Revealed: How I Capture Articles Online To Share Between My Mac, iPhone, And iPad

Apple’s customers are the company’s biggest asset. It’s not design or engineering or stores or distribution. It’s the customers. We evangelize, we criticize (with love), we tolerate mistakes and gaffes (with patience), and we’re willing to stand in line among our brothers and sisters to await Apple’s latest products.

Part of my evangelizing nature is to share applications I use and the reasons they’re worth trying. Here’s a perfect example of a perfect app that fits perfectly within and between Apple’s Mac, iPhone, and iPad– and performs a singular duty to help us organize an increasingly complex digital world.

The app is called Pocket. It’s free. It runs on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and a bunch of other devices. All it does is let you save and sync articles, videos, and the like– to Mac, iPhone, iPad, or other device.

For Apple products, installing Pocket means it shows up as an option to save. Once you save an article from a website or Flipboard or whatever, it gets synchronized between your devices running Pocket, so you can read the aforementioned article whenever and wherever.

Pocket for the Mac looks a bit like an RSS reader but unlike RSS, you’re in control of what you save for later.

Pocket for Mac

I use all three versions of Pocket about equally; Mac, iPhone, iPad. What is especially useful is the offline feature. Pocket doesn’t care if you’re connected. Once items are synced, they’re viewable anywhere. Mountaintop or subway.

Pocket is just one of those new age apps that fits today’s mostly digital information lifestyle. The business plan worries me, though. Pocket is a free app. The sync service is free, too. Pocket Premium comes with a nominal monthly or annual price tag and, like Evernote, probably is worthwhile to the very serious reader, researcher, student, or media hound, as it comes with enhanced tags and search functions.

One issue of the information age (or, as some call it, the mis-information age), is the disparate sources of information collection and viewing. I use Pocket, an RSS reader, and Evernote; each is a bit different, used differently, but valuable enough to keep around and mold into the daily workflow.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a single app that does all those three apps do?

Unlimited Doesn’t Mean Limited

I dumped AT&T because their unlimited data plan was throttled, which limited unlimited data. Years later the FTC agrees. From L.A. Times:

The Federal Trade Commission is suing AT&T Wireless, saying it is seeking millions of dollars in restitution for customers who were promised unlimited data plans by the wireless carrier, only to have their mobile network speeds slowed in a practice known as data throttling

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramierez:

The company has misled millions of its mobile customers … with so-called unlimited data plans that were in reality not unlimited at all… We think that millions of customers have been affected, and we hope to put money back in their pockets

AT&T’s response:

The FTC’s allegations are baseless and have nothing to do with the substance of our network management program. It’s baffling as to why the FTC would choose to take this action against a company that, like all major wireless providers, manages its network resources to provide the best possible service to all customers, and does it in a way that is fully transparent and consistent with the law and our contracts

Maybe the FTC’s lawsuit has something to do with AT&T changing the definition of unlimited to mean limited.

TV: A Whopper Of A Change

IF the FCC gets what it wants, we’ll see a tidal wave of change hit the television industry in a few short years. Nilay Patel:

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler just proposed a rule change that would require cable and broadcast networks to sell their programming to any company that wants to be a TV provider, not just cable or satellite companies. That means Apple could set up an internet TV service and get all the channels it needs to actually replace your cable box — not just a handful of streaming deals like it has now, but a full-on TV package. Microsoft could do the same thing and properly integrate live TV into the next version of the Xbox One, instead of the ill-fated IR blaster hack shipping now. And Google could actually deliver on the promise of Google TV, instead of wiping out so hard it almost crushed Logitech into a fine powder

It could be a huge change, but I’m not holding my breath. The FCC’s recent history of doing the right thing isn’t all that good.

The Crazy World Of Apple’s ‘Limited’ Product Line

At first glance it may seem that Apple does not design, manufacture, and sell many products. Apple CEO Tim Cook brags that all the company’s products would fit on a kitchen table. Maybe so at a basic level, but Apple’s product line is much longer than you might think.

