Amazon, like any company could fail someday. CEO Jeff Bezos has even predicted it. ” ‘I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt’: Jeff Bezos makes surprise admission about Amazon’s life span.”
“Amazon is not too big to fail … In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail,” Bezos reportedly said when addressing a question about Sears recently going bankrupt. “Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.
IBM has been around for 107 years. Apple has been around for 42 years. None of us likes to think about the total business failure of Apple. (It came close in 1996. That’s no exemption from a second bust.) But it’s possible. The problem is forecasting the forces that might cause failure, and we don’t know what they’ll be. Speculation seems pointless. But one thing to watch is how tech companies change and embrace new technologies. Those companies that refuse to change, like Sears, usually fail. Apple is doing well in this regard, relentlessly leaving the past behind.
If I had to guess, however, it would have something to do with robots. Just a hunch. There, social forces, technology and Apple’s values could dramatically collide in the future.
In that light, The Guardian does a decent job this week exploring Apple’s current struggles. “Does Apple’s sales slump mean the firm has finally peaked?” (Note the dreadful invocation of Betteridge’s law in the headline.) The problems cited are not company-ending struggles. But today’s market forces can be fickle, and monitoring them, even as Apple adapts, is always instructive.
• Two reviews of the new Mac mini caught my attention this week.
- Apple Mac Mini review (2018): A video editor’s perspective
- Apple Mac mini 2018 Review: The Mini Gets Mighty And Pricey
The first reviewer isn’t happy with the graphics performance. “Cons: Limited graphics performance (and no meaningful way to improve it).” The second agrees and also agrees that customization options get pricey real fast.” But there are pros. Both agree that the external ports are plentiful and well chosen. Read both to get a great overview.
• Another thing we don’t like to think about is AI replacing humans in some jobs. Those job that require encyclopedic knowledge are candidates. “This AI outperformed 20 corporate lawyers at legal work.” Of course, trial attorneys will still depend on the human touch, human connections, shrewd tactics, etc. in the courtroom. That is, if the human art of trial prosecution and defense survives. As a fun, instructive aside, see the Star Trek (TOS) episode “Court Martial.”
• All computer languages are complete. They can handle any algorithm known to humans thanks to their design. But the specific design and syntax can sometimes lead a developer into bad coding habits. Some languages, like Haskell, are designed to avoid certain security lapses based on the developer’s style. And some are not, and the developer has to be very alert. See: “The Internet Has a Huge C/C++ Problem and Developers Don’t Want to Deal With It.”
• On October 30, Apple announced a new Mac mini and new MacBook Air. But no new iMacs. Why not? Here’s an exploration that tries to make sense of that omission. “Why Apple Didn’t Upgrade the iMac Last Month?” One thing the author doesn’t delve into is T2 security chip integration. Apple had much longer to work on the Mac mini and MacBook Air. So the iMac could just be be the johnny-come-lately Mac.
• When you buy an iPhone or iPad, Apple doesn’t offer choice of CPU (type and clock speed) and RAM—as you get when purchasing a Mac. Jason Snell opines, based on the new MacBook Air, that this might be the future for, at least, portable Macs. “Why the MacBook Air might spell the end of configurable Macs.” I disagree: Mac users are a different breed. So I think the new MBA is not a presage of the future, rather, something that was expedient and could change in time. But Jason’s article is something to ponder.
• Finally, if you have a 4th generation Apple TV/4K, the YouTube TV app is available to you. Here’s a very good, comprehensive guide over at Digital Trends on everything YouTube TV has to offer. “What is YouTube TV? Here’s everything you need to know.” This app is very much on my own radar.
[Note: Particle Debris will not be published on 22 November.]
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week 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 holiday weeks.