Apple has solved a big dilemma!

HandoffFor years, maybe decades, experts have passionately debated about TV and computer convergence.

Way back in 1995, Web TV Networks created a product ultimately bought by Microsoft and rebranded MSN TV. The idea in those days was to deliver the browser experienced on a TV screen (almost certainly a CRT monitor!) using a setup box and a custom keyboard. A total failure for obvious reasons, starting from a very poor video quality.

The opposite approach – video content displayed on a computer screen – was pioneered by a company originally called Cameron Broadcast Systems and eventually renamed broadcast.com. Yahoo! acquired it in April 1999 for almost $6B, making their founder instant billionaires.

None of the two approaches ever delivered anything closer to the expectations. The introduction of broadband made it almost natural to play HD videos on a computer (and  mobile devices more recently), eventually paving the way to services such as Vimeo and YouTube. Nowadays moving video content from a computing device to a TV monitor requires a very inexpensive hardware products (Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, Roku, Boxee, and many more), and this task is delegated to some functions embedded into the operating system. Apple AirPlay a perfect example.

With the introduction of iOS 8 and soon Yosemite, the scenario changes drastically, adding a new dimension to the debate. Thanks to the progressive integration and convergence of the two Apple operating systems, phone capabilities have been added to Macs and iPads too: Apple Handoff adds telephony functionalities to devices otherwise incapable of performing such a task. Besides running iOS 8 and Yosemite, a second prerequisite consists in sharing the same WiFi. In this environment, iPhone’s telephony functionalities are automatically shared with other devices, allowing for calls to be made and received while working on a Mac or an WiFi iPad.

While this might seem such as a marginal new feature, in practical term it is quite convenient to decouple the telephony service from the iPhone and extending it to any other connected devices. The benefits and consequences are obvious: bridging a Mac and an iPhone means closing a gap and blurring the line between these two devices, at least from an operating perspective. Calling one of your contacts while working at your desk in a seamless and natural way is super cool and very convenient. Same for incoming calls ringing on the Mac screen.

As a consequence, I personally won’t consider anymore buying an iPad equipped with a SIM card. While under the same WiFi, iOS will provide seamless integration between devices, and while on the road a personal hotspot will connect the tablet to the Internet.

Consider solved the dilemma between TV and computers. The former is a simply a screen (despite all efforts by Samsung and LG to add some smart functionalities) populated by content from multiple sources. High resolution screens and displays provide excellent solutions to render HD content. And the integration between the phone and a Mac has revitalized the old computing experience. What truly matters are high resolution screens, powerful computing powers, and excellent connectivity.

Simple and cool!

What is Apple selling?

Apple EarningsWithout any doubts, an “avalanche” of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. According to some estimates, more than 20 million units since the debut on September 18th 2014. In the UK, in store purchases are regulated thru an online reservation process, a smart solution reducing endless waits, long lines, and setting the right level of expectations among customers. This tool indirectly provides some clues on what consumers perceive as cool and trendy. Here’s what I found.

In the last two weeks reserving the iPhone 6 Plus has turned out to be a true MI (Mission Impossible). On the contrary, great abundance of iPhone 6 16GB in every color, indicating either over production or the premature death of the low entry model due to the common  perception that that amount of memory is inadequate for the average user.

Color wise, gold/champagne seems less trendy than one year ago. Among the three colors, it is frequently available in the 64GB and 128GB configurations as well. Grey and silver are rarely available, almost always exclusively in the entry level configuration.

What about iPhone 6 Plus? OK, next question. Impossible to find in stores across the UK, waiting time from the Apple online store is currently between three and four weeks. As stated by many analysts and despite all negative comments re to its size, the Plus seem a smashing success in every color, latitude and among every consumer.

Speculations will dissolve on October 20th when Apple will report Q4 FY14 Earnings results.