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iPad

iCloudy with a 100% chance of stupidity

I use a lot of cloud services for file storage, primarily Dropbox, but also Box and (begrudgingly, for certain shared projects) Google Drive.

I also use iCloud, but not in any way that would be considered a true cloud file storage service. I use it strictly as a sync service for contacts, calendars, reminders, notes, Safari; I also use Back to My Mac.

But that’s it; I don’t use iCloud for cloud-based file management at all. Why not? Because iCloud in its current implementation is chock full of the stupid, at least for those of us who still use and rely on OS X.

Stupid #1: Not enough free space, and too costly for more

A quick comparison chart shows just how far out of line iCloud is with other cloud-based services:

Provider Free Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
GB GB $/Yr $/GB/yr GB $/Yr $/GB/yr GB $/Yr $/GB/yr
Box 10 100 $60 $0.600 1000 $180 $0.180
Dropbox 2 100 $100 $1.000 200 $199 $0.995 500 $499 $0.998
Google Drive 15 100 $24 $0.240 1,000 $120 $0.120 10,000 $1,200 $0.120
iCloud 5 15 $20 $1.333 25 $40 $1.600 55 $100 $1.818
Pricing sources: Box • Dropbox • Google DriveiCloud
Note that you can get additional free space on Dropbox through referrals and uploading images; Box occasionally offers a promo with 50GB of free space.

Kirk McElhearn covers this price and space issue in more detail in his blog post, Why Does Apple Only Offer 5 GB Storage with iCloud?.

I agree with him; if iCloud wants to attract more users, it needs more free space, and more competitively priced upgrade plans.

Read on for more of the stupid…

(more…)

A look at the Office 365 subscription decision tree

Macworld logoHand in hand with my review of Excel for the iPad, I took a look at the $100 per year subscription plan required to actually use it, and just who might want (or need) to subscribe:

Unless you spent the past week offline, there’s really no way you could have missed the news that Microsoft released iPad versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. There’s also no way you could have missed the uproar over the pricing for the three apps.

But just in case you did miss the pricing uproar, here’s a bit of background on the issue. The apps are free to download and can be used to view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files (though installing a 400MB app to view a file seems like overkill). However, you can’t use the apps to edit existing files or to create new files without buying a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s online Office-everywhere service. And that subscription will cost you (assuming “you” are a typical home user, and not a business or college student) $100 per year. Suddenly those free apps don’t look so free any more.

Read the rest over at Macworld.

Review of Excel for iPad

Macworld logoI spent some time (a lot of time, actually) with Excel for the iPad, and reviewed it for Macworld:

There are any number of spreadsheet apps available for the iPad, but recently the market changed dramatically when Microsoft released the full Office suite for iPad, including a version of Excel. While you can argue that Excel is many years late to the iPad party (and I wouldn’t disagree), the iPad version of Excel is a solid entrant, and instantly changes the landscape for competitive apps.

Read the rest over at Macworld.

Disney does digital right with ‘Frozen’ Blu-ray

Macworld logoI was pretty happy with how Disney handled digital copies on their Frozen Blu-ray:

What with the recent Veronica Mars/UltraViolet debacle, you might think all studios still live in the dark ages, and just don’t get it. Thankfully, as I discovered with my purchase of Frozen—the kids’ “Dad, you gotta buy it!” movie of the month—not all studios opt for such an anti-consumer path.

Frozen is available for purchase via iTunes as well as traditional retailers. At the time I bought, iTunes was asking $20 (with iTunes Extras included), which is the same price BestBuy was asking for the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy bundle.

Read the rest on TechHive.

How I manage spam on my mobile devices

Macworld logoMe, writing about battling spam on my iOS devices (which lack any sort of built-in spam handling tools):

Spam. Nobody likes it. Everybody hates it. Yet it continues to exist, filling inboxes with unwanted offers for generic drugs, overseas lotteries, health insurance, and who knows what else. The problem can be especially bad if you’ve got a really old email address, and that email address has been listed on various websites over the years—spammers love to harvest emails from websites, making your old, established, and public addresses subject to an amazing bombardment of spam.

