Daniel Eran Dilger at the intersection of Technology & the Liberal Arts
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Posts from — April 2008

Apple’s bionic ARM to muscle advanced gaming graphics into iPhones

 New iPhone Apps

The next generation of iPhone appears set to claim exclusive access to advanced graphics core and video decoding technology, thanks to a secret licensing deal between Apple, mobile graphics leader Imagination Technologies, and Samsung, the iPhone’s ARM “system on a chip” manufacturer. The result may be an ideal platform for handheld gaming and high definition video playback.
Continues: Apple’s bionic ARM to muscle advanced gaming graphics into iPhones

April 30, 2008   1 Comment

ARM, x86 Chip Makers Fight to Ride Mobile Growth

Daniel Eran Dilger
Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi appears to fit well into the company’s plans to pioneer the development of a new WiFi mobile platform with the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple is certainly not the only company to see the vast potential in mobile devices. The market for smartphones and mobile Internet devices is currently broad and diverse, with lots of competition both in the hardware components used and in the operating system and development platforms offered.

Today’s growth in mobile messaging and computing devices bears some similarity with the explosion of desktop personal computing in the early 80s described in the previous segment. The difference is that today there is no big equivalent to IBM threatening to enter the market; all the existing, leading competitors in mobile devices are already large and established companies.

Unlike the 1981 IBM PC, which pushed the unremarkable x86 processor and Microsoft’s copycat software ahead of superior technology, mobile devices today are being sold on their actual merits in terms of hardware and software. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anyone working to shoehorn the square pegs of x86 processors and Microsoft Windows software into the round hole of mobile devices. Here’s a look at the state of chips in mobiles, and how PA Semi expands the options for Apple in the mobile market.

How Apple’s PA Semi Acquisition Fits Into Its Chip History
Why Did Apple Buy PA Semi?

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April 30, 2008   27 Comments

How Apple’s PA Semi Acquisition Fits Into Its Chip History

Apple Chip History
Daniel Eran Dilger
Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi does not signal an entirely new direction for the company. Throughout its history, Apple has designed sophisticated custom chips for use in its computers, in addition to codeveloping complete microprocessors. According to those in the know, it appears that after acting to jettison its internal custom silicon efforts and delegate much of that work to Intel, Apple experienced some remorse and acquired PA Semi to get right back into the chip design business. Here’s a look at Apple’s history in chips, leading up to how Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi relates to the beleaguered future of Microsoft’s Windows.

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April 28, 2008   27 Comments

Evernote for Mac, iPhone to make managing information overload easy


With the deluge of data hitting users in the modern age, managing piles of information has become increasingly important but also more difficult. Evernote is on its way to both the Mac and the iPhone, and promises to simplify the effort needed to catalog, tag and organize web clippings, text and handwritten notes, photos, emails, audio clippings, and more, making it easy to search and review all those bits later without having to think too hard about how to do it.
Continues: Evernote for Mac, iPhone to make managing information overload easy

April 25, 2008   1 Comment

Why Did Apple Buy PA Semi?

pa semi apple
Daniel Eran Dilger
Just ahead of its recession defying, record setting Q2 2008 earnings reports, Apple revealed plans to buy PA Semi, a chip designer specializing in processors based on IBM’s Power architecture. This news sparked a flurry of confusion from observers: why is Apple getting into the semiconductor business after partnering with Intel in its Mac systems, aligning with ARM licensees for its mobile WiFi iPhone platform, and particularly after decisively migrating away from PowerPC in 2006?

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April 24, 2008   64 Comments

Windows Vista, 7, and Singularity: The New Copland, Gershwin, Taligent

Windows 7
Daniel Eran Dilger
Microsoft’s current and future operating system projects, Windows Vista, Windows Seven, and Singularity, share too much in common with Apple’s failures of the mid-90s. Each project bears a striking resemblance to the three catastrophes that nearly killed Apple in the early 90s, and for many of the same core reasons. Here’s why, and what this means for the future of the PC desktop, the Windows platform, and new emerging mobile markets.

