That Thing Apple Does That Some Hate and Few Understand

| Particle Debris

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.

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Regarding the “Android SHIELD”

Curiously in the article John linked to, I didn’t see Nvidia touting how many years there would be OS updates for the “Android SHIELD”.

Or is it likely that after one or two updates if buyers are lucky, the “Android SHIELD” will be left behind like most Android devices…....


The interesting thing about Apple now - several years after Jobs passing is that Timmy is starting to ignore Jobs old obsolete dictums such as “if it has a stylus, it’s already a fail” “you lose it (the stylus), you have to store it…” etc. to the point that Apple actually copies the competition whether it’s adding NFC, styli, magnetic origami keyboards (Ives,what happened?)  4k support, larger screens etc. No doubt wireless charging will be the next “copy” but hey, this is a GOOD thing for Apple and it’s bottom line. The ONLY faction that is confused are the Apple Clones otherwise this is common sense marketing to adopt successful paradigms. You go, Timmy - that dead guy can’t yell at you anymore, you are free to roam where iPhones fear to tread.


Updates? What does that mean? You don’t need updates every 5 minutes like Apple has done if you put the stats into the box to begin with. Most Apple updates are “catch-up” updates and it’s done ON PURPOSE. Heck, the Apple TV is STILL under-spec’d compared to the competition - why??
Apple clones will say “because we don’t care” - until they care.
Lastly if most Android devices are “left behind”, how is it they still dominate the market?


Cuda:  I sense in comment 1 a growing recognition on your part that CEO Tim Cook’s Apple is different than was Steve’s, and that’s a good thing.  Remember all the doubts about him only a few short years ago?  That he could not lead the company?  Your last sentence: “You go, Timmy - that dead guy can’t yell at you anymore, you are free to roam where iPhones fear to tread.”  I agree wholeheartedly! 

Re comment 2:  I think by “updates” John meant like regular iOS updates supplied by Apple vs the way most Android phones are not upgraded when a new vulnerability is identified.  That’s how I interpreted “updates”.


BTW, thanks for collecting such a nice set of debris this week John! 

Every piece was a worth a read; esp Walt Mossberg’s!


<sigh> OK I guess something needs to be pointed out, again.

When SJ said we didn’t need a stylus, he was talking about on a phone not on a tablet with over 36x the screen space (480x320 vs 2732x2048). It’s a different environment, with different software, and different applications, for a different use. The comment was based on the Palm and other then current devices that needed and came with a stylus vs the iPhone that didn’t because it was so much better. SJ’s comment is simply not relevant to the iPad Pro. A lot of things SJ said at the time were correct at the time, with the technology of the time. Remember that Gates once said that nobody needed more than 640kb of RAM either. At the time it was true. Now not so much.

It’s been eight years since SJ maid the statement, an eternity in the tech world. Things change and technology advances. It’s time to put this one to bed.


Cudaboy feeling particularly hostile today.  Take the Hemi out for a drive and lay down a couple of streaks on the asphalt to ease your pain, man!


aardman is a little feisty this evening smile


Nah, I just wish I had something like a Hemi for days like Cudaboy seems to be having.  I’d even settle for a Chevy Rat.


aardman:  I think Cuda is grudgingly expressing support for Tim Cook’s Apple even though he thinks the innovation isn’t there anymore.  Of course he can’t express the former directly, is wrong about the latter, and he has to take a swipe at Steve Jobs along the way.  Or it wouldn’t be Cuda!  smile

Cuda - read this one:

Lee Dronick

Take the Hemi out for a drive and lay down a couple of streaks on the asphalt to ease your pain, man!

It’s the law! smile


“Nah, I just wish I had something like a Hemi for days like Cudaboy seems to be having.  I’d even settle for a Chevy Rat.”

I notice that BMW now offers the 35d with AWD (“xDrive”), as in “535d xDrive”. From what I hear - except if you’re on the track, and a big track - this is a way more awsomer ride than even the M5. No streaks, though smile

As has been said before “It doesn’t have much ‘go’ but it sure has a lot of ‘went’”

Lee Dronick

Don’t fret vpndev, pretty soon you can take the Apple CarPro out for a self drive. smile

Sigh, I miss my ‘63 Impala convertible, my wife’s ‘68 Mustang. For consolation I have a 2003 Ford Ranger and my wife has a 2014 Ford Focus Titanium, life is sweet in the slow lane. smile


Ah, all that torque in the bimmer’s turbo diesel . . .  but for me, it’s “no stick means no sale”.  So I’m taking care of the ‘02 manual 530i and drive it until it just about falls apart.  But if I have to get a new car today, no need to think twice, it would be the ‘16 Miata.


“Lastly if most Android devices are “left behind”, how is it they still dominate the market?”

Virtually every device maker who runs Android does so because they have no other choice. It isn’t the ‘Droid OS, it’s the ‘Droid OS or nothing. Even Samsung’s Tizen, their disastrous attempt at writing their own operating system, sent them running back to what’s still the only option they’ve got. So much for “dominance.”


