Apple's future

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Jaysen
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:11 am Post

PF -- I do not have summit fever. I dislike most of the products apple offers. I am just to lazy to convert (meaning I like crap that works, not crap that I have to keep working). You could reduce the Apple lineup to 3 useful hardware products
1. MBP 15 (dedicated graphics card in the 13 would eliminate the 15).
2. iPhone 4s and ONLY because of Siri.
3. iPod nano.
In my opinion everything else is a waste.

The Apple software lineup is very unappealing to me. Other than OSX (which to me is just commercially supported BSD) I only buy the apple products that I have to to keep M$ off the system (yet be simple enough for everyone in the fam to use). The only apps I have paid for are Scriv, Sparrow (in a few minutes), Moneywell, DVDPedia.

So what am I whining about? It is this; in most cases of "personality cults" (which is pretty much the only way to describe apple) once the personality dies, what do you have left? I like to think that Stevie made plans but given what we know, is it really possible?

Dear god, I am a fan boy!

I must now go dispose of myself.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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AmberV
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:45 am Post

Oh come now, the Twentieth Anniversary Mac doesn't make your list as essential?

But more seriously I feel Apple is post-peak (plateau, really) anyway by about five years, for what I want of it: easy to maintain UNIX computers. And that has more to do with the presence of Steve Jobs, than the lack of Steve Jobs.
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Jaysen
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:58 am Post

AmberV wrote:Oh come now, the Twentieth Anniversary Mac doesn't make your list as essential?

But more seriously I feel Apple is post-peak (plateau, really) anyway by about five years, for what I want of it: easy to maintain UNIX computers. And that has more to do with the presence of Steve Jobs, than the lack of Steve Jobs.

I would agree that the ONLY thing that has me on Mac is OSX (cheaper to buy mac than linux support which is funny since I do linux support for a living). One thing that did get me as a huge innovation was the integration of the newton with a phone and a music player (for those not following at home that is the iPhone). I think that will be the defining moment of the 21st century. The 4s (and exclusively Siri) shows the real ideal of ubiquitous computing that is intuitive.

It will take a lot to show apple will not go the way of a former pioneer; Eastman Kodak.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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AmberV
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:45 am Post

Yup, Siri is the start of the Star Trek dream, and for that sort of thing it is all uphill from here I do believe. I myself have been slow on picking up the iPhone fever, mainly because I've never had much use for a phone, though I do realise the device is much more than just a telephony mechanism, and that one can get much use out of even if they never once use the "phone" part of it.

But for all of that stuff, I'm content to wait until something appeals to me, and I really don't care who does it. I must say the Android based devices to appeal to me a bit more on most scores. The nature of having more control over the device than what The Company dictates (jailbreaking aside), is a big part of it, but I have yet to see something that encapsulates everything I'd like from a super-Newton. It's getting close, though. I think a few pieces of key hardware are missing. I'm waiting for my foldable real-time eInk display, I guess. Something I can just as easily draw on and stuff in my pocket. Something that costs $10 dollars so I don't care of it gets lost. Something that doesn't have a two year lifespan with a volatile LI battery. I'm afraid Apple won't ever deliver anything like that.
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kewms
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:03 am Post

Jaysen wrote:One thing that did get me as a huge innovation was the integration of the newton with a phone and a music player (for those not following at home that is the iPhone). I think that will be the defining moment of the 21st century.


Really? Since we're only 12 years in, I somehow doubt it...

It will take a lot to show apple will not go the way of a former pioneer; Eastman Kodak.


Eastman Kodak did file for bankruptcy, it's true. But it took them 131 years to do it. All Apple shareholders should welcome that kind of "failure."

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kewms
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:16 am Post

AmberV wrote: I'm waiting for my foldable real-time eInk display, I guess. Something I can just as easily draw on and stuff in my pocket. Something that costs $10 dollars so I don't care of it gets lost. Something that doesn't have a two year lifespan with a volatile LI battery. I'm afraid Apple won't ever deliver anything like that.


