cyberbuzz on air 09|06 – 09|10

September 6 – Ping

Apple changed the game last week with their announcement of Ping. Some instantly called it the death of myspace as Ping will be a social network all about music and discovering new music.

September 7 – Apple TV

Steve Jobs fired a shot across the bows of your favourite cable company last week when he unveiled a new edition of his hobby – Apple TV. The box was shrunk, the hard drive taken out and the functionality increased.

September 8 – New iPods

Last week Steve Jobs rebooted the entire iPod lineup. From Nano to Shuffle to Touch, each device received a swift upgrade.

September 9 – Canadian Apple Tax

When you buy an Apple product, you’re going to pay more for the privilege. Apple fanboys get it the same way BMW and Mercedes fans get it. Prettier costs more.

But the Apple tax in Canada comes in a different shape and size. Apple announced a new roster of products last week that had stunning pricepoints in US dollars, but when the currency gets converted and the Canadian price is announced, they don’t always match up.

September 10 – eTextbooks

It’s campus crawl time, students have been sorting out schedule conflicts and dorm assignments all week and now it’s time to seriously start cracking the books to get some reading done.

It’s About The Apps, Stupid

An interesting shift has happened in the smart phone marketplace.  It’s no longer about choosing the best hardware and then going with whichever network subsidizes the hardware, you can now choose the best network before choosing your smartphone.

In Canada it’s not as much of an issue as the iPhone is spread across all the major networks, but in the US, where it’s tied to the much maligned AT&T, the other smartphone options make choosing a Google Android handset on a superior network a reasonable choice.

However, when you’re asking people who have been using the iPhone for a few years and are seeing their contracts expire, expecting them to switch to a new line of hardware is ridiculous.

The iPhone and iPad changed the landscape of gadget design.  It’s immediately obvious as the look of every model of smart phone has adopted the Apple theme of touch screen and icons and simple buttons.  As each new device is released, cries of “Apple Killer!” accompany it. 

While the hardware may be a worthy competitor to the Apple product, the ralliers are missing the point.  When it comes to the war with Apple, the battle is not in the hardware, it’s in the App Store.

The iPhone had a 2 year head start on the Google Android system.  Over that time users not only became familiar with the iPhone interface, they loaded their phones with apps and music from .. iTunes

Dozens to hundreds to thousands of dollars could have been invested in apps and music and movies that users now interact with on a daily basis.  These apps and media are locked to Apple devices, throwing away the iPhone for a Blackberry Torch means not only learning a new operating system, but reloading (and repurchasing) the apps to the phone.

Years ago you could switch between Motorola or Nokia or Sony Ericsson phones with ease – the only trouble was transferring your address book.  We had nothing extra invested in the phone other than the actual handset itself.

Phones are now personal computers, stacked with my software.  My iPhone is filled with apps that i have spent hundreds of dollars on that become a part of my everyday usage.  My brother has an Android handset and while it’s beautiful, I’m in line this week for the iPhone 4, not the EVO.

Great smart phones are coming in to the marketplace, and while they can grab users new to the smartphone universe, the churn to get people to switch from iPhone to any other device will be a slow pull, because of the app investment.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

buzz bishop future shop tech blogThis post was originally published on The Future Shop Tech Blog.

I Want My CDs!

buzz bishop future shop tech blogI recently spent the better part of a couple of hours on a Friday night deleting duplicates from my iTunes music player. Some might point to the inherent flaws in iTunes to map only paths to files and not files themselves, I point to the digitization of music. Back in the day, I didn’t suddenly end up with 2 copies of a cd if I moved it from my bedroom to my car.

Today we can buy music on our iPhone while waiting in line in a Starbucks. We can buy physical copies of it at a store. We can buy digital copies while at work or home computers. We can buy a song on our laptop, we can buy it on a friend’s laptop. There are lots of ways to buy music, but when you buy it, it tends to become stuck to a device. The song isn’t as portable as taking a cd out of your car stereo and playing it on your home stereo.

[read the rest of this article]
This article has been submitted to Future Shop’s Tech Blog where I contribute Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

iTunes 9 Is Genius

Apple finally added a radio to the iPod line today. You can find it in the iPod Nano, but will anyone use it?

Already the iPod has shown it’s muscle to be the ultimate personalized radio station. It has spent the past few years burning into our consciousness a way to organize our music in playlists just the way we used to make mix tapes.

Up until recently we had to do the sorting, but now with the iTunes Genius, Apple is helping us clean up the mess and get everything neat and tidy. The Genius will analyze your playlist, help sort them and even suggest other songs you’d like based on your preferences.

With the iTunes 9 upgrade today, another giant leap was made in managing your music and despite a radio being dropped in the Nano, I wonder if anyone will ever need one again.

Yes, radio wins on personality (although some may argue penny pinching is squeezing the talent out of the booth), but when it comes to music can a music director ever catch up to the one click I just performed and was given this gift?

iTunes Genius just instantly catalogued the thousands of songs in my folders and arranged them by tempo, genre, pace, era etc. It instantly created a dozen different themed radio stations based on the music I already love.

12 different radio stations and I love each one of them.

How many radio stations are on your presets? How many do you love?

I’d like to see a radio station take their catalog and dump it into the iTunes Genius to see what kind of mixes and suggestions it would come up with.. perhaps it would come up with something we could all be passionate about.

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