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Apple Pay Use Predicted to Rise

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:04 PM

MacRumors reports:

Juniper Research argued that customer dissatisfaction at the slower speeds of chip-and-PIN card transactions will further increase the adoption of smartphone-based payments, an area currently dominated by Apple Pay.

Apple Pay is simply a better experience than chip-and-PIN or chip-and-sign transactions from beginning to end. It is much faster to wave your phone over the reader than to pull out your credit card, insert it into a slot and wait for 10 seconds or so. You also have to do some additional step far less frequently. On top of that, at places like Walgreens, where you can put your loyalty card in Apple Pay, too, it not only is faster to pay, it also saves you from having to carry the ever increasing mountain of loyalty cards.

Apple Goes Transparent on App Store

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:12 AM

Apple has finally provided clear guidelines on its App Store policies, which should make writing a major iOS application feel less like a gamble. Moreover, the relaxing of restrictions on the tools used to create iOS apps ought to eliminate the biggest complaint raised over Apple's walled garden approach to app development.

Gruber has a very good analysis.

Apple and the Podcasting Trademark

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:03 AM

I posted a comment on the Apple/Podcasting trademark controversy earlier today on Mark's blog. While I was going to write something more extensive here, I don't have time, so I'll just repost the text of my comment here:

Changing the name would make a lot of sense. Not to sound like the Apple apologist I am, but I expected this to happen for legal reasons. I don't think anyone can deny that the Pod in Podcasting comes from iPod. No one referred to MP3 players as *pod until Apple came around with the iPod. Like any sensible trademark holder, Apple has looked down on derivative trademarks, because those weaken the trademark holder's claim to their own name (failure to defend a trademark will destroy the trademark holder's claim to the name per U.S. law –– this isn't Apple's peculiarity, it is our government's).

Note that with Linux, for a company to use Linux in their product name (e.g. Red Hat Linux), one must obtain a derivative trademark agreement from, IIRC, Linux International, Linus Torvalds's designated authority for the matter.

In the end, they did help to create it [Mark suggests they are freeloading on the podcast phenomenon], because 1/2 of the name is from their product. It would be like calling a subscription to a non–Kleenex brand “tissue of the month club” 'Leenexcasting. I'd bet a lawsuit would transpire in no time. :–)

The big point, I'd say is this: anyone who didn't see this coming was far too naive. I thought it was kind of a stupid thing to name it to begin with for this very reason. Something that played off the name blog would have made a lot more sense than Podcast, and not only from a legal perspective but descriptive one too. Moreover, Apple doesn't want the “iPod halo effect” to go over other devices like the Zune, and since a lot of podcasters are outside of the whole iPod ecosystem, I can see why they would be concerned that very thing is happening.

Apple and Parler

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:00 PM

I hear a lot of consternation from quite a few people I know about Apple removing Parler. I’ve spoken out against deplatforming on a number of occasions — whether I agree with the views or find them distasteful — but I think this particular case is a more nuanced issue. I also suspect, if anything, Parler was given an extra long leash, not a short one. Here’s why I say that.

So far, I take Apple at their word, because I think they’ve earned it by years — or rather decades — of consistency. In the 12 years since the App Store was first offered, I’ve seen them remove both Left and Right leaning apps that, for example, fail to meet Apple’s standards for illegal content moderation. Most often this requirement has been invoked due to failure to moderate explicit or illegal drug related content — something much of Big Tech rarely seems to care about, but Apple consistently has.

I strongly believe Apple is sincere in saying Parler would be allowed back on if they implemented an effective form of moderation, something Parler actually agreed to do by submitting the app to the App Store in the first place. I doubt many people have read the App Store agreement every single app submitted is required to agree to, but the terms are clear and Parler was violating Apple’s terms of service (this wasn’t a new requirement Apple created).

Apple and Intel

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:02 AM

I should probably work this into a larger piece sometime, but I think a quick observation is worthwhile. I've noticed with the Intel switch, some Mac advocates have suddenly realized that Dell does make a cheaper computer than Apple, while many PC users who would never have considered an Apple now find Apple enticing.

