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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.

Is Tech Navigating a Roundabout Future?

Similar to Clark W. Griswold, the potential technological roundabout ahead may not have the easiest exit strategy. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is still in the TBD phase.

Literally.

But it’s intriguing nonetheless.

The innovative new headquarters for Apple, Inc. (at least there’s still some form of innovation still happening there) is receiving its finishing polishes as I write this sentence and as you are reading this awesomely intriguing sentence. Many have labeled the gigantic circular design as “space-like.” Actually, there’s some credence to that description. Recall the circular, clocklike spaceship in 2014 science-fiction epic Interstellar.

The sleek design and environmentally sustainable compound campus will likely serve as a model for future buildings in myriad industries (possibly including schools?), business mentalities (hopefully, not like the 2017 big brother film The Circle) and, brace yourself…

as a future handheld device?

Rumors surrounding any Steve Jobs-like inventions have been lacking under the Tim Cook era. Apple, for lack of a better word, has been grounded in recent years. Ironic that the new Apple HQ looks like a spaceship, right?

Was that deliberate?

Is it possible that Mr. Cook has been cooking up (had to) a new wave of Apple products right underneath our noses? My random Tuesday, May 16th hypothesis is that Apple might soon be releasing a product or line of new products that utilize the circular structure seen in the video above showcasing Apple’s new HQ in the near future. This is not to say that the next iPhone will be circular, but that some brand new product or series of products just may capitalize on the power of circular motion. Or that a new revolutionary feature in Apple’s products will take on a prominently round shape.

Why not? The symmetry between Apple’s daily lifestyle for its employees at the circular spaceship would be perfectly synched with the gadgets of its tech consumers spread around the globe. Plus, as Apple’s competitors are focused on the rectangular, square-like shapes for its devices, a circular product of some sort would stylistically one-up its rivals.

As they say, you can’t fit a round peg into a square hole.

Or vice-versa.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, could be Apple’s next insanely great competitive advantage.

Happy Monday

First Star Wars in 2015 and now Indiana Jones in 2020.

Yes, Harrison Ford is returning to play a few of his most iconic (and beloved) cinematic characters. Mr. Ford was awesome as Han Solo in The Force Awakens and there’s no reason to suspect he will let fans down as Professor Jones in 2020 with Steven Spielberg at his side.

Well, as long as George Lucas doesn’t get the final call on the script (cough cough Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).

However, 2020 is still a long way off into the future. If only there was another iconic character Mr. Ford could revive in the meantime…

The original Blade Runner from 1982, a model for many subsequent science-fiction films, seems to have a worthy successor in Blade Runner 2049 based solely on the first full-length trailer released today.

Have a Better Week Than Last Week.

Curb Your Sales Pitch

When someone (or some company) gets it, as in really gets it, that’s worthy of a spotlight.

Apple is the tech company that doesn’t act like a tech company. And, because of that approach, Apple became the leading personal technology firm in the world. Maybe they took a page from Jason Alexander’s book pamphlet Acting Without Acting.

When you’re browsing in a store without any specific focus, do you find it helpful or less than helpful when the salesperson approaches/sprints to you with their commission-based agenda? Most people, I would imagine, would respond with annoying less than helpful. As consumers, we’re well aware that the employee is the store’s personalized informational resource. But, like most situations in life, we’ll ask for help when we need help.

Turns out, Apple executive Angela Ahrendts feels the same way. Ms. Ahrendts recently sat down for an interview with Norah O’Donnell on CBS This Morning.

Apple’s mentality of selling without selling is certainly a multi-faceted, top consumer strategy in the digital era. And this modus operandi should be applied to more than just selling tech products or acting. If you act like a salesperson, you’ll be treated like a salesperson. But if you act differently than people expect, then you’ll be treated differently than people expected.

Imagine the possibilities.