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Tag: Steve Jobs

iPhone: A perfect 10 for the perfect device at 10

Friday, 30 June, 2017 0 Comments

“Here’s to the #iPhone that changed the world, to the man who dreamed it & the people at Apple who have never stopped looking to its future.” So tweeted @tim_cook yesterday.

It’s been ten years since the iPhone went on sale and, looking back, John Gruber gives it a “Perfect Ten.” Snippet:

“The iPhone’s potential was obviously deep, but it was so deep as to be unfathomable at the time. The original iPhone didn’t even shoot video; today the iPhone and iPhone-like Android phones have largely killed the point-and-shoot camera industry. It has obviated portable music players, audio recorders, paper maps, GPS devices, flashlights, walkie-talkies, music radio (with streaming music), talk radio (with podcasts), and more. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft wouldn’t even make sense pre-iPhone. Social media is mobile-first, and in some cases mobile-only.”

Gruber adds that Nokia and BlackBerry weren’t just disrupted by the iPhone, they were “utterly obliterated.” And he declares that the full potential of the iPhone is still to be discovered: “No product in the computing age compares to the iPhone in terms of societal or financial impact. Few products in the history of the world compare. We may never see anything like it again — from Apple or from anyone else.”

For all those who now say that they saw it coming, a re-reading of “Mobile, smartphones and hindsight,” which Benedict Evens published on 9 February last year continues to reward. Superbly researched, beautifully presented and elegantly written, the piece is filled with wisdom:

“It’s always fun to laugh at the people who said the future would never happen. But it’s more useful to look at the people who got it almost right, but not quite enough. That’s what happened in mobile. As we look now at new emerging industries, such as VR and AR or autonomous cars, we can see many of the same issues.”

The future happened 10 years ago and the words used by Steve Jobs when he revealed the iPhone to the world continue to echo:

“So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone… are you getting it?

These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.”

Perfect. 10.


Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy

Thursday, 22 June, 2017 0 Comments

That’s the title of the new book by Tim Harford, best known to readers of the Financial Times as The Undercover Economist. True to elitist form, he conjures up pieces for that paper with intros like “Some things are best left to the technocrats: On any piece of policy, the typical voter does not understand what is at stake.”

The upcoming book is based on Harford’s BBC podcast 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy. One of them is the iPhone, and Harford trots out his typical take on its revolutionary impact thus: “Surprisingly, Uncle Sam played an essential role in the creation and development of the iPhone — of course, much has been written about the late Steve Jobs and other leading figures at Apple and their role in making the modern icon, and its subsequent impact on our lives. And rightfully so. But…”

But there’s always a “But…” However, here’s the blurb for Harford’s book, which will be published on 29 August:

“New ideas and inventions have woven, tangled or sliced right through the invisible economic web that surrounds us every day. From the bar code to double-entry bookkeeping, covering ideas as solid as concrete or as intangible as the limited liability company, this book not only shows us how new ideas come about, it also shows us their unintended consequences — for example, the gramophone introducing radically unequal pay in the music industry, or how the fridge shaped the politics of developing countries across the globe.”

Very Harfordian that, “…the gramophone introducing radically unequal pay in the music industry.” And it all began so harmoniously. In 1903, HMV in England made the first complete recording of an opera, Verdi’s Ernani, on 40 single-sided discs, and on 10 June 1924, George Gershwin recorded a shortened version of Rhapsody in Blue with Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra. It was released on two sides of Victor 55225 and ran for 8 minutes and 59 seconds. But as Tim Harford would say, “But…”

Rhapsody in Blue


Netflix does design

Tuesday, 24 January, 2017 0 Comments

“A chair is the first thing you need when you don’t really need anything, and is therefore a peculiarly compelling symbol of civilization. For it is civilization, not survival, that requires design.” — Ralph Caplan

The art of design is the theme of Abstract, an documentary series from Netflix that starts on 10 February. The eight episodes will profile a designer at the top of their discipline: architect Bjarke Ingels, automotive designer Ralph Gilles, illustrator Christoph Niemann, interior designer Ilse Crawford, graphic designer Paula Scher, photographer Platon, stage designer Es Devlin and shoe designer Tinker Hatfield.

“So that’s our approach. Very simple, and we’re really shooting for Museum of Modern Art quality. The way we’re running the company, the product design, the advertising, it all comes down to this: ‘Let’s make it simple. Really simple.’ Apple’s design mantra would remain the one featured on its first brochure: ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.'” — Steve Jobs

NEWS: Apple’s Mac Pro, Touch Bar MacBook and original Air designer, Matt Casebolt, will now be designing Teslas.


iPhone: It was ten years ago today

Monday, 9 January, 2017 0 Comments

“iPhone is an essential part of our customers’ lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come.”

