Owen will turn 8 on Nov. 11. While his condition is not expected to worsen, he is extremely sensitive to infection and once nearly died of pneumonia; three specialized therapists and a nurse help keep him alive.Though he cannot speak, his parents have taught him to read, write and do math. He has an impish sense of humor and a love of “Star Wars.” “He’s a normal child trapped in a not normal body,” said his father, Hamilton Cain, 45, a book editor.Since he received the iPad, Owen has been trying to read books, and playing around with apps like Air Guitar. And, one day, he typed out on the keypad, “I want to be Han Solo for Halloween.”
What a great story, I love to read about how devices like the iPad are helping those that felt so helpless before.
To this day, Things.app does not have Over-the-Air syncing.OmniFocus for iPhone was released on July 10, 2008. From day one, it featured some form of Over-the-Air syncing.Customers of CulturedCode have waited over two years for Over-the-Air syncing. The company says they are working on it, but every day that goes by without the feature is another day when switching to OmniFocus looks all the more enticing.
Earlier today PayPal was down – there are some sites that should never go down, this site and banking sites are among those. PayPal going down would be akin to you local bank branch closing to go on vacation – who’s OK with that?
Want to know how much a person normally spends when they go to a restaurant you are checking out? Enter Mint’s new data portal that tells you just that based on actual transactions. This is all sorts of data porn – awesome.
The Mac suite now includes the Ribbon, a horizontal toolbar that’s built into Office for Windows. What I don’t get is this: Last time I checked, computer screens were all wider than they are tall. The last thing you’d want to do is to eat up that limited vertical screen space with interface clutter like the Ribbon. Don’t we really want those controls off to the side, as with the Formatting Palette in the previous Mac Office?
Overall he doesn’t like it, and you know why? Pogue said it at the beginning of the review:
Much of the work Microsoft has done is to make the Mac version of Office look and work more like the Windows versions.
That is always a recipe for disaster because it never feels like a ‘real’ Mac application when companies try to do that.
After writing about trials/demoes yesterday I got to thinking about in-app purchases to upgrade to full versions and the perceived value of calling software ‘Pro’ versus ‘Lite’. It occurred to me that there is an inherent value in the ‘Pro’ tag and there is an inherent devaluation that happens when you tag something ‘Lite’. Look […]
After writing about trials/demoes yesterday I got to thinking about in-app purchases to upgrade to full versions and the perceived value of calling software ‘Pro’ versus ‘Lite’. It occurred to me that there is an inherent value in the ‘Pro’ tag and there is an inherent devaluation that happens when you tag something ‘Lite’.
Look at it this way, Angry Birds has two versions of their game for sale, a ‘Lite’ version that is free and then a non-lite version that you must pay for. What Angry Birds is saying by titling the two versions this way is that the ‘lite’ version is of lesser value than the regular version – it is a lesser app with fewer levels. Now imagine that Angry Birds sold the Angry Birds title sans-lite for free, it would be the same game, just not titled ‘lite’. What was Angry Birds before now becomes Angry Birds Pro, this is the version that you must pay for.
So my question is this: would you rather pay for Angry Birds or Angry Birds Pro if they both costed the same and were the same exact app?
The real question it would seem is should your trial version be called a ‘lite’ version, or should you call your full-version a ‘Pro’ version?
From what I have been able to sort out, the differences look like this:
Lite Means Cheap
Whenever I see someone with a ‘lite’ version of an app on their device I immediately wonder why they just don’t pay for the full version. If they like it enough to keep it on their phone surely it is worth something. ‘Lite’ then in my eyes carries a negative connotation, it means that it is not as good as the non-lite version.
It makes me want to have the non-lite version of the app because I don’t want to be seen having the ‘lite’ version. This is good for a couple of reasons.
People will feel a desire to upgrade and pay for the full version of the app, thus removing the ‘lite’ tag from their mind.
It in no unclear terms tells the customer that they are not getting the full-version and as such should not expect the app to be as good as the full version.
This is why I think so many people have stuck with the ‘lite’ tag for trial versions of apps in the iOS app store – they do not want negative comments because people expected to get a full version of the app.
Pro Means Pro
If I see that an app is free to use, but also has a ‘Pro’ version I immediately want to know the difference between the two, because I always feel that I need the ‘Pro’ version of everything. If my buddy has app ‘X’ on his iPhone and I have app ‘X Pro’ on mine I will immediately feel vindicated in having paid for the app. That is giving people a ‘Pro’ tag when they buy instead of just removing the ‘lite’ tag seems to have a larger inherent value in the consumer mind.
