Apple’s Retail Stores Are Bending But Not Breaking

Apple Store at Park Meadows
Apple Store Park Meadows
Crowding that was once considered good is now an issue.

The Particle Debris article of the week is from Mark Gurman and Matthew Townsend at Bloomberg.

Given the depth of reporting here, the specific examples and stories, and the experience of author Gurman, one has to take this reporting seriously.

One issue is that it’s always easy to find problems. It’s not so easy to conclude that the problems reported happen at every store. They probably don’t. In fact, I have never had anything but a great experience at the Apple stores in Denver.

And yet, the reporting is worrisome. Especially as it coincides with the departure of former SVP of Retail Angela Ahrendts.

Another issue is that it’s a major challenge for any SVP to manage such a large retail chain, and it’s going to take some time to fix the problems that the Bloomberg article reports. Plus, senior executive demands for ever increasing revenue imply ever increasing compromises in customer service.

As has been mentioned elsewhere, the new SVP of Retail + People Deirdre O’Brien has her work cut out for her.

More Debris

• These days, a good weather app on your iPhone is essential. Here are: “The best weather apps you can put on your phone.” I’ve used most of them, and these are good recommendations.

The Weather Channel iOS app
The Weather Channel app.

• I continue to note that individual robot companies and researchers are putting together the technology bits and pieces required for a wholistic robot of the future. Grasping, running, moving boxes, running, tumbling, balancing and so on. “New video shows a humanoid robot crossing a balance beam with ease.” We are in the “Apple I” phase of robot development.

• Over at Cult of Mac, Leander Kahney notes: “Your iPhone could be unbreakable, if it were just 1mm thicker.

In one demo, Corning invited journalists to try to smash little squares of glass with a metal tool. Ordinary glass broke easily, while strengthened glass proved a little more durable. But a 1 mm thick piece of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6, the latest formulation, survived everything the journalists threw at it without leaving a scratch.

Those who think Apple makes its products too thin will enjoy this one.

• At Android Authority, Lily Katz reports: “Amid the Google I/O 2019 whirlwind, Google announced its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will reintroduce the 3.5mm headphone jack.”

Say what?

Her analysis suggests Apple and Apple’s AirPods benefited most from the removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack. Others copied—just because Apple did it. And suffered. Here’s the link: “What Google’s headphone jack reversal means for the industry at large.

Nadella introduced as new CEO, February 2014.
From his book. Nadella introduced as new CEO, February 2014.

• Over the years, I have praised the leadership of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. In this Engadget article, the author presents a broad picture of how he has transformed Microsoft. “Microsoft is evolving by focusing on people.” It’s long but worthwhile even if it does go a bit overboard with the mushy tone.

9to5Mac: Intel looks to be finally ready to ship 10 nm CPUs later in 2019, in the form of (mobile) Ice Lake.

It’s currently unclear if Apple plans to adopt 10nm Ice Lake chips in its lineup anytime soon.

Here’s a roadmap on how the troubled Canon Lake morphed into Ice Lake.

• All of a sudden, fearing government intervention, the tech giants are touting their privacy measures. But what do they really mean? Here’s a rundown from Axios “What Apple, Facebook and Google each mean by ‘privacy’.

• A legendary Apple VP of old, Don Norman, is not happy with Apple’s modern thinking about its UI. in his own words: “I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me.

ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4
Apple Watch Series 4 ECG. (Immortals don’t need to monitor their health.)

• Tim Bajarin at Tech.pinions points out “The Booming Boomer Market for Apple Watch.

But one of the un-reported technologies being used by elders is the Apple Watch, and more specifically, grown children buying them for their parents to encourage them to use it to monitor their health. This is quietly becoming a significant market for Apple.

• Finally, Jason Snell at Macworld addresses the issue of whether macOS will become as locked down as iOS. “Why the Mac won’t end up locked down like iOS.

As macOS and iOS keep getting closer in terms of functionality (including low-level fundamentals and a shared software platform), I hear a lot of fear from Mac users who are concerned that the Mac is in danger of becoming a locked-down platform that will lose a lot of the capabilities that advanced users have come to expect from their devices.

tl;dr version:. Nope.

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.

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