The moment Apple announced a $200 price cut on the 8GB iPhone, the blogosphere lit up. The early adopters, feeling betrayed by Apple for slashing the iPhone’s price just two months after it’s debut, raised enough of a racket to get Steve Jobs to issue them $100 Apple gift certificates. The financial analysts took Apple to task, reading the price cuts as a sign of weak iPhone sales, sending the stock down more than 5%.
Missed by all was the real reason Apple slashed the iPhone’s price.
Let’s face it.
Any moment now Already, users will be able to can unlock their iPhones with a simple software tool (click here to see a video of the iPhone unlock process from start to finish). Apple intends to capitalize on it… and a cheaper iPhone is precisely the way to do it.
Apple could engage in an arms race against the unlockers, but that would simply create ill will against the company. Relocking the iPhones through software updates would simply create hordes of angry users. Suing the unlockers is another possibility, but the law seems to be on the side of the phone owners (so far).
Apple has simply decided to join the party and lower the iPhone’s price so that, once the software hack is out, everyone can and will buy an iPhone.
How AT&T takes this is another story. They do, after all, have an exclusive arrangement with Apple for two years. They’re still the only ones able to offer Visual Voicemail and iTunes activation. Whether that’s enough for users to prefer AT&T remains to be seen.
What do you think?
Microsoft has just launched it’s answer to YouTube, called MSN Soapbox.
However, it’s still in a limited by-invite-only beta, so all you’ll see is a dancing butterfly:
This is a follow up to my post: Google’s Flickr Killer.
As I’ve already mentioned, a photo organizing and editing tool that runs on your computer (and not over the web) -such as Picasa- is an integral part of the equation. If I could upload straight from Picasa into Flickr, I would use my Flickr account ten times more than I do now. Since I’m using a beta version of Picasa Web Albums, I can upload directly into Google’s own web-based photo storing and sharing service. But, convenient as it is, it’s still no Flickr (or smugmug or photobucket).
These are some of the features which, in my opinion, will permit Google to turn Picasa Web Albums into the next, best Flickr:
- More storage space. How about unlimited? The current 250MB is laughable, and the only upgrade option is to 6GB.
- Direct linking to images, at several sizes. This would allow users to link to their images from their websites, blogs or forum posts.
- Tags. It should be easier to tag photos within Picasa and these tags should replicate in Picasa Web Albums. Tags make organizing photos easy and fun, and make it much easier to find similar information from other users.
- Geotags. Come on, Google..! Google Maps/Earth + Picasa + AdSense = Why isn’t this happening quicker?
- A powerful API. An API would allow users and companies to offer third-party services, add-ons and tools beyond Google’s imagination or capabilities. Map tools, printing services, backup services, blog galleries, mosaics, games, t-shirts/purses/mugs, avatars… you name it, someone will come up with it.
- Add-supported, revenue-shared. Google could use the AdSense network to advertise on user’s galleries and photos based on the tags used (or use an image-analysis algorithm to extract relevant information from each photo). Beyond a certain number of hits, Google would share the advertising revenue with the photo’s owner (via Google Checkout, of course).
- Comments and notes. Visitors should be able to comment on each photo, ala Flickr.
- RSS feeds. RSS-everything: tags, users, comments…
- Better GMail and Blogger integration. (Currently I can only post four images at a time to Blogger and can’t BCC: on my emails). Ideally, Picasa would allow posting to any blog (WordPress, for instance) the way Flickr does. Publish-by-email would be nice as well (send your photos to a predefined secret email, and have them appear on your photogallery and blog).
- And of course… Google Search for all my images.
The funny thing is, Google has already implemented these ideas in one or many of its services. So, what is taking them so long to tie them together into a killer photo storage and sharing web service?
Do you have more suggestions for Google? Post them in the comments to this article.
And Google, I’m available for hire… in case you want to boost Picasa Web Albums into hyperdrive.
Contact me through this form:
… or why Yahoo needs to buy a desktop photo managing app, pronto.
I’ve been using Flickr for a while now – I even have a Pro account (I previously used smugmug). I also use Picasa to manage my photos (having tried several versions of Adobe’s Photoshop Album). I like Picasa’s simplicity, instant image fix-ups, and Gmail integration (for major alterations, I use Photoshop CS2). However, getting images into my Flickr account is a major operation. I can use Flickr’s Upload Tool to store my images on Flickr, but I usually like to crop, color-correct or otherwise fix my photos before showing them. So after fixing them in Picasa, I must export them to a new folder, which I must then upload to Flickr.
Ideally, Picasa would upload to Flickr, making tagging, editing and arranging files a breeze. I doubt Google will do that, though (Picasa doesn’t even upload to third-party blogs, limiting itself to Google’s own Blogger service).
Google has been recently testing an online photo storage and album service: Picasa Web Albums. While it’s still no Flickr, its integration with Picasa is a killer feature and Yahoo/Flickr should take notice. I expect it will eventually integrate with Google Maps/Earth for geotagging, and Checkout for selling your photos, among other Google services. Once Picasa Web is out of beta there really shouldn’t be any reason for Picasa users to keep using Flickr. We all know how long Google’s betas last, so there’s still time for Yahoo to catch-up, but the ball is certainly flying out of the stadium.
Comment in you have any suggestions on which software Yahoo should buy.