iPods that were also sold prior to the App Store launch. Then, there’s the fact that very few companies had a product to launch. On launch day, there were 500 applications available for download. The excitement was so high that nearly every one of those 500 applications received an incredible amount of free press, reviews and complimentary mentions in numerous blogs and online publications. Being first to market on the launch of the App Store, which itself was a historic event, meant that the worst applications would still receive thousands of downloads – if for no other reason, just for the curiosity factor.

The Launch of the iPad and the apps designed specifically for the iPad are going to have a significantly different story. On the day the iPad App Store launches with iPad-exclusive apps, there will be exactly -0- devices sold with owners who are eager to buy apps. Even if the iPad has an exceptionally successful launch, launch-day devices will likely number in the hundreds of thousands, not millions. To make matters worse, there are now tens of thousands of iPhone developers who will have their iPad-only apps ready to go on day 0, so the iPad-exclusive App Store will be far more crowded than the launch of the original iPhone App Store and since the App Store concept is nothing new, there will be a lot less written about the launch of the iPad exclusive App Store.

So lets quickly compare the two launches:

On Launch Day Original App Store iPad App Store
# of Devices Previously Sold and Ready to Use App Store > 8 Million 0
# of Apps on the App Store Specifically for the Device ~ 500 > 10,000
(Estimate)
Sales Pace of Devices (iPhone / iPad) > 2 Million / Month ~300K/mo
(Estimate)

In the long-run, being ready for the iPad will be a great win for the developers who take the chance and get prepared. The iPad will likely have a very bright future, but by no means is the launch of the iPad App Store going to create anything near the results of the original App Store. It’s important for iPad developers to check their expectations against the realities.

Categories: Business Tags: , ,

My Apple Tablet Predictions

January 25, 2010 1 comment

A quick list of my predictions for Apple’s event later this week:

  • Tablet device with following specs:
    • Apple will not provide CPU or RAM specs as it will consider such specs unimportant (no need to confuse consumers)
    • 10″ display with multi-touch
    • Storage will be flash-based – 64 to 128 GB
    • It will have built-in front-facing camera
    • A new Tablet OS V1.0 will be introduced which will be different front iPhone and Macs (based on OS X, much like iPhone OS)
    • It will have a store (like the App Store) which will sell content such as books, magazines and newspapers in addition to media, apps and games
    • It will be a stand-alone device (in that it will not require a sync with a PC/Mac for content like the iPhone does)
    • It will offer its own version of iLife which will include tablet editions of iTunes and iPhoto
    • 5-Hour Real-Use Battery life (although they might advertise 7 or 8)
    • Built-in Wifi (N)
    • 3G Cell Service capable for both GSM and CDMA networks, but they will not announce the carrier yet (no need until launch)
    • $699 Unsubsidized price or $399 with 3G service + $39/mo
  • The tablet will have keyboard, mouse as well as external display support, but will ship with none of them
  • They will show off the Tablet SDK and invite developers to launch apps and media content for it
  • Launch of device will be in April to June timeframe
  • No mention of anything iPhone related (no iPhone 4.0, Verizon, etc.)

And it will be an awesome device to work with OnTime V10’s new Scrum Planning Board.

What do you think?

Categories: Business Tags: , , ,

How Axosoft Built 5 iPhone Apps in 30 Days

February 19, 2009 9 comments

In The Developer’s Incentive to ship, I talk about how at my company, Axosoft, we drive and motivate our software engineers to ship software. Besides the standards of a good work environment, free snacks, drinks and state-of-the-art equipment, we also do something that’s a bit out of the ordinary: After every major release of our flagship software, OnTime, we take 30 days to do fun side projects — preferably ones that are challenging.

So when we released OnTime 2009 in the first week of January, our dev team was anxious to get going on their side projects. In our first side-project meeting, three of our developers decided that they wanted to do iPhone Apps. Now keep in mind that our developers are Windows .NET developers with zero Mac development experience. Prior to my awakening, which I detailed in Every Developer’s Next Machine Should be a Mac, none of our developers had much exposure to Macs or OS X.

