Apple’s stand

MSI shared an ad on Twitter for its 5K Prestige Monitor that takes a page from Apple’s popular “I’m a Mac” campaign from several years back and mocks Apple’s $1,000 Pro Display XDR stand… More here.

Apple could have done a much better job of announcing the new $999 monitor stand, but we should remember that the majority of people who need a monitor like this will not even need a stand because of how they currently work. Having said that, $999- phew!

The Apple Store lustre

There was the time he visited the Easton Town Center location to buy a laptop for his 11-year-old daughter and spent almost 20 minutes getting an employee to accept his credit card. In January, Smith was buying a monitor and kept asking store workers to check him out, but they couldn’t because they were Apple “Geniuses” handling tech support and not sales.

“It took me forever to get someone to sell me the product,” says Smith, who runs 2PM Inc., an e-commerce research and consulting firm. “It’s become harder to buy something, even when the place isn’t busy. Buying a product there used to be a revered thing, now you don’t want to bother with the inconvenience.” More here.

I was in an Apple Store at the weekend and the article rings true. There was a time when it felt welcoming and as if the staff would do anything to help. It is still better than almost every other retailer, but there is no doubt a lot of the lustre has gone.

No backdoor…

Cook and Sewell met with Eric Holder and Jim Cole, then the deputy attorney general, in late 2014, and FBI agents told them they were “interested in getting access to phones on a mass basis.” This was way before the attack in San Bernardino, and Apple made it clear from the start that they were not going to grant the FBI access to hack into Apple users’ phones. Cook and Sewell told Holder and Cole that they “didn’t think that that was an appropriate request to be made of a company that has as its primary concern the protection of all citizens.” They had a similar conversation with Lynch and Yates… More here.

Good article.

Apple’s Credit Card

The essence of the design of Apple Card is reduction. Some high-end credit cards move many markings to the back of the card. Apple has gone one step further.

The usually present card number, expiration date, security code (CSC or CVV) and signature blank are completely gone… More here.

Now that is looking deep at something so visually simple.

AirPower abandoned

In a highly unusual step for the firm, Apple has given up on a product because it could not make it work adequately. AirPower, announced in 2017, was a mat meant to charge multiple devices without needing to plug them in. But it is understood the firm’s engineers were perhaps unable to stop the mat from getting too hot… More here.

The problem here is not all of the recent happenings. It goes way back to the exact point in which it was decided to announce AirPower in the earlier stages of development.

It is most unusual for Apple to pre-announce new products and I suspect that we will never see such a thing happen again.

The Apple TV 4K is bad, really bad

I purchased an Apple TV 4K last week as I needed one for a freelance article and was expecting an experience that was better than the previous Apple TV or my smart TV, because after all I spent £179 on it.

The design is nice and of course so is the unboxing experience, but there are some problems-

Apps like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime take a LONG time to start streaming any film or TV episode, and the apps themselves take a long time to start up.

Siri through the remote is poor and rather inaccurate, just like it is on the iPhone or anywhere else.

The remote is fiddly to use and not friendly in the hand in any way.

My Samsung smart TV does everything much, much quicker and remarkably has a more natural interface.

Overall performance of the Apple TV is slow and it all feels dated in almost every area.

For £179 it is poor value indeed and most definitely not recommended. One day Apple will get the TV stuff right, one day…

New stuff: AirPods, Kindle and Watches

Apple today announced new AirPods, the second generation of the world’s most popular wireless headphones. AirPods revolutionized the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love. The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free “Hey Siri.” AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new Wireless Charging Case for convenient charging at home and on the go… More here.

Would have liked to see noise isolation above anything else, but some decent improvements have been included here.

Adjustable front light lets you read comfortably for hours, indoors and outdoors, day and night.
Purpose built for reading, with a 167 ppi glare-free display that reads like printed paper, even in direct sunlight.
Distraction-free reading. Highlight passages, look up definitions, translate words and adjust text size, without ever leaving the page.
Select from millions of books, newspapers and audiobooks. Holds thousands of titles so you can take your library with you.
Prime members read for free with unlimited access to over a thousand titles.
A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours.
Enjoy more books with Audible. Pair with Bluetooth headphones, or speakers, to switch seamlessly between reading and listening… More here.

Totally standard features in the new Kindle, but at £69.99 I can see trouble for the higher priced models. This does 99% of what 99% of Kindle owners want and it is so much cheaper.

Baselword 2019 is now in full swing and last year we were treated to some superb new watches. It is, however, almost as if this year the tide has completely turned. Some of the new watches on offer, such as the Tudor P01 above, are startlingly bad.

And then came the Tudor Black Bay Chronograph Steel & Gold, below, which is trying to be far too pretty for its own good.

Don’t worry though. There’s always Rolex to take things even further in terms of poor taste as is demonstrated by the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126719 BLRO With Meteorite Dial In White Gold below.

Thankfully, the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival, below, offers a sense that one brand is happy to simply improve rather than turn down crazy alley.

For more news from Baselworld 2019 check out the excellent Hodinkee.

They made a big thing about being different

Good response to this article-

My opinion, and I only have my observations and reading to back that up, is that Apple is held to a higher standard for two reasons. First, they made a big thing about being different. I remember Steve Jobs saying that they built products that they would want to use. I read Guy Kawasaki’s book The Macintosh Way which also had the higher standard. The second reason is that, to a large enough extent that people noticed, they were able to actually be different. Lots of companies say they’re different, but their actions and public persona is not. Apple said they were different and was different. Certainly other companies did both, but they were few and far between. Still are. Apple is held to a higher standard because they put themselves there through thoughts and actions. They set high expectations. It makes it all the more noticeable when it fails to meet those expectations. Bob

Spectre

Long exposures have always been limited by technical factors, from keeping the camera steady, to guessing the amount of light. We’ve taken care of all of that.

Spectre is an AI-powered shutter for your iPhone, letting you create amazing long exposures. From the team that brought you Halide… More here.

This looks ‘really’ good.

Apple starting to act like other companies

He explained: “After an interaction had concluded, I would frequently check in with the Specialist and ask them, ‘What 3 things have you learned about your customer today?’. The Specialists who learned and remembered their customers’ names, and knew what they did for work, did very well. Apple began really pushing their in-store business services around 2014-15. This could lead to 5- or even 6- figure sales if you are able to close a local small or medium-sized business. Even better, if you knew the customers’ hobbies, you were likely to be by far the more successful salesperson.” More here.

I’m not defending Apple in any way and I hate it when anyone tries to sell me anything, but it’s as though when Apple does it the view is more negative than when another company does it. Apple is held to a higher standard which I guess could be seen as a positive thing.