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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Should Apple buy MySpace?

Newscorp is looking to unload its MySpace property, which has had its staff cut by almost 50% and seen many of its users flock to FaceBook.  There have been many rumors of possible buyers.  The most often named is FaceBook, which would make sense as they could then move the remaining hold outs over to FaceBook and shut down MySpace, but might have trouble gaining regulatory approval.  Another obvious buyer could be Google, as they have been looking for a way to get more into the social scene and compete with FaceBook.  Also mentioned have been AOL, Yahoo or private investment firms looking to grab the brand cheap and revive it.

But one name that has not come up is Apple.  With MySpace being big into music, it might play well with Apple's recently announced Ping service.  This would be a good way for Apple to boost the number of bands and users of their Ping service quickly.  Apple has been looking for a social strategy and at one point was rumored to be interested in acquiring FaceBook.  Also, Apple has been working with Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp on an iPad magazine and an acquisition of MySpace would hardly make a dent inApple's pile of cash on hand.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Verizon iPhone!

The iPhone is finally coming to the Verizon network.  Announced today by Lowell McAdam fromVerizon and Tim Cook from Apple.  It will be available for pre-order for existing customers on February 3rd with general availability on February 10th. 

As I expected, this initial Verizon iPhone is basically the same as the current iPhone 4, but works on Verizon's CDMA network instead of a GSM network like AT&T.  So why just release the same old iPhone 4 on Verizon without some cool new features, like LTE support?  There are a few reasons.  First and foremost, as Tim Cook pointed out, they wanted to get this out on Verizon as quickly as possible and sticking with the existing design allowed that to happen.  Also, when the new iPhone 5 comes out (presumably this summer) the new features will be available for all carriers and Verizon will have something to offer at a lower price point, assuming the iPhone 4 will drop to $99 when the iPhone 5comes out.

There was one surprise in the announcement and that was Verizon's inclusion of their Mobile Hot Spot feature.  Many Verizon smart phones offer this feature which allows the phone's 3G data connection to be shared with up to 5 other wi-fi connected devices.  Pricing for this option was not announced but is typically an additional $20/month for 2GB of data.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year! Predictions for 2011...

Here are my predictions of what is coming out of Cupertino this year...

January - Announcement of Verizon iPhone, same as current iPhone 4 except CDMA instead of GSM.

February/March - iPad 2 comes in same form factor as current, only slimmer.  Adds front and rear cameras with FaceTime.  Available with wi-fi only or wi-fi and CDMA/GSM 3G data.  May include new dual core A5 processor.

April/May - New iMac.  Additional smaller model with a lower price point.  If history holds true we will also get a sneak peek at what's coming in iOS 5.

June/July - iPhone 5 and iOS 5.  The iPhone 5 will probably still not be an LTE phone, but more likely use a Qualcomm chipset that supports both CDMA and GSM, so that only one base model is needed.  If the A5 chip happens this year, it will be included as well.  This may be the year Apple introduces an iPhone "lite" instead of pushing the iPhone 4 down to the $99 price point, we may see a second iPhone model with less features.

August/September - New iPods, MacBooks and ePad.  The usual iPod updates will come in the fall as well as new MacBooks that will be more like the Air, with integrated SSD and without optical drives.  The big surprise could be a 7" iPad, I call the ePad, aimed at the K-12 market.

October/November - MacOS X Lion, New AppleTV. MacOS X Lion will finally be shipped and possibly even a minor update to iOS 5 adding some minor new features that didn't make the cut for June.  These features may revolve around the AppleTV which will finally gain an App Store in time for the holiday shopping season.

Also possible this year are the much rumored iTunes Cloud Service, TV and movie subscription services, improvements to MobileMe and I am still holding out for some kind of home server product.  We'll just have to wait and see...