And Why Tesla's Model 3 Will Be a Disaster
If you’re either a manufacturing or Apple wonk you should check out Leander Kahney’s interview with former Apple product design engineer, Anna Katrina Shedletsky. The latest podcast of Apple Chat spends time with the now co-founder of Instrumental discussing all manner of hardcore manufacturing science. Her views were formed from spending a lot of time in China getting the iPod and Apple Watch manufacturing lines validated. Anna could easily be a professional podcaster. She's a great communicator without getting too dry.
HomePod vs Apple Watch
Since Apple’s WWDC (AAPL) unveiling of their upcoming HomePod, many tech pundits have been reading a lot into the fact that Apple put all their focus on the HomePod’s sound quality and not so much its Siri utility. But there may be more to the story than just Apple deciding that “Siri isn’t much improved so let’s hide that fact.”
One Can Dream
Recently while speaking about Apple’s (AAPL) upcoming HomePod, Phil Schiller made the comment that Apple had so much in-house speaker talent that it was exciting to turn them loose on a new project. And this makes sense considering that these audio specialists must have spent countless hours trying to get tiny speakers in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks to sound good. They know a thing or two about generating big sound out of relatively small speakers
Perhaps no company on the stock exchange exemplifies a bubble stock more than Tesla. To the unemotional eye you can see a poorly managed company which makes mediocre products. And like a teenager about to get swindled by a smooth talking used car salesman, investors buy the story that this clunker could be highly valuable one day.
You always hear people say that Apple should make everything cross-platform. These people make that request because it’s good for them. They want the freedom to move back and forth between platforms without having to give up any of their accessories. And Apple would rake in the cash from all those Android users who would start buying Apple Watches and AirPods. Everyone’s happy, right?
Apple (AAPL) announced last week that they were going to introduce a new iOS interface for the iPhone while you drive. A completely black screen with automatic replies to your friends that you are driving and can’t respond until later. This is a step in the right direction.
After Apple’s WWDC unveiling of a slew of iOS 11 enhancements for the iPad I read more than a few snarky comments by journalists. The jokes were along the lines of that what iPad enthusiasts really wanted all along was a Mac. If that is what anyone took away from the iOS 11 unveiling then those people misunderstand why people prefer the iPad.
Variety is reporting that Google has poached one of Apple’s (AAPL) key chip designers.
Google has hired a veteran chip architect away from Apple and is now looking to build its own chips for future versions of its flagship Pixel phone, Variety has learned from sources familiar with the hire. Manu Gulati, who had been spearheading Apple’s own chip developments for close to eight years, joined Google in the last few weeks. He publicly announced the job change on his Linkedin profileTuesday morning, stating that he now works as Google’s Lead SoC Architect. -Janko Roettgers
AirPods Are Now My Favorite Wireless Headphones
I’ve installed watchOS 4 on my Series 2 Apple Watch, and I couldn’t be happier. I can finally easily adjust the volume quickly and easily for my AirPods when I’m out running.
The Power Users vs the Confused
I couldn’t disagree more with including 3D Touch in this New York Times Apple (AAPL) gripe article by Vindu Goel:
A similar lack of enthusiasm among users and developers has limited adoption of the iPhone’s 3-D Touch feature, where a long, hard press on an app sometimes offers additional options such as viewing an email without opening it. And sales of the Apple Watch have been hampered by the steep learning curve it requires of users, who must master pushing, turning and tapping various parts of the watch and a related iPhone app.
Apple's Hardware Advantage
Android users who switch to Apple’s iPhone quickly find one huge advantage to living in the iOS ecosystem. It’s one thing that iPhone users don’t generally talk about because they assume that everyone has the same options. But they don’t. I’m talking about an entire universe of hardware accessories that exists for iPhone users that is unmatched by any other phone, or perhaps any other product, in the world.
Why Not Maximize Profit?
Lauren Goode of Recode writes about Netflix CEO Reed Hasting’s prediction that movies will eventually be available in theaters and streaming simultaneously:
Netflix’s chief executive officer has made no secret of the fact that he’d like movies to come to Netflix almost as soon as they’re released in theaters. Today at Recode’s Code Conference, he offered a rather optimistic view of how people will still have their in-theater experience and stream it, too: by likening the theater experience to going out to dinner, as opposed to cooking at home.
It's Hard to Say
I find this question quite intriguing. Since Apple’s MacBook Pro has roughly double the average selling price (ASP) of an iPad, most people would assume that Apple must make a higher gross margin on the MacBook Pro. But that’s not necessarily the case.
Music Acquisition and Control Needs to Improve
I hate to say it but this article is right on the mark. Check out this article in Mashable by Pete Pachal. Apple has poured so much effort into the health and exercise aspect of the watch that other functions seem to have been left behind. Notably, music playback.