For example, there’s the Mac. That means MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. And the iMac and Mac Pro. Toss in the Mac mini, and all together they won’t take up much space on the kitchen table. Except the MacBook Air comes in two screen sizes, 11-inch and 13-inch, not to mention many variations for CPU, storage, RAM, etc. Ditto for the MacBook Pro line, at 13-inch and 15-inch, respectively. There’s even a MacBook Pro model with a disk drive, and another with an almost defunct SuperDrive.

The iMac line is equally complex, starting with a few inexpensive 21-inch models, a variety of CPU and storage options, a separate line of 27-inch screens, and the high end 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.

Apple sells only the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, right? Not so fast. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are still around, and each comes in a variety of models based on color and carrier and storage capacity.

The iPod continues to sell, though is relegated to niche status, though not so niche-like with various models in multiple colors– iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch.

Probably the most convoluted product line on the kitchen table is the iPad. There’s just the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, right? Yeah, except for the fact that the iPad Air and iPad mini 2 and the original iPad mini are still around and still selling, starting at $249, each with options for Wi-Fi only, or Wi-Fi plus Cellular, and in various storage capacities. Apple even promotes the iPad’s various CPUs, from A5 to A7 to A8x.

Good, better, best still lives at Apple in 2014.

Apple’s seemingly limited product line isn’t really limited much at all. Choices abound, though all product models have a similar look, and distinct product segmentation. Starting next year, Apple adds to the line with another single product, the Apple Watch, which, when you start looking at the options for bands and cases, could be an inventory nightmare.

Apple’s product line starts with simplicity, but quickly evolves into an array of options topped among competitors in the marketplace only by Samsung (I’m making a guesstimate; hit samsung.com and you’ll be treated with large graphic displays of the Galaxy line of smartphones– and washers and dryers and refrigerators and notebooks and links to a gazillion other products from TVs to Galaxy Gear to cameras to microwaves; no way all that fits on a kitchen dining table).

There’s not much that’s limited in Apple’s product line.

Apple Pay Competitors Boycotted

We have not seen the last of this. Apple Pay is being blocked by some retailers and customers have already started a boycott. Josh Constine:

Long before Apple Pay, big brick-and-mortar retail chains were conspiring to sidestep the typical 2% to 3% fees they’re charged by credit card companies when consumers pay with credit. A company called MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange), spearheaded by Walmart, was started to build a mobile payment solution

Is it as easy and seamless to use as Apple Pay? No. But the retailers make more money, so they’ve blocked Apple Pay in their stores.

Rather than NFC, CurrentC uses QR codes displayed on a cashier’s screen and scanned by the consumer’s phone or vice versa to initiate and verify the transaction. The system is also designed to automatically apply discounts, use loyalty programs, and charge purchases to a variety of payment methods without passing sensitive financial data to the merchant.

Because Apple Pay is in its infancy, this doesn’t bode well for Apple, and sets the stage for a multi-payment effort which is confusing and cumbersome for users.

Why Pound Cake Is Called Pound Cake

Julie R. Thomson solves one of life’s mysteries:

Pound cake gets its name from the fact that it calls for a pound of flour, a pound of butter (yes!), a pound of sugar and a pound of eggs. That’s it. If that sounds like a lot of cake, you can cut the ingredients in half — so long as the ratio remains the same, that’s all that matters.

All those pounds end up weighing a pound in the grocery store version.

The Cloud: ‘Never Fully Secure’

This doesn’t bode well for the future. Eileen Yu:

Hackers today continue to outsmart cloud service providers and local jurisdictions involving cloud data, such as those in the U.S., have triggered serious concerns about data sovereignty. However, the lack of security assurance shouldn’t stop enterprises and consumers from embracing cloud and mobile services because, unless you cut the internet cord and completely unplug, there can never be guaranteed security.

Instead, security strategies and best practices should focus on mitigation, so both businesses and consumers know what to do when a security breach occurs. Network defense and protection are important, but a sound risk mitigation strategy will enable enterprises to minimize losses and damage when — not if — a security breach occurs.

