With so many recent product announcements, upgrades, and rollouts, there is a lot of ground to cover. We’ll be discussing some of these things for weeks (or longer), so today’s post will be a “grand overview” of what Apple, Nokia, and Microsoft brought to market on Tuesday, October 22 aka the “Big Tech Day.”
A bushel of Apple stuff
At its October 22 event, Apple announced the iPad Air, a 9.7-inch device that’s 20% slimmer (at .3 inches) than previous iPads and weighs 1 pound. “The lightest tablet on the market,” according to Apple, it uses the same A7 chip in the new iPhone 5S. The iPad Mini finally got its Retina display, while the existing lower-res Mini becomes Apple’s entry point. The MacBook Pro line got a refresh rather than full upgrade, although weight and battery power are nicely optimized. Apple also announced pricing of its futuristic new Mac Pro which will be available “before the end of the year.”
Introducing a new software policy that makes the new version of Mac OS X Mavericks available free to anyone now using OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8. The productivity apps, iLife and iWork, will be bundled free on new iOS and OS X devices, with upgrades freely available, too.
Major takeaway: Free upgrades forever? Free software that’s actually good? Apple is right: This will throw the industry into a tizzy.
Nokia & Microsoft: Wedding bell blues?
Nokia, which Microsoft (MS) will finish absorbing in early 2014, showed two phablets - Lumia 1320 and 1520 with 6-inch screens, which could draw business users. CRE’s long experience with mobile devices—from original tablet PC to current iPad rental—illustrates the growth of mobile computing, and Nokia wants in. On the admin side, Nokia’s former chief, Stephen Elop, rejoins MS to lead the handsets division, which could be anchored by Nokia’s low-end Asha line for emerging markets and budget buyers. Since they use Nokia’s proprietary Series 40 OS, they could serve as stepping stones into higher-priced Windows Phone products.
Major takeaway: Nokia’s low-end lines may give budget buyers a path into the higher-cost MS models, but some analysts fear possible “sales cannibalization.”
Microsoft (MS) launched its new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets at midnight Tuesday, October 22. CNET reported that the event was “loud and colorful and full of enthusiasm” and that the “only thing … missing is people that want to buy its new device.” The Surface 2 runs RT and has 32GB and 64GB storage options. The Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8 has two models: one with 4GB RAM offering 64GB or 128GB of storage, the other with 8GB RAM plus 256GB or 512GB. One leading tech site ran a long, positive review but concluded that “recommending the Surface becomes harder when there are other Windows tablets that cost less and run full Windows.” In fact, most reviewers ended up asking what no manufacturer wants to hear: Who will buy these products?
Major takeaway: MS seems to be flailing about. The Nokia buy could be a good thing, but could just as easily go sour.
Whether you need the best trade show convention rentals for an upcoming conference, or the latest in high-powered post-production gear, we can help! Call us at (877) 266-7725 or visit the Quick Rental Quote page and tell us what you need.
Graduation rates for women in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math) still lag behind men’s, but less all the time. In fact, qualified women are available in much greater numbers than popularly known, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reports that women made up about 42 percent of its 2010 graduating class in engineering. So what happens after graduation?
Most of those grads went to work somewhere, many developing great expertise—using render farms in post-production work, joining NASA, doing R&D in medicine. Historically, however, women were long denied any opportunity for leadership, as inflexible corporate schedules took women off the “career track” for having children. Developing women’s leadership skills is, therefore, a retention tool, one that will also feed the pipeline with future leaders.
There is a vast untapped reservoir of tech-savvy women—teaching, updating Apple’s Xserve RAID designs, inventing new products. But they’re not all corporate employees, managers, and executives. They’re also entrepreneurs, business builders, and consumers. Here are three groups with markedly different approaches to supporting the advancement of high-tech women.
COO Elisa Page says, “Women are the most powerful consumers of the world and companies are still not reaching the core customer.” With some 4,250 bloggers writing on such topics as cooking, new marketing methods, women in tech, and career advice, the site reaches some 92 million women in the U.S. monthly. BlogHer compensates women for their writing while helping them grow their businesses—whether that business is blogging, retail sales, or technology services.