As we sat around the conference room trying to figure out how to best learn the awkward XCode IDE and the mind boggling Objective C syntax while at the same time learning the Cocoa framework and the iPhone SDK, we came up with a series of basic projects to help the team learn how to draw on the iPhone or record a touch or multi-touch from the screen. We also wanted to learn how to use the accelerometer for movement and animating objects on the screen. We set a goal of 1 week for having something that could demonstrate these basic fundamentals.

This is where having super-star developers on your team makes a big difference…

Within 24 hours our offices were lit up with discussions and demos of iPhone apps that shot bullets and had flying airplanes dropping bombs. Before long, the guys had freshened up on their math skills, figured out collision detection and were building frameworks for Artificial Intelligence. Within 1 week of our start, we now had the confidence to set some serious goals.

We decided we wanted to have at least one iPhone game in the App Store before the end of our 30-day project.

But, just three weeks into our iPhone app development, we had already submitted two full-fledged games to the App Store. These games are relatively basic, but are super FUN, have multiple levels, lots of scenery, artwork and music. The collection of everything that went into making these games totally blew us away.

Here are some screenshots of the two games:

Slug Bug, our First iPhone Game: iTunes Link ($0.99)

Slug Bug – This is a game where the player can take the familiar Axosoft Ladybug across a busy road, a lawn or a train station to get her to safety. It’s a fun little game, especially for youngsters. My 3-year-old loves it and I have a few friends who are old-school Frogger fans that love this game.

Snakes on a Plain, our Second iPhone Game: iTunes Link ($0.99)

Snakes on a Plain – This is my personal favorite game. It’s like the old snakey games that came on just about all Nokia cell phones for a while there, but the big difference is that there is an enemy snake (or two on Hard levels).  Its AI is pretty damn smart and fights for your food. I also love the different patterns and the music in this game.

After releasing two iPhone games in three weeks, we still had a week left for our 30-day side projects, so we decided to have each developer focus on a small game to see what’s possible and use it as an opportunity to learn even more about iPhone development. The three games that came out of that are all available for free from the iPhone App Store:

iScream – iTunes Link (Free)

iScream – This little scare-the-crap-out-of-someone game gets the player to focus on getting a marble from one side of the screen to the other using the iPhone’s (or iPod Touch’s) accelerometer. If the marble falls off the path, the level is restarted. The player is told that after the third level, their mental IQ will be revealed.  While the player is focusing on the task at hand, a scary surprise awaits him on the last turn of the third maze. This game has scared a number of my friends and family members — very satisfying! :-)

Baby Bounce – iTunes Link (Free)

Baby Bounce – In this game, you control a couple of firefighters’ left and right movement with the accelerometer.  They are trying to save babies flying out of burning buildings by catching them in their trampoline. Catch 5 in a row and the babies will bounce twice. Catch 10 in a row and their will be multiple babies.  Catch 15 in a row, and you guessed it, multiple bouncing babies.

Photo Revenge – iTunes Link (Free)

Photo Revenge – Ever want to throw darts or knives at a picture of your nemesis? Well, with Photo Revenge, you pick the picture and determine the size and location of the target on that picture. Then you aim a knife and throw it by flicking your iPhone.  Highly satisfying and no holes in your wall!

One thing you might notice is that these games have pretty decent graphics, music and sound effects. The stars lined up well for us as we involved our graphics and marketing team, who are avid Mac users, to help with the development. With the use of PhotoShop, Flash and GarageBand, we were able to do everything in-house.

So that’s the story of how we shipped five iPhone games in less than 30 days without ever having written a single line of Objective-C or any prior iPhone or Mac development experience. Our only objective was to learn. We never set the expectation for any of these games to make money, but now we know how to write iPhone Apps and that is a huge asset to Axosoft.

Back to work!

Axosoft Customer Survey Results

July 21, 2008 9 comments

Last week, we sent out a carefully crafted survey to our customer list hoping that we’d get about 40 or 50 responses to help us better understand what we’re doing right and what areas we could improve.

