Microsoft Surface Pro 3: iPad Killer? MacBook Air Killer? Microsoft Killer?

Microsoft just won’t give up. Our favorite Windows and Office maker is back into the mobile device arena with a new entry. I’m just not sure what it is. CoM’s Buster Hein:

Instead of taking on the iPad Air’s 9.7-inch display, Microsoft is thinking even bigger with a 12-inch Surface Pro 3 that could make it the perfect competitor for Apple’s long-rumored 13-inch iPad Pro.

Microsoft wants to compete against a device that does not exist? I don’t think so. Instead, Microsoft aimed the Surface Pro 3 at Apple’s MacBook Air.

Starting at $799, Surface Pro 3 launches Wednesday and while its 800 grams of weight is nearly double the iPad Air, Microsoft boasted that it’s 279 grams lighter than the 11-inch MacBook Air – the device Microsoft considers Surface’s No. 1 enemy, even though it’s still a pain in the ass to use in your lap.

Alright, it’s much bigger, heavier, and thicker than an iPad Air, but lighter than a MacBook Air (until you add the optional keyboard).

At 9.1mm thick the Surface Pro 3 is nearly 2mm beefier than the iPad Air, even though its the thinnest tablet Microsoft has ever made. It sports a 12-inch HD display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, carries between 64GB and 512GB of storage, and comes with three CPU variants, including Intel’s latest Core i7 processor.

So, Surface Pro 3 is a thin and powerful Windows notebook with a detachable keyboard so you can turn it into a big assed iPad Giant. As a notebook it’s actually more expensive than a MacBook Air with comparable CPU, storage, and keyboard added.

I don’t get it.

Sarah’s Brain

Sarah Palin on Hillary’s brain:

Hillary’s brain is off-limits! Leave her health records alone! Democrats are right — scouring records of a female candidate is just politics of personal destruction, and for the media to engage in it would be unfair, unethical, and absolutely UNPRECEDENTED. You can’t probe a woman like that because, well, it’s a war on women!

Sarcasm, right?

Thank goodness liberals are consistent in refusing to apply double standards, thanks to their disdain for hypocrisy — so they’ll come through once again! Rest assured these self-designated protectors of what they obviously believe is the “weaker sex” needing protection in the political arena will elevate political discourse.

Thank goodness Sarah Palin doesn’t have an issue with her brain.

20 Baby Names You’ve Never Heard

No, I’m not shopping for baby names. A friend’s name showed up on the list. From Disney Baby:

Because we’re living in the age of technology it feels like it’s getting harder and harder to come up with names that are truly unique, since everyone else is scouring for the same ideas.

Interesting list of names. Here’s my Spoiler Alert!

  • Marin
  • Sender
  • Svea
  • Harding
  • Onalee
  • Reeve
  • Waller
  • Berwin
  • Hagan
  • Camber
  • Anselm
  • Aris
  • Neva
  • Sem
  • Hadassah
  • Thessaly
  • Jovie
  • Arrington
  • Elowyn
  • Cadman

Microsoft Copies Apple Again

Microsoft, like Apple nemesis Samsung, has a long history of copying market leaders. Windows wasn’t born from originality, folks. It was mostly stolen from Apple’s Mac OS. Likewise, Samsung didn’t innovate the modern era smartphone or tablet with their Galaxy line of knockoffs. Those were copied from Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

That said, Microsoft deserves a little credit for at least attempting to be original, whenever and wherever that occurs. Here are two recent examples.

First, Microsoft Windows Phone. Look at those live tiles on the smartphone’s home screen. While every Android phone more or less mimics the original iPhone layout, Microsoft truly thought differently, and created a unique look on the Windows Phone home screen instead of simply cloning the iPhone as Samsung did.

Second, Microsoft Surface. Instead of simply cloning an iPad the way Samsung did, Microsoft designed and built a hybrid device; part tablet, part notebook. See? That’s completely different from Apple’s iPad design and MacBook line; two products, where Surface, in whatever incarnation is on the shelves this week, is different. A hybrid.

The proof, as they say, is in the taste of the pudding, and that’s where Microsoft struggled with both Windows Phone and Surface. Samsung merely copied Apple’s designs and called it innovation. With the hybrid Surface, Microsoft truly thought differently.

The latest Surface, though, has Microsoft blatantly copying Apple in one very specific aspect. Microsoft decided not to go cheap and hang out in the low end of the product spectrum, instead staking out ground in the premium end of the market. You know, where Apple lives.

