Friday, May 20, 2011

GigaOMTheAppleBlog · Apple and iOS News, Tips and Reviews (10 сообщений)

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  • Video Recording Side-by-Side: iPad 2 vs. Galaxy Tab 10.1

    The latest generation of tablets all feature HD video recording capability. Combine that with video editing apps, and you have an all-in-one video production unit that may not be able to compete with professional HD camcorders, but is still good enough for the web. But which of the tablets is best at recording HD video? We wanted to find out, which is why we did a little side-by-side test, recording some footage on Apple’s iPad 2 and Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tab simultaneously. Check out the video below for the results:

    The first thing you’ll notice is that the iPad 2′s colors seem more crisp, and the overall recording is brighter, whereas the Galaxy 10.1 seems darker and a little more washed out. The contrast is so big that sometimes it actually feels like you’re watching two different scenes. Take the cab passing by a minute into the video, for example: The iPad shows it being bright red, while the Galaxy 10.1 captured it in washed-out orange. It looks like the iPad 2 has the upper hand here.

    However, there are a number of instances when the iPad 2 struggles with bright spots, leading to solarizing effects that make it look like the camera’s chip simply stumbled. White markings on the street seem to be particularly challenging for the iPad, as you can see about 14 seconds in. Around 0:22, the entire street starts to flash like an ’80s dance video. The Galaxy 10.1 didn’t have any similar issues, so mark this as a win for Samsung.

    Bright recording situations continue to challenge the iPad 2 once I take the two devices inside our building. When panning from a low-lit area straight to the window, the Galaxy 10.1 still looks pretty dark, but it manages to hold the picture. The iPad 2, on the other hand, produces more solarizing flashes and is blinded by the outside light, incapable of adequately recording any of the people passing outside the window by at around 1:48.

    The Galaxy 10.1 also seems to do better in our dark office elevator, and it again has the upper hand once the doors to our office open around 2:10. It’s immediately able to capture what’s going on inside, whereas the iPad 2 has a notable fade from bright white to adjust to the new light conditions.

    To sum up, iPad 2′s video may look better under optimal conditions, but the Galaxy 10.1 seems more reliable during abrupt changes in lighting. The flare-ups of the iPad 2 are particularly concerning, and kind of make you wonder whether iPad 2 owners should always carry a backup Flip camera, just in case.

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  • EFF Spells Out the Problem With Lodsys/Apple Mess

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation posted some thoughtful commentary on the ongoing issue between patent holder Lodsys and Apple iOS developers regarding in-app purchases Friday. Apple itself has yet to respond to the threats made by Lodsys requiring individual app developers to pay licensing fees for the use of Apple’s in-app purchasing system. Both Lodsys, which the EFF blatantly labels a “patent troll,” and Apple are singled out for criticism in the blog post.

    To recap, patent-holding company Lodsys, which makes all of its revenue from seeking licenses for the patents it holds (none of which it uses itself), has been sending out notices to App Store developers giving them 21 days to license Lodsys tech for the use of in-app purchases. Developers have been forwarding the threats to Apple’s legal department, which was reported earlier this week to be working on a response. Apple hasn’t responded, as of yet.

    The EFF points out that suing app developers directly is “a trend we’re seeing more and more often,” but what’s especially worrying about this case is that the suit is based on functionality provided to developers directly by Apple, and that Apple requires its use for in-app transactions. The EFF points out that a weakness of the Apple Developer Agreement is that it “does not require that Apple indemnify developers from suits based on technology that Apple provides,” so there’s no real legal impetus for Apple to act.

    But there is another impetus, and it’s considerable. The EFF describes it thusly:

    [A]bsent protection from Apple, developers hoping to avoid a legal dispute must investigate each of the technologies that Apple provides to make sure none of them is patent-infringing. For many small developers, this requirement, combined with a 30 percent fee to Apple, is an unacceptable cost. Even careful developers who hire lawyers to do full-scale patent searches on potential apps surely would not expect to investigate the technology that Apple provides.

    If developers end up feeling responsible for protecting themselves against suits related to the use of tech provided by Apple, suddenly iOS development becomes a very complicated, very expensive affair. One that not many small studios or independent developers are likely to find too attractive.

    The EFF isn’t absolving Lodsys of blame; rather, it repeatedly refers to the “patent troll’s” behavior as unseemly and unacceptable. But equally unacceptable, in the EFF’s mind, is Apple’s inaction to date, which leaves developers vulnerable and does nothing to deter the bad behavior of those who seek to profit from patent trolling activities.

