There was a flurry of smart watches coming on the market a few years ago. But that seemed to have died down. Now after reading this,
Innovative smartwatch designs that are the perfect culmination of form, functionality and style! | Yanko Design, I wonder if there will be a new outbreak of smart watches. Apple’s Watch is great, but it can’t be all things to all people. To see what others are doing, check out that Yanko Design post. (The braille watch, shown above, is one example of smart watch design that is unique and brilliant.)
If so, then you will find the next two links handy. I did. My son broke his screen and while I was able to repair it, other damaged occurred because it was so badly broken. Fortunately while he lost data, I was able to restore the phone to “new” state using these links. From there he went on to add his favorite apps, etc.
If you forgot the passcode on your iPhone, or your iPhone is disabled – Apple Support
If you see the Restore screen on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch – Apple Support
Just follow these six easy steps:
- Go to Settings > [your name] > iTunes & App Store.
- Tap your Apple ID at the top of the screen.
- Tap ‘View Apple ID’. You might need to sign in or use Touch ID.
- Tap Subscriptions.
- Tap the subscription that you want to manage. …
- Use the options to manage your subscription.
The new Apple AirPods came out, and some critics flailed them for being too expensive. A fair criticism. Some new products are terribly expensive but allow Apple to enter a market and gain share and work out aspects of the product before they move to make cheaper versions that dominant more.
Perhaps the AirPod Maxs will be like that. Some Apple products are strikeouts, and some are grand slams, but more often than not many are singles and doubles: not terrible, not great, but good to very good.
An example of that is the Apple HomePod Mini. This is one of those not bad not great products. Like the HomePod, it isn’t a failure, but it will not likely take the speaker market by storm either. Apple used to do that: wait and see what others in the marketplace were doing, them come out with something so much better and blow them away. But that was then. They are still great at what they do, and they are still financially world beaters, but I haven’t seen anything that has transformed the market like the iPod or the iPhone. And that fine.
For more on the HomePod and the AirPods Max, see these two pieces:
One product that year after year does great but is underappreciated is the Mac Mini. Apparently it is better than ever. You can read about it, here: Apple Mac Mini Review (2020): Brawn on a Budget | WIRED
Like the iPod Touch, it’s a product that Apple keeps refining and keeps make it better through each iteration. People tend to focus on the big new things from Apple, but they have some golden oldies that are always worth revisiting.
How? By using their cloud service: AWS brings the Mac mini to its cloud.
Perfect for those times you need access to a Mac for a short period of time (e.g. testing software).
Throughout my career I have been involved with Macs and cloud technology. I remember when Apple made Mac servers. There was even a separate MacOS for them. So I am loving this evolution and the repositioning of Macs in a data center.
Image from here which also has a write up on this.
I’ve been saying that for some time — years — so I am glad to see someone like Daring Fireball come out and say it too. I don’t know about you, but I am sick of the degree of tracking that occurs. I was talking to someone about Birkenstock shoes last night and the next day, Instagram/Facebook put a Birkenstock ad in my IG Stories. It is likely a coincidence, or the fact that the person I was talking to may have been searching on info about them and IG put 2 and 2 together, but it is freaky.
Needless to say, there is a whole INDUSTRY of companies that track the hell out of us, and it has to stop. Here’s to Apple and others giving us more control over this.
A long time ago, Sam Sykes tweeted this idea:
Roomba, except it is a little robot that comes into your room and says “hey, man, you’re doing okay” and I guess maybe he has a glass of water for you
I thought: what a great idea! Now I didn’t build a special Roomba, but I did build a list of Apple Scripts that offer something similar. If you are curious, you can see them here in github.
I found them useful when working from home during the pandemic. Hey, every little bit helps.
It’s hard to believe that this computer (see above), that is in the MoMA no less, was a failure. But as this piece shows, it was one of Apple’s least successful computers for a number of reasons: 20 Years Ago, Steve Jobs Built Apple’s G4 Cube. It Bombed | WIRED.
Beautiful design, but not a great product. Every company has those from time to time. Apple was no exception.
The good folks at itbusiness.ca have a podcast called Hashtag Trending and today they talked about two interesting IT trends and one novel thing: iPhone 11s in India; Windows 95 PC inside Minecraft; Siemens doubles down on WFH. Here’s an excerpt:
Apple is building iPhone 11s in southern India. The move comes as Apple has been looking to shift some of its manufacturing away from China amid US-China trade war and disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple already assembles two other models in India — the iPhone XR and iPhone 7. ….
