Sunday, 31 January, 2010

Apple defies piracy and fakes...

…and the Times of India actively promotes piracy and fakes.

At the Jan 27th presentation in San Fransisco, where the Apple iPad was unveiled, Steve Jobs (Apple co-founder and CEO) also briefly touched upon the financial status of his company -  Apple. I found it to be quite demonstrative of how financial success comes to those who excel, and dare.

Between Oct and Dec 2009, Apple showed a revenue of US$ 15.6 billion (Rs 73,000 crores). To put that into perspective, the entire Hollywood industry's gross for 2009 was $ 10.8 billion (Rs 50,000 crores). So, in 3 months Apple grossed 1 and a half times what Hollywood grossed in 1 year.

Closer to home, I've tried hard to come by accurate figures about Indian Entertainment. But these figures are from one of the most respected sources. It puts the entire Indian Filmed Entertainment Industry at 'being worth' Rs 9,600 crores in 2007. Growing annually at 14% it would be about 17,600 crores in 2012.

Apple showed revenues of Rs 73,000 crores in just 3 months. So, one company selling iPods, iPhones, laptops and desktop computers - earns 4-5 times what India's entire movie industry earns in 1 year.

But then, the Indian movie industry would have earned much more if there was no piracy, right? Of course, but how much more?

And its not as if Apple doesn't have to deal with piracy. People pirate software that Apple makes.  Even film producers who stand against piracy don't buy Apple software, one per computer they just copy and use it - otherwise known as piracy.

Pirates even sell fake iPods and iPhones. These cost a fraction of Apple's iPhone and iPod. To make it worse, even a reputed newspaper like the Times of India regularly advertises a fake iPhone (called iFone) in its newspaper. And the Times' own online shopping site, Indiatimes Shopping regularly sells the iFone.

Here's a screenshot of a page at which openly sells a (possibly Chinese) mobile phone that is a copy of the iPhone. Its called iFone.

Apple defies piracy. They don't crib and whine about piracy and competition, while Indian movie producers can't get over it. The real iPhone and the real iPod cost 4-10 times the fake pirated one, but still Apple's iPhone and iPod outsell the fakes by many tens of times over. At least the Indian movie industry doesn't have to compete with fake and pirated movies that are advertised for sale on the Times of India.

And so, this small company in California grosses 4-5 times the money in 3 months than an entire industry moans and groans while making over a year. Apple do this by making good products that people want to own, by giving users a unique experience.  And by caring for their users even after they've bought products. Even in India.

Achievers don't whine. They move along and conquer.

Saturday, 30 January, 2010

Apple iPad cheaper than iPhone in India

On Jan 27th around 11 pm India Time, Apple announced a new device, the Apple iPad. Steve Jobs - the co-founder and CEO of Apple - was there himself. Very enthusiastically showing his latest creation.

In the days that followed, on various sites on the 'net, this new device has been hailed by some as the next great thing in mobile devices and slammed by others as an underwhelming 'large iPhone' or 'large iPod touch'.

What it turns out to be, only time will tell. The Apple iPad is a new device, possibly an appliance. At the heart it is a computer, with a CPU made by Apple. The iPad can natively run all existing iPhone apps. Users can buy new apps through the iTunes app store. And download their music to the device.

Apart format these very normal attributes, the iPad will also let you buy books from a iBookstore (only in the USA), and read them on the iPad. There will also be a version of Numbers, pages, and Keynote for the iPad, at $ 10 each. And the application called Brushes that lets you draw and paint with your finger on to the screen directly.

 The iPad also lets you play any existing iPhone game. And a number of companies have come forward with plans for games for the iPad.
The iPad also has an optional keyboard, but you can do all text entry with an onboard keyboard like the iPhone or iPod touch.

These are all features that Jobs and his colleagues showed on the 27th. But since its at least 60 days till the iPad will be actually available, there is a likelihood that some more features might be added before launch.

The iPad has no camera. Connectivity consists of a dock port, USB, audio in and out. And of course Wifi. There will be a 3G version can have mobile Internet anywhere with a micro-SIM. Best of all the iPad will not be locked to any specific carrier and you can put your own SIM.

When it becomes available in March '10 (maybe April in India), it will be sold in 3 'non 3G' versions
16 Gb - $ 500
32 Gb - $ 600
64 Gb - $ 700

Going by how these translate with customs duties in India,
the iPad may cost about
16 Gb - Rs 28,000
32 Gb - Rs 34,000
64 Gb - Rs 40,000

There will also be 3 'with 3G' versions costing
16 Gb - $ 630
32 Gb - $ 730
64 Gb - $ 830

which may translate to about
16 Gb - Rs 35,300
32 Gb - Rs 41,300
64 Gb - Rs 47,300

At the present time (Jan 2010) the iPhone 3G on eBay India sells for about
Rs 30,000 for 8 Gb
Rs 32,000 for 16 Gb.

