The Great Debate UK
-Fraser Macdonald is the editor of Stuff. The opinions expressed are his own.-
Deciding on the Cool List turns the Stuff office into a maelstrom. Our Gadget Awards, held later in the year, involves a straightforward categorised decision process.
Phone of the Year, for example, is one of the phones launched in the past year that meets all of the awards criteria. Easy.
The Cool List, on the other hand, is more subjective, because it isn’t necessarily about star ratings, or hype, or sales figures.
It’s about the gadgets that have that elusive ‘something’. What used to be known as the ‘X-factor’ before a TV programme removed all the credibility from that phrase.
Apple has just lent a hand to Google in the search giant's increasingly tense relationship with regulators. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission worries Google's proposed purchase of AdMob may extend its dominance of internet search advertising into the burgeoning mobile Internet space. Apple's latest iPhone operating system will give the government less to worry about.
The FTC's concern is understandable. Google could well use the profits for a near-monopoly in its original business to muscle into the promising mobile advertising market. That business is currently small -- total spending of around $400 million in 2009 was less than 2 percent of Google's revenues. But research outfit IDC estimates $1.9 billion of revenues by 2012.
Yet the tech trade creates a dilemma for the FTC and other antitrust regulators. As the long fight with Microsoft has demonstrated, once a monopoly is established, its huge economies of scale make conventional remedies ineffective. Officials need to strike before the competitive barriers are too high to tear down.
Apple has a reputation for developing hit products.
But the company also has a rep for maintaining an iron grip on its image and its message. Wednesday’s launch of the iPad, a product whose details have been closely guarded by Apple for months ahead of the launch, showed Apple’s operation at its best.
To the surprise of many, Apple CEO Steve Jobs turned up at the demo room after the main event and appeared to be casually hobnobbing with Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg.
- Simon Osborne-Walker is Stuff.tv editor. The opinions expressed are his own. -
On Wednesday, Apple will change the face of computing in the same way that it put an iPhone-shaped bomb under the mobile industry.
Rumour has it that we’re going to see a tablet computer that builds on the touchscreen iPhone interface that redefined what we expect from today’s technology. An iPhone on steroids, with a 10-inch touchscreen to offer the best compromise between portability and media browsing.
With Wednesday’s expected unveiling of the Apple tablet, the tech world is bracing for a device that could revolutionize everything from mobile computing to the newspaper industry. But what if the tablet doesn’t live up to expectations?
While Apple is known for its golden touch, the company has had its share of flops. The five products below represent some of Apple’s biggest disappointments; but they also provide important lessons that can be found in its smash hits.
Five years ago the thought that we could be on the move accessing applications such as You Tube or Facebook, or watching TV or listening to music using our mobile phones was no more than a dream – today it’s a reality.
If we take a step back and assess the journey of the mobile phone over the past few years it has been nothing short of epic. It has progressed from a piece of technology for the modern business person to a must-have item.
What’s the iSlate worth? It’s not an easy question to answer, as Apple isn’t even confirming it’s got a tablet computer gadget in the works. But the market gives a rough guide to what Wall Street expects from the new device. Investors seem to be slapping an “iSlate premium” of some $25 billion on Apple’s value. Though Apple boss Steve Jobs’ skill at launching new products is unparalleled, meeting these hopes will be a tall order.
Since July, Apple’s market cap has jumped by $64 billion to $193 billion. The bulls have been stampeding over that time, but the tech company’s performance has been more than double that of the broader market. On that basis, Apple has added some $35 billion more value than it would have if it had paced the market.
from The Great Debate:
-- Aron Cramer is the president and CEO of BSR, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability. He is also coauthor of the forthcoming book Sustainable Excellence (Rodale 2010). The views expressed are his own. --
(Updated on December 17th to correct figure in McKinsey study in paragraph 7.)
As world leaders seem uncertain about whether a binding treaty is even possible at Copenhagen, it’s important to remember what was already clear: Twelve days in Copenhagen were never going to solve climate change anyway.
- Will Findlater is deputy editor of Stuff magazine. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Apple’s “It’s Only Rock and Roll” launch held a few surprises. Most were expecting major updates to the whole line of iPods, but it was only really the iPod Nano that got a thorough going-over.
- Mic Wright is Online News Editor at Stuff. The views expressed are his own -
When Amazon got rightly torn to shreds for remotely killing copies of 1984 on the Kindle, I thought it would be the most idiotic tech story of the year. But I was wrong. Apple’s just upped the ante by banning rude words from a dictionary application – stripping us of the virtual equivalent of looking up obscenities in French class.
Ninjawords Dictionary, a dictionary app from the creators of the excellent website of the same name, is available from the iTunes Store for £1.19. When you go to download it you will be faced with a warning that it “might contain material objectionable to children under 17″. Based on conversations I overhear on the train daily, I think that’s unlikely.