Category Archive 'Apple'
10 Oct 2019

Apple Caves to the Chicoms

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Anybody remember Apple’s defiant “1984” Mac ad?

Erick Erickson finds that advertising poses are cheap and by no means necessarily sincere.

Late last week, Apple removed an app from its App Store that allowed people in Hong Kong to see where the police were or where tear gas lingered. They then added the app back to the store. But now, after vocal criticism from China, Apple has formally caved to their communist overlords and deleted the app from the App Store.

Apple, of course, has bet big on the Chinese market for iPhones and cannot afford to anger China. It has completely capitulated against a totalitarian regime all while its CEO continues to lecture Americans on social justice in this country.

Tim Cook is willing to file legal briefs on behalf of all sorts of causes in the United States and is outspoke on all sorts of social issues here. But in China, he is a stooge for the communists and no voice at all against injustice.

RTWT

25 Sep 2019

Apple: New Really Expensive Stuff

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New Apple Mac Pro and the 6K Pro Display XDR display.

Stephen Green approves of Apple’s new stratospherically-priced Pro computing equipment (even if he can’t afford that $999 stand).

At Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) earlier this week, the company announced its forthcoming modular Mac Pro, and its impressive accessory, the Pro Display XDR reference-class monitor. I watched the big keynote on Monday, and if the crowd winced when the Mac Pro’s starting price of $5,999 was revealed, you couldn’t tell. The auditorium full of developers maybe shifted in their seats a bit when they were told that the Pro Display would cost $4,999, but in the end they understood that a monitor with its specs is a game-changer for pros, because it goes toe-to-toe with the $40,000 (that’s right: forty-thousand dollars) displays Hollywood studios rely on.

But there were unhappy gasps when they heard that the XDR’s optional stand — and it is admittedly an impressive bit of engineering — would retail for $999. Sitting here at home, even I gasped a bit. The whole thing was just so much that it got Engadget’s Devindra Hardawar to opine that a “$999 monitor stand is everything wrong with Apple today.”

Au contraire, a $999 monitor stand is everything right with Apple today. And no, I’m not being facetious, or day-drinking any more than I usually might.

With its industrial-ugly purity of form, its over-engineered ergonomic perfection, (jeez, I’m sounding like a Jony Ive promotional clip) and its indefensible price tag, this stand represents Apple’s re-commitment to the actual professional user community which the company has all-but-ignored in recent years. And it doesn’t just sit there and hold your monitor for you. The pro stand attaches to the XDR monitor without screws, but with the simple click of some magnets. From there, the stand makes the giant screen infinitely adjustable (and rotatable) with the gentle push of one finger, yet won’t budge when you don’t want it too. It’s a real piece of work.

Here’s the thing. The new Mac Pro and XDR monitor aren’t for you. They aren’t for me. They likely aren’t for anyone you know, and maybe not for anyone the people you know, know. They’re for video/audio/design professionals for whom a $50,000 (or more) workstation setup is a just a typical cost of operations. …

The prosumer in me is, in a way, just as disappointed as those folks at the WWDC who’d been hoping to buy tomorrow’s Mac Pro at yesterday’s prices. What we’ll settle for is getting prosumer performance at what used to be consumer prices.

As for that optional $999 stand, those who actually need it won’t ask the price — and can afford not to. Besides, it’s nice to see Apple finally put the Pro back in Mac Pro, even if there will never be another one on my desktop.

RTWT

13 Mar 2018

Spilling the Beans on Working for Big Tech Companies

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Google employees eat lubch in Kendall Square Cafeteria, Cambridge, Massachusetts

A long-time Google manager, at Marginal Revolution, describes life at Google, and critiques other major tech companies.

I joined Google [earlier]…as an Engineering Director. This was, as I understand it, soon after an event where Larry either suggested or tried to fire all of the managers, believing they didn’t do much that was productive. (I’d say it was apocryphal but it did get written up in a Doc that had a bunch of Google lore, so it got enough oversight that it was probably at least somewhat accurate.)

At that time people were hammering on the doors trying to get in and some reasonably large subset, carefully vetted with stringent “smart tests” were being let in. The official mantra was, “hire the smartest people and they’ll figure out the right thing to do.” People were generally allowed to sign up for any project that interested them (there was a database where engineers could literally add your name to a project that interested you) and there was quite a bit of encouragement for people to relocate to remote offices. Someone (not Eric, I think it probably was Sergey) proposed opening offices anyplace there were smart people so that we could vacuum them up. Almost anything would be considered as a new project unless it was considered to be “not ambitious enough.” The food was fabulous. Recruiters, reportedly, told people they could work on “anything they wanted to.” There were microkitchens stocked with fabulous treats every 500′ and the toilets were fancy Japanese…uh…auto cleaning and drying types.

