I've always preferred prognostication to nostalgia, so rather than replay the best of 2007, I'll use these late December doldrums to make 10 predictions for the coming year. Some editors will warn you that this kind of list is suicide--it's too easy for everybody to look back a year later and see where you were wrong--but it hasn't hurt Cringely, so here goes. In no particular order.
According to the Financial Times, Apple and Fox have reached an agreement to serve up Fox's movies for rental on iTunes. If true, this would mark the first rental deal that Apple has been able to reach with a movie studio. In the past, they have distributed Disney movies online, but only for purchase at a higher price. Rumor has it that Apple has settled on the $2.99 price point for rentals, as opposed to the $9.99 or $14.99 price to own.
The Economist makes three technology predictions for 2008, two of which concern web surfing and the third of which concerns everyone, whether they surf the web or not. The Economist's third prediction is that the technology world will open up:
The embrace of "openness" by firms that have grown fat on closed, proprietary technology is something we'll see more of in 2008....
Pundits agree: neither Microsoft nor Apple can compete at the new price points being plumbed by companies looking to cut costs. With open-source software maturing fast, Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox, MySQL, Evolution, Pidgin and some 23,000 other Linux applications available for free seem more than ready to fill that gap. By some reckonings, Linux fans will soon outnumber Macintosh addicts. Linus Torvalds should be rightly proud.
What's most interesting about its analysis, however, is where it sees the biggest impact for open source (Linux) and why (Ubuntu):… Read more
It's been a while since there was something worthy to note in this iPhone blog. The iPhone continues to perform well, even the replacement one. Updates come and go. I discover new features here and there, people still blog about it. It's just a part of regular life. People on planes still ask to see it. You can call the airlines to complain while you're on a plane. You can check flight statuses. Also, I've seen more and more women who have iPhones now too. This shouldn't be too surprising, after all with a million … Read more
The US Army is starting to buy Macs in order to improve its resistance to security threats. It makes sense that having the army completely standardized on Windows is a bad idea, just as being completely standardized on Macs would be a bad idea. Perhaps enterprises should take note?Wallington, a division chief in the Army's office of enterprise information systems, says the military is quietly working to integrate Macintosh computers into its systems to make them harder to hack. That's because fewer attacks have been designed to infiltrate Mac computers, and adding more Macs to the military'… Read more
Think Secret, the Apple rumor Web site, will no longer be published, under the terms of an undisclosed settlelment with Apple Inc. The site issued a small press release on the matter late last night, with Think Secret's publisher Nick Ciarelli noting, "I'm pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits."
If you're a music industry executive, you should be praying that the Mac wins the desktop war. Why? Because, as Tom Krazit writes, a recent NPD survey finds that Mac users are much more likely than Windows users to actually pay for music. How much more likely? Consider:The data says that 50 percent of all Mac users surveyed by NPD purchased at least one song during the third quarter, while only 16 percent of Windows users purchased a song from an online music store. And 32 percent of Mac users bought a CD during that same time, while … Read more
Apple gets a lot of grief for being a net pillager of open source. The company has adopted open-source software into critically important products, yet gives little in return (so the story goes). And yet the Mac gets a lot of love from the open-source crowd. Why? What has Apple done to deserve it?
Roughly Drafted offers a range of reasons, but here are a few that I find particularly salient, starting with the importance of Apple's patent portfolio:
Most open source-centric developers only have a smattering of patents, but companies that back open source, such as Apple, Google, and IBM, have huge portfolios of thousands of patents covering a broad range of technologies. That makes Apple an unassailable ally of open source development and lends corporate legitimacy to the very distributed projects Microsoft is working to undermine with its fear-based anti-marketing....… Read more
I don't get it. Maybe because my experience with Apple's new "Leopard" release of OS X has been flawless (unlike Dave's). No bugs, no crashes, no problems (well, perhaps a little lack of flair and novelty, but I can manage that).
Yet in today's Guardian, Charles Arthur writes (in an article entitled "Leopard is nothing for Apple to purr about"):
...I'm considering [downgrading to Tiger]....[P]lenty of other people, having upgraded to Apple's latest version of OS X, codenamed Leopard, are doing the same.… Read more
If you measure interest in operating systems based on search, Linux hit its peak in 2004 and has been on a downward slide ever since, according to Google Trends. The same is true of Windows, though the trend (as seen below) is less pronounced. The Mac? Well, let's just say that people can't seem to get enough.
But what happens if we measure interest based on press mentions? While all three operating systems seem to have increased their "mindshare" over the past four years, Windows has outpaced Linux and Mac OS, and by quite a margin:… Read more