Tag Archives: Tim Cook

Tuesday Talk ~ Where to for the Mac? Still …


This discussion is still unresolved. As Daniel Iran Dilger points out on Apple Insider, Apple’s mix of products, and therefore revenues, has changed a lot over the last two decades. In 1997, it was a mix of Macs that Apple sold; nowadays Macs form less than a fifth of Apple’s products with iPhone responsible for well over a half.
It’s easy to think Apple doesn’t care too much about the Mac, and yet it’s the Mac that made Apple what it is, and it’s the Mac users who form Apple’s most loyal, and longest standing, customer base. But some of Apple’s Mac hardware hasn’t been updated for years. It’s easy to see why, going by the sales mix, but this has created uncertainty about whether Apple still values some of its smaller niche businesses. As Dilger points out, these were once considered strategically important to Apple and included audio, video, graphics and publishing professionals.
On Apple’s current Compare Mac Models page, which lists a dozen Mac products, seven are notebooks, three are iMacs and two haven’t been materially updated in years: Mac mini and Mac Pro. It’s clear the Mac Pro was designed for professional users, and really made waves when it appeared in 2013 but that’s a very long time ago in computing terms, but the little mini has done sterling duty in many pro environments as a file server. Sure, the MacBook Pro had a refresh last year, and this was significant, although not significant enough for some, but even that seemed tardy.

Meanwhile we have the uncertainty about the little Air line, which now seems like an iPad with a keyboard and ports, and the confusing MacBook, an overpriced machine (over NZ$2000!) with limited options aimed at … who, exactly? And why?
John Martellero reckons Apple has it’s eye on the ball, but it’s not the same ball everyone else has their eye on. This is Jobsian, anyway.

Where does all this leave pro users? Tim Cook has made vague promises that Apple is not forgetting its pro users but … it’s been forgetting them for a while, starting with the thoroughly mishandled launch of Final Cut Pro X that turned so many pro users against Apple. And that situation still exists, despite major efforts to redress those issues with what is now superb video editing software.
The proof is in the pudding. And we want that pudding this year, please. Because ordinary Mac users are starting to be affected by all this, too.

Tuesday Talk ~ On September 7th, what’s the story, Apple?


Stories

Tuesday Talk is a series of occasional pieces of commentary I write on quiet (Apple news-wise) New Zealand Tuesdays.

Widely tipped as the day Apple would reveal a new iPhone, the 7th September has been confirmed as an Apple Event to launch something with the tagline ‘See you on the 7th’. Which pretty much tips that it will, indeed, be called iPhone 7, anyway.

Inevitably, in these quiet weeks and days leading to Apple announcements, all the Apple commentators try to imagine what the future will bring us from Apple, and they stray to deeper, more searching questions about the whole ethos of Apple Inc and where it’s going.

Tim Cook has now been Apple CEO of five years, and the whole culture of Apple changed around him. Apple under Jobs was virtually impenetrable. Questions from journalists used to be ignored completely, or if you were lucky, you got a short corporate-speak reply that told you nothing at all, except you were chuffed someone had bothered to respond at all. Now things are more open, people are more friendly and – appear, at least – less guarded.

Steve Jobs always said Apple was about stories, not things. People didn’t buy products, they bought stories. It’s an interesting concept, and one I have come to believe in more. Humans are deeply influenced by the stories they believe in – religious, cultural, historic stories, stories of struggle, stories told by politicians. It’s stories that motivate people. Jobs was definitely on to something, and his ethos is one of the reasons Apple never used the specs of devices as the primary marketing tool. (See Apple’s education stories, for example.)

We don’t know what Apple will release on the 7th. Apple has been known to plan 25 years ahead. What we do know is what Apple spends its research money on, and a lot can be told from the sorts of companies Apple acquires: for example, Apple recently bought Turi, a machine intelligence company. Virtual and augmented reality are also well in Apple’s sights.

However, other stories threaten Apple’s these days too. The wilder environment and more open world of Android, for instance. It’s nowhere near as safe as iOS, but it’s more attractive to developers. Microsoft is taking the battle to Apple’s tablets and smaller laptops with one device: Surface Pro.

Apple needs to tell a good story on the 7th.
A clear and decisive one which includes hope.

Obduction succeeds Myst, 5 years for Cook as CEO


The spiritual successor to Myst has arrive
The spiritual successor to Myst is now available.