To our surprise, we received an overwhelming response from over 360 customers who completed a fairly lengthy, 20+ question survey. The results were absolutely awesome — surprising in many areas. They highlight a number of things where Axosoft can clearly do a better job and they also point to a number of things we are doing right. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the numbers visually, so I threw them into Keynote, charting and charted and graphed the responses.

Here are the results:

Q. Rate Axosoft in the Following Areas:

These results were very reassuring. My raw immediate reactions were as follows:

  • Holy cow, we have way too many “Never Used” responses. We need to do a much better job of getting users to know about the existence of the Axosoft Community siteVideo Tutorial Podcasts and OnTime Overview Videos, all of which are excellent resources and free!
  • Although I never want to see a survey result of “Unhelpful” or “Terrible”, it was good to see that we had fewer than 6 such responses total, combined for any question. Not bad when you consider more than 360 people responded. Now that we have a baseline, we’ll have a goal to reduce even further terrible and unhelpful responses.
  • It was great to see the Axosoft Sales Reps, the Axosoft Web site and the overview videos get such awesome responses from customers who used those services.

Q. Which version of OnTime do you use:

We were pleasantly surprised with the results of this question as we did not expect nearly 80% of our survey respondents to be using OnTime 2008. This told us we’ve done a couple of things right: a) OnTime 2008 was a compelling upgrade for the vast majority of users and b) We’ve done a better job of making upgrades easier than previous versions.

Q. Which OnTime Products Do You Use?

Here we got confirmation that OnTime Windows is by far the most popular client type we offer. The high use of the OnTime Customer Portal (41%) was a bit of a surprise as was the 13% usage of the OnTime SDK. If 13% of our customers use the SDK, it deserves to get a bump in priority for continued enhancements.

Q. Which OnTime Functionality Do You Use?

The findings to this question were in-line with our expectations. It was great to see adoption of OnTime as a HelpDesk tool has already reached 50% of survey respondents. HelpDesk functionality was introduced in V7, so having 50% of our customers using OnTime as a helpdesk solution was great to see. Similarly, Wiki usage is growing rapidly. Having just introduced Wiki functionality in V8 only a few months ago, it’s great to see more than 20% of our survey respondents using the team Wiki.

Q. What are Your Favorite OnTime Features?

OnTime’s ability to automate workflow and to enforce team processes was listed by the most people as one of their favorite features. We’ve spent a considerable amount of time making sure the workflow functionality in OnTime is extremely flexible and it was good to see that its being used and loved by such a large group of people.

To balance out the favorite features question, we also asked which features users felt were missing or needed more work. The information there was extremely interesting, but publishing those results publicly would be handing a little too much ammo to our competitors (sorry guys).

Q. Which Smart Phone Do You Use?

The results here were predictable. But far more interesting was which smart phone users planned to purchase:

In my opinion, this puts the iPhone debate to rest. More people plan to purchase iPhones (even this early in the game) than all other smart phones combined. iPhone has already won the mobile platform wars.

Q. Which Browser Version Do You Use?

Two things are very interesting here: 1) FireFox’s adoption rate is growing unbelievably fast with nearly 34% of our survey respondents using FireFox and 2) FireFox does a much better job than Microsoft in getting new version adoption as FF V3 has just barely been out for a few weeks and already more than half of the FF users are on the new version.

Q. Which Version of SQL Server Do You Use?

It was good to confirm that the vast majority of customers are on SQL Server 2005. However, due to a still large number using SQL 2000 (~24%), we need to continue backwards compatibility for these users.

Q. Do You Have Any Mac OS X OnTime Users?

Considering Axosoft’s focus has traditionally been on Microsoft development teams, having a 12% response that yes, there are OS X users of OnTime was a bit surprising to some, but confirms the trend that users are migrating away from Windows at alarming rates. Note: the exact wording of this question was not about Apple hardware, but specifically Mac OS X.

Q. How Do Your Mac OS X Users Run OnTime?

As suspected, the majority use browsers. But still, the number of users utilizing a local Windows virtual machine was interesting.