Nor will anyone else, IMO. This is my field, so please excuse my rambling...

The big challenge with foldable displays is making them impermeable to air and water -- which is bad for the electronics -- while still keeping them flexible. Flexible encapsulation is expensive, and doesn't work that well at any price at this time. Samsung claims to have a flexible OLED coming out soon, and lots of people have demonstrated flexible prototypes, but prototypes don't have to survive real world use for several years.

Relative to that challenge, a display that you can draw on is relatively simple. Using an ordinary pen to do it is hard, though, as is being able to recognize any arbitrary handwriting.

Doing all of this for $10 is very very hard. Even if the electronics were free -- which they almost are -- even the raw materials cost for the rest is likely to push you above this aggressive a price point.

Not many alternatives to the LI battery that aren't just as bad. Laptop-scale fuel cells have been demonstrated, but that certainly won't help the cost: you'd need more than $10 worth of rare metals alone. Solar is a possibility, energy harvesting (from vibrations and such) is a possibility, but for a pocket sized device neither is likely to provide more than auxiliary power.

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AmberV
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:54 am Post

Rambling is always appreciated. Yeah, I understand I'm not really talking about today, or even ten years from now. Recognising handwriting isn't a big thing for me, as I prefer to write in shorthand anyway (and I doubt anyone is going to be labouring over a system that decodes that). A dedicated stylus is fine. Being a visual thinker, I like being able to draw diagrams in freehand and annotate them. My dream system would let me zoom in and out on the diagram freely, so that I could design a diagram with precision and zoom out for a bigger picture. There are some applications on the iPad that do approach this with vector mapping and gestural zooming, but unfortunately finger based drawing isn't ideal, and I've yet to find a capacitance based stylus that I like. A puffball of foam is only barely better than my pinkie.

The price point, in my mind, would follow the Amazon model of taking a larger loss on the hardware and making cash on the services. The Fire is, as an electronic device, worth quite a bit more than $200, I'm sure. They make up for it on how easy to is to buy services and products from them. The cheapness of the hardware has been chiefly what holds me back in adopting anything as yet. I just don't feel comfortable walking around with hundreds of dollars worth of gear. It's not that I can't replace the gear, it's that I don't fancy getting mugged for it. If I'm not comfortable hauling it out at midnight on a city street than it's not working as a thought capturing device for me.

I probably wouldn't have as much of a beef with LI if so many devices didn't have the batteries soldered into the boards and basically sealed into a sexy case. Replaceable batteries seems to me essential, but the market is evidently more interested in devices that do not appear to have any openings in them.

Who can say what the defining point of the 21st century will be, but efficient neural to automation bridging would certainly be up there.
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:21 am Post

AmberV wrote:Who can say what the defining point of the 21st century will be


Let's just hope it's not another war ...

M.
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:37 pm Post

mbbntu wrote:
AmberV wrote:Who can say what the defining point of the 21st century will be


Let's just hope it's not another war ...

M.



Wars have always and will always happen.

Siri is old hat. You can talk to her on SYSTEM 7 and SYSTEM 8 on old macs and has been on OSX since Apple bought it. She is just now mainstream and on a smaller device (Newton 2)

Kodak went bankrupt because of poor business decisions not because of lack of new products.

What was killing apple before was the 5000 product lineups without any consistency or common sense. The fact that Apple has trimmed that down to just a few products that allow some customization allows for an easier time picking a product.

Technology is moving through what I call the "snowball effect" and is accelerating exponentially. SO young are we in the 21st century and we are already looking for the "defining point"? IN the 20th century was the defining point found in 1912? Nope in 1912 we couldn't even fly yet less than 50 years later mankind was in space. Imagine what things will be like 50 years from now.

I think Apple will be around for awhile. I do think they will be more recognized as a "device" company rather than a computer company down the road. I think they will be more into making digital user "devices" rather than just computers.