Let’s not stop the cause of the disease, let’s treat the symptoms.

If Elvis Presley Were Alive Today He’d Say “A Billion Apple Fans Can’t Be Wrong”

My father has a record collection. As is the case with many of his generation, it’s a mixed bag. Some 33 1/3 albums, some 45s, some 8-tracks, some cassette tapes, some CDs, and a growing collection of digital music thanks to iTunes.

One of his oldest and most cherished albums is ‘50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: Elvis’ Gold Records – Volume 2.‘ It’s a classic of Elvis Presley’s most popular songs. Why can’t 50-million people be wrong about Elvis? It’s the sheer magnitude of the number of fans The King had back then.

Those who count such things say Apple will ship its one-billionth iOS device sometime between now and the end of the year. That’s one billion. 1,000,000,000. Can you name another company that has sold that many technology gadgets since 2007.

My father uses a Mac and owns an iPhone, so I can extrapolate and say that Elvis, if he were alive today (he’d be approaching his 80th birthday), would be an iPhone user. Apple has sold a billion iOS devices for a reason. iPhones, iPads, iPod touch gadgets are powerful but easy to use. Just like the Mac.

Yes, they’re premium devices. You can pay less for similar functionality. What Apple has done is take premium quality and make it affordable for the masses. The King would approve; after all, his special blend of country, R & B, rock ‘n roll helped to form pop music in his day and made him popular among the masses of his generation. 50-million in sales by 1959. That’s not shabby, folks.

That brings up another issue. Apple’s faltering, dropping, anemic iPad sales. What’s wrong with the iPad?

Nothing.

Of the 1-billion iOS devices sold to date, almost 25-percent, one quarter, are iPads. But sales are going down, not up. That anomaly may have more to do with the iPad being Mac-like than the iPhone. People need a phone. They don’t need an iPad or a Mac, hence, once the timeline settles into a routine, iPad sales should mirror the steady quarterly sales of the Mac.

In other words, the iPad is so good, so usable, so durable, and can run so many applications– even on iPads going back to iPad 2– that the upgrade cycle has yet to set in. Apple has sold well over 200-million iPads to date, 12-million just last quarter.

Name another company which sold more tablets. Name another company that even bothers to publish the number of tablets they’ve sold. Ever.

Android 5.0 Feature To ‘All’ Android Smartphones

Zach Epstein needs to alter the headline to match reality.

One of the coolest features from the Moto X is apparently coming to all top Android phones in Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop update.

Yes, that’s the update that absolutely positively will not go to all Android phones. What’s the reality?

On the Moto X, the screen pulses while the phone is asleep and displays the time along with notifications for messages, emails, missed calls and more. A similar feature called “Ambient Display” has been added to the Nexus 6, and a blog post from Phone Arena suggests the feature is coming to all phones that get updates to Android 5.0.

It’s more than seven years since the iPhone launched and all Android-based mobile device manufacturers, now including Samsung, are struggling financially.

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Letter

No, Cook didn’t write one to me, but did send an internal letter to Apple employees following the company’s record breaking financial quarter.

Team,

Today we reported Apple’s highest September quarter revenue ever and our strongest revenue growth rate in seven quarters. These very strong results were made possible by your hard work and dedication.

Customers around the world are loving the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, quickly making this the fastest and most successful iPhone launch in history. The Mac set a new all-time record while the rest of the PC market declined. And the App Store was once again an important driver of our overall revenue growth.

Today we’re launching Apple Pay in the U.S., giving our customers a simple, secure and private way to pay. Later this week we’ll be shipping the new iPad Air 2, the world’s thinnest tablet and the most powerful iPad we’ve ever made. The new 27” iMac with Retina 5K display, which we just introduced last week, is already being hailed as the best visual experience ever on a computer. This is an amazing lineup for the holidays.

The user experience across all our products keeps getting better, thanks to the deep collaboration among our teams. iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite have raised the bar for mobile and desktop operating systems, and they work together in elegant, intuitive ways that only Apple can deliver.