It is amazing how a little CPU could inspire people to swap positions. Yes, Apples with Intel processors do not have the mystical quality that Apples with PowerPC did. PowerPC was a RISC processor and that made Apple seem a bit more exotic. I liked it well enough. But, I care more about my apps and speed than I do about how “cool” my processor sounds. If, as most will now admit, Intel's Core microarchitecture blows the consumer variants of POWER out of the water in most ways, why not enjoy that and keep on using your beloved OS? Frankly, if I wanted to go with Dell's $399 special, it was just as valid to do so against a PowerPC G4 PowerBook as it is against a Core Duo MacBook. And anyway, if you compare Apple against other premium brands with very thin metal enclosures, lighter weight units, etc., I think the MacBook family still comes out favorably.

The reverse switch to being intrigued by Apple is a lot more explainable. Macs are now the only computer that can run the three biggest desktop OSes legally. With Parallels well designed virtualization, they are also really decent at running Windows applications. And, since Windows can replace Mac OS X if desired, there is far less risk in taking the plunge than before. I think that helps a lot. Even die hard Mac haters like how Apple is squeezing the latest PC technology into sleek, small machines.

The latter group does not mystify me, the former does. Personally, I think the days of processor brands defining how much awe a system should get are fading away quickly.

App Stores

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:01 AM

“DVD Jon” writes:

While this is technically true, one should not need a PhD in Computer Science to use a smartphone. How is a consumer supposed to know exactly what the permission “act as an account authenticator” means? The CNET opinion piece “Is Google far too much in love with engineering?” is quite relevant here.

The piece is a very clear indictment of the Google model of app store. The so-called “curated” model of the iTunes App Store may be deeply flawed, but the Android Market has yet to offer something better or even as good.

All Hands Abandon Ship

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:05 AM

Well, my G5 is going in to the shop (finally) to get the problems I've been experiencing fixed. I may be quiet for a bit while I get everything situated on my PowerBook…

Aldi/Tevion Video Chat Webcam

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:13 AM

Last fall, Aldi had a great deal on a little VGA USB webcam — and I had been wanting to pick one up for a few reasons, not the least of which was trying the video “ISBN scanner” Delicious Library (and similar programs) has. I didn't have time to do much with it beyond plugging it in and seeing that the camera was not going to be a plug-and-play matter. So it sat there… until tonight.

When I could not get it to work with macam, I googled the USB string 0x60fe, which I found on the Linux-USB site as being the Tevion model MD85081. A bit more digging revealed that it uses a Sonix SN9C110 video chipset. After trial and error, finding that programs such as macam did not handle my little camera, I decided to look up the manufacturer of the chipset. Going to Sonix's web site, I found out they had a driver for cameras based on their controller, which I downloaded here. I was surprised and pleased that they actually had a Mac OS X driver! After installing that driver, the webcam now works in Photo Booth, Delicious Library and other programs that can look for a video source — other than iChat, which needs iUSBCam to find the camera. The little shutter button on the webcam even works — if you tap that, Preview opens up with a snapshot taken from the camera.

I'm rather pleased, I must say!

Alas, Poor Flash

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:58 AM

Engadget reports,

Now Adobe has issued a statement apparently confirming what we've already heard: Windows Mobile 7 will not support Flash.

I am hoping this is Microsoft jumping on the same bandwagon as Apple and pushing forward with HTML5 as an alternative to Flash. Rumors have already suggested that Windows Phone 7 will have a more iPhone-like web browsing experience; if Redmond can get its web standards support closer to Safari/WebKit, the idea of leaving Flash out to dry would make a lot of sense. HTML5 over Flash results in better performance for the end user and more direct control over development for Microsoft. Everybody wins.

Gruber has already speculated (accurately, I believe) that control of development direction is a major component of Apple's refusal to support Flash on its mobile platform.

Alan Weinkrantz Gets It

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:09 AM

Apple, the newly emerging convergence technology company, and AT&T, the newly emerging convergence technology company, collaborate on a phone. You think perhaps part of the vision has to do with converging media? Good, succinct points from Alan, who is one of the AT&T U-verse pilot program members.

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