Friday, 11 January 2013

open letter to Tim Cook - again


It seems to me that Apple is losing market share on iOS devices to Android. Given that Nokia and Samsung are both rumored to be going for different operating systems (IE Nokia's own internal OS vs Windows Mobile, and Samsung going for Tizen ( it seems to me that now is the right time to strike with a two-pronged attack.
1. Lower your margins and sell cheaper iPads. Even if you're making a small loss on each sale, it's better to fill the market space with your devices so people become trapped in your ecosystem.
2. Try persuade corporates to accept iOS by better integrating with Active Directory compatibility and Office. Pressurise Microsoft to ship a full-blown office for iPad. Make it possible to have login screens on iOS that authenticate against UNIX/Linux/YP/NIS/LDAP/ActiveDirectory. If MS can persuade corporates to take on some tablet, of their design, you'll be in trouble. The MS Surface isn't a problem; it's a laptop with a floppy keyboard; it will fail like Zune failed. What will be worrying is if someone takes on Windows Mobile - eg RIM or Samsung or Nokia - and makes a real tablet with it. Corporates generally will need thin clients that can do office and email and web. The iPad is perfect for that. Maybe offer a LARGER iPad for corporates, preloaded with Office? Also, add a security cable lock port for a kensington lock; kiosks need to be locked down so the tablet can't be stolen, or so employees in call centres can't make off with their company's equipment. This move will get you right in with corporate, and you will destroy MS dominance.
On a separate note, since the beginnings of iPhone it has been obvious to me that Mac OS X will disappear ultimately from the desktop and be replaced by iOS. That this is Apple's strategy for the future seems quite plain. The MacBook Air is on the verge of being the same thing as a Microsoft Surface. If you just made the keyboard floppy, you'd have the same product. So, as a path towards this migration, perhaps consider doing the following:
a. iTunes is confusing. The new version is more in line with iOS, but it's still confusing. I suggest splitting it into three apps: iOS Device Manager, for syncing iOS devices; Media Player, to replace the DVD player and iTunes music abilities and to replace Quicktime Player (PLEASE add an "import DVD" command); and then, lastly, iTunes Music Store, to allow someone to purchase music. This would be more in line with what we see on iOS, where there's a Video Player, a Music Player, and an iTunes store. This functional split will make the Mac closer to iOS and individual apps less confusing. 
b. Take a good look at Algoriddim Djay. As someone who uses iTunes to DJ, Algoriddim is very cool. The only problem with Algoriddim is it doesn't read my iTunes playlists properly, much less edit them. I'd like more control over cross-mixing and turntabling. Maybe just buy it and integrate it to iTunes.
c. The Finder confuses novice users. Discard it, and make apps automatically save into ~/Documents/AppName/; e.g. Pages saves into /Users/username/Documents/Pages/ ; etc., and it must always default to that folder only. Have a look at the user interface extension app called Default Folders. Something like that. Then hide the Finder by default, replacing it with a single search screen like on iOS. Add a "Share this File" command to all file-open file-save dialogs.
d. Set the Mac to default into iOS-mimicry mode. Have three modes: iOS mode, Toddler mode (managed user account in iOS user mode), and Programmer mode. Programmer mode sends you to the traditional Mac OS; Toddler or iOS mode sends you into a locked-down iOS-like mode with just the application launcher. 
As a UNIX expert and programmer, I hope Apple plans to keep the low-level UNIX and developer environments (including the Finder) accessible to the advanced user. In particular, the loss of Apache in 10.8's System Preferences is very disappointing. As a programmer, I need PHP, Apache, Perl and Mysql preinstalled.
Last thought: IF you do buy Waze, please keep your servers open for Android and RIM Waze clients so Apple users can benefit from their traffic reports. In fact, making an Android/RIM version of Apple Maps (based on Waze), would start attracting Android and RIM clients TO the iOS ecosystem.

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