When writers discuss Apple, it should lead to a better understanding of Apple. To do that, one must have some good literary sense, editorial judgment, sources and experience. A competent journalist knows that with every successful company, like Apple, one has to dig behind the scenes. There's always a back story. There are hidden factors that don't always come to light, and evaluating Apple on the surface is a risky affair.
Worse, writing sensational and negative headlines to make money just burns bridges with the readers. It's only a matter of time before readers realize that the author is more interested in padding his or her pocket than offering genuine insights that leave the reader feeling better and more informed than before. Readers can sense that kind of selfishness.
Finally, there is that special sense of inspiration. Sure, one can dwell on every mistake Apple has ever made and claim that Apple is doomed. The modern technique of the haters is to use arrogance and sarcasm as substitutes for real personal achievement. Nothing said with a sour stomach and a loose tongue is indicative of academic and journalistic excellence. Contrast that Apple's own ability to inspire us to do our best.
There is a lot to celebrate about what Apple tries to do as a company. Understanding those things, as a customer, is helpful because Apple consciously makes products designed to make our lives better. An inspiring exploration of that endeavor has lasting value; point-and-shoot criticism does not.
This week, two of my favorite authors who cover Apple reminded us that one-dimensional criticism doesn't really lead to anything productive, positive or insightful about Apple.
Check out "Understanding Apple: When reporting doesn't seem to lead to insight" by the awesome Rene Ritchie and "Apple Is Doomed…Yet Again." by the learned John Kirk. Mr. Kirk, with a great collection of famous quotes, puts failure, circumspection, risk and the lessons of life into perspective in a way that few others can. Those who have achieved much have also had failures, and to deny that, or put failure in the wrong perspective, is a betrayal.
I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year. It’s very character-building. — Steve Jobs
Tech News Debris for the Week of February 10
Cory Doctorow has written a tour de force article on digital rights management (DRM). Mr. Doctorow's approach is to dig deep, look at the core issues and reveal the linkage between the politics of the DMCA and the corresponding effect on our personal security. It's long, but it's educational and simply a great read. "What happens with digital rights management in the real world?"
Tim Cook and his executive team hardly need tutoring from the outside. Here's just one example of why. "Apple: Tim Cook's Brilliant Move." To wit: "Essentially, Apple — thanks to its buyback — was able to put a floor under the shares while sentiment was rough."
For another, perhaps more detailed and nuanced evaluation of the Apple stock repurchase, see: "Tim Cook Is 'Betting On Apple,' Don't Bet Against Him." For example, " I noted that it was sized in such a way that Apple would end up with as much cash as it had before starting. "
Is your head hurting yet?
Have we reached the point where our Macs, without hard disks and SuperDrives, could be too small? Ben Lovejoy ponders the Mac mini situation in: "Will the next Mac mini be a lot more mini than ever before?" It's gotten to the point where we can put an entire UNIX operating system in about of ounce of hardware. Where this will lead is something to ponder.
Is Apple about to put the iPhone case makers out of business? Mile Elgan makes the case (!) "Why Your Next iPhone Won’t Need a Case."
Last week, in this column, I wrote about how it's really a good idea to have a larger iPhone display, considering all the things we try to do with a modern smartphone: watch movies, read maps, read books, and so on. Some wondered about the iOS issues related to that, and so I remembered that Rene Ritchie has already looked into the display options for a 5-inch iPhone. Here's the lowdown for all you pixel-fussbudgets. "Imagining a 5-inch iPhone 6." Mr. Ritchie does the math for you in this excellent article.
Will the iPhone 6 lose its side bezel? Renderings of that look absolutely amazing. Like this: "This is the most beautiful iPhone 6 concept yet (but don’t hold your breath)." However, there are issues. First, finger wrap-around could generate undesired inputs. Fortunately, Apple is developing a solution. Another issue is that the iPhone could become so thin that it can no longer support the classic 3.5 mm headphone jack. Options there include dispensing with it entirely and going with Bluetooth only or, perhaps, providing an adapter.
Try this: Bring up Siri. Say the following. "Tell me a story."