The contrast between Microsoft’s October 26 event and Apple’s October 27 event has the PC industry in a buzz. Observers who have been diehard Apple fans are casting jealous eyes towards the new Microsoft products. Meanwhile, some observers who have been against Apple for political reasons are making some solid observations that don’t have the traditional earmarks of being self-serving and misinformed. John explores.
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During Apple’s “Hello Again” event, Apple spent an hour and 25 minutes talking about several cool things. The new MacBook Pros are very nice—but they were the only major Mac announcement. In contrast, the event tagline suggested that Apple would say something important about the “Mac” as a product. Instead, the vacuum persisted and Apple elected to take a stand, instead. on how it sees the MacBook Pro catering to the pro market with the Touch Bar.
Microsoft has just announced the Surface Studio, a 28-inch All-in-One computer with a Skylake Processor and a touch sensitive display that tilts. The design, operation and concept of this computer, is basically a giant iPad, the iPad John always dreamed of. His first reaction follows.
The best analyst questions during Apple’s Q4 2016 Financial Results came from Simona Jankowski with Goldman Sachs. She asked Tim Cook about his perspective on home vs. mobile artificial intelligence agents and then the issue of privacy. Tim Cook took a solid stand on both questions that reveal the future direction of Apple.
We tend to think of robots and AI agents as potentially threatening. But when they’re specifically charged with protecting the human passengers in autonomous cars, there could be some serious shenanigans by aggressive drivers. Even abuse. What if one of those autonomous cars, in turn, does something unexpected? John looks at a mind-numbing scenario.
David Sparks is a business attorney, Macworld author, podcaster and all around Apple product expert. He’s one of those people who started on one path—an aerospace engineering student—then changed gears to become a law student at Pepperdine University. David tells the story of his law school years and how people often think of law school as more onerous than it really is. His original plan was to be a prosecutor, but then he found that business law for small companies was much more satisfying. We chatted about his interest in all things Mac and the dawn of his Mac Power Users podcast with Katie Floyd in 2009. Today, David is a popular speaker and a fixture in the Mac Community with 346 podcasts and several books. Come take a career journey with me and David.
IBM and Apple have been partnering with each other for some time now. The action continues with Macs finding great favor within IBM. Also, education initiatives continue. Finally, IBM’s Watson has to be giving Apple some big ideas. This has the signs of becoming one of the most productive partnerships ever, amongst former rivals, in the tech industry.
There was a time when Apple was into powerful headless Macs for technical professionals. Those who wanted their own multiple displays and great expandability. Lately, Apple seems to have lost interest in that market and focussed on mobility. There is a smattering of hopeful signs, but John Martellaro thinks the Mac Pro is headed for the annals of Apple history.
“The iPhone 7 is said to be 120 times faster than the original 2G, which came out a whopping nine years ago—that’s a lot of progress in less than a decade.” So begins a terrific suite of tests on every iPhone Apple has shipped: boot time, speed benchmarks, camera quality (and low light performance), Touch ID response, camera launch times, operating temperature, sound output, and more. What a nifty video—and nicely narrated. Nine years of iPhone development before our eyes.
An intriguing chip has been discovered in the teardown of the iPhone 7. We know that it’s a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), but we don’t know what it’s intended to do. Speculation abounds. John has a SWAG.
History will probably record that the delay in Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro/Air involved the development of some new Apple technologies getting out of sync with Intel’s CPU/GPU roadmap. First, we know that Apple elected to skip a CPU generation, waiting for Skylake with Thunderbolt 3 support. Recently, a leaked Intel roadmap and some analysis of the integrated GPU cycle explains why Apple may have to wait again until 2018 for it’s next major refresh. Particle Debris page 2 explores Apple’s Intel headache.
Chuq Von Rospach worked for Apple for nearly 20 years, starting in 1989. In the mid-1980s, he landed first at Sun Microsystems and worked on the launch of early Sun workstations. Thanks to that work, and his boss going over to Apple, Chuq followed. At Apple, they developed Apple’s first paid technical support organization for Apple’s A/UX (Unix) system for the Motorola 68K Macs. Chuq has great stories to tell about Apple’s ill-fated but legendary Network Server, Mac executive Jean-Louis Gassée, the disastrous Apple CEO Michael Spindler, the failed attempt to sell Apple to Sun in 1996, the acquisition of NeXT and return of Steve Jobs. You want Apple stories? Chuq has ’em!
A major problem with Artificial Intelligence (AI) development is that a time might come when AI’s are able to learn and teach themselves faster than humans can manage them. Recently, President Obama suggested AI’s that aren’t properly constrained and regulated could be unleashed on unsuspecting citizens and severely disadvantage them. Figuring out when to step in will be the great 21st century challenge for governments.
The color choices for the iPhone 7/Plus are better than ever. A good case can protect that iPhone without covering up those amazing colors. John looks at three cases that are mostly transparent and provide a range of protection.
Soon, we think, there will be fall Apple event that launches new Macs. The nature of this event and the kinds of Macs that Apple updates and those that are left to quietly die will tell us a lot about where Apple is heading with technical professionals. Many of those former Apple customers have already switched to Linux. Those who remain are dismayed and are not very hopeful. Some readers weigh in.
In watchOS 3, there are no more Glances. So Apple had to relocate the manual activation of Power Reserve for the Apple Watch to the Control Center. John shows you how this works.
Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus is a writer, book author and raconteur. He writes for the Houston Chronicle and The Mac Observer, and he specializes in the “Dummies” books about Apple products like the Mac, the iPad and iPhone. But Bob wasn’t always a writer. Early on, he wanted to work in a recording studio and it just so happened, in high school, he had a good friend, Jermaine Jackson. That resulted in Bob touring with the Jackson 5. Later, he became a roadie with Shaun Cassidy. (Bob tells a secret.) Bob’s also worked in advertising, a story in itself, and also as the official evangelist for Power Computing in the 1990s. Speaking of Apple, he said “We were their worst nightmare.” Does Bob know how to tell stories? Oh, yes.
UBS financial analyst Steve Milunovich has presented an interesting theory about Apple’s Ambient strategy: “…different input/output methods that can be flexibly utilized depending on the situation (sitting, walking, running, driving). Collectively these devices offer the capability of earlier products … delivered as a seamless user experience.” In addition, the notion of created and evolving scarcity punctuates the Apple strategy. Particle Debris page 2 explains it.
Research into Artificial Intelligence will evolve into many more applications than asking Amazon’s Echo how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon. Or driving an autonomous car. As the technology expands in its capabilities and applications, we’ll be confronted with massive social change. How will Apple, for example, both serve us and meet competitive challenges?
Whether Apple intends to send the message or not, it appears to technical professionals that Apple isn’t catering to the technical professionals the way it has in the past. This has created opportunity in that market that Hewlett-Packard is consciously exploiting.