I disagree with iPhone Plus in concept.
There’s demand for a larger form iPhone, you say? There was also demand for netbooks, and look what happened there.
The only reason there are larger Android phones, in my opinion, is because they need fat batteries to compensate for the inherent shortcomings of their more-liberal multitasking model.
Predictions of what Apple will do next always seem limited to what Apple has already done: They’ll make it retina. They’ll add colors. They’ll increase the storage. They’ll use the latest wireless standard. The processor will double cores or speed. The camera will gain megapixels. Thinner. Lighter.
How about some new thinking?
Maybe the next iPhone will have a Lytro camera, or an amazing new battery technology, or maybe it’ll be completely waterproof. Maybe drop-proof. Tactile screen? Perhaps it’ll watch our eyes for gestures, or authenticate our thumb.
Let’s get creative. The iterative stuff is obvious and boring.
My four ebay rules for new sellers, so you won’t have a bad time
- Never sell a popular item like an iPhone to somebody with bad or no history, or unconfirmed Paypal.
- Never ship internationally.
- Don’t take any custom requests. Ever. From anybody. If their question starts “can you” then the answer is always “Sorry, no.”
- Always ship with insurance. Pay for it yourself — it’s for you.
“You’re not going to a/b test your way to Shakespeare.”
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Five tries for Siri: cold tonight?
- “Zagota be cold tonight.”
- “Zagota be cold tonight.”
- “I don’t know what that means. If you like, I can search the web for ‘Willoughby coal tonight’.”
- “Let me think about that.” “Would you like me to search the web for ‘Is it going to be motherfucking cold tonight’?”
- “It doesn’t seem like it should be all that cold; it won’t get below 39º”
Installing Windows 8, for fun and karma
I’ve decided to provide you this handy guide so that you too can join in:
- Install Windows 8 with a chuckle.
- Point at the screen the whole time, satisfied that it’s as pathetic as you thought it would be.
- Pretend to give it a chance
- Write a blog post complaining that it is indeed terrible, I mean isn’t it crazy that the start menu takes up the whole screen?
Finally arrived in Charleston SC. A bath is so nice after a long car ride!
You’re Wrong About Windows 8
It seems all of the tech writers have the same knee-jerk complaint about Windows 8.
Yes, we know it acts like two distinct operating systems.
I agree, it feels weird.
But it’s so good. You’re just looking at it wrong. Here’s why:
People don’t want little desktop widgets (like what Windows Vista offered), people want apps. They also need real computer software that maximizes their productivity. Some need professional tools, software they’re familiar with, to get real work done. So we want both: quick apps and professional tools. Apple knew this, that’s why they offer Mac OS and iOS, Macs and iPads, Mac Apps and Dashboard widgets.
Macs still have a terminal, and Windows still has a command prompt. Does that cause confusion? Those are two totally separate worlds that seem to have no correlation. I’ve never heard anybody complain about those. Likewise, when Mac OS X debuted and had a “Mac OS 9 Classic Mode” embedded, I don’t ever remember anybody complaining that it just felt disjointed, that Apple didn’t integrate it very well. Same with Boot Camp, which required a reboot to choose Windows or Mac OS. It seems as though the tech writers are all feeding from the same trough, incapable of seeing the bigger picture. They write about the first knee-jerk reaction, “Oh this feels so different, these two environments.” Is that really all that can be said? Do you have any imagination, any vision? Open your eyes! Microsoft is doing something bold while they’re still relevant, and I think it’s going to pay off.
Ask yourself, are you going to pick up your tablet to check your email, the weather, social networks, or peruse some quick news? If you’re like me, you know that a tablet is the fastest way to do quick lookups or accomplish quick tasks, rather than loading full blown computer software. So why can’t your desktop or laptop have those easy apps too? Metro allows for this.
It’s just a better Start button, at the very least. Nothing has been taken away. But it has the potential to become the most convenient go-to for those quick lookups that would otherwise have you turn to your iPad.
So don’t bemoan it as “two separate worlds” that make no sense and seem disconnected. It’s supposed to be that way! At any particular time you’re either Getting Work Done or you’re looking for lighter fare.
Metro is for consumption.
tl;dr Enough complaining that Metro and Desktop are different — they’re supposed to be. One is for production, the other is for consumption.
So it’s becoming obvious to me that I’m wrong about the new Apple TV not needing 1080p. It will have to support 1080p otherwise Airplay from iPad HD will look like shit.
Aside from that, I still hope Apple can fix the content problem. We need to remove the networks from the equation. We don’t need HBO, ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV, AMC, etc.
Think about how you buy music — do you subscribe to a music label, e.g. Interscope?
Think about how you buy or rent movies — do you subscribe to a movie distributor, e.g. Miramax?
Why should we subscribe to a network just to get TV shows? Or why should we need iTunes to sign up said network just to offer said shows?