Obduction, Myst’s spiritual successor, is now available — Years in the making, today Cyan released Obduction which, as they term it, is the ‘spiritual successor’ to their once immensely popular game Myst. Like its predecessor, Oduction is built to take you on an immersive and non-linear story through worlds of wonder and mystery. You can get it from here, for US$29.99 (also via Steam).

Tim Cook’s crucial role at Apple extends well beyond his 5 years as CEO — Though Wednesday marked the five-year anniversary of Tim Cook officially taking reins at Apple, he actually oversaw the company’s day-to-day operations well before he was named CEO, and during some of its most difficult days.

JJ Lin and Tim Cook jam on iPads, Game of Thrones in Garageband, Adobe Spark storytelling, iAd deprecation


LinCook

Apple CEO Tim Cook Jams on GarageBand with Asian Superstar JJ Lin — Singapore-born and based in Taiwan, JJ Lin is an enormously popular performer and producer in that part of the world. He posted a video to his YouTube channel of him and his pal Apple CEO Tim Cook jamming in GarageBand with the new Chinese-music loops and instruments. Cook serves as DJ in the piece, tapping loops to create the background music while JJ Lin plays the lead melody on one of those new instruments. It’s fun, and a message aimed squarely at the Chinese market. Also, JJ Lin posted it, not Apple and not Tim Cook. Seems Apple really is learning more about how to operate in that market.

Game of Thrones theme song recreated in GarageBand on iPad — Check out this great video iPhonedo posted to YouTube where he (re)creates the theme song for TV smash hit Game of Thrones. He uses the new Chinese instruments Apple added to GarageBand to do it, and part of the video includes instructions for enabling the new instruments on non-Chinese language devices. Those instruments aren’t authentic to the actual theme song, but they sound great and it’s a solid demonstration of just how much you can do on GarageBand on iPad.

Adobe debuts iOS compatible Spark visual storytelling solution — Adobe has served up Adobe Spark, an integrated web and mobile solution for creating and sharing visual stories. The free service – part of Creative Cloud – lets you create visual content that engages audiences across multiple channels and looks great on any device, says Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe. This is essentially a rebranding of existing products.

Apple reminds developers of impending iAd App Network shutdown, APIs to be deprecated — Apple in an email blast on Wednesday reminded developers of the impending iAd App Network shutdown that will bring an end to monetisation revenues and app promotion on June 30, as scheduled.

Cook on the Smart Case hump, Tumblr Live Photos, Don’t Starve, StormBorn, medical apps


iphone6s_smart_caseTim Cook Says the ‘Hump’ Makes Apple’s Smart Case Easier to Put on — Apple CEO Tim Cook said there’s a good reason the company’s new iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case has a hump on the back.
Cook said the design with a battery that doesn’t go edge-to-edge makes it easier to put the case on (and take it off) your iPhone.

Tumblr for iOS gets Live Photos & 3D Touch — Tumblr has released a major update of its iOS app, including support for the advanced features of the iPhone 6s.

Dark survival game Don’t Starve is a hit on iOS, thanks to its new-ish Pocket Edition — This whimsical PC game delights on the small screen thanks to its Tim Burton-esque artwork and challenging gameplay. It costs NZ$6.49.

StormBorn brings combat, deck-building, and MMO strategy to life — StormBorn (free with in-app purchases) from JuiceBox Games combines combat, deck-building and freemium MMO strategy into a nice-looking and playable game. It’s a rather odd mix of fast fights offset by the long wait for buildings to produce resources. Some will love it while others will lose patience quickly. Here’s our look at StormBorn.

iOS has 55 % of the medical app market in terms of dollars — Apple’s iOS platform is the highest performing among its competitors with about 55% of the medical app market in terms of dollars for 2015, according to Kalorama Information.

Apple’s 1984 ad 31 years ago, pay, Flash, photos, speed your Mac


The ad played during Superbowl then aired nationally.
The ad played during Superbowl then aired nationally.

Apple’s 1984 ad was 31 years ago — 31 years ago today, Apple’s legendary “1984” commercial was broadcast nationally during Super Bowl XVIII. The advertisement, which you can see here, was directed by Ridley Scott, and is to this day still considered one of the top commercials of all time. Over the years, the commercial won innumerable awards, including a 2003 Hall of Fame award from the World Federation of Advertisers. [I wrote about this on iStart.]

