Apple, Denied Leadership in UHDTV, Can Gain Traction With an Electric Car

| Particle Debris

The preamble is baked into the news items this week. Let's get started.

How did the "Do Not Track" function in your Web browser go so terribly wrong? This excellent story by Dawn Chmielewski at Recode tells a sorry tale of corporate influence leading to the complete disregard of what started out as a decent idea to protect privacy. "How ‘Do Not Track’ Ended Up Going Nowhere."

There are early signs that some semblance of coherence is coming to the 4K UHDTV world. One way to do that is the time honored technique of an industry consortium establishing standards, a logo, and then licensing TV makers to include a sticker on the box. When the customer sees the sticker, it's a sign that certain standards have been adhered to. Read more here: "UHD Alliance Unveils New Premium Specs, Logo."

Credt: UHD Alliance

Here's a nifty article on what Samsung is doing with 4K UHD in 2016. "Samsung refocuses on design for its 2016 TVs." The emphasis, as with all UHDTVs in 2016, is on deep color and High Dynamic Range (HDR). However, a key quote, almost a throwaway...

At its press conference, Samsung announced a partnership with Time Warner Cable so consumers would no longer have to think about "switching inputs" when choosing the content they want. Details were scant, but the days of universal remote "macros" and infrared blasters may soon be behind us.

As we know, the burden of having to figure out how to switch inputs to the desired source is an irritant and often confusing to customers. Maybe something will happen here.

On thing is for sure. Apple has placed itself in no position to influence the industry. The TV industry will march on with standards, technology and innovation leaving Apple to simply go along to get along. And that's exactly where the industry wants Apple to be.

Along those lines...

So you build a set-to-box capable of 4K UHD. Not every TV maker is compatible with your UHD content and peripheral technologies. Why, of course, you contact with China OEMs and distribute your own partner UHDTV. Then the connection is seamless and under your control. This is what Roku plans to do. "Roku Announces Plans for Branded 4K TVs."

This is what we thought Apple would do, but the company has backed off that plan for now—if what it offered us after three years of silence, the 4th generation Apple TV, is any indication.

On to a fate Apple can control.

My theory about the popularity of electric car sales is related to what Tesla calls "range anxiety." That's the feeling that you might get stranded, out of reach of a charging station, and need a tow. If that fear is too great and too persistent, customers won't flock adoringly to electric cars. Tesla tries to solve that problem by pre-scheduling your course and making sure you'll remain in range of a charging station at the right time. I think it's a short-term fix.

Here's how customers are feeling so far in another Business Insider Chart of the Day. "U.S. Electric Vehicle Sales in Perspective." Those numbers and the mild negative growth tell a story. Customers aren't overjoyed with current electric cars. (Except, Tesla owners who can pony up $70,000 or rmore.)

Apple car concept. Image credlt: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer.com WIth permission.

Apple surely has its own agenda, but if there's one thing Apple could contribute to the state-of-the-art, it would be the elimination of range anxiety. There are probably some pre-existing standards for that in miles (kilometers), but for me it's at about 300 miles (about 500 km). At that point, with a $35,000 price, customers would be lining up to buy electric cars. Oh, wait. That's what Apple does....

Moving on....

What should be the focus for the big tech giants in 2016? Walt Mossberg, writing for The Verge has some thoughts. "What Apple, Google, Microsoft and more should focus on in 2016." The Apple part is key. When Walt Mossberg, once your grandest cheerleader, says your software needs to be better, it's time to listen up.

Are consumers tired of technology? Or are they tired of paying for new (or replacement) products more often than they'd like? In any case, Business Insider has a Chart of the Day that shows a downward trend, in one survey, of consumer plans to purchase a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet and a television in 2016. Have corporate goals for growth gotten out of touch with the marketplace?

What are your personal technology needs? Have you ever thought about creating a structure for the utilization of Apple products? That is, defining their use and organizing thoughts about what items then need refreshing and which do not? Here's some food for thought. "My Apple Hardware Hierarchy of Need."

Finally, this last article sums up everything Alphabet and Google will be working on in 2016. It's essential, at the every least, because it lays out visually what each major division, Alphabet and Google, is all about. "2016 Google Tracker: Everything Google is working on for the new year."

Image credlt: ars technica. See linked article for full image.

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Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.

