Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Mobile is second tech priority for CIOs according to Gartner.

October 24th, 2012 1 comment

Orlando, Fla.–Mobile technology was identified as the number two tech priority for chief information officers, ahead of cloud computing, according to a survey of 2,336 CIOs conducted by Gartner.

The number one priority was analytics and business intelligence, followed by mobile technology, cloud computing, collaboration technologies, and virtualization, Nick Jones, a mobility analyst with Gartner, told an audience at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo.

The Gartner analyst noted that the mobile market will be driven by companies, such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), that “could care less” about the enterprise market. “Sort of a scary thought,” he added.

Jones predicted that mobile technology would be the number one technology priority for CIOs in the near future.

According to Gartner estimates, shipments of Android tablets will exceed shipments of iOS tablets by the end of 2014.

“As tablets become more affordable and more capable, look for new opportunities to use them,” he advised the audience.

Jones predicted that BlackBerrys would make up a declining share of the smartphone market, dropping from around 5 percent this year, to around 2 percent in 2016.

Jeff Holleran, senior director of enterprise product management at RIM, took issue with Jones’ prediction. “Our smartphone business at RIM has remained steady. In certain regions we’ve seen growth and in other regions we’ve lost customers. Overall, our enterprise business has remained steady,” he told FierceMobileIT.

According to Jones, the Windows Phone will surge from below 10 percent of the smartphone market this year to over 20 percent in 2016.

The Gartner analyst predicted that tablet prices will fall through 2013 as volumes increase and vendors look for ways to compete with Apple. Apple and Android will be the dominant tablet platforms, making up over 80 percent of the market by 2015. The majority of media tablets will be around 10 inches.

Network operators have regained their interest in Wi-Fi recently as a way to offload traffic from cellular networks where demand will exceed supply until LTE can be deployed, Jones said.

Some of the fastest growing uses of wireless are related to machines and include ZigBee, Bluetooth LE and Dash 7, he said. Low-power wireless technologies such as ZigBee will be particularly useful for “Internet of things” applications, he added.

Jones recommended that IT departments identify new ways to provide, manage, and secure mobile devices and applications to deal with the challenges of BYOD, and define mobile strategies to cover business-to-consumer, business-to-business and business-to-employee domains.

Read more: Mobile is second tech priority for CIOs, Gartner finds – FierceMobileIT


QR Haters… See Passbook App in IOS 6

September 21st, 2012 No comments

I’m cautiously optimistic about Apple’s Passbook mobile wallet application. Though it currently lacks features and sufficient support from participating businesses, enterprises may want to start thinking about developing apps. Passbook has a lot of promise for companies in a number of industry sectors.

Although the heart of Passbook is mobile payments, it’s also for storing digital loyalty cards, gift cards, discount coupons, tickets to sporting events and movies, boarding passes for airlines, and passes for buses, subways, and railways — which increases its potential enterprise appeal.

Passbook is one of the major new features of Apple’s iOS 6 operating system, which was released Wednesday. It works on the iPhone and iPod touch, but not the iPad — perhaps because few people will want to haul around an iPad to pay for purchases or show loyalty cards.

So far, Passbook is missing at least two major mobile payment capabilities. It lacks near-field communication (NFC) for tapping an iPhone and iPod on a point-of-sale terminal. Also, credit and debit cards can’t be added.

The lack of NFC could slow the adoption of mobile payments in the US. However, Apple integrates technologies it believes already are mature or will mature. The jury’s still out on NFC.

Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple added credit/debit cards to Passbook in the future.

Instead of credit/debit cards and NFC, Passbook employs QR codes for virtual cards. QR codes can be scanned on, for example, an airline boarding pass, a loyalty card, and a gift card. Two or three dozen applications are available for Passbook, such as StubHub for tickets for sporting events, concerts, and plays; Fandango for movie tickets; Ticketmaster; (Major League Baseball); Target; United Airlines; and Sephora.

Apple isn’t the only company to recognize the evolution that’s occurring from using a mobile device “merely” for payments to a “digital wallet.” Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 will include a Wallet Hub that’s similar to Passbook. Google is expanding its Wallet to include similar capabilities as Passbook. This makes sense because the more functionality that’s included, the more likely companies will participate, and the more likely Americans (and others) will use it.

I’m cautiously optimistic about the success of Passbook for a few reasons. Thanks to the availability of iOS 6, enterprises that create apps have access to millions of iPhone and iPod users right now. What’s more, many iPhone users are early adopters who aren’t afraid of testing a new wallet application. In contrast, Android operating system upgrades take longer to be released and tested across all handsets and devices. One day after iOS 6 was released, it was on 15 percent of Apple devices.