Q. What Development Methodology Do You Use?

This question confirmed that the majority of software development teams don’t follow a development methodology. But it also shows that of those who do, Scrum is one of the top methodologies getting adopted by teams. At Axosoft, we’ve been very intrigued with Scrum and the philosophy behind it. Scrum is very much inline with our own development philosophy, and we hope to improve OnTime even more so it addresses the needs of Scrum teams even better in the future.

Q. Would You Be Interested in an OnTime User Conference in Scottsdale, AZ?

We weren’t sure what to expect with this question. But it was nice to see that nearly 1/3 of survey respondents would be interested in an OnTime User Conference. Looks like our Marketing and Training Team have their work cut out for them. Stay tuned.

Q. Does OnTime Truly Help You Ship Software OnTime?

At first, I was a bit disappointed with the results to this question. Sure, OnTime is helping about 6 out of 7 teams that use it ship their software on-time, but what about the other 1 out of 7? Why are they even using OnTime, if it doesn’t help them ship software on-time?

Fortunately, we had a follow-up open ended question that asked users why OnTime isn’t helping them ship software on-time. The results were more reassuring. Some of the respondents indicated that they were relatively new to OnTime and hadn’t yet shipped a project since they started using OnTime. Some felt that OnTime did a great job, but their project completion issues were unrelated to OnTime (management, executives, customers – you know the drill). A small fraction of the 16% for whom OnTime was not yet hitting the mark gave the indication that OnTime is missing some important project visibility information that they find important to shipping software on-time.

Improved project visibility will be a major focus of the next major release of OnTime.

Countries of Origin:

We had users from more than 30 countries fill out the survey. With about 44% of survey respondents from abroad, this was an exceptionally balanced survey that represented a good sliver of our customer base.

Even More Information to Analyze

We have a lot more information to analyze. Several of our questions were open-ended questions where users could write their thoughts about Axosoft, OnTime and other related items. The responses to those questions were and will continue to be extremely useful to us as we plan for future versions of OnTime.

I wanted to also thank all of our customers and especially those who took the time to fill out the survey. The feedback we have received is instrumental to the continued success of Axosoft as a company and the  OnTime product line.

Now, let me know if this poll was helpful:

 

Why Every Developer’s Next PC Will be a Mac

June 18, 2008 24 comments

Every Developer\'s Next PC will be a MacIf you’re a developer, your next machine will be a Mac. Here’s why:

  1. iPhone Development can only be done on a Mac.

What, were you expecting a #2? No need! #1 is sufficient reason. “But what if I don’t plan to develop for the iPhone?” you ask. It’s called hedging your bets. The fact is you don’t know if you’ll want to develop for the iPhone in the future. The general tech community consensus is that mobile is the future. Having a mobile version of the apps you write (whether games or client/server database applications) is a smart move. In fact, your customers might start demanding mobile versions of your software soon and if they have iPhones they’ll start demanding them much sooner than later.

iPhone has a good chance of becoming the standard platform for Smart Phones. Even if it doesn’t become the standard, it will have a commanding share that cannot be ignored. The fact is, you can’t develop native iPhone apps on anything but a Mac. The world’s best Dell, HP or IBM won’t help – even if they miraculously become the better PC to buy.

Until now, lots of Windows users bought Macs because they were the best PC to run Windows. But what if another hardware vendor creates a better PC? The idea was that this group of Windows Mac users would switch back. But not anymore. Now, for a Windows developer, it would be smarter to pick up a Mac even if a better alternative for running Windows existed. Buying a Mac ensures that you can develop software on ANY platform: Windows, Linux, Unix, OS X and iPhone. Even if you don’t care about OS X, chances are you’ll care about iPhone users soon. iPhone seals the deal on buying a Mac. It’s good to be in Apple’s shoes right now.

Some of you are undoubtedly thinking “most people wouldn’t pay the $X premium for a Mac vs. a Dell machine.” Some will argue going to Macs will cost 20% or 30% more. Wouldn’t most organizations want to save 20 or 30% on their hardware costs?