The new Surface Pro 3 remains a hybrid notebook-cum-tablet. It’s larger and lighter than a MacBook Air. But it runs Windows 8.1 enhanced for tablets, and does not come with a keyboard (optional), or much storage. The price starts at $100 less than a new 11-inch MacBook Air, but by the time you add a keyboard, a comparable Intel i5 CPU and storage, it’s more expensive than Apple’s low end MacBook Air, and now larger and heavier.

With the keyboard removed, Surface Pro becomes a big-assed tablet that is bigger and heavier than Apple’s iPad Air.

Microsoft copied Apple’s strategy of avoiding the low end of the market with a product that costs nearly double a typical Windows notebook, but also serves as the industry’s largest tablet. I fear Microsoft has gone all schizoid on us by thinking differently and copying Apple at the same time.

Will Surface Pro 3 sell? Yes. But not in the numbers necessary to make Microsoft a player in the mobile device space. I suspect the new notebook-cum-tablet device is there to protect Microsoft’s roots in the enterprise. Interestingly, when it comes to mobile devices– smartphones and tablets– Apple is the industry leader in the enterprise; not Microsoft. The Surface Pro 3 won’t change that.

33 Tips For iOS Users

Macworld’s list of 33 tips and tricks for iPhone and iPad users. My favorites:

Buttons (brings obvious buttons back to iOS)
Ask Siri
Automatic HDR Photos
Share Photo Stream
Block Unwanted Callers
Disable Background App Refresh (big battery saver)
Hidden Features in Compass
Better Touch ID (almost 100-percent now)

YouTube And Twitch, Sitting In A Tree

The word on the same streets as news of Apple buying Beats is that YouTube is buying Twitch. Eric Johnson:

Okay. So what is Twitch, and why would Google want to buy it? Twitch is a fast-growing service that lets people — mostly men — watch livestreams of other people — mostly men — playing video games.

It’s like ESPN for video games.

When Twitch started up in June 2011, it claimed five million users a month. In 2012, it was up to 20 million. By the end of last year, that number had jumped to 45 million. Broadband service provider Sandvine says Twitch now accounts for 1.35 percent of Internet traffic during peak hours in North America. That’s more than HBO Go’s 1.24 percent.

Question: Why is it that YouTube is the buyer and not Google? Where’s the jack?

The site makes money from video ads that can be targeted to certain channels or games, and from paid subscriptions to channels that remove those ads. Subscriptions generally cost about $5 per month, and Twitch says about 300,000 of its viewers are paying subscribers to at least one channel.

Television is being disrupted.

College Speaker Calls Students Immature And Arrogant

From AP:

William Bowen, former president of Princeton University, used his commencement speech at Haverford College outside Philadelphia to criticize students who campaigned against Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

Birgeneau cancelled his appearance following student protests.

More than 40 students and three professors had protested Birgeneau’s invitation to speak, objecting to his handling of a 2011 incident at Berkeley in which police used force at a student protest during the Occupy movement. The group wanted Birgeneau to apologize, support payments for victims and write a letter to Haverford students explaining his position on the events and “what you learned from them.”

Bowen, in his commencement speech:

I am disappointed that those who wanted to criticize Birgeneau’s handling of events at Berkeley chose to send him such an intemperate list of ‘demands.’ In my view, they should have encouraged him to come and engage in a genuine discussion, not to come, tail between his legs, to respond to an indictment that a self-chosen jury had reached without hearing counterarguments.

Hear, hear!

The Tablet Market Is Losing Steam

For Apple, the math is inescapable. Along with the Mac, Apple’s highly revered iPad is growing nowhere fast. Sales are basically flat for both product lines. Why?

For the Mac, traditional PC sales in general are falling, and the only category growing is cheap Chrome-based notebooks in the $250 to $500 range, far below the starting price of a MacBook Air at $899.

For the iPad, competitors number into the dozens if not a few hundred and anything with a screen and no keyboard is called a tablet. That accounts for Apple’s iPad losing marketshare, but in a supposedly rapidly growing new market, why have iPad sales suddenly gone flat?

CEO Tim Cook did something of a song-and-dance during Apple’s last quarterly financial conference call with Wall Street analysts. His gobbledygook answer was that sales were in line with the high end of Apple’s internal expectations. Since sales were slightly lower than expected, does that mean Apple expected slower and lower sales? If so, why?

