Page 2 – News Debris for the Week of January 2nd. Asking the Important Questions About Apple

It’s very tempting to guess and write about what Apple might do in 2017. Or else express one’s wishes about what Apple ought to do. Articles like that can be cool if the author is very deep on Apple, but many of them are just tiresome. Much better, however, is to ask some very pointed questions. As Neil Cybart points out:

This not only helps guide our analysis in the coming months, but also proves incredibly useful for navigating Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

To that end, author Cybart has collected some pretty good questions about Apple in 2017 for us to ponder and monitor in the coming months. “Apple Questions for 2017.” After all, we can’t predict Apple’s future, but we can ask some pretty smart and probing questions.

Mercedes EV SUV

Image credit: Mercedes

The conventional wisdom is that Apple has (had?) been pondering the development of battery powered electric vehicle (EV) in the style of Tesla. However, a long time ago, I read that BMW thought that hydrogen powered fuel cells would be ultimately superior. Still, the industry powered on with EVs.

This article suggests that automotive executives may see EVs as a temporary technology after all. It may just depend on how and when the respective technology curves peak. See: “Majority of automotive execs still believe battery-powered cars will fail and fuel cells are the future.

By technology curves, I mean that if battery powered EVs can quickly and definitely solve the “range anxiety” problem, a superior, competing technology like fuel cells may have trouble taking hold for economic and consumer practicality reasons. I declare the resolution of range anxiety at 500 miles (804 km) because that’s about all anyone would want to drive in an eight hour day with short breaks that don’t require recharging a battery for a few hours.

So far, technology has been hovering in the 200 mile range (Chevy Bolt) or 240 mile range (Tesla). But this next article suggests that Mercedes has a car in development that can go 310 miles (500 km) on a charge. We’re getting to that 500 mile number quickly. “Here’s the electric car Mercedes is building to take on Tesla.” [Photo above.]

What these two articles tell me is that the automotive industry, perhaps fearful of Apple at the outset, has been in top gear, utilizing its vast experience to dramatically redesign and reengineer the modern car. How could Apple have ever kept up with these dizzying developments? Or should they have even tried? As the preamble on page one points out, there are other imperatives for Apple vastly within its potential expertise.

We are routinely told that the camera in our iPhone is very, very good. But it can’t ultimately compete with the DLSR. Is that just legalese? So how about a detailed comparison? “Mini-shootout: $900 smartphone vs. $3,000 DSLR, round three.

Apple and security experts tell us that personal privacy and security via encryption are fundamental to democracy and freedom. Cindy Cohn from the EFF told me the same. However, Dr. David Brin, the astrophysicist and science fiction writer, who has also been on Background Mode, has some counter thoughts. Recently he wrote a thought provoking article in his “Contrary Brin” series. “Encryption is not the answer.” What do you think?

Finally, you may have read articles about the various shenanigans Facebook pulls while you’re online. But did you know that, once you create an account, Facebook works behind the scenes to collect even more information about you—even after you’re logged out? See: “Facebook Knows A Whole Lot About Your Offline Life.” Supplemental reading: “2016 in review: How Facebook turned into the bad guy.

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Teaser and robot 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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“Apple’s sustained growth during the early 1980s was in great part due to its leadership in the education sector, attributed to an implementation of the LOGO Programming Language by Logo Computer Systems Inc., (LCSI), for the Apple II platform. The success of Apple and LOGO in the education environment provided Apple with a broad base of loyal users around the world. The drive into education was accentuated in California by a momentous agreement concluded between Steve Jobs and Jim Baroux of LCSI, agreeing with the donation of one Apple II and one Apple LOGO software package to each public school… Read more »

Jamie

Honestly, it’s all mostly hype. The sad thing is that a lot of people in the field acknowledge this, it’s just that there’s *so much* money at stake. I would be legitimately excited by advancements that are truly useful. I don’t personally think that any of this stuff is.

I think this piece sums it all up a lot better, as the ocean in the Bay Area seems to have mysteriously turned entirely into Kool-Aid:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/02/ai_was_the_fake_news_of_2016/