iMessage Could Be the Big Winner
I had written last week about how Apple could play the low-price game and win. They haven’t yet, out of a fierce protectionism around their premium iPhone business. This tactic makes sense when you are getting fat profit margins on massive volume. Apple is set up to harvest as much profit out of the iPhone as possible. Perhaps to the detriment of its services.
Pushing the Boundaries of the Material World
When it comes to iPhone hardware, Apple is doing exactly what I thought they should do. They’re “going deep”.
Only in the last month, three things have come up which show either how Apple is getting further involved in new components or getting more of a return from it.
Renting vs Streaming Your Music
A couple of years ago after Apple announced Apple Music, I decided to bite the bullet and do the math behind what the real cost of renting my music library would be. I tried to evaluate the choice the same way a corporation would evaluate a rent-vs-purchase decision. Anyone considering signing up for a streaming service should read this just so that they’re aware of what they are giving up.
Don't Mess With Privacy
So, the New York Times is reporting that Tim Cook threatened to pull Uber from the App Store.
For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had secretly been tracking iPhones even after its app had been deleted from the devices, violating Apple’s privacy guidelines.
But Apple was on to the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store. –Mike Isaac, New York Times
But Why Would They Do It?
Periodically the manufacturing analyst in me wonders what kind of market share Apple could command in the mobile-phone space if they were to intentionally make a push into the budget arena. Not that that they ever would, and I don’t think I’d ever recommend it, but I can’t help but ponder the question. Would Apple be successful at it?
Android Could Be in Trouble
Apple has spent a long time cultivating a big lead in mobile processors for its iPhone and iPad. They aren’t sparing any amount of time and treasure, and yet, very few seem to be asking why. Apple isn’t interested in simply owning bragging rights by consistently beating Samsung in mobile phone speed tests. The big picture is…bigger.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
In the world of tech journalism they don’t come any bigger than Walt Mossberg. He is to journalism as Tom Brady is to Football. Huge. I started reading his stuff when he was with the Wall Street Journal and later when he co-founded Recode. And yet, no matter how big of a celebrity he got to be, his writing was always to the common man. I appreciated that. Now after 47 years of journalism he’s retiring.
Walt wrote me a nice e-mail a couple of months after I had started my blog and complimented one of my posts as being a “smart piece”. I was absolutely beaming for a week. The thing was, unbeknownst to Walt, I was on the verge of giving up on blogging. His compliment came at just the right time that I decided to keep going.
Even though Walt was at the top of the tech world I appreciated his willingness to take a few minutes out of his day to say a few kind words to a nobody like me. He may even have forgotten, but I never will.
Thanks Walt and enjoy your retirement.
Apple Needs to Add One More Disclaimer
My wife and I enjoy going out for walks after dinner. We always take our iPhones with us but we never use them. They only serve as communication beacons for our Apple Watches. Often while out walking, one of us may punctuate our conversation with a quick text back to the kids to remind them about something. Or we’ll receive a text that needs a quick response.
Single-Threaded Performance Is More Important Than Multi-Threaded
This is too funny to let slip by unmentioned. So what happens when you gather the best that Android has to offer and put them up against Apple's aging iPhone 7? The iPhone is already past halfway through its life cycle.
Now Samsung Values Hand Feel?
I had written yesterday about a couple of reasons that I didn’t want Apple to make Samsung’s mistake in opting for a taller and narrower aspect ratio. This form handicaps both watching landscaped video in portrait mode and reaching the top of the screen.
But the drawbacks don’t stop there. There is also the issue of how websites look on a mobile phone screen. Simply put, the web looks better on a wider screen than a narrow one. More horizontal space allows for larger font sizes for your text. Extra vertical space does not. You get more text, but the font size isn’t any larger. The net result is that web pages are much more readable on phones that have a fatter aspect ratio.
Width Is Good and the Galaxy S8 Was a Mistake
All the rumors about Apple changing the aspect ratio of the next iPhone to a taller and narrower screen are troubling. I’m hoping that they’re wrong but the release of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 in a taller and narrower configuration have me starting to think it might happen.
Some Things Get Better With Age
Apple’s Live Photos are seriously cool. Only, I didn’t realize this until about a month ago because Live Photos are like an old school yearbook. When you first get it, you thumb though the pages once and throw it on a shelf to collect dust. Only years later do you actually appreciate seeing the names and faces of people who you never thought you’d forget, jogging your memory.
Apple(AAPL) announced last week that they are starting over with the Mac Pro and redesigning it from the ground up. We were told not to expect it any time in 2017. Which has a lot of people asking a couple of questions.
The Majority Subsidize the Few
I was never really worried that Apple would kill the Mac Pro. It’s the MacBook Pro that has me worried. Most people would find that preposterous because the MacBook Pro is the lions share of a stable market. Further, Apple’s executive management has just came out verbally stating their commitment to the Mac. Everyone assumes that applies to the MacBooks as well.
I’m finding Apple’s new Theatre Mode on the Apple Watch quite handy. I used to get self-conscious about my watch going off in concerts, classes, or church because I didn’t want the screen to light up if I raised my arm in the air. So a big thanks to Apple for putting my mind at ease about that.
Anyone who doesn’t think that something like this is in our future either has their head in the sand or is a Mac App developer. Samsung's dockable Galaxy S8 is yet another entrant into the smartphone as a computer market for a big reason. I’m surrounded daily by busy professionals who spend more time out of their office than in it. These guys for the most part manage their days using Apple’s iPhone. More and more, laptop computers are becoming like those big wired phones that sit on everyone’s desk. Anyone who ignores this new trend does so at their own peril.
Big Data Is Not the Answer
Great interview with one of the leading experts on AI, Gary Marcus, by Alice Lloyd George who was writing for TechCrunch. Like myself, he’s skeptical of how far companies like Google can get with big data when it comes to artificial intelligence.
The Limits of Artificial Intelligence
Reading vs Typing
I read a lot more than I write. That’s a big reason why I prefer using Apple’s iPad much more than a Mac. When I hear of people who use only a Mac and an iPhone my first thought is always “Where do they do their reading?”. Like, real reading. Not just a thirty second article during a commercial break. When a Mac person wants to sit down on a Saturday night with a Brad Thor spy novel and read for two hours straight. Or on Sunday morning when you want to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on an hours worth of tech blog articles from the week. Where do they do all that reading?
Who Gets the Last Word?
There’s been a lot of hay made lately about Apple’s(AAPL) new affordable iPad and how it may signal a new assault on the education market. I suppose that’s possible but it seems like Apple waited an awful long time to do so. If Apple is able to eke out a larger share of the education market, that’s great, but I don’t think this is where Apple’s focus is. If you judge Apple by the old rule, “actions speak louder than words” then you’d be hard-pressed not to come away with the conclusion that the enterprise market is more important to Apple than education.
Manufacturing and distribution analysis since 1993.