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Happy Monday!

Mankind first walked on the moon on July 20, 1969, by way of American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. In 2019, NASA is beginning to plan how mankind will, well, see for yourself…

NASA’s ambition, as displayed in its video declaration seen above, is American ingenuity at its finest.

“We are going.”

Have a Better Week Than Last Week. 

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Aston Martin Creates New Space in the SUV Market

Wow.

Was Niander Wallace driven around in Aston Martin’s futuristic SUV featured below in ‘Blade Runner 2049’?

Once again, cars are increasingly evolving as the next supercomputer.

The Lagonda’s elegant exterior is an eye-catching vision until the doors open to an interior that is equally stylish and technologically innovative. Perhaps the most surprising element inside this SUV is the gracious spacing for the four total seats in two rows.

On this note, is British car maker Aston Martin remodeling the modern SUV or sedan? The Lagonda SUV is reminiscent of the expensive Maybach sedan interior. With all sorts of money and time being thrown at creating driver-less cars, the next battle between car manufacturers will be designing for either convenience or utility.

Doesn’t the “u” in SUV stand for utility? It’s clear that Aston Martin is challenging the shelf life of this acronym.

The Lagonda is the epitome of luxury and should be viewed as a mere prototype for general design and limited offerings, like its silk-stitching, cashmere, and state-of-the-art computer infrastructure via “the key.” Considering this, the current specifications for this SUV are largely irrelevant. Any of us could make or design something this grand with all the money and resources of Aston Martin. The exciting part, and why this reveal is noteworthy, is because the Lagonda may very well prove to be the template for cars 10-15 years down the road.

The curve of innovation is slow but steady. It’s one of the great, continuous victories of capitalism. And Aston Martin is firmly planting a new flag on this ever-evolving line by presenting an ambitious–albeit unrealistic for anyone not named James Bond–car of the future.

“A dream will not become an innovation if there is no realization.”
–Ciputra, an Indonesian billionaire businessman 

What comes after realization?

According to Aston Martin, ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t involve starting an internal combustion engine.

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.

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.