Comments

aardman

Fuel cells instead of batteries solves the range-anxiety problem.

downquark

I write this as a longtime Apple user and supporter but, given the relative performance of Apple in phone batteries, there is a bit of cognitive dissonance in the idea of Apple being the company that works out how to get batteries to last as long as users would like.

JonGl

Interesting article about the hierarchy of need. I don’t have a watch or TV, just my MBP, Moto X and Nexus 7 (yeah, I’m a Tr8R). My hierarchy is easy. My Mac is at the top, and phone next. I put my phone next, because if push came to shove, I could use a dumb phone, and use my Mac for the most important things. I hardly use my tablet for anything but games, and casual web and reading, and the occasional video. Now that NetFlix is available in our country without Hola, I may start watching more TV than before on it, but I have yet to install the app, so who knows… Maybe if we had a flat-screen HD TV, I would think differently about the whole TV thing, but so long as we have a tiny, CRT box, that’s not changing. I love watches, but cannot justify buying a smart watch—well…. except i love the new Moto 360, and customized a killer look for it, and would want one just because I like how it looks, but I don’t see the functionality as being something my phone doesn’t give me that I need.

The irony is that when the iPad first came out, I kind of felt it would fit a middle road that wasn’t really ideal for anything, and that I wouldn’t really use one (hence the Nexus 7 experimental purchase—though, in the end, I prefer it to my wife’s iPad Mini, which is too fat/wide, IMO). And it seems that for many, it does fit that awkward middle that makes it easy to leave behind. And I feared that the watch would turn out to be something like that too. It’s almost as easy to pull out the phone… so why the watch? I know it is useful, and maybe essential for some people, but it’s not mass-market. Those were my thoughts from the beginning).

I think, though, what’s really sad, is that my 2010 MBP still meets my needs. I think I shall put in an SSD drive, drop my current 1TB drive into the optical bay, externalize the optical drive, and I’m probably good to go for another two years! I got 7-8 years use out of my Pismo (2000 Powerbook), and I fully did not expect to get anything near comparable out of this one. I planned for a new one last year, but when the time came, none of the new models seems to be compelling enough to upgrade, and the same is true today. Worse, I’ve looked at the iPad Pro, Surface Pro, and other, Windows-based machines (just to see what’s out there), and there is _nothing_ that compels me to dump my current beat-up MBP. What’s wrong with me??? wink

Lee Dronick

A big part of the problem with the life of iPhone batteries is the user and the apps that are unnecessarily left open. Apps that use, but don’t need to use, location services and such.

As to range anxiety. In reality is that a problem when most people don’t drive far from home. Yes, yes, yes, there are people who live out in the country who need to drive an hour or more to a grocery store, a day to a Starbucks, or drive all day long in the city make deliveries and such, but they can drive a vehicle best suited to their particular needs.

webjprgm

Range anxiety, really? For a one-car family then yes, you can’t take an all-electric car on vacation unless it is a Tesla which has the Supercharger network. A two car family would use the electric just for in-town errands and commuting.

Instead of electric, you can look at hybrids. I still don’t choose those because they all make some compromise that I don’t like. (Still a bit expensive, cargo space too small (Fusion and others), not enough passenger seats (Volt), tiny and ugly (Leaf), etc.) I don’t even pay attention to who sells an all-electric other than Tesla.

webjprgm

Apple software - people have been saying for years, even developers who work at Apple, that iTunes/Music needs to change. I guess only Eddie Cue disagrees.

Purchase plans - This would normally be my year to buy a new iPhone in the fall, but at the moment I feel that my iPhone 6 doesn’t need replacing. Maybe in part because I spent some extra money on an Apple Watch. So we’ll see. I might just stretch this phone to 3 years for the first time.

Hierarchy - iPhone first, I use it everywhere and constantly. Then iMac, it is still my primary computer. MBA is just a nice-to-have convenience, but comes in ahead of iPads because when I’m on a trip it becomes my primary computer while the iPads stay as nice-to-have. Apple TV (not the new one) is basically just a receiver to play YouTube or other content streamed from my phone (easier UI) or watch Dr Who streaming it from iTunes (easier than downloading to my computer and getting those two to talk to each other). I could easily replace the Apple TV by using a cable to connect my MBA to the TV, which is what I did with my previous laptop before I had the Apple TV. So that’s very low on the hierarchy because it really doesn’t solve any problems on its own. I don’t know where to put Apple Watch in this list, since it is still an experiment. I use it all the time, but obviously I don’t need it. It inflates itself a little because it fits in with my vanity.

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