Maybe I should become an iPhone developer instead?

Fame and fortune can become yours if you develop the right iPhone application.

As the entire world eagerly awaits the announcement of the next Apple iPhone model, here’s a fascinating article entitled “Shooting to Software Stardom on the iPhone“about how fame and fortune can become yours if you develop the right iPhone application.

On a related note, Timo Elliot reviews RoamBI, a BI front end for the Apple iPhone. RoamBI was developed by Santiago Becerra and his new company Mellmo. Santiago is the founder of Infomerssion, original developer of Xcelsius.

Hmmm… With a low entry fee of $99 to become an iPhone developer, maybe I should give it a shot…

Announcing TripIt for iPhone

Here’s another reason for me to justify an iPhone purchase – TripIt for the iPhone. I’ve blogged about TripIt previously and find it tremendously useful for organizing my itineraries as a traveling consultant. I’m still hobbling along with a Palm Treo 680 smartphone but am anxiously looking forward to a new iPhone model, which is rumored to be announced at the upcoming Apple WorldWide Developer’s Conference, beginning June 8, 2009.

Let’s Rock?

This week, Apple held its annual iPod launch event. The big news was the new iPod nano, in nine eye-popping colors, the iPod Shuffle in similar colors, and a revamped iPod Touch. As the “funnest” iPod ever, the iPod Touch appears to be repositioned more as a gaming device and less as a music player. Should Nintendo be worried?

Quietly slipped into the iPod lineup was a revised 120 GB iPod Classic at $249, replacing the former 80 GB model at that price point. No products were introduced to replace the $349 160 GB iPod classic, a reflection that iPods simply aren’t commanding the pricing they did several years ago. For example, in 2004 I paid $399 for a 20 GB black and white iPod 3G.

I was disappointed by Apple’s anemic update to the iPod Classic. I have hundreds of CDs in my collection. I am also an avid downloader of podcasts and vodcasts (the latter which won’t play on my current iPod model – only on iTunes). A 32 GB flash-based player simply isn’t a big enough leap in capacity from my current 20 GB iPod to justify a new purchase. With Western Digital Passport drives currently pricing on Amazon.com at $74 for 160 GB and $115 for 320 GB, it seems like $249 should purchase a much larger capacity player.

Obviously, the iPod Classic isn’t commanding the market share of the Shuffle and Nano. But given the long delay since the last product refresh to their hard drive-based iPods, I was really hoping that Apple would retire the existing Classic platform in favor of an iPod Touch HD – an iPod Touch with a large capacity hard drive instead of flash memory.

Is such a device still in the product development pipeline? Who knows. But with the lack of a compelling high-capacity model combined with iPhone 3G launch issues, I’ll continue to nurse along my 20 GB iPod. Maybe next year…

Business Objects Insight 2007 – Part I

Or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love SAP”.

I recently attended Business Objects Insight 2007 in sunny Orlando, Florida. This was my second year as a breakout speaker, with a presentation entitled Secure Universes Using Restriction Sets. For those expecting big news regarding XI 3.0 (code name Titan) or the next release of Dashboard Manager/Performance Manager (code name Allegro), there weren’t any large announcements during the general sessions; however, there were brief peeks throughout the conference (more about that later).

Of course, the first thing to be dealt with was the small matter of the upcoming acquisition by SAP. Both Bernard Liautaud and John Schwarz¬†indicated that Business Objects would remain an independent organization with both staying on board to lead it. We’ll have to wait till the acquisition closes to learn more, but ideally an independent Business Objects can remain vendor neutral for the benefit of all customers but still create compelling solutions for SAP customers.The “major” product announcement from the conference was Crystal Reports 2008, which is currently in beta and will ship before the end of 2007. I didn’t hear a formal explanation, but I’m assuming that the “2008” designation (instead of XI 3.0) is intended to more clearly communicate to Microsoft Visual Studio developers which version of CR goes with VS. One of the major feature enhancements is the ability to integrate Xcelsius content into a Crystal Report. For those of us who are “traditional” Business Objects users, I’m assuming that similar integration will occur with other reporting tools in XI 3.0.

I was pleased to see that there were two presentations regarding publications, the topic of my Insight 2006 presentation, Getting Personal with Publications and Profiles. Publications are the mechanism Business Objects uses to supporting single pass report bursting. The first presentation was Publications Unleashed, presented by Don Kawahigashi from Integra Solutions. Don had some great examples from an actual customer installation on how to extend the publication capabilities in the current release, XI Release 2. The other presentation was entitled Publications- The Power of Personalization by David Brockington and Derek Wang from Business Objects. Their presentation was my first sneak-peek at the revised Central Management Console (CMC) in XI 3.0. The expected new feature was the addition of Web Intelligence as a supported document type (XI Release 2 publications require Desktop Intelligence). The surprise new features were the addition of Crystal Reports as a supported document type and Dynamic Recipients. With Dynamic Recipients, you can manage subscribers that do not have to be a Business Objects user. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of XI 3.0, which is slated for the intentionally vague “first half of 2008”.

From my perspective, Xcelsius was the most covered technology in the breakouts. The coolest breakout was Jeff Pelletier from AT&T Mobility (formerly Cingular) describing how it was used to launch the Apple iPhone. I’m curious to see if and how Allegro will continue to integrate Xcelsius technology into the Dashboard Manager/Performance Manager products.

Curious was the announcement of a deeper partnership with IBM, which came the day after the conference. The delayed announcement probably explains IBM motivation for being a global sponsor of Insight 2007. The press release is sketchy on details, but it appears that a “limited” version of Business Objects will be distributed with IBM DB2.

No formal word on the location of next year’s conference, but I hope it will be sunny and warm.