Apple maps: how Google lost when everyone thought it had won

Charles Arthur reports on The Guardian how Google maps lost to Apple maps when everyone thought it had won.

The break with the iPhone came when Apple became frustrated in late 2009 by Google’s refusal to provide turn-by-turn navigation for maps on the iPhone – a feature which was available on Google’s own Android, and which is hugely useful for car drivers. “They broke their promise,” one Apple executive told the Guardian. Google also wanted to collect more data from Apple users via maps, such as through its Latitude product, and held off offering vector graphics (which store data more efficiently, and can work offline). That sparked Apple’s decision to develop its own maps offering, licensing data from TomTom and other providers.

According to ComScore, in September 2012 – just ahead of the introduction of Apple Maps – there were a total of 81.1m users of Google Maps, out of a total of 103.6m iPhones and Android phones users.

Latest figures from ComScore, published for September 2013, say that the total number of iPhones and Android phones in the US has grown to 136.7m, the number who used the Google Maps app has kept dropping – down to 58.8m – while the number of Apple Maps users stands at 35m out of a total iPhone population of 60.1m.

It also noted that iOS users tended to use maps more often – 9.7m used it once a day, against 7.2m for Android. In addition, iPhone users spent longer on maps than Android users – 75.5 minutes per month, against 56.2 minutes for Android.

Line positioned to dominate mobile messaging in Asia

Line may not be as popular in western countries, but it’s extremely popular in Asia. Along with other players such as WeChat and Kakao, mobile messaging in Asia is a huge opportunity, and Line is well positioned to seize it.

Messaging App Line Now Brings In Nearly $100M A Quarter, But No Official Word On An IPO

The app has totally saturated Japan with 49 million registered users and completely upended the mobile gaming market in Japan, undermining the historical power of gaming platforms like DeNA’s Mobage network and GREE. These two companies ruled in the feature phone era, but DeNA has now seen its shares slide 32.5 percent while GREE shares have fallen 41.5 percent over the last year. Line’s rise, along with that of other apps like Tencent’s Weixin (which has 236 million monthly actives), shows just how volatile the mobile social networking and messaging space continues to be.

The official earnings announcement is impressive

Moving from iOS to Android

This pretty much sums up my experience when I switched from my iPhone 5 to a Nexus 4. There are pros and cons, but it takes a while to get used to the change, for better or worse.

Thoughts on the Google Nexus 7 from the perspective of a longtime iOS user

One striking thing, as I have noted in some updates throughout the body of this article, is how many of my observations can be addressed through third-party apps that would be impossible on iOS. Background services that sync iCloud calendars to the Android calendar list, for example, or third party apps that install AirPlay services. This is, it seems to me, a key strength of the Android offering — that third party apps have more control over the operating system, more flexibility to serve your needs. Of course with great power comes great responsibility; this very control leaves the door open to all manner of malware. I’ve certainly been wary of installing random apps from the store, rightly or wrongly, finding myself scrutinising the trustworthiness of an app in a way I never would on iOS.

Wait, wasn’t Twitter supposed to be dead by now?

Splat F lists the touted Twitter killers that weren’t.

Seems like Twitter has more than nine lives.

Why an 80% market share might only represent half of smartphone users

Charles Arthur explains on The Guardian why an 80% market share might only represent half of smartphone users.

TheNextWeb lamented Nike’s choice not to bring their FuelBand app to Android.

For many, this glaring omission in Nike’s technological armory is astounding given that, well, Android represents somewhere in the region of 80% of the smartphone market.

MarketWatch reported that Android achieved a market share of 80.6%.

It’s simply wrong, though, to extrapolate from that to think that four in five smartphones in peoples’ hands are Android-powered. Here’s the reality: at the time this was written, more than 40% of the smartphones in use in the US (a key market for Nike) were iPhones. Only about 51% of the smartphones in peoples’ hands in the US are Android phones. The ratios are more in Android’s favour elsewhere, but nowhere outside of China (and perhaps India) would you find four in five smartphone owners using an Android phone.

Data from Google’s Android developer dashboard paints a different picture.

The newest software, “Jelly Bean” (which actually covers three different numbering versions), accounts for 52.1% of the devices. Yet Jelly Bean is the software powering all those new Android phones – the ones that were the 80% in the past quarter. Clearly, the installed base doesn’t reflect the market share number.

