After Initial Euphoria, Then Letdown, iPad is Poised for Glory

iPad Pro & pencil

Page 2 – The Tech News Debris for the Week of July 18th

The Case for a Shatterproof iPhone.

This article by Will Gomez about the iPhone 7 starts off well in its analysis of shatterproof smartphones. “What iPhone 7 Needs More Than Anything.” But he jumps off the track at the very end when he proposes that Apple wants our iPhones to be fragile. That’s so that when it breaks, we have to send Apple more money for a new one.

iPhone 6s colors

This contradicts everything Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have ever said about building only the very best products. As we know, one unhappy customer can cause a lot more damage than the revenue gains made from one replaced iPhone.

So you can skip that part at the end of the article. What’s more, along the lines of making the iPhone customers ever more happy, we now know that Corning has been working to address the issue of an iPhone’s damaged display when dropped. “Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 has drop protection up to 5.2 ft, likely headed to future iPhones.

The optical and mechanical properties of Gorilla Glass have been pushed to the limits, but there are more gains to be made. Tech improvements like this make customers happy and sell new iPhones by the millions.

One more thing… Is it realistic to think about an iPhone that may, someday, never need a case? That way, the fully glory of the iPhone would always be visible. Aside from greatly annoying the developers of cases, is that even possible? What would be the legal and practical aspects? In any case, Apple always makes the highest quality product it can.

Ever onward. Only the best from Apple and its suppliers.


Just how will robots take over many manual labor jobs? Which jobs are more likely to be replaced? How fast will the transition occur? What are the prospects for the economy? All of this and more is discussed in this Vox interview with author Robert Gordon. “This expert thinks robots aren’t going to destroy many jobs. And that’s a problem.” Mr. Gordon’s book analyzes the factors that led to “Rise and Fall of American Growth.” The interview at Vox is fascinating.

Two weeks ago, right here, I pondered how Apple may be at a competitive disadvantage against other tech giants because it lost its institutional expertise with supercomputers. Here’s another example of that Apple decision, perhaps, coming home to roost. “Google is using its highly intelligent computer brain [DeepMind] to slash its enormous electricity bill.

One way to make money, as Steve Jobs taught the world, is to make great products that people need, want and appreciate. Microsoft seems to be following that advice recently with its cloud services. Here’s a BI chart of the day that tells the story. Somehow, CEO Satya Nadella has figured out not only how to succeed, but how to be charming about it.

Speaking of cloud services, Kirk McElhearn has written a very nice comparison of cloud services for consumers: “Cloud Storage Comparison: iCloud Drive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive.
Storage costs and features are clearly laid out. Good stuff here.

Most bloggers would bet their next paycheck that Apple will be releasing new MacBook Pros this fall with Thunderbolt 3. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Thunderbolt, its future and how it will relate to USB 3, here’s a fantastic, highly readable tutorial in the OWC blog. “Tech 101: A Brief History of Thunderbolt Technology.” This is required reading for every Apple customer.

Finally, you’ve heard that the Intel Skylake processors (required to support Thunderbolt 3) are now shipping in quantity. They’ll certainly be in the new MacBook Pros this fall. What’s next? It’s “Kaby Lake – two words – this time.” It’s very early in the production cycle, and who knows if/when we’ll see them in Macs in 2017? The article above notes, intriguingly, that versions of Windows before version 10 won’t run on Kaby Lake. Why this is so and how that, in turn, affects backwards compatibility with OS X, I do not yet know. I’ll report when I learn more.

2 thoughts on “After Initial Euphoria, Then Letdown, iPad is Poised for Glory

  • John:

    You’ve got some great selections here this week. I’m wondering aloud whether or not the dearth of follow-on commentary is influenced by pull of the US political convention coverage. Perhaps your summary of these articles is sufficiently comprehensive that most readers simply had nothing more to add, apart from the irrepressible Geoduck.

    The two topics that I found most interesting were those of your lead, the promise of the iPad, and the issue of the impact of robots on our socio-economic transition, specifically that they will not destroy jobs. As usual, I’m pressed for time, but cannot resist adding my two cents.

    First, the iPad. I think there are two main forces militating against expanded use of the iPad. The one identified in your selections, namely the software constraints of iOS, combined with limitations of the CPU and GPU of the early versions of the device, appear both plausible and substantiated by Apple’s response of tool creation (programming tools) and bolstering the capacity of the device. The second, in my view, is fundamentally human, namely the inertia of human habit, and the energy required to overcome that inertia and propel transition, and here is where I think many an analysis has fallen flat. Unlike the iPhone, which addressed an unmet need, was readily adopted, and thus seamlessly and organically transformed our culture, the use case for the iPad has been more complex. As introduced, most saw it as a consumption device (books, magazines, entertainment writ large), and far less as a productivity device. As the case for it being a productivity device gathered pace, its headwinds have consisted of both superior capability on most PCs for common usage (including Macs of all types) and comfort with those PCs by the generation endowed with the greatest purchasing power. This latter phenomenon is being assaulted now on two fronts. The first is what your piece highlights, expanded capability of the iPad and more tools to enable content creation and productivity. The second is a demographic transition, in which those with purchasing power are being replaced from below by a younger generation whose use-case will be influenced more by iOS than by the Mac. This generation will far more comfortable than their parents ever were with a touchscreen and a device that is essentially touch-based, and not key-board driven. We should bear in mind that when the PC emerged, it had no competition, apart from pen and paper-based work modes. The iPad competes, with a capacity disadvantage, against an entrenched and highly capable device in the PC. It can be argued that this inertia will ultimately be overcome by a demographic transition in which younger users, with new purchasing power, will opt for a device with which they have grown and are predisposed.

    Second, robots and their impact, economic and social. I argued last week that our expectations about new technologies, robots being no exception, are bent by the gravitational influence of our current experience and the limits this imposes on our imaginations and visionary horizons. In brief, while I take on board many of the points made by Robert Gordon in Timothy’s Lee’s interview, I am reminded of the principle of the inflection point of new technologies, and how when these are reached, not only is adoption increased but so too is use case in ways that a previous generation could never have imagined, with a transformation of culture and a new generation’s expectations. Specifically, what I think we have yet to see is the impact of the interplay between robotics and AI, and how, when these are married in a way that permits workflow coordination and efficiency on a near-global scale, with not only substantial cost reduction per output, but a freeing of human potential to address new frontiers, such as new energy production, bio-engineering in medicine and health, and new infrastructural development to meet the consumption and social needs of more global community, then I think we will see a paradigm shift in robotics use. Currently, most current robotic use, not unlike our old PCs in the pre-internet of all things world of the late 1980’s and early1990’s, is isolated and situation-specific. Once these are coordinated and harmonised by secure AI designed, first and foremost, to ensure human safety and second efficiency and freedom from drudgery, and acting across whole sectors of industry and private use, then I think we will see that inflection point, which will galvanise an entirely new use case for robotics. The impact on our economy, let alone our culture, is beyond the ken of our current experience, and I think predictions of its impact is thus premature.


  • I like the idea of the iPad being poised for glory. I like the idea of the robust hardware from the iPP coupled with a huge improvement to iOS making the pro a great content creation machine. However I just ran across something that makes me question your thesis.

    I am on the road. I have a bunch of pictures and want to make a book in Photos. Put it together. Send it off. It will be waiting in my mailbox when I get home. But, I just discovered that you can’t do that any more. You could in iOS8 but with 9 they stripped the ability to make a book, and I believe cards and calendars as well, out of iOS completely. You have to go to a Mac to make a Photos book.

    If Apple wants the iPad to be used as a content creation device, then don’t take content creation tools away from us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.