Archive for the 'Apple' Category

Apple: It’s about much more than just the products

August 7, 2010  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

I’ll admit it.  One of the reasons I like using Apple products is that Apple really gets it.  When I bought my first Mac back in 2003 (a Mirror Drive Doors PowerMac G4), I was just looking for something new.  I had followed the technical development of Mac OS X and was quite impressed.  But I was mostly just taking a leap of faith.

Today, Apple has so much more to offer.  But it’s not just about the products.  Apple is arguably the most successful company in the US right now.  And that means there are lots of lessons to be learned from Apply for any business, including a law firm.

In the past week I came across two articles that delve into the marketing of Apple computers.  Neven Mrgan posted this quick comparison of the all-in-one computer web pages of Apple, Dell, and HP.  It’s fascinating to see the difference in approach taken by Apple.  Dell and HP seem to assume that you’re only going to visit their website if you have already decided to buy one of their computers.  For all the talk about the Steve Jobs reality distortion field and Apple “tricking” people into buying their computers, it often seems to come down to Apple’s competitors completely forgetting about this thing called “marketing.”

Case in point, a post on Minimal about product lines.  If I wanted to go shopping for a Dell or HP today, I wouldn’t have any idea where to start.  They both decided to copy Apple from the early 1990s — the time when Apple had completely different model numbers for computers that only differed in their amount of memory and storage.

Dell has the following small and medium business laptop lines:

  • Latitude
  • Vostro
  • Inspiron Laptops
  • Studio Laptops
  • Precision Mobile Workstations
  • Gaming Laptops
  • Studio XPS Laptops
  • Mini Netbooks
  • Adamo

Has Dell really identified nine discrete markets for their laptops?  And, if so, why do they does their website do such a terrible job of telling me which line is perfect for my needs?  It’s important that a product or service speak to the customer’s needs.  Dell and HP seem to really be lacking there, whereas Apple has really hit the mark.

Apple is clearly worth watching.  They’re not without fault.  But there is a lot to be learned from observing how they do business.

FileMaker Go Released

July 20, 2010  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Yesterday FileMaker released its iPad and iPhone versions of FileMaker Go ($39.99 and $19.99 respectively).  FileMaker Go allows you to view, search, and edit FileMaker Pro records right from your iPad or iPhone.  And if you won’t have internet access where you’re going, you can also copy the database to your device and run it from there.  You can copy the database back to your desktop computer when you’re done, but it looks like an all-or-nothing proposition.  There doesn’t seem to be syncing.  You can also access a database from your DropBox account.

The release of FileMaker Go certainly muddies the decision between a standard “desktop” database and a website-driven database.  I am still undecided on the technology that will serve as the foundation for our next-generation practice management tool.  FileMaker Go certainly ups the ante on the desktop side of things.

Apple’s Been Busy

July 9, 2010  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Apparently it hasn’t all been about the iPhone 4 and iOS4 down in Cupertino.  This week Apple announced a preview of updates to the MobileMe calendar.  From the screenshots, it looks like a step in the right direction.  Currently, the MobileMe calendar is a poor knockoff of the (already poor) iCal application.  The updated calendar app looks much more like an iPad application – quite attractive and much more useful.

Apple also updated the MobileMe iDisk app.  It’s a universal app, so it runs on both iPhone and iPad.  I hadn’t been looking for this app because we use DropBox rather than MobileMe for online backup, syncing, and storage.  But is seems like a fairly capable entry into the field, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Now if Apple would just release new iMacs already…

Mini Workhorse

June 16, 2010  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

When the first Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server was announced in October 2009, I was intrigued.  A Mini with two hard drives totaling 1TB could certainly work as a file, mail, and calendar server for a small office.  And now Apple has upped the ante.

At first blush, the new Mac Mini Server seems like mostly a cosmetic change with a minor processor bump.  The headline always seems to be the processor, but a 2.53 GHz to 2.66 GHz jump is pretty negligible (and mostly irrelevant for file servers).  It’s nice to see that Apple now supports an 8GB RAM configuration.  RAM is at a premium on servers.  But even if you don’t want to spend the $400 to upgrade from 4GB to 8GB, you’re definitely going to enjoy the new 7200 rpm hard drives.

Previously, the Mini came with what were essentially laptop hard drives, 5400 rpm.  The server version now comes with two 500GB 7200 rpm drives.  It’s a subtle difference, to be sure.  But even minor increases in data access speed will start to add up over the weeks and months.

I have been looking into getting a server for some time.  At the moment we are using primarily syncing and sharing technologies.  But a central server has some appeal.  Now it’s just a matter of finding the time to implement it.  The new Mini is cute, but I don’t need another desk accessory.

Gizmodo and iPhonegate

April 22, 2010  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

I was tempted to write something about Gizmodo’s handling of the “lost” iPhone this past week. But I am glad I waited.

As usual, John Gruber over at Daring Fireball says it much better than I could have ever said it myself in his well-researched and thoughtful writeup on the matter.

I have been very disappointed in Gizmodo’s behavior through this whole process. Publicly naming the engineer who lost the device was completely classless. As John Gruber puts it:

The people whose identities I’d like to know are those who obtained and then sold the phone, not the guy from Apple who lost it. There is no interest served by outing him other than taking sociopathic glee in making a public spectacle of someone who made a very serious but honest mistake.

For Gizmodo it’s all about the spectacle. It’s one thing to dedicate yourself to finding out the latest scoop on Apple products. That’s what news organizations do. But it’s quite another to turn it into a game. The writes at Gizmodo seems pretty proud of themselves right now. They even claimed success against Apple in this made-up game of theirs:

A controlled leak? The lost iPhone planted by Apple? You have no idea how Apple PR works—and how, like it or not, Gizmodo finally beat them at their own game.

It seems odd for a company that reports on Apple so much to have such an antagonistic attitude towards Apple. I guess this is what Think Secret has been replaced by – a website that is more interested in making noise than it is in the technology itself.