Apple, Denied Leadership in UHDTV, Can Gain Traction With an Electric Car

The preamble is baked into the news items this week. Let's get started.

How did the "Do Not Track" function in your Web browser go so terribly wrong? This excellent story by Dawn Chmielewski at Recode tells a sorry tale of corporate influence leading to the complete disregard of what started out as a decent idea to protect privacy. "How ‘Do Not Track’ Ended Up Going Nowhere."

There are early signs that some semblance of coherence is coming to the 4K UHDTV world. One way to do that is the time honored technique of an industry consortium establishing standards, a logo, and then licensing TV makers to include a sticker on the box. When the customer sees the sticker, it's a sign that certain standards have been adhered to. Read more here: "UHD Alliance Unveils New Premium Specs, Logo."

Credt: UHD Alliance

Here's a nifty article on what Samsung is doing with 4K UHD in 2016. "Samsung refocuses on design for its 2016 TVs." The emphasis, as with all UHDTVs in 2016, is on deep color and High Dynamic Range (HDR). However, a key quote, almost a throwaway...

At its press conference, Samsung announced a partnership with Time Warner Cable so consumers would no longer have to think about "switching inputs" when choosing the content they want. Details were scant, but the days of universal remote "macros" and infrared blasters may soon be behind us.

As we know, the burden of having to figure out how to switch inputs to the desired source is an irritant and often confusing to customers. Maybe something will happen here.

On thing is for sure. Apple has placed itself in no position to influence the industry. The TV industry will march on with standards, technology and innovation leaving Apple to simply go along to get along. And that's exactly where the industry wants Apple to be.

Along those lines...

So you build a set-to-box capable of 4K UHD. Not every TV maker is compatible with your UHD content and peripheral technologies. Why, of course, you contact with China OEMs and distribute your own partner UHDTV. Then the connection is seamless and under your control. This is what Roku plans to do. "Roku Announces Plans for Branded 4K TVs."

This is what we thought Apple would do, but the company has backed off that plan for now—if what it offered us after three years of silence, the 4th generation Apple TV, is any indication.

On to a fate Apple can control.

My theory about the popularity of electric car sales is related to what Tesla calls "range anxiety." That's the feeling that you might get stranded, out of reach of a charging station, and need a tow. If that fear is too great and too persistent, customers won't flock adoringly to electric cars. Tesla tries to solve that problem by pre-scheduling your course and making sure you'll remain in range of a charging station at the right time. I think it's a short-term fix.

Here's how customers are feeling so far in another Business Insider Chart of the Day. "U.S. Electric Vehicle Sales in Perspective." Those numbers and the mild negative growth tell a story. Customers aren't overjoyed with current electric cars. (Except, Tesla owners who can pony up $70,000 or rmore.)

Apple car concept. Image credlt: Aristomenis Tsirbas/ WIth permission.

Apple surely has its own agenda, but if there's one thing Apple could contribute to the state-of-the-art, it would be the elimination of range anxiety. There are probably some pre-existing standards for that in miles (kilometers), but for me it's at about 300 miles (about 500 km). At that point, with a $35,000 price, customers would be lining up to buy electric cars. Oh, wait. That's what Apple does....

Moving on....

What should be the focus for the big tech giants in 2016? Walt Mossberg, writing for The Verge has some thoughts. "What Apple, Google, Microsoft and more should focus on in 2016." The Apple part is key. When Walt Mossberg, once your grandest cheerleader, says your software needs to be better, it's time to listen up.

Are consumers tired of technology? Or are they tired of paying for new (or replacement) products more often than they'd like? In any case, Business Insider has a Chart of the Day that shows a downward trend, in one survey, of consumer plans to purchase a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet and a television in 2016. Have corporate goals for growth gotten out of touch with the marketplace?

What are your personal technology needs? Have you ever thought about creating a structure for the utilization of Apple products? That is, defining their use and organizing thoughts about what items then need refreshing and which do not? Here's some food for thought. "My Apple Hardware Hierarchy of Need."

Finally, this last article sums up everything Alphabet and Google will be working on in 2016. It's essential, at the every least, because it lays out visually what each major division, Alphabet and Google, is all about. "2016 Google Tracker: Everything Google is working on for the new year."

Image credlt: ars technica. See linked article for full image.


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 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.