A compensation formula considers such variables as number of blogs and readers, feedback, and influence, leading to over $24 million in payouts since 2010. Beth Blecherman, a California BlogHer member, writes the Tech Mamas blog and advises startups that are creating products and services for families. Blecherman deftly combines the two worlds: the one of women creators, and the one of consumers. With BlogHer, women can be both.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
This nonprofit comprises more than 350 other American nonprofits, colleges, corporations, startups, government agencies, and community orgànizations. NCWIT’s aim is to boost women’s participation in computing and technology, through a wide range of community-based “alliances” that work at every level of the challenge, from training to placement assistance.
These alliances—academic, workforce, entrepreneurial, K-12, affinity groups—empower community members to leverage “an infrastructure of best practices, free resources, and an amplified voice for the issues surrounding diversity and technology,” as NCWIT materials state. NCWIT works directly with companies, agencies, and organizations to help them locate, recruit, train, retain, and advance tech-savvy women.
The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology
The Institute has a single goal—connecting women and technology—but travels a two-way street: one lane toward increasing the impact of women on technology, the other toward increasing the impact of technology on women. Institute CEO Telle Whitney knows “that innovative organizations must attract and retain the best technical minds, both women and men, to grow and succeed in today’s global economy.”
The pool of high-tech talent will continue to grow, requiring ongoing solutions for recruiting, retaining, and promoting women. The Anita Borg Institute, NCWIT, and BlogHer will encourage MIT and schools across America to keep teaching science, technology, engineering, and math to ever-increasing numbers of women, free at last from the tyranny of low expectations. And patriarchs beware: There is no going back.
Call (877) 266-7725 or send a message to get the swift, expert assistance of our Account Executives. Use the Quick Rental Quote form if you know what you need. Either way, you get the right tech, at the right price, right now. It doesn’t get any better than that!
YouTube entrepreneurs and podcast producers sued; international tech titans battling in court; developers targeted for creating mobile apps; offices around the country threatened for being in possession of ordinary scanners. Innovators of all kinds, the very creators of the future, are falling victim to “patent trolls.” Trolls can be individual lawyers, legal firms, or some other type of company, but they all operate the same way, buying up patents and making sweeping claims of infringement.
With no “loser pays” system in the U.S., it is cheaper for firms to settle than fight—but for years there was no reason to do either. There was no patent protection afforded software even as Silicon Valley took over the world. It was the mid-1990s before a federal court determined that an “algorithm…in a general-purpose computer” could be “patentable.” The U.S. went from zero software patents about 20 years ago to around 100 per day now, a deluge that has overwhelmed patent examiners and allowed vague, overly-broad claims that do not “delineate the boundaries of the invention.” In the hands of skilled patent attorneys, unbounded claims can be applied in a sweeping fashion.
The trolls take a toll
There were 5,000 patent lawsuits in 2012. For the first time, more than half were initiated by trolls. One good thing: Patent trolls often own weak software patents that are often successfully challenged. Between 1995 and 2011, of cases that proceeded to a judgement, patent trolls only won one of four. Notoriously obnoxious trolls fared even worse, with the most frequent litigators winning a mere tenth of their cases. Another positive development is the recent, well publicized pushback against patent trolls by Newegg, Twitter, and others. Still, even the smallest companies taking a patent case all the way can spend $1 to $2 million or more. This is an impossible sum for many.
The actions of patent trolls essentially constitute a fee on innovation, once that’s increasing annually. American firms made almost $30 billion in direct payments to patent trolls in 2011, while the overall economic cost is likely much higher. Plus there are other problems besides trolls, like “patent wars” where firms fight it out in court instead of the marketplace. Had Steve Jobs been fighting with Samsung (and others) in the late 1990s instead of a decade later, he might not have had time to birth the iMac and change history. And yet, both Apple and Google spent more money in 2011 on buying and litigating patents than on R&D.
A bit of progress
Just last week, major troll Lodsys dropped its case against Kaspersky Labs. Until recently, Lodsys had been doing well—the firm went after Apple once or twice, tweaked a few other tech firms’ noses, but recently skedaddled out of several courtrooms with the corporate tail between their legs. And, while gradually fading out on the Kaspersky case, Lodsys tried sticking up Martha Stewart for $5,000. Now, that’s not a lot to Martha, but the Lodsys brain trust should have, at the very least, read a few Cosmo or Elle columns about the lady—or a few tabloids, what the heck? So now, on top of everything else, they’ve gone and upset Martha Stewart? Game over. Those guys are so doomed. And amidst new patent reforms, more and more companies are starting to fight back.
