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I like: StarTech Thunderbolt 3 adapter

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I like the StarTech Thunderbolt 3 adapter, or to give it its full name: TBT3TBTADAP Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter.

Like many people who have bought a new Apple laptop recently. The move to USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 has been extremely disruptive. I spent a fortune on new accessories. One thing I wasn’t prepared to do was throw away my Belkin hubs and Apple Cinema monitors. I tried Apple’s own Thunderbolt 2 – Thunderbolt 3 adapter; and it worked inconsistently. One day I would switch on my computer and the monitor or hub wouldn’t work. For apparent no reason, on a seemingly random basis.

StarTech ThunderBolt 3 to ThunderBolt 2 adapter

StarTech are a Canadian company who have been involved in unsexy, but necessary parts of the technology and video industry. Their focus is purely on interconnectivity of different video display standards. Whilst they aren’t a well known brand like Logitech or Belkin, there are probably some of their products used by your office sys.admin. They used to make a well respected Thunderbolt 2 hub, that didn’t seem to ship to the UK. So in desperation I decided to give their adaptors a chance. 

Let’s get the negative aspects about them out of the way first. They are bulky, with the electronics coming in a case about the size of a stack of playing cards, rather than a small pack of chewing gum like Apple’s own convertors. They’re in a shade of dark grey only a sys.admin could love. 

But once you get over these cosmetic issues you get a product that just works. It is ironic that I had to go to a non-Apple supplier to get this most Apple of attributes. I can wholeheartedly recommend these convertors.

More on my trials and tribulations with USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 here.

中国 | china | 중국 市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 豪华 | luxury | 사치 铭记 | branding | 브랜드 마케팅

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

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Juul’s Sales Halted in China, Days After Launch – WSJ – this could be as much about IP as anything else. The e-cigarette was invented by a Chinese engineer looking for a healthier option to cigarettes. Secondly tobacco is a monopoly in China run by a state owned enterprise that is a valuable source of government revenue

Trend-bucking Maccas turns back to tradition | The Australianthe most interesting implication of McDonald’s selection of W+K is what it says about client conflict. W+K already has the North American account for KFC and has been producing spectacular work for the brand. McDonald’s made no request of W+K to drop KFC in order to work for it, with its North American chief marketing officer, Morgan Flatley, noting the potential client issue “doesn’t concern us”. “We wanted to make the decision around getting the best work that this business deserves,” she said.

Exclusive: Australia concluded China was behind hack on parliament, political parties – sources    – Reuters – the Australians were too scared of the Chinese to confront them about it

Gasp | The Blogfather | Brand Building Breakdown – nice summary which emphasises why brand is more important than activation in terms of marketer focus

McDonald’s picks Wieden & Kennedy New York as lead U.S. creative agency | AdAgeit “also suggests that a bespoke agency model … may not be the definitive answer for major marketers when it comes to creative partners.”

The New Target That Enables Ransomware Hackers to Paralyze Dozens of Towns and Businesses at Once — ProPublica – similar to tactics that Chinese hackers have been doing for years. Yet another argument against cloud

China’s TikTok social media app has captured the NFL, but not Hong Kong protesters – The Washington Post – you know ByteDance are censoring the sh*t out of it to keep the Xi administration happy

LS Keynote 2019 Speaker Introduction: Pablo Mauron, DLG (Digital Luxury Group) – luxury brands need to find ways to adapt and integrate their globally-developed creative assets for use in different markets

LS Keynote 2019 Speaker Introduction: Kai Hong, JINGdigital – how brands can truly engage and grow their WeChat communities with the right social CRM strategy

LS Keynote 2019 Speaker Introduction: Jacques Roizen, EVP Digital Transformation and New Ventures, Baozun – the evolution of omnichannel retail and how brands can leverage new opportunities to create better customer experiences

