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.”

Apple, Google, And Microsoft: Three Sides Of The Future

What’s going on among the technology giants we know and love or loath? Three of the largest are locked in a head-to-head-to-head battle for supremacy in the desktop and mobile device wars, and each one has a distinctly unique approach.

Which do you choose?

Apple does business the old fashioned way. It makes attractive products that live in a highly curated ecosystem. Think Mac, iPhone, iPad running OS X and iOS with similar applications, all tied nicely together with iCloud, Apple TV, the various app stores, Apple’s retail stores.

That business model works well for Apple as the company commands the lion’s share of profits in each industry product line. To Apple, you’re the customer, and the company works diligently at every level to keep customers happy.

Contrast that with Google which mostly eschews contact with users.

Note that if you use a Google product– smartphone, tablet, Maps, Chrome browser, or the various and sundry and free Google apps– you’re the user, not the customer. Google’s customers are advertisers who want to put messages in your face; messages tailored and targeted with the personal data that Google culls from your online usage habits.

That business model works well for Google as the company’s only true revenue and profit stream– advertising– commands the lion’s share of that industry.

Contrast both Apple and Google’s approach with Microsoft, which has been struggling to find a niche as the world moves toward mobile devices. Basically, Microsoft uses the subscription model to generate revenue and profits.

Subscriptions?

Yes. Think of licensing Windows and Office to PC makers as an annual subscription.

Microsoft now has a subscription service for Office in Office 365, so users and customers pay by the month or year to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, et al. Microsoft Azure and the new Dynamics CRM Online services are mostly subscription services– pay by the month– per customer or per user, to use the company’s growing line of online services.

There’s also some overlap between products from these three tech giants. Apple’s iCloud, at certain usage points, has a subscription fee. Google and Microsoft dabble in hardware. Apple collects customer usage data for advertising but does so differently than Google (mostly to support developers of iOS and OS X).

All three companies are, as they say, richer than God, but each one has distinct weaknesses. Apple is dependent upon enticing customers to buy new hardware products. Google is dependent upon a growing source of user data to sell to advertisers. Microsoft makes most of its money from Windows and Office. Both Google and Microsoft have trouble diversifying their business model to create new and worthy revenue streams.

How will the future play out? Because each company is so different, I see more of the same for many years into the future, or at least until the next great thing comes along.

‘If it’s not one thing, it’s always something’

Thank you, Roseanne Roseannadanna.

Just when you thought Bendghazi had drifted away, there’s another. This one is called Hairgate or Beardgate. Read this package of lies carefully.

iPhone 6, the most wanted smartphone of the year by Apple, has seen harsh reviews and flaws with the design.

Where are those ‘harsh reviews’ and ‘flaws?’ They must be hidden under the accolades.

First it was the display screen, which was breaking within a few falls. Reviewers and critics claimed that the display screen is feeble and can shatter with just a two to three falls from a few feet.

That is what happens to educated people when they’re unemployed. Their imagination goes into overdrive.

Now comes the Bendgate, an issue with the chassis bending with sufficient force. People who kept the iPhone 6 in their pockets found that the smartphone bent quickly.

Nine customers and a few souls in league with YouTube views does not a scandal make.

And now this time the Hairgate is doing its rounds. Hairgate is the phenomenon where the iPhone tends to catch the hair and pull it… In short, the hair gets stuck between the display screen and the chassis, where the two meet, and the hair tends to get stuck in this gap. Some have called it Beardgate, where they are getting their scuff caught in the seam of the iPhone 6.

Good grief.

Apple’s Bendghazi Scandal? It’s Horse$#!}. Says Who? Take A Guess, Watch The Video

There comes a time when a company hits the bottom, and there are plenty of examples of riches to rags storiesin the tech industry. When a company comes upon hard times, one of three things usually happens.

First, the company goes out of business, or gets bought by a competitor just before it dies (think Nokia). Second, there’s a ‘dead cat bounce‘ whereby things get better for awhile, then get worse; much worse (think BlackBerry). Finally, when a company hits rock bottom it also becomes desperate to survive, and, for the right company with the right leader, all sorts of good things can happen (think Apple).

Back in the mid-to-late 1990s Apple was in dire straights and had already used up one dead cat bounce. Then Steve Jobs returned to Apple. He sliced and diced the product line, simplified the company’s focus, got the Good Ship Cupertino sailing again, set out on a new course working on the future and the next insanely great thing.

From there, Apple launched the iMac, iPod, iTunes Music Store, Apple Stores, iPhone, iPhone App Store, Apple TV, Mac App Store, and the iPad.

What Apple needed back then was a straight talking, no-nonsense leader, who almost by sheer will power moved Apple kicking and screaming into the 21st century and an amazing string of product hits, as well as incredible riches.

