Saturday, 30 January 2010

Will Apple accept Google NaCl on iPhone, iPod, iPad?

Apple did it again - they released a great product called the iPad. However, the main reasons that people buy these products, is that it is good quality and they do things better than the competitors. However, in order to protect the business model of Apple, and in order to ensure a good overall consumer experience, Apple restricts what applications can run on their devices. Google Voice was not initially accepted in the Apple app store, but Google has a great interest in making sure, that their services are universally available. Their solution was to create a Google Voice web application, that does the job, and now Google Voice is available on the iPhone.

Google Native Client expands the capabilities of the web, so that web applications can contain codecs, 3D graphics and code that requires a lot of computations, and still run well. HTML5 includes offline capabilities, and in combination, there is a complete framework for writing offline native apps delivered via the internet. The app store will no longer be needed by those that provide apps for free, unless they have very specific needs for access to local hardware.

Apple has a choice, but if they refuse Google NaCl, they will make their products to do less than the competing Android and Chrome OS products. Apple's products will be inferior. This will work as long as there are no significant apps for Google NaCl.

Google Chrome OS includes NaCl and is basically a lowest common denominator OS, where all the applications for it can also run on other OS'es. By providing Google Chrome for Mac+Windows+Linux, Google provides a platform that is large enough to make it interesting for app developers. It's standards-based, it's Open Source, it's easy and capable, it's free, it's cross-platform and it is huge. Apple can be in or out.

Apple is free to pick the default choices on their devices, and can limit access to local storage for web apps. But competition is catching up, quickly, and Apple needs to invent more. I would not be surprised to see Apple become very active in delivering a cohesive webservice offering similar to Google's. What's next, Apple buying Yahoo? Does Microsoft have anything to offer, or have they completely lost the consumer market?

8 comments:

Chris said...

'Does Microsoft have anything to offer, or have they completely lost the consumer market?'

Are you serious? Windows 7 has been doing great in the 'consumer market' if MS's last financial figures are anything to go by (http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/fy10/earn_rel_q2_10.mspx). Perhaps you mean 'the consumer market below/beyond PCs'...?

Lars D said...

PCs are losing market share, fast - tablets, smartphones, palm devices, consoles, advanced navigation systems, game devices etc. are dominating. Few people really need a PC at home these days, and if they do, it's often about having a large screen and keyboard, and not about the OS. If you go into a normal electronics shop, most of the software products in it will probably not be for Mac or Windows, but for other kinds of consumer devices.

LDS said...

Google NaCl is designed to be exploited only by Google - to ensure lock-in as much as Apple does. Why should Apple help Google? Good luck, if you believe this is the future.
And about the PC it flexibiliy still overpowers all the others - that's why people buy them and will keep on.
What software do you find in shops? Only games are more or less sold there, and some consumer utilities. Simply because most users now buys software from dedicate software resellers.
The last software I bought in shop was indeed Flight Simulator X. That incidentally - needs a PC. No console or gadget can be used with such a "game" - too complex inputs.

Lars D said...

@LDS: Google NaCl benefits many - even Quake has been ported to it, and Quake was invented before Google came into existence. Unlike Apple, Google cannot restrict what apps are written for it. It already exists for Mac OS X, but Apple can choose not to implement it on the iPhone, iPod and iPod, just as they can choose not to implement JavaScript or HTML5.

I'm quite sure that you are right, that most software apps that is purchased by consumers, are games. But if you go into a shop like Media Markt, you will also find educational software, social software, music/instrument apps, reference material, photo and multimedia software and many other things, which runs on other platforms than Windows, Mac and Linux. You can even get hardware mixers and music keyboards for the iPhone these days, so that you don't have to power up a PC when editing and performing with music. Modern TVs can surf the net, do skype video calls and play films off USB hardware (e.g. HD or flash).

That's the current state of technology, and in the near future, a flight simulator for NaCl will run on your 42" widescreen TV in your living room, compatible with USB keyboards, mice, joysticks or any other kind of gear you may want.

