I just got hit by an eye catching story on Mary Kirby’s Runway Girl Blog regarding the iPad as a platform for In-Flight Entertainment. London based Bluebox Avionix has announced that they will reveal their iPad-based “bluebox Ai” inflight entertainment device at next week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.
The high bar in the realm of inflight entertainment was arguably set by Virgin America’s RED system. Virgin America probably invested a lot of time and money designing and developing custom hardware and software to make RED work. They had to – three years ago, when RED was released, there were no viable Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices for such use. Now, with the iPad, the much cheaper Android based Archos tablets, and upcoming tablet offerings from Google/Verizon, HP, JooJoo, and probably many others to arrive soon, there are plenty of choices.
The choice of the iPad for a custom application seems curious to me on a variety of levels. The purpose of the device is largely to provide flyers with in-flight movies, music, web browsing (if the plane is WiFi enabled) and perhaps other diversions. It sounds like a cool idea. But the iPad/iPhone isn’t exactly the most open platform.
Curious, I did a little e-mail chat with Rick Stuart, Managing Director at Bluebox to find out how this’ll work and how the decision was made to go with iPad – as opposed to a competing OS and hardware that might be cheaper (like Android, webOS, Maemo, etc.).
Up until now Solid State Disk (SSD) storage was the Porsche 911 of storage technologies – screamingly fast (boot your computer faster than you can read this paragraph), expensive (up to 15X more expensive per gigabyte), and a little tight on the inside for heavy users (not much storage capacity). Now SSD is also more energy efficient than hard disk drive technology (so aside from cost, maybe more like a Chevy Volt)
Within a few recent days of each other, two big names in Solid State Storage (SSD) manufacturing – Intel and OCZ – both announced new, “affordable” SSDs that hover around the magic $100 mark. Additionally, Kingston and Patriot Technologies also have “affordable” SSDs on the market.
And in case you are wondering – there is a reason why I put the word affordable in quotes …
In Part One of this series on Apple, Inc.’s earnings potential, we looked into how Apple was playing in the multi-billion dollar home theater business. Consumer Electronics (not including laptop and desktop computers) is a massive multi-billion dollar a year industry. Apple, of course, made a splash with the iPod and iPhone product lines, but it is conspicuously underplaying its potential role in the living room with the underpowered Apple TV.
And yesterday, Apple delivered better than expected earnings of $3.38 Billion on revenue of $15.68 Billion for their first quarter of FY2010 which ended on December 26 (their financial year is about 3 months and 5 days ahead of the calendar year). “If you annualize our quarterly revenue, it’s surprising that Apple is now a $50+ billion company,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. It’s kind of a stretch to annualize the Holiday shopping quarter. But if does that keeps up, Apple will soon crack the top 10% of the Fortune 500. They’d be even higher if the Fortune 500 were ranked on earnings instead of revenues.
It’s wonderful news for Apple shareholders. But, I believe it could be even better – perhaps $1 Billion better with very little effort and almost no R&D. So in this part, we’ll take a look at the long forgotten and once failed tactic of licensing the Mac OS to clone manufacturers.
Given that Apple makes a fortune, am I serious about that headline? Yes! Really!
And I’m not talking about the Apple Tablet, iSlate, iPad or whatever is coming out on the 27th? I’m talking about tweaks Apple could make to its existing Mac product lines that could very easily juice profits up a little more. And Apple can do it with minimal additional R&D just by doing a couple of rather simple things.
In this part we’ll take a lost profits with their Apple TV and Mac Mini products.
Let’s check it out …
The two big topics at CES this year seem 3D and Apps. But app-mania (really app platform mania) seems to be a faster spreading disease than swine flu. And it seems liket every CE manufacturer has now caught it. We’re not just talking about apps on cell phones platforms like iPhone and Android. Samsung, Vizio, Boxee, Roku, and even the Ford Motor Company. The real trouble with all of these new app platforms is many of them are all new platforms – incompatible with iPhone/Android. Are these companies really thinking that they can all attract thousands of developer to write to their API just because they said the magic word?