There is though a consequence of structuring you software in this way: it does nothing to tell your consumer that the ‘non-pro’ version is really just a trial or ‘lite’ version in disguise. That is there is little reason for many consumers to think a paid upgrade is worth it to them, most people don’t feel the compelling urge to be a ‘pro’ when it comes to iOS apps. This could and probably would lead to rather negative ratings and comments from people expecting to get a full version only to find that they downloaded a trial. That said by designating the ‘Pro’ tag for your paid versions you are giving paying customers something more tangible than they get with the ‘lite’ model.
The Right Tag
There is no right tag, but I think that certain apps should be using certain tagging instrumentation. Games are probably best served sticking with the ‘Lite’ system as it is the best way to let people know that they are not getting the full version of the game. For apps that some people will be perfectly happy using just the free version, and could conceivably continue to use a free version indefinitely the ‘Pro’ tag seems to make more sense. These are apps like Twitterrific that in the free version works fine, but you can only use one account and you must see ads. Paying for the full version removes these issues. Thus a consumer could use the free version indefinitely if it suited their needs, and would only need to pay for the app if they wanted the extra ‘pro’ level features.
I say ‘Pro’ makes more sense only if you develop an app that has two versions, one free and one paid and the free version is made to be a scaled down version that can stand on its own (meaning you don’t run out of “levels” as you would in a game). You are in effect giving away a full version of your app for free, and selling a version with more features as a ‘Pro’ level which is in line with what the consumer mind expects.
Either route you go I doubt you will get rid of the rude comments that plague the App Store.
U.S. air travelers can leave their shiny new 11.6-inch MacBook Air laptops in their bags when passing through airport security checkpoints according to the TSA. The 13.3-inch model, however, is too big and still must come out for separate screening.
Yet another reason why the 11 is going to make inroads with first-class.
One little annoyance about Apple’s App Store model (both iOS and presumably the Mac App Store) is that there is only one way a developer can really offer customers a demo or trial of the software: ‘lite’ versions. As it currently stands on the Mac there are three methods that I can think of that […]
One little annoyance about Apple’s App Store model (both iOS and presumably the Mac App Store) is that there is only one way a developer can really offer customers a demo or trial of the software: ‘lite’ versions. As it currently stands on the Mac there are three methods that I can think of that developers use for allowing you to ‘test’ their software: trial periods, demo versions, trial demo versions.
Trial periods are straightforward – you can use the app full featured for X period of time, then you must pay up. Demo versions allow you to use the software for as long as you would like, but you don’t get all the features that the software offers until you pay for the full version.1 Then you have what I call trial demo versions, where it is a combination of both, you get X period of time to use a limited feature set of the app.
One of the complaints that I have heard about the upcoming Mac App Store is that Apple is excluding demo and trial apps from the store – effectively forcing consumers to pay up, for a presumably expensive, Mac app without getting to see if it is what they need first. This is a real problem, how many people want to pay $60 for a task management app like Things or OmniFocus without getting to ‘play’ with it first? Not many I would guess, they will opt for cheaper options like Taskpaper.
Why Apple is Doing This
I can only guess why Apple is setting this rule, but my guess would be that they too hate those annoying nag screens and the inability to print in demo apps. By that I mean trial/demo software is incredibly annoying to consumers, what if the feature you want to buy the software for is one that you can’t use in the demo version? What if you really want to test out a piece of software, but 14 days is just too short – sometimes life gets in the way.
There is only a small contingent of software developers out there that do Trials and Demoes right, everyone else just makes them as annoying as possible. That is what Apple wants to do away with, they want to improve the customer experience with 3rd party software.
All of this talk brings us to so called ‘lite’ apps that you find littering the Top 100 in the Free section of Apple’s iOS stores. Most common with game developers – you get the same game, often with less levels, for free. The benefit to the consumer is that you get a try before you buy option. The benefit for the developer is that they get to expose a lot more people to their app that would not have paid for something they could not try first. The drawback to developers is that they are giving away part of their hard work for free and there is certainly a large portion of users who don’t end up buying the full version.
This is where the rub is for developers – how do you make a ‘lite’ version of a Mac app?