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April 22, 2008   55 Comments

How Microsoft has become the Beleaguered Apple ’96

Ballmer vs Amelio
Daniel Eran Dilger
Windows Enthusiasts have been working hard to advance the idea that Apple has become the new Microsoft, supposedly by monopolizing the market for music sales and MP3 players and in creating new bodies of technology in its own image to discover territories outside of Microsoft’s reach. However, they’re missing something far more interesting: Microsoft is reverting to become the beleaguered old Apple of the mid 90s. Here’s how.

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April 19, 2008   64 Comments

IBM’s Strategic Interest in Macs Goes Beyond Pilot Program

Welcome IBM, Seriously
Daniel Eran Dilger
The Mac pilot program within IBM Research, outlined in the previous article, is only a small part of IBM’s corporate efforts to diversify its computing platforms and push the adoption of Macs in particular. A number of internal sources wrote to provide additional details on IBM’s current and future plans.

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April 18, 2008   18 Comments

Mac shipments suspended from NYC Schools over WiFi flaw

Scheduled delivery of Apple computers to schools run by the New York City Department of Education have been temporarily suspended due to problems related to connecting to the DOE’s wireless network infrastructure.

Continues: Mac shipments suspended from NYC Schools over WiFi flaw

April 17, 2008   6 Comments

IBM Launches Pilot Program for Migrating to Macs

Daniel Eran Dilger
As further evidence of the growing interest in Macs among enterprise customers, IBM’s Research Information Services launched an internal pilot program designed to study the possibility of moving significant numbers of employees to the Mac platform. The study has already found an enthusiastic response from participants and is helping to drive Mac support for IBM’s business applications.

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April 16, 2008   102 Comments

Using Back to My Mac… to Catch a Thief!

Back to my Mac to catch a theif
Daniel Eran Dilger
After a burglar broke into her truck and stole her iPhone and MacBook, a woman in Santa Cruz teamed up with a friend to use Mac OS X Leopard’s “Back to My Mac” screen sharing feature to track and identify the thief for the police.

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April 15, 2008   40 Comments

San Francisco Protests the Chinese Olympic Torch Run

Img 0511
Daniel Eran Dilger
Demonstrators waving red flags in favor of the Beijing Olympics mingled rather peacefully among those protesting China’s atrocities in Tibet, its support of genocide in Darfur, and its record of human rights violations against its own citizens. Meanwhile, in efforts to avoid any serious confrontation or stop the Olympic torch run through the City, officials decided to hide the torch in a van and spirit it from the ballpark to Van Ness and Pine, where it was then run up to Fort Mason and then through the Marina to the Golden Gate Bridge, avoiding the planned route down the Embarcadero.

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April 9, 2008   35 Comments

iPhone 2.0: Exchange vs Leopard Server

Leopard Server iPhone
Daniel Eran Dilger
Is Apple’s announcement of Exchange Server support in the upcoming iPhone 2.0 software an admission of failure for the company’s apparent plans to push its own Exchange alternative in Mac OS X Leopard Server? Reader Pete Wann asked the question; here’s what I think about it.

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April 8, 2008   26 Comments

Filling the Unlocked iPhone Gap with .Mac

Daniel Eran Dilger
As Apple struggles to adapt its retail store inventories to account for sales flowing out of the country, the company has hinted that it may adopt other business models to target markets outside of the US. Apple COO Tim Cook has said the company is not exclusively married to the carrier revenue sharing model it began with AT&T, and which it also maintains in varying degrees with T-Mobile, O2, and Orange in Europe. Here’s how Apple could diversify its revenue options by integrating .Mac services into its mobile WiFi platform.

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April 5, 2008   26 Comments

Does the iPhone Shortage Herald an Impending 3G Release? Probably Not

WSJ Andy Jordan Tech Diary
Daniel Eran Dilger
Apple Stores across the US are running out of iPhones, resulting in the rumor that Apple is allowing inventory levels to dry up in advance of the release of a new 3G model. While this commonly does happen prior to the release of a new model, the current iPhone shortage appears to be a artifact of unpredictably high demand from foreign markets rather than an artificial supply shortage, here’s why.

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April 4, 2008   23 Comments