From intense post-production tasks with an AJA Io HD to conference breakout sessions with our first-rate trade show convention rentals, our expert Account Executives will meet your precise needs. Call 877-266-7725, send a message, or speed things along even faster with our Quick Rental Quote form. When you’re ready, we’ll be here to help—any time, in any way, whatever you need! Call now!
Historically, the media has done a very poor job of explaining science and technology. Before major news outlets apply a sensationalist slant to the reports, we’ll let you in on the details of the (slight) slowing of Internet traffic growth. Following 2011, when average international Internet traffic grew by 39 percent and peak traffic by a whopping 57 percent, these figures dropped in 2012 to 35 and 33 percent, respectively. The days of triple-digit growth rates are over, except for some developing countries. What’s the deal, and what does it mean?
Research firms such as Gartner, eMarketer, Forrester Research, and TeleGeography all attribute the slowed growth of capacity and traffic to several factors:
fewer new broadband accounts in the more mature markets;
the advent of content delivery networks (CDNs); and
local caching schemes that, like the cache in your iMac, will store desired content close by, reducing need for capacity and bandwidth.
Time and timing
It’s also a matter of time. Researchers at eMarketer predict time spent online to grow by a mere 3.6 percent in 2013 to an average of 2 hours, 53 minutes daily. In 2011, daily time spent online had grown over twice as much, 7.7 percent, to 2 hours, 47 minutes. Since time spent online is up to nearly three hours, double-digit growth rates are decreasingly likely. This is true even if consumers increase the number of activities and spend additional time with either their MacBook Pro or their desktop PC. Time spent online cannot increase forever.
Even with the CDNs and caching methods, service providers will be investing great sums in network architecture and infrastructure. Despite some of the “big-picture” numbers dropping, traffic volume per user in the advanced markets is up—thanks to movie lovers, tablet PCs with WiFi, music aficionados, gamers, and multi-tab conversationalists using video-calling and group meeting apps. And, of course, the many different developing markets with below-average broadband penetration offer room for growth.
Mobile’s where the action is
Estimates from eMarketer and others suggest American consumers have doubled the time spent on mobile devices—for internet browsing, online app use, game playing, music, video—since 2011. The growth guesstimate for 2013, not counting strictly “talk time,” is some 50+ percent to an average of 1 hour, 22 minutes daily, nearly 2.5 times as much as 2010. The challenge for business owners, as opposed to consumers, is to ensure that employees use smartphones, Xserve RAID units, and even inkjet cartridges in the most cost-effective manner. (Watch for a blog on “office efficiencies” soon.)
Mobile growth will continue, meaning the decreasing online presence of the standard corporate PC or computer rental, laptops, net-connected “smart” TVs, game consoles, and other non-mobile net devices (though they may grow slowly). Mobile, on the other hand, has exploded from a small base, with growth in time spent online goosed by swift acceptance of smartphones, tablets, and our own iPad rental. Still used by a minority of netizens, these devices will proliferate, current users will transfer digital activities to their mobile space, and (voila!) mobile will suck up an ever-increasing amount of consumer time—while putting the brakes on faster online traffic growth. Or will it? We’ll just have to keep an eye on things and let you know.
Whatever technology rentals you need to push through a project, or make a great showing at the next conference, CRE has everything from high-octane post-production gear like render farms and mass storage to the best event production rentals. One call to 877-266-7725, a short message, or a trip to our Quick Rental Quote form is all it takes. Call now!
Once again, we take a day off from serious stuff—new flexible displays, Microsoft’s woes, the latest from Apple—and consider some of the fun, cool things that technology makes possible. Countless ideas for low-, mid-, and high-tech “fun ’n’ games” are percolating throughout the world. Many are quite innovative, others a bit odd, and some just plain silly. Be that as it may, here are some the latest ideas for digital diversion.
Straighten me out, man!
