Technical Currents Sweep the iPhone 5s to Success

| Particle Debris

It's difficult to look just at the proposed features of a new smartphone like Apple's iPhone 5s, announced on September 10, and make an accurate assessment of its prospects in the marketplace. Instead of analyzing features, we should look at technical currents.


Like the flow of a river, technical currents flow in the world of high technology. One can stand back and try to analyze the current from the shore. All one gets is shimmering reflections and perhaps a rough measure of the speed of the current.

However, to really understand what drives that current, one has to become immersed in it. Once in, you can look around, watch the schools of fish, observe their needs, inspect eddies of silt and vegetation and see how things interact.

Ever since Apple announced the iPhone 5s, we've seen those eddies and currents form. Whether we like it or not, they form and then drive the flow of public interest in a new iPhone.

Immersed in this flow is Apple. Apple engineers know from feedback from our devices just how we use our phone. They know what features we exploit and what leaves us cold. They also have a great notion of how often we upgrade our iPhones and what the profile of iPhone hardware is in the current customer base. Overall demand can be mathematically forecast.

As a result, Apple is able to drive and nurse the flow, build a dam here and there, and then tailor their next generation iPhone to the common technical currents. The result is typically a runaway hit, and the precursor this time is the long lines and model sellouts that we're seeing. (The gold model sold out online in 30 min. Lines have been massive.)

We shouldn't be surprised.

The idea of assessing whether a new iPhone is innovative or will appeal to customers, from the shoreline, with a grudge, is like pissing into the wind. At least, Samsung has dipped a toe into the water and is trying to analyze the technical current.

We all need to get better at doing that.


Tech News Debris For the Week of September 16

Have you ever wondered why one of your favorite banks or other organization limits your password to 8 or 12 characters? You may have thought it was stupid and limited your ability to create a long, secure password with, say, 1Password. It turns out that the IT people may have known exactly what they were doing. "Long passwords are good, but too much length can be a DoS hazard."

There may be good reasons for Samsung to pile on the technology in its mobile devices. One may be that the culture of the region has always appreciated complex gadgets. Just look at the manuals of those awful, complex, tiny button point-and-shoot cameras. Another reason may be to hedge its bets in a competitive environment. There are other reasons explored in "Switched On: For Samsung, more is more."

Intel's anthropologist Genevieve Bell (Intel has an anthropologist?) has some doubts about wearable computing devices, or at lesast the current concepts, and thinks that companies "haven’t figured out why people might want them." In addition, we probably haven't really figured out how to make the transition: that is, if I might interpret, how human needs are augmented by wearable devices as opposed to a scattergun approach to adding features to a smart watch. Maybe Apple will be the first to figure that out. In the meantime, "Intel’s Anthropologist Genevieve Bell Questions the Smart Watch."

As usual, the very best technical review of the iPhone 5s comes from Anand Lal Shimpi. Curl up with your iPad on this one.

iPhone 5s (Image credit: Apple)

People who don't want Apple to succeed claim, persistently, that Apple is failing. Or else, they try to bully Apple with their own agenda. The fact is, Apple is thriving, and there are reasons for it. As usual, Jean-Louis Gassée has the concrete analysis. "Apple Market Share: Facts and Psychology."

What's the most reliable PC on which to run Windows? A Mac, according to the analysis of 37,000 PCs. "The most reliable Windows PC is a Mac."

When I first wrote my article on my impressions of iOS7, I concluded that because iOS 7 has some rather sophisticated design principles behind it, it will take some time for them to seep in to our brains and overcome our initial reaction to the color scheme. Result: give it some time. Zach Epstein agrees. Maybe he read my article.

Finally, there are two aspects to the iPhone 5s to note. First, there's the innovation and the technical advancement. Anandtech covered all that in the link above. But from a wholistic perspective, it's also good to bathe one's brain in the experience of using iOS 7. You can do that with Christina Warren's "iOS 7 Makes the iPhone Feel Reborn."

Reborn as in enveloped in the flow of Apple's technical current.


Flowing water via Shutterstock.