Read the rest over at macworld.com.

Why didn’t Apple reveal iPad mini sales figures?

First, only Apple knows why they didn’t share iPad mini sales figures, so what follows are just my thoughts. Instead of splitting the mini from the fourth-generation iPad, they reported a combined three million units for the iPad mini and fourth generation iPad. So why didn’t they split it out? At the highest level, I think (again, only my thoughts) it’s as simple as this:

Apple hasn’t ever historically split out products by type within a family. In their annual report, they tell you how many Macs, iPods, iPhone, and iPads were sold, and that’s it. Reporting a combined “total iPads sold” figure is perfectly in line with past behavior.

Beyond that simple explanation though, I believe that reporting a sales mix would be a lose-lose proposition for Apple. By way of example, here are some theoretical press headlines, based on a few mini/full-size iPad sales splits.

mini: 500,000; iPad: 2,500,000

  • “Apple’s new mini a flop; sells only 500K units”
  • “Apple’s lost the magic touch post-Jobs; new mini tanks”
  • “New fourth-generation iPad underwhelms; doesn’t reach 3mil units mark”

mini: 1,500,000; iPad: 1,500,000

  • “Customers confused by iPad options; pick both equally”
  • “iPad mini cannibalizes iPad sales”
  • “Full size iPad sales impacted by release of mini; margins likely to dip”

mini: 2,500,000; iPad: 500,000

  • “New mini succeeds, at huge cost to full-size iPad”
  • “Margin impact of iPad mini sales success will harm profitability”
  • “iPad mini roars to life; is the full-size iPad dead?”
  • “Full-size iPad on life support after horrid opening weekend”

Clearly there’s some (OK, a ton of) exaggeration in these fake headlines, but the summary level is certainly true:

  • If iPad mini sales exceeded iPad sales, then that’s a margin hit, and a warning sign on full-size iPad’s future.
  • If the sales were equally split, that’s still a margin hit, and possibly a sign of customer confusion.
  • If iPad mini sales were substantially under iPad sales, then the new product’s a flop, and Apple’s lost their touch.

So even ignoring Apple’s track record of reporting sales by family, it seems there’s no upside to splitting the sales figures. Given the lack of a good interpretation for any split, as a shareholder I’m happy they’re reporting a lump sum figure.

Note that this does not make the iPad the equivalent of Amazon’s Kindle: Amazon has never, to my recollection, reported any exact Kindle sales figures.

Wallpapers: iPad 3 and newer

The following wallpapers are 2048×2048 pixels in size, and designed for use on third-generation iPads (“the new iPad”). Note that the images shown in the image sliders below (hover and click to cycle) are low-quality 256×256 JPEG representations of the actual photos; to get the high-quality images, download the entire bundle [29MB] and install only those you wish to use.

Home Screens (5) Lock Screens (24)

License: All photographs in these wallpapers are © Rob Griffiths, and are freely provided for personal use only. You may not include these wallpapers on other sites, nor in any commercial product, without my prior permission. (I hate having to put this here, but prior experience has shown it to be necessary.)

Wallpapers: iPad and iPad 2

The following wallpapers are 1024×1024 pixels in size, and designed for use on the first and second generation iPads. Note that the images shown in the image sliders below (hover and click to cycle) are low-quality 256×256 JPEG representations of the actual photos; to get the high-quality images, download the entire bundle [9MB] and install only those you wish to use.

Home Screens (8) Lock Screens (30)

License: All photographs in these wallpapers are © Rob Griffiths, and are freely provided for personal use only. You may not include these wallpapers on other sites, nor in any commercial product, without my prior permission. (I hate having to put this here, but prior experience has shown it to be necessary.)

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