Frankfurt Motor Show: Winter Is Coming | EE Timesthe moon shot of autonomous driving may one day lead to falling accident rates, but that the development costs — and liabilities of public testing — may destroy them on the way. Almost everyone has stepped back from the brink of a ludicrous business model. This begs the question about autonomous driving as a killer app for 5G

Standing out is the key brand challenge, so great brands play with their codes | Marketing Week – purpose-wank aside, removing every single letter from your packaging is actually a very smart and very effective move. Because when companies play with well-established codes like this and remove or alter their appearance, the impact on salience and brand image is significantly improved – great article by Mark Ritson, but requires decades of brand consistency to work well

Design: pharma’s next frontier | eyeforpharma – on human centred design

Facebook warns about Apple iOS 13 privacy improvement – the blog post appears to be a way to get out in front of software changes made by Apple and Google that could unsettle Facebook users given the company’s poor reputation for privacy.

The new Microsoft To Do is here – pity the poor product manager who is trying to transfer Wunderlist which built up an amazingly loyal following

Underwear Ads Lose the Macho: How Marketing Has Embraced Real Men – The New York Times – I suspect that it’s like Gillette in that men who buy Hanes by out of habit and women buying for men are the people to influence

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By innovation only. Yet another iPhone launch

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Apple’s September 10 event ‘By innovation only’ marked the autumn season of premium smartphone launches. It is also a bellwether of what we can expect from the technology sector.

Mark Twain’s ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes’ fits especially well in the smartphone business. From a consumer perspective Apple’s 2019/20 iPhone range is basically the same phones but with more camera features. Other vendors are going to come out with handsets with more camera and 5G modems.

All of them are going to be trapped in the same pictures-under-glass metaphor. The smartphone industry as a whole (with the iPhone as bellwether) is trapped in its own version of groundhog day.

5G? Not so fast

Whilst 5G sounds good on new handsets, there’s five points to consider:

  • Early generation handsets for a new wireless standards tend to have poor battery lives
  • 5G phones are only as good as 5G networks
  • There aren’t applications to make use of 5G networks
  • A lot of mobile usage happens on home or other wi-fi networks. 5G is competing with your home broadband connection rather than your patchy cellular connection
  • 5G isn’t really about smartphones

When you see all launches (like this picture from the Huawei Mate 30 launch); just remember the five points above and process the slick technology spin through this lens.

5G competition isn't cellular its wi-fi on smartphone

In Huawei’s case they’re basically launching very pretty €1,000+ 5G Mi-Fi hotspots with point-and-shoot camera functionality, since they’re an Android phone without access to Google services. The Porsche Design variants come out at closer to €2,500 – ideal for bored, but patriotic 土豪.

Price inelasticity

Apple’s iPhone X and XS models tested the the price elasticity of premium smartphones. The market spoke. This year’s prices have stayed the same rather than increasing. You could argue that the value proposition has increased through a year’s worth of bundled services. Of course, its only worth anything if you use the services.

Differentiation through services

Seven years ago I was sat in a hotel restaurant in Seoul and overheard Flipboard going through a pitch they wanted to deliver to Samsung. Samsung eventually tried out Flipboard and free content subscriptions to help sell the Galaxy S3.

Apple decided to build their own free subscription model based around streaming video. This is to:

  • Differentiate its new devices from competitors
  • Provide a recurring revenue stream from iPhone users with older devices
  • Utilise the massive data centres that Apple has been building for the past decade

Built to last

The use of superior materials has resulted in iPhones lasting longer. Add this to pricing and for many people, their first iPhone is a pre-owned iPhone. They are handed down in families or to older relatives. This has built Apple a large user base. The big question is whether they can turn this footprint into services.

There is a tension between new phone sales in a saturated marketplace, versus a growing base of service users.

More information

Apple Live Event: Apple Cuts Prices for Sales, New Subscribers – Bloomberg 

Apple Event: Upgrades, Upgrades, Upgrades – Tech.pinions 

The iPhone and Apple’s Services Strategy – Stratechery by Ben Thompson 

Apple is making its iPhones last longer. That’s a good thing | Macworld