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Apple Needs a 20/20 Vision

Image result for tim cook

Coupled with recent news of the viral FaceTime bug, the opening paragraphs of a CNN article titled “It’s clearer than ever Apple’s iPhone problem isn’t going away” by Seth Flegerman clarified the slightly sinking feeling surrounding the smartphone and tech giant during the past few years.

Apple’s iPhone business is in decline — and there appears to be no end in sight.

Apple (AAPL) said Tuesday that iPhone revenue for the all-important holiday quarter fell 15% from the same period a year ago, a steep drop for a product line whose sales growth defied gravity for years.

The shrinking iPhone sales led to Apple’s first holiday quarter revenue decline since 2000. Apple posted revenue of $84.3 billion for the quarter, slightly better than it had warned investors to expect earlier this month. But it nonetheless represented a 5% decline from the same quarter a year ago.

When will that Steve Jobs aura and thrilling innovation return to the stage of the Steve Jobs Theater? Will it ever return?

To be fair to Tim Cook, running Apple’s company in the traditional sense parallel with the company’s global branding phenomenon created in large part by Steve Jobs, was an impossible task.

Mr. Jobs was a brilliant showman and Mr. Cook is a good businessman.

Mr. Jobs was a dynamic innovator (idea wise, anyway) and Mr. Cook is good at extending existing innovation with minor upgrades.

And it seems these minor tech upgrades have finally materialized into not-so-minor revenue loss for Apple regarding the steadily-modified iPhone. This uneasy feeling of Apple’s shortcoming from its absence of any eye-opening, drastic changes to its smartphone has been hovering over Apple’s Silicon Valley home for years. Similar to its new spaceship-like headquarters, it went from just a thought to a growing reality on the ground. But it’s not the close encounter with reality Apple workers and fans alike were hoping to see.

What does this mean for Apple? Tim Cook?

Simply put, Apple and Tim Cook are at a pivot point in which they need to decide what kind of tech company they are going to be moving forward. Mr. Cook and Co. need to determine and put into action whether Apple will be an exciting and innovative company again or a tech giant that delivers on a past vision of ingenuity.

Perhaps it’s fitting that in a few years when Apple’s response (and identity) to this significant revenue decline can be fairly judged as a success or failure, the year that may very likely define Apple’s rise, fall or stagnation for the next generation will be 2020.

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Making Room for lUXury

Luxurious. Comfortable. Stress-free.

These are words missing from the vernacular of the modern air traveler. But do they have to be MIA from our vocabulary when we arrive at the airport?

People deserve a better return. Enjoying the still mind-boggling experience of flying at hundreds of miles an hour at around seven miles in the air is not at the level it should be for the ever-increasing price of admission. And the solutions to the problems from the perspective of the customer seem attainable:

  • Designated room for luggage for every seat. The space for overhead luggage does need to be increased while also divided per seat to reduce the stress and fear of missing out (so to speak) to less than courteous fellow flyers who board before you with their luggage that always appears to be where your luggage should be residing.
  • Fewer seats on board = More space for sitting, relaxing and getting out from the middle or window seat
  • A boarding process that feels less like catching a bus in Mumbai during rush hour and more like a special invitation to the sky by making the aforementioned changes, along with a compelling experience visualized below

The point is that a completely new form of air travel isn’t required to drastically improve air travel partially, if not fully. And if these suggested changes are indeed fiscally impossible, then it is time indeed for a major disruption–as the tech kids in Silicon Valley say–for the airline industry in the ever-evolving 21st century.

The following prototype for the future of air travel was revealed a year ago yet its vision appears more pragmatic than ever in the unofficial “Age of IKEA” in which different themed rooms are showcased for purchase in those gigantic blue stores with those delicious Swedish meatballs.

Just think of the intriguing vision above as airplanes getting into the customizable–and practical effect–app business. There’s a certain kind of luxury in catering to the user experience.

H2Zero

There’s a thirst for a clear future.

Approximately 71% of the Earth is covered in water. We’ve all heard this at one point in our lives. Although, it’s somewhat difficult to envision during long road trips across the Midwest when there’s no single large body of water for hundreds of water in any direction. That statistic almost becomes a reverse mirage with spokesman Tom Selleck.

Suppose that’s a perceptive battle of geography. Ironic that a sustainable future may be a little battle defined by geography.

There’s been a continued effort–however subdued–in the innovative pursuit of a car that runs on water, man!

(Bonus points for those who know the pop-culture reference)

In the mainstream, Toyota is leading this effort with its Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle.

Friendly suggestion: Shorten the name so it could actually fit on the aforementioned car’s bumper.

For a cellular breakdown of how Toyota’s water call works, here’s a helpful video.

The tranquil, effortless and dream-like environmentalism aside–well done, Toyota marketing department–the macro solution to some major global pollution problems involving cars looks like it could be rooted in water-based renewable energy.

Obviously, $60,000 isn’t a welcoming price point for the majority of car owners and lessees. Not even close. Having said that, it is a starting point for developing a reasonably priced water fuel car made by a popular–and trusted–mainstream car company in Toyota. Add in the parallel development of accompanying fueling infrastructure throughout the many different parts of the country–suburban, rural and inner city–from coast to coast and maybe Toyota will be able to succeed where Elon Musk and Tesla are experiencing shortcomings as revealed during a recent 60 Minutes segment.

If the Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle proves to be the future of the American automobile, then the “O” in H2O will be converted into a zero, as in water’s zero-emission solution.

Making Space for New Stuff

What is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) up to these days?

Whether 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apollo 13, Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian or the forthcoming First Man, Hollywood has piqued movie-going audiences into the vast realities and fantastical possibilities of space.

Sorry, a side note:

The older I get, the more I’m amused at the sheer simplicity of calling the ever-complex and unknown space “space.”

“What’s up there with the infinite stars, planets, moon, sun and all-around cosmic mystery?”

“Space.”

I digress. And so does NASA.

What highly-technical, mind-blowing innovations and life-altering journeys are being planned by NASA for this year and beyond?

Things…on a To-Do list.