As happens from time to time, Apple was struck by another scandal. The company has nursed itself through a few in recent years. Antennagate. Mapsgate. Bendgate (I prefer Bendghazi; we’ll probably hear plenty about Benghazi when Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016).

Who came to Apple’s defense in the Bendghazi scandal?

It wasn’t Apple’s competitors, whose products bend much the same way. Was it any of the major U.S. cell phone carriers who have grown rich and fat by selling the iPhone (insert comical laugh here)? AT&T? Nope. Verizon? Uh huh. How about Sprint? Zilch.

Standing next to Apple on the world stage of YouTube publicity was non-other than the newly minted CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere, a somewhat flamboyant executive with experience at AT&T, Sprint, Dell, and a few other technology companies.

The straight talking Legere is credited with turning T-Mobile around, re-building the company’s anemic network, simplifying cell phone plan pricing, and getting T-Mobile back to an improved state of financial health– thanks in large part to getting the iPhone to put on store shelves.

What does Legere have to say about Apple’s Bendghazi problem?

That is such horse shit. I mean, come on, what the fuck did you need to see?

Whoa. Did Legere really say that? Yes, at a GeekWire conference, and it’s exactly the kind of straight talk that gets employees fired up about their company, struggling or otherwise, and his pronouncement should be the final nail in the coffin of Bendghazi extremists.

It’s a lengthy video but the real fun begins at about 18:00 minutes in. Enjoy.

The Sport Of Apple Slamming

Ken Segall’s view on Bendgate, Bendghazi, and the art of slamming Apple for fun and profit, and how Apple overcomes all the manufactured scandals.

Apple’s resilience isn’t a fluke, and it doesn’t result from some kind of mind control over sheeplike customers. It’s the result of a purposeful, wide-ranging effort that’s gone on for at least 15 years.

Building customer loyalty as Apple has done requires vision, talent, investment and determination.

For many companies, a Bendgate-style story could cause incalculable damage, whether or not it is based in fact.

Because it’s worked so hard to earn customers’ love, Apple has a built-in defense system. Stories like this may get millions of views — but they do virtually no long-term damage.

Speed Test: iPhone 6 vs. Galaxy S5 vs. HTC One (M8)

You gotta love speed tests, especially when Apple’s A8 CPU is pitted against chips from yesteryear.

Obviously, the iPhone 6 fares rather well.

Safari Tricks In iOS 8

Nice list of Safari browser tricks in iOS 8 from Derek Walter:

Safari for iOS is as old as the iPhone itself, and even with all the apps that have come and gone in those seven plus years, Safari is the old standby, the essential app that’s in the dock row of millions of iPhones and iPads. Apple improves Safari in every iteration of iOS, and iOS 8 is no exception

Spoiler Alert!

  • Desktop Safari version
  • Scan credit cards
  • Use DuckDuckGo
  • Subscribe to RSS feeds
  • App passwords

A Few Words On Replacing The Mac

As a technology company with a variety of products which sell well and overlap in functionality, Apple does not seem to fear cannibalization, a common occurrence that is often feared in product marketing.

cannibalize |ˈkanəbəˌlīz| verb [ with obj. ]
1 use (a machine) as a source of spare parts for another, similar machine. cannibalizing two broken-down cars might provide spare parts to make one working car. figurative : high culture should cannibalize mass culture.
• (of a company) reduce the sales of (one of its products) by introducing another similar product.

Remember the iPod mini? Apple killed the entire line in favor of the iPod nano. Cannibalization, handled correctly, actually is a good thing.

In marketing strategy, cannibalization refers to a reduction in sales volume, sales revenue, or market share of one product as a result of the introduction of a new product by the same producer.

While this may seem inherently negative, in the context of a carefully planned strategy, it can be effective, by ultimately growing the market, or better meeting consumer demands. Cannibalization is a key consideration in product portfolio analysis.

For now, Apple has a growing line of computers, many of which perform tasks and functions which overlap other devices. Starting with the iPod, Apple’s string of products have slowly but surely cannibalized functionality from the Mac.

Think about it. The Mac and iTunes were once all about Photoshop, browsing, email, spreadsheets and word processing, as well as music and movie making. Along came the iPod and music moved off the Mac and into the pocket.

Likewise, with the iPhone, we’ve moved function after function away from the Mac and into the pocket– browsing, email, music and movies, photos, calendar and contacts, and much more. Similarly, functions that once required the larger screen on a Mac have been offloaded to the iPad; games, graphics, photo enhancements, movie editing, sound production.

Step by step since the iPod debuted in 2001, Apple has been pulling features and functions from the Mac and stuffing them into mobile devices. Yet, the Mac sells in greater numbers than ever; owns the premium end of the PC market in sales, and Apple takes about half of the PC industry’s profits.

Apple seems intent upon replacing the Mac (or, the Mac’s functionality) with mobile device functionality, yet preserving the essence of the Mac in each device, and yet morphing the Mac itself into a desirable device that integrates well with today’s mobile devices.

