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Resistance is Futile

Entry 815, on 2008-07-17 at 22:03:27 (Rating 1, Computers)

Well my resistance didn't last long, did it! Yes, today I bought a 16G iPhone 3G on the $80 per month plan from Vodafone New Zealand. I know that it was just yesterday that I said I was going to resist the temptation to get one, but I guess that I just must be very weak!

I will give it about a week then write a thorough report on just how useful these phones are here in New Zealand. I know that there are plenty of reports out there already but there's always room for one more, I always say!

And the wild success of the iPhone 3G (one million sold in 3 days) must be adding to the "halo effect" which is already happening thanks to the iPod and original iPhone. Apple's market share in computers continues to climb, its now at 8.5% in the US, which is still along way behind Dell and HP but Apple's growth rate is almost 4 times that of Dell and 8 times HPs. These numbers have been fairly consistent for a few quarters now so this does seem to be good news for Apple's future.

As I have said in the past, I don't want Apple to be the biggest computer manufacturer in the world, I'm happier when it is just a significant option to the PC and Windows. But notice that I did use the word significant. Unless Apple has a reasonable market share peripheral and software developers won't take it seriously. I guess that share is between 10% and 20% so they should reach that zone soon.

Intel have just announced quad core chips for laptops which will be available next month. No doubt Apple will be keen to use these in future MacBook Pros. Its now obvious why Apple is working on task dispatch technologies, like Grand Central. Efficient and simple utilisation of many cores is going to be the key for future increases in performance.

I heard another potentially significant piece of news for laptop users yesterday. An American university has developed a new lithium-ion battery based on silicon and utilising nanotechnology which might have ten times the storage of existing batteries. I get about 4 hours out of my laptop now which means I can't use it on battery all day. But what about 40 hours! Now that would really be a useful amount of time to be mobile. And the same would apply to other devices which currently have good life but could do more with better batteries: cell phones (including the iPhone), GPS units, etc.

But maybe the greatest benefit will be for electric cars. If these batteries can be mass produced at a reasonable price and really have ten times the storage of existing batteries then the electric revolution is virtually guaranteed. With current technology the range of electric cars isn't quite enough. But imagine having more than 3000 kilometers of range, or less range but with considerably less weight in batteries! Yes, if this technology works the genuinely useful electric car won't be far behind!


Comment 1 (1516) by NJS on 2008-07-18 at 13:51:27:

Lithium-based batteries are a dead end long term because the lithium can't be reused; manufacturers have to continually mine new lithium to make new batteries. Silver-zinc batteries sound much more promising (see , for example). The basic technology's been around for decades, but they've only recently figured out how to make them rechargeable. They have about 40% greater energy density than LIon and are fully recyclable. Expect devices with them later this year.


Comment 2 (1517) by NJS on 2008-07-18 at 13:52:06:

Oops, the URL got eaten: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/networking/?p=579


Comment 3 (1518) by OJB on 2008-07-18 at 18:45:23:

Interesting, but while the silver-zinc technology compares well with existing lithium-ion batteries it is well behind what the new technology I described above could produce. I accept that this is all very early and there are plenty of unknowns. I think its just good that several new technologies which might be useful, including batteries, ultra-capacitors, fuel cells, and others.


Comment 4 (1519) by OJB on 2008-07-18 at 18:52:03:

Also lithium makes up 0.005% of the Earth's crust but silver only 0.000001%, so even though it can't be recycled lithium will still probably be a lot cheaper


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