Thursday, 25 November 2010

November Snows & Grit

A couple of inches of the white stuff this morning with more on the way.

Poorly gritted roads as usual. See image below of the A66 in rush hour between Middlesbrough and Stockton. That's a major road and it looked like it hadn't even been gritted. Local roads are even worse.

Of course the council will blame the cut in budgets but it's always been the same. You wouldn't think we're one of the primary road grit suppliers in the UK.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Playing the guessing game

After Apple posted a teaser on their website speculation has grown as to what it might be.

With less than three hours to go here's a small list of what pundits think it might be and what i predict and why.

1, iOS 4.2 update. This is one of the most anticipated updates for iPod/iPhone and iPad bringing parity to all three devices at the same time. The update offers some major enhancements, especially where iPad is concerned. Whilst i won't go into the changes here, this is one update Apple really want you to have.

Speculation is that Apple will offer this update via a reminder in iTunes so you never forget to update your device. I'm still amazed at how many people have out of date iPhones/iPods.

2, iTunes streaming model. There's been much talk about a cloud based iTunes offering monthly subscriptions for music, in the same way Napster and Spotify do. Apple have recently completed their new 6 billion dollar server farm in North Carolina and could easily manage your iTunes library so it could be accessed from anyway.

3, Facebook. Since Apple launched Ping, it's own music social network within iTunes, the service has been met with mixed reviews. Rumours of last minute breakdown talks between Apple and Facebook emerged prior to the launch and is the one area where a lot of people think integration of the two would make the service more appealing.

4, Beatles music to the iTunes store. Apple love music, or at least Mr Jobs does, so there's no better incentive than bringing the whole Beatles catalogue to the store. They've been trying for quite sometime but talks keep falling at the last hurdle.

Apple have also been to court with Apple Corps (corporation set up by the Beatles) many times over the years regarding trademarks, so perhaps this hasn't helped matters.

Like i said at the beginning this is a general list of some of the announcements Apple could make at 3.00 GMT today.

Now to my prediction based on pure guesswork and stories that i've read.

1, The iOS update is important but it's hardly going to be something that you'll "Never Forget". These things come and go and as i've already said, a lot of people don't always update their devices, so whilst it's important for Apple, its low priority for the consumer.

2, An iTunes steaming model is where my heart is, but i think that's for another day. There's all sorts of issues like licencing agreements to be put in place and i just haven't read or heard of any solid rumours of this to be convinced it'll happen anytime soon. But happen it will and hopefully with AirPlay support for my Sonos sound system. I can dream!

3, Facebook is huge, but not everybody uses it and striking a deal will hardly make history. Social networks come and go, remember Orkut, so i doubt this will be it.

4, The Beatles is where i think it's at. Personally i don't own a track but recognise their importance in shaping music non the less. When Apple say: Tomorrow is just another day, but one you'll never forget" they are referring to Steve Jobs love affair with the fab 4 from Liverpool.

This is all about Steve Jobs ego. He's been trying to get this music, a first for any online store, for a long time and i think he's finally got what he wants. The coup will also add a lot of credibility to the iTunes store as the Beatles are huge and well respected. The never forget reference could also be to the younger generation.

Music is cyclic, a bit like fashion, and nothing would please Steve Jobs more than giving a new generation of listeners access to the huge music library that is the Beatles, so they can keep the memory alive.

The clock is ticking.
Monday, 15 November 2010

Apple posts teaser

Apple posted a teaser on their website asking us to check back tomorrow for some exciting news. With their new server farm up and running could this be a streaming model of its music business?