    Hopefully, we’ll see Apple respond to this situation as soon as it gets a firm grasp on the situation and the courses of action it’s best positioned to take. In the meantime, in addition to the EFF’s short and sober appraisal, developers and users interested in the situation would do well to check out the much more detailed FOSS Patents FAQ on the subject.

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  • iOS In-App Purchases Recall the Golden Era of the Arcade

    In-app purchases in the App Store, though somewhat of a controversy at the moment, are definitely a hit with mobile gamers and developers alike. But if you think feeding a game money for a shot at reaching the next level or getting an extra life is a new phenomenon, you’re forgetting the early glory days of gaming, when the arcade ruled supreme.

    In 1972 Nolan Bushnell helped Atari mass produce what was essentially one of the first successful coin-operated video games: Pong.  This was soon followed by Taito’s Space Invaders, Namco’s Pac-Man, and of course our introduction to Mario in Nintendo’s Donkey Kong.  These games became the cornerstone of the video arcade industry that reached a peak of 13,000 locations in the early 1980s.  As console games for the home began to match the quality of arcade games, the game industry shifted away from malls, restaurants and bars, and into private arcades in people’s homes. We moved away from a pay-to-play model that involved feeding a machine quarters, and toward a pay once, own forever gaming paradigm.

    Pay-to-Play, But Not an Online Arcade

    There have certainly been alternative pay-to-play revenue opportunities in gaming since the arcade. Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMOG) got its commercial start in the mid 1980s, with Kelton Flinn’s Island of Kesmai on CompuServe. This was followed by Don Daglow’s Neverwinter Nights on AOL, Origin System’s Ultima Online, Sony’s Everquest and of course Blizzard’s World of Warcraft .  While these are individually successful examples of pay-to-play revenue opportunities for game developers, each game has its own relationship with a consumer in the form of a registered credit card.  Not quite the same as going to an arcade that utilized a token-based system as a common currency with which to play many different games.

    Gaming Options, High Scores and a Common Currency

    To bring back a truly similar nostalgic feel of an arcade, new games would need to be introduced regularly, gamers would need a communal way to compete for high scores, and these privately owned game rooms would need to charge one common currency for all types of gameplay.  The modern equivalent of that type of common currency is an iTunes account. And the common place to compare high scores in your social network of gamers is Game Center.  With all of the ingredients of an old school arcade, it’s no wonder in-app purchases are bringing back the continuous pay-to-play nature of arcade games as well.

    Tell Tale Signs of Pay-to-Play’s Success in Apple’s App Store

    The signs of this renaissance are not hard to spot. Freemium games and cheap paid apps that charge for in-app upgrades are the new token-devouring arcade cabinets. This is certainly true of Smurf’s Village, Texas Poker, and my new personal favorite Army of Darkness.  How many times have you paid for gold, berries, or chips in a game just to advance to the next level?  The arcade style of gaming is back in force, this time it is in the hands of millions of privately owned pocket arcades.

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  • Playboy Bypasses the App Store: A Model for Other Digital Magazines?

    Playboy finally arrived fully uncensored on the iPad Thursday, but it couldn’t go through the prudish App Store to get there. Instead, it arrives as an iPad-optimized web app, which means it doesn’t have to abide by the App Store’s rules, or share subscription revenue with Apple. Sounds like a sweet deal, but is it a model that will be attractive to other magazines?

    Obviously, Playboy had little choice but to go the route of a web app with its uncensored iPad offering. While Playboy does have an app in the App Store, it doesn’t offer anywhere near the content of the magazine, and because of the restrictions against nudity and pornography in the App Store guidelines, it never could. But there are advantages to Playboy’s approach that extend beyond just sidestepping the censors.

    The magazine doesn’t have to deal with Apple’s in-app subscription system, or the tithes the company expects from publishers in exchange for using it, for instance. The $8 monthly subscription fee that Playboy charges for access to its web app goes directly to its bottom line, without having to take out a 30-percent cut for Apple. Playboy also gets complete control over its relationship with the consumer. When you fill out your valuable personal info at sign-up, Playboy gets instant access to that info, without Apple’s pesky permissions dialog getting in the way.