There are certainly some apps that excel at things like this: SuperDuper and Tweetie (back in the good old days) and so forth. They all have a good free or ‘lite’ version of the software that users can pay for a full version that does a bit more. How do you translate a ‘lite’ version to something like OmniFocus? Only allow so many actions or projects? Remove perspectives or syncing? With a piece of software like OmniFocus removal of any of those features severely cripples the users experience to the point where they begin asking: ‘is this app any good?’
The real challenge for developers moving forward with the Mac App Store is not going to be deciding whether or not to allow Apple 30% of their revenue – rather it is whether they can and should make a ‘lite’ version. There are some apps (Games particularly) that lend themselves to having ‘lite’ versions fairly easily – others like OmniFocus are not as clear cut.
Say you do come up with an idea of how to make a ‘lite’ version of your app – will it even be worth your time rebuilding the app into a free, or way too cheap ‘lite’ version?
These drives have had me curious for quite sometime, they take a small SSD (usually about 4GB) and combine it with a normal platter based HD. The result, according to Macworld, is a slightly faster drive with some of the benefits of SSD storage. Interesting, I wouldn’t buy this drive in lieu of an SSD (even given the price difference), but I would buy one instead of buying another ‘regular’ HD as a replacement (non-performance replacement, as in your last HD just died).
So a company is claiming to make a flash memory module that you can swap out with the built-in storage on your MacBook Air, giving you 256GB of storage. They also give you a USB 3.0 housing for your chip that you take out. Sounds pretty neat, no pricing yet (that is going to determine if it is worth it).
As a side note I busted off a connector on my Wife’s MacBook Pro last night swapping the HD – upgrades like these are not for those that can’t afford to have to replace expensive parts.
In my iPhoto ’11 review I mentioned that there is no Calendar printing feature like there used to be, well apparently it just wasn’t ready yet. This note from Apple says that it is coming soon and that your calendars from the past are not lost.
About 500 words into this post I deleted everything because I saw this: Right now you can get any new MacBook Air with the ‘Ships in 24 hours’ availability, except for the base model 11 – that model has a 1-3 day wait on it. That alone doesn’t say all that much, but if you […]
About 500 words into this post I deleted everything because I saw this:
Right now you can get any new MacBook Air with the ‘Ships in 24 hours’ availability, except for the base model 11 – that model has a 1-3 day wait on it. That alone doesn’t say all that much, but if you couple it with reports across Twitter that local Apple Stores are sold out of the base 11 model you start to begin to get a much bigger picture of what is going on.
I think the 11 is going to be much bigger than we think.
One would think that 1.4GHz 2GB RAM and a 64GBs of storage would make for a pretty poor computing experience, and one would be wrong, apparently. Take these reports from major reviewers across the web:
The release of the iPad made me wonder if I’d consider a Mac laptop as my constant traveling companion ever again; the release of the 11-inch MacBook Air proves that there’s still plenty of life left in the Mac after all.
The very low-powered 11.6-inch unit obviously had the bigger issues: while it generally acted just like you’d an expect a Mac to act — windows, applications, and new browser pages loaded quickly, and graphically heavy features like Expose seemed to have no trouble — we did notice some occasional stuttery behavior while scrolling heavy webpages and galleries, and full HD video in YouTube did not play back smoothly. (Maybe we can blame that on Flash… we’re sure Apple does). Still, the overall feeling was snappy and bug-free.
The 11-inch MacBook Air is a powerful ultraportable that makes other systems in its class look positively bloated. More important, this machine never keeps you waiting, thanks to the way it uses flash memory.
I’ve been using the 11” model nonstop for five days now. It left me with the emphatic conclusion that the Air is truly — finally — a “real” Mac. The Air certainly didn’t perform as well as my 15-inch MacBook Pro, but the key point is that it could handle every app and every task that I perform daily on my main machine.
As a pure writing device however, the 11-inch is great. The SSD ensures that performance is consistent and applications launch quickly. If all you do is write, browse the web, write emails and talk on IM – the 11 gets the job done. Ask more of it for long periods of time and I think you’ll be disappointed.
That is some impressive text written about this tiny little machine that on paper looks terrible under-powered. When at the Apple Store picking up my 13” MacBook Air I asked the guy helping me which model was selling the best, and which was drawing the most interest. He pointed to the table – table – of 11” MacBook Airs – they sold out the first day and have been running on short supply since being restocked.
I inquired what the typical buyer was, he told me it is 60% students and 20% business travelers. Imagine that, students opting to spend $500 more on a MacBook Air instead of the iPad. Interesting.