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Lee Dronick

I found a nice touch in iOS 7. I use my iPhone as a cooking timer. When the timer is running you can see how much time is remaining when the phone is locked by just touching the home button.  Previously I had to unlock the phone to see the timer.


New iPhones released, stock goes down, and a major security flaw in iOS 7 appears within hours.  Nice.  And then John says Apple looks to the customers for feedback?? I don’t think they are looking at the right customer base. (see Android)  Wait il Monday after the sugar rush is over, it won’t be pretty.

John Martellaro

CudaBoy: I know that YOU know why Apple’s stock goes down as Apple rakes in billions.


HA!!! It’s Apples and Oranges !!  I bought at $15 so it’s all good to me. I felt that I “won” after Jobs returned w/ iMac and iPod. I never dreamed that Apple would pull a Sony and become huge on such a mundane thing as phones-smart or not.
I loved Apple when they were creative. Phones? snore.  My hope is they get over phones and get back to innovating. I care not about margins (as W.S.apparently doesn’t either) so much as “attitude”. Apple could make less profit and make a phone and tab for everyone at a price nobody could compete with but Jobs never cared about “poor” people and as such - I choose not to care about his over priced under-featured pods n pads.  Yes, I am actually rooting for my portfolio to go down in value at least vis a vis Apple. My TSLA is making me forget about APPL anyway.  It’s all good, John

Pashtun Wally

I can’t help but think “Cuda Boy"s musings would gain a more sympathetic hearing elsewhere; seems masochistic - or, at least, inattentive - to post them here.

Perhaps  WorldNetDaily?  How ‘bout the Howard Forums?



Much food for thought in this week’s PD.

Let me pick up on one of these in particular (I’m supposed to be doing some real work), namely the thread that unites your selection on Samsung and tech with ‘more’ being ‘more’, Samsung going so far as to send ‘spies’ to figure out why people queue for Apple products and not theirs (nor anyone else’s for that matter) despite Samsung lampooning the practice (Aesop’s core observations remaining relevant into the 21st Century), and Intel’s anthropologists, Genevieve Bell’s observations about wearable tech.

The anchoring theme here is Dr Bell’s observation that, historically, wearable tech serves two purposes: a functional one and another that conveys a message, primarily about ourselves, to others. One can extend that observation, certainly the first part of tech serving a function to tech writ large if it is to adopted, and the fruit of that functional service is that it, in some way, not simply eases our lives, but enriches them either by making us more productive and or enabling us to do more with our lives.

To do this, a technology then must address a real need based on how we live. This is best served when the technology is easy to use, reliably addresses that need, and does so consistently. When that happens, we experience one of the intangibles that accompanies the use of that tech. Joy.

When a company takes that technology, and layers onto it features that do not address that core need, however intriguing those features are, they simply add complexity where simplicity is preferred, which in turn can impair the efficiency of that same technology to address our needs. This is why the tech spec wars are not simply inefficient, but can never win the war for mindshare. Most of these features do not enhance our ability to get the core job done, they complicate trying to achieve it.

Now, if we add an additional component, the ability of the tech manufacturer to figure out where our needs will soon emerge before we get there, and then provide an elegant and efficient solution before we even realise that we have that need, this creates yet another feeling, delight and wonder, and deepens our bond with that manufacturer. This is not about specs, but about ourselves and the personal enrichment that effective solutions can bring us. When we become used to these types of solutions from a company, we come to rely on them to continue to do so. When they deliver, we like them even more. More than that, we become loyal.

This is what Samsung are seeking in vain by sending employees to look at the people in the queue. They are the effect of a relationship, and not its definition. If Samsung don’t understand this, then no amount of ‘spying’ will help them. Nor will any amount of non-essential feature enrichment on their devices garner greater customer loyalty or mindshare.

Let Samsung continue to mock what they neither understand nor know how to create. Their envy is palpable, so much so that one can almost sympathise. Almost.


So cudaboy, Apple sells 9 million iPhones in opening weekend, no one seems to care about your so-called ‘major security flaw in iOS 7’, and stock is up 5%.

How does that egg on your face feel?!?!?  Nice and slimy I bet.


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