Later this week, I’ll be talking with a group of Apple employees in Beijing. We’re going to record the meeting so you can watch it on AppleWeb, and we’ll include questions from other sites. Please visit AppleWeb to submit a question and I’ll answer as many as I can.

Congratulations on the strong results we’ve achieved together. We can all be proud of the quarter we just reported, and the work that keeps Apple the most innovative company in the world.

Tim

So much for ‘doomed’, huh?

Internet Lies

This ‘article‘ explains why the internet is often called the misinformation superhighway. It’s from Silicon Valley Insider.

Many have heard about the short comings of Apple’s new iPhone.

No. The iPhone 6 models receive raving reviews.

You see, Apple has been scrambling to put together a different device that will end all disease.

Uh huh. Sure. Yeah, Apple is working on ending all disease.

One company already has this device and it’s just about to hit the market.

I’m not going to hold my breath.

Who Moves The Bar More Than Apple?

Argue if you must (and have the time to waste), but in computers for the masses, Apple is the trendsetter. Other manufacturers may ship more PCs, more smartphones, and more tablets, but Apple is the company disrupts and then resets the standard.

Here are some visible examples.

What did Microsoft’s operating system look like before Mac OS? What did Windows look like years after the Mac launched? What did portable media players look like before the iPod? What did PC notebooks look like before the PowerBook or MacBook Air? What did Android OS and smartphones look like before the iPhone? What did tablets look like before the iPad?

You get the idea, right?

Except for one thing Apple sets the standard and the rest of the industry follows. One thing? What Apple does not do is design, build, and sell cheap products. That explains why Apple products’ marketshare is disproportionate to the company’s profit share. Apple stakes out the premium side of the product spectrum, and despite attempts by others to copy that strategy, owns it.

Let’s look at a few other areas where the company’s trendsetting sets the stage for copycat manufacturers to follow Apple’s lead.

Ultrabooks. The MacBook Air debuted as an expensive but thin and light slab of aluminum, sans the artifacts of yesteryear (no CD/DVD player).

64-bit CPUs. Apple’s ARM-based, customized CPU for iPhone and iPad is 64-bit. A year after the A7 CPU rocked the mobile world, Android-based devices are beginning to ship a competitor. Android OS, too.

Despite the history of trendsetting, bar raising, and market disruption, Apple marches to the beat of its own drummer, and sometimes fails to do what competitors seem to do easily. A good example is smartphones with large screens, and tablets with smaller screens. Different screen sizes are not anything special. Clearly, for a smartphone manufacturer to differentiate itself from Apple, a larger screen was natural. Likewise, for a tablet manufacturer to differentiate itself from Apple, a smaller screen was natural. In both, Apple did not lead, it followed, but screen size is not a market disruption; merely a natural product progression.

Apple’s timing for new product introductions is impeccable, too. Look at Apple Pay. The technology has been lying around for a few years, but only Apple pulled together all the right pieces– at the right time– to influence the marketplace with a simple and yet highly secure mobile payment system. Apple Pay will take a few years to receive widespread adoption (it only works with new generation iPhones and iPads) but the iPhone was not an immediate adoption success, either.

The latest bar moving episode at Apple is the new iMac with Retina 5K display. Apple defined the all-in-one PC, and the anemic copycats from Dell, HP and others have failed to advance the state of the art. Just as Apple did with the original iPhone with Retina display, the new higher than high resolution on the iMac display sets the stage for the future where Retina-like resolution is everywhere.

Still another example is devices that work well and play nice-nice with one another; seamlessly, automatically, and built-in. Newer Macs with OS X Yosemite, as well as iPads on iOS 8.x, can start and answer phone calls using a nearby iPhone; or, edit documents started on a different device, or activate an iPhone hotspot without the need to pull the iPhone out of a purse, pocket, backpack, or briefcase.

Apple leads the PC and mobile industry. Every other company merely follows with something similar and cheaper.