For enterprises looking to offer Passbook apps without spending the resources to develop their own, some companies are already obliging. Branding Brand is one of these. This firm developed Sephora’s Passbook “Beauty Insider” app and says some 20,000 users have downloaded it.

Still, relatively few companies have developed applications for Passbook. Also, some of the employees of companies with Passbook apps don’t have any idea that an app exists or what to do with it. In addition, Passbook has some problems, as users have discovered.

Most importantly, mobile payments are not only esoteric for the majority of Americans, but also are sometimes less convenient than just swiping a credit card through a terminal or handing a loyalty card or paper coupon to a cashier.

Despite all the problems, I’m a fan of digital wallets and believe they will eventually become mainstream, especially as companies look to address consumer demand. As a consumer, I don’t want to carry multiple credit cards in my wallet, numerous little loyalty cards on my keychain, boarding passes in my coat pocket, and subway cards in my pants pocket. I want to get rid of all that plastic and paper. I want everything to be on my phone, secured with a PIN, and remotely wiped if lost. I want loyalty points to be added automatically to purchases. I want to receive location-based/geo-fenced discount coupons transmitted automatically to my phone as I walk near a shop.

Passbook is just one of many mobile payment/mobile wallet systems that are commercially available, undergoing trials, or still in beta, such as Isis, the Merchant Customer Exchange,Lemon, and Groupon. It’s a real mess right now as companies jockey for position, but many large companies already are participating. Enterprises need to stay abreast of developments and seriously consider whether to develop an app for Passbook.

Categories: Apple, e-commerce, mobile, QR Codes Houston Tags:

ATT, Verizon roll as iPhone sales sink

July 24th, 2012 No comments

LAS VEGAS (CNNMoney) — A curious trend has developed in recent quarters: When iPhone sales fall, business improves for AT&T and Verizon.

The second quarter was no exception, as AT&T’s (TFortune 500) and Verizon’s (VZFortune 500) combined iPhone sales fell 15% from the previous quarter … and both companies posted record high profit margins.

What gives?

Carriers pay heavy up-front subsidies to bring the cost of most smartphones down to $200 for their customers. Apple (APPL) commands the highest subsidies for the iPhone. Since many potential iPhone customers are now in a holding pattern, waiting for the next iPhone to debut, iPhone sales have steadily declined since last fall.

As iPhone sales slump, the amount of money AT&T and Verizon pay Apple up front has fallen, improving their margins.

AT&T said Tuesday that it activated 3.7 million iPhones during the second quarter, down from 4.3 million in the first quarter. Ma Bell activated 9.4 million when the iPhone 4S first went on sale in the fourth quarter of 2011.

This follows Verizon’s announcement last week that it had sold 2.7 million iPhones this past quarter. That’s down from 3.2 million in the first quarter and 4.2 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

Accordingly, Verizon’s wireless margins rose to 49%, from 46% in the previous quarter and 42% in the fourth quarter of 2011. AT&T’s wireless margins were 45%, up from 42% in the first quarter and 38% in the fourth quarter.

Both carriers’ wireless profit margins soared past Wall Street analysts’ expectations. AT&T even topped higher expectations, as analysts revised their forecasts following Verizon’s stellar quarter.

But telecom analysts think that trend is about to reverse course. With a highly anticipated 4G-LTE iPhone expected to launch in October, wireless margins will probably plummet in the fourth quarter.

“We forecast a large drop-off in margins in the fourth quarter as a result of the expected launch of an iconic LTE device,” said Kevin Smithen, analyst at Macquarie.

Apple is set to reveal its quarterly financial report, including its iPhone sales numbers, after the market closes on Tuesday. The tech giant gave a slightly disappointing iPhone outlook in April, suggesting that it would likely sell fewer smartphones in the second quarter than it did in the first quarter.

In the first quarter, AT&T and Verizon both reported lower than expected iPhone activations, but Apple soared past sales forecasts due to a strong launch in China. This past quarter, however, there were no significant iPhone launches globally.

A good quarter for wireless

Both Verizon and AT&T gained steam, as the number of smartphone users grew. Smartphone customers pay more for their service, helping to boost carriers’ key “average revenue per user” metric. Verizon’s ARPU rose 4% year-over-year to a record $56.13. AT&T’s ARPU rose 2% to $64.93.

Overall, the news was slightly better for Verizon than for AT&T in some key areas. Verizon added 888,000 wireless customers under contract, compared to just 320,000 for AT&T.