Cook’s blah-blah-blah continued where he pointed out that iPad makes up the vast majority of tablets in business and education, Microsoft’s new Office for iPad should spur sales, and Apple has sold over 200-million iPads so far, twice as many as Apple sold iPhones in the first few years.

That’s all well and good but why have iPad sales flatlined? Why has initial enthusiasm over tablets dampened? Part of the reason might be that the tablet industry as we know it, with iPad as the standard bearer may have become mature far faster than the iPhone matured in the smartphone segment (for which growth in the premium segment has also slowed dramatically).

First, in my anecdotal research I have many friends with iPads that are three years old. They still run iOS 7.x, still run most of the newer apps, and if Apple ever built a durable, classy, timeless device that hit a home run on the first swing, it’s the iPad.

Second, the iPad still takes up that space between an iPhone and a MacBook Air; larger but less expensive than an iPhone, but smaller and less powerful than a MacBook. If the iPad continues to grow in capability (so does the iPhone, by the way), then maybe Mac sales start to drop once again as more utility is gained in the iPad. Then again, if the iPhone comes out with a couple of larger screens, say 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch phablet, that would seem to dampen iPad sales, too. Who needs an iPad mini and an iPhone when a 5.5-inch iPhone max takes the place of both?

Still, none of this answers the question, ‘Why have iPad sales stalled?‘ My perspective tells me it’s a natural occurrence in the premium end of a mature market. What’s interesting is that among all the tablet manufacturers, only Apple discloses how many iPads are sold each quarter. Amazon, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and everyone else are characteristically silent about sales numbers.

Worse, after four years competitors still haven’t upped the bar and done much to improve the tablet technology and capability other than drop the price. That makes iPad still the one to beat, but no other manufacturer is beating Apple or their own drums.

The ‘Coal Powered’ Tesla Model S

Electricity powers Tesla’s Model S, right? Cartoonist Jason Perlow has a different perspective:

We can debate whether or not the carbon footprint of driving an EV is that much lesser when charged from the electricity that needs to be generated from a fossil fuel-based power plant than that from the emissions of a gasoline or diesel-fueled car.

Regardless, the electrical power requirements of the United States and other nations are generated overwhelmingly by fuels that have just as much if not more environmental impact than the combustion of automotive fuel.

Tesla. Powered by coal (or, depending upon where you live, radioactivity, or oil).

The Death Of ‘Net Neutrality’

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided by a 3-2 vote that it would allow telecommunications and broadband providers to charge content providers for preferential treatment across their networks. Simultaneously, and confusingly, the FCC also stated that broadband companies could not slow down or block incoming traffic outright.

Our government in action. If there’s a fast lane then there must be a slower lane.

Keyboard Shortcuts For Your Mac

Great list from Matt Gemmell on my favorite:

Many people don’t realise that you can access and control much of the user interface without using a pointing device. You can find the relevant settings in the Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard panel in System Preferences. Make sure that Keyboard is selected in the list on the left side.

Apple’s Next Big Failure: On Saving The Apple Store

Among the litany of Apple is doomed memes of the past few years is one that doesn’t seem to make any more sense than the others is that Apple’s retail store needs to be saved.

Jonny Evans, link-bait-meister from Computerworld asked the question, ‘Can Angela Ahrendts save the Apple Store?

The implications of the question go far beyond a simple yes or no. First, there’s the rule of thumb about headlines which end with a question mark. The answer is usually no, and that’s the case here, too.

Second, can Angela Ahrendts ride to the rescue and really save the Apple Store? No. Why not? It does not need to be saved.

Let me leave aside the evangelical crusaders for a moment and focus on saved and the reasons the Apple Stores are, apparently to some, in peril.

save 1 |sāv| verb [ with obj. ]
1 keep safe or rescue (someone or something) from harm or danger: she saved a boy from drowning.
• prevent (someone) from dying: the doctors did everything they could to save him.
• (in Christian use) preserve (a person’s soul) from damnation.

The first example in the definition of saved is an attempt to save a boy from drowning; an impending death is presumed, hence the need to rescue. How does that situation compare with Apple’s retail stores?

Growth has slowed. Apple only opens a few dozen each year, and usually in high traffic, high visibility areas designed to maximize profits. That strategy has worked from the beginning. As Apple’s fortunes have grown, the retail stores have remained a significant contributor to the bottom line.