If market share of tablets drops from 50% to 30%, does it mean that less tablets were sold?

No, that’s not what that data tells you. What if the total number of tablets being sold has doubled? If last year there were 100m tablets sold in total, and this year 200m, then last year the figures would be 50m tablets and this year 60m. (Those aren’t the numbers. They’re just for illustration.)

So if you don’t have the absolute numbers, you don’t know what’s happening.

Microsoft shouldn’t kill Bing and Xbox

There have been rumors going around that Stephen Elop would kill the Bing and Xbox divisions if he becomes the CEO of Microsoft. Despite the Bing and Xbox divisions not offering any clear profit just yet, they’re still integral to Microsoft’s long term strategy. It wouldn’t make much sense to just discard them.

Microsoft shouldn’t hire any CEO who wants to kill Bing and Xbox

It’s important to be a little wary of this kind of anonymous, unsourced commentary. It may not be accurate, and it may be agenda-driven. This kind of “thinking” appeals greatly to short-term investors who are more interested in boosting the next quarter’s numbers than the long-term health of the company. The anonymous leak could, therefore, tend to make Elop seem more appealing to Wall Street.

Conversely, the leak shows a lack of strategic thinking and somewhat undermines the Xbox One, a product that launches in a couple of weeks. That’s not likely to inspire confidence in a CEO candidate.

Pushing the boundaraies of digital editorial design

David Sleight writes on A List Apartabout the exquisitely-designed articles such as the “Snow Fall” article ran by the New York Times last year.

The real implication of the time and resources critique is that there isn’t an adequate return on all this investment. Turns out that creates a damn nice opening for dealing with objections over ads, too.

This is something designers need to really consider, especially in today’s age of increasingly short attention span. Web pages only have split seconds to hook readers.

Certain pages can afford to invest the time and effort to build gorgeous designs, such as Apple’s product pages. But certain types of article do not appeal to as wide an audience and it would be a waste to expend such resources.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 review: Unapologetically content-driven | TechHive

Andy Ihnatko of TechHive reviews the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.

But the best features of the HDX are the ones that make it a Kindle. No other tablet—the iPad included—is so keenly tuned to the needs of content consumption.

People buy the Kindle to consume content. It is no surprise that Amazon makes it the focus of the Kindle Fire HDX.

A curved iPhone?

Despite Samsung and LG recently introducing phones with curved displays, I remain highly doubtful that Apple will introduce an iPhone with a curved display anytime soon, if ever. Aside from showcasing the technology for curved displays, there still isn’t any real practical use for a curved phone. A curved display would make much more sense on a wearable device, though.

The continued rumor of a larger iPhone, possibly with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays is also welcome and continues to gain traction.

Apple Said Developing Curved iPhone Screens, Enhanced Sensors

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is developing new iPhone designs including bigger screens with curved glass and enhanced sensors that can detect different levels of pressure, said a person familiar with the plans.
Two models planned for release in the second half of next year will feature larger displays with glass that curves downward at the edges, said the person, declining to be identified as the details aren’t public. Sensors that can distinguish heavy or light touches on the screen may be incorporated into subsequent models, the person said.

Apple invests heavily in synthetic sapphire

It could be taken as a sign that the rumored iWatch is inching closer to reality, or that future iPhones (and iPads) will have a sapphire display. Either way, the use of sapphire crystals for watch faces has been around for a long time and is very useful. I personally hope that it makes its way to tablets and phones, possibly eliminating the need for screen protection film.

Why Apple Bought $578M Worth Of Sapphire In Advance

“First, this material must be extremely strategic, says Creative Strategies Analyst and Techpinions columnist Ben Bajarin. “It is necessary for Touch ID because it is extremely scratch-resistant. If a scratch got on your thumb scanner it wouldn’t work. So then the question becomes what else may they want or need to use a scratch resistant screen for. This is where the wearables idea or watch comes in.”

There has been a lot of chatter about Apple and wearables, and it is indeed working on something in that arena. Apple’s M7 motion coprocessor likely has something to do with it, and there are some indications that it’s being worked on by both Bob Mansfield and ex-Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch.

Watches, a popular wrist-mounted wearable you may have heard of, often use sapphire for their face covers because of their durability. They simply get knocked around more than phones do.