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Apple’s Ingenuity is Shifting Gears

This is not the Apple Inc. of the late Steve Jobs.

This blog post’s opening sentence is aimed directly at the surprising disclosure of development plans concerning evolving technology discussed in the recent interview above for the part-tech and part-lifestyle brand that is Apple. You’re likely recalling those iconic slideshow presentations when Steve Jobs was speaking/performing in front a packed auditorium in northern California’s Silicon Valley when he would suddenly reach into his pocket and reveal everyone’s favorite new gadget.

We all miss that suspense from the master of tech ceremonies.

But, as has been pointed out on Jimmy’s Daily Planet many, many times, Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. For better or worse, that’s a fact. However, for a CEO not categorized as something damn near demiurge for 21st century technology consumer products, Tim Cook has proven to be among the best business leaders in the world. That’s also a fact.

There’s no risk with Tim Cook. Whether that’s been good or bad for Apple is for another blog post.

Returning to the video clip above of the interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang (a Silicon Valley favorite), a couple things were subtly revealed that should leave us wanting more. First, Mr. Cook appears to be feeling a bit of pressure (from investors, critics, reporters, their consumers, etc.) because why else admit a project that’s still “in the shop”? Or maybe automotive AI is only intended to serve as the obvious appretizer to something much grander and mind-blowing that shall remain hidden until suspense reaches its peak, as is the past tradition of Apple? Secondly, is automotive AI the best design path forward for empowering Apple consumers in the future?

Not to mention the implications and dangers of increasingly intelligent and widespread AI, as boldly illustrated in virtually any science-fiction book, movie or TV show ever made (cough cough Westworld).

Today, I will leave more questions than answers. Why?

Because perhaps Apple should be asking more questions as our society continues to undergo a massive (and equally uncertain, to put it lightly) digital transfer of power, of which it has played no small part. For a company made a global sensation for literally putting a surreal amount of high-quality information, entertainment and power into our hands, it seems abnormal to shift that same awesome power away from those very same hands.

Automotive AI may or may not be an automatic sell to Apple’s global consumer base. That remains the variable.

The constant is that consumers around the world will ultimately determine whether this evolving technology will find success on the right side of the road.

Don’t Bite the Hand (With the Apple) That Feeds You

In the case of Uber, their app is proving to be just the appetizer to their much larger financial feast.

And it’s been recently revealed that one of their servers is not happy.

The business landscape in the United States, and around the world, continues to flatten and be driven by seemingly boundless innovation within marketplaces both new and established. Whether you are pro or anti-taxi (or neutral), there’s no doubt that the car driving service Uber is providing competition to those famous yellow cars and vans. Having used Uber on many occasions with friends, I have no complaints as a rider. The immediacy, timeliness and incentive to impress is certainly a valuable change of pace from having to wait for a taxi that may or may not show up when needed.

However, as is the case with any business, the front room flash and dash rarely tells the whole story of its backroom operations.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, to his credit, is flexing his muscles for a necessary and positive stand regarding proper business practices in the ever-evolving and mysterious tech space. While Tim Cook will never achieve the fandom or dedicated following as the late Steve Jobs (can anyone?), Mr. Cook has, in recent years, proven to be an impressive CEO in the grounded, traditional sense. His repeated stands for customer privacy rights is painting a rare picture of a tech giant who is genuinely attempting to grow and innovate within the technology industry while striving to prioritize essential protections for his consumers.

The abbreviated expression is, “an apple a day…” Ladies and gentlemen, Mr.┬áKalanick was likely reminded of just how many people use an Apple each day.

Did Apple Cook Up a Winner?

“It’s the best iPhone we’ve ever made.”

The concluding line in the iPhone 7 introductory video revealed that Apple’s latest smartphone is not a new, groundbreaking invention. Instead, the iPhone 7 (and iPhone 7 Plus) are innovations from the past with impressive, eye-catching updates. Specifically, the focus of the engineers and design teams at Apple was on the improved camera of the 7 and the dual cameras on the 7 Plus. Moreover, the new iPhone 7s will be water resistant (huge plus) with an improved Retina HD screen resolution, stereo-quality speakers and the removal of the headphone jack with wireless earbuds/AirPods.

The forced Bluetooth feature may cause a toothache for Apple’s consumer base, but that’s still in the speculative “TBD” phase.

Without holding, listening, perusing or taking pictures with an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in my hands, it’s difficult to rate the flashy new tech. My first reaction is that this series of iPhones look intriguing enough to consider for an upgrade after a couple of years with the iPhone 5. Avid fans aside, the question for many consumers will likely center on upgrading to a phone that will hold the creative and futuristic appeal for a couple years or so. Plus, the dramatic change in purchasing and carrier plan options could certainly impact consumer decision-making. Having said that, the updates in the iPhone 7 models will be easy to test through snapping/tapping test pictures, listening to songs in stereo mode and (potentially) pouring water on a test phone in the store.

Salespeople: Get ready for especially playful, interactive demonstrations with curious customers.

Tim Cook has been waiting for that “wow!” moment as the face of Apple. Today did not bring about that signature revelation, but perhaps slow and steady will, in fact, win that show-stopping race for Mr. Cook at some point down the road…

And the verdict on the iPhone 7s will all but rely on the invisible space between headphones/AirPods and the iPhone, as well as the location of said AirPods when not in use.

One thing’s for certain: Apple will definitely hear about its daring wireless experiment either way with unrivaled clarity.

Apple: The Next Generation

iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Plus

Apple Pay

Apple Watch

Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in what has felt like an eternity, Apple Inc. has begun to recapture some of the magic surrounding its innovative products since the tragic passing of its iconic and visionary co-founder Steve Jobs three years ago. Is Apple officially back? Well, no, because you can’t bring Steve Jobs back. However, the next generation of Apple Inc. (see what I did there) appears to be presenting its latest gadgets for us to awe at with great joy today from the Flint Center in Cupertino, California.

The new products, plus a free album from U2, and it’s safe to conclude this was a truly amazing iAmazing day for Apple.

Two quick observations: In an effort to progress beyond the solitary charisma of the late Steve Jobs and his excellent presenting skills, Apple Inc. has appeared to have assigned divisional heads to explain each of its major product reveals. Part of the next generation leadership of the company I’m hypothesizing. And that the iPhone 6 Plus is getting closer to the size of the Zack Morris brick phone. Just something to contemplate…

To think (again, see what I did there), this iPhone craze all started with an announcement seven years ago…

Beyond the “fresh out of the box” experience, will these products sell? Will they frame and become the future of personal technology?

While these answers are unknown, I think the world is ready to take a fresh, delicious bite out of Apple today.