As Apple’s sales hit saturation levels and growth has slowed in sales of iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Apple’s retail stores have seen a similar slowdown. Sales are not going down. Sales are just not going up as fast as they have because (insert misguided and inappropriate Law of Big Numbers analogy here).

If there is a problem with Apple’s retail stores at all it probably has more to do with leadership than mechanics. Look at a Microsoft Store (or, pretty much any retail store that sells gadgets). What do you see? A copycat retail operation that’s missing one thing. Customers and profits. Apple has a lock on both.

Apple’s retail operation has been missing a leader since big box retailer John Browett was shown the door. Now there’s a leader in former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts; tech savvy, socially savvy, an experienced retailer with a knack for profits, who just happens to have experience in Asia, Apple’s fastest growing market. That seems like a good fit, no?

So, will Angela Ahrendts save the Apple Store? No. She will make it better because Apple seems to be planning to stock the stores with more products.

iPhone 7: How About Virtual Buttons?

The iPhone 6 won’t be available for many months so why not look ahead to the iPhone 7 and see what Apple could do that hasn’t been done. Yet. Cherlynn Low:

An Apple patent published today gives us the most credible peek yet at an exciting design change for future iPhones. Upcoming handsets could feature a wraparound display with virtual buttons on the side.

In other words, virtual buttons on the side or top of the iPhone; in place of real buttons.

This means the edges of future iPhones could be touchscreen displays, giving easier access to key functions.Based on drawings accompanying the filing, the edge buttons could be used to trigger camera settings, music playback and volume, or even specific apps such as Messages and Calendar. These buttons can be designed with haptic or audio components to give feedback when they’re activated.

Seriously, Apple. What About Sirius?

This is a deal that I think makes sense for Apple. Wall Street Playbook on the idea of Apple buying Sirius, whose stock has ticked upwards on news of Apple’s pending acquisition of Beats Electronics:

The idea is, if Apple is willing to shell out a 60% premium for Beats, which according to Forbes is worth $2 billion, then certainly someone, possibly Google, will go after Pandora.

Pandora is toast. Perfect for Google. Analyst Matt Harrigan:

Although Apple’s possible $3.2B acquisition of Beats has few immediate implications, it does show that competition is gravitating toward full ecosystem players such as Apple and Amazon, more so than current music streaming only entrants such as Spotify or even Pandora’s ‘Music Genome.’ Accelerating competition from Apple and other entrants may restrain multiple expansion even as Sirius renews repurchase activity.

Apple is sitting on a big pile of cash. Maybe it’s time to spend some of it to make another dent in the universe.

Samsung Copies Again

In a surprise to no one, Samsung could ship a Google Glass-like device this year. Lisa Eadicicco on Samsung Gear Glass:

There will be a small prism slightly above one eye for viewing content and an earpiece for listening. Gear Glass is likely to run on the Tizen operating system, an open-source software that Samsung has played a large role in developing.

What? No Android?

On Apple’s Divorce And Remarriage

Even in the best of situations, divorces are messy. Whether it’s husband and wife, employer and employee, or company and vendor, a divorce can drag on forever is a love hate relationship which puts stress and strain on both parties.

Apple and Samsung are getting a divorce and it’s a long, drawn out, and ultimately mess and expensive process.

Our favorite tech gadget company has used Samsung as a vendor of choice for many years, more particularly in the iPhone and iPad generation. Among other components, Samsung provides Apple devices with CPU chips, memory, and screens.

Good relationships are built on honesty and respect. That seems to have disappeared between Apple and Samsung. Apple caught Samsung cheating on their marriage vows by building and selling iPhone and iPad clones, so off to court the two went, with Samsung being accused and being found guilty of cheating (patent infringement is akin to adultery in the tech world).

Not only is Apple working hard to make Samsung pay for the company’s adulterous ways, Apple has also decided to move on, slowly shifting vendor requirements to other companies; playing the field, if you will.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say Apple is about to get remarried. Ever the trendsetter, Apple appears ready to tie the knot with stylish headphone and speaker maker Beats Electronics, home of Beats Music, rapper Dr. Dre, and iconic music product Jimmy Iovine.

What’s different about Beats vs. Samsung? Simple. Beats is not Samsung, so instead of cutting a deal with Beats to ensure Apple gets most favored trading partner status, Apple is diving in head first with a full on marriage. In other words, and unlike Samsung, Beats won’t cheat.

