The iPhone 3GS lives to see another day

The Next Web:

As of around 30 days ago, the iPhone 3GS has been on the market for three years straight. This is the longest any of Apple’s iPhones has been for sale and makes it, I believe, the longest selling smartphone model still offered from any major manufacturer.

The iPhone 3GS has legs, for sure.  I still have one kicking around and it’s surprisingly quick and useful.  I can certainly see Apple releasing a new iPhone this fall, making the 4S the mid-range model, and hanging on to the 3GS on the low end.  The iPhone 4 gets kicked to the curb, and no one notices.

Is it really time for the iPad mini?

The steady stream of rumors that Apple has an “iPad mini” in the pipeline to compete with the Kindle Fire and newly announced Google Nexus 7 got a boost from The New York Times today:

The company is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, according to several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans. The product is expected to be announced this year.

Natalie Kerris, an Apple spokeswoman, declined to comment.

What’s interesting about this seemingly inevitable release (although I’m still not convinced) is that it would mark Apple’s first post-Jobs decision that falls outside of his original vision for the tablet.  Apple doesn’t have a history of grappling at the low end of the market (think $400 notebooks) because the margins are incredibly low, and jumping into such a market because of a perceived threat seems like a defensive and reactive move.  It was only a few years ago that pundits were calling on Apple to get into the thriving netbook market or get left behind.  To me this feels like Netbook 2.0.

Return of the anti-hero

Tim Goodman has a very good, spoiler-free preview of Breaking Bad’s season 5 premiere:

Even after watching the only two episodes that AMC released to critics, it’s blatantly clear that when all is said and done, viewers won’t have the same fondness they do for Tony [Soprano] and they’re likely to have for Don [Draper], when it comes to Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Nope, Walt has been breaking bad for some time now and there’s a point where the past-tense broke is more appropriate.

Breaking Bad had me by the throat in the first season with the brilliantly edited scene of Jesse and Badger cooking meth in the desert.

Avid to sell off consumer businesses

Tess Stynes for MarketWatch:

Avid Technology Inc. agreed to sell its consumer audio and video product lines and plans further streamlining efforts as the company aims to concentrate on its media enterprise and professional customers.

I fear that this marks the beginning of the end for the company that pioneered digital nonlinear editing and dominated that market throughout the 90s.  With the rise of Final Cut Pro (and, to some degree, Premiere) in the past decade, Avid was slow to react and clung to the still-profitable but dying business model of selling expensive turnkey systems with proprietary hardware.  They finally relented and opened up their software to third party hardware in the last year, but it is too little, too late.

Most telling is this:

Avid in April reported that its first-quarter loss widened amid a revenue decline primarily attributed to weakness in the “creative enthusiast” portion of its business.

I’m not exactly sure what they mean by “creative enthusiast,” but in this context I’m pretty sure it equates to “people who aren’t willing to pay five or six figures for our products.”  That’s basically everyone.  That market was washed away around 2003.

If you look at Avid’s stock performance over the past few years you’ll see that they reached a 52 week high in June 2011, the month that FCP X hit the market.  Avid pounced on the opportunity (rightfully so) and managed to boost sales among professionals who panicked over what Apple had done to their flagship editing product.  Since then, however, sales and their stock price have been in steady decline.  Say what you will about Final Cut Pro X, but it remains the second highest grossing product in the Mac App Store, and it is undoubtedly eating Avid’s lunch at the low and mid-range of the market.