ADD - Android was 'inspired' by the iPhone

In today Apple Daily Digest we will find out if we can put an end to the argument, if Android was "inspired" by the iPhone or not, Mac Pro arrives finally in US, but not yet and  the phenomenal success of WhatsApp.

Google had to start over

There have been wars waged over the Android v/s iOS argument and no conclusions have been reached yet, at least not formally. But everyone knew the sequence of events and could piece a story together based on a lot of inside information from un-named people within both companies. Google had an idea to start their own Samrtphone OS to compete against who they thought at that time was their biggest competitor, Microsoft, because Microsoft was competing against them heavily in the search business and lets just say that Google overvalued Microsoft's Windows Mobile (some relief here as they were not the only ones, here's a funny one on this topic).

However the most important point to note here is that that phone was not a touchscreen phone and it looked more like a Blackberry phone with a mobile keyboard. The whole concept of a touchscreen mobile OS was not Google's, they borrowed it outright from Apple, no one can deny that fact. To Google's credit, they have so far never said anything in the open denying this fact, shouldn't that give us a hint? I think Steve Jobs was more than within his rights to call Android a stolen product and that he would go to any lengths to destroy it! Agreed that Google has put a lot of innovation into Android that even Apple has started emulating Google's mobile OS recently, but to what Google did in terms of mere scale of the infraction, is just too high to get even with Apple anytime in the near future. 

As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought We’re going to have to start over... What we had suddenly looked just so . . . nineties... It’s just one of those things that are obvious when you see it.
— Chris DeSalvo via The Atlantic

Anyway this story from The Atlantic just corroborates these facts a little more, with so snippets on how the iPhone and the great Steve Jobs caught Google napping. Again the argument that Apple did not invent touchscreen phones and they copied it from someone else and Google hence copied it from Apple has become old and rundown (Microsoft used it well against Apple in their Xerox case as well). You can get away with loopholes in the patent laws, legally but consumers are watching and will care eventually one day to shun you if you do not innovate and copy another successful innovator repeatedly. Its a shame that we frown upon plagiarism so much in schools and colleges, but let such companies where our children will eventually start developing their careers and lives, get away with it so easily! 

On the day Jobs announced the iPhone, the director of the Android team, Andy Rubin, was six hundred miles away in Las Vegas, on his way to a meeting with one of the myriad handset makers and carriers that descend on the city for the Consumer Electronics Show. He reacted exactly as DeSalvo predicted. Rubin was so astonished by what Jobs was unveiling that, on his way to a meeting, he had his driver pull over so that he could finish watching the webcast... “Holy crap,” he said to one of his colleagues in the car. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone (the cheap looking archaic Blackberry knock-off)”
— The Atlantic

The article also shed some very good light on what an achievement getting the iPhone to the market was and underlines some major challenges that Apple and mainly Steve Jobs had to solve, that have never seen the light of the day so far, like handling and negotiating deals with the carriers. The article though, repeatedly sends one clear message, that the biggest strength of Steve Jobs and Apple was that they were constantly underestimated by their competitors and I would add also by the so called analysts. And this is true till today. So beware Apple's competitors (and analysts who do not understand anything what Apple is doing and think Apple should release a cheap iPhone to go behind more market share), you are going to be caught off-guard yet again, if you don't learn from your mistakes. 

A lot was wrong with the first iPhone too. Rubin and the An­droid team—along with many others—did not think users would take to typing on a screen without the tactile feedback of a physi­cal keyboard. That is why the first Android phone—the T-Mobile G1 from HTC, nearly two years later—had a slide-out keyboard. But what was also undeniable to the Android team was that they had underestimated Jobs.
— The Atlantic

Mac Pro arrives in US, off to a brisk start or a shaky start?

Apple announced the Mac Pro release date yesterday and today is was available to be ordered online. Starting from $2999 and $3999 for base configurations a fully packed Mac Pro can apparently cost more than $9000 [Gizmodo], excluding the monitors. As I mentioned yesterday , the Mac Pro is not for consumers, not even for pro-sumers, it is for serious superusers who can take advantage of the multi-core processors and the crazy fast performance it offers in general, so the price doesn't surprise me.

Mac Pro shipping times slip to February on the Apple Store (Source - Apple.com)

Mac Pro shipping times slip to February on the Apple Store (Source - Apple.com)

But the news here is that, within a day of being available for purchase, the shipping dates on both models on the Apple store shows up as February for the Mac Pro. Now it is unknown whether this is because of supply issues, as this is the first Mac in a while that is completely "Made in USA" that Apple is selling (setting up a new manufacturing facility in US was always going to be a shaky starter) or if it is because of excessive demand. Apple has delayed this Mac Pro for a long time and there has been a lot of pent up demand for a super computer from Apple for a while. At the same time Apple is not new to supply issues, often not being able to meet excessive demand (Remember the iMac supply issues earlier this year). But it looks like the supply is not being able to meet the "excessive" demand according to a recent article from Forbes. Either way Apple as usual will be able to sell how many ever units of these monsters they can make and isn't that a great position to be in as a consumer electronics company? 

The phenomenal success of WhatsApp

Today, we’re proud to announce that because of you, WhatsApp has reached a milestone that no other mobile messaging service has achieved: 400 million monthly active users, with 100 million active users added in the last four months alone
— WhatsApp blog

In a blog post today, the co-founder of WhatApp touted some impressive usage numbers of 400 million monthly active users. WhatApp is a great messaging platform and I myself as an avid iPhone user, use WhatApp more than the iMessage App. This is mainly because of my Android friends. With the smartphone market in almost a tug of war between Android and iOS in US, 52% v/s 40%, respectively [thenextweb], it is only natural for many smartphone users like me (Android or iOS users) to have friends outside their ecosystem and WhatApp is the only messaging App, I know that does a seamless job of integrating features like group chats, emojis, voice messages, picture and video sharing, etc. but while maintaining the excellent user experience. 

WhatsApp (Source - Apple App store)

WhatsApp (Source - Apple App store)

We’ve arrived at this point without spending a dollar on targeted ads or big marketing campaigns.
— WhatApp blog

The co-founder also bragged about reaching this level without having to do what Google or Facebook are doing, as in through earning money extensive targeted Ads. While personally I would like to use a paid service instead of an Ad supported one (I would be glad if Google or Facebook had a paid option to use their Gmail or the Social network, instead of these targeted creepy Ads), I am not sure about the surity of success of this business model, particularly when everyone these days seem to be going the Ad route [Twitter blog]. Either way I hope WhatsApp is successful and more importantly that they are successful without being creepy or infuriating the users.