Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's next for Apple?

Apple is now the biggest company in the world based on market valuation.

Over the past few years, the iPhone has been their main seller, their nĂºmero UNO product bringing in the most profit. Unfortunately, I think so many iterations of iPhone and shipping so much product I think the market is kinda tired of the iPhone. It has become boring especially with so many people having at least one generation of phone.

After the iPhone, the next major seller was the iPad. We had the iPad 1, iPad 2 and the ridiculously named "new iPad" which automatically made all the previous versions "old iPads". I guess "iPad 3" was probably a patented name which they couldnt use. Or maybe it was an unlucky number.

Apple is a design company. It's products aren't necessarily better in any way than it's competitors the iPhone when it came out didn't have the best battery life or the best camera etc.

My predictions for the next Apple products?

a) Apple iPhone - introduce the iPhone 6 obviously. However I have feeling that the smaller is better credo will come back and Apple will introduce a smaller iPhone - iPhone mini - smaller screen obviously and controlled mostly by voice - Siri.. ugh. After that.. its pretty obvious they will launch an iPhone Nano... and Pico... you heard it here first boys and girls..

b) Apple iPad - the iPad mini will be launched soon however it is definitely a strategic move by Apple henchies to match what the competitors are doing. If Steve Jobs were in the house still, he would introduce ever larger iPads until they were big enough to fill a wall...

Monday, September 24, 2012

The secrets to Federers longevity in Tennis

  • Ideal body frame for tennis (i.e. 6ft 1) with wide shoulders for power and strong legs for a stable base and quickness. Players who are too tall are usually slower and are ungainly. Players who are too short have no reach and less leverage for power.
  • Although it doesn't look like it, have a really strong body core and strong legs
  • Little or no fat
  • I do not believe Federer does much gym work to develop muscles etc. or if he does he probably works on flexibility in conjunction with gym work
  • Relaxed grip and wrist for power and to allow a late hit.
  • Same ball toss for flat, slice and kick serves adds deception to serve. He still tends to favor the serve down the line for the deuce court and the wide serve to the ad court.
  • Late hitting adds deception to the shots. The wrist flick - most beginners to tennis get told that tennis strokes do not involve the wrist but that is wrong. The power in the forehand and backhand of Federer and most other pros is the pre-cocking of the wrist and the wrist snap that they make precisely as they hit the ball. It allows him to hit the ball even when out of position.
  • True confidence (or arrogance) that he can beat anyone.
  • the long hair..
  • Sunday, September 23, 2012

    iPhone 5 - a sign of things to come from Apple?

    I had - in the quest for the latest and greatest - dutifully queued up at my local telco provider Singtel Apple iPhone "launch" events for the past 2 releases of the iPhone. This year though was different.

    First of all, I was utterly disappointed with Singtel not getting its act together in their coordination of the registration process. Their website was inaccessible for most of the registration period and I pretty much gave up. For goodness sake, its not the first time you guys have done this. Time to leave and head for another telco me thinks.

    When I finally got my hands (on a friend's) iPhone5 the disappointment deepened. Overall comments from the people who managed to get their iPhone5 was that there was nothing really new in the phone except for the speed increase from the faster processor and 4G support. Nothing new in Apps, except for the much reported buggy Maps application. Nobody really thought that the increased screen size was a big deal since rivals like the Samsung Galaxy and Sony's Xperia already have larger and, I thought, nicer looking screens. The longer screen actually makes the iPhone5 screen look narrower and more "remote control-like" than previous iPhones although this is a bit of an optical illusion.

    The big draw of the old iPhones were (to me at least) their designs. I personally thought the iPhone5 was a little bit dull design-wise. There is absolutely no WOW factor. I actually preferred the design of my old iPhone4, with its glass back and aluminum sides. The color choices of only the white and black option show that Apple is unable to break the design protocol defined by Steve Jobs. The white iPhone5 has a really ugly looking two tone back, fussy chrome trim and a weird looking mutated "face" on the top of the phone (see below). I don't think you can find any existing iPhone users who actually prefers the new iPhone5 design over their previous phones.

    However, if after my little rant you still want to get one, the black iPhone5 is definitely the one to choose if you really had to have a iPhone5.

    So will I buy an iPhone5? Maybe - eventually - when my iPhone4 and/or its accessories die. A big turn-off for me is that the whole world and their grandmother has an iPhone and it has totally lost its cool and uniqueness factor. Apple is a victim of its own success.

    I might get one of the Android phones in the meantime as they are significantly cheaper to pickup without a telco contract. The current crop of new Android phones give off a more innovative vibe compared to the iPhone5. Don't confuse me as a Samsung fanboy but anyone who has handled a Samsung Galaxy S2 or S3 will feel like the designers had a brief to be fresh and be bolder with their designs. As I said before in my last post - it really seems that innovation and good design has left Apple, after Steve Jobs left the building.