Verizon reported a profit of $4.3 billion, up 19% from last year. Its sales totaled $28.6 billion, up 4%.

AT&T said its earnings for the second quarter were $3.9 billion, up 9% from last year. Revenue clocked in at $31.2 billion, essentially flat with year-ago results.

Sprint (SFortune 500), the third nationwide iPhone provider, is expected to give its quarterly financial report on Wednesday. To top of page

Categories: android, Apple, mobile Tags:

The Final Demise of Flash

June 30th, 2012 No comments

Late Thursday, an extraordinary thing happened: Adobe announced in a blog post that it would not provide Flash Player support for devices running Android 4.1, and that it would pull the plugin from the Google Play store on August 15. The retreat comes five years after the introduction of the iPhone, the device which thwarted Flash’s mobile ambitions, almost even before they began.

That Adobe would make such an announcement nearly five years to the day that the first iPhone was sold is kind of funny. I’d like to think that the Flash team has a sense of humor and was well aware of the timing when it posted the blog entry, but I could also see the entry as unintentionally ironic. Either way, it caps off a five-year battle to win the mobile landscape — a war which for Adobe ended in defeat.

At the time the iPhone was announced, lack of support for Adobe Flash seemed like a glaring omission, for a platform that was so hell-bent on being a portable computing device. But it wasn’t until the iPad came out, two-and-a-half years later, that the battle between Apple and Adobe, Flash vs. HTML5, and “open” vs. “proprietary” reached a fever pitch.

The iPad Effect

The iPad was announced in January at WWDC, but wasn’t available until March. And when it did finally become available, people began to notice that the lack of Flash, which then was the de facto standard for video playback and interactivity on the web, was missing. For the iPhone, not having Flash was a minor annoyance — after all, few other smartphones had very good Flash support at the time… But for the iPad, which in many cases was being used as a laptop replacement, at least for consumption of media, that was a big deal.

It wasn’t long before Google latched onto this and began promising an alternative to the “broken” Apple devices which wouldn’t give users access to the full web, as publishers intended them to view it. It’s tough to believe now, but at one point, Flash on mobile devices was actually considered a feature. There was Google’s Andy Rubin in April 2010, announcing that Android would have full Flash support in Froyo, the next version of the operating system to be released.

The Impact Of “Thoughts On Flash”

Battle lines were drawn, and just a few days later, Steve Jobs issued his epic missive “Thoughts on Flash,” which sought to explain, once and for all, why Apple didn’t — and wouldn’t ever — integrate Flash into its mobile and tablet devices. There were numerous reasons, and Jobs debunked the trope of Flash being “open,” as well as its ability to access the full web. He also brought up security, reliability, performance, and battery life issues that plagued devices using the plugin.

Most importantly, though, Apple didn’t want Adobe developers to create cross-platform apps which didn’t take advantage of the most latest features, development libraries and tools. Jobs wrote:

“Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.”

It turns out Jobs was right. When Flash finally did ship on Android devices, it didn’t provide users with the full web, as was promised. Android users who wished to watch videos on Hulu through the Flash browser, for instance, were met with a message saying that the content wasn’t available on the mobile web. Same thing for users who tried to access most premium video sites on Google TV, which also supported Flash. More importantly, even when those videos or interactive Flash elements did appear on Android devices, they were often wonky or didn’t perform well, even on high-powered phones.

The end result was that users stopped seeing Flash on mobile devices as a good thing, and developers quit trying to support the framework on those devices.

The Flash Issue Isn’t Just About Mobile

But the impact of that battle goes beyond just how people view content on mobile phones. While pretty much all developers have settled on building native apps or coding for the mobile web when trying to reach those users, the battle has also had an impact on the way that developers think about multi platform web development. Even when not building for 4-inch screen, they’re increasingly turning to HTML5 to build new user experiences or render interactive applications, rather than writing to be seen in the Flash player.

Video might be the last industry where the Adobe Flash Player continues to have a hold on how content is displayed, but even then, a growing number of sites are moving to HTML5-based video players for delivery. YouTube and Vimeo are leading that charge, displaying their videos in a HTML5 player first, when available, and only falling back to Flash when the player isn’t supported. And many others are following that lead.

Frankly, Flash had never been a huge business for Adobe, even when development for interactive websites using the plugin were in high demand. As time goes on, it will become an even less important part, as its development tools — where Adobe makes the bulk of its revenue — focus on catering to a developer base that is increasingly interested in building HTML5-based web applications. As more can be accomplished in-browser without a plugin, that’s good news for users and developers alike.

