Former Microsoft Exec Has Amazing Things to Say About Apple’s WWDC Keynote


| Particle Debris

Page 2 – News Debris For The Week Of June 12th

A New Internet?

Satellite with an Apple logo

We’ve seen small glimpses of a possible satellite collaboration between Apple and Boeing. Here’s a new story that provides a lot more detail. “Boeing, Apple Could Build A New Internet In Space.” Salient sections:

At first glance, the satellite business may seem like a stretch for Apple. But consider that the company has sold more than a billion iPhones globally, sometimes with troublesome connections, and is looking at opportunities further afield such as mobile payments and autonomous driving, which will rely on access to robust, widespread wireless capabilities….

Josh Sullivan, director and senior equity analyst at Seaport Global Securities, doubts that Boeing would work directly with consumers or that Apple would develop rocket technology.

‘The most likely arrangement would be for Boeing to supply the satellite delivery and operation expertise and for Apple to handle some of the satellite hardware but more focused on the consumer side,’ he said.

It could boggle the mind.

More Debris

We already know that computer algorithms, often written by Ph.D. physicists, are used to buy and sell stocks at micro-time scales inaccessible to the human investor. But when a really sophisticated AI like IBM’s Watson gets into the act, the technical level takes a giant leap. Here’s the story. “IBM’s Watson supercomputer is getting into Wall Street stock-picking.” Isn’t it ironic that a supercomputer, built by iBM, is probably being used to buy and sell Apple stock?

There seems to be a heated debate about how one should interact with an intelligent speech agent (ISA). One camp says that it should be always listening, in each room, hands free. This is the Amazon Echo, for example. But it’s stationary. The other camp says that we should wear or at least have with us in our mobile lifestyle, our ISA. Apple does that via Siri in our iPhones and, optionally, an Apple Watch.

Recently, Tim Cook reiterated that stand with Siri in an interview with Bloomberg. Asked about Apple’s approach to the just announced HomePod and how it compares to the philosophy of the Amazon Echo, Mr. Cook said:

We’re actually already in the home through the iPhone you take with you everywhere. It’s in your pocket or laying on a stand. Today, pre-HomePod, I can control my home using Siri through the iPhone. When I get up in the morning, my iPhone is my alarm clock. I say, ‘Good morning,’ and all of a sudden my lights come on. The temperature adjusts and a series of things occur. We’re also in the home through Apple TV. Many people use iPad as their computing device. The desktop Mac enjoys a place in the home. The thing that has arguably not gotten a great level of focus is music in the home. So we decided we would combine great sound and an intelligent speaker.

I’m with Mr. Cook. In a few years, I predict, the future Apple Watch, able to measure and report blood glucose and monitor sleep, will be indispensable. Our ISA will always be with us, and the Amazon Echo will fade as a faddish, plastic living room ornament.

I’m out of space. I’ll wrap up with this delightful piece at The Atlantic. “What Apple Thought the iPhone Might Look Like in 1995.” It’s fairly long, as internet articles go, but it’s full of design history goodies.

Back to the future.

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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 holiday weekends.

2 Comments Add a comment

  1. pjs_boston

    When working at Microsoft, both Steven Sinofsky and Jim Alchin clearly had a case of Apple envy. In both cases, these guys tried to reshape Windows in the image of macOS and failed. Even now, Windows 10 is a pale shadow of macOS. I recently installed a copy of Windows 10 on a 2012 Retina MacBook Pro I was utterly shocked to find that Windows is still largely the same old creaky code from 20 years ago, albeit with a yet another new coat of paint. The crazy thing is that even with the multiple re-skins (Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 have all made significant changes to the look of the UI), you can still drill down and find unaltered pieces of Windows 95 UI (and presumably code) scattered about. The real issue however, it that many of the same old bugs from Windows 95 are still there. It’s amazing how Microsoft keeps repackaging the same old junk and much of the tech media is fooled by it again and again.

  2. John:

    You’ve got a very thoughtful and thought-provoking lineup in this week’s PD. Regrettably, my time affords only the briefest of reprieves, so let me focus on a couple of observations.

    Steven Sinofsky’s analysis of this year’s WWDC is more than a mere evolution and maturation of thought from a senior executive of one of Apple’s chief competitors – the president of the Windows division of MS no less; it’s an expert opinion from one who knows the business at an unambiguously competitive level, and now removed from that official position, can bring that expertise to bear on a disinterested, even if admiring, analysis. As such, his insights carry an authority that those of a non-practitioner or pundit could not. Beyond the patina of admiration for Apple’s accomplishments in software and hardware development that his words carry are his insights into their relevance and potential for both user experience and industry disruption. Importantly, many of his comments, such as those regarding iOS and the iPad, reflect emerging consensus amongst veteran Apple-centric thought leaders. That endorsement means more than many might initially appreciate. When one’s former foes and competitors say you’re doing it right, it really means that you’re doing it as right as anyone can imagine.

    The other comment is more of a gestalt of the meaning of most of your remaining articles. As I’ve commented before, Apple have reached a point in the evolution of their platform in which much of the productivity has to be internal and infrastructural, and less so externally productive in the traditional sense, in order for them to take their productivity to the next level. The developments in not simply software, but AI, AR, APFS, and exploration of a sat-based internet service are illustrative of this point. These are not traditional products, like new Mac models or new consumer product categories that most observers, pundits or clients would recognise, yet all of whom will benefit enormously thereby once that infrastructure and beneath-the-bonnet development is mature. When commenters opine that Apple are doing nothing (and no, this is not a reference to past TMO articles that have been thoughtful and evidence-based), this is, in most instances, mistaken, and indicative that this internal development is beneath their radar.

    If any of this is true, then it foreshadows that rapid and surprise development in unsuspected areas in ways that will both surprise and thrill Apple clients and challenge their competition are in store; perhaps nearer than we imagine. Based on all the foregoing, that is a reasoned prediction.

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