5 Tech Observations to Start Your Day, Oct 20

Good Monday morning. I'm on a road trip of sorts this morning. So forgive me if I don't reply to reader comments and feedback in rapid-fire fashion. With that caveat in mind, here are 5 technology news tips, rumors, gossip, chatter and insights to start your day for Monday, Oct. 20.

Actually, this morning's list involves eight updates...

8. Apple, IBM Earnings Season:  Apple (AAPL) and IBM are set to announce quarterly earnings today (Oct. 20). A boatload of additional earnings are due later this week. For the Apple earnings, the iPhone 6 was only available for about 10 days during the quarter. As for IBM, the company this morning confirmed the sale its struggling chip business to Globalfoundries. The twist? IBM is paying Globalfoundries $1.5 billion to take the business -- minus about $200 million in considerations.

7. Just in Time?: A Microsoft smartwatch apparently is set to launch before the holidays. Similar to the current iOS and Android smartphone market battles, Microsoft will need to face off vs. Google Android Wear (devices arriving now) and Apple Watch (arriving early 2015). Microsoft's offering apparently will offer a two-day battery life, heart monitoring and a more private design since the screen will be worn on the inside of your wrist, according to reports. There are also suggestions that Microsoft's watch will work with third-party devices -- iPhones and Android smartphones. That would be a welcome move, considering Apple Watch only works with iPhone.

6. Secret Project?: Well, sort of. This morning, Amy Katz and I began work on a long-term engagement involving information management. Lots of information management. Thanks to those who made the engagement happen. Much appreciated.

5. SDN Meets SMB: Software-defined networks -- much hyped for large enterprises and big service providers -- is now coming to small businesses. At least, that's what Tallac Networks claims. The Rocklin, Calif.-based company is now demonstrating an SMB branch office virtualization and orchestration solution. Tallac claims its "cloud-managed network solution enables businesses of any size to easily and securely create branch office networks that connect remote employees and their applications." I wonder: Are giants like Cisco Systems and Juniper overlooking SDN in small business?

4. Hello Apple Pay: Apple's wallet-replacement software goes live today (Oct. 20). So how does it work? According to ABC News:

 "Checkout counters in more than 220,000 stores, including Whole Foods, McDonald's and Chevron, will be equipped with contactless readers.

All users have to do is position their iPhone near one of the readers at a store, hold their finger on their Touch ID and they're good to go. The simple, swift checkout motion is made easy due to the the Near Field Communication antenna in the iPhone 6, which connects with the payment point to complete the transaction."

Keep an eye on how Apple Pay interacts with in-store beacons -- which track your movements up and down retail aisles. And also keep in mind that Apple Pay is only one steps in the longer transition toward a cashless society. After all, big retailers like Best Buy, Target and Walmart don't plan to support Apple Pay -- at least not yet.

3. Apple Drops Bose: Talk about real-world business intelligence. After watching Bose product sales skyrocket within Apple Stores, someone in Apple basically said, "Hey, how can we keep more of those sales?" Apple's answer was to buy Beats for about $3 billion. Now, Apple apparently has dropped Bose from its stores. It's great to see competition between Apple-Beats and Bose leading to more distribution choices, lower prices... and. Oh, never mind.

2. What Would Mary Ann Do?: Tired of taking prep-packaged business and life advice from Tony Robins, Suzy Orman, Oprah and Dr. Drew? Then maybe it's time to Dawn Wells -- Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island -- can help. Her new book, What Would Mary Ann Do?, contains 12 chapters on everything from how Mary Ann would respond to changes in today’s culture to addressing issues confronting single women and mothers.

Side question: Mary Ann or Ginger? Definitely Mary Ann.  

1. Six Degrees of Separation?: At first glance, AppDynamics CEO Jyoti Bansal, Boundary CEO Gary Read, VoxOx Chief Marketing Officer Tristan Barnum, and Zimbra CEO Patrick Brant have little to nothing in common -- other than being expert IT entrepreneurs. But maybe there is a common thread. Care to learn more? Stay tuned for some Q4 moves from After Nines Inc.

Subscribe Now: Want to receive our daily blog headlines in your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter. Thanks to those who've already signed up. We appreciate your readership and feedback.