Those of us who spend much of our work and leisure time hunching in front of a screen are beginning to learn just how much havoc it can wreak on our bodies. Instead of having a physical therapist boss you around at a health facility after the damage is done, you can buy a desktop gadget to keep you attentive to your posture now. The Visomate USB Posture Alert Reminder plugs into your computer and clips to your MacBook Pro screen or desktop monitor. It then tracks your position with ultrasonic waves, alerting you when you lean up too close or bend back too far. Lean too far left or right and you get a flashing LED.
Were the 1980s really that great?
Nostalgia is a great marketing tool, and the 1980s are what a lot of folks these days seem to feel nostalgic about. Insert a CRE iPad rental, or your own device, into a scale model arcade game cabinet and you have all you need for an awesome celebration of 30 years of gaming. A free Atari’s Greatest Hits app is included, and the iCade works with over 500 games including 100 Atari classics such as Centipede, Asteroids, and Battlezone. You can avail yourself of the usual in-app purchases, but you are also able to update existing and future apps for use with the iCade. A full-size joystick, eight fat arcade-style buttons, and a period-perfect look and feel promise hours—eventually years—of exciting, nostalgic fun.
Entertainment for the throne room
The iPod has always been a mobile device, and you can get alarm clock docks, belt clips, car drink-holder inserts, and phony boom boxes to keep it close at hand or take it far afield. It even has a place among the event production rentals you acquire for that big conference, as we’ve discussed in previous blogs, since it’s a great way to carry media in a small form factor. Atech Flash Technology has now taken the iconic iPod to the final frontier—the bathroom.
The iCarta2 Stereo Dock for iPod with Bath Tissue Holder is not the slickest product name ever, but it offers a complete description. Mounted on the wall, the iCarta2 features four thankfully “moisture-free speakers.” Two fold out from each side, providing nubs on the inside surfaces to mount the toilet paper roll. It also charges your iPod while it’s docked, so you can keep the party going as long as you need.
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It doesn’t cost a cent to brainstorm solutions to your post-production, conference, computing, and business rental needs with an experienced CRE Account Executive. Call 877-266-7725 or send a note here to get assistance now. If you already know what you need, you can submit a Quick Rental Quote request 24/7/365! We are always ready to help!
After the usual dramatic buildup and better-than-average media circus, Apple debuted its new iPhone 5 models (the colorful C and superior S). The firm went on to sell nine million over the first weekend. It was yet another great product debut from the Cupertino techmeisters, but already the buzz is building for iPhone 6, rumored to have a larger screen and new alloy body. One question lingers, however: Were there really nine million people left who didn’t already have a smartphone, either iPhone or Android? (BlackBerry? What’s that?) How many of those buyers were iPhone users already? How many will always be? That question is for another day, as now we consider a bigger picture.
Only six years? Really?
Seriously, now, since the original smartphone was the 2007 iPhone, we now have some six years of experience with these devices. We know what they can do, and what they can’t, as some 90 percent or more of smartphone innovation, say the know-it-alls, has happened already. As we know from the iMac example, Apple and other smartphone makers will do a lot of revising and tweaking, particularly to improve interoperability with consumer electronics, vending machines, point-of-sale (POS) systems, etc. But the smartphone is a mature category with an established form factor. If “design creep” sets in, and makers keep stuffing in keyboards and enlarging displays, it’s time for another form factor. Say hello to phablets.
Fact is, smartphones are reaching saturation point in many regions, according to Glen Yeung of Citi Research. Writing at the Wall Street Journal‘s MarketWatch website, Yeung says, “Developed markets are approaching full saturation, suggesting that smartphones are nearing replacement-only mode.” Other analysts counter that no such saturation exists, and also point to the 3G/4G capabilities of devices from digital cameras and desktop computers to iPad rentals. As smartphones took 51.8 percent of all mobile phone sales in Q2 of 2013, topping feature phone sales for the first time, end-user mobile phone sales totaled 435 million globally, up 3.6 percent since Q2 2012. What saturation, many ask?
