Tag Archives: diversity

Tuesday Talk ~ When enemies are good, and Apple succession

When Apple was an underdog fighting the Wintel hegemony, Steve Jobs believed it was good to have an enemy. In Apple’s early days, Steve Jobs had IBM as the enemy, which seems odd now that the companies collaborate so much. Having an enemy keeps employees and fans alike focused on the company and the platform, which can be a dream scenario. Steve Jobs was expert at stoking those fires, and then reversing course and embracing the enemy as a long lost – and necessary – friend. There’s no tech company Apple is particularly disenchanted with now, so no obvious enemy – Apple has been working with Microsoft, for example, for years, and even when the incendiary Balmer was it’s CEO it never got really bad. Now collaboration is even better thanks to CEO Satya Narayana Nadella.

An obvious foe, you’d think, would be US President Donald Trump. He’s anti-gay, anti-foreigner, retrogressive, aggressive, big-mouthed and, most likely, mentally unbalanced (or at least mentally inadequate), yet even Apple isn’t game to take him on. Although honestly, I suspect Jobs may have been obstreperous enough. (Jobs’ father was a Syrian refugee, but Steve was born in the US and adopted out). Yet Tim Cook has worked with Trump’s advisory teams on occasion, despite abhorring Trump’s anti-gay stance and his anti immigrant bias and, I’m sure, quite a lot more. Apple has also pledged to guard its users privacy while Trump calls for tools to decrypt everything, or at least encrypt data less (all of which may complicate Apple’s push into Artificial Intelligence, which you have to admit looks more attractive in the light of where so-called ‘human intelligence’ appears to be leading us these days).
While Tim Cook has made veiled references to Facebook and Google’s harvesting of data for profit, they’re, you know, veiled: “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it,” he said in a 2015 speech. “We think that’s wrong.” My italics – “They”being mostly Google and Facebook.

I’m not criticising Cook – I think Jobs made a great choice in him. And succession can be such a poison chalice. Just look how badly the New Zealand Labour Party has handled that over the last ten years, and where that’s got us: National is floundering and there’s no one able to capitalise on it.
But who would succeed Cook, who has piloted Apple through stormy waters while continuing to make vast profits, while growing Apple’s services into a money-making behemoth?
Tim Cook was already Chief Operating Officer and essentially running Apple during the illness of Steve Jobs in 2009-11, learning every aspect of the company while being groomed to take the helm. If the only candidates are Phil Schiller and Jeff Williams, they’re gifted and very competent, sure, but also both very ‘white bread’.

I think Apple needs to keep promoting diversity within the company to stay successful in this divisive world  If either of these guys end up in charge, they need a strong, connected and diverse management team under them to keep engaging with world concerns – and world markets.

Diversity, El Capitan’s Integrity Protection, more on Flash, Japanese R&D

Apple's Yokohama R&D centre.
Apple’s Yokohama R&D centre.

Apple says recruitment of women & minorities improving, company will be more transparent — Efforts by Apple to improve recruitment of women and minorities in its workforce are slowly paying off, the company has revealed, as it hopes other corporations will follow its lead in diversity and transparency.

El Capitan’s System Integrity Protection will shift utilities’ functions — iOS is so locked down that disabling protections in order to install your own modifications is called “jailbreaking.” But OS X has remained free and easy — until now: El Capitan adds some security improvements that should make OS X more resistent to exploitation by malware, but it will also mean a change or end to some software utilities on which you may rely. (And if you’re over the El Capitan public beta, here’s how to revert your Mac back to Yosemite.)

You don’t have to be a villain to say Flash must die — Glenn Fleishman notes that Flash’s time has been over for years, but inertia has kept flawed technology alive and exploitable. It’s time to kill it off. Flash is a constantly exploited, superannuated bit of technology that useful in the early days of multimedia in web browsers, and now deserves to die, and here’s how to survive without it.

Apple’s Japanese R&D center to tap into local materials, vehicle and health talent — Alongside an expanding retail presence, Apple is building out research and development operations around the globe, including a facility in Yokohama, Japan that will reportedly focus on materials, vehicle and health segments.