All of this lead me to think that Gruber is right about the 11” MacBook Air it is very much a non-primary Mac – that it is a complimentary device to your main computer. I don’t think that the 11 stops there though, there seems to be three types of buyers for the 11: students, business travelers, niche buyers.
This, I think, is going to make up a huge segment of 11 buyers. I was trying to think about why, as a student, you would prefer to have a 11 instead of an iPad1 when I realized that the great part about the 11 is that you get less hassle. Here is what a student trying to use an iPad in class would have to put up with today:
Syncing files via iTunes (worse than a root canal).
Now think about how much more cumbersome setting up an iPad for note taking would be if you add a keyboard dock or bluetooth keyboard to the mix – it really becomes a pain in the ass at that point. No student wants to be the nerd in the corner that takes a few minutes to set up his note taking system before class, and another few minutes to put it away after class.
Thinking about it that way the 11 starts to make a lot of sense for students. You can fly into class, pop open the screen and have no problem working right away. Likewise you can slap the lid shut, stuff it in your bag and walk out – there are no moving parts you need to wait for, and it sleeps really fast. Further, you can go goof off between classes without worrying about your battery draining, the thing has 30 days of standby. Absurd.
And the coup de grâce of the whole thing is that if you really needed to, the 11 could easily be your main machine when you are back at your desk. All you would need to make it your main machine is to spend $150 on a monitor, and another $80 on an external hard drive, and some change on a keyboard and mouse. You have now given students a notebook that does a few things they really care about, but most importantly that stays out of their way so that they can do what they want.
A tool that stays out of the users way – well that tool is invaluable.
Thinking back to my university days I would bet that I would get more use out of an 11 than I would out of an iPad. The only way that would be reversed is if all my textbooks came on the iPad, but even then I would probably just want both.
Ah yes those men that rack up the miles and talk annoyingly on their cell phones until the flight attendant rips it out of their hands – the business travelers. Again at first glance I would think that this group would want an iPad instead of the 11. I mean the iPad has twice the battery life and is smaller and lighter – seems like a match made in heaven. What do we think business travelers are using a computer for though?
Here is the problem: have you ever tried to work on Excel files on an iPad? I have, let’s just say it is a less than pleasant experience. The iPad works great if you are just viewing files, and doing minor edits and markups – Numbers can handle that kind of stuff. Heck Numbers can probably handle most everything a business traveller might want to do. Your fingers are the weak point here. Your fingers and hands will tire long before Numbers runs out of features. It’s not that you can’t do the work, but that you would much rather not have to do it all on the iPad. I am in no way stating you can’t create content on the iPad – you can – but that on a cross country flight it is less than ideal.
Think about it another way, say you are taking a cross-country (U.S.) flight and you need to go over sales projections that your staff sent you as an Excel file. You have the option of using either an iPad or a 11” MacBook Air – which are you going to grab? If you think the screen is cramped on the 11, wait until the onscreen keyboard pops up on the iPad – then you will feel cramped.
Carrying a keyboard for the iPad has the same implications for the business traveler as it does for the student – you again become the guy with all these little parts and pieces that need to be assembled just so you can work. Not to mention: on an airplane, where would you prop up the iPad, and where would you rest the keyboard?4
It further helps to solidify the 11’s place for business travelers when you think about the fact that most of these purchasers will probably have another computer at their office or home already. That means that for travel they must choose between the iPad5, a Net book, a MacBook Air. When you think about it like that, and think about what most business travelers use a computer for, a MacBook Air moves to the top of the list.
You can almost remove the iPad from the list unless the traveler has an iPhone 4 that they can use to talk to their kids back home. I have talked to a few people now that want an iPad badly, but are waiting to get a FaceTime camera on one because they like to video chat with their kids while they are traveling. Don’t underestimate the power of that video connection for business travelers.
The Niche Market
This is the general group where we will throw everybody else that buys the 11” MacBook Air – these are the people who want it because it is small, or fills a very specific need, or they just want it. There does exist one other type of buyer though: new Mac users. I would not be so naive to think that there is going to be a mass of people buying Macs just because of the 11, but I do think it offers a more compelling reason to switch than Apple previously had.
The MacBook Air could act as a stepping stone computer into the Mac world for people. I am not saying this will happen on a large scale, but I bet it won’t be very hard to find people that buy an 11 as a secondary computer to their PC, only to come back later when they need to replace their PC and buy q Mac. The 11 could be a trojan horse for getting more Mac users.