Accelerating tech adoption
It’s all about momentum and maturation, Yeung explains. Smartphones have been adopted faster than PCs—a mini-PC that phones home is pretty handy—so the market peaked early. It took the desktop PC market a dozen years to mature (saturation 2008), laptops 10 (saturation 2012). Smartphones and tablets, Yeung continues, “are expected to mature in 2015, giving smartphones a product life cycle of seven years and tablets one of five years.” All of today’s technologies—including all the mundane (and vital) things in CRE’s office equipment rentals inventory: printers, copiers, scanners—are being adopted, revised, and reborn in accelerated fashion. Like kids today, they’re growing up fast.
If smartphone sales do hit a ceiling, there will still be tech companies entering the market from every direction. Remember, though, that the devices—from tablet PCs or phablets to wearable phones—are perhaps even more valuable for the enormous opportunities to heap all kinds of software and services on top of them. Nothing in the smartphone market will be revolutionary at this point, but that’s fine. Since we move ahead through constant change and adaptation, we need to put our trust in good old evolution.
CRE Rentals can help you with the finest convention rentals for your next conference, or equip a branch office with everything from PCs to Xserve RAID backup and storage. Call 877-266-7725 or send a message to connect with an experienced Account Executive, or tell us what you need with the Quick Rental Quote form.
When Microsoft (MS) first announced its next-generation Xbox One, many people were shocked by some of the new “console management features.” No more borrowing, renting, or selling used game titles—and MS will “ping” you daily to make sure you’re acting right. “This is the Brave New World of game console authoritarianism,” MS seemed to say, making its announcement with no thought whatsoever given to public reaction. As we learn more about MS boss Steve Ballmer’s sped-up retirement, the Xbox debacle might move higher up the list of reasons for his departure. It’s a doozy.
The Public Is Not Stupid
There was huge resistance to the Xbox move, and even MS’s damage control pros (who get a lot of practice) couldn’t silence Sony’s ads reminding consumers that the new PlayStation had none of those limitations. MS caved. After announcing something to the effect of “Oops!” the firm removed all offending “features.” In this particular case, at least, the consumers won. So how are consumers faring as another tech giant, Adobe, circles the wagons to manage its own PR fiasco? How goes the four-month-long-and-counting kerfuffle over the “cloudification” of its Creative Suite?
A brief recap: In May, the firm said that perpetual licensing for the software was kaput with CS6, and users would thenceforth subscribe to the firm’s Creative Cloud (CC). Today’s Adobe users—“presumptive subscribers” to Adobe’s way of thinking—include top pros using CRE render farms as well as everyday photo-tweakers, desktop publishers, and freelance graphic artists. They wasted no time dumping on the firm, even creating a Change.org petition that garnered over 39,000 signers. Complaints are not subsiding, as the rollout has not been smooth.
Costly Entry… and No Exit?
So how has Adobe reacted? Well, they haven’t changed much yet. Facebook postings by Greg Wilson, Adobe’s Director of Evangelism, claim the firm is “listening”—and perhaps so, but Wilson may have had his fill. Replying to one irate user, Wilson writes, “Keep the opinions coming [but] I just don’t want to hear the same opinion 20 times in a row.” There are various complaints, most dealing with the cost but plenty of others citing poor implementation—problems logging in when you rent laptops, password failures, renaming Library folders, etc. The CC complaint that Adobe and Wilson may hear 20 or 120 times in a row, though, concerns the lack of a fair “exit strategy.”
In various scenarios, users run the risk of “orphaned output.” If you create documents in Photoshop CS6, and you own it, you are “safe” until the next upgrade. At that point, you must subscribe to CC or Adobe will pass you by. If you subscribe long enough for new versions to appear, and then cancel, you will have documents that you cannot open. But where can users go? GIMP? Pixelmator? It’s hard enough to find full-strength replacements for a single Adobe program, but many pros are stuck in a multi-program workflow with InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. Right now, there is no easy answer—so we’ll stay on the job and keep you posted.
When Apple puts on one of its press extravaganzas, as it did this week on Tuesday, the entire world expects “insanely great” product introductions, every time. Fact is, Apple needs another of its occasional “boosts” as the phone biz is getting saturated, our fine iPad rental is getting some good competition, computer sales are tanking, and Apple seems to be flailing around a bit. So what did the world get from the Cupertino brain trust on Tuesday?
