Apple game controller for iOS?

Apple Bandai Pipin Game ConsoleGaming on the iOS platform was, arguably, one of Steve Jobs greatest business decisions. Some of us are old enough to remember the Apple game console that never was (Pippin). The Pippin (released in 1995) was not a great success; it made the shortlist for one of the worst tech products ever, coming 22nd in PC World Magazine‘s list back in 2006. However, despite this initial failure, Steve Jobs always knew that gaming would be important to Apple’s future.

Once the iPod came out Apple was finally able to go mainstream with gaming. Even though games had been available on the Mac from the beginning and before (anyone remember Sneakers on the Apple II?), it wasn’t until the iPod and especially the iPod Touch became popular that gaming really took off. Gaming took off to an even greater extent once the App Store was established, making it easier and cheaper to get into gaming.

The iOS user interface makes playing games accessible but what would make it even more so is a hardware controller, just like Nintendo and Sony have for their gaming consoles. Many gamers are familiar with the likes of the Wii and the XBox so it wouldn’t be awkward for them to use a controller with their iPod/iPhone/iPad.

So, the rumour that Apple is indeed working on such a hardware controller can only be good news.


2012 Technology Predictions

Around this time folk start trying to predict what the coming year holds. We also tend to think about any New Year Resolutions we might make. Already we are seeing predictions about Apple revamping its product line and introducing one or two product lines. Hot predictions seem to be an actual Apple Television and also a sort of iPad Air.

Now both of these are intriguing, for different reasons. let’s take the Apple TV first. For years there has been rampant speculation about if and when Apple would announce its own TV set (as averse to its existing Apple TV, which is nothing more than a set-top box with an Apple twist to it). Now its starting to look probable that Apple indeed will introduce its own TV, which some are already labelling the ‘iTV‘.

What it will look like is anyone’s guess (unless you are actually working on it right now of course deep in Apple’s labs!). SHARP and JVC are two companies that have been mentioned as being involved in bringing the iTV to market, SHARP  and JVC are big players in the Home Entertainment markets and so its not surprising that they might be involved.

Steve Jobs, before his untimely death recently, has been quoted as saying that he had ‘finally cracked it, when speaking about an integrated TV set. However, Apple may run int some problems in the UK if indeed it has settled on the ‘iTV’ moniker, as we have ITV already, a commercial broadcaster that has been around for decades.

My view is that Apple will indeed bring out some form of integrated TV set in 2012, probably with iCloud capability and maybe even a version of Siri so that everything can be voice-controlled. After all, I can’t see Apple wanting to let Microsoft have the market to itself with its Xbox Live Voice Control. If it succeeds, then it could well revolutionise the home entertainment field in a similar way it has the music, smartphone and tablet markets.

As for the iPad Air, this one is interesting in that I can’t quite see Apple wanting to eat into both its iPad and Macbook Air markets unless it feels that such a device could replace both; the best of both worlds so to speak. In theory, if Apple can time the release of the A6 quad-core chip just right then it could at a stroke replace the iPad, Macbook Air and Macbook Pro with one device. Don’t put it past them to do this as Steve Jobs was always one for reducing the number of models whenever possible.

I am going to let myself go wild here and suggest the following:

1. Apple replaces the iPad, Macbook Air and Macbook Pro with one device – the so-called iPad Air (or maybe Mac Air – light as a feather!)

2. The device will combine a Retina detachable display (so can use it like an iPad) and keyboard (like the forthcoming  Asus Transformer Prime)

3. The device will use only Flash Memory (goodbye to the old hard drive, finally) for storage and speed

4. The device will be lightweight (hence the ‘Air’ element to the name) an have great battery time (just like the iPad & Macbook Air), possibly due to the use of new materials

5. Fantastic graphics performance due to the use of the expected ARM quad-core A6 CPU and associated hardware

6. Possibly there will be a 4G version available for network connectivity (for uses such as Sat Nav)

7. There may even be an Near Field Communications chip so that you will be able to control nearby devices (such as your Mac or iPad)

8. I am almost certain I will have an SD card slot as this is a great way of getting photos and video onto your device, as well having additional storage options.

So, there you have it, my two predictions for what Apple may pull out of the bag in 2012.

Poll: Will Steve Jobs death result in Apple declining?

Retro MacOS in memory of Steve Jobs

my Power Mac 6100

Image by blakespot via Flickr

Along with many other blogs this one has a new look – the Retro MacOS look, in tribute to Steve Jobs. Its fitting that someone who did so much to change the face (literally, in a sense) of personal computing and the web (lets not forget the influence of the Safari browser) should be honoured by having a theme created in memory of his life and work.

Retro MacOS was originally created by Stuart Brown, and converted by the team at WP so folk like me could use on their blogs. Its available in the WP Theme Directory from within your dashboard. Personally, I think it looks rather cool and is a fitting tribute to the man. What do you think? Please feel free to leave your comments.

