Several articles I found this week combined to create a theme. Apple is struggling to keep up in several areas.
The first item is the iMac. At Six Colors, Jason Snell discusses how the decision to offer spinning hard disks in the latest iMacs apparently kept Apple from implementing the T2 security chip. Or so it seems. Or perhaps difficulties with the T2 integration allowed Apple the convenient option of offering a lower cost 5,400 RPM drive. We don’t know, but author Snell is spot on in his analysis.
Seriously. It’s 2019. Apple first offered SSDs in its 2010 iMacs. Given SSD OEM pricing, there’s really no excuse for offering a 2019 iMac with a spinning disk boot drive. None.
The next iMac article is a more comprehensive analysis of the state-of-the-art of the iMac by Jason Cross at Macworld.
Author Cross hits the mark on every item. Every one. And they’re all technically feasible. I especially appreciated the comments about height adjustment, slimmer bezels and flash storage. The first two are items that wouldn’t add that much cost.
Turning to AirPods, Chaim Gartenberg at The Verge hits the nail on the head in his assessment of the new AirPods combined with the delayed AirPower charger.
Even if Apple does launch AirPower tomorrow or Friday, which seems vaguely possible given how many surprise Apple hardware announcements we’ve seen this week, it’ll still be too late. Right now, thousands of customers are sticking second-gen AirPods and wireless charging cases in their carts on Apple’s website — so many of them that new buyers won’t see their AirPods ship until April. An AirPower charger to use with those new AirPods is the easiest upsell in the world, given that it was literally designed for this exact product, and yet none of those thousands of customers can buy one today.
Instead, they’re probably buying one of the excellent Qi chargers that are already out there….
It’s quite a mess.
A final example is from my own pen.
The theme I’m seeing from the above astute observations by these other experienced Apple observers is that Apple is settling for second best with some non-iPhone products.
• At Recode, Peter Kafka explains Apple’s approach for the March 25 event. “Apple’s plan for its new TV service: Sell other people’s TV services.” Subtitle: “Apple’s TV plans, explained. (Spoiler: Apple isn’t taking on Netflix yet.)”
• We just knew it. All the recent fuss about foldable smartphones centered on one key design element: the visibility of the seam at the fold. And guess what? “Leaked video confirms our worst suspicions about Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.” OMG. Our tech fantasy dashed. (Again.)
• The next two items fit together nicely. First, from CNET: “Comcast unveils $5-a-month streaming service Xfinity Flex.” Subtitle: “Limited to Comcast’s internet-service-only customers, it mimics the company’s X1 cable service but delivers over the internet.” But it’s not an app for your Apple TV. Instead, it uses Comcast’s own a 4K HDR streaming box. Another box! Ycch.
• Tied into the above is this next item from Media Play News : “Survey: Almost Half of Consumers Frustrated by Growing Number of Entertainment Subs and Services.“
The opportunities afforded by the internet are so great, greed and the fear that The Other Guy will steal the whole show has cast us into this fragmented mess. At some point, consumers will rebel and direct their focus to just a few winning services. And, by and large, the choice won’t be based on content. It’ll be based on price and convenience. That’s because there’s so much great content available, customers will realize they can’t have it all. But they can control costs and equipment that’s easy to use.
• There is hope that caller ID spoofing may finally come to an end. “AT&T and Comcast test ‘verified’ phone calls to fight spam.”
• Finally, autonomous cars are all over the news. Apple is thought to be working on one. And in those discussions, the subject of insurance is often bought up. Here’s a start. “How do you insure a driverless car?”
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) 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.