If ever there was a technology company that knows how to cannibalize itself, it’s Apple. Can you name another company that does it better?

‘These People Are Nuts’

Former Apple employee Don Melton on the company’s famed work ethic:

And by the way, when you hear the so-called apocryphal stories about Tim Cook coming to work in the wee hours and staying late, it’s not just some PR person telling you stories to make you think that Apple executives work really hard like that. They really do that. I mean, these people are nuts. They’re just, they are there all the time. I know that for Bertrand, certainly when he was there, you would never know what time of the day or night you would get email from that man.

Munster Predicts Again

The guy who predicts Apple products for a living, and has predicted an Apple television every year since forever, now predicts how many watches Apple will sell next year. Gene Munster:

Overall, we believe that the Apple Watch is light years ahead of any other smartwatch on the market, but consumer application may be limited initially until developers begin to create useful applications for the watch… We believe that to date, there have been less than 3 million smartwatches sold in total, thus the Apple Watch will represent a significant change in the smartwatch industry

The number? 10-million.

Pros And Cons Of iPhone 6

Interesting list from Adrian Kinglsey-Hughes:

…this is the first iPhone I’ve owned where I feel truly torn over how I feel about it. Yes, the iPhone 6 Plus is a great handset, but the ultimate price of ownership isn’t the price tag but tolerating a number of compromises. And as a result of that, I don’t think that the iPhone 6 Plus is for everyone.

Really? Maybe that’s why Apple sells many different iPhone models. Spoiler Alert!

Pros: Battery life, display, superior camera, toughness, vibrate motor, call quality

Cons: Big, case makes it bigger, charging takes longer (larger battery), sluggish, buttons awkwardly placed.

Apple And Life In The Media Echo Chamber

Our favorite Mac, iPhone, and iPad company is one of many that live prominently in the 21st century media echo chamber, which works, more or less, much like the yellow journalism publications of the last century which fomented war and political upheaval to sell newspapers.

What is an echo? And how does it work both for and against Apple?

echo |ˈekō| noun (pl. echoes)
1 a sound or series of sounds caused by the reflection of sound waves from a surface back to the listener: the walls threw back the echoes of his footsteps

2 a close parallel or repetition of an idea, feeling, style, or event
• (often echoes) a detail or characteristic that is suggestive of something else

Wikipedia puts the echo in a similar light.

An echo (plural echoes) is a reflection of sound, arriving at the listener some time after the direct sound. Typical examples are the echo produced by the bottom of a well, by a building, or by the walls of an enclosed room and an empty room. A true echo is a single reflection of the sound source. The time delay is the extra distance divided by the speed of sound. The word echo derives from the Greek ἠχώ (ēchō),[1] itself from ἦχος (ēchos), “sound”.

On the positive side, the digital media echo chamber of the 21st century works for Apple by amplifying the company’s product details, reputation, features and benefits far beyond the money devoted to advertising and promotion.

On the negative side, the echo chamber works against Apple by amplifying what appear to be inherent problems in a product or service. Good examples of the negative echo chamber are Antennagate of a few years ago, the recent Bendgate (also known as Bendghazi) issue where iPhone 6 models appear to bend too easily.

What’s really happening in this echo chamber is a rehash of yellow journalism from the early 1900s, where sensationalism ruled print media for the sake of newspaper sales. Frank Luther Mott defined it this way:

  • scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news
  • lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings
  • use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudoscience, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts
  • emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips
  • dramatic sympathy with the “underdog” against the system

As much as that definition appears to fit and reflect today’s digital media madness, it was written back in the 1930s. Other than the method of distribution (atoms vs. bits), not much has changed.

Enter ‘apple iPhone bend’ in Google and you’ll be treated with headlines befitting of a bona fide media disaster for a problem that does not exist.

I Walked Into An Apple Store And Bent An iPhone 6 Plus.

That’s a fetching headline for a criminal act designed to get readers and eyeballs onto a website notorious for playing fast and loose with the truth.

With a somewhat more sane approach to the details of fact than Business Insider is Consumer Reports.

Apple’s iPhone 6 Found Tough To Bend.

As is usually the case, the truth is out there but requires the reader or listener or viewer to go beyond normal effort to determine what is fact vs. what is fiction. When it comes to segregating the two, today’s digital media (TV, cable, websites, print media, et al) often fail to apply even the basics of journalism integrity, falling instead to the lure of sensationalism, regardless the of the cost to truth, fact, or justice.

For good or bad, Apple lives in the center of that media echo chamber; beloved by hundreds of millions customers (so much for ‘cult’), bashed by a few thousand who buy digital ink by the barrel. Is it any wonder that Apple pays little attention to the way the world works, and continues to walk to the beat of a different drummer?