Yesterday we awoke to some new Mac goodies and accessories. First a new 4K iMac was introduced and a refresh to the one year old 5K iMac. Both are welcomed editions and continue to show Apple’s commitment to the desktop. Of note is that for connectivity neither included the new USB-C port, but instead the familiar USB 3 & Thunderbolt 2 ports. Apparently USB-C is only going to be something we see in notebooks going forward.
Also included in the goodie-bag were some new accessories: a new keyboard, trackpad and mouse. The Magic Keyboard leverages the scissor technology introduced this spring in the new 12" retina MacBook. This gives the keyboard a lower profile and supposedly makes typing more accurate. The other major changes was a lithium-ion battery is built within, so there is no need to change out batteries. Instead a lighting/usb cable will recharge this bad boy when it runs low on power. The new Magic Trackpad 2 adds force-touch and the new Magic Mouse 2 has fewer moving parts and supports multi-touch. Both items also include built-in lithium-ion batteries, so Apple is eliminating the need for separate rechargeable batteries or off-the shelf disposable batteries. Because all accessories have built-in lithium-ion batteries, it means their prices have jumped from previous models they replace. But when you figure the cost of disposable batteries, or Apple’s rechargeable batteries, over the life of these items, the cost difference is negligible, yet the convenience/ease-of-use vastly improved.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, recently chastised Apple’s latest products, and virtually scoffed at the idea Apple was taking any serious talent from the company. Less than a week later Musk backtracked on those comments. No doubt his PR team got a hold of Musk and demanded he dial back his ego and frustration, but the damage was already done. Telsa’s best years may no longer be ahead of them, as the company is likely to be outflanked by Apple, who has more resources, and as much drive to do something truly great, than anyone in any market.
Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Beats, says he is “scared” about music’s future. Why so? Iovine claims that free music streaming services like Spotify and others return fewer dollars to artists. In order to make up lost revenue, musicians are spending more time on the road playing concerts. In Iovine’s view this means less time to work on future albums. Good music, according to Iovine, requires time and that time is being eaten up by longer than usual concert schedules.
Of course, Iovine is now part of Apple and its attempt to re-energize its iTunes brand. The latest attempt is Apple Music streaming music service. This gives one access to Apple's entire music library on demand. Apple Music does NOT offer a free version beyond a 90-day trial period. After that it is $9.99/month. It appears Iovine’s comments could be a building frustration that young people are not willing to pay for music — especially when they do not have to.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, recently lashed out at Apple, calling the iPhone maker a "Tesla Graveyard," where the only employees Apple had of poached from Tesla were the one’s who hadn’t made the cut at Tesla. Musk has also bashed Apple’s Pencil and new iPad Pro, noting they were not relevant enough. With Musk’s logic, the newly unveiled Tesla Model X SUV is just a bigger Model S electric car — not so relevant.
Anyone remember this bad boy display? The original 15" LCD Studio Display, complete with a translucent frame. Well times have certainly changes since its introduction in 1998, but it seems the display department at Apple is stuck behind the times. It is almost as if Apple does not want to sell their current display or even play in this market, which is a lost opportunity for additional revenue.
I know, I know. We are still digesting the massive updates from September’s special event: iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, a new Apple TV with new remote and Siri and a totally new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and refreshed iPad lineup. Add to that the releases of iOS 9 (with already two bug fix updates) and Mac OS X El Capitan. And now I’m wondering about more? Of course!
According to Bloomberg, Amazon will no longer be selling Apple TV or Google Chromecast starting October 29, siting vague references that these products are not easily “compatible” with Amazon’s Prime video service. A big shift in Amazon is taking place within the online retail giant by refusing to sell what look to be popular forthcoming retail products.
Control within Amazon seems to have shifted from its online retail division, to that of the Prime team. This shift is similar to the power Microsoft’s Windows team yielded for decades, and continues to do so, stifling anything in their path for the sake of maintaining power. What is good for Windows is good for Microsoft is the Redmond mantra. In Amazon’s case, subscriptions are now king, running over any physical hardware sales gains. Amazon has taken on a somewhat Orwellian-Marxist viewpoint that all products are equal, but some are more equal than others. In this case, Fire TV is sold along side any other competing product, that is, unless other products threaten the power of Fire TV.
New iPhones, a new iPad Pro and a new Apple TV, were all unveiled last month during Apple’s Bill Graham Auditorium special event. Beyond iPhone it is difficult to gage exactly which product is garnering the most attention. Now that the iPhone has launched the magic behind the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil has yet to be fully discovered. However what is least known is Apple TV and what it will truly be capably of once it begins shipping late October.
The mysteries of Apple TV are numerous, and one unknown begins to pile atop the next. Why does Apple TV’s A8 processor have such a massive heat sync? Why is the unit thick enough to support Optical Audio Out, but it is no longer included? Why is 4K (UHD) and HDMI 2.0 not supported? Why did Apple not release their own optional game controller to kick things off? And of course, why no silver, space gray, gold versions? Did the crew that built the MacBook with one port also lend their hand with Apple TV? It is almost as if Apple is launching their very own Area 51 product. Here’s to trying my hand at unraveling some curious areas of Apple TV.
As many know I’m a big supporter of Apple's technologies. The hardware, the software and their interfaces, more often than not, just work right. But the one thing I dread is having to visit any of Apple’s online stores. Whether it is the Mac App store, iTunes store or App store for iOS — I dislike them all with a passion. Apple even made getting to and using their Apple.com website store difficult to find and use. First, Apple removed “Store” from the list of categories in their main menu bar. A user must now dive into a product category, then a specific product, and then click the Buy button (bad move Apple, never get in the way of shoppers who just want to buy something).
First there was “Antenna-Gate”, with the iPhone 4 allegedly having signal strength issues. Then there was “Bend-Gate”, with claims the iPhone 6 bent far too easily. Now we wait for for the anti-Apple-anything crowd to concoct their latest FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), claims about iPhone 6s and 6s Plus — and it may have just arrived.
Hot on the heels of the iPhone 4’s arrival, Consumer Reports issued a review of the phone, claiming it had serious antenna issues. Then, CEO Steve Jobs cut his family vacation short to host a special media event, showing how truly stunning Apple’s antenna testing was, while showcasing that virtually every smartphone in the industry would suffer signal strength issues when held in any number of ways. Jobs named the dust-up “Antenna-Gate” while exposing Consumer Reports as desperate company, glomming onto Apple's massive iPhone popularity in a search for relevance.