This line of thinking couldn’t be more flawed. Consider the total cost of a developer during an average 2-year replacement-span of typical hardware:

  • Salary: $60,000 (low) x 2 years = $120,000
  • Benefits (Taxes, Bonus, Vacation, Insurance, etc.) at 20% (low) of salary: $24,000
  • Other Costs (Space, Desk, utilities, etc.) at 10% (low) of salary: $12,000
  • Typical Developer PC: $2,000

So the total cost of a relatively inexpensive developer for 2 years is at least $158,000 and these are extremely conservative numbers. I’m using a small salary to illustrate that even on the low-end of the salary spectrum, the $X premium of a Mac is meaningless.

So what is the extra cost of a Mac vs. a PC? Even if you have to pay a $500 premium for a Mac (Not True – See Update), we’re talking about 0.3% more than the 2-year cost of a developer.

So the question is, what organization would limit their ability to develop on quite possibly the world’s #1 mobile platform for a savings of 0.3%? The answer is “an organization that doesn’t think!”

Updated (6/20 4:55pm):

It turns out Dells now have a premium over Macs. Look at the comparison.

Categories: Team, Tools Tags: , , , , , ,

Google Android vs. iPhone: It’s 1984 All Over Again

June 2, 2008 16 comments

Android vs. iPhoneBack in 1984, Apple was on top of the computing world with top-notch sexy hardware and it partnered with Microsoft for some top-notch [not so] sexy practical software. It was a winning combination for both Apple and Microsoft. Microsoft’s strategy in 1984 was hardware agnostic making its software available on any popular platform. Apple’s strategy in 1984 was holistic. We’ll call the period between 1984 and 2000, Round 1.

In Round 1, it turned out that Microsoft’s strategy was the clear-cut winner. By being hardware agnostic, hardware vendors competed with one-another to drive down the price of hardware much faster than anyone could have imagined. Clone prices fell so fast and so much lower than the price of a Macintosh that it simply became impractical to own a Mac. Software vendors also took note and quickly the non-Mac-PC became the standard. Apple nearly died.

2007 set off Round 2. This time around it’s in the cell phone business. Once again, Apple is on top of the Cell Phone game with top-notch sexy hardware and it has partnered with Google this time for some top-notch [not so] sexy practical software (think Google Maps, YouTube and other web-based Google Apps for the iPhone). Once again, it’s a winning partnership for both Apple and Google. And Once again, Google’s strategy is exactly the same to that of Microsoft in 1984: stay hardware agnostic. Apple’s strategy is also identical to its own strategy back in 1984: stay holistic. Round 2 has begun.

The similarities are eery. In 1984, while Microsoft was building the most popular application software on the Mac, it had begun a similar hardware-agnostic operating system (Windows) on its own. In 2007, while Google has some of the most popular application software on iPhone, it has begun a similar hardware agnostic Cell-Phone operating system (Android) on its own. Apple’s strategy has not changed a single bit. It refuses to license its operating system or any other technology while it continues to want more and more control over the entirety of the experience. The iPhone in 2007 has set off a brand new race much like the original Macintosh did in 1984. Interestingly, 24 years later, the strategies are still identical on both sides.  

So will Round 2 end in the same way with Google’s Android prevailing due to exceptionally cheap phones that are sure to emerge using Android? Maybe not. There is one key difference between Round 1 & Round 2: Steve Jobs. Steve didn’t get to finish fighting the strategy that he helped establish for Apple in Round 1. He left Apple in 1985. So there’s no telling how things would have turned out. The fact that Apple lost round 1 may have taught everyone a lesson and it might falsely embolden Google to think Microsoft’s winning strategy was the better strategy. After all, Google’s chief, Eric Schmit, has been learning from (and losing to) Microsoft for 20+ years. Eric is now using Microsoft’s own strategy to successfully beat them. Google is the new Microsoft.