Apple Did It Again

The new iPads, Macs, and OS X Yosemite, Apple Pay, and iOS 8.1 are expected. Also expected is Apple’s uncanny ability to make this year’s product just enough better and more desirable that customers who just bought last year’s product happy to give it away as a hand-me-down or sell it, and with full justification for buying the latest and greatest.

Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald:

In our view, the iPad makes an excellent gift and yesterday’s refresh with the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 that includes the addition of a third color (i.e., gold) and Touch ID, bodes well for demand this holiday season. We also expect these new gold iPads to be met with strong demand during the Chinese New Year in early 2015. Although Apple may not have surprised the market with the products that were announced yesterday, we believe the thinness of the iPad Air 2 was a major surprise given that Apple had already reduced the thickness of the original iPad Air by 20% compared to the prior iPad iteration. During the hands-on session, we took the iPad Air 2 for a test drive, and we found the device to be “insanely” thin

Translation: Apple did it again.

iTunes: ‘A Rose By Any Other Name…”

iTunes is an unwieldy mass media mall that sprawls over the digital countryside of your Mac’s screen. iTunes 12 is merely a new color of paint on the walls, and new striping on the parking lot. Otherwise, same old iTunes. Nick Peers on the changes in version 12.

The new release debuts a flatter, more modern look designed to tie in with Yosemite, which includes a new red app icon and some redesigned and restructured elements. The update also adds support for some iOS 8/Yosemite-only features such as Family Sharing.

Fair enough, but how is iTunes better to navigate?

Aside from the flatter, more modern look, iTunes 12 also debuts a restructured look that sees users navigate between libraries, shared folders and devices by way of icons displayed horizontally at the top of the screen.

So, just a few cosmetic changes, right? It’s still just a giant media mall.

Playlist editing has been made easier by placing playlists side-by-side with users music libraries, making it simple to add tracks to existing playlists by dragging and dropping them on to the playlist in question. The Get Info box for a selected item has also been radically redesigned and simplified.

Oh, yeah. I forgot about the trouble I was having with playlists (not). Meh. It’s still iTunes.

Watch and Wait

No new Apple TV at the latest event, so every competitor has a product with more channels, faster CPU, more storage, and a lower price. Christopher Breen sums it up.

I’m going to double down on the as-yet-unannounced, next-gen Apple TV. And I’ll do so because, upon events-driven further consideration, the Apple TV appears to be just one piece in a larger, unfinished puzzle… Apple TV has a lead role to play in Apple’s HomeKit strategy. Specifically, it will act as a hub—a kind of traffic cop for the various smart devices in your home.

So, no Apple TV, no Apple television, but we can now pin our hopes on some kind of Home device where television is merely a component of the screen.

OK.

But what other choice do we have?

A ‘Very Dark Place’

FBI Director James Comey steps up his attack on personal encryption:

We have the legal authority to intercept and access communications and information pursuant to court order, but we often lack the technical ability to do so… if the challenges of real-time interception threaten to leave us in the dark, encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place

Cry me a river. What prevents the FBI, NSA or other spooks from behaving as badly toward personal information as hackers and criminals?

Apple Is A Technology Company, But Google Is Not

Apple is a successful technology company but Google is not. There. I said it. It’s fact.

It should be obvious, too. Apple is a successful technology company (defined as a company whose primary business, as measured by revenue streams and profit, is based upon the design, manufacture, distribution, and sales of technological gadgets or equipment) while Google, which uses technology to obtain revenue and profits, is nothing more than an advertising company, albeit highly profitable.

Let me put this another way.

Primarily, Apple designs, manufactures, distributes, and sells technology gadgets to make money. Primarily, Google uses technology to gather user information to sell to advertisers.

Wait. I know what you’re thinking. “Kate, Apple also sells advertising, and Google also makes smartphones and tablets.”

Both are true, but do not detract from the main thesis. Apple’s advertising business is there to assist app developers to publish apps for the iOS platform, while Google’s Nexus line of smartphones and tablets are merely hardware references to set the standard for Android device developers. Google doesn’t make money with Nexus.

Apple’s advertising business is less than nominal (though profitable), perhaps a rounding point on the quarterly financials, while Google’s hardware business is less than nominal (probably not profitable), and the company never discloses how many devices were sold.

