I'm a father, manager, programmer, scrum master, geek, & movie lover.

Trends at Apple

From iOS to OSX


Near Future

Free Upgrades

Currently, iOS upgrades are free. OS X upgrades cost $20. That price has been decreasing each year. How long until it’s free? What would this mean for Apple’s competition?

Not only would this be hard for Microsoft to handle (since its OS is one of its 2 cash-cows), but it would be great for the customer, AND it would mean that there is almost no barrier to users upgrading, which means a large chunk of Apple’s user-base would always be on the latest version of its OS. This would allow Apple to constantly keep innovating and pushing out new features, which developers can feel free to adopt immediately, confident that users will be able to take advantage of them.

Famously, at least in-part thanks to free upgrades, iOS 5 captured 60% of all iOS users in just 15 weeks. It took Android Ice Cream Sandwich 15 weeks to reach just 1% of its users.

Apple is optimizing itself to take maximum advantage of the “Ohhhh shiny!” factor. Fresh OS -> fresh apps -> gotta have it.

Paid Upgrades

Apple’s “free upgrades” do have a hidden cost, though: only the most recent generation of hardware gets all of the new features. The previous generation gets a few less, and three generations old hardware gets only a couple. Hardware beyond three generations old doesn’t tend to receive any upgrades under the iOS model. This encourages a regular pattern of upgrading your hardware. Apple loves regular upgrading because that’s where they make their “real money”.

Hardware that runs OS X tends to be more expensive than hardware that runs iOS, so it should last a bit longer. I don’t think it’ll last much longer, though. Perhaps 4 years compared to iOS’s 3.

On OS X Mountain Lion, 1-generation-old 2011 MacBooks cannot run AirPlay, and my 4-generation-old early 2008 MacBook is the newest computer on the list of computers entirely incapable of running Mountain Lion. Yes, it can keep happily running Lion, but if you’re the kind of person who enjoys regular updates, that just won’t do.

Looks like this plan is already in action. OSX just isn’t “free” yet.

From OSX to iOS

OSX is the granddaddy, but it can still teach the young iOS a trick or two.

Adding 4G to the iPad costs $130. I bet most of that is profit. Apple could add it for as little as $50. Now let’s look at the prices for iPod Touch as it exists today. All models are Wi-Fi only. 8GB for $199, 32GB for $299, 64GB for $399. Earlier this year, Tim Cook said Apple would not leave any price points open. We all assumed this meant and iPad Mini, but what if it also meant iPod Touch 4G. Watch what happens if we add it to the mix: 8GB Wi-Fi $199. 8GB 4G $249. 32GB Wi-Fi $299. 32GB 4G $349. 64GB Wi-Fi $399. 64GB 4G $449. Off-contract 16GB iPhone $649, 32GB $749, 64GB $849. This whole theory is starting to look likely.

The Future

The New iPod Touch & The New iPhone


The New Mac Pro

OS X 10.9+

Both iOS & OS X

A Frightening Idea

Apple recently announced that it will be building a second massive datacenter. Why, when its first probably still has extra capacity? I believe it’s a failover for disaster recovery.

A friend said to me the other day “You know, if terrorists really wanted to terrorize people, they would bomb the single building that houses all of iCloud”. That sent shivers down my spine. It’s true. If the Statue of Liberty were destroyed, it would be shocking, and sad, but it wouldn’t effect me.

Vapourizing all my documents, family photos, videos, and music in one fell swoop would most certainly traumatize me.

Apple is encouraging everyone to “trust the cloud” more each day. All companies are. They need to be doing all they can to ensure that the cloud is as pervasive as the atmosphere: all-encompassing, protective, and without a single point of failure.

P.S. - this is the first time i’ve tried to use markdown to do a post, so please forgive any formatting issues.

Footnotes: 1: When I only had a 2008 MacBook with button-sporting plastic trackpad that didn’t support gestures, I thought they were a gimmick. Now that I have a new MacBook with buttonless glass trackpad, gestures are a revelation; so much so that I’m considering ditching my magic mouse. [2]: This makes me think that twitter will confidently kill all 3rd party clients

Comments from my old blog:

Breslin said: Your “Frightening Idea” paragraph has indeed frightened me… Excuse me while I go back up all my pictures, documents, music etc… :P at 2012-08-15 16:18:18

Ian said: Nice post. I agree with pretty much everything.

I agree that there is a strange problem, with apps tending to be smaller and more single task, while at the same time there is no mechanism to really have more than one app edit the same file type. I think the solution though is already partially in place. It’s there already for calendar, contacts, photos and partially for music. Apple controls the database of a certain type, and then any app can see and edit it by using an API (which may ask the user for permission to do it first). This way, there is some security to the sharing because Apple controls the API. This works pretty well. There are tons of photo apps and they allow editing and viewing of the same photos from the camera roll (encouraging the whole simple app thing). I can’t imagine how boring photo apps would be in iOS if it weren’t like this. On the Mac, iPhoto and Aperture now use the same photo database.

I’ve long thought this same idea would be further expanded to books, podcasts, PDFs, Pages docs, etc.. The question to me is how far they will let this idea go. Will 3rd party apps be able to create their own databases, and have other apps access them? My feeling is this will happen, but I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more fully yet. at 2012-08-15 17:32:52