WWDC today: El Capitan, Swift, Metal for Mac, San Francisco, diversity

This years WWDC developer jacket is set in the new Apple San Francisco font which will hopefully be the new OS font.
This years WWDC developer jacket is set in the new Apple San Francisco font which will hopefully be the new OS font.

Apple reveals OS X 10.11 ‘El Capitan’, promising better speed and other upgrades — Apple has brought Yosemite to the mountain: El Capitan, which is the name of OS X 10.11 as well as a peak in Yosemite National Park. Revealed today at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, El Capitan is intended to reach a higher point by fixing irritations and adding big efficiency gains.

Apple introduces Metal for Mac, promises huge leap in graphics performance — At WWDC, Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi announced Metal for Mac, which combines the power of OpenCL and graphics crunching capability of OpenGL into a unified API that reduces draw rendering times by 50%. Metal is a core-level graphics technology that allows developers nearly untethered access to system GPU hardware for highly efficient processing, and kit was first introduced in iOS 8.

Apple to open source Swift later this year with support for iOS, OS X, and Linux — Apple has announced this morning it will make its popular new Swift programming language open source, releasing the language and toolchains for iOS, OS X, and Linux. Swift was announced at last year’s WWDC.

WWDC attendees greeted with jackets featuring Apple Watch San Francisco font, Swift code — Attendees registering for Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference are being given a familiar jacket but this year the text is set in the company’s new internally created San Francisco font, along with a clever reference to Apple’s recently-released Swift language.

More diversity — Apple CEO Tim Cook says the lack of diversity in the tech market is everyone’s fault, and he’s working to change that. Cook hinted that we’ll Diversity during this morning’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote presentation will include more women. [About time!]

New hardware — Not so far …


Yosemite Public Beta 2, other updates, Quicken, WordPress app, diversity, Omnifocus

OS X Yosemite Public Beta 2 hopefully squashes some annoying bugs
OS X Yosemite Public Beta 2 hopefully squashes some annoying bugs

Apple releases OS X Yosemite Public Beta 2, new iTunes 12 beta for testing — Apple has just provided members of its public beta program the second test build of OS X Yosemite, while a new build of iTunes 12 for Yosemite is also available. If you are in the Beta program, just open the Mac App store pa and check Updates.

Apple releases Safari 7.1 and 6.2, OS X Server 3.2 betas to developers — Apple on Wednesday seeded the latest Safari 7.1 and 6.2 beta 3 builds and OS X Server 3.2 to developers, asking testers to focus on AutoFill, Smart Search and extensions, among other new features.

Intuit’s Quicken 2015 for Mac revamps interface, expands investment features — Venerable financial software Quicken is ready to help you with all of your newest accounting needs. Intuit on Thursday announced the release of Quicken 2015 for Mac, the latest update to the long-running app for tracking your personal finances. The new version adds stock trading.

Blogo 2 brings a native WordPress app to OS X — For those who use the popular WordPress content management system for blogging, there are a lot of iOS tools. In the OS X world, however, you’re generally content to use a Markdown tool that also happens to upload content to WordPress blogs. Blogo 2.0 (US$29.99, available at introductory price of NZ$18.99) has been designed from the ground up as a native OS X WordPress app. The app will soon support Tumblr and Blogger as well, according to the developer.

Apple releases a new video celebrating the diversity of its staff — Apple recently released statistics touting the diversity found among its employees which, when compared to other tech companies, shows the company is working hard to mix up the makeup of its workforce. The same day Apple released that info, the company debuted this video celebrating the varied backgrounds of its employees and the importance that different life experiences play in growing the company. [Bit desperate?]

OmniFocus 2 review: Stay on top of your task list with this top task manager — Rare and revered is the person who can mentally track everything that must be accomplished. Everybody else needs tools and techniques for staying atop our tasks. In crowded and diverse field of possibilities, OmniFocus (expensive at US$80) is an appealing option if you’re willing to invest some time learning how it works. There is a 14-day free trial.

