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Limit Our Daily Apple Intake? Cook Says Yes

Privacy and transparency are odd bedfellows, to say the least. And yet, Apple CEO Tim Cook is attempting to promote this seemingly contradictory amalgamation in the modern tech space while being surrounded by Silicon Valley firms — like Facebook — that are under increasing scrutiny for its lack of privacy and transparency. Throw in user security as a major issue that needs dealing with and a clear resolution that’s a consequence borne out of the lack of widespread privacy and transparency.

The future of technology is entering an interesting intersection with the public in which the real debate regarding within the consumer market is whether these influential tech firms will take the opportunity to look in the mirror and self-regulate for its consumers or if the government (local, state and/or federal) will eventually be required to legislate decisive, impactful action in this powerful industry?

Right now, the public is angry at the lack of privacy that has always been hearsay around our peripheral. But thanks to recent testimony and reporting, disconcerting evidence of violations to our privacy could be reaching a breaking point. Perhaps the numbers of consumers who boycott and/or disconnect from particular digital platforms won’t bankrupt these companies. However, a substantial number of customer departures could, ironically, be enough to significantly disrupt the disruptors of the 21st-century.

Even though Mr. Cook surprisingly advocates for less screen time — if that is a concern for an individual user of an iPhone or related Apple product (of which I agree) — I will surprisingly ask that you set aside thirteen minutes and forty-five seconds of screen time for a recent interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook conducted by Norah O’Donnell, who will be the new anchor of “CBS Evening News.”

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Tim Cook is the best traditional CEO you can get for the ever-expanding tech industry in the Wild West of Silicon Valley in the 21st century because of his thoughtful leadership and inclination to communicate and debate tough issues with some frequency as well as his outspoken thoughts involving transparency and privacy.

Mr. Cook appears to be doing the right things (sans the critically important Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak-level of innovative prowess and imagination) for managing the financial and moral expectations of a firm with a net worth that has been hovering around an estimated $1 trillion.

Tim Cook will never be Steve Jobs as the leader of Apple and that’s ok. The former simply thinks different than the latter.

Now Mr. Cook still has a few big-picture problems that he and his team at Apple need to find solutions to in the near future. One of these problems is an imaginative innovative breakthrough (as noted above), but that’s a discussion for another day.

Regarding user privacy, Mr. Cook and his genius bar in Cupertino would benefit greatly from developing an update for all of its products that are easy to understand and use. And also like its products, this next-level solution to privacy by Apple should be presented in the way the iPod was dramatically brought out of the pocket by the late Mr. Jobs.

The penchant for performing with Hollywood-caliber drama regarding product reveals is unique to Apple — in the architecturally simplistic yet spiritually imposing Steve Jobs Theater no less — and in a time when customers are wary of tech’s expansive reach, a transparent presentation that’s singular in its purpose (privacy) would add an assurance to Apple users while putting the necessary pressure on its competitors and contemporaries in the tech industry to find a similar solution for their companies before government installs its own world wide web of regulations that would assuredly bring a couple of positive changes whilst usher in 98 terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things.

Building more trust, no matter the application will always be insanely great.

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Tim Cook’s A(pple)+

It was fitting for Apple, Inc.’s brass to present its “+” services in the Steve Jobs Theater in northern California. That “one more thing” addition at the end of those now iconic Steve Jobs presentations from yesteryear is thankfully ingrained in the cultural and innovative DNA of Apple. And after recent years of veritable coasting regarding the popular yet technologically and stylistically static iPhone, iPad and the like, Tim Cook’s Apple needed to make an imaginative splash that would generate new curiosity and excitement.

The details from Apple’s big event yesterday are limited. However, the potential of the new services and the industry leaders creating with the innovative tech giant is enough of a headline and opening statement to quench our thirst for now. Here are the highlights of Apple’s big day.

Apple gets an A+ for recruiting top talent to join its streaming video service via future TV and film offerings. Above all, Steven Spielberg’s partnership with Apple is truly special.

Speaking of Mr. Spielberg, it should be noted that some people are criticizing the famed director because of his recent stand against Netflix films being nominated for Academy Awards without a long theatrical release are misguided in their criticism.

By the way, Mr. Spielberg is 100% correct in his view.

During his presentation yesterday, the Academy award winner did not advocate for films on Apple’s new streaming service to be eligible for Academy Awards. He did not mention anything of the sort. All he discussed is the exciting potential for creating new stories on its expanded video streaming platform, which is in concert with his recent comments that great TV shows and movies are being made today on many different platforms.

Just needed to offer a quick and necessary defense of Steven Spielberg because of the fact that details matter. And the details concerning all of the new Apple + services will ultimately determine the future success of Tim Cook’s Apple in a variety of areas during the next five to 10 years.

What Apple did yesterday at its March 2019 event was prove it can still surprise with excitement.

And we can take that to the bank like never before.

Apple Needs a 20/20 Vision

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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.

X Marks the (To Be) Bought?

Have you ever seen a shinier apple Apple in your life?

Whoa!

In a phrase, the iPhone X looks, “insanely great.”

Apple’s major product advancements yesterday, most notably its iPhone X (not the letter, but the number) ended with a surprising bang. And, in doing so, with a rather curious statement. At around $1,000 (monthly payments are available) for the iPhone X, Apple is celebrating its 10th iPhone anniversary with a serious question of not what the phone can do (seems incredible), but rather who they envision paying for this phone?

Next month and, equally important, in the years and many subsequent models to follow.

A $1,000 floor, not ceiling, is a gutsy price (although, give ’em that its a simplistic price tag, in quintessential Apple style) to determine if an Apple smartphone will be affordable. Akin to high-definition TVs with all the bells and whistles (in some cases, literally), too high of a starting price could, well, price out major portions of its valued market. Will that hurt its profit margin? Who knows. But, it might damage something the tech giant holds just as dear as a defining part of its amazingly successful brand…

Part of the legacy of the late Steve Jobs is that he put/led his team’s effort to put 1,000, 10,000 and x number of songs in our pockets, along with a smartphone that’s literally a handheld supercomputer for each of us to define ourselves. Interestingly, yesterday’s exciting presentation (new iPhones, Apple Watches, etc.) took place center stage in the new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s new spaceship campus. However, what would Steve Jobs say about the $1,000 price tag?

Hmmm…

How many of Apple’s x -umber of consumers will say the iPhone X is insanely great?

How many of Apple’s x-number of consumers will say the price of the iPhone X is insane…great?