Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back to Mac 2010 Predictions

Since the hacks are putting out really lame predictions for the Apple's October 2010 'Back to Mac' event, I'll give a few good ones (in no particular order):

  • eSATA - atleast Mac Pro's should get this, preferably the entire lineup (perhaps the laptops will not get them for a longtime or ever). But desktops should. 3 Gbps (and 6 Gbps later) is pretty useful for backups and transfer of large files to external harddisks.
Lion / Mac OS X 10.7
  • FaceTime + iChat (fairly obvious, also FaceTime API for others)
  • Apple TV / FrontRow update - make FrontRow on Mac's run just like the new Apple TV.
  • Less sharp laptop edges! All Mac laptops have really sharp edges where the hands rest on the keyboard and it hurts after a while. Be nice to get them slightly curved.
  • Black MacBook Pro. The white and aluminium are nice, but the black one was very cool.
  • 7 inch iPad is also very welcome. Beware, I may get a manpurse if this happens, or really baggy jeans atleast.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Product Design

I'll continue to write about this over time as a way to jot my thoughts on product design as a way to learn and improve myself in this area.

Design Rants (easy to do, I'll try to be constructive also)
  • Phones Handsets/Cradles
Everybody's got the new fancy VoIP phones with a jillion features. The main complaint is how the handset sits on the cradle. In the old timey phones you can close your eyes and just place it on the cradle, or you can slam it, and the baby will stay in there. Also the old timey cradles were horizontal so you didn't have to turn your wrist in an unnatural way, the new timey ones are 'vertical'. In the new shamncy phones its like a ballet to place the handset back: if you don't delicately place it in the right way... the damn thing will fall off (done it way too many times!). Plus you can't slam it after an annoying person calls you. If you slam, the whole phone goes flying because the cradle is on the right or left edge! And your IT guy's not going to be happy about that either.
  • Car Keyfobs
Please just make it of a shape that I can hold properly and not drop it. Not round or oblong things, but cylindrical or narrow things that can be easily gripped by fingers and held in the palm.
  • Software (there's just too much in there... lets wait a while)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sales Tax on Unbundled Price of iPhone 4

Most people who tried to check for the iPhone 4 upgrade eligibility must have seen the following message : "In CA, MA, and RI, sales tax is collected on the unbundled price of iPhone."

It means that you have to pay a 9.75% (in CA) sales tax on the unbundled price of iPhone 4 ($599 for 16GB version) even though you'll be paying only the $199 upgrade fee. That is $57.xx instead of $19.xx.

The reason given is that the state of California should not lose sales tax revenue because the actual price is $599 and AT&T is subsidizing $400 of the price that it will make up by having us pay the monthly service charges.

Fair enough. But consumers also pay a sales tax (among other things) on the service taxes! Seems like double taxation.

Any better ideas, explanation...
  • and why are CA, MA and RI the only ones?).
  • What if I (as a CA consumer) purchased my iPhone 4 from an Apple store in Arizona? Would they pull up my ATT record (which they will to verify credit & eligibility) and ask me to pay the extra/CA sales taxes? Don't think they can because the sales tax would have to go to AZ. They can't split it and say $19 goes to AZ and the rest to CA!

Monday, February 22, 2010


A few thoughts:
  • The positioning of the device between a mobile/smartphone and PC, and better at music, video, web,... are key to explaining its intended usage. Thinking of it as a bigger version of iPhone/iPod Touch is too simplifying. The experience of a larger touch screen in reading and watching video is enormous. That said, it still feels primarily like a "media consumption" device. The creation parts will depend on well developed custom apps like iWork.
  • The iPad keynote did not show a more than a few seconds of editing or typing. For a lot of potential users, the iPad is likely to replace their notepad/folio where they take meeting notes, jot down thoughts, make lists etc. So ability type fast and comfortably will be key. And the true test for this will come during the in-store tests. I know a few people who are aching to do so!
  • Women, large man purse carriers and those with messenger bags will love the ability to whip it out and quickly look up something (what time's my flight, check a map, read a document or book...). Ofcourse, you can do all of this with an iPhone/iPod Touch, its just better now.
  • Apple should really think a way to physically secure it to the owner. If not a Kensington slot, something else to attach a lanyard (or Velcro strap) that can be wrapped around the wrist or tied somewhere (don't know if you want to hang 1.5 lbs from your neck). I am always paranoid about dropping my iPhone or having it swiped away in crowed places. Same will happen with the iPad. Imagine dropping your sleek $800 iPad on a pavement.
Other thoughts:
  • If the iPad were a little smaller in XY size you could almost wear it on one hand's palm with a strap and use it with the other hand! The first commercial wearable computer.
  • Industry specific usage, like healthcare, sales, insurance, and any mobile work environment, is going to be enormous. And, when can I get this integrated into my car's entertainment console?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Look Under the Hood of Tesla Motors

Re: A Look Under the Hood of Tesla Motors

I remember when the Tesla was first unveiled in 2006, I ran (drove) to the Petersen Museum to see a prototype in person, and it was gorgeous.

Regarding the NYTimes blogpost, Tesla does not have other income sources it is much more committed to creating and selling electric cars sooner than the big companies which can take their time to do so. It is a matter of survival for Tesla. Ultimately their success will depend on their (and partners') ability to make the technology leaps and their management ability.

As such the giants also have learned to deal with such disruptive innovation by creating launching new vehicles (BMW MiniE, Nissan Leaf...), but not separate groups/divisions/companies that deal with all electrics while being aligned with the market. And the giants target the mainstream/existing usage market right from outset, while Tesla and others will start with specialty markets (like sports cars, golf carts...) that allow the technology to develop while giving themselves cashflow to survive and establish position (standard disruptive innovation theory you can say).

But it has taken a lot of time for Tesla to sell more of their Roadsters and the giants seem to be catching up a little - but they are still going for the mainstream market where the technology is atleast 3 to 5 years away from being mature for regular usage. The mainstream usage technology may not be ready for a while and it will be interesting to see how long the giants continue their "investment". It may give one of the all electric companies an equal or better chance of beating the existing giants or just vanish!