    Playboy’s web app also does a pretty good impression of a native app. The app detects orientation rotation, and provides you with either a single page or two-page layout accordingly, and it transitions smoothly between pages with swipe animations. Table of contents items are hyperlinked, so you can just tap on an article title to jump to that piece. If you add a shortcut icon to your iPad’s home screen, you might not even notice the app is housed in a browser.

    But while the web app fairly accurately resembles a native app, a native app it is not. And that means it comes with some caveats, like no offline access, the occasional stutter when switching orientations, and an experience that doesn’t go very far beyond being a scanned digital representation of the print original. There are, for instance, no interactive features within the magazines themselves, and even the most recent issue (every single Playboy ever published is available to subscribers, an admittedly nice bonus) has fairly low-res text that’s hard to read and made somewhat fuzzy by JPEG artifacts. Also, two-page features and ads have a visible seam down the middle that rarely, if ever matches up correctly.

    Playboy also doesn’t support multitasking, and asks for your login credentials every time you jump out of and back into the app. But the web app’s biggest failing is that it doesn’t do any local caching, so if you’re not connected to the internet, you have no access to any content whatsoever. Most native iPad magazine apps, by contrast, provide you with offline access once an issue is fully downloaded to your device.

    Playboy may derive some potential benefit for itself by avoiding the institution that is Apple’s App Store, but it’s not doing customers any favors in the process. The web app only superficially resembles a native one, and I suspect App Store reviewers would’ve greeted the low-res scans with underwhelming scores, had Apple’s family values not precluded the possibility entirely.

    The bottom line is that if publishers want to cut Apple out of the equation, they need to take extra care to ensure the product they come up with in the process is one that users are willing to venture afield to find. The App Store may be a more confining space, but it also takes care of a lot of the legwork related to marketing and discovery. Staying outside the gates requires a lot more effort than it looks like Playboy is wiling to put in.

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  • Explosion Reported at Foxconn iPad Production Plant

    Multiple news sources are reporting an explosion at a Foxconn Chengdu manufacturing plant primarily responsible for iPad 2 production. The explosion occurred around 7 p.m. in China, or around 4 a.m. PDT. So far, six men and one woman have been reported as injured as a result of the blast, according to MICgadget. Two of those injuries are reported as serious.

    The explosion occurred in building A5, which is where iPad 2 production reportedly takes place. The entire plant was opened only last year, and was thought to be created primarily to support increased demand for iPad production. Reporters were told to steer clear of the facility because a second explosion could possibly occur.

    The extent of the damage to the facility and the cause have not yet been determined, but the explosion is said to have occurred during a worker shift change, which could account for the relatively low number of reported injuries given the apparent size of the blast.

    Apple is already struggling to meet iPad demand, and I’ve spoken with a few people recently who’ve had their iPad 2 deliveries postponed because of “unexpected delays.” It’s unclear how this might further affect production constraints, but it certainly won’t help the situation.

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  • Report: Sony Onboard With Apple Cloud Music Service, Too

    Apple is very close to locking up a deal with every major music label in advance of launching its own cloud music service, according to Bloomberg. The Mac-maker has reportedly signed on Sony Music, leaving just Universal Music Group as the last of the four major labels which hasn’t arrived at an agreement yet.

    Cnet reported previously that EMI Music and Warner Music Group  are now on board with Apple’s plan for cloud music, with EMI having signed up only very recently. Universal Music Group, the lone holdout, is said to be close to arriving at a deal. That Apple has managed to find terms agreeable to the other three major labels is a promising sign regarding its chances with Universal Music Group.

    Google and Amazon have both already launched cloud music offerings without the support of record labels, after negotiations between labels and the two companies reportedly failed to reach an acceptable agreement prior to launch.

    It’s unclear yet what exactly Apple will gain by securing licensing deals with labels prior to launch, but at the very least, they probably won’t have to tiptoe so carefully around potential copyright grey areas. Amazon and Google’s services can’t tap into music stored in a general library, for instance. Apple’s may offer the ability to stream music directly from its entire iTunes library without having to upload or copy first, which could avoid cloud storage space limitations. There’s also speculation Apple could employ the “scan and match” technology once used by Lala, the streaming music company it acquired in 2009. Scan and match would allow Apple to scan a user’s hard drive and provide them access to music found there instantly on its own servers, instead of requiring users to upload, which is a time-consuming process.

    Implementing scan and match while also negotiating record company copyright concerns (i.e., verifying music stored on a drive is legally purchased) would be technically very difficult, however, so it might not necessarily be something Apple has in the works. A recently-discovered Apple patent does suggest one feature of the service could be partial local storage, which would enable instant playback without any buffering.