… A new modification has been created for the game Minecraft allowing players to order computer parts from a satellite orbiting around a Minecraft world and build a computer that actually runs Windows 95 and other operating systems. According to the Verge the mod uses VirtualBox, which is free and open-source virtual machine software, to run operating systems like Windows 95. All you have to do within Minecraft is place a PC case block and then use it to create virtual hard drives to install operating systems from ISO files.
And lastly, Reuters is reporting that German conglomerate Siemens says it’s going to allow employees to “work from anywhere” for two or three days a week, and focus on “outcomes” rather than time spent in the office. Days after the recent announcement, the company says it was giving its over 100,000 employees access to a new app that provides local data on the COVID-19 situation, shows office occupancy levels and acts as a contact tracing tool. This of course is just the latest enterprise announcing its intentions for the post-COVID-world, following in the footsteps of Twitter, Facebook, OpenText and others, which have made their own announcements around remote work for employees moving forward.
It’s really remarkable how much thought provoking stuff is jammed in here. I find itbusiness.ca a good way to keep up with IT business news, regardless of what country you live in. Worth subscribing too for sure.
According to this, it is shockingly good value. You might find that hard to believe, since if you think it looks an iPhone 8, you are right. As the Verge writes, the new SE has…
the iPhone 8’s body, the iPhone 11’s processor, and the iPhone XR’s camera system with a few new capabilities.
So a bit of a combo of different features, all adding up to something many people will be happy to move to.
I have always been happy when Apple puts out lower cost products, because they are never bad, and they put more Apple devices in the hands of people who otherwise might not be able to afford them. I think the new SE will be no exception.
Good phone to get if you are due for an upgrade.
App Store subscriptions can add up financially if you are not careful. They are also easier to sign up for than you might think. It can be especially bad if your kids have the ability to download apps on iPhones or iPads; kids will not even be aware they are signing up for subscriptions. (Heck, that is also true of adults.)
To check on and cancel subscriptions, follow this guide: How to Cancel App Store Subscriptions – MacRumors
If this saves you any money, let me know! 🙂
It’s odd how people perceive the iPad after a decade. From what I read, the view overall seems negative. Even smart analysts like Stratechery call it “tragic”.
I can see why reviewers see that. They had an expectation of what the device could be, and lament that it never became that. That is one way to perceive it.
I think there are two different and better ways to view it. One way is seeing the iPad as a secondary device. The iPad will be always secondary to the iPhone, just as the Touch will always be secondary to the iPhone. The iPhone is the premier Apple device, and all other devices do and even should be secondary to it. The iPhone sits at the center, and the Watch and the Airpods and the other devices sit outside of that.
Another way of looking at it is that perhaps the MacBook, the iPhone, Apple TV and the iPad will merge over time. Perhaps in the future there will be no separate MacBook and iPhone. Instead there will be a Display, a Keyboard or UI of some form, and and a Network Device. Underneath it all will be software that brings them all together. That’s my long term expectation.
The iPad is a great device. It’s not the iPhone, and it’s not a Mac. It does what Apple needs it to do right now, and it will continue to do so over time.
You can do it in 10 seconds:
go to Settings > General > Keyboard, scroll down and tap the slider next to “Memoji Keyboard” to disable Memojis in all apps. This is much easier compared to disabling Memojis in earlier versions of iOS and iPadOS 13.
Via this: How to Hide Memojis in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13
And as someone who is a fan of it since a long time, I was glad to hear about it here: There’s a New iPod Touch. Yes, in 2019, and Yes, It’s Worth Looking at. – The New York Times
Back in the day when Blackberries were the rage and I needed one for work, the iPod Touch was my way of tapping into the world of Apple. Today if I had to use Android for whatever reason, I’d be inclined to get a Touch again, just so I could do things the Apple way. It’s a great device still, and if you read the article, you’ll see it is not obsolete.
Now if Apple would only bring back the Nano! 🙂
I continue to be a big fan of the Apple Watch. For one, it allows me to put away my phone and still not miss notifications. It’s the remote control for your phone you didn’t think you need. Still I am glad for this, because I need to get more out of my watch: 20 Most-Wanted Apple Watch Tips and Tricks – Hongkiat.
If you are maxing out all the features of your watch, that’s great. Otherwise, take a peak at that link and get more out of it.
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
Great review of the latest iPhone*, here: The iPhone 8 is a look into the augmented future of photography | TechCrunch. I had heard that the iPhone 8 had a great new camera, but this article really drives that home.
If you are thinking of getting an “8”, this could be the reason you need. On the other hand, if you rarely take photos or don’t care too much about the quality, I think the case for an upgrade gets weaker.
