Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.
The Census and the Birth of Jesus
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes. This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
I’m a late adopter. I know that. I usually wait a while for a concept (especially in tech) to prove itself before I jump in feet first. My first iPhone was not the original but the iPhone 3G (part of the delay was to wait for AT&T to bring decent service to my home). I rarely, if ever, upgrade iOS on the day it is released, but wait a week or so before taking the plunge, including minor bug fixes. I'm just a wait and see kind of guy.
So with Apple Music I took the same approach. I knew I had a 90 day free trial, but decided to wait to use begin that trial period when I would want to listen to music. That opportunity came when I took a road trip last weekend. Long drives in the car are great for audiobooks and podcasts, but at some point I want music — and not any kind of music — my kind of music.
When the World Wide Web made its debut in the mid-90's, the mantra that was born alongside was “Content is King.” What it meant was that you could have a pretty website that contained animated dancing, twirling babies (actually something semi-popular back then — albeit a little creepy), but if your website did not have content people were looking for, you may get a lot of one time visitors, but that would be it. Without valued content, websites were just organized electrons.
Nearly 20 years later the same can still be said for any online presence, but it can also be said for a lot of other content delivery platforms — including Apple TV. While the latest revision of Apple TV has a much better remote and includes Siri for finding content, if Apple TV does not have the content you want, having a better remote means nothing.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has halted its negotiations with television networks due to the fact that a sub-$30 package arrangement cannot be settled upon. Apple has been hoping to finally provide its own unique streaming service package for Apple TV. Again negotiations have failed. Fine. The big boys don't want to play. Move on Apple. The horse is now officially dead.
Apple's leadership is showing signs of understanding that this endless feet dragging game by the major network holders is fruitless, and is now taking a different direction. Eddy Cue, Apple Sr. VP of software and services, suggested to buzzfeed that Presidential candidates should launch their own Apple TV apps. It appears Cue, like other content providers such as Netflix, is taking another route to flush out new Apple TV content. Unlike Netflix, that gambles big on high production cost original programming, Cue seems to be searching for those capable of producing, quick, low-cost streaming solutions, unique to the industry.
Steve Jobs was a unique visionary who rarely, if ever, second guessed himself. His instincts were spot on 99.5% of the time. Whether it was the original Bondi Blue iMac, the iPod, iPhone or iPad,... Steve just had a knack of what the market wanted and when it wanted it (Cube not withstanding). Steve also wanted the product line at Apple to always be simple and clean. There was no cross over from one model to another. Each item sat in its own distinct space of price and features.
Tim Cook on the other hand seems to find his strength as manager — managing the business. From supply chain to logistics Tim Cook is the man. However, Tim has a very different approach when it comes to timing and product “space.” Yesterday was another glaring example how different these two men approach running Apple. Steve Jobs would never have released any new products (iPhone case with battery included or an iOS SD card reader) a mere 17 days before Christmas. Adding to the noise, yesterday Apple also updated iOS to 9.2, OS X to 10.11.2 and tvOS to version 9.1. Under Jobs all these goodies would have waiting until the new year. Instead Tim’s approach is to launch now, in the middle of the shopping season.
While the Mac/OS X platform is the healthiest it has ever been, the accompanying Mac App Store is trending in the opposite direction. The most recent developer to discontinue offering its software exclusively through the Mac App Store is Bohemian Coding, the makers of Sketch. Bohemian had been toying with idea of leaving the Mac App Store for quite some time, but a recent inability to update the App Store quick enough with a security update was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
It must be that time of year, you know, the time of year when musicians get their groove on. According to the Mac App Store Garage Band In-App Purchases lead the way as the #1 purchased download. Interestingly AntiVirus Sentinel Pro is #2. This seems odd since the advent of OS X, anti-virus software has been less and less necessary. Windows that has been the germ spreader over the past decade and a half, but perhaps Windows defectors are buying a first time Mac. Therefore part of their thinking is that one must have anti-virus software. Rounding out the top five are Logic Pro X at #3, Document Writer at #4, and Final Cut Pro X at #5. The festive holidays must bring out the creative in people, with GarageBand, Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro all in the Top 5.
2015 started out promising, with a trajectory that was like 2013 and 2014... up, up and more up. But mid-way through the year the market made a “correction” and while some stocks have recovered others continue trending the other direction. It is interesting to take a look back to see if our perceptions about the companies we banter about align with their stock price — what investors think about them.
Make no mistake, the end of good looking car design is over — at least if designers of electric vehicles have anything to say about it. It seems the era of “ugly is cool” has arrived. Automotive history has had its share of clunkers, but the tidal wave of ugly-by-electric shows no signs of slowing down, leaving it up to luxury and many mainstream brands to save the planet from absolutely hideous sheet metal design.