Apple doubles Tim Cook’s compensation after successful year — Apple is clearly happy with CEO Tim Cook’s performance, as his compensation keeps going up and up and up. In 2014, his pay package was valued at $9.22 million, more than double what the company offered him in 2013. [Phew, with all the dramatic inequality around, we’d hate him to be struggling, right?]

Adobe acknowledges critical remote vulnerability in Flash, and exploits are already in the wild — Adobe on Saturday released an updated version of its Flash player software that patches an undisclosed vulnerability which could allow remote attackers to take control of Macs or PCs, urging users to update as the problem is being actively exploited by malicious actors.

Photos — MacPhun is the easy way to improve them, how to cull your iPhoto library of duplicates and bad photos and how to safely move your Mac’s iPhoto library onto an external drive.

Seven basic tips for a speedier Mac — Nancy Gravley at MacObserver tells you how.

Podcasters and Audio Hijack — MacObservers tells you how again.

Cook drops in, Net Neutrality, iBooks


Tim Cook a pair of photos posted to Twitter from the impromptu meet-up at a Washington Apple Store.
Tim Cook posted two photos to Twitter from his impromptu meet-up at a Washington Apple Store.

Tim Cook makes surprise visit to DC Apple Store in support of World AIDS Day — Apple CEO Tim Cook and (RED) chief Deborah Dugan visited a Washington DC Apple Store in Georgetown on Monday to show support for World AIDS Day, a global event created to foster awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Net neutrality: five myths, and the real facts — Regardless of where you stand on the net neutrality debate, one thing doesn’t help: misleading or confusing statements. Unfortunately there are plenty of them.
Net neutrality is an Internet ideal that will become possible If the Federal Communications Commission decides to reclassify Internet service providers from information services to telecommunications services. If the FCC reclassifies ISPs, it will be able to regulate them—and that could affect a push by ISPs to provide faster Internet service to Web companies willing to pay for the privilege.

Apple’s Eddy Cue speaks out on iBooks price fixing ruling: ‘It’s just not right’ — Days before an appeals court will revisit Apple’s iBooks price fixing case, the head of the company’s digital content business has spoken out on why Apple continues to fight the government’s antitrust allegations, calling it a ‘fight for the truth.’

Apple Watch 489 ~ Through a lens darkly


Tim Cook, the Apple Watch and the issue over sapphire glass (image from ABC news).
Tim Cook, the Apple Watch and the issue over sapphire glass (image from ABC News).

The actual Apple Watch, which has been announced, shown off and will be available next year, will no doubt just be a fancy, show-off watch to some people, but with HealthKit it can be a lot more. The real promise of the Apple Watch is in health monitoring apps.

Other things it’s supposed to be able to do is act as a remote for your iPhone and Apple TV. Actually, it won’t even work without an iPhone, so some people will have to buy both at once if they want the most fashionable tech time piece (once available) so far.

And ‘fashionable’ appears to be exactly what Apple is aiming for. Long before the actual object’s arrival, Apple has displayed prototypes at the Paris Fashion Week and the wrist device will appear on the cover of the November issue of Vogue China.

Apple approached Vogue China’s editor-in-chief with the (usual) Apple angle of the clever combination of technology, style and functionality.

It looks like Apple is trying hard to market its Apple Watch outside of the normal male 20-somethings that make up the majority of those launch-day queues, as Gizmodo points out. This means new markets.

Meanwhile, Apple devices have become so secure the FBI is complaining. Seems fantastical, right? It turns out it’s not impossible for police to look at the data on iDevices, it’s just more difficult.

The fantastically named Ronald T Hosko, former Assistant Director of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division, published an opinion piece in The Washington Post that proclaimed law enforcement anger at the changes. Gizmodo has an opinion piece going into personal security and personal privacy.

Meanwhile, Apple has been dealing with all the usual rubbish that gets written about them whenever the Californian giant releases anything. Bendgate was ridiculous: Apple sold 10 million phones in four days and 9 of the bigger ones got bent. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who puts c$1000 phone in their back pocket and then sits on it deserves trouble, or at least a bargain-basement head-examination. For goodness sake, if you go for the bigger iPhone 6, put a good case on it (Apple’s cases are available now and many third party ones are appearing) and don’t put it in your back pocket – or a bench vice!

Meanwhile, you may have heard that Apple’s Sapphire supplier (it’s the material for the high-tech, super-tough lens in the two iPhone Sixes) has filed for bankruptcy. How could they, with an Apple supply contract?