And the iPhone 3Gs sells for about
Rs 34,000 for 16 Gb
Rs 40,000 for 32 Gb version.
These are all unlocked.

So, it looks like in April, when (hopefully) Apple introduces it in India, the iPad will cost less than an iPhone. Unless Vodafone/Airtel and/or the grey market lower the price of the iPhone 3G and 3Gs.

Incidentally, at, Apple iPod touch are available for Rs 11,000, Rs 17,000 and Rs 20,500 for the 8, 32, and 64 Gb versions. So this device is not likely to be affected by the iPad in a big way.

The 3G version of the iPad which need a micro-SIM and 3G coverage to function will likely come to India much later - like July or later. But, all iPads sold in the US or EU/UK, will be unlocked, the the 'unlock tax' that the grey market enjoyed with the iPhone will be absent with the iPad in India.

I suspect everyone who goes to the US or anywhere outside India after March, will come back with an iPad. So I doubt there will be  premium price for the iPad. It will likely become like an iPod to iPod touch, where Apple and partner stores sell it, and the grey market does so too albeit at a lower price.

Tuesday, 26 January, 2010

Red Day and Sony SR 2.0 - New initiatives for Digital Cinema

'Red Day' took place in Hollywood on 16 Jan 2010. And Sony had a SR 2.0 event on 8 Dec 2009. Two events that were aimed at taking forward Digital movie making.

Red Day was covered here.

You can check the links provided. But the basics are...

Red is now listening more to customers that they probably did before. Many improvements in the original Red one and future cameras will reflect this.

Red one will now have an improved M-X sensor. With a new colour science. Existing Red One owners can upgrade their cameras with this new sensors for US$ 5750. I'm not sure how cameras from India will manage of the camera needs to be shipped back to the US.

Red Ray, Red's 4k player will be called Red 4k. It plays 4k material from Red cameras at just 15 mbps (bits!)

Red's new cameras Epic and Scarlet are on course for a availability later this year. First to select existing customers, then all existing customers, then new customers. As usual, timings can change and they follow American seasons like fall, spring, summer instead of calendar months like the rest of the world can understand.

Sony's event was to trace the future path of HDCam SR. More on the event here.

But basically...
The SRW-9000 will be the camera platform for digi cinema of the future. It can be made in 2k and maybe even higher 4k versions.
Tape for recording will be out. Instead there will be 1 Tb flash memory - RAID 5 protected.
Lower quality versions of the HDCam SR as a codec to be available.

And there were other announcements about calibration, CDLs, etc.

Basically, these new announcements will take shape later this year. In the case of Sony, probably in 2011-12.

Or, yet another camera, that does HD or higher resolution movies, provides an uncompressed HD or 2k out, doesn't use binning to make images, and uses full frame or S35 sized frames. So, a variety of economical but excellent still camera lenses can be used.

Such a camera, with a good viewfinder, easy focussing that can be tracked, exposure manual adjustment, and other filmy features could make these Red and Sony initiatives irrelevant.

But if such a camera doesn't make it, then we in India will use film in a big way till the end of 2012 at least.

Sunday, 3 January, 2010

Blog anywhere

My first post in 2010 comes, appropriately enough, while on the move with my iPhone. This is to check out how easy or difficult this is. So, among my first observations for 2010 is a sort of a prediction cum expectation if where the post industry is headed. 

Trends, briefly... 
Tapeless for video acquisition. 
More mainstream movies shot digitally. 
Grading and colour correction will move from big post facilities to small productions' own offices. 
Video-capable DSLRs will develop movie camera features... 
Or Canon and others will introduce movie capable digital cameras. 
Boutique VFX/CGI houses will bloom and prosper. 
Digital Cinema will grow in India - film prints will shrink in number. 
HD Television will take root in India. 
3G will open up newer opportunities for video entertainment.
Only some wise people will actually make money on 3G video.
Wireless Internet will spread into remote areas of India.

And lots more happenings which I'll post as they happen, and with my observations for how it matters for us in post-production in India. 
Happy 2010 and this year do please use the 'Subscribe' or 'Donate' buttons to the right. 

Cheers. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

PS. After posting this from my iPhone, I checked it out on the actual blog and it was one big paragraph. No line or para breaks. So I've edited it on my iMac. So the BlogPress Lite app for the iPhone does not seem to do formatting too well. Need to explore this further.