But hey not too long ago everyone swore that Apple was done for, they would never increase their market share, no one would buy an apple product, no real computer user or tech savvy person would even dream of owning anything from apple, etc...

In less than 20 years Apple went from being the red head step child to the big kid on the block, some of the tech giants are failing, some new ones are huge.

Tech moves fast. If a company can keep up and innovate they can stay alive. Apple has been very good at innovation...
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

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Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:24 pm Post

Wock wrote:I think they will be more into making digital user "devices" rather than just computers.


What was the primary image of "computers" thirty years ago? Bulky complicated tangles of technological gee-whizzery, mostly serving group projects and interests.

Today, the image of "computers" is exactly what you describe: digital user devices. Ignore what's really going on under the hood (which most of us do): how much traditional "computing" is happening? Not as much as the writing and researching and image manipulating and communicating and general goofing off.

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Jaysen
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:20 am Post

Well, we certainly haven't lost our ability to cover a myriad of topics here. All valid points. All arguable to different ends.

Either the drugs have worn off or the apathy has returned. I find myself wondering why I even care. By the time I can afford to really care again (meaning yet another hardware refresh) I hope to be at a point in my life where I don't even use systems the way I do today. Yes I hope to continue to write for my sanity, but will I use scrivener or just a pen? While I intend to remain IT focused I honestly see no future for me in the industry in my current role.

I guess what I am really starting to wonder as this thread has wandered is, is my consternation about the changes in apple or the changes in me? Is Apple of the last 10 years the "highlight", the definer of an era of my life, that I am afraid to move away from? Am I so uncertain of my own future and so frustrated by my impotence to even comprehend where I may be, that I fear for one "bedrock" of my established persona?

I think I need to stop thinking. It gets me into trouble.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Jaysen
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:21 am Post

kewms, thank you for causing me to stop and think. Again.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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kewms
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:21 am Post

AmberV wrote:The price point, in my mind, would follow the Amazon model of taking a larger loss on the hardware and making cash on the services. The Fire is, as an electronic device, worth quite a bit more than $200, I'm sure. They make up for it on how easy to is to buy services and products from them.


For that model, the hardware still needs to be expensive enough for the user to care about it. If you lose your $10 tablet, no big deal, you just get another one.... but then Amazon has to recover 2x$200 worth of electronics cost just to break even.

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AmberV
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:39 am Post

That's true, but I think the mobile industry has sufficiently solved that problem, even for electronics that they charge no money at all for. The "insurance" and replacement cost system covers those cases where they would otherwise lose out. It's basically group-sourcing the cost of the use of electronics over a large enough group of people so that the outliers do not matter as the bulk of the population is fact paying *more* for the device, amortised over a period of a few years, than they would have up front if they covered the MSRP of the device. If we can get "smart paper" down to the cost-to-producer of a feature phone by 2025 or so, I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect the service to be bearing the brunt of the cost, especially since Internet storage services by then will in all likelihood be how most people "store data". Services will be vital.
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:27 am Post

AmberV wrote:That's true, but I think the mobile industry has sufficiently solved that problem, even for electronics that they charge no money at all for. The "insurance" and replacement cost system covers those cases where they would otherwise lose out. It's basically group-sourcing the cost of the use of electronics over a large enough group of people so that the outliers do not matter as the bulk of the population is fact paying *more* for the device, amortised over a period of a few years, than they would have up front if they covered the MSRP of the device.


I think there are a couple of contradictions here. Your original specification was that the device be cheap enough for you to not care if it gets lost. But the vendor -- one way or another -- needs to minimize losses in order to make the business model work. So why not just raise the price point so the user will care?

Along the same lines, the available free phones are *not* iPhones and Samsung Galaxy Nexuses (Nexii?). They're mostly pretty stripped down, to the point where part of the idea seems to be to upsell people to better phones, with a two-year contract renewal thrown in.

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