But this time around Steve is much smarter than he was in 1984. So smart in fact, that he’s resurrected Round 1 from the dead and may still pull off a win (the Mac is coming back). It’s possible that Steve & Apple’s holistic approach will still be the winning approach for Round 1, assuming you extend round 1 to at least 2015. But in Round 2 Apple’s chances are a lot better. Everybody is at the beginning of the race. There are no clear winners and just like in 1984, Apple has a major lead. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

I’m curious to know your thoughts on:

  • Who you think will win Round 2: will it be Google with its Android or Apple with its iPhone? 
  • Is Round 1 over in your view or will the Mac eventually beat out Windows-based PCs in market share?
  • Is Microsoft even a player in Round 2? (I would never recommend a current Windows-Mobile phone to my worst enemy – so do they even stand a chance?)
Leave a comment with your views.

iPhone Desktop: Unleash the Leopard in Your Pocket. $299.

April 3, 2008 17 comments

Disruptive technologies are those technologies that brew up independently under the radar until all of a sudden they take over well established mainstream industries.

And, here’s my take on the biggest disruptive technology currently sitting under our noses, err…in our pockets: The Apple iPhone, and it’s potential to replace the traditional desktop / laptop computer. Imagine this:

What is the iPhone Desktop?

iPhone Desktop Specs The iPhone Desktop is essentially a dock / workstation for the iPhone. Pop your iPhone into the side-loading slot, and your iPhone goes into Desktop mode. The workstation becomes YOUR computer, whether you are using one at home, the office, or casually borrowing one at Starbucks, the library, or the airport.

Wherever you are, it’s YOUR computer.

At home and at the office, you can take advantage of USB storage, syncing only the essentials to your physical iPhone unit. For improved security, you may wish to keep some files on your .Mac account’s virtual storage and only walk around with music, pictures and videos in your pocket.

Incoming Call? No Problem!

So what happens when you are docked and receive a call? Just like the iPhone, the call takes over your screen and gives you the option to answer the call. However, advances will be made, and you will be able to optionally accept eligible calls (i.e. calls placed from other iPhones, iChat, or something similar) with video enabled. iPhone Desktop’s built-in iSight camera and microphone will be used to facilitate the phone call, in lieu of a USB or Bluetook headset.

Just in case it’s not perfectly clear, let me state this in the simplest terms possible:

The iPhone is not a phone, it’s a PC (or, it’s a Mac, if you prefer).

This is precisely what makes the iPhone a disruptive technology. It’s got OS X under the hood, and there’s no reason to believe Apple has fully exploited this tremendous advantage it has over other phones and portable devices.

Unlike its Windows Mobile counterparts, Apple builds the software AND the hardware, which means it is orders of magnitude more nimble when it comes to integrating the two into a solid device that can deliver unbeatable user-experience. When Apple wants to add a feature, whether to the hardware or software — they can just do it. They don’t have to wait for the next release of the software, or for hardware partners to come on board. They can just do it.

iPhone Desktop Pricing

The “Complete PC” part is what I want to emphasize, but let’s not leave out the fact that it includes a phone and an iPod media center, too. It lives in your pocket, and when it makes sense, it takes on the form of a desktop PC. Just add a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you’re still under $850 for a beautifully sleak, ultra portable computing experience.

But the real beauty of this (for Apple) is that the PC industry will continue to ignore the iPhone…until it’s too late. And, as an added bonus (for Apple), cell phone competitors will continue to treat the iPhone as just another phone…until it’s too late.

Apple’s 30+ years of hardware and software integration puts them eons ahead of their competitors in both industries. For years, Apple was derided for not opening up its platform to cloning. To many, their strategy was considered closed, limiting, and seemed short-sighted. Yet, now their persistence and accumulated hardware / software experience is obviously their greatest advantage.

The iPhone combined with the iPhone Desktop Dock represents a truly “Personal” Computer with capabilities sufficient for more than half of PC users today. Complete with web-browsing, email, casual games, YouTube and iTunes! The average PC user doesn’t need much else — remember “web-browsing” today means Google Apps and CRM, too.

With iPhone Desktop’s ability to connect external USB-based hard-drives, storage expandability is a non-issue, and, at just $698 for a complete system, it’s one of the world’s least expensive, most portable, well-equipped PCs.

