April 24, 2015. It was to be a big day in Apple’s history, and a big day for Tim Cook to show the world he could match the brilliance of his predecessor Steve Jobs. Apple Watch was finally available for sale. It was Cook’s first new product category and it was fully under his direction and guidance. The result? Yawn.
Apple Watch is cool and works well within the Apple eco system, but it wasn’t a must-have item, and yet Apple spent abundant resources on bringing this gem (pun intended) to market. Products that suffered in Apple Watch’s development wake have been iPhone, iPad, iOS, Mac and OS X. It seems under Cook Apple can really only fully focus on one item at a time, which is exactly where Apple is today.
Since Apple acquired Dr. Dre’s Beats headphone business back in May of 2014, the two brands have been content to stay separate entities — in branding and function — but that should all change with the arrival of iPhone 7.
To put it mildly, recent reports of Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 7 feature set have been gloomy, and anything to give iPhone 7 a boost in the flat high-end smartphone market should be a priority for Apple. Make no mistake, iPhone is the make or break product for Apple, and Beats is an accessory player. If cannibalizing sales of Beats is requires to sell millions of additional iPhones, it should be done – without question.
It seemed like an eternity for Apple to move to an iPhone display form factor larger than 4-inches, but then it happened. In the threat of Samsung and Android gaining massive market share against Apple's stodgy belief that a 4-inch iPhone was the perfect size, Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and changed the course of the smartphone market.
Like going back to the future, today there is now the iPhone SE, which is chalk full of iPhone 6S power and abilities, all housed within a 4-inch display form factor, and costing only $399 off-contract. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has explained to CNBC's Jim Cramer, the iPhone SE is seeing better than anticipated sales. Despite iPhone SE's lower price point, Apple is likely to quietly push sales of the phone in Asia, and for good reason.
OS X has been my favorite OS since its launch way back in 2001. I find it easiest to use and most flexible for what I need to do. That said, like a best friend who has all sorts of great qualities, there is always one or two things you wish you could tweak and make different. Here is my main issue with OS X. For many this may seem mundane but far too often this causes me an “Oh Shoot!” moment, and there is an easy fix.
Around the time of OS X Mavericks, OS X lost its 3-D look and became more of a “flat” OS like iOS. Many people did not like this. For me it was not too big of a deal, but one artifact that came about during this transition was being able to easily distinguish between an active window (the one you are working on) and inactive windows.
Apple’s Mac lineup is stale, and that is putting it mildly. The Mac Pro is now a staggering 2 1/2 years into its lifecycle without a single upgrade. The MacBook Air has seen almost no changes, save for incremental processor updates since 2010. The iMac form factor has not changed since the fall of 2012. The newly minted MacBook and MacBook Pro's have seen only slight incremental upgrades this past year, and the Mac mini is a mere afterthought. What's going on?
The only significant new release to Apple’s Mac lineup has been the MacBook (of which I use and love), in April of 2015. It recently received a slight Intel processor update. Wow... In fact, all Apple has been keen to do the past few years is release Intel processor updates to products, with the MacBook Air still living in an ancient design, with what can now only be described as a horribly low-resolution display. Apple’s Mac lineup has become a cash cow with little invention, but that may be about to change.
MotorTrend's (MT) latest issue reveals their ideas on how Apple will approach the car. If MT got it right then Apple has deployed the lost interns of Yugo to develop their would-be vehicle. In a word; hideous.
The magazine's latest issue is clearly designed to turn heads and pull in record numbers of pageviews, but beyond that it just might be one of the worst columns MT has ever done. My fear is MT turns itself into the Consumer Reports of car review periodicals, with lots of shock and little based in reality in order to maintain relevancy.
In the midst of a lovely evening in Freemont, California, this past Thursday night Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, introduced the world to Tesla's latest electric car. The Model 3. Consider the automotive world changed with the clock ticking for most every auto maker in the world. Compete with Tesla or get blown away. Think I'm kidding? Like the era of mainframes and IBM dominating the computer industry, only to have Apple change the paradigm, Tesla is the Apple of the automotive world.
Apple's big un-secret of exploring the automotive industry is well known, but will the green light be given for Apple to actually enter the car market? The answer seems to be an overwhelming yes. Tesla's Model 3 is now the car to beat, but Apple's known this for quite some time. Over the past several years Apple and Tesla have been prying employees away from one another, thus an obvious assumption is that Apple has known what they will need to achieve in order to top Tesla's first attempt at a quasi-mass market four-door sedan. So when, exactly, will Apple's own vehicle arrive?
Call it a sophisticated workstation, call it a silent powerhouse or video editing marvel, but now-a-days, do not call it relevant. Apple has again let its cutting edge flagship Mac Pro tower languish into obscurity due to a lax approach to updating, reminiscent of predecessors. How relatively lax you may ask? Since its release on December 13, 2013, the Mac Pro has had not three, not two, not one, but zero updates — as in none.
The good news, according to financial site The Motley Fool, is that the long overdue refresh may be arriving soon. Today is supposedly the day Intel will release its 14nm "Broadwell EP" lineup. As workstation class chips go, the Broadwell-E looks to be impressive as ever, sporting up to 10 cores per processor, with an overall 18% raw speed increase. But Intel has seen delays with this processor refresh, and as of yet there has been no press release for the processor. Will Intel suffer upon us yet another delay, thus delaying the Mac Pro update?
It is clear Apple is focusing on the iPad Pro line, trying to re-ignite a market segment it started with the original iPad. Lately, Microsoft has made a lot of noise in this market with its 2-in-1 Surface 1, 2, 3, and now, 4 models. The sell is you can have a real Windows computer but also a tablet when you want one. Instead of carrying two devices around you can just use one.
With the arrival of the 9.7" iPad Pro and its starting price point of $599, I began to wonder for whom is this product targeted? For starters, the new iPad Pro has many of the same features as its larger 12.9" sibling coupled with a few extra goodies, such as Apple's latest 12-megapixel iSight camera technologies, 4K video, and a higher resolution front-facing FaceTime camera. Technology aside, the answer that will – or will not – drive 9.7" iPad Pro sales is going to all about the screen size. Is it worth saving $200 to settle for a 9.7" display, or is it best to wait, save and purchase the original 12.9" iPad Pro?
I have a son who is battling this very question. He could certainly get into the iPad Pro 9.7" much sooner than saving and waiting to get the 12.9" version, but he is also an artist, and the extra screen real estate is likely to make a big difference over time. The questions for him are, how big a difference, and will he regret the smaller screen once he purchases it? If he purchases it?