Here is a scenario that keeps popping into my head, and seems to make a lot of sense. A stay at home mom wants to get a computer that she can use when the kids are gone, and when she is waiting for them and working on her various projects – in other words, light computing needs in short spurts. She has been turned off by the iPad because she has been told it is not a ‘full’ or ‘real’ computer, so instead she has been looking at a cheap Net book. Most likely playing with them at Costco and Best Buy, but the MacBooks keep catching her eye. Now she sees there is a Net book sized MacBook, that, while more expensive than all other Net books, really looks good. So she walks over and starts playing with the 11 and talking with the Apple Rep about it. She eventually says forget it – the price is way too high, and she just doesn’t need it.
Now what happens when she goes back to the Net books? She is going to find herself waiting for things to open. All of a sudden the 11 doesn’t just look like a sexy little over priced Net book, but instead a really, really, small computer. That is powerful, being able to draw a consumer in that would not normally look at your computers (in this scenario a stay at home mom) and give the a compelling reason that is hard for competitors to compete with – flash storage.
Another way to think about it is to think back to something that you were looking into buying – perhaps a car. You drive a whole bunch and maybe one, just for fun, that is a bit better and out of your price range. If that car is so good that it makes all the other cars you drove feel like a dog, you are probably really going to run the numbers to see if you can get that car. People like to treat themselves, especially if they feel they can justify said treat. With the 11 the justification would be that it is smaller, than most computers, looks better, feels faster, and is a Mac.
These are Powerful Markets
When I got my 12” PowerBook G4 there were very few Mac users on campus – by the time I left there were markedly more. The majority of them were 12” PowerBook G4s – it was just the popular machine to have. I think the 11 could do the same thing once again, by getting into the hands of a ton of people you are helping the 11 to become ‘mainstream’, instead of people looking at the 11 and thinking how cool it is, they look at the 11 and think oh yeah – there’s another one, what is so great about those?
When you get people interested enough to ask questions, then you get them interested enough to look into it. That brings them to Apple.com and that takes them one step closer to being a Mac user. Whether or not you like the computer that you use, every time someone sees you using it, you become an endorser of that computer, by virtue of the fact that you are using it and therefore must have bought it for some reason. Now imagine first-class being full 11s, lecture halls being dominated by them, and a mom waiting in her car for her kids checking email with one. That’s kind of how the iPhone started…
This could be powerful – or maybe I just need some sleep.
Assuming there is another computer of sorts in play already. ↩
This is coming soon, yes. But I doubt that enters into the immediate decision process. ↩
Not ever having been a business traveler myself I can only guess. ↩
Assuming a bluetooth keyboard. As the keyboard dock I would guess would make the iPad all together too tall to work off the tray in front of you. ↩
Reuters says that the white iPhone is delayed until next year, so you can buy your white iPhone 4 while everyone else gets their iPhone 5s. Coincidentally Duke Nukem Forever is also set to ship next year.
SecureMac has discovered a new trojan horse in the wild that affects Mac OS X, including Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6), the latest version of OS X. The trojan horse, trojan.osx.boonana.a, is spreading through social networking sites, including Facebook, disguised as a video. The trojan is currently appearing as a link in messages on social networking sites with the subject “Is this you in this video?”When a user clicks the infected link, the trojan initially runs as a Java applet, which downloads other files to the computer, including an installer, which launches automatically. When run, the installer modifies system files to bypass the need for passwords, allowing outside access to all files on the system. Additionally, the trojan sets itself to run invisibly in the background at startup, and periodically checks in with command and control servers to report information on the infected system. While running, the trojan horse hijacks user accounts to spread itself further via spam messages. Users have reported the trojan is spreading through e-mail as well as social media sites.
Best bet is to go into Safari preferences and uncheck the box that says ‘Enable Java’ (under the Security tab). Also, what a great name.
What we need is a simple online payment system for freelancers that doesn’t have all this baggage and unpredictability. Create a profile, tie it to your checking account, and give the link to clients. All it needs to do is direct the funds to my bank. No holding tank. No random lockdowns. Just a place for payments to be made.
It is true, PayPal’s hold they put on funds is ridiculous. I used to buy and sell a lot on eBay, and the worst part was PayPal. So who is up for the challenge?
This may be a Kindle competitor, but I mean come on, are they even trying? A 7″ IPS capacitive touch screen (good), 802.11n WiFi (good), $249 (good), 8gb memory with expansion (OK), 8 hours of battery life with WiFi off (WTF).