eXtensions - Wednesday 18 April 2018
eXtensions - The Wednesday File (53): Product Arrivals, Repeating Themes, and History Lessons
By Graham K. Rogers
We may add to that the cause of these supposed low sales is of course the high price, although there was not much fuss when an Android phone make recently put out its top of the line, Porsche-designed model at more than twice the price of the iPhone X; and let us not forget even more recent rumours about next year's iPhone X, which is certain to come in standard and Plus sizes and will cost even more than this year (Jim Edwards, Business Insider). If you believe this, have a bridge you may be interested in. Ming-Chi Kuo - who is referred to as a "Renowned analyst and Apple expert" - (also see below) is predicting that APPLE could cancel the iPhone X (Sean Keach, News Com).
As a note, while Wall Street and these other commentators are looking to old metrics, like growth and sales, it was reported this week that globally, in the last quarter of last year, Apple increased its profits in the smartphone market to 86%, but more significant - particularly in the light of the hand-wringing that has been going on - Counterpoint Research reports that "the iPhone X itself generated five times the profit than the combined profits of over 600 Android manufacturers" (Mike Wuerthele, Apple Insider), taking 35% and it was only on sale a few weeks
One of the annoyances about Apple products here is the lack of advertised features. Apple makes the comment that these may not be available in all regions and that invariably means users in Thailand are out of luck, while down the road there are lots of happy Singporeans. An example is the AppleTV, which has Siri control in the USA and certain other core countries, but not here. Likewise, Siri and Spotlight search are limited on the Mac, while News, which I have found a valuable resource on the iPad (I have it set up to view this), is only officially available in a few countries. [Image courtesy of Apple.]
But then everyone expects Apple to come out with products whose sales go through the roof. Some don't (Airport Express?) but still add to the experience of users Like the consumer software that Apple spends millions producing, but distributes for nothing, they are part of the customer experience.
As has happened with these rumours before, one source has parsed supply-chain data and come to the conclusion that the sky is falling again. This time, the source for Gurman's horror story is Slice who have come up with dubious predictions in the past. Others we have been wary of are Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, Sinolink Securities and my favorite, Ming-Chi Kuo (see above), whose predictions seem more aimed at dragging the share price down than providing useful intelligence. But Wall Street falls for this every time.
In comments on the HomePod rumours, in what seems to be part of a growing feud between him and Gurman, Daniel Eran Dilger (AppleInsider) tears apart the rumour, ending "Bloomberg has consistently been wrong in its portrayal of the future of the tech industry, from its cheerleading of Chromebooks that the enterprise soundly rejected, to bashing Apple Watch sales to its current assault on HomePod"
A couple of these points concern good quotes that Jobs used, like the famous Wayne Gretzky comment about Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been, which has been used over and over to explain getting ahead. The other one I particular liked - I wrote both down in my notebook - was from Alan Kay whom Steve Jobs revered: "People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." This week, Kay writes in Quora. about that quote and about what he and Jobs discussed after the iPhone presentation. Take the time to read this and consider Kay's importance in history: without some of his early work, the path to where we are now would have been difficult. Perhaps the most interesting revelation is Kay's final sentence. . . .
When talking to my students I also mention the reactions when Steve Jobs outlined each of the Three Products (which we soon found was just one): the iPod with touch controls had a good reception; the Phone, of course had the audience ecstatic - me too; but it ever ceases to amaze me how muted the audience was when he announced the third - a breakthrough internet communication device. It is this third product that has made the iPhone (and its arriviste competitors) such a world changer.
Just to warm things up, I show the old videos of Steve Ballmer: Monkey-boy Dance and Developers, developers. I use these as examples of what not do do, but I make the point that Ballmer was trying to excite the crowd. I also use extracts from a couple of Apple videos, most notably the 2007 iPhone introduction, partly because I was there. I am able to guide students as to what was happening, particularly with regard to audience responses; and on the preparation needed.
This is also visible with any of the presentations made by Craig Federighi, who is so relaxed on stage and so well-prepared, that he is able to drift off making jokes about his hair, or responding to comments from the audience. Always, however, he comes right back to the points he needs to demonstrate and these video clips are good examples of the other requirement: knowledge, not memory. Our students do not always have the confidence to understand the difference. As I try to tell them, when I am teaching, presenting or lecturing, I make the words up as I go along. I already know what I need to get over, but the words are icing, and this gives me the freedom for asides.
Another Apple video is the 2010 introduction of the iPad, which is remarkable in that, after building up to the solution that has been created, the word iPad drops down onto the screen at exactly 9 minutes. I tell my students that this is only possible with careful rehearsal and that all such presentations (and those by 3rd party developers) are times exactly to the minute.
I will be writing about this separately, but this new iPad was really easy to set up, using the same Apple Watch-like moving code in the iPhone camera to link the two devices and transfer settings. I did have to enter the App Store password and that also needed a confirmation code from an SMS message. That takes a second or two and does make the process more secure.
iPad - Image courtesy of Apple
The new device also allows me to trim down the app collection. As I go through there are some that I am unlikely to use, but others are still must-haves. One of the early checks I wanted to make concerned RAW photography. By chance I opened DarkRoom first and saw a list of images, some of which were marked RAW, as I usually see on the iPhone. I then checked a couple of the RAW photo apps - Halide, Pure Shot - but was informed that the device did not have the capability to take RAW photographs. I had asked that question online a couple of weeks back, but now I know.
Both the iPad and the Apple Pencil feel different. The iPad is slightly thicker than the iPad Air 2. I was using that early Tuesday morning, and the difference was notable as soon as I held the new device. The Apple Pencil differences are slightly more subtle, although I had not used one of these for about 4 months. This is mainly apparent when removing the cap and inserting it into the iPad as the Lightning connector feels slightly more stiff. Maybe that is a first impression and it will change over time.
One annoyance was that the store I bought it from had none of the new XQD cards:a fast replacement for the old CF cards. In Siam Paragon only one of the new camera shops had these and this was a 64GB card for just under 7,000 baht. The 32GB SD card I am using will do for now. A friend had a look in Central Westgate but only found the 64GB and an even more expensive 128GB card. A professional might need these, especially using the camera's movie functions, but even with the large size RAW photos I am taking, SD is OK for now. The friend is going to ask with business colleagues in the photo business.
I may have to change that as one of the first videos I looked at from my second year Mechanical Engineering students, featured some quite good drone footage. It was only one group, but this was so well done, and so well-integrated, that they will certainly have high marks for this work.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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