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Apple's iPhone 5 - an expensive proposition in Singapore

    Just received some news about a colleague who just collected her iPhone 5.

    As most of you probably already know, the iPhone 5 has a new connector which means that all your existing pre-iPhone 5 accessories are made redundant. Ok, there is an adaptor but who likes using adaptors and does this mean you have to have multiple adaptors every where?

    The iPhone 5 also has a new SIM card form factor - the nano SIM. The iPhone 4 which was introduced 2 years ago used the micro-SIM card which I guess is redundant now. Singtel - the telco I use in Singapore - is charging SGD39 (USD32) for a nano sim!

    You have got to be kidding..

    Since my two year old iPhone 4 is on its last legs - the home button died some time ago and the phone is seriously lagging - I was thinking of getting a iPhone 5 but I am now seriously reconsidering getting a Samsung S2 instead. Maybe all sense in Apple is gone ever since Steve Jobs left the building.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Stress in the Sin City

    It doesn't take long for a visitor to Singapore to observe that this city is not like any other city. And I don't mean the greenery or the food or the shopping and the apparently orderliness of the place.

    Singapore is an unnecessarily stressful place.

    Just take this morning when I dropped off my kids at the childcare centre on the way to work (my kids have been to childcare since they were 18 months old.. since my dad died, I do not have the luxury of having family childgivers taking care of my kids for me). The childcare place we use is in kind of a childcare hub where there are many companies running pre-schools. What we have done (along with hundreds of other parents) is typically to stop by the small stretch of road running alongside the schools and drop the kids off.

    Now, this road is also shared by the Singapore Police Force who has a branch in the area. They have always "co-existed" peacefully with the schools and parents in the use of the road for the past 2-3 years, primarily because they have two entrances to their building. Recently though, one of their entrances was closed for renovations. As a result, the SPF has suddenly decided to take over the use of the road that we used to share. They have deployed numerous policemen to patrol this stretch of road preventing parents from stopping their cars to drop off their kids. This morning, they even called in the LTA or Land Transport Authority - kind of a pseudo road enforcer type organization - to fine and issue summons to cars that have stopped along this stretch of road even temporarily.

    Politicians in Singapore have been vocal in the media recently about the low birth rate in the country and wonder why Singaporeans are not having more children. As a result of this low population replacement statistic, the government has been importing immigrants and workers at a record rate. Since 2002, the population has grown from 4.1 million people to about 5.2 million in 2012 and has made Singapore the most densely populated country in the world with about 7300 people for each square kilometer (as compared to a country like the UK where there are around 400 people for each square kilometer, even Tokyo and Hong Kong have only 6000 people per sq km). People are literally fighting for space here. Property prices are a world high. Even having lunch here is stressful as people fight for places to sit down to eat. The train network is packed to the point that it keeps breaking down.

    For a small country of roughly 700 sq kilometers this is ludicrous.

    This is the country I live in.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Taxi drivers as a model of good driving habits‏

    There have been several conversations recently regarding the bad driving habits being exhibited by drivers on Singapore roads. Although there are no easy fixes, through my observations however as a driver, I feel that one way that driving standards can be improved is by making taxi drivers the benchmark when it comes to displaying good driving habits.

    Taxis, due to the nature of their large numbers on our roads, are highly visible. As of Jul 2012, there are more than 28,000 taxis operating on Singapore roads according to data from the LTA. I would venture to say that all the typical Singapore driver bad habits e.g. horn abuse, abrupt changing of lanes without signalling, speeding up in lanes when someone signals, tailgating/road hogging, sudden stopping on roadsides are all exhibited in some way or form by taxi drivers here.

    If taxi drivers were to show all the best characteristics of good driving, I feel that it would rub-off on other drivers on Singapore roads.

    What are some of the ways of improving taxi driver driving habits you might ask? Besides the obvious way e.g. sending taxi drivers to good driving courses or other training courses, taxi companies should take a more active part in reprimanding bad driving and incentizing taxi drivers for good driving behaviour. Have a scheme whereby other road users can give feedback ok good driving behaviour shown by taxi drivers. Have a scheme where taxi drivers will face bans when they exhibit bad driving habits.

    When I have taken taxis in Singapore in the past, the drivers who I spoke to tend to be a stressed lot who complain about business being harder now as compared to the past. The stress of bad driving habits on the roads as well as that of competing with others could possibly result in bad driving habits. As the ratio of taxis to population (and land size) in Singapore is much greater than in other countries, for example Hong Kong, one way to reduce this stress is to reduce the total number of taxis on our roads which would ensure that taxi drivers would not have so much competition in looking for fares and in turn exhibit bad driving.

    My hope at the end of the day is for Singapore to have a model taxi force, which consists not just of the latest and most modern taxi fleet and systems, but also where taxi drivers display good driving habits which the rest of the road users will model themselves by. This in turn might also make Singapore a less stressful and dangerous place to be for other road users.