Fonts review: Preview your Mac’s fonts with this app’s attractive interface — There’s nothing sexy about font management. Designers often have hundreds of typesets to sort through, and keeping track of them all can be a big pain, especially when a deadline is looming. With an elegant WYSIWYG interface that focuses on organization rather than activation, Fonts opens up your suitcase wide enough to show you everything inside, and just might eliminate the pesky trial-and-error method.

5 Apple Vice Presidents added, diversity, monitor Mac activity, labour, mapping, recipes

Apple Leadership Team gets Vice Presidents added
Apple Leadership Team gets Vice Presidents added

Apple Adds 5 Vice Presidents to Leadership Page — Apple significantly expanded the ranks of executives featured on its leadership page Friday. That page previously featured Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company’s nine senior vice presidents, but now features an additional five vice presidents, all of whom report to CEO Tim Cook. This helps Apple’s diversity profile, which is 70% male and 55% white, but actually the diversity numbers in Apple’s report are, overall, more encouraging than those revealed in reports from other top tier tech companies.
Nick Heer of Pixel Envy put together some interesting charts comparing the diversity stats released by Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, and LinkedIn.

Monitor OS X network, CPU and disk activity in the Dock — For those Mac users who love to push their hardware to its limits, the OS X Activity Monitor (found in Applications > Utilities) can be a handy tool.
This fun tip puts an updating icon into the Dock so you can keep an eye on one parameter while you’re doing work.

Fair Labor Association supplier audit reveals excessive overtime, Apple pledges to continue improvement — As part of its partnership with Apple, the Fair Labor Association has conducted an independent audit of supplier Quanta, and discovered that the company’s factories were responsible for some labour violations, including excessive overtime and hiring fees. The FLA’s findings come with a series of recommendations that have been made to Apple to help improve compliance.

Former Navteq executive Torsten Krenz joins Apple’s mapping team — Apple this month hired Torsten Krenz to join the company’s mapping team. Though not a household name, Krenz brings a considerable and impressive amount of mapping expertise to the table. Previously, Krenz served as an executive at Navteq, a Chicago-based company which provided detailed geographic and mapping data to companies as varied as Garmin, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

Recipes on your Mac — Recipes gives chefs of all skill levels a digital box in which they can save, consult, and find their recipes. The app offers an elegant interface that captures all the essentials elements of a recipe: basic data like name, difficulty level, and cooking time are recorded alongside step-by-step instructions and an ingredient list. A separate grocery list is also available, although, unfortunately, there is no way to populate it with a recipe’s ingredients, or to sync it with the Reminders app. It costs NZ$12.99.



Apple issues 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report

Apple has updated its Environmental Initiatives website and has issued its 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report. The update fulfills a promise from Earth Day in which Apple said that it would more frequently update consumers on its environmental progress and the report highlights significant advances in clean energy usage

Apple has pushed its attention to new levels with the hire of former Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson last year. 9to5Mac has more information.

Diversity at Apple

At this week’s Sun Valley conference in Idaho, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg reporters that Apple will release diversity data on its workforce. Cook did not specify when this data release would come, but it’s the first confirmation from Apple that the company is planning to release such data. A CNN report from March detailed Apple as one of the several technology giants that have objected to releasing the information.

Diversity reports, such as one Facebook released on its workforce a couple of weeks ago, typically detail demographics in terms of ethnicity and gender. Apple has been criticised for having both a mostly male executive team and board of directors, but Cook has added Angela Ahrendts to the executive team and has been seeking new board members in recent months (and there’s Lisa Jackson , as above). Recently Apple appointed Denise Young Smith as the new head of Human Resources.

[Um-hm … what do you see in the picture, above?]

Cue and Cook at Sun Valley

As expected (due their appearances on the guest list) Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue were in attendance at this week’s Sun Valley media conference in Idaho. The WSJ’s Doug MacMillan shared the above photo of Cook walking around the Sun Valley resort. The Information’s Jessica Lessin spotted Cue, and the executive provided a witty response to Lessin’s question about TV deals.

iTunes U 2.0 has iPad-based course creation, student discussions 

Apple has issued a significant update to its iTunes U application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The application focuses on enhancements for both teachers and students, and the application was first announced by Apple last week alongside the new Back to School retail initiatives.

Apple’s official press release appears here.