Nothing else would even come close, actually.

Before you dismiss this by saying, the iPhone isn’t powerful enough to substitute for a PC, consider Apple’s tremendous leaps toward miniaturization: the iPod Nano and the MacBook Air. Do you honestly doubt they will be incapable of shrinking a Mac down to the size of an iPhone?

So What Does All of this Mean?

  1. Taking into account the doubling of CPU processing power approximately every 18 months, and the doubling of affordable flash storage approximately every 10 months, an iPhone 3 years from now will be about as fast as a MacBook Air, and it will come with nearly 200 Gigabytes of storage.
  2. If you’re a player in the computer industry (say, you make bug tracking software like my company Axosoft), you’d better take notice! Even if I’m wrong about all of the above, and I don’t believe I am, change is coming. Today’s Desktop PCs’ and laptops’ days are numbered. People (your customers) will want their computers and the Internet with them all of the time, and even lugging around a 3lb MacBook Air will be considered cumbersome.
  3. Microsoft’s Silverlight engineers had better pay close attention to Mac OS compatibility, especially on the iPhone. A number of ISVs and IT departments will rely on Silverlight to help keep their software relevant.
  4. In addition to the iPhone Desktop (or whatever they end up calling it), Apple will produce a more portable docking station alla today’s laptops. So, you can you choose to carry your docking station with you. It’ll be a 1- to 2-lb slim device, perhaps a clamshell design, that you can also slide your iPhone into. You’ll want to take with you when you write that Great American Novel, beach side or at the park.
  5. Within 3 years the debate will begin: should iPhone sales be counted as Mac computer sales? Within 5 years they will, and Apple will be number 1 in computer sales with nearly a 50% market share. As a corollary to that statement, Mac OS X (or Mac OS 11?) will be the number 1 operating system, in terms of new units sold.
  6. Apple will create a more robust .Mac service, allowing group accounts (whether personal or business) to take advantage of iPhone collaboration features and group syncing. Also, expect to be able to operate any full Mac computer you have at home or the office with “Back to My Mac” and grab any files you need using your iPhone or iPhone Desktop. Other remote desktop options will give you access to the Windows and Linux worlds, as well. At $99 per year per iPhone, .Mac will generate significant revenues for Apple.
  7. The next generation of iPhones will usher in the era of video conference calls. Voice calls will not go away, and will likely remain the most popular form of phone conversation. A “Conference Call” etiquette will emerge, including the expectation of conference calls occurring mostly by appointment and impromptu calls defaulting to voice. What teenagers will do with this feature…let’s not go there, but parents beware.
  8. Unless Apple plays its cards totally above board and learns how to build close relationships with partners, it will build a close relationship with the Department of Justice’s antitrust group within 10 years. If this happens, the distraction could be a prelude to the next disruptive technology, which will eventually replace the iPhone.
  9. iPhone security will become a notable segment of the IT security industry. More work will be done toward remotely disabling lost or stolen iPhones, GPS tracking will be added, and the current iPhone slider will be replaced with a fingerprint scanner. In 5 years, leaving your iPhone in a Taxi Cab will suck even more than it does today, because the device will be a more integral part of your life — but you’ll be able to recover from the loss easier and with less fear of data and/or identity theft.
  10. The hospitality industry will recognize customers’ demands, and provide docking stations in restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and wherever else it makes sense.
  11. Laptops and Desktop PCs won’t go away for a long time, but their market share will shrink dramatically. Games, 3-D rendering, faster compilers, and beefier servers will continue to push the hardware limits and processing power of CPUs and video cards. Niche markets.
  12. John C. Dvorak will be proved wrong yet again.

For More on the iPhone Desktop…

Angelo Coppola (Axosoft’s Marketing Director) spent a day participating in this thought experiment with me, and he published a behind the scenes article in his blog at Axosoft’s community site. The article (along with the image of the iPhone Desktop’s many Photoshop layers scattered all over the place) is worth a look.

Categories: Business Tags: , , ,
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