Like the rest of the tech industry, Apple is a company that is in constant change. Sometimes the change is celebrated, and sometimes the change is uncomfortable. In other words, Apple always has its eye on the ball. It just may not be the same ball we’re accustomed to watching.
Siri started out with a female voice exclusively, but now it can be changed to male. Alexa uses only a female voice. Cortana’s voice, for now, is strictly female. Why is that? Is it sexism? Is it for better intelligibility? John looks into the matter.
The Amazon Echo family of devices shouldn’t be underestimated. We talk about how it appears to be a device for casual questions, weather, music and shopping. But the underlying technology is going after something much bigger. Moreover, Amazon’s lead over Apple in AI and home automation may be unstoppable. John looks at two articles that provide insight into what Amazon is after in the long run.
Recently, Vizio agreed to pay the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey a total of US$2.2M to settle a complaint that it spied on its TV customers. It’s an unexpected and sorry state of affairs when a new, beautiful, expensive 4K/UHD TV is also reporting on your viewing habits. John offers some advice on how to put a stop to that spying.
The evolution of robots and androids, it seems, is progressing at an exponential rate. Collaborative research, the development of robotic technologies and AI together are putting ‘droids in hotels and airports. Soon, like Alexa, our homes. Where is Apple?
Apple is our most favored company for perfectly good reasons. Or so we think. And yet there are people who despise the company. How can both attitudes be right? The reason for this duality may depend on a particular kind of thinking called cognitive bias. John Martellaro explains. Or, at least, he thinks he’s explaining.
Could augmented eyeglasses someday help us spot nasty viruses on public doorknobs? Could our wearables, in the form of an Apple Watch, someday provide a complete analysis of our blood? Predict a cold? Detect and diagnose a disease or illness? All that may not be far off.
Apple periodically comes out with The Next Big Thing. Along the way, however, the company makes incremental changes that also make our lives better. How those many advancements accumulate to positively affect our lives depends on how often we upgrade. Meanwhile, the punctuation of big product events keeps us coming back for more. It’s all in a delicate balance, perceived in our flow of time.
Supercomputers, the internet and Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents are coming into full bloom. The future is evolving quickly away from GUI and touch-based methods to AI and voice control. The implications for our personal computing experience are immense, and it all starts with the fundamentals of how we educate our children.
From time to time, we’ve seem articles that explain Apple’s plight with its TV business. But John has found a splendidly complete diagnosis at The Verge for this week’s focus. It examines the deepest motivations of Apple, it’s clash with the entertainment industry, its successes and failures, and how that has, in turn, affected Apple TV software design and customer perceptions.
It’s seldom convincing to pretend to know what Steve Jobs would have done in any situation were he alive today. We have general ideas, but invoking him as a cloak of authority is fraught with problems. On the other hand, when someone intimately familiar with Steve Jobs makes an astute observation, it’s worth a read. John Martellaro found one of those insights and highlights it.
Companies exist to make money. But when wealth beyond dreams, at any cost, is the driving force behind internet business, chaos results. Big tech companies have great power. How they use that power and their own sense of what constitutes ethical, disciplined behavior might all that’s left before the free internet and its free people are no more. Apple is leading the way, but cannot do it all.
From time to time, we get really excited about some new gadget from Google. But then we discover later that there’s long way to go to make it a successful consumer product. On the other hand, Apple is the kind of company that can productize a great new technology. Perhaps the Apple Watch has given Apple new confidence that it can do the same for AR.
Astonishingly, Apple creates unnecessary problems for itself. Locked in the old era, modern Apple executive thinking continues to focus on drama while excising important elements of its vision. That leads to pain, criticism, and disaffection with Apple. It wouldn’t be hard to avoid all that these days. John explains.
This week, there has been a boatload of commentary about Apple’s October 27 “hello again” event. And then Apple SVP Phil Schiller responded in an interview. John takes a look at the most persuasive arguments both for (defendants) and against (prosecutions) of Apple’s approach to the Mac and the event presentation itself. Finally, he offers his verdict.
The contrast between Microsoft’s October 26 event and Apple’s October 27 event has the PC industry in a buzz. Observers who have been diehard Apple fans are casting jealous eyes towards the new Microsoft products. Meanwhile, some observers who have been against Apple for political reasons are making some solid observations that don’t have the traditional earmarks of being self-serving and misinformed. John explores.
We tend to think of robots and AI agents as potentially threatening. But when they’re specifically charged with protecting the human passengers in autonomous cars, there could be some serious shenanigans by aggressive drivers. Even abuse. What if one of those autonomous cars, in turn, does something unexpected? John looks at a mind-numbing scenario.
IBM and Apple have been partnering with each other for some time now. The action continues with Macs finding great favor within IBM. Also, education initiatives continue. Finally, IBM’s Watson has to be giving Apple some big ideas. This has the signs of becoming one of the most productive partnerships ever, amongst former rivals, in the tech industry.
A major problem with Artificial Intelligence (AI) development is that a time might come when AI’s are able to learn and teach themselves faster than humans can manage them. Recently, President Obama suggested AI’s that aren’t properly constrained and regulated could be unleashed on unsuspecting citizens and severely disadvantage them. Figuring out when to step in will be the great 21st century challenge for governments.
Research into Artificial Intelligence will evolve into many more applications than asking Amazon’s Echo how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon. Or driving an autonomous car. As the technology expands in its capabilities and applications, we’ll be confronted with massive social change. How will Apple, for example, both serve us and meet competitive challenges?