In using the Apple Watch day to day, I'm also annoyed that audio playback controls — what I would consider a fundamental feature of the watch — are buried. If you're listening to, say, a podcast, in order to pause playback you first need to move your wrist, press the home button, swipe to the Now Playing "glance" (the term Apple uses for app screens), tap to activate the glance, then tap again to actually press pause. That's five steps for something that should be two at the most. – Pete Pachal, Mashable
Moving Bits vs Pounds
In an interview with Bloomberg, Apple (AAPL) Co-founder Steve Wozniak suggested that perhaps Tesla would be the originator of the next big thing in tech as opposed to a large tech company like Apple.
This is laughable. With all due respect to Woz, Tesla specializes in moving people and things. Apple, Google, Facebook etc are truly tech pioneering companies that specialize in moving data and connecting people in new ways. Big difference.
The Mechanical Parallel
Apple’s marvel of miniature electronics, the Apple Watch, has become an indispensable part of my day and points the way to a future when smartphones offload various functions to satellite devices. But to watch purists, this vision of the future is a cold one. In a piece for Business Insider, Dennis Green writes about how Swiss watch maker H. Moser & Cie has crafted a mechanical watch that mimics Apple’s watch.
More than anything I’ve heard, listening to mechanical watch fans talk about smart watches describes how driving enthusiasts feel about electric cars.
Why Hillary Can't Claim Popular Vote Victory
In an interview with the New Yorker, Hillary Clinton makes the statement that she beat both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. She’s referring to the fact that she beat both candidates in the popular vote.
That’s like a losing football team saying that they actually won because they gained more offensive yards. Or a losing basketball team saying that they should have won because they grabbed more rebounds. If those were the metrics that determined who won, everyone would have played the game differently.
Google Is Raiding Retailers
I predicted that Google would start tracking purchases via credit card numbers a year ago. I’ll bet some of you thought I was crazy. Reporting for Engadget, Chris Ip wrote a story about how Google is indeed tracking credit card purchases.
First, Google followed you to the store using location data, much like Foursquare. Then its launched its Express shopping service. Now, it will track billions of credit and debit card transactions in an even bigger effort to prove its online ads push users into brick-and-mortar shops.
What Would Really Change Transportation?
Blah, blah, blah. I’m so tired of the narrative that these evolutionary changes in transportation are some kind of earth-shattering revolution. Peter Valdes-Dapena, writing for CNNTech goes through his list of how everything with driving is changing:
Everything about cars is changing right now. That means how we power them, how drive them and even how we own them. –CNNTech, May 24, 2017
Hardware vs Software
I liked this article by Vlad Sadov...
Physical things anchor our gadget lust in the real world and ultimately soak up whatever goodwill the software on those gadgets engenders. Yes, people have their favorite apps, but the appreciation for an app’s quality rarely translates into love for its maker. With hardware, on the other hand, a great user experience is almost always converted into brand loyalty. That’s part of Apple’s grand success, it’s the catalyst for growing fan appreciation for Microsoft and Amazon, and it was the thing that made Google I/O feel a bit boring. –Vlad Sadov, The Verge
If you’re going to buy somebody a gift for an occasion like their birthday or Christmas, you never think about software. The software may make the gadget more appealing but it’s still the physical gadget that gets all the glory.
Did Samsung Forget About Tablets?
This is encouraging. 9to5Mac is reporting rumors that the upcoming iPhone 8 is shorter than the Plus model but slightly wider than the non-Plus 4.7” iPhone. This would be the best case scenario.
I’ve been concerned that Apple would give the new flagship iPhone a taller and narrower aspect ratio. As I’ve written before, narrow screens make viewing the internet terrible when holding your device in portrait mode.
Hardware vs Software
Rumor has it that Apple is about to launch an Amazon Echo–like competitor at WWDC next month. Something that I never thought they’d do. I figured that Apple’s most likely course of action was to improve Siri. Unlike Amazon, Apple already has Siri distribution points all through our lives. In our phones, tablets, watches, Apple TVs and MacBooks. And yet the Echo seems to be running away with the household assistance market. Why?
Besides a 50% Sales Decline
Chris Chavez over at Phandroid makes the case that the curved screen on Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is actually the phone’s worst feature. The fact that Samsung made another dumb decision that favors a marketing gimmick at the expense of the user experience does not surprise me.
Picture this: a smartphone manufacturer makes a new smartphone with the best display on the market. The only caveat is that there’s excessive distortion and light bleed along the side edges. Would this phone be given rave reviews? Not a freakin’ chance, but that’s exactly what you see with the Galaxy S8. –Chris Chavez, Phandroid
The iPhone's Partial Successor?
Alex Kipman, the inventor of the HoloLens, is absolutely correct. Smartphones will eventually be replaced by augmented reality wearables. Even I can see it coming.
We’re not going to come out with another device that someone’s done,” says marketing chief Mehdi. Anyway, smartphones are yesterday’s news, says HoloLens inventor and in-house futurist Alex Kipman. “The phone is already dead,” he says. “People just haven’t realized.” Kipman is convinced some kind of mixed-reality device like the HoloLens will replace the phone—a theory echoed over at Apple. –Alex Kipman, HoloLens Inventor
Manufacturing and distribution analysis since 1993.