We will continue to monitor the reactions, but it is doubtful that the “insanely great” level was achieved (one pundit called it “half-awesome at best”). This was especially so at Wednesday’s Beijing follow-up non-event, where it was thought Apple would announce a big phone deal with China’s #1 carrier. Instead, Apple just rebroadcast its Tuesday presentations. The day before, in Cupertino, Apple had killed the iPhone 5 in favor of the new, multicolored iPhone 5C low-end model and the metallic-hued, twice-as-potent iPhone 5S; announced the release date for iOS 7; promised free iWork apps to new iOS device buyers; and introduced the Touch ID sensor, a fingerprint reader built into the Home button. Some good stuff, sure—but is it enough?
Let’s Break It Down
iPhone 5C — With phone sales making up half of Apple’s profits it’s no longer the iconic iMac that represents Apple to the world. The iPhone 5C is now Apple’s entry-level phone dressed up in bright hues: blue, white, green, yellow, and pink. With two-year contracts, a 16GB model is $100 and a 32GB model is $200. The specs are mid-range today, or consider it a high-end model from 2012. It carries over the iPhone 5’s 8-megapixel rear camera and A6 processor, and has a 4-inch version of the same incredible Retina Display on our MacBook Pro rental. Pre-orders for the iPhone 5C begin September 13, and in-store sales on September 20.
iPhone 5S — The iPhone 5S is nearly identical to its predecessor in size, shape, look, and heft. Visual changes are few, with important upgrades inside: the new 64-bit A7 processor and M7 motion co-processor. The M7 offloads work from the A7—continuously monitoring the device’s compass, gyroscope, and accelerometer—for greater power efficiency, even as it invites new fitness and health apps to leverage the technology. Camera, flash, and battery life are all somewhat improved, too. On a two-year contract, the 16GB iPhone 5S is $200, the 32GB model $300, and 64GB will be $400. The phone goes on sale September 20.
Touch ID sensor — Apple built a touch-capacitive fingerprint scanner into the iPhone 5S Home button, so forget poking in passwords. Simply run your finger over the button, and it will positively read your fingerprint in any direction. Apple says all fingerprints will be encrypted and secure, and won’t be uploaded to Apple servers or backed up to iCloud. You can use it to unlock the phone or okay iTunes purchases. It is not available on the 5C model.
iOS 7 — Apple announced the next iteration of its mobile operating system at this past summer’s WWDC event. Its completely new look features more color, flatter graphics, simpler fonts—and something like 200 new features, from Control Center and improved multitasking to a refreshed Notification Center and AirDrop (near-field file sharing). Apple announced a release date of Sept. 18 for iOS 7, which will run on iPhone 4 and up, iPad 2 and up, iPad mini, and the 5th generation iPod touch.
Whether it’s specialized high-tech gear like render farms or such essential needs as computers, mass storage, or office equipment rentals, just call (877) 266-7725, send us a message, or head to our Quick Rental Quote page. We’re here with the expertise and the equipment to get the job done for you. Call now!
The times they are a-changin’—since nothing is constant but change, right? Changes in the tech world don’t come any bigger than Steve Ballmer leaving Microsoft. It’s a whirlwind for Microsoft right now—a new Xbox debuting soon, the purchase of Nokia’s wireless biz for about $7 billion, the meandering journey of Windows 8, ad nauseam. Yet it is certainly no secret that a solid, growing majority of pundits, tech analysts, industry observers, and ratings firms have signaled that Ballmer’s departure is probably a good thing.
Without a doubt, Mr. Ballmer is the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company today. Not only has he singlehandedly steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets) but in the process he has sacrificed the growth and profits of not only his company but “ecosystem” companies such as Dell, Hewlett Packard and even Nokia. The reach of his bad leadership has extended far beyond Microsoft when it comes to destroying shareholder value—and jobs.
Hartung notes that Microsoft’s stock price reached its historic high of about $60 in 2000, the year Gates handed off control to Ballmer. Just two years later it was in the $20 range, and has yo-yo’d between that and the low-$30s ever since. It’s not any one thing, but a succession of miscues that affected every aspect of the business. The firm is still ubiquitous—most any computer rental will likely run Windows 7 or 8, unless you opt for a Mac or a Linux box—but is no longer the leader, innovator, or style-setter that once challenged Apple in those categories (it’s true, youngsters!). It’s hard to imagine any tech writer favorably comparing the troubled Surface tablets to our potent iPad rental. No one looks at Microsoft and thinks, “They’re so hip! They’re so stylish!”
