Ben Thompson on Apple versus Amazon


I mean it when I say these companies are the complete opposite: Apple sells products it makes; Amazon sells products made by anyone and everyone. Apple brags about focus; Amazon calls itself “The Everything Store”. Apple is a product company that struggles at services; Amazon is a services company that struggles at product. Apple has the highest margins and profits in the world; Amazon brags that other’s margin is their opportunity, and until recently, barely registered any profits at all. And, underlying all of this, Apple is an extreme example of a functional organization, and Amazon an extreme example of a divisional one.

 168   2018   Apple   quotes

How Apple can preserve face while recovering from the MacBook Pro mistakes

In The best laptop ever made, Marco Arment outlines just how great the previous-generation MacBook Pros were. He does not say this directly, but obviously alludes to the multiple problems with the current MacBook Pros.

Really, almost all changes in the new MacBook Pros made them worse: unreliable keyboard, no useful ports, no MagSafe, worse battery life under load. All this with no meaningful improvements to performance. And nobody seems to care about the Touch Bar.

I don’t know whether Apple internally even think they’ve made a mistake with the 2016 design, but let’s pretend they do. If they just go back to the 2012 design next year, they will thus admit they’ve screwed up with the design. And that’s not what Apple usually does. But the 2012 design with the newer guts is what the market wants — at least until Apple comes up with a design that is actually better, and that takes time.

So how can they both satisfy the market and preserve face?

They still sell new 2012-design MacBook Pros. I think they will continue to do so, and will update those machines. Maybe they will rebrand them as “Classic” to contrast with the “Touch Bar” models, at least when they talk about them.

So, in year 2018 we may see updates to both lines. The Classic MacBook Pros could get faster processors, better displays and a couple of USB-C ports. The Touch Bar MacBook Pros could get a reliable keyboard, and to make them look super-cool, maybe, Face ID, if that’s not too early.

And by the year 2020 or so Apple will hopefully do another redesign, and we’ll see if it’s good enough to finally abandon the Classic line.

 22   2017   Apple   Mac

Apple WWDC date

Apple says:

Why do they want me to decrypt the date? It’s OK to shorten the dates this way when writing by hand or when there is no space. But here, the word “June” should be written in full.

 24   2017   Apple   being human

How to not destroy Apple cables

Apple cables suck. If you aren’t particularly careful with them, they get destroyed quickly. But I haven’t destroyed a single one in my life.

How to not destroy Apple cables

Most people take the power adapter and tightly wrap the cable around it, thus significantly bending it at its weakest point. Instead, let it go freely straight from the brick for an inch, then wrap around. The same goes for lightning and earphones cables.

Still, Apple cables suck.

 48   2016   Apple   lifehack   photo

Jony Ive on blunt criticism

I am listening to an audiobook on Steve Jobs. A quote about blunt criticism:

That’s why “That’s shit!” was as common response from Steve as a pointed question or a thoughtful discussion. He wanted smart answers and he didn’t want to waste time on niceties when it was simpler to be clear, no matter how critical his response.

“The reason you sugarcoat things is that you don’t want anyone to think you are an asshole. So, that’s vanity”, explains Jony Ive […] “As a design chief, I was on a receiving end of Steve’s blunt criticisms as much as anyone”. Whenever he felt abused he would tell himself that someone who sugarcoats his true opinions might not really even be all that concerned about the other person’s feelings, he just doesn’t want to appear to be a jerk. But if he really cared about the work, he would be less vain and would talk directly about the work.

That’s the way Steve was. That’s why he’d say “That’s shit!”, but then the next day or the next after he also would just as likely come back saying, “Jony, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you’ve showed me, and I think it’s very interesting after all. Let’s talk about it some more”.

Steve put it this way: “You hire people who are better than you are at certain things and then make sure they know that they need to tell you when you’re wrong”.

 27   2015   Apple   books   quotes
 107   2014   Apple   user interface

On iPhone sizes

In September, Apple introduced iPhones 6 and 6 Plus, both bigger than iPhones 5s and 5c. I’ve tried holding the new phones in my hand and found even the 6 to be way too big.

I would prefer an old-size phone but faster, with a better camera and with Apple Pay. I am not alone. But there are no new phones at the old size. If you don’t like the new size, you will have to get the last-year model.

Maybe Apple is saying goodbye to the 4-inch screens and we will have to accept this. But I am not sure that’s what Apple is doing. Look at this picture from the September event blog:

There is no clear separation between the last year models and the new models. This is simply “iPhone lineup” with the phones of three sizes: 4-inch, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch. Showing three new devices at the same time could be just too much for one event. But Apple could update the 4-inch models next year.

A phone is a device where the size is a matter of preference, like a laptop or a TV. There is no “right” size: bigger screen shows more (good), but takes more space (bad). Apple has now accepted this truth. So maybe in the future when you buy a new iPhone, you will be asked not only “what color?”, but also “small, medium or large?”

 748   2014   Apple   iPhone

How Apple Pay could work on Apple Watch without Touch ID

When Apple revealed Apple Pay, they first showed it on an iPhone with Touch ID and later mentioned that it would also work with the Apple Watch. But how does Apple Watch know that you are you without Touch ID?

How Apple Pay could work on Apple Watch without Touch ID

Here is an idea.

Apple Watch requires the iPhone. It would make sense if Apple Pay on the Watch required the iPhone with Apple Pay support. The only such phones are the 6 and the 6 Plus. Both have Touch ID.

Apple Watch can tell if someone is wearing it using its heartbeat sensor. When no one is wearing the watch, it will not work with Apple Pay. When you put the watch on, it will still not work with Apple Pay, as it does not know who is wearing it. As soon as you use Touch ID for the first time to unlock your phone in a close proximity, the Watch will enter a “secure state”: now it knows that it is put on your hand. From that moment Apple Pay will work until you take the Watch off or the phone gets too far away from it.

The chance that you are trying to buy something before you’ve unlocked your phone for the first time during a day is almost zero. And in this rare case the Watch can just ask you politely to confirm the payment with Touch ID.

 37   2014   Apple   Apple Watch   iPhone

What makes Macbook Air look ancient

Here is a picture of a MacBook Air from the Apple’s website:

If there is anything that makes this machine look ancient, it is the screen bezel. I don’t know how much thinner it can be with the current state of technology, but it really needs to get thinner. Hopefully, Apple does that with their rumored update.

 41   2014   Apple

On Jordan Price’s experience working at Apple

Jordan Price in I wanted to work at Apple really bad, and now not so much:

Then at lunch time I wiped the iPad data clean, put the files I had been working on neatly on the server, left all their belongings on my desk, and I got in my car and drove home. I left a message for my boss and told him he’s the worst boss I had ever encountered in my entire professional career...

Ok, so what you are saying is that all the time you have been working at Apple you have not tried to solve the problems you had, prefering to ignore them instead. And when it got unbearable, you just left, betraying your employer and your recruiter.

And then you are saying that you are looking for a new job. Oops.

 30   2014   Apple   life   quotes
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