LDS, I'm a bit baffled about your statement on PC flexibility. Most consumers have become so indifferent about this flexibility these days, that they are in doubt whether to buy a Windows or Mac computer. This basically means, that the apps that don't run on both these systems, have become less important. There may be some users, for whom it is important, whether they use Windows, Linux, Mac, Chrome OS or something else - but more than 90% of the people that I know, seriously don't care. There are also many young people, that choose not to have a PC, and only use their smartphone - maybe occasionally using a PC at work.

LDS said...

I wonder that people bashed MS when it used its own standard in IE but welcome Google when it does the same. NaCl is what ActiveXs are. Have the same security issues, and has the same aim: tie people to Chrome, because only Google has total control over it. And controls what could be done on it.
Frankly, I don't use Chrome nor I will run NaCl. Unlike many, I do not believe Google is a charity.
Franly, in shop here, even in the larger ones, I just find low-end software for the low-end consumer market. And most of them run or on Windows or Mac - or consoles.
And frankly FSX can put on its knees the most powerful PC and video card you can buy today - it won't run anytime soon in any web environment - even if it can access native code. And adding several devices requires a flexible OS, not one designed to run only some kind of applications.
And many other applications require a better device than those getting all the hype today. Oh yes, maybe you can get Skype in a TV, but can you upgrade it without changing TV?
Of course tha facebook-only boys and girls, those just on the "consumer" side may not need the PC flexibility. But those who like to "produce", and not only "consume" will still require a more powerful and flexible tool - and not one strongly tied to whims of companies like Google, Apple or Microsoft.
I've heard the "PC is dead" several times before, and the PC always survived and became more capable.

Mike said...

Few people really need a PC at home these days
--> In general they never really >>needed<< one ... Lots of enthusiastes wasted years of their live to make a market for Microsoft. I'm not sure if this happens again ...

I think Microsoft has not lost the consumer market but we are not used to see them as a competitor who does not rule the market.

Consumer Market is not so simple ...
Families: The kids are the users ... the plattform that supports them is the plattform of choice

Singles and Home Workers: They use what they get from the company they work for (I'm expecting PCx on Windows). Legacy is always hard to get rid off. Maybe here the plattform that allows "running" or remote control the home entertainment environement or better provides the home entertainment environment will make it. Who knows... but here I see boxes with flash media silent... - From my feeling it's a "Linux" under the hood.

In the end Lars question will Apple support Google ... Yes, I think they have no alternative. In the end where will we end up, if the browsers will have to support all the extensions ...


@Chris
The sales of Windows 7 is no surprise;-). Windows 7 has now been beta tested over the years, called Vista and now seems to work ... What helps them at the moment is the dollar exchange rate vs. the EUR. The price for the OS and the 4GB (+2GB of memory) is not visible to the customer ... and for Windows XP you have to pay 70EUR additionally if you want to downgrade ...

One thing has changed in Europe. The price for devices based on OSX is nearly equal to compareable PC systems (Notebooks or Laptops).

Lars D said...

@LDS: You compare Google NaCl to ActiveX. They are both about native code, but they differ in almost every other context. ActiveX controls need to be signed and approved by the user, and have access to the local OS. Google NaCl is nothing more than native code doing the same stuff that JavaScript does - it can be part of any web page, without having you notice it.

In other words, Google NaCl makes sense whenever JavaScript makes sense. If you decide never to accept Google NaCl, you might want to consider to disable JavaScript, too.

You will never hear me say that the PC is dead - but the PC is losing market share, fast. We have 8 different operating systems at home, 7 laptops, lots of browsers, lots of purchased software and a very fast internet connection. But we don't have any Apple or Microsoft computers, and I have currently absolutely no idea why we should get any - all our needs are fulfilled using other products. I use Windows at work, though, but that's another discussion.

Gerard said...

@LDS your really uninformed OR just trolling (do you work for Microsoft ? ). Either way your basically wrong as is evident by all the incorrect facts your bringing up.