* I don’t consider the iPhone X the latest phone so much as a promise of where the iPhone is going. To be honest, I think the iPhone X is as much an attempt to celebrate the 10 years of the iPhone and Steve Jobs’s legacy, not unlike the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
According to this source, Apple is going into the Health Care Industry: Apple Is Going After The Health Care Industry, Starting With Personal Health Data.
I think a more general statement is that Apple is going to be looking into expanding into services, be they health care, banking, or something else. They’ve already been successful with Apple Pay. I expect they can find niches in health care and other industries that they can easily fit into. Plus they can work with partners to deliver tools to people and health care providers that can save everyone in terms of health care costs.
I’m looking forward to Apple bring forth innovations in health care that results in lower costs and better care. I hope they can deliver.
For more on some current health features from Apple, go here.
Reason #1: Apple is seeing growth in sales of the Watch, and plans to give it cellular capabilities will drive growth further. If cellular networks allow you to share your number across your phone and watch, it could really support people who may want to go without their phone from time to time.
Reason #2: is my belief that the Watch will provide Apple with a platform to develop miniaturization. Having different platforms and different scales allows Apple to innovate and gets their partners like Intel to do the same. This will support Apple in being either first or best in the areas they have products.
I'm glad to see the Watch continue to grow. I would not be surprised to see some of the features we once saw in the Shuffle morph into the Watch. That would make up some for the lost of that other once great platform of Apple, the iPod, which was loved and now lost.
Posted in IT
Tagged apple, iPod, shuffle, watch
This piece makes a strong case that he is: Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer and Why He Still Has His Job at Apple. I’d add to it and say that people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were great people at a great time and a great place. Steve Jobs wasn’t terribly successful at NeXT: he was still great, but the timing of his ideas wasn’t and the company itself wasn’t either. Tim Cook and Steve Ballmer are very good CEOs, but they are not in the same league as Jobs and Gates, and you could argue that the time has come and gone for both Apple and Microsoft.
Apple has many good months and years ahead. We will have to wait and see if they can regain the golden era of Jobs and his new iMacs, iPods, and iPhones.
According to the article below, Apple “has drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions, leading to hundreds of job cuts and a new direction that, for now, no longer includes building its own car, according to people familiar with the project.” Too bad. I expect we will see more and more car related activity from Apple, but a shiny new vehicle may not be one of those things.
For more details, see:
Source: How Apple Scaled Back Its Titanic Plan to Take on Detroit – Bloomberg
Posted in IT
Tagged apple, cars, IT, new!, Titan
Apple took a turn towards something I was hoping they would do: (relative) affordability. You can see it in this piece from Business Insider:
Apple introduced an iPhone with a smaller screen on Monday called the iPhone SE. The best way to think about it is as Apple’s current top-of-the-line iPhone specs in a smaller body. It costs $399 without a contract — a surprisingly low price for a new iPhone. …the older iPad Air 2 got a price cut to $399…. While the Apple Watch didn’t get a hardware update, Apple did unveil new nylon bands and cut its starting price from $350 to $299.
I was wondering if Apple was going to try and offer some affordable products or reposition itself as a luxury brand. I am glad to see they went with affordable. There are now lots of products from Apple at a wide range of price points, starting with the iPod (at $59). I have always been a fan of the lower priced iPods, and I am glad to see Apple still offers them. Likewise, the iPad Mini 2 is an excellent tablet and the iMac mini is an excellent computer. Relative to the market, they are priced competitively and yet superior technology. Now the new Watch and the new SE phone join them.
For people who want to spend lots of money, Apple has a product for them. By offering the lower end products, they both force their competitors to offer better products as well as allow more people to have access to their excellent technology.
P.S. I realize for some people, even these relatively low prices are not affordable. In the context of this post, affordable is in context to the rest of the marketplace an Apple product competes within.
This is for a particular app (MLB At Bat monthly subsciption charge will continue until you turn it off), but it should work for any app you have that is billing you monthly.
It may not seem much a month, but like any slow leak, the cost adds up. Best to seal it right away.
Well-respected Apple analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray gave a presentation on the company’s future at Business Insider’s Ignition conference and it’s really good. The entire presentation is here and worthwhile: Future of Apple presentation by analyst Gene Munster at Business Insider Ignition – Business Insider.
Earlier I wrote about how I don’t think Apple will get into the car business. However, after reading what Munster said, I can see how others think Apple will get into cars. Specifically, here’s are the pro-car points he makes:
- Apple could align with and compete in the BMW market: BMW sold 1.8M cars in CY14.
- If Apple priced them at $75K, 1.8M cars is $135B in revenue
- Apple could start small: sell 30K in first year (similar to Tesla’s 35K in CY14)
- In a market of 88M cars in CY15, 1.8M cars is nothing
The approach laid out in those points is a similar game plan that Apple followed in the smart phone market.
