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Thoughts on the 2016 Apple event

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In a now annual ritual its 2016 Apple event held on September 7 left me a lot to reflect on.

Style

  • The presentation was telling a hard story to an audience that were likely to be underwhelmed. Phil Schiller rather than Tim Cook carried the most difficult parts of the keynote.
  • The piano finish device was an obvious attempt to provide a style angle to the new iPhone and mask the aerial sections. However it is a class action waiting to happen as it will dull over time with micro-scratches
  • The story that the audience was told didn’t feel right. Lets talk about the headphone jack. The double camera only appears in the Plus, so the requirement for room isn’t a credible argument on its own, other vendors have managed to waterproof handsets with headphone jacks. I suspect that Apple isn’t sure that its backing the right horse. Its the least aggressive change they’ve made in a while. The inclusion of an adaptor shows that their user aggression still isn’t as high compared to when they got rid of: SCSI, Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), iPod 30 pin port (still pissed about that one), AppleTalk, floppy disks or optical disk playback and storage – I suspect that they are fearfully waiting to see what the pre-order numbers will be like and they should be. A straw poll of AdAge readers (core Apple user demographic) showed overwhelming disappointment
    AdAge readers on new iPhone
  • There is a lot of really nice features in iOS 10 – I’ve been using it for a while, why didn’t they make more of this and macOS Sierra?

Substance

  • Innovation in the smartphone category has flattened out. The iPhone 7 provides reasons for laggard iPhone users to upgrade, but nothing for 6 and 6S series users. There are few if any innovations for the likes of Huawei to ape in their new models
  • Innovation in smartwatches has plateaued. Apple is coalescing around fitness and dedicated products are much more cost effective for consumers. In China Xiaomi’s fitness band sells for about £15, for many consumers it would be enough. Fitbit is doing well – Apple’s wrist computer (alongside Samsung Gear etc) looks like a sledgehammer to crack a nut
  • Apple have done nothing to address the latent demand for new laptops amongst consumers (I am still happy with my 13″ Retina MacBook Pro). There was no replacement for the Cinema display (again, I am happy with my current set-up, but where is the pro-user love)
  • Apple abandoned its flirtation with luxury by discontinuing the gold Watch. They are still holding out to be viewed as stylish by doubling down with Hermes and a white ceramic device – it would work on the opposite wrist to a Chanel J12
  • It was curious that Apple moved away from talking about security and privacy; the collaborative document working using iWork which could be seen as a potential attack vector on to the desktop. The Air Pods that sync seamlessly with a device without visible security precautions.  iPhone security was addressed in the James Corden car karaoke skit at the beginning of the show rather than woven through the materials.
  • The speech about the app store was to try and bolster developer support, I suspect that services will shore up the Apple financial numbers over the next 12 months
  • The Nike branded Apple Watch was part of a broader move reposition the Apple Watch 2 as a fitness device.
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Links of the day | 在网上找到

Reading Time: 2 minutes

WSJ City – Post-Brexit, The City Has English Law on Its Side – “You can think of London as a Silicon Valley of international business law. The robustness of English law and its utility are not going anywhere.” – But Ireland has a similar legal common law system and would still have an EU passport for its financial system. More on Brexit here.

WSJ City – UK and Eurozone Part Ways on Confidence | WSJ – no real surprise there. Waiting for this to be attacked as ‘project fear’

In defence of Byron | FT Alphaville – interesting run down on UK immigration law

Twitter quarterly results – interesting increase in cost of revenue and corresponding reduction in R&D. Sales and marketing costs increased substantially as well

The guy trying to demolish Android with Cyanogen uses an iPhone | TheNextWeb – actual LOL. I get why he might use competitor products to understand them, but the optics on this are bad

Steam On Windows 10 Will Get ‘Progressively Worse’: Gears of War Developer – Slashdot – interesting accusations of ‘antitrust’ busting practices in gaming by the beast of Redmond

I, Cringely Is anyone at Yahoo! paying attention? Probably not. – I, Cringely – unfortunately its already game over. The money is committed to be returned to shareholders, patents will be licensed and approaches to get rid of Alibaba and Yahoo! Japan stakes. I wonder how they will juggle the rights to the Yahoo! name which now sits with the Verizon business for the Japanese JV?

Preliminary EDPS Opinion on the review of the ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC) | Europa.eu – interesting pro cryptography stance (pdf)

Companies Are Promoting More Than Ever, With Too Little Success | SocialBakers – interesting Facebook data points

Gigaom | What’s going on in Phoneland? — is leading to consolidation, the classic market maturation that comes right before a new era of breakthroughs and growth. But those breakthroughs won’t be in 2016

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Currently reading….

Reading Time: < 1 minute

I have a couple of books on the go at the moment:

  • Smartphones and beyond: Lessons from the remarkable rise and fall of Symbian by David Wood. Wood was a senior executive at Psion and Symbian. A combination of an extensive email archive and electronic diary allowed him to produce a blow-by-blow account. Much of it is in the weeds, interesting, but tough to tease definitive answers out. I keep reading it in spurts and then going away. A more details review will come once I work my way through this.
  • The Three-Body Problem – Liu Cixin’s book has been applauded as a science fiction classic in both Chinese and Western circles. Liu has won a Hugo award for this book and is the recipient of the Galaxy award (China’s Hugo award, but with a better name) on nine occasions. I have just started on the book but it seems to have contrasting narratives, the first of which is a shocking portrayal of how intellectuals suffered during the cultural revolution. This is my go to book for commuting, expect a full review soon(ish).