    Whatever Apple is planning, expect it to arrive very soon, given the pace at which these deals seem to be falling in place. The likely reason we’re seeing a flurry of these reports now is that Apple wants to take the covers off of its cloud music service at the 2011 Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, which begins June 6. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait long to see what’s in store.

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  • The Real Strength of Apple Retail: Change

    On the 10th anniversary of Apple Retail, it is amazing to consider the great success that the company has had with a program many thought was doomed to fail. Many point to the generous profits that Retail contributes to Apple’s bottom line. Some point to the astounding dollars per square foot that Apple generates in their stores. Those accomplishments are the results of tremendous success, a somewhat predictable result when you have amazing products to sell. But part of the secret to that success can be attributed to Apple’s openness to change.

    One of the selling points of the original Apple Store was the red “hot line” that the Genius staff could use if they were stumped on a problem. After a time, that phone disappeared.  Turns out, Apple didn’t want customers tying up the bar trying to play stump the genius (a surprisingly amusing pastime). What they actually wanted was for the Genius bar to take care of problems on the spot, and delight the customer with excellent, attentive service.

    Over and over, Apple has been willing to change things up, experiment, make adjustments, and even throw away things that don’t work. Here are some other examples of those changes, large and small:

    • The Genius Bar originally didn’t have appointments. You just walked in, wrote your name down on a piece of paper, and you were given a pager to tell you when it was your turn. Apple migrated to an electronic waiting list and then implemented appointment times. After the iPhone, the service queue was split up into separate Mac and iPhone/iPod lines.
    • The Genius Bar originally did all the product training in the store. Apple later rolled out ProCare with training sessions included, and then split training off from ProCare into One to One. Now One to One is only available for new Mac purchases, and group training has been emphasized.
    • Theaters were installed in all stores for product demonstrations and education. Theaters remain in the flagship stores, but the floor space has been given over to the Genius Bar and Creative training areas in smaller stores.
    • The Rhonda app on all of the display machines would turn the screen a certain color so that staff would be alerted to a customer waiting for help (Help Me Rhonda. Help, Help Me Rhonda!). This was later dropped.
    • Stores were directed to get average repair turnaround times under 2 days. In order to meet the challenge, stores started to keep parts for quick repairs on hand so that they could get some done on the spot.
    • The original store layout had several cash drawer stations around the store where customers would queue up to make purchases. EasyPay changed that so all credit card transactions could be handled on the floor. Cash drawers started to disappear and many stores only have one for the occasional check or cash payment. The EasyPay system migrated from a Windows CEapplication running on Symbol hardware to an iPod touch outfitted with a card swipe reader and bar code scanner.
    • With the cash drawers gone, stores started posting greeters at the front to direct customers and introduce them to the way things worked. This position was formalized into a special Concierge position. Later the concierge would check you in for your Genius Bar or One to One appointment with an iPod touch or iPad app.
    • Apple installed receipt printers under tables throughout the store which meant sales staff could stay closer to the customer. Staff can now request product to be delivered from the back room, so the customer can continue to ask questions or receive help.

    After 10 years and billions of dollars in profits, it is easy to look back and think that Apple Retail was an inevitable success. But Apple has had its finger on the pulse of consumer desire for all that time, and the ability to identify changes in that pulse and adapt quickly is a quality that should help Apple continue to succeed in the coming decade as well.

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  • Why It's Now or Never for an iPhone Lite

    According to Gartner, mobile phone sales for the first quarter totaled some 428 million devices, with just 23 percent being smartphones. With so much room to grow, there would appear to be room for many competitors, but an expansive market is still a finite one. That’s why market share also matters.

    Nokia sold 107 million freaking phones last quarter, as many as the next three competitors combined. Nonetheless, Nokia’s market share reached its lowest point since 1997. Likewise, Samsung, LG, and RIM also saw declines in market share year over year.

    Only Apple, selling 16.9 million iPhones during the quarter and doubling sales year over year, saw its market share increase, from 2.3 to 3.9 percent. That made Apple the fourth largest purveyor of mobile phones. Considering the average selling price for an iPhone is about $650, that’s great news for Cupertino.

    The bad news is Android. In terms of operating system market share trends, Google’s Android has won the platform war. For the first quarter of 2009, Android was powering just 1.6 percent of smartphones sold. Just three years later, Android is now running on more than a third of devices sold.

