That Thing Apple Does That Some Hate and Few Understand

Of all the articles I read this week about Apple, the crispest and most precise analysis of Apple's September 9th event came from Walt Mossberg. He hits the nail on the head on every aspect of Apple's announcements.

Image credit: Apple

Writing for The Verge, Mr. Mossberg delights us with several crisp insights here: "What I learned this week about Tim Cook’s Apple."

For example:

  • 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s is going to change the way we use our iPhones.
  • Siri's voice control is maturing and can do a lot of things that TV viewers like to do, like ask questions about the show they're watching. (One of my own favorites is "Who are the stars of this show?")
  • Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program is a stroke of genius that tells us once again that Apple can outsmart the carriers on behalf of its own customers. Every time.
  • The iPad Pro assessment emphasizes how it is pointed at business but not burdened with the mistakes of the Microsoft Surface Pro. It's spot on. Mr. Mossberg even quotes Steven Sinofsky, a former Microsoft exec, involved in the design of the Surface, "iPad Pro has a magnetic fold-out keyboard...What an awesome idea!!" There's more about this on page 2.

What this boils down to is something many observers don't like to admit. Apple, as a very large and capable technology company, has the engineering and customer research resources to build winning products. While many continue to dwell on their favorite technology, highlighted and mired in comparison charts, Apple has the knack of sizing up what customers need. The fact that Apple continues to do so well is evidence that Apple has a proper vision that syncs with its customers.

This success requires more than just one person. It requires the collective effort of thousands of Apple employees, very smart employees. It must grate on people who don't like Apple that they, with their limited corporate expertise, in relative isolation, cannot outthink Apple.

It's not exactly as if there isn't a wealth of insightful writing that informs us about how to put what Apple does in perspective. There's nothing like a major event, such as the one Apple gave us on September 9th to bring out the best writing about Apple. And so, along those lines, that's what I present on page 2. In addition to Mr. Mossberg's article cited above, these articles go into goodly detail explaining Apple's strategy and vision.

Contrary to popular belief, not every experienced opinion and analysis is devoid of learning value.

Next page: the tech news debris for the week of September 7. Some highly learned analysis.

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of September 7


Image credit: Apple

Most of the interesting news this week was made by Apple, covered by TMO and other sites, plus analysis of what Apple just did. I've logged the most interesting articles that weighed in on what Apple achieved on September 9th.

First of all, there's that thing that Apple does. It waits. It watches. It analyzes. Then it pounces. And with Apple's resources and worldwide reach, it can make its new products compelling to millions. As a result, smaller companies, often with superior technology, have a tough time getting traction.

Apple TV. For example, "NVIDIA isn’t impressed by the new Apple TV." For example, in the text and comparison chart, the article points out that the Android SHIELD is the only device of its kind that supports 4K/UHD and HDMI 2.0. The problem is, I had never heard of the Android SHIELD. That tells a story right there.

In terms of Apple's TV strategy, I found this article interesting because it discusses what I mentioned above, namely, there are a lot of things in the 4th gen Apple TV that are not firsts. Yet, Apple will make them stick within the context of its product and marketing reach. "Apple TV Just Ripped Off The Roku Player—Brilliantly."

iPad Pro. I am always pleased with the insights of Jim Lynch who writes for CIO magazine. This week, as I have done recently, he tackles the idea that "Apple's iPad Pro is not a copy of Microsoft's Surface." All those people who put on their snark hat and declared that Apple is now following the lead of Microsoft's Surface should read Mr. Lynch's analysis.

If you're convinced you now want (ahem, need) a new iPad Pro in November, it's still a good idea to be aware of its special features (and limitations). See: "8 things Apple didn't tell you about the iPad Pro."

On to some broader analysis of Apple. What frustrates some observers, I think, is that Apple's vision of the future and what it wants to achieve is often different than the agenda of the single observer. And so a certain amount of self-entitlement always makes for some grousing about Apple. I don't know if understanding Apple any better changes one's mind, but it's always interesting for those of us who follow Apple to be reminded of Apple's vision. For example, "Apple’s Vision Of The Future Is Already Here." Mr. Warzel writes:

And so it makes sense that Apple presentations are exhausting and overly detailed — they’re an instruction booklet for the immediate future, as seen and brought to you by Apple. They made all this new stuff, and they want you to know to use it. Contrast this with Google’s unveiling of Glass, which began with a small fleet of Glass-outfitted skydivers broadcasting their rapid, terrifying descent to Earth live to the Moscone Center. Ambitious? Yes. Awesome? Potentially! A transformative product that we’re all using today? No way, Sergey.

If you thought that because the iPhone 6s looks just like the iPhone 6 that Apple has run out of ideas and can no longer innovate (well, not my loyal readers!) then read Farhad Manjoo's boatload of insights into why customers just keep upgrading. How long can Apple keep this gravy train going? Maybe for far longer than we might suspect. See: "Apple’s iPhone Keeps Going Its Own Way."

Finally, as a tasty tidbit, we here at TMO had a bit of cognitive dissonance when Apple announced at 16 GB iPhone 6s that could shoot 4K/UHD video. Yoni Heisler at BGR wondered about that too and does the math: "How many minutes of 4K video will it take to fill up your 16GB iPhone?" I won't spoil his surprise result.


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.