Guys, it’s all good. One day you’ll realize ‘Cuda is a FAN. Just not a “clone”.
And ironically despite my name I dream about ANY car that has “maximum plaid” as a mode beyond “ludicrous”. Elon is my man. Although I really do miss the 7MPG (15 highway at 65) of my old ‘Cuda, and the looks, and the stink - and the looks; it’s sad a 4 banger asian car with a snail will destroy those old musclecars. Regarding manual transmissions - enjoy them now because they will be gone tomorrow - ain’t no Ferrari or Lambo, Astin or McClarens with stick anymore….. Lee, imagine that ‘63 bowtie if it had the 409??? But even MORE important Lee; what was the COLOR of that ‘vert??    Timmy? M’frogger has it right - I like Timmy and it’s not begrudgingly at all. If anything it was Job’s myopia and OCD that was starting to get to me before he went all cigarette dead.


geo:  “CB
<sigh> OK I guess something needs to be pointed out, again. “
No. Did you not see that I called them “old obsolete dictums”? I took into account the Apple ‘droids (get it? droids?) would say he was talking about the phones but it’s the same thing - the original iPod touch form is basically the exact same form as all the iPhones and Pads that came later and if you think Jobs would’ve magically flip-flopped on such a basic component no- no - you don’t know OCD Steve and why I like Timmy. Now they add a stylus to a LARGE pad because duhhh why not? You don’t think the pencil will be a tool for the next iPhone as well if it makes people happy? Either way it’s obvious by the pencil AND the keyboard Apple wants a piece of that Surface pie they keep dissing. d;D



I second MacFrogger’s sentiment that every piece was a worthy read.

Time for just a couple of thoughts, as work deadlines loom.

First to the ‘iPad Pro is a copy of the MS Surface’ thing. You can always distinguish knowledgable, professional or academic opinion by the capacity to look beyond superficial similarities and point out important structural, functional and ontological differences between apparently similar features, even when the dilettanti and the layman would fail to do so. Mossberg, Lynch, and TMO’s own Jim Tanous and other cross-platform proficient, knowledgable and erudite writers have tackled this subject, but swim against the conventional tide.

Pronouncing the iPad Pro and the Surface to be similar devices, or that the former is an imitation of the latter is like saying, ‘Birds have two eyes and wings and can fly. Bees have two eyes and wings and can fly. Therefore, bees are birds’. Or, ‘Fish have pectoral fins, a tail and live in water. Whales have pectoral fins, a tail and live in water. Therefore, whales are fish’ (My 8 year old self actually had this discussion with an elder, who reminded me that he was older than my grandfather, so shut it; whales are fish, end of story, and not another word…). What could be simpler or more plain to see? Indeed, one could argue that one (your pick) imitated or copied the other (e.g. whales had piscine envy and just wanted to be fish).

That the iPad Pro has a large flat touchscreen and can accommodate a keyboard and stylus, while the Surface has a large flat screen that can accommodate limited touch input, but requires a keyboard to access core functionality is, at its best, convergent evolution i.e. “the independent evolution of similar features in species of different lineages” (like the wings of bees and birds), but also underscores critical differences in their lineages - the iPad’s being a mobile OS and the Surface a PC OS. Importantly, the former is fully functional without either keyboard or stylus whereas the latter is effectively hobbled in core functionality without at least a keyboard. And that’s just scratching, if you’ll pardon, the surface in their differences.

Returning to the convergent evolution between fish and whales; fish began and remain water-bound. One is thus seeing the end stage of their evolution. This is not unlike the Surface, which began on a PC platform, and attempts to compete against PCs with some modest mobile capability. Cetacea (whales, dolphins) began on land and have acquired marine proficiency, which is not unlike the iPad, which began as a mobile platform and has acquired greater computational and productivity proficiency. And, just like marine mammals, continues to evolve and acquire greater diversity and proficiency. We have yet to see their end stage. Ditto the iPad, which continues to evolve in both mobile and PC - like proficiency. (I’ll forego the analogy of intelligence, and which is more intelligent and dominant, fish or whales, Surface or iPad, and leave that to the reader).

In any case, superficial similitude does not denote sameness or imitation. Convergent evolution leads to superficial similarity, and demonstrates different solutions to solve a common problem by distinct lineages. Nonetheless, Apple and knowledgable analysts will have an uphill slog against conventional ‘everybody knows whales are just big fish’ wisdom.

Now a thought about Apple’s product development strategy, at least outwardly. As the company continues to grow, particularly in instal base, it grows in responsibility, especially to that client base. Should Apple roll out a half-baked solution with an inconsistent user experience (e.g. Maps), critics and clients alike will, justifiably, howl in indignation. That Apple is generally not ‘first’ to field is not a question of their following others’ lead, as attested by their eventual product solutions (compare Apple’s smartphones and tablets to those that preceded them), but of their working the problem to an original and consumer - ready, consistent solution. This is what pundit and paying customer alike insist upon and expect. Anything other than working the problem until getting it right would not be responsible, nor would it lead to the continued and growing popularity and brand loyalty that the company has earned.

Back to the salt mines.


@aardman, Lee, Cuda et al:

As for the Hemi engine, I know it’s not politically correct, but ever since moving my family to the USA, and requiring an SUV where we’ve put our home, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the raw power of that Hemi V8 in each of the Grand Cherokees that we’ve owned.

Just this past weekend, having taken a trip out of town, I had the pleasure of opening up the throttle on one of the US thoroughfares (not naming it). It’s amazing how effortlessly you get to 100 mph.

Or so I’ve heard.


Hey Wab, the Hemi is slated to be killed off (all v8’s) by 2019 (it’s actually a polyshpere engine - not true “hemi” as in 60’s) in favor of boosted 6’s and 4’s. But, they will stuff the 707HP Hellcat into the Cherokee (called Trackhawk) before it’s finished - you gonna buy one? Talk about non P.C.!! 
The only other SUV out there to compete in power will be the Tesla Model X but you know it won’t sound the same.



Am I buying one?

Is that a trick question?

Life is short. Live it.


Awww, Wab, can you type that again only slower? I think you are my new best friend.


The only question is whether or not to get an SRT before 2019.

Black, of course.


“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.”

That’s pretty deep and insightful.  Bravo (slow clap).

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