IBM is chief sponsor of the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, the grass championships at Wimbledon, England. For two weeks even novice onlookers tune into Wimbledon, as it scrapes into the consciousness of mainstream sports reporting. IBM is center stage, breaking into every commercial break. Even if a casual TV viewer, one cannot help but notice IBM. But Big Blue does more than just sponsor the tournament, they provide real-time statistics and graphics revealing where players are hitting each and every ball, their service success, and ball angles and heights. With Apple and IBM well into their $100 million partnership, it would be more than obvious the chair umpires would be officiating each match using iPads. That assumption would be wrong.
Chair umpires are using a Panasonic tablet. Specifically, Panasonic's Toughpad, deploying Intel Core i-series processing and Windows 7 or 8. Hawkeye, the system used to track the ball and validates whether the ball is in or out, is not infallible. In fact, it deploys non-high-speed 2D cameras, which must then estimate that track of the ball. Not exactly infallible. Why aren’t Apple iPads in the umpire’s chair, seamlessly working with IBM’s cloud technologies? Why use legacy 2D cameras, that cannot handle an ounce of low-light conditions, instead of showcasing iPhone 6+ and 240fps recording for Hawkeye?
“Cord Cutter’s” are those who have stopped paying $100-260+ USD to cable and satellite companies for hundreds of network channels. It has been two years since I took the plunge and saved myself then $90/month. Mark, the other guy here at Two Guys and a Podcast, was a radical in this cause, never subscribing to cable or satellite services — ever. Both of us are avid sports fans. Both of us news junkies. Yet somehow we are able to get the sports we want and the news we need without these services. How? It’s called the internet.
Apple’s practice of not conducting focus groups or looking to the outside world to decide what products it will make and what features will, or will not be included, is well known. But then is Apple solely working behind closed doors in making decisions for the next amazing Apple products? No. Despite what you may think, Apple does look to understand the consumer, as I personally witnessed via an Apple email survey that arrived in my Inbox last week. The email obviously follows on the heels of my recent MacBook purchase.
After watching Craig Federighi give his presentation of OS X El Capitan, I must say the thing I am most waiting for is the transition from Open GL to Apple’s Metal. Apple’s website describes Metal this way:
“Metal is a new graphics core technology that gives games and apps near-direct access to the graphics processor on your Mac, delivering enhanced performance and a richer graphical experience. Metal speeds system-level graphics rendering by up to 50 percent, as well as making it up to 40 percent more efficient. Metal allows the main processor and graphics processor to work more effectively together, boosting high-performance apps.”
Eric Snowden's recent comments on Apple and whether Tim Cook is likely to keep his promises regarding privacy and data are, by and large, playing out as accurate. Snowden argued that it is in Cook’s best interest to differentiate Apple against Google and others by profiting on the sales of devices instead of people’s data. It makes for a good strategy and differentiator amongst the competition, and thus good for privacy. But what happens when Tim Cook is no longer the CEO of Apple?
According to JMP Securities technology analyst Alex Guana, Apple’s slow launch into the wearables market has left a large opening for competitor Fitbit. Guana claims Fitbit is the “clear leader in the market with over 11 million units sold last year.” Guana continued by saying that Fitbit is currently ahead of Apple Watch as far as price points, battery life and GPS tracking. However, he did concede that long-term, Apple can bring a lot of “power” with iOS and versatility. These Apple advantages will give Fitbit some serious competition.
One week removed from Apple’s WWDC it occurred to me that a few new faces took to the stage from Apple. Jennifer Bailey, Jimmy lovine and Susan Prescott — all relatively new members to Apple’s leadership team (albeit Iovine is not an Apple VP, but has great influence though the companies Beats acquisition).
Bailey is the Sr. VP at Apple in charge of Apple Pay, and while I had never heard her speak, nor had I seen her in video footage of any kind, Bailey was everything I expected her to be. Poised, polished, unflappable. There are not many people that can take to Apple’s stage on their first go and nail it — Bailey did. Amongst a large group of techie guys, she seemed to fit in just fine.
Back in January of 2007, at MacWorld San Francisco, Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. I was at that show and remember waiting in line to go to the Apple booth to see the two iPhones on display in cylindrical glass cases. It was like gazing upon a rare jewel or ancient discovery at a museum. The round, glass case allowed you to view the iPhone from almost every angle. It was cool. It was unique. It was certainly different, but it was not alone.
When Apple unveiled the new MacBook in March, it both stunned and confused many in the industry. The new MacBook was not just a refined and smaller MacBook Air, but it was lighter with incredible hardware innovations. It also was not an updated MacBook Pro, but it had a retina display. And the new MacBook did not serve every laptop user’s needs, as it only had one port. The mix and match of technologies in the new MacBook push the very definition of “simplify”, but if you are a road warrior, a professional business person, or non-graphic related college student, it may just be the perfect OS X laptop. And yet the new MacBook may prove to be more than just the sum of its parts. Apple may have tipped their hat in showing us what the next generation iPad will be.
As an avid OS X user, the favorite part of any WWDC Keynote presentation is when Craig Federighi takes the stage and demos the next version of OS X. Apple has spoiled us over the past several years with a new OS X version every year. We don’t have to look too far back to remember the days when 2 or even 3 years passed without a major OS update (the time between the preview of OS X 10.0 and its final launch was nearly four years).
All that said, OS X El Capitan (10.11) looks to be a great update, and here are the top 3 reasons why.