Categories: Apple Tags:

Atlassian and Apple.

May 8th, 2012 No comments

By Mark Fidelman

imageThere are only 3 enterprise-gradetechnology products I’ve ever seen that sell themselves. Two of them are from Apple; the other is from Atlassian. How many Apple salespeople have ever called you to sell you the iPhone, or iPad?  Zero. How many Atlassian salespeople have called  to sell you Confluence? You guessed it – zero.

If you believe as Marc Andreeson does, thatsoftware is eating the world, then Atlassian is its Chef.  Atlassian is the house of collaboration, the software equivalent of the world renown restaurant Alinea.  Where its software gastronomy, like Alinea’s food science, come together in unspoiled unison.

They serve a variety of selections, but my favorite is Confluence.  The company delivers that product to the masses, but it embodies and is prepared for the developer. They make code development seem less difficult and more like it’s being willed into existence. Its goal is to satisfy the appetites of software creators.

But Atlassian’s workmanship is better explained in business terms than in culinary ones, and no one is more qualified than Jay Simons, Atlassian’s President, to translate, “We’re growing like gangbusters because our mission is to provide a social platform that allows people to build software better.”

Have no illusions, their products may not win any design contests, but they are so easy to use that they’re flooding the world’s businesses with collaborative software. It’s everywhere. Pervading nearly every project manager, developer, and technical communicator  – seducing code, tasks, text, and images from its creators.  All functioning to swiftly collaborate, track, document and ship software code.

I asked Ellen Feaheny of AppFusions, one of Atlassian’s strategic partners about their success, she told me: “I really think their success is that they have the right product offering, right pricing, right low barriers to purchase, all at the right time,” then she added, “I know everyone makes a big deal out of the no-salesperson thing, but I believe their sales success is the result of nurturing their dedicated customer, partner and development ecosystem.”

Atlassian Culture – Everybody Loves a Winner

In business and in life, success breeds extraordinary performance and  extraordinary performance breeds more success. Nothing demonstrates that more than Atlassian’s culture. With a 100% Glassdoor ranking, Co-CEOs Scott Farquh and Mike Cannon Brooks, have created an organizational culture that nurtures employees, customers and suppliers.  And it’s paid off.

Confluence, <spanmargin-top: 0px; margin-right: auto; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: auto; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 1px; padding-bottom: 1px; padding-left: 1px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 18px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); max-width: 100%; display: block; float: left; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; Take Web and Technical CommunicatorSarah Maddox as an example. Maddox thought so much of the Confluence product, that she recently wrote her acclaimed book Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate on it. How many employees have you seen that have named a book after the product and company they work for?

So what does Atlassian’s success reveal about the company ethos? When I asked Simons to describe it, he told me it was like how, “Jeff Bezos sails the ship in the right direction and the right speed whether there are quarterly earnings consequences or not. He just does the right things for the company.”

I pressed him for details, and revealed a few minor but important things the organization does to keep its customers happy.  Here are 7 of them:

1. They have a transparent pricing model. It’s always on the web, so their customers don’t need to call them. Point, click, buy and use.

2. Like Home Depot, give people tools that are easy to use and allow people to build their own solutions. Then, constantly improve the self-service model.

3. Every time a product question is asked by a customer, Atlassian engineers see it as a challenge to fix in the product or to make a quick update to the documentation.

4. Put up useful content on the web for free. They don’t use forms to slow people down. “Really good white papers will sell the product; no need for a form,” Simons said.

5. They’ve ingrained the engineering mindset in their culture. Keep things simple so that people can create software magic. Simons: “Our model doesn’t work at Jive Software.”

6. Always be testing. They  a/b test just about everything and look at conversion rates to determine if a feature, piece of content, or web page are effective.

7. Make their marketplace (enterprise app store) painless. They invested a lot in embedding the marketplace in their products for quick and easy installation.

I asked Simons if a potential IPO would disrupt the culture and Atlassian’s relationship with customers and partners.  Simons said he didn’t think so. I heard, “I don’t believe it will affect us,” — his tone said, “It’s not going to affect us”.

Maybe it’s because really great companies care about what they are trying to accomplish. They care about solving the problems of their customers without getting in their way. They care about delivering a remarkable experience without complexity. They care about open, transparent communication with their employees and partners.

That doesn’t sound like fortune cookie philosophy to me.

Article originally appeared in Forbes and is Written by Mark Fidelman

Original article available here.

Categories: Apple, Design Tags:

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