Apple

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A list of various articles and topics of discussion around Apple. Since they're a secretive company, I tend to avoid opining on a lot of things about them, out of respect for their desire and right to control their own messaging. So I tend to only focus on the trivial for a reason.


History

  • Steve Jobs (2015) -
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    A fictionalized drama-mentory retelling of Steve Jobs life, by an ultra-Liberal director (Aaron Sorkin). Reviewers preferred it more than audiences +13% (86/73). While the dialog and story is the best of the rash of Steve Jobs pseudo-biographies, this one captured the spirit of many things better, while getting too many actual facts wrong. It would have been great, if only they were fictional characters.
  • Steve Jobs - Just some articles about a controversial and accomplished person. It's funny, I met him a few times, was in a couple meeting with him, and he knew me by site, and by name: but I don't think both. I wrote articles for Tech Magazines, and sometimes folks would send me something, "Steve read that, and liked that article", sort of stuff. And then we'd be in meetings (in my day-time / non-writing role), or see him on campus, and I would see recognition that he knew me from other meetings or events (sometimes a nod), but he also knew by site/memory that I wasn't someone he had to sell anything. I was never sure if he knew that I was the same person (writing me, and engineering me).
  • Jobs (2013) -
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    Hollywood has this attitude that fiction is more interesting than real life. It is more interesting to people that don't care about the truth as much as they care about shallow entertainment and becoming more misinformed about a topic or person. I'm not their audience, and this movie wasn't made for me. Walter Isaacson's book was pretty good, but flawed. This movie omitted the former and exaggerated the latter.
  • Apple's Greatest Misses -
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    I'm not an Apple basher, or Apple fanboy. Apple is a company, like any other. The problem is once you're big, you attract attention (good and bad), and the most newsworthy stories are those with the most drama or sensationalism. I hate them both -- the rabid fans and Apple haters. But I do like to document the stuff others aren't. This article isn't into their many revolutions and successes, just a few highlights of technologies or ideas they went *splat*. Not to bash my Fruity Cupertino friends, but any mistake is useful, if you learn from it.
  • Apple and the Google/Facebook fight - The short version is that Apple Enterprise agreement allows you to install apps directly (without using the store or the store rules), but the requirements are that this is only for internal employees (and can not be used to install on other users machines). As I setup the policy and some enforcement for my company, I'm 100% aware of this and warned internal employees extensively to NOT use this program license to subvert Apple's normal developer or beta program (TestFlight). (Don't side load customers like FB and Google were doing). Facebook and Google both broke those rules, willfully, and had their hand slapped (Apple turned their certificate off) as a warning: breaking all their corporate iOS Apps.
  • Apple Park -
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    I visited Apple Park (Apple's new campus) a few times. I could tell you why I was there.... but as they said in Sherlock Holmes "The Hounds of Baskerville" and Top Gun), then I'd have to kill you. I shot a bunch of shots when they first opened... then later they started cracking down on that. "No Photos please". Um, OK, no more photos. I get that they're trying to control their image.
  • Apple China Censorship - Website exposes the how much Apple cooperates with Chinese government to censors (blocks) access to: privacy enhancing apps, western news sources, information about human rights and religious freedoms.
  • 2019.03.14 Apple's App Store Margin - Apple has terms on their App Store that their cut is 30/15% (30% the first year subscriptions or purchase -- 15% on later years of reoccurring subscription). For small companies that have no marketing or facilities for bringing their App to market directly, this is completely reasonable. For larger companies that have their own infrastructure and promotions, and are forced to use Apple's (which they don't need), or those with razor thin margin businesses (like music/content streaming, books, etc), this is monopolistic usery. So it's been a fight since Apple created a one-size-fits-all solution, that doesn't fit everyone well.
  • 2019.01.31 Apple Chairs -
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    I regularly visit the Apple Park, and I've noted that the wooden chairs they use in the Café and Apple Store there are comfortable, solid, simplistic, and a nice aesthetic. So out of curiosity, I looked them up. They're by a designer Naoto Fukasawa, called the Hiroshima Chair, and they're $2,500 each. WTF. I searched Alibaba, and found knock-offs for $125 each. I get that a designer needs some money for the time/effort invested (and to subsidize all the designs that didn't make it). But a 20,000% markup seems a wee bit excessive to me. It doesn't really matter, as I'm not buying them. It was just a curiosity thing. But crazy.
  • 2018.08.03 $1 Trillion+ - I remember back in 1996 when everyone was declaring doom and gloom, and gleefully claiming the end of Apple was neigh. I didn't think a company with that much customer demand, and goodwill, and superior technologies over the competition was doomed. I bet against the experts, and became a millionaire.
  • 2016 MacBook Pro w/Touch bar -
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    There's a lot of whining and complaints about the New MacBook Pro's (MBP2016). Some valid, many overstated but heartfelt. But I think the problem was more about messaging than delivery. For me, and most users, it's a great product.
  • 2015 iPad Pro (1st Gen) -
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    A better iPad. It 's better in every way -- bigger, better, faster... and more expensive. OK, better in all ways but price. My Big-iPhone (7 Plus) meant that I was using my iPad's less -- but give me a bigger screen and keyboard that works, and I find that the iPad fills a niche for me, as a great travel/note-taking and entertainment device, when it's not worth bringing out my laptop. And with an App, it works as a second screen for my laptop when I do real work.


Conclusion

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Don't anthropomorphize companies, they hate that. The same goes for companies, and some people. Apple is neither good nor bad: it is a group of people making products and trying to get returns for investors and customers. That behavior can be good or bad (or a bit of both), depending on how they're doing it.

Sometimes the leadership can be good or bad, or making bad decisions. But mostly, I roll eye's when I see things that vilify the leadership for things that they have a responsibility to do. Tim Cook isn't evil for paying as few taxes as legally possible, and using that money to employ people and create great products -- he would be evil/negligent if he didn't do that, and wasted investors/employees/companies money on things he didn't have to.

Honorable mentions

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Government/ARPA research gave us the Internet the same way they invented the car or airplane. By 1976 (founding of ARPA) we had hundreds of computers networked, by 1993 the Internet only carried 1% of the information traffic (and we had plenty of traffic). But by 2007 that had flipped and most traffic was TCP/IP based, because it was free, standard and good enough. However, without TCP/IP, one of the other protocols would have become a standard, and we’d still have had everything we have today (in some areas, more). The government gave us nothing that we didn’t already have (or wouldn’t have). Politicians (as usual) took credit for other people’s work. more...

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Alan Kay thought up the idea of the DynaBook in 1968 (which later became laptops, or tablets), by listening to those around him, predicting the same things. History and progress is happening in slow motion. It only seems fast, because we're moving slower. more...