On this day in 2007 in San Francisco, Steve Jobs casually took out of his pocket a product that would change how millions of people communicate. Everyone knew it was going to be a phone, but no one outside Apple had any idea what kind of phone. The “respected” technology commentator John Dvorak had this to say in response to the presentation of the iPhone:

“Now compare that effort and overlay the mobile handset business. This is not an emerging business. In fact it’s gone so far that it’s in the process of consolidation with probably two players dominating everything, Nokia and Motorola…

…The problem here is that while Apple can play the fashion game as well as any company, there is no evidence that it can play it fast enough. These phones go in and out of style so fast that unless Apple has half a dozen variants in the pipeline, its phone, even if immediately successful, will be passé within 3 months.”

And Nokia and Motorola phones today? Exactly. And Apple? In Cupertino on 27 July last year, Tim Cook announced that the company had sold its billionth iPhone.

iPhone


Don’t pray or cry for Apple

Wednesday, 27 April, 2016 0 Comments
Don’t pray or cry for Apple

On 12 December 1980, the Apple IPO saw 4.6 million shares being offered at $22 each. Steve Jobs made $217 million that day, and when the closing bell rang on Wall Street, the stock price had jumped 32 percent to $29, giving the company a market value of $1.7 billion. Lotsa bubbly. Champagne times.

Fast forward to this day, 27 April, in 1997, and sobriety had set in. The Apple share price closed at $17 and the doomsayers were so emboldened by this decline that Wired magazine published a famous cover story in June urging distressed Apple fans to Pray. The company needed divine intervention due to “a confusing product line, little inspiration from the top, software developers fleeing.” 101 solutions were offered, starting with, “1. Admit it. You’re out of the hardware game. Outsource your hardware production, or scrap it entirely, to compete more directly with Microsoft without the liability of manufacturing boxes,” and ending with, “101. Don’t worry. You’ll survive. It’s Netscape we should really worry about.”

In between, there was “27. Relocate the company to Bangalore and make it cheap, cheap, cheap,” “52. Return to the heady days of yore by insisting that Steve Jobs regrow his beard,” and “81. Merge with Sega and become a game company.”

All of this is by way of background to the news that Apple has reported a fall in quarterly sales, the first time its revenue has fallen in 13 years. Apple shares were hovering around $104 when the company released its report yesterday. Half an hour later, the stock price had declined eight percent to under $97. For those prone to panic, it’s worth noting that Apple has a cash hoard of $233 billion, which is more than all the foreign currency reverses around the world, and with a market capitalization $575 billion, it’s the world’s most valuable publicly traded company. Hold those tears.

People have become impatient with Apple because it doesn’t produce something amazing every 12 months. The reality, however, is that major technological innovation is the exception, not the rule. Iteration of the existing product line is the pedestrian norm. Apple has some big cards up its sleeve, however. The company is said to be working on an electric car, stealing engineers from Tesla and looking for test locations in California. It is also filing patents that suggest it’s toying with some kind of a virtual reality device. There’s no need to cry or pray for Apple.

Wired Apple Pray


Apple is 40 today

Friday, 1 April, 2016 0 Comments

Apple was established on 1 April 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne to sell the Apple I personal computer kit, which was designed and hand-built by Wozniak. The company was incorporated on 3 January 1977 without Wayne, who decided to sell his 10 percent share back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. Note: A 10 percent share of Apple Inc. would be worth $60 billion today. Two other numbers: Apple has 110,000 employees, but they’re dwarfed by the 300,000 developers supplying its App Store.

“Was Steve Jobs smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical… History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford. More than anyone else of his time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology.” — Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs


The memory hole in Europe and China

Wednesday, 16 March, 2016 0 Comments

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the “memory hole” is a slot into which government officials deposit politically incorrect documents to be incinerated. Thoughts of Orwell’s warning were awakened by two recent occurrences, one minor, one major. Let’s start with the minor. A Google search of this blog for references to Steve Jobs produces a results page that ends with the notification: “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe.” This is a consequence of the EU’s “Right To Be Forgotten” ruling, which is Orwellian in its implications.

Now, the major matter. A week ago, the Hong Kong Free Press reported that “All traces of Hong Kong English language newspaper the South China Morning Post have been wiped from social media platforms in China.” The writer, Karen Cheung, added the Orwellian aspect with this ominous sentence: “The paper’s disappearance from Chinese social media came weeks after Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to tighten control over the news in China, saying that ‘state media must be surnamed Party.'”

As an ex-English teacher, Alibaba’s Jack Ma must be familiar with the works of Orwell. If his bid for the South China Morning Post goes through, he may be tempted to complete its descent into the memory hole. Why would Ma want to buy the paper? “Maybe he’s been told to,” speculates Big Lychee. Orwellian.

