It… Just… Works…

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I have witnessed a lot of snark and humour at Apple’s expense over the past week since the iPhone X was announced and I wonder where it all comes from at times. I am not wondering because of what is being said exactly, but more because it simply does not matter.

My MacBook works, my iPad Pro works and my iPhone, which gets countless hours of use every day, works. What more do I need and why do I need to be concerned at how the products came to be?

Computing products should be designed to help you do things, to help you manage your life and to help you communicate with others. Anything else is just noise floating around the edges of the real world.

A brand new feature that does not work well is just a time suck that ultimately is a mere novelty that has no positive end purpose. This is why Apple is often very late to the party when it comes to introducing features that are new to Apple, but far from new to the computing world.

Look at Touch ID- it was the first fingerprint sensor that you forgot about within days of using it. Look at the Apple Watch. I may prefer real watches, but the reality is that the Apple Watch is a decent watch which works perfectly well as a time teller which just happens to have a few handy features as a bonus.

I could take this further- look at macOS and iOS as a whole, they (99% of the time) just work and are designed to help you do something useful.

Face ID will likely be the same when we get to use it and it is likely to outperform anything from Google for its ease of use and efficiency. Apple Pay, iCloud Notes, the touch system and so it continues. You may not get tons of customisation, but you will get a system that gives you control over your days without the need to mess around with settings and reliability problems.

There are features that could be better of course (Siri is a good example), but the reality is that Apple produces products that are beneficial to the individual and not just laden with fancy inventions to catch the eye.

Who cares if the features come later than the competition as long as they work in a way that makes them disappear and become a small part of your life? When you add them together you get loyalty, compatibility between person and machine, and the ability to charge more than £1,000 for a phone.

Her is Here

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Remember the 2013 science fiction movie Her where a man falls in love with his computer operating system? Even in 2013 it didn’t seem to farfetched considering all of the digital assistants available. With the new emphasis on consumer AI by Apple, Google, Microsoft, et al, it’s no longer fiction. link

And besides new AI companions, our entire lives are being computerized. Some of us grew up without computers. For the youngest computers are ubiquitous. And we’re not going back. We never have in the past, whether it was automobiles or televisions. It’s just the way it is. link

Thanks to Next Draft for the links.

Bob

Fossil Gen 3

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I visited a Fossil shop last week and was surprised at how heavily the company is pushing smart watches and watches in general. The entire focus of the store was towards the wrist with the traditional watches, bags and other products relegated to the sides.

Even more of a surprise was the Gen 3 smart watch which really is a smartly designed wearable. It’s Android Wear so not ideal, but boy does it look good.

We should be dead already

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Great, so people who sit on the job turn into bedridden geriatrics, while those who stand in the office might as well be eating nothing but double cheeseburgers, or going through a pack a day, or maybe both. Who cares? Life is apparently a dark, meaningless, and ultimately futile search for health and happiness that ends only in utter disappointment… More at GQ.

There comes a point when you simply stop listening.

Lessons

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What is and remains so brilliant about the iPhone specifically and Apple’s business broadly is how everything is aligned around Apple being the Apple Jobs envisioned: a company that shows its “appreciation to the rest of humanity [by making] something wonderful and put[ting] it out there.” By making the best products Apple earns loyal customers willing to pay a premium; loyal customers give Apple both freedom to make large scale changes and also a point of leverage against partners like carriers and developers. And then, the resultant profits lets Apple buy the small companies and do the R&D to create the next set of products… More at stratechery.

A brilliant article.