    Against the Android onslaught, only iOS has manged to increase smartphone market share over the last three years, from 10.5 to 16.8 percent. Everyone else has seen their share plunge, with Symbian seeing the biggest drop, from 48 to 27 percent. But other competitors are no better off. RIM, which saw BlackBerry OS fall from 20 to 13 percent, is transitioning to its QNX operating system, but not until 2012. Microsoft, which launched Windows Phone last year, has thus far seen weak sales, with just 1.6 million devices in the first quarter. However, Gartner suggests that the transition by Nokia from Symbian to the Windows Phone operating will increase momentum for the platform.

    While that’s possible, Gartner also asserts there is a shift towards an “ecosystem focus,” making users of a platform’s apps and services less likely to switch. That’s why Google and its free Android have such an advantage now, with only one real competitor, Apple, and only at the high end; but it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Earlier this year, comments from Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi in a meeting with Apple executives suggest that Apple may yet contest Google for Nokia’s market share. According to Bernstein, Apple COO Tim Cook said the company does not want its products to be “just for the rich,” and that Cook “appeared to reaffirm the notion that Apple is likely to develop lower priced offerings” in smartphones.

    That sounds great, but simply offering an iPhone free with a contract, instead of for $99, won’t even slow Android down. We’re already seeing Android phones for a few hundred dollars without a contract. What Apple needs right now is a cheap iPhone. Really cheap, like about the price of an iPod touch, but more importantly it needs to be available without a data plan. While carriers would hate such a device, it’s hard to imagine them denying one access to their networks under regulator scrutiny. Those iPhone Lite users could access the Internet using Wi-Fi, and more importantly for Apple, the App Store, too.

    “Ecosystem focus” is what matters as consumers abandon failed platforms like Symbian, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry OS. Google knows that. Apple does too, but an iPhone Lite without contract or data plan for $299 would reinforce the point.

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  • Verizon Exec Reiterates Next iPhone Will Be World Phone

    In a remarkable case of repeat offenses, Verizon Wireless Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo told the Reuters Global Technology summit Thursday that the next iPhone will launch on Verizon’s network at the same time as it does on AT&T’s, and that the Verizon model will be usable in as many international markets as its AT&T counterpart.

    Shammo originally let it spill that the Verizon iPhone would be a “global device” during the carrier’s quarterly results conference call back in April. Today, he reiterated that the next iPhone will be available at the same time as AT&T, and that it will be a dual-mode device for global use. The current AT&T iPhone is much more usable internationally because it uses a GSM antenna, and most international cellular networks use GSM technology. Support for both CDMA and GSM networks would make the Verizon iPhone just as useable overseas.

    While Shammo didn’t say whether or not the next iPhone will support LTE networks, he did say that whether or not LTE is supported by Apple is “a bigger issue for Apple than it is for us.”

    Apple is a company known for being incredibly tight-lipped about upcoming product releases, and you can bet that a senior executive at a partner company running around telling everyone who will listen specific details about its next iPhone is not going to go over well at Cupertino. It’s been widely speculated that the next iPhone will be a dual-mode phone, thanks in part to the Verizon iPhone 4′s Qualcomm cellular chip, which is technically capable of working with both GSM and CDMA networks. But even when changes are so widely expected as to be pretty much a given, Apple never comments on or verifies technical details about future products.

    I imagine Shammo is the subject of some very irate calls from Apple HQ right now.

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  • The Apple Store at 10: Past, Present, and Future

    On May 19, 2001, the Apple Retail Store at Tysons Corner in Virginia opened its doors to the public and no small amount of criticism. From only two days later, the headline “Sorry, Steve: Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work” is hilarious now, especially the prediction of it being “two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake,” but at the time, it arguably made sense.


    In 2001, Apple Computer was struggling. The tech bust saw Mac sales plunging as much as 50 percent in one quarter in 2000. The company was fully engaged with launching OS X. If Apple didn’t have enough problems with its own business model, there was the cautionary tale of Gateway Country Stores to consider. In March, PC reseller Gateway closed 10 percent of its retail stores. If ever there was a time for Apple not to try retail, it was 2001. How fortunate for Apple and consumers the company did try it anyway.