GT Advanced Technologies’ bankruptcy filing continues to take strange turns. A day after signalling its intention to wind down operations and presumably sell whatever assets remain, a report from MacRumors relayed that GTAT filed court documents seeking to free itself from the executed contracts it signed with Apple, calling the terms of the deal “oppressive and burdensome.” GTAT plans to be fully wound down by December. You have to wonder why Apple doesn’t just buy it and run it properly if it wants Sapphire.

The somewhat unforeseen and unseemly demise of this supplier has turned up some interesting facts. GT Advanced revealed it could have had to pay a US$50 million fine if it leaked information about Apple products. This showed up in court documents, according to the Financial Times’ Tim Bradshaw.

You might recall that current Apple CEO Tim Cook was the supply chain expert who made everything work like clockwork – a big part of the rise of Apple over the last decade. Apple has been criticised for its incredibly stringent supply chain conditions before, but this time it’s in the US, so I expect this issue will get a bit more exercise in the press.

At the same time, a report has emerged about the crazy work culture at Apple. Former Apple managers Don Melton and Nitin Ganatra got together and discussed, amongst a slew of other fascinating topics, the hectic and always-on work schedule that comes with being a manager at Apple in a Debug podcast. During the podcast, Melton says “there is no way you can cruise through a job at Apple. That just does not happen for anybody I’ve ever seen.” Melton adds “… these people are nuts”.

You can read more, along with a link to the podcast, at TUAW.

Green Cook, next-gen USB, Mac anti-malware 2015, and Conan parodies the U2 giveaway controversy


Fast and reversible, with video – the USB we've always wanted
Fast and reversible, with video – the USB we’ve always wanted

Apple CEO Tim Cook shares ‘optimistic’ views on reversing climate change & selling green products to consumers — Taking part in the Climate Week NYC kickoff on Monday, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook expressed a self-described “optimistic” outlook on his company’s ability to affect climate change, saying that he believes that consumers, when given the choice, will do the right thing and buy green products.
[I feel like this Mac News section could almost be called Cook News these days!]

Next-gen USB 3.1 Type-C connector will support DisplayPort, 5K video output — The new USB 3.0 reversible Type-C connector (above) will also support DisplayPort Alternate Mode with screen resolutions of “4K and beyond,” the standards setting group behind the technology announced on Monday. [Finally, a totally sensible connector!]

McAfee announces 2015 editions of its antivirus and security suites — If you’re still paying for your desktop security suite, you’ll be happy to hear that McAfee on Monday released the newest editions of its security suites. The new lineup includes McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2015, McAfee Internet Security 2015, McAfee Total Protection 2015, and McAfee Live Safe 2015 for Mac and Windows. [Phishing is the biggest threat to Macs.]

Conan’s “documentary” about Apple’s U2 removal program is incredible — The public reaction to Apple’s giveaway of U2’s latest album was decidedly mixed. Some people were excited to find the new album in their iTunes account, while a large contingent of users either didn’t want to hear it or found the way the giveaway was handled an invasion of privacy.
From the Great U2 Controversy of 2014 comes a short ‘documentary’ of sorts from the parody factory at TBS’ Conan. Apple’s U2-Removal Service goes the extra step in making sure you forget every aspect of hearing the new U2 album, even if it means rewriting your brain. Enjoy. (And here’s Bono’s comeback, if you’re interested.)

Cook to open conference, Apple releases iCloud Drive for Windows PCs


Apple CEO Tim Cook turned up in person to open the Palo Alto Apple Store for iPhone 6 sales.
Apple CEO Tim Cook turned up in person to open the Palo Alto Apple Store for iPhone 6 sales.

Tim Cook to launch WSJDLive Conference — The Wall Street Journal announced Friday that Apple CEO Cook would headline its inaugural WSJDLive conference, the apparent successor to D, the conference that was headed by tech journalist luminaries Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Cook will be interviewed at the event, which takes place from October 27-29 at the Montage in Laguna Beach, CA.
Cook opened the doors of the Palo Alto Apple Store to kick off iPhone 6 sales last week (pictured, above).

Apple releases iCloud Drive for Windows PCs — Mac users are better off waiting for OS X Yosemite to drop before upgrading to iCloud Drive, but iOS 8-toting Windows users are cleared for takeoff. Apple recently released an upgraded version of iCloud for Windows loaded with iCloud Drive.