The more I thought about it, the more I am leaning towards Apple getting into the car business, at least in a limited way. The bulk of the market would not be Apple and there likely would still be lots of car manufacturers after Apple jumps in, just like there are many smartphone makers. But Apple would take over the most profitable part of the car manufacturing marketplace.
Read the analyst report: you will get great insight into where Apple is heading.
…it makes no business sense. A key take away from the article linked to below:
Ford’s revenue and operating income: $134 billion, 3.9%. Apple’s corresponding numbers: $234 billion, 40%! Or consider the world’s two largest car companies, Toyota and Volkswagen, both of which hover around $200 billion in revenue. Toyota just reported a higher than usual 10% net profit versus Apple’s 22.8%. The Financial Times recently pegged the VW brand’s operating margin at about 2%. (We’ll see how the German auto giant, which was ever so close to taking the industry’s Ichiban ranking from Toyota, extracts itself from its current engine management software troubles.) Yes, the car industry is large (around $2 trillion—that’s two thousand billions), but it grows slowly. In 2015 it saw 2% annual growth—and that was considered a good year.
There are so many other lines of business that could bring more revenue and profit to Apple. Unless the car business changes dramatically — and that is possible — then I can’t see how it makes any business sense for them to become car makers.
For more details on this, see: Why should Apple even bother building a car? – Quartz
Simple: they are a complex piece of technology. The photo above shows a Macbook charger from Apple on the left: the charger on the right is from another company. You can clearly see that the one from Apple has a lot more technology packed in there. And for good reasons. To understand what those reasons are, see this piece: Macbook charger teardown: The surprising complexity inside Apple’s power adapter. It was surprisingly interesting, from an engineering and design perspective.
Thanks to Tom Plaskon for sharing this on Twitter!
If you are interested in books and ebooks in particular, you should read this: On the declining ebook reading experience. Two beliefs I have on this topic:
- Book sellers have become more competitive. In Canada, Indigo’s prices seem to be much lower and they sell books using low prices stamped prominently on the cover.
- He doesn’t say it, but the author hints that Apple should step in and make their own Kindle. I certainly would like to see Apple step up and make their own Kindle. The device and the user experience would be great, I am certain. It would blow the Kindle out of the water and likely make me switch over to becoming a bigger ebook reader.
After the Apple Watch came out, I wondered how this would affect Pebble, the company. Turns out, instead of folding, they have plans to evolve and grow. For evidence of this, check out their latest watch (in the photo, as well as here: Pebble Smartwatch | Smartwatch for iPhone & Android). They seem to be aiming to finding a market for those wanting some of the features of the Apple Watch without all the functionality (or cost).
With the watch above, you can see them adopting higher end materials and also getting thinner (and round). It is more expensive than the original Pebble, but likely better quality. And still much cheaper than Apple Watch.
I have a Pebble and I really like it. It does what I want, which is send me notifications without having to get out my phone, which is great in meetings, at events, or driving (carefully). And you can even easily write code for it. Finally, it is a great watch that needs to be rarely charged.
Needless to say, the Apple Watch is a great product. Depending on your needs, it could be a better choice than the Pebble. But the Pebble is a good product too, and I think there is a place in the market for a range of watch makers. Get one that suits your needs. With the Pebble, now you have more choice.
There was a lot of scoffing when Apple recently released this
and claimed the colour was rose gold. It’s pink, was the common reply. But as this piece shows ( The Semiotics of “Rose Gold” – The New Yorker), rose gold is a specific material. It refers to an alloy of gold to which copper has been added. For that matter, white gold, which is an alloy with nickel or manganese, is also a specific material. Jewelers know this, of course, and Apple is smart to associate with the metal (gold) vs the colour.
The New Yorker piece is fascinating. Worth reading, especially if you are skeptical about the colour.
If you are serious about your music and you already have alot of digital music, you must read this before getting started with Apple Music: Apple Music is a nightmare and I’m done with it. If you don’t read it and proceed, you may find your music collection in shambles.
Maybe it will be better in a year from now. Based on iTunes, though, I seriously doubt it.
And if you don’t know about Rams, a good place to start is here: Dieter Rams | The Book of Life. One nice thing about this piece is that you can see many things he designed (including the radio in the photo above, next to the iPod).
Posted in design
Tagged apple, braun, design
Why do I think that? Because according to this, Apple TV apps are coming (Business Insider). There are a limited set of apps now, but if Apple steps back and lets other develop apps, the Apple TV device could get really exciting.