As to how long it will remain up, I’m not sure; at least for a while anyway.

Steve Jobs has died – sad news indeed

It has been confirmed that Steve Jobs has passed away. he will be sadly missed and my heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, as well as everyone at Apple. A sad day indeed.

My thoughts and emotions are too raw at this moment. I will post something in more detail later.

Today’s the day!

Image representing Tim Cook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Today is the day that most, if not all, of Apple fans have been waiting for. What will it bring and what impact will announcements have on the mobile industry? One certainty today is that everyone’s eyes will be on Tim Cook, as he takes centre stage in place of Steve Jobs. It seems somewhat weird to be thinking of an event like this not being led centre-stage by Steve Jobs. As Apple’s new CEO, the role now falls to Tim Cook to amaze the audience and wow us with the new iPhone and its features. Is he up to the job (no pun intended there)? Well, its safe to say that if Steve didn’t think he was then he wouldn’t be doing it.

We often focus on the performance of executives like Steve Jobs and Tim Cook in terms of their stage performance, delivering new product to the public but in fact what has made Apple so successful has been Steve Jobs performance behind the scenes, in making Apple successful at not just design but marketing, logistics and economies of scale. What’s important for Tim Cook and ultimately Apple is not so much what happens today on stage but what has been happening in the months leading up to today’s event and what will happen in the months to come. Apple has made mistakes in the past in meeting demand for its products and what it needs to do in the run-up to the all-important Christmas season is to make sure that it gets iPhones into the hands of eager consumers.

It would be good too to avoid any repeat of the so-called ‘Antennagate‘ issue over the iPhone’s poor reception when held in a certain way, the so-called ‘grip of death’. If the new iPhone(s) perform well and Apple can ship sufficient quantities then however well (or not) Tim Cook does on stage won’t matter so much. Apple will continue to buck the market and continue to dominate the mobile device market. Yes, we will miss Steve (and no, I don’t expect hm to appear in person on stage) but Apple has out-grown personalities (well, the personality of one man) and we are all grateful to him for him rescuing our beloved Apple.

Whatever we know at the end of today in terms of how many iPhones there are to be, what their specifications are and what we will have to pay to get our hands on one, one thing is sure, there is a new kid in town and he is his own man.

Apple to announce Television product (not AppleTV)?

Image representing Apple TV as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

With many televisions now coming with internet access built-in, as well as various apps. many folk are beginning to wonder if and when Apple is going to get into the market and release its own TV. Certainly, such a development has long been rumoured and it seems the rumour-mill is heating up once again.

Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray (known for being pretty accurate when it comes to predictions about Apple products) has recently said that Apple will indeed release such a product in late 2012 or early 2013. Quite a way off but intriguing nevertheless. According to Macworld UK he has been talking to component suppliers and his contacts within Apple in order to arrive at this conclusion. Others seem to concur, Stewart Alsop, of Alsop Louie Ventures being one of them. He quotes various sources in Silicon Valley that Apple is indeed working on such a product.

Question is though, what exactly are we talking about here? After all, the AppleTV set-top box ( for streaming video to a television ) has been around a number of years and has been described as a ‘hobby’ of Steve Jobs in the past. Now Steve is withdrawing from day to day involvement in Apple for health reasons, what future does the AppleTV have? Considering the low priority the product has had over the years, how sure can we be that Apple is now going to focus on an actual TV?

Let’s assume they are indeed going to release such a product in the next year to 18 months, what specification will it have and what features will it come with? Also, Apple relies on other manufacturers to make its displays (such as Samsung) and how certain can we be that they are happy to make displays for a competitor who is going to compete directly with their own product lines (Samsung being big in the TV business)?

Certainly Apple is quite capable of producing a TV and if they were you can be pretty sure it would be of high quality. Their Cinema Displays are renown for their top-notch quality (and price) and the iMac screens are a thing of beauty. The real question lies not in can they do it, but why would they want to? I for one am not convinced they will, at least not until there is some compelling business rationale for doing so and I can’t see one yet. Apple has built its recent success on being focused and not spreading itself too thinly. It has always (when being successful) brought something new to the table, with the intention of dominating whatever part of the market its aiming for. So we saw it revolutionise the personal computer market with the original iMac, the MP3 player market with the iPod, the smartphone market with the iPhone and lately the Tablet market with the iPad. Repeating this success with a TV means bringing something to the table tat has so far eluded the likes of Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. Apple is a great company but to come up against these big three would require something truly special.

Bear in mind too that not only would Apple be competing with the TV manufacturers but also with the likes of SKY and Virgin Media (and even BT in the UK) who have the digital streaming market pretty much sown up. Google is also rumoured to be bringing its Google TV to the UK. Also, recent changes by Apple as regards TV programmes in iTunes have given mixed messages about Apple’s intentions in this area. So, for now I remain unconvinced but if I am proved wrong it may be just the thing to make me finally jump on the HDTV bandwagon.

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