That’s a telling sign of success. Every quarter Apple releases financial numbers which include revenue streams, profits, and product unit sales. Every quarter Google releases financial numbers which include revenue and profits. Unit sales are never mentioned.

Apple designs the entire product package– Mac and OS X, iPhone, iPad and iOS– top to bottom. Google merely uses technology to advance revenue and profits– from advertising.

What about Google’s research and development? Google R&D contains self-driving cars, Google Glass, internet balloons, contact lenses for diabetics, same-day drone delivery service, the artificial neural network device, and many others.

Those research projects make for great public relations and Google is touted as a leading technology company, but where are the actual products?

Over 90-percent of Google’s revenue and profits come to the company the old fashioned way. Advertising. The R&D technology is nothing more than a smoke screen to help prop up the stock price, which would drop to Yahoo! levels if investors knew that Google was merely an advertising company hiding behind a curtain of technology promise without fulfillment.

The Battle for Eyeballs

Good summary from ZDNet (oddly, no byline) on how Facebook is battling Google for online revenue.

The battle is particularly intense in the fast-growing mobile ad segment: Google’s share has dipped slightly over the past two years to 44.6 percent, while Facebook has grabbed 20 percent of those revenues worldwide, up from just 5.9 percent in 2012.

I contend that Google is not a technology company. It’s an advertising company.

Big Phablet, Low Price

Lots of high end hardware specifications on Google’s new Nexus 6 phablet (and Nexus 9 tablet). Zack Whittaker:

Google’s Nexus 6 “phablet” phone was built by Motorola. It features a a 5.9-inch quad-HD display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels (or 493 pixels-per-inch, stronger than an Apple Retina display)… The camera can take 13-megapixel pictures. The Nexus 6 also lands with a Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7Ghz processor, and Adreno 420 graphics…. The “phablet” requires just 15 minutes of charging for six hours use… boasts 24 hours of use from a full charge.

Word on the streets is that Nexus 6 will be $49 at AT&T. It also comes in three colors; black, white, and brown.

Brown? Really? Wasn’t the Zune in brown, too?

Worst Jeopardy Story Ever

It’s a tradition. Jeopardy host Alex Trebek asked Boston-based physics major Dan Tran to share something interesting about himself:

So when I was a senior in high school, I took French in high school, we went on an exchange trip, and we arrived incredibly jet-lagged. No cappuccino could really save us in that regard. And, uh, during an open air tour bus tour in Paris, I looked up and said to my friend: ‘Hey, you know, the moon looks pretty bright tonight/today.’ And um, they just turned to me, like, ‘Dan, that’s not the moon, that’s the sun.’ And I was like, no guys it’s the sun.’ But um, but then you know it turned out it was actually the sun and not the moon, and I still confuse it nowadays

Huh?

Why Apple Won’t Hire Me Anytime Soon As A Product Engineer Or Creative Director

My credentials for being hired by Apple are rock solid. I’ve used Apple products for nearly 20 years, own nearly every major product the company makes, and I have a critical eye for that sweet spot between usability and esthetic design.

That would seem to make me a good candidate for a product engineer or a creative director at Apple. So, why won’t Apple hire me?

Celebrity status.

Or, rather, the lack of celebrity status. Or, the complete lack of celebrity, name recognition, and the ability to generate PR just by using my name. You know, the way Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, will.i.am, and Ashton Kutcher have generated such great buzz for BlackBerry, Polaroid, Intel, and Lenovo, respectively.

What? Didn’t you hear?

Singer songwriter Alicia Keys was hired by BlackBerry a year or two or three ago (time flies by so quickly when no one pays attention to you) as creative director, a gig that barely lasted 12 months, and even then it makes you wonder what impact the woman had on BlackBerry’s fortunes which remain mostly unfortunate.