Beats has nearly 70-percent of the above $100 headphone market, a growing music subscription service, plenty of street creed (Wall, Main, and Hood), a broad line of speakers, and a little promotional style and cachet that Apple CEO Tim Cook desperately needs.

What we have to remember is that Apple is a polygamous company, capable of maintaining multiple relationships (marriages) at a time. The marriage to Samsung went bad, but Apple’s track record of bringing companies into the stable is pretty good. A marriage to Beats may be the most expensive ever at Apple, but it could turn out to be just what the Cupertino company needs to feel better about itself after being insulted in public by the adulterous Samsung.

Best Android Smartphone, Half Off

If it’s so good then why isn’t anyone buying it? The irrepressible Zach Epstein on the HTC One M8 (one day only sale):

How would you like to own the best Android phone on the planet for half price up front? On Thursday, for one day only, HTC is selling its brand new flagship HTC One (M8) for just $99.99, or 50% off the phone’s regular up-front price. The sale price requires buyers to sign a new two-year service contract, of course, and it applies to the AT&T, Verizon and Sprint versions of the M8.

Oooh. But not a word about why anyone should switch from whatever smartphone they’re using now.

26 Sexist Ads Of The ‘Mad Men’ Era (to forget)

From two men:

The rampant sexism in “Mad Men” was typical of the 1960s, when the outlook for women in America was just beginning to change. While the “second wave” of feminism began in the ’60s, mainstream America was still very much a “man’s world.”

That attitude carried over into advertising, which did little to advance gender roles and ran ads that implied women were idiots who cared mostly about pleasing their men.

Here’s an example:

Kenwood Chef Ad

Sexism Nonetheless

John Gruber on the words used to describe Apple’s PR chief, Katie Cotton, described as a ‘queen’, and CFO, Peter Oppenheimer:

Unintentional sexism is sexism nonetheless. There’s almost never a good reason to use a different word to describe a woman’s job than the words you’d choose if the position were held by a man.

Gruber is spot on about the discrimination. You wouldn’t believe the email and comments I get sometimes.

Samsung And The Penalty For Stealing Intellectual Property From Apple

That Samsung is a serial technology and intellectual property thief is well known and public knowledge. The Korean company has been sued many times by competitors through the years, and often loses in court and required to settle with the infringed. Witness the recent loss of about $120-million awarded to Apple for patent infringement, on the heels of another $900-million for similar misdeeds last year.

So, there is a penalty for stealing intellectual property from Apple, right?

Define penalty.

penalty |ˈpenltē| noun (pl. penalties)
1 a punishment imposed for breaking a law, rule, or contract: the charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment.
• a disadvantage or unpleasant experience suffered as the result of an action or circumstance: the cold never leaves my bones these days—one of the penalties of age.
2 (in sports and games) a disadvantage or handicap imposed on a player or team, typically for infringement of rules.

Even with seemingly huge awards to Apple which exceed $1-billion, can such amounts even be considered penalties?

Samsung has been the world’s top smartphone maker for almost two and a half years; nearly 10 quarters. Apple is a distant second, though the iPhone maker accounts for the majority of the industry’s profits. And while Samsung’s profits drop, Apple’s are on the rise.

Still, a $1-billion penalty for patent infringement must have been at the center of Samsung’s recent earnings drop, right? No.

Samsung’s profits, though down, still average nearly $8-billion per quarter. Put another way, that’s over $600-million in profits per week. Per week. Even if Samsung had to pay Apple a few billion dollars in penalties for patent infringement, the whole totals would be less than a few weeks of profits for the Galaxy smartphone and tablet maker; and far less than it would cost the company to design and build their own creations. That’s hard work and it costs money.

In essence, there is no penalty for Samsung’s blatant ripoff of technology from other companies. Last quarter Apple spent $1.5-billion on Research and Development costs. By stealing Apple’s designs and technology Samsung does not need to spend as much money on R&D as Apple.

It’s been said that Apple was once Microsoft’s personal R&D department, with Windows being a blatant copy of the Mac’s OS from back in the day. Microsoft’s penalty for such thievery was untold riches and PC industry domination that continues to this day.

How is Samsung’s position today any different?

The Korean conglomerate steals designs and intellectual property from competitors because it knows the court systems seldom provide protection or relief for the companies abused by Samsung. That strategy is known as ‘steal and stall‘ and it works very well.

