Apple’s 2013 Christmas ad: a story with a twist

Apple Christmas 2013 Ad


I almost added #kleenex to that tweet. I probably should have.

Without revealing the plot twist in the 90-second clip, I’ll simply say that I thought it was an effective reframing that makes the title, “Misunderstood,” resonate.

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Problems with iCloud Sync reported

broken iCloud

broken iCloud[updated]I just discovered that my newly upgraded-to-iOS7 iPad4 is not syncing calendar or notes entries to iCloud. Yet my not-upgraded iPhone5 is syncing in both places.

I checked GoogleNews without success, but I found an entry in the Apple Forums from September 20:

Since installing iOS 7 on my iPhone 5 and iPad mini, I’ve noticed that my iWork documents have stopped syncing across devices (those 2 mentioned and my MacBook Pro)…

Furthermore, I cannot access my documents from the website. If I log in and attempt to navigate to one of the iWork for iCloud programs, I just get sent back out to the main menu screen and am asked to reenter my login info. I CAN access all other features of without issue (Mail, Notes, Reminders, etc.), so this isn’t a total iCloud problem…

On September 24, Kento Ito wrote:

Unfortunalty, due to launch of iOS 7 and new iPhone, iCloud storage server suffered through massive failure. Because of the fact that each server needs to be fixed manually, the best solution at this point, according to Apple senior engineer I spoke with, is to sit tight, and wait. (even if it takes a week or so).

I upgraded to iOS7 on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, my iPad synced notes and calendar items with my MBP and iPhone. Today, after a 1.30 meeting where I took notes on the iPad, I discovered syncing was AWOL. It had disappeared by Wednesday night, as notes from a PM meeting are missing in iCloud.


Testing sync from iPhone5

ipad notes

Notes on iPad exist that have not been synced on the server

From Twitter




News reports

After I published the first version of this post, I discovered the MacWorld tweet while searching Twitter.


Apple Support

I connected with support via chat for two sessions/three reps.

Session 1: After a pleasant information exchange, Alex told me that iOS 7.0.2 update was helping some people with sync issues. Hung up and tried to update the OS via iTunes. (I always back up to my hard drive before starting any update. Since I’m connected via USB, my habit is to use iTunes for the update.) iTunes failed twice; not the same error message. It seemed as though something was hanging, because start-to-error was about 20 minutes.

iTunes error


iTunes error


Session 2: It was past midnight and I was getting tired. Christine asked about firewalls and virus software. No and no. She escalated to Kevin (he of the !s). Double checked to make sure the sync issue wasn’t in both directions; it wasn’t -> just iPad to iCloud. Double checked with contacts as well. Kevin asked me to update the OS over the air. Ah… success, very quickly.

This solved the calendar and contacts syncing issue, but not existing Notes. New Notes sync properly but the two old ones would not, even after editing. I copied&pasted (noting that fact so I can tell if the others ever show up) and now have full sync. Hope this helps someone else.



Tech support was very good. However, Alex had not heard of the issue with Ubiquity and syncs. I pointed him to this article & MacWorld.

  • I’m troubled by Apple’s response. Nothing on system status page and nothing to front-line support? Kevin, OTOH, seemed aware of the issues.






  1. Added tweets from other Mac customers
  2. Added tweet from MacWorld
  3. Added support session

Microsoft and Nokia seal mobile deal worth $7.2 billion

Nokia 2013 phones

[Updated] In 2001, I was a usability tester for a Windows Phone. I don’t remember the details very much, but I do remember that it was hard to use. This, of course, was pre-smart phone but not pre-mobile-phones-connected-to-the-Net.

Flash forward 13 years later.

The Microsoft mobile global market share during the first quarter 2013 was only 3.2%. But that was enough to put it in third place, far behind the pack led by Android and Apple.

Today, Microsoft and Nokia announced a deal valued at EUR 5.44 billion ($7.16 billion). This tweet sums up the situation faster than my prose:


Microsoft gets the phone division, a gaggle of employees and a license for Nokia’s patents.

First quarter global market share for Nokia’s OS, Symbian? 0.6%. This from the early mover when cellular technology was not synonymous with being very mobile or small.

Early mover advantage paid off early: the Nokia 1100, introduced in 2003, became the world’s #1 seller by 2007.

Nokia 2013 phones

“The 1100 typifies Nokia’s ability to function as a lean, mean, phone-making machine,” said Ben Wood, a consultant at CCS Insight. “It is a staggeringly successful product.”


“Such big sales of one product family creates efficiencies which others can hardly match,” said Kai Oistamo, head of Nokia’s Mobile Phones unit, citing bargaining power on component prices and cost savings in production, logistics and sales.


Nokia does not break out profits from the entry-level segment, but analysts believe the margin is running around the level of 17 percent logged by the mobile phones unit as a whole.

This margin is far superior to consumer electronics units of Sony, Philips, Samsung, Panasonic and others which reach 5 to 6 percent operating margins at the best of times, and usually are well below that.

Today Nokia is not in the top 5 mobile phone vendors and its operating system ranks sixth.

smartphone market share : cNet and IDC

Source: cNet and IDC

Back in Redmond, in the interim we’ve had the Kin, an attempt at a consumer product that was a spectacular market failure. And why not? It came from a firm that generates two-thirds of its revenue from sales to business.

Even Bill Gates acknowledges that Microsoft has stumbled with mobile.

In the early 1990s, Microsoft toyed with the WinPad, based on WindowsCE. Anyone remember Windows for Pen Computing? The PocketPC? ClearType (for liquid crystal displays)?

And when did Microsoft release its tablet, Surface? In 2012. Its most recent global market share is a paltry 4.5%. The iPad is still the number one tablet sold, but there are more Android OS devices on the market. That’s because all the other manufacturers license their OS. Microsoft wants to be Apple, and own the OS and the device. (Note: this puts them in competition with all of the established hardware folks; you know, their customers.)



Analysts, of course, have expected Microsoft to redeem itself with each new version of Windows Mobile.

And every time the analysts have been proved wrong by consumers.

Look. Microsoft was not at the 2013 All Things Digital conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal.

Google’s US market share in search (the most recent quarter): 67%. Bing’s market share was 17.9%; this is a better showing than in mobile, but Microsoft has been at it search much longer. MSN search launched in 1998; it was followed by Windows Live Search, Live and Bing — with an acquisition of Yahoo! for technology implementation along the way.

Today Microsoft bought Nokia’s device division, will license Nokia’s patents, and acquired 32,000 Nokia employees.

The company’s long-held practice of buying its way into markets hasn’t worked for search. And I don’t expect it to work any better for mobile.

Stockholders better be hoping the next CEO has been picked, given that Ballmer’s making mega-changes before departing. Remember this summer’s re-org.

And a plea: Microsoft – (to Steve Ballmer) Just do one thing right before leaving !: Free downgrade for all unhappy users of Windows 8 (OEM)

Updated 12:30 pm 12:09 pm Pacific: And I’m Not Alone

I wrote this before reading any other analysis or commentary. But my skepticism is reflected by others. (Of course, some think this is great. I’ll simply point you “up” to the bit in the essay about analysts and their projections re WindowsPhone.)










Twitter responds to complaints, will make it easier to report abusive tweets


There’s been a firestorm on the other side of the Atlantic as men in the UK and around the world have exhibited misogyny and typed language peppered with sexual violence — all directed towards a feminist who led a campaign to have bank notes celebrate accomplished women, not just men.

One of the calls has been for an easy way to report abusive tweets — as well as response PDQ.

Earlier tonight I learned that Twitter had rolled out this functionality quietly on the iPhone application (that I do not use):

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