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BLOG: Apple and the long campaign

Christopher Breen | Oct. 2, 2013
If you believe in a whiteboard strategy of planning your future in weeks, months, and years rather than simply reacting to what the other guy is doing, Apple is right on course.

Broader LTE support: LTE comes in oodles of flavors, and running into one that's incompatible with your phone is a drag. We all want greater connectivity, even if that connectivity won't come to our region for a year or more. Having a phone that can talk to that new connection is a boon.

iOS 7

Love the interface or hate it, let's put that aside and concentrate on what the latest iOS bodes for the future.

Security: I've talked about security in regard to the fingerprint scanner, but all devices running iOS 7 have a greater level of security thanks to the Activation Lock feature, which locks down your device to the extent that no one can restore it without entering the associated Apple ID and password. It's another feature that makes iOS devices more attractive to those people who have resisted them over security concerns.

iBeacon: How exactly is the aforementioned walk-around shopping supposed to work? iOS 7 includes a feature called iBeacon. This technology allows the device to communicate with nearby sensors (and vice versa) over Bluetooth. Walk into a store, and iBeacon can tell the retailer that you purchased a life jacket there previously. The store sends a reply to the device saying that a new shipment of kayaks--which would go perfectly with that life jacket--just arrived. Simply head over to aisle 12, scan the kayak's bar code, press your thumb on the purchase screen that appears on your device, and drag your purchase out the door.

iTunes Radio: iTunes Radio is in its infancy and has some growing up to do. But as it does, a lot more people will be exposed to streaming music. This will be good for the labels and artists, as they will sell more music; good for Apple, as it will take a cut of every track sold; and good for consumers, as they will learn about a wealth of music worth listening to.

OS X Mavericks
Though we haven't seen the final version, the features announced so far are pleasant but not enthralling. Again, let's look under the hood.

Energy savings: When Apple created laptops (the largest segment of the Mac market) with nonremovable batteries, it made an unspoken promise: "We will make batteries that last long enough that you won't miss the extra battery you used to lug around." Better battery management has delivered and should continue to do so. And perhaps that management will one day be good enough to support a Retina display on a MacBook Air.

Greater integration of iOS features: Although some people believe that more iOS elements in the Mac OS merely "dumb down" the experience, the truth is that large numbers of new Mac users owned an iOS device before purchasing their Mac. They want to feel at home on their computer. Having a similar look and feel, as well as the same apps, will help gather more people into the fold.


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