There is plenty of precedent for companies that don’t know what they hell they are doing to add celebrities to their staff; usually in a fit of obvious desperation to generate a little PR buzz. In addition to Keys and BlackBerry, Lada Gaga was creative director for Polaroid. will.i.am was director of creative innovation at Intel. The latest is Ashton Kutcher, the actor from Demi Moore fame, who became a product engineer at computer giant Lenovo.

The way I see it, and based upon my astute analysis of celebrity hires by technology companies, there are only two obstacles to prevent yours truly from showing up as Apple’s next creative engineer.

The first obstacle I face is name recognition. I don’t have any. Or, at least no name recognition to match Keys, Gaga, will.i.am, or Kutcher. Maybe if word got out that Tim Cook reads my blog, or that I once dated Jonny Ive and the guy won’t stop calling me, I could overcome this name recognition issue.

The second obstacle I face is more obvious. Apple is not a company that is desperate to get attention or a little PR on the cheap (as if Antennagate, Mapsgate, Bendgate, and Hairgate were not enough). Unlike BlackBerry, Polaroid, Intel, and Lenovo, Apple knows what the hell it is doing and doesn’t need a celebrity to shill the company’s wares.

Well, other than Bono.

Apple Watch Has An Achilles Heel

This is before anyone has had a chance to use an Apple Watch or more than a few minutes, but Jess Bolluyt thinks battery life is the devices Achilles heel.

It seems increasingly likely that Apple has chosen to compromise battery life to build a smartwatch packed with features and functionality

I remember reading about experts who said it was not possible for an iPad have a 10-hour battery life.

[Experts] think that the Apple Watch is likely to include software that regulates the device’s activity in order to conserve the battery, and that could mean that users won’t be able to use all of the device’s functionality at once, or leave the display on. So while all of Apple Watch’s functions — its ability to send and receive messages, answer phone calls, read emails, or use the walkie-talkie or heartbeat functions — will appeal to consumers considering a purchase of Apple’s first smartwatch, it’s likely that the device’s battery won’t be robust enough to enable them to use each of those functions as frequently as they imagine. Apple has conspicuously avoided giving a definitive number of days (or hours) that the battery will last, or addressing how the device will handle the demands of the operating system and its various functions and apps.

We’ll see.

$3,400 DSLR, Meet iPhone 6 Plus

This comparison from Lee Hitchinson makes me think Apple might be working on an ubercamera. Here’s a comparison of a $3,400 Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR to Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.

The idea here is that the person, not the gear, takes the picture. And there is a (likely apocryphal) story that tells the tale of an encounter between famous novelist Ernest Hemingway and famous photographer Ansel Adams. In the story, Hemingway is purported to have praised Adams’ photographs, saying, “You take the most amazing pictures. What kind of camera do you use?”

Adams frowned and then replied, “You write the most amazing stories. What kind of typewriter do you use?”

Interesting anecdote, but what about the comparison?

A true apples-to-apples comparison would be a lot more difficult to pull off than simply shooting a few sets of images under a few different lighting regimes, and it would likely yield a lot more objective data. However, what matters in a lot of these cases isn’t megapixels and histograms in a vacuum, but how the images look to your eyes. We’ve definitely got enough here to show that under many conditions, a smartphone that costs a few hundred dollars is mostly as good as a DSLR that costs eight-to-ten times as much.

In summary:

So raise your iPhones up high and snap away—unless you need to spend a lot on a camera, you’re almost certainly fine. Step away from automatic shooting and learn the camera’s settings a bit, maybe, but don’t feel like you need to spend thousands to take better pictures. Instead, remember this photography aphorism: “Amateurs worry about gear; professionals worry about money; masters worry about light.”

Old Disease At The New Microsoft

Newly minted CEO Satya Nadella on women and compensation within the Microsoft workforce.

It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along… Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust

Sigh.

So, women should simply do their jobs and wait for men to pay them more because, you know, karma?

After thinking about it (and probably hearing about it), Nadella tweeted a followup response.

Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise. Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias.

And then came the official response from a Microsoft employee:

I answered that question completely wrong. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved… you should just ask.

Nadella is lucky. His gaffe was not as much of a flap as “You’re holding it wrong.”