Censor


Trump antics, analytics and the vision thing

Tuesday, 2 February, 2016 1 Comment

A week ago, TechNewsWorld published a piece by Rob Enderle titled “How Trump Wins: Master Manipulator, Meet Analytics.” Snippet: “There is no doubt Trump is a master manipulator, and he has figured out how to use social media to turn this advanced skill into a near superpower. If this skill disparity holds, he won’t just win the election — it will be a rout.”

A week is a long time in politics. Donald Trump lost in Iowa last night, Marco Rubio is heading to New Hampshire with the wind at his back and we’re now looking at a “Three-Way Republican Race,” according to Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal.

Marco Rubio Rob Enderle is President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group and he “provides regional and global companies with guidance in how to create credible dialogue with the market,” among other things. He also writes for CIO, which serves the needs of Chief Information Officers (CIOs), and his latest column is titled “The Internet of Things has a vision problem.” His very valid point is that the the Internet of Things is more a tech term than a convincing argument about how life would be better in a world where all imaginable devices talk to each other. Quote:

“With the Internet of Things (IoT) the problem starts with the name, which doesn’t convey a core value but a technical state (connected things) and focuses people again on quantity rather than quality. ‘Smart’ was far better because it implied a solution that made things better as opposed to just made things different. A connected device isn’t inherently better than a disconnected device unless you somehow add intelligence or additional needed functionality.”

Perhaps the IoT needs a Steve Jobs to sell the concept to the masses? Talking of the Apple genius, Rob Enderle concluded his column on The Donald and analytics thus: “Trump may be the best indicator of what would have happened had Jobs run for president in a social media/analytics world.” Doubt it. After all, a connected device isn’t inherently better than a disconnected device unless you somehow add intelligence.

Bottom line: Marco Rubio’s strong third position in Iowa is very significant. If he does well in New Hampshire and wins in South Carolina, the nomination is his.


The iPhone: On this day in 2007

Saturday, 9 January, 2016 0 Comments

Apple reinvented the telephone on 9 January 2007. “iPhone is a revolutionary new mobile phone that allows users to make calls by simply pointing at a name or number,” claimed the company press release. Steve Jobs was at his entertainingly visionary best during the Macworld convention in San Francisco when he made that legendary presentation. From that day on, for better or worse, a person became known by the company of the phone they kept. (Grammar note for 2015: singular “they”).

“We’re gonna use the best pointing device in the world. We’re gonna use a pointing device that we’re all born with — we’re born with ten of them. We’re gonna use our fingers.
We’re gonna touch this with our fingers. And we have invented a new technology called multi-touch, which is phenomenal.
It works like magic.
You don’t need a stylus. It’s far more accurate than any touch display that’s ever been shipped.
It ignores unintended touches, it’s super-smart.
You can do multi-finger gestures on it.
And boy, have we patented it.”

Steve Jobs (24 February 1955 – 5 October 2011)


Saving live with better UI

Friday, 10 July, 2015 0 Comments

Better user interface design can save lives says Harold Thimbleby, a professor of computer science at Swansea University, who is well known for his works on user interface design in the field of human-computer interaction. As Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”


The Curse of the jOBS Film

Monday, 18 May, 2015 0 Comments

It’s been two years since the film Jobs, in which Steve Jobs was portrayed by Ashton Kutcher, hit cinema screens. It was not very well received and the unflattering reviews continue to echo: Michael O’Sullivan of The Washington Post wrote, “Although I think I could watch a whole movie called Woz and not grow tired, Jobs eventually begins to suffer from an ailment common to many biopics: milestone fatigue.”

But two years is a long time in Hollywood and the deciders there reckon that the world is ready for for another movie based on the life of Apple’s co-founder. This time round, though, there’s more film/tech cred on offer. The screenplay is by Aaron Sorkin, it’s based on the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and the director is Danny Boyle. Should be a winner, right? Actually, the omens are everything but propitious.

Sony acquired the rights to Isaacson’s book in 2011, but according to the e-mails found among the gigabytes of data leaked by the Sony Pictures’ hackers late last year, the road has been rocky for all involved in the adaptation. First, the lead star Christian Bale backed out. Then, Sorkin wanted Tom Cruise to play the part and he protested vehemently that he didn’t even know Michael Fassbender when he was cast as Jobs instead. Original director David Fincher dropped out due to financial and creative disagreements with Sony and the deeply troubled project was sold eventually to Universal. Still, Steve Jobs might have more luck than Jobs did. As the blues singer and amateur astrologist Albert King put it: “Born under a bad sign / I been down since I begin to crawl / If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”