Reading this piece about how a $999 monitor stand is everything wrong with Apple today, and while my judgement isn’t that harsh, I agree that Apple has missed a step with such a stand. There is a premium that Apple can and does command for its products, but when they are so far outside the range of the market, they start looking ridiculous.
Is this iMac great? No doubt. Is the stand price ridiculous? Also no doubt. Do better, Apple.
One thing that struck me about the new Mac Pro is that Apple has finally gotten to do design again for a hardware. Most of their products these days are as minimal as can be when it comes to design. With the Mac Pro, at least, they can apply new design ideas to their product. I like it, even if it is compared to a cheese grater. But I liked the previous model, even though it was compared to a garbage can.
For more on the device, see: Apple announces all-new redesigned Mac Pro, starting at $5,999 – The Verge
That’s been a question I have been asking myself for some time. I felt like the price just keeps going up. And if you read articles like this, it’s easy to conclude it’s true.
But here’s some numbers on the least expensive models over time, taken from this:
iPhone (4GB): $499
iPhone 3G (8GB): $599
iPhone 3GS (16GB): $599
iPhone 4 (16GB): $599
iPhone 4S (16GB): $649
iPhone 5 (16GB): $649
iPhone 5s (16GB): $649
iPhone 6 (16GB): $649
iPhone 6 Plus (16GB): $749
iPhone 6s (16GB): $649
iPhone 6s Plus (16GB): $749
iPhone 7 (32GB): $649
iPhone 7 Plus (32GB): $769
iPhone 8 (64GB): $699
iPhone 8 Plus (64GB): $799
iPhone X (64GB): $999
Looking at that, I have to think that the phones are getting more expensive, but likely they have always been that way. (And note, this doesn’t account for inflation or the improved quality of the phones, including greater storage.)
Occasionally Apple will make a cheaper phone like the 5C or the SE that are essentially remixes of older models. Or they will continue to support a wider range of phones, like continuing to sell the 7, the 8, and now the X. But it seems the high end was never inexpensive and likely never will be.
- I remember what a big deal it was that Apple was going to support third party software developers. That was by no means a given: Apple could have restricted the iPhone to only their apps and a handful of third party software vendors. By being much more open, they made the iPhone so much more than it could have been if they had not.
- I believe iTunes had a big influence on this. It was a model, in a sense, for what the App Store could be. And as iTunes helped make the iPod a success, so would the App Store help make the iPhone (and the iPod Touch) a success.
- One influence iTunes had on the App Store was software pricing. Before the App Store software was either free or pricey. Suddenly the App Store came along and software was the price of a song. The few vendors that wanted to charge more could not compete with those who were fine with the low cost. The App Store changed the way people thought about what they should pay for software.
- Another effect the App Store had on software was time to market. With mobile apps, people expected updates regularly and bugs to be fixed right away. Companies that used to ship annually now were shipping weekly or daily. This had a huge effect on how software teams developed software. Everyone had to have a mobile app, and every mobile app had to keep up with the new pace. This effect rippled through companies. Software developers adopted the pace for mobile apps to other software being created and released that frequently as well.
- The App Store also improved software quality. If you released bad software, you would hear from users immediately via the ratings. There was no hiding bad apps. As well, if your app sucked, other people would come out with better apps and steal whatever market share you had. Software development teams were on tighter leashes because of the App Store.
- The App Store allowed software developers to make money in ways they could not before. You had a direct channel to consumers of software via the App Store. And lots of developers made a good amount of money as a result.
- Apps became part of our culture. Games like Angry Birds found an audience because of the App Store.
- We downloaded so many apps we lost track of them. And some of them turned out not to be good for us. Speaking of that, if you want to do a bit of spring cleaning on your apps and make sure that the ones remain are good, I recommend you read this: On the 10th anniversary of the App store, it’s time to delete most of your apps (Popular Science)
If you are skeptical about the greatness of the iPhone 6s, this piece makes a good argument for it: Reasons you should buy an iPhone 6S instead of an iPhone 8 or iPhone X – Business Insider. If money is a prime concern, you can find refurbished 6s phones for a fraction of the cost of a new iPhone 8 or X.
If you want an iPhone and you are fine with refurbished — and some places give good warrantees on such phones — then consider making an iPhone 6s your next phone. Or get a new one from your mobile phone carrier or buy one outright from Apple.
I am unexcited about the direction in Smartphone design. The key design idea that less is more in a phone is becoming Less is a Bore. Perhaps that’s why this design of a Blackberry got me thinking about it. While it still has a gorgeous screen, the phone itself is worthy of looking at and touching. It strikes the right balance. The phone as a design object is worthwhile.
It would have been good if Apple had struck out in a new design direction with the iPhone X. Instead they went with Less is More. Instead we have a phone with the Notch and a camera on the back that sticks out. It’s as if Apple would have preferred not to have these cameras and sensors, so rather than design the phone to incorporate them into the design, they stick out, figuratively and literally. In a few years from now when Apple has gone in a different direction, Apple fans will look back and exclaim how poor that aspect of the phone design is.
As for now, we live in an age where the screen dominates design, from TVs to smartphones. In the future that may change and the technology that we interact with will be contained in objects that have noteworthy design in them.
For more on this beautifully designed phone, see If BlackBerry Ditched the Keyboard | Yanko Design.
WIRED has a good review of the latest product from Sonos, here: Sonos One Review: Amazon’s Alexa Is Here, But It Still Has Some Growing Up to Do
What makes this development significant to me is that it signals that Sonos is concerned with Apple and others coming and taking away market share. Sonos has a great line of products already, but Apple is threatening to take a piece of that with their new home speaker with Siri/AI capability. Sonos has beefed up their AI capability to meet the challenge.
I expect that the next big thing in IT will be the vocal interface tied in with a speaker system in some form. I expect we will see them everywhere. Perhaps not for extended communication, but for brief and frequent requests.
If you are an IT person, I recommend you learn more about chatbot technology and how it will integrate with the work you are doing. More and more users will want to be able to communicate with your systems using voice. You need to provide a vocal interface for them to get information and send information.
Most homes will have one device acting as an aural hub. Sonos wants to make sure it is one they make, and not Apple.
Posted in IT
Tagged AI, apple, chatbots, IT, Sonos