Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.
This is weird. A survey being circulated by Best Buy asks customers if they'd be interested in purchasing a $1,499 Apple HDTV. The item begins, "Be one of the first to get the all new 42-inch Apple HDTV from Best Buy for $1499. Apple finally reinvents what a TV can do." And then it goes on to describe the features, which are appealing and are what one might expect: iCloud, apps, built-in camera and microphone, etc. But when referring to the camera, it calls it iSight — a technology that Apple discontinued years ago. And it oddly refers to using the microphone with Skype rather than Apple's FaceTime.
It's hard to imagine that there's ever been a more profitible company than Apple. I've just been reviewing some astonishing facts, a number of which are summarized in the MBAOnline infographic below. During the December quarter Apple had revenues of $46 billion, of which $13 billion was profit. Just to put that in perspective, in the same quarter Wal-Mart (the world's largest retailer) had more revenue than Apple, at $109 billion — BUT Wal-Mart's profit was $3.3 billion. Apple's profit was four times larger — yet it spends 3 times less on operations than Wal-Mart.
As usual, the provenance of the rumors surrounding the appearance of an Apple TV set is the component suppliers in Asia. Bottom line: if the suppliers can't supply the components, the TVs won't be available. Apple apparently wants to offer a state-of-the-art OLED TV, like the ones shown by LG and Samsung at the Consumer Electronics Show. But to offer such a TV, you need to have the parts.
I wrote an article for our magazine about video aggregation apps, and of course it's now already out of date. These apps are like the wildly popular Flipboard app, but just for video. And they're fun. Showyou was the first to appear last year, and now a new version has just been released that is increasingly similar to the popular Flipboard interface. I also very much like Plizy.
NFC is one of those technologies that will inevitably happen sooner or later. Imagine going to Wal-Mart, buying a bunch of stuff, and then walking out with it — without ever going near a checkout line. Instead, you simply take out your phone, tap the screen, and your purchases are deducted from your credit card. This is now possible thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC) chips.
If you don't have an iPhone 4S and wish you could have Siri, may be Evi a try. This $0.99 app lets you ask questions in natural language in a manner similar to Siri. However, it doesn't have other Siri features, such as the ability to interact with other iPhone apps (calendar, etc.), nor can you dictate a text message. But reviews do say that it does answer questions pretty well. You can read more on Mashable. The main complaint in the App Store is that the servers are unresponsive.
TechnoBuffalo reported last week that a high-ranking source with a major tech retailer told them that an Apple TV will be coming out in April, or May at the latest. It will a use state-of-the-art OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, and will include Siri and face recognition. One never knows how accurate these rumors are, but it's hard to imagine Apple coming out with a TV that wouldn't use OLED.
As you well know, Apple's gadgets have had a massive influence on consumer technology. This is one creative company, and the lingering question is whether that creativity will continue in the absence of the late Steve Jobs. Recent patent applications suggest that we've only seen the beginning. They give hints that Apple is planning to create a new user interface for just about every facet of technology that you come into contact with.
We'll have months of rumors before we find out what the next iPhone will be. And the latest is, again, that the phone will have a 4-inch screen and that it may be coning out in the summer. 9To5Mac says that they got their information from someone inside Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufactures the iPhone. And they say that the same source was accurate last summer, when he said that an iPhone 4S was in the works and that a new form factor wouldn't appear until 2012.