Ballmer Bummers & Blunders
So, what has Ballmer’s decade-and-a-third accomplished for Microsoft? It’s not an exhaustive list—since making one would be exhausting—but here’s a sample of Ballmer Bummers & Blunders:
The Ballmer era has seen constant, continual delays on rollouts of new/upgraded hardware and software.
The lack of added value in upgrades encouraged user avoidance and piracy.
The future of Microsoft apparently rests on Windows 8.
Hartung characterizes that last one, betting on Windows 8, as an “insane bet for any CEO,” and it would not have happened had the Microsoft board of directors replaced Ballmer “with a CEO that…would have kept Microsoft current with market trends.” While Microsoft has by no means become a failure, Hartung says that no CEO should have been “allowed to take such incredible risks with investor money and employee jobs.” The Forbes contributor ends by advising Ballmer to go home and “enjoy his fortune” instead of making it impossible for employees and investors to make their own.
We will keep you posted on all things Microsoft in the coming weeks: the transition to a new CEO, the debut of the new Xbox, the marketing campaign for Windows 8, and all the rest! In the meantime, we’re here 24/7/365 to solve your problems. Call 877-266-7725, send us a message, or visit our Quick Rental Quote page to take care of things in your own time. CRE’s got you covered!
As always, Apple is in the news, with several big announcements coming soon. In addition to a new iOS release and the upcoming debut of OS X Mavericks, there are iPhone rumors a-plenty, too. Let’s get up to speed on what’s happening in Cupertino, since whatever happens there on Infinite Loop usually makes its way around the world pretty quickly. Here we go…!
iWork for iCloud
Apple has been quietly sending out invitations for people to try its iWork for iCloud suite that will debut this fall. The three applications that make up the iWork package—Pages, Numbers, and Keynote—sell individually ($9.99 each for iOS, $19.99 each for OS X). Apple has various options for pricing, and has not announced its plans yet. If an iCloud version ends up being free, you could rent laptops and use the iWork apps free via a browser, rather than pay to have them on your computer or tablet.
“We’d like to invite you to be one of the first to try it, so we’re giving you early access to the iWork for iCloud beta,” the latest emails state. Anyone who wants to try the apps on iCloud, whether via an iMac or a PC, can use the current version of Internet Explorer, Safari, or Chrome. Apple has committed to broad accessibility, and is likely to add Firefox and Opera, browsers that will run on any computer rental in the world, Macs as well as PCs. Before the suite is released, Apple is tweaking printer settings, sharing iCloud-based documents with links, and refining the way the apps handle document version histories.
iPhone: Rumors Now, Facts Soon!
According to the digerati at the Wall Street Journal’s “AllThingsD” blog, Apple is set to debut its new iPhone on Sept. 10. The event may take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco where the company made last year’s iPhone 5 announcement. The “rumor consensus” on the name is the “iPhone 5S,” and it should include a fingerprint reader, faster CPU, and better cameras. It will come pre-installed with iOS 7, which Apple gave developers back in June. After the iPhone launch, iOS 7 will be released and our iPad rental inventory can then get updated, too.
If Apple parallels the 2012 schedule, pre-orders for the iPhone 5S could start on Sept. 12 and retail sales on Sept. 20. The firm might use the same Sept. 10 event to announce a low-priced iPhone (the 5C?). With Apple’s global smartphone share dipping 3 percentage points since 2012, from about 16% to 13%, the company needs an entry-level model to counter the aggressive competition from Android models. The MacBook Air itself was an attempt to offer a lower price point in the MacBook line, and a low-cost iPhone would target the same developing markets of China, Brazil, Indonesia, and India.
CRE can set you up with leading-edge render farms for high-end post-production, or a stylish expo-floor booth crafted with our fabulous trade show rentals. Call (877) 266-7725, send a message, or visit our Quick Rental Quote page and together we’ll find the right solutions to your unique challenges. We’re here to help—so call now!