    The origin of the Apple Store begins with a full-sized mockup built in a warehouse. That idea came from Mickey Drexler, CEO of Gap, who had joined Apple’s board of directors in 1999. Not surprisingly, Apple and Gap stores share certain design similarities, but Apple Stores took retail minimalism to a new level, using just three materials. The materials were, as Apple SVP of Apple Retail Ron Johnson pointed out at the time, “glass, stainless steel, and wood.”

    Much more importantly, the focus wasn’t on products to the exclusion of all else. Organizing products around categories was perceived as a mistake, or as Steve Jobs put it, “we were like, ‘Oh, God, we’re screwed!’ But because it was a mockup, Apple was able to redesign the store, emphasizing Mac usage and related interests, like digital photography. That focus on developing relationships with customers, especially when compared to competitors like Best Buy, is an underrated part of the Apple Store’s success, and what an astonishing success it has been.


    Ten years later, there are 324 Apple Stores: 233 in the U.S., and 91 international locations. In terms of foot traffic, Apple saw its billionth retail visitor last month, with 71 million in the last quarter alone, up 51 percent year over year. The increasing number of visitors can be ascribed not only to the popularity of Apple products, but location of stores. In the U.S., the goal has always been to have 85 percent of the population within driving distance of an Apple Store, which has often meaning paying a premium for retail space. Bu it’s been a strategy that’s paid off.

    For fiscal year 2010, just under $10 billion in sales came from Apple Stores. Last quarter, revenue from Apple retail was $3.19 billion, up 90 percent year over year. That means Apple Stores accounted for 13 percent of the company’s revenue, an impressive figure that puts them far ahead of competitors like Best Buy when measured by metrics like sales per square foot.

    Last quarter, Apple sold 797,000 Macs in Apple Stores, up 32 percent year over year. One of every five Macs sold now comes from an Apple Store, but even more important is who is buying them. Going back at least five years, about half of those buying Macs in Apple Stores are new to the platform. For the Mac, the Apple Store has contributed to the brand’s halo effect, boosting Macs sales by affinity just like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. It’s also been instrumental to the iPad’s success, according to CEO Steve Jobs, and can’t be underestimated in terms of its contribution to how well the iPhone has done.

    Looking at the numbers, it’s hard to argue the Apple Store has been anything but a huge success (and one made visually apparent in this infographic from last year), but perhaps not a flawless one. In 2004, Apple began experimenting with “mini-stores” in six locations. While it was rumored the concept would see expansion to as many as 50 locations, that never happened, likely for the obvious reason. The mini-stores are just too small to accommodate Apple Store traffic. The above mini-store in Palo Alto, Calif. is relocating to a much larger space in the same mall, and other mini-stores can be expected to follow.


    Besides the mini-store experiment, it’s hard to fault Apple’s execution of its retail strategy over the last ten years. But what about the future? Here are five predictions for the next ten years at the Apple Store.

    1. Apple Store International. Apple expects to open around 40 stores in 2011, with only one in four of those located in the U.S. Expect that trend to accelerate, likely with a focus on China. Apple will soon be opening its fifth store in China, the same number as in Germany and just one less than France. A decade from now, China will quite possibly have more Apple Stores than any country except the U.S. and possibly the U.K., which currently has 29.
    2. Personal Service. Last quarter, Apple set up more than one million purchased products for people in stores for free, a service competitors like Best Buy often charge for. While not all concierge services have succeeded (Personal Shopper being a noteworthy exception), expect more attempts to create and nurture relationships with customers over products and services.
    3. No Software. With the launch of the Mac App Store, and now the rumored digital distribution of OS X Lion, it’s only a matter of time before boxed software disappears from the Apple Store. Signing up Microsoft for Mac Office and Adobe for its Creative Suite in the App Store will likely by the key to finally clearing that shelf space.
    4. Desktop Deprecation. You don’t need to wait to 2021 to see this one coming true. Just visit any Apple Store today and count the desktops and laptops. It’s not hard to imagine the only desktop Macs on the sales floor being iMacs in just a few years.
    5. Apple Television. Despite razor-thin margins, turning Apple’s tiny black box “hobby” into a flat screen with functionality and ease of use built has potential as another source of serious revenue, and there’s plenty of wall space in Apple Stores. However, first Apple must extend the App Store to the current Apple TV 2, and with an emphasis on gaming.
    We’ll likely find out by Monday what the company’s own plans for Apple retail’s immediate future. Whatever those plans are, now and going forward, one thing is for certain: No one will be predicting failure.

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