The buying public is too blind to Samsung’s misdeeds to care. All they want is a smartphone or tablet that works like an iPhone or an iPad at half the price. That’s what Samsung sells.

World’s #1 Economy: China? Or, U.S?

Jeffrey Frankel:

Headlines around the world last week trumpeted a watershed moment for the global economy. As the Financial Times put it, “China poised to pass US as world’s leading economic power this year.” This is a startling development – or it would be if the claim were not essentially wrong.

China recently passed Japan as the world’s #2 economy. China has roughly 10 times Japan’s population. Japan has roughly half the U.S. population and half the economy. On a per person basis, China is way behind, but that also means much potential for coveted brands, including Apple.

15 Purchases That Are Robbing You Blind

Interesting and inclusive list of common purchases that cost money from Ashley Sears:

  1. Video Games
  2. Gaming Consoles
  3. Computers & Tablets
  4. Cell Phones
  5. A House That’s Too Large
  6. Boat, Motorcycle, RVs
  7. Timeshares
  8. Dining Out
  9. Gym Memberships
  10. Anything That Auto Renews
  11. ‘Free’ Trials
  12. No Interest Purchases
  13. Warranties
  14. High-Pirced Cosmetics
  15. Children

I’m will to bet that Ashley isn’t much fun to be around.

Apple And The Drama Of Names

Remember the problems Apple had with the iPhone’s name (and the lawsuit with Cisco which already had the name iPhone on a product)? Ken Segall thinks Apple’s naming drama might be repeated.

After iMac, iPhoto, iMovie, iPod and iTunes, Apple had well established its i-rhythm. And the fact that Apple was feverishly working on a phone was one of its worst-kept secrets. For many months leading up to the device’s unveiling, the press was consumed with speculation about what an “iPhone” would be.

The problem, of course, was that Cisco already had a shipping product with the name iPhone. That whole issue could be repeated with an iWatch.

First, as product names go, iWatch is every bit as obvious as iPhone was. Apple would desire it for exactly the same reason: it clearly describes the category it is about to disrupt, and it echoes all the i-goodness that came before it. It’s a name that single-handedly does an awful lot of the heavy lifting for the marketing dept.

Unlike iPhone, which ended in an agreement with Cisco, products with ‘watch‘ in the name are everywhere, including iSwatch.

Second, securing the iWatch name may require some fancy footwork. According to Bloomberg there are more than 50 companies that can lay claim to the name. The biggest one of the bunch is Swatch, which has been marketing a product called iSwatch since 2009. Swatch is already making noise that the name iWatch will cause confusion in the marketplace.

This might be an issue where we see the difference between Steve Jobs’ leadership and Tim Cook’s leadership.

Milking The Mac: Why Apple’s Designs Are Timeless

Have you ever wondered why Apple’s product designs don’t change with every change of the wind? Think about the Mac for a moment. After years of frequent and multiple design changes, easily accomplished in plastic, Apple settled on an iconic aluminum case with an ultra thin design. That wasn’t by accident.

Here’s a quote from Steve Jobs dating back prior to his Second Coming at Apple.

If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth – and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.

Most of us remember the quote because of Jobs admitting that Microsoft won the desktop and notebook PC wars with Windows, and implied that the Mac faithful needed to get over it (losing to Microsoft) while Apple worked on something new.

Often igorned is Jobs’ command to ‘milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth.’ That’s exactly what Apple has done since Jobs returned to run the show in 1997. While it may have taken a few years, the company’s designs for the Mac, more than any other Apple product, have become timeless icons etched by lasers in aluminum.

Changes to the aluminum cases the past decade or so have been wholly incremental with the most notable design changes on the MacBook Air’s wedge shape, and the iMac’s all-in-one-screen design roughly the thickness of the screen itself.

And, for what it’s worth, I fully recognize that timeless designs in technology are not really timeless in length of years, but are instead designs that still look good after a decade of use.

That same timeless design ethic shows up in other products, including the original iPad, and the iPhone 4. One needs to look closely at anyone carrying an original iPad or iPhone 4 to note the model. Competitors continually up the ante on hardware specifications, but both of those Apple products still look great and work as well as any new and non-Apple product on the market.

Apple’s products often have a timeless design; born of engineering excellence and, well, there’s no other way to put it– taste.

Here’s another Jobs quote:

The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.

Jobs was wrong. Microsoft’s culture is deeply rooted in their products; which explains why their products are so often hated by their customers.