There are so many creative television studios, writers, directors, actors and actresses out there. We should be able to watch what we want without having to deal with some multi-tiered distribution model. It’s so broken.
Studio-direct is the only way. Let’s cut out the middle-men.
What we need from Apple TV
I have some feelings on what can make Apple TV more important, but some of my thoughts don’t agree with what the tech blogs are discussing. For example, I don’t think many of us care about 1080p, the processor that’s used, or whether it’ll have apps. I think an even worse idea is an actual Apple-branded television. I’ll elaborate.
Here is what I think is important for Apple TV:
- Able to hook up to any modern television
- Easy to use
- A better way to pay for content than cable/satellite
In order for it to stay affordable, it needs to not have amazing new processors and fancy specs. Most geeks love specs, but in this case it’s just a hindrance. Your average consumer isn’t going to care about 1080p, and having a faster processor isn’t really a selling point — but having a $99 price is!
There has been a lot of talk about having an Apple-branded television, but why does anybody want that? Competition between screen makers is red hot, prices are pushing ever lower, and screen manufacturing is a growth industry. I understand that Apple fans feel that Apple can make a super simple television that doesn’t have all of the inputs, settings and mindless remote controls that existing TVs have, but you can accomplish the same thing by: Buying a television, plugging in only Apple TV, and never changing the input. Instead, I feel that we *need* all of those inputs and compatibilities, because peripherals are advancing at a much higher speed than the screen itself. Don’t ever think the latest Apple TV is going to be the last set-top box you plug in. TVs are just monitors for the modern set-top box, so let’s keep them separate. Besides, who obsoletes monitor technology faster than Apple? In just the last decade I’ve watched them abandon the Apple Display Connector, DVI-D, Dual-link DVI-D, Mini-DVI, DisplayPort, Mini-DisplayPort and now they’re on to Thunderbolt!
The interface is important. The aluminum remote that comes with Apple TV is nice looking and has only a few buttons, but any iPad or Lion user will not deny that you feel a disconnect when interacting with Apple TV. We need gestures!
Maybe a touchpad? Swipe between the screens. As you move your finger the screen moves fluidly, like on an iPad. It could use bluetooth, and have a similar look to the Mac touchpad Apple already sells.
Maybe a wand remote for gestures? An aluminum wand with no button, using bluetooth and accelerometers. Tap it to select. Swipe left/right to thumb through pages. Swipe up/down to scroll.
Please don’t say we should use an iPad, iPod or iPhone to control the Apple TV! That’s just a feature. It’s a neat hack, and the fact that it is popular shows that Apple needs to solve the interface problem.
Content is king, and I feel Apple has had a huge failing with content. Apple’s $0.99 rental scheme totally backfired — instead of paying $2 per episode like I was with Apple TV 1st gen, I find that they’re charging $3 per episode of network shows like Glee! This tells me that networks are holding all the cards in this negotiation, and they view these as impulse sales to complement cable subscribers. If you missed your favorite show, are catching up, or are traveling, they know they’ve got you for $3! They don’t see this as a legitimate channel, and why should they, as it negates their purpose.
We need a fix. But what? Let’s look at how we got here.
Television’s current tiered model is broken:
- studio - buys the show from creative, budgets the casting and actual production.
- network - picks up the show, maybe on a limited contract for # of episodes and/or with options.
- advertiser - pays the network for placement of ads between X minute segments of each program.
- operator - wires homes, distributes content, pays the network X/subscriber
- subscriber - we pay the operator.
How about a new model?
- studio - buys the show from creative, budgets the casting and actual production.
- customer - pays to see the show
Maybe Apple cracked the code by going straight to the studios. Maybe they will handle the subscriptions.
The network and operator layers are obsolete. They made sense in a world where consumers and studios would never have any way to connect. The advertising layer just props them up. Let’s shed all of it.
Let’s connect consumers with creators. Just like Apple’s done with books, apps, and in some ways musicians. It’s a simple formula that Apple can pull off. Instead of customers paying $100 to Time Warner, who pays $1 per subscriber for HGTV, who in turn pays per episode of a show…why not just sell the shows online? Here we are, customers, willing to pay for shows!
Studios can give away the first 3 episodes of a season for free, then charge $5-15 for the remainder of the season. It’s probably more than they’re getting from the networks, and it has the added benefit of creating a “sticky” relationship with the customer; a customer who has paid for the show has already registered their interest, and will likely continue to watch in order to make their investment pay off.
Airplay is a great feature, and may be the strongest selling point yet for some people, but I only believe it is most importantly a “trojan horse” strategy for Apple. It’s really meant to stick it to Hulu, CNN and the rest of the “You can only view this on your computer” crowd — as now any user running Lion can circumvent that foolishness. Eventually those providers will have to remove their business model’s reliance on such petty restrictions!
So, in summary, my favorite ideas for Apple TV take 3:
- Keep the $99 hockey puck
- Gesture-based remote
- Studio-direct content subscriptions