Optimizing Network Requests with MKNetworkKit

Mugunth Kumar has a great blog post titled “Mobile apps and concurrent connections” with some fantastic details about the HTTP spec and how most browsers handle concurrent connections to a server, what optimizations he’s made in MKNetworkKit, and some things to keep in mind while developing mobile apps that request resources over the network.

MKNetworkKit is available from GitHub and CocoaPods for both OS X and iOS. I haven’t compared it to AFNetworking but it would be interesting to do so, perhaps in a future blog post.

Strategic Disadvantages

The latest episode of The Critical Path podcast titled “Strategic Disadvantages” featuring James Allworth and Horace Dediu is simply fantastic. Download a copy now and take the hour to listen to it, then listen a second time.

Allworth recently wrote the controversial Who Cares if Samsung Copied Apple for HBR and now works for The Forum for Growth & Innovation alongside Clayton Christensen, Dediu’s former professor and inspiration behind much of his research and analysis into Apple and mobile computing.

Using disruption and the jobs to be done theories along with case studies from the PC and other industries Allworth and Dediu discuss the vulnerability of Apple to low-end disruption. If you’re interested in iOS, Android, smartphone expansion into developing markets, or the challenges that lie ahead for Apple, Samsung, Google, HTC, Microsoft, and others in the mobile space this is a must listen.

Image from jamesallworth.com

Too Late for HTC?

In The Reset Button I looked at some analysis from Horace Dediu and wrote:

Samsung is making most of the money in the Android ecosystem and companies like HTC are suffering significant losses. In Dediu’s analysis of HTC’s woes it looks as if they’ve struggled to match Samsung in volume in their transition from a relatively low volume Windows Mobile smartphone business to Android. An area that Apple has excelled at, thanks largely to Tim Cook, is in volume, and they’ve been able to quickly ramp up production, purchase components in unheard of quantities, and are investing billions in their production facilities.

With their warning of a weak Q3, disappointing results for July, and return of half of its investment in Beats Audio also in July – HTC lost more than 1B in market cap so far this week with Fox Business analysis adding:

In the high-end market, HTC has been squeezed out by its rivals, Apple and Samsung, which together command more than 50% of the global smartphone market. In the second quarter, HTC’s global market share dropped to 4.8% from 8.9% a year earlier.

Another interesting point in Fox’s article is:

Even if HTC is increasingly focusing on China, that strategy may also be difficult to execute, analysts say. China’s economy is now showing signs of a slowdown and the company faces increasing competition from companies like Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. which are pushing out low-end, mid-tier and high-end phones at more affordable prices.

With the iOS 6.0 preview at WWDC Apple rolled out some features aimed squarely at the Chinese market and based on Dediu’s comments Huawei and ZTE are growing incredibly quickly in China and other growing markets, despite their small (nonexistent?) presence in the US and European mobile marketplace. With Samsung on the defensive in the ongoing multi-billion dollar patent trial  and a rumored iPhone 5 release this Fall it’s going to be great to see how this all plays out with respect to mobile market share in China, software patents, and the evolution of the iOS and Android ecosystems.

 

The Reset Button

Horace Dediu of Asymco has been publishing some fantastic insights and analysis of the mobile market in the past few weeks. I linked to some of Dediu’s analysis of the Economics of Android in an earlier post, and since then he’s updated his work with the latest data and is studying RIM and Microsoft’s efforts in the space as well.

The recent episode of The Critical Path “Management vs. Leadership” is simply fantastic. In the episode he posits that management is the process of running the day to day operations, of keeping a well organized system moving. Leadership on the other hand, is about disruption, about what’s next, about bold moves. He captures this with the phrase, “pressing the reset button”. With these definitions in mind, a successful leader is one who disrupts their business at its peak, and unsuccessful ones wait too long to make any bold moves. Dediu cites the famous example of Steve Jobs killing off the popular iPod Mini line and wonders if Apple is now “pressing the reset button” on the iPad as it dominates the tablet market.

With that in mind, what have some of Apple’s competitors been up to?

RIM is making desperate, not bold moves, and possibly far too late. It’s considering selling its handset business, BlackBerry OS 10 is delayed, and it’s selling a corporate jet to save some cash. It’s stock price has fallen to record lows and the company just lost a patent lawsuit to the tune of $142.7M.

Microsoft is tied closely to Nokia who bet heavily on the Lumia series of smartphones. Estimates show that 400k to 1M Lumias were sold in the US (updated 7/19/12 at 3:02pm) that only 330k Lumias were sold in the US and their launch partner AT&T is now selling them for half price. Making matters worse, the Lumias aren’t able to be upgraded to the newly demoed Windows Mobile 8 that was introduced alongside the new Surface tablet. In addition to competing with Apple’s iPad, the Surface is set to compete against Microsoft’s OEM partners, which they’ve tried to downplay. Following the failed Zune and Kin brands, the struggling Lumia line which they backed heavily, the Surface brand has its work cut out for itself. Pricing and a release date haven’t been announced yet, but it will be interesting to see when it ships and what it will retail for.

Samsung is making most of the money in the Android ecosystem and companies like HTC are suffering significant losses. In Dediu’s analysis of HTC’s woes it looks as if they’ve struggled to match Samsung in volume in their transition from a relatively low volume Windows Mobile smartphone business to Android. An area that Apple has excelled at, thanks largely to Tim Cook, is in volume, and they’ve been able to quickly ramp up production, purchase components in unheard of quantities, and are investing billions in their production facilities. This is an area that Microsoft may struggle in as well. Their Xbox business doesn’t come close in size to the iPad or iPhone in units produced.

Google’s new Android tablet, the Google Nexus 7 is getting good reviews, but looks to compete more with Amazon’s Kindle Fire than the iPad. However, both devices are US only for the most part due to the lack of content distribution deals internationally which Apple has worked hard to establish. The US market is becoming an increasingly smaller piece of the worldwide mobile market so it will be interesting to see how Amazon and Google respond.

Apple is set to release their third quarter earnings next Tuesday and rumors are swirling that a 7.85″ iPad and iPhone 5 will be announced and ship in September or October.  Will these products be an evolution of the current lineup or will there be some indications that the reset button has been pressed in Cupertino?

Image credit: Fortune Live Media

The Economics of Android

If you haven’t already do yourself a favor and head over to asymco.com to catch Horace Deidu’s multi-post series on “The Economics of Android”. Horace and Dan Benjamin discuss the series during this week’s Critical Path podcast as well. Horace is a former analyst for Nokia and has been writing Asymco for a few years now. His analysis of the mobile industry and Apple’s place within it in particular has been featured in publications such as Bloomberg and Forbes.

I look forward to seeing how these numbers change as Apple is rumored to be dropping some Google services from iOS 6 and as Google’s competitors in search take advantage of the open-source Android OS for their own benefit.