How Apple Might be Our Last Hope Before the Internet Dies


Page 2 – News Debris for the Week of Nov 28th
The Horn Effect and Apple’s $23B Mac Business

Last summer, Apple discontinued its 27-inch Thunderbolt display. Recent rumors have suggested that Apple will soon discontinue its AirPort products, the Extreme, Express and Time Capsule. Rene Ritchie at iMore argues that even though displays and routers/wi-fi base stations are a niche market for Apple, the danger is that once Apple starts to send its customers shopping elsewhere, away from the Apple camp, they’ll be enticed into buying other non-Apple products. It’s the opposite of the halo effect; Rene calls it the Horn Effect. Here’s the editorial: “The Horn Effect: Why Apple should keep making displays and routers!

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Apple’s Mac business is worth $23B annually. Not something to ignore.

Along those lines, it’s fashionable to talk about how much money Apple makes from the iPhone and how little it makes from the Mac. But Jean-Louis Gassée in a recent Monday Note reminds us that Apple’s Mac US$23B business is on par with the total annual revenue of Northrop Grumman or Time Warner cable. Mr. Gassée, having been an Apple executive in charge of the Mac in the past, always has interesting insights. “The Macintosh Endgame.

{UPDATE:] Thanks to considerable feedback, on December 5th, Jean-Louis Gassée continued the discussion. The Operating System Fountain of Youth: iOS.

More Debris….

There’s been some discussion in the news lately about the nature and preservation of the U.S. workforce. Recently, I argued on Jeff Gamet’s TMO Daily Observations podcast that the U.S. workforce is increasingly white collar, and will become more so as robots continue to replace certain kinds of jobs. That means being able to do jobs robots cannot yet do. Here’s an interesting punctuation of that thesis. “The New Workplace Is Agile, and Nonstop. Can You Keep Up?” The first paragraph:

Whether you like it or not, your boss may want you to start acting more like a programmer.

Students take note.

One of the tenants of modern technology is that you either compete with the other company on day one or else fall hopelessly behind as the competition seizes all the mindshare and accelerates its technical lead. (Apple did that to Microsoft a few years ago with the iPad.) We know from Tim Cook that Apple believes AI should be mobile, not stationary. And so we haven’t seen an analogous Apple product corresponding to the Amazon Echo.

Now Amazon is pouring on the coals with a second generation model. “Amazon reportedly planning all-new Alexa device with massive touchscreen.” Make of that what you will.

I’ve written a lot about Artificial Intelligence in this column. Here’s a recent addition to the discussion worth your time. “Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Are Remaking Themselves Around AI.

Finally, the ominous exploit described here appeared in iOS 9.3 and has long been patched. But the story, just published at Vanity Fair is a cautionary tale: always, and I mean always, upgrade to the latest version of iOS when it’s released by Apple. Here’s the scary scoop. “How A Grad Student Found Spyware That Could Control Anybody’s iPhone From Anywhere In The World.” Are you paranoid yet?


Teaser graphic via Shutterstock.

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 on page two 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.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: A pervasive grim, often-times angry, mood is overtaking populations around the world. Indeed, in the US, the winners of the presidential election appear to be as angry, sometimes angrier, than the losers, so much so that it begs the question; if this event is not a cause for their celebration and happiness, then for what are they still waiting? It is, then, of no surprise that this gloom should characterise much of the commentary in the tech world, including around Apple. Let’s see if we can answer the question just posed. John Dvorak initiates this cynical, almost dystopian analysis… Read more »


PSYOP 101 discredit major sources of information, insert false secondary sources of information. Create confusion and weakened target.

US has done it for years, now it’s being done to them.


There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in – Leonard Cohen.

Lee Dronick

Gassée writes “In a war, the top general puts more and better troops on the most important battle.” to which I would add ‘while making plans for the next battle.’

Lee Dronick

Geoduck, I shared a link to your Christmas card.

Paul Goodwin

@geoduck. It certainly is.


Open talk about mandating a government back door into all of our devices. Net neutrality crumbling as we speak. A president elect that eschews the actual press for Twitter posts where the truth is whatever he says it is. A major part of the populace that is happy to believe whatever their drug of choice tells them. A fake story about a pizza place leads to death threats. Fake news makes a real difference in an important election. Yes it is a dark time. And it will get darker, much darker. This was the genesis of my 2016 Christmas… Read more »