And… infrastructure projects and unglamorous projects went wanting for people to work on them. They had a half day meeting to review file system projects because…it turns out that many, many top computer scientists evidently dream of writing their own file systems. The level of entitlement displayed around things like which treats were provided at the microkitchens was…intense. (Later, there was a tragicomic story of when they changed bus schedules so that people couldn’t exploit the kitchens by getting meals for themselves [and family…seen that with my own eyes!] “to go” and take them home with them on the Google Bus — someone actually complained in a company meeting that the new schedules…meant they couldn’t get their meals to go. And they changed the bus schedule back, even though their intent was to reduce the abuse of the free food.)

Now, most of all that came from two sources not exclusively related to the question at hand:

Google (largely Larry I think) was fearless about trying new things. There was a general notion that we were so smart we could figure out a new, better way to do anything. That was really awesome. I’d say, overall, that it mostly didn’t pan out…but it did once in a while and it may well be that just thinking that way made working there so much fun, that it did make an atmosphere where, overall, great things happened.

Google was awash in money and happy to spray it all over its employees. Also awesome, but not something you can generalize for all businesses. Amazon, of course, took a very different tack. (It’s pretty painful to hear the stories in The Everything Store or similar books about the relatively Spartan conditions Amazon maintained. I was the site lead for the Google [xxxx] office for a while and we hired a fair number of Amazon refugees. They were really happy to be in Google, generally…not necessarily to either of our benefit.)

15 Oct 2017

Apple: Really Bad at Design!

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Joshua Topolsky tears off the band-aid.

The “notch” on the new iPhone X is not just strange, interesting, or even odd — it is bad. It is bad design, and as a result, bad for the user experience. The justification for the notch (the new Face ID tech, which lets you unlock the device just by looking at it) could have easily been accomplished with no visual break in the display. Yet here is this awkward blind spot cradled by two blobs of actual screenspace.

It is, put plainly, a visually disgusting element. One which undermines the core premise of the iPhone X’s design (“all screen”), and offers a feature as an excuse which is really an answer in search of a question. To wit: no one wanted or asked for Face ID, and the feature actually raises new concerns about security for users. From a performance standpoint, there is hardly a differentiating factor between the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus beyond display size and type — the former is a flagship only because Apple wants it to be one.

Plenty has been written about the mind-numbing, face-palming, irritating stupidity of the notch. And yet, I can’t stop thinking about it. I would love to say that this awful design compromise is an anomaly for Apple. But it would be more accurate to describe it as the norm.

RTWT

12 Aug 2017

Steve Jobs vs. Sundar Pichai

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25 Sep 2016

Clueless iPhone Owners Believe Spoof Video

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The Sun breathlessly reports:

A fake YouTube video claiming to show users how to get the much-missed sound input has gone viral – with many unknowing victims following its lead.

Owners have copied the video’s instructions to place the phone in a clamp and take a 3.5mm drill to where the headphone hole used to be.

Needless to say drilling a hole into your iPhone will leave you with a very broken handset – and not the promised addition.

Of course, it was not a “fake YouTunbe video,” it was a spoof YouTube video, and it was published as part of a series of wrecking technology humor videos. But a lot of Apple aficionados are sooo dumb…

milksheep

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Why did Apple kill the headphone jack?

06 Jul 2015

Ask Siri a Silly Question

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17 May 2015

Cheer Up!

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AppleShares

28 Sep 2014

New iPhone!

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Newphone1
Newphone2

Hat tip to Ratak Monodosico.

19 Apr 2014

Loch Ness Monster Visible Late Last Year on Apple Maps

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LochNessMonster1

LochNessMonster2

The Daily Mail reports that, late last year, an ordinary Briton playing with Apples maps decided to check out the satellite images of Loch Ness and found the above catfish-like image.

Andrew Dixon, 26, a charity worker for the Great North Air Ambulance, from Darlington, County Durham, said: ‘It was a total fluke that I found it. I was looking at satellite images of my town and then just thought I’d have a look at Loch Ness.

‘The first thing that came into my head when I saw it was, “That’s the Loch Ness Monster”. It was the shape of it, I thought it had to be something more than a shadow.

Read the whole thing.

More at Computer Magazine.

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I think commenters at Gizmodo have successfully debunked this one.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

30 Apr 2013

One More Good Reason Not To Buy Apple

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Cory Doctorow gleefully passes along some decidedly damaging accounts of sanctimonious corporate malfeasance.

Consumerist’s Laura Northrup rounds up several years’ worth of stories from Apple customers who say they were denied warranty support on their computers because they’d smoked around them. As an annoying ex-smoker, I can sympathize with a tech who doesn’t want to work on a machine that smells like an old ashtray, but that’s what painter’s masks are for — I’ve also serviced machines that reeked of BO and other less savory odors. This just feels like a way to weasel out of doing warranty service and forcing customers to pay for new machines. If the company has a policy of not fixing machines if you smoke near them, it should say so when it sells you the warranty: WARNING: IF YOU LIGHT UP NEAR YOUR LAPTOP, WE WON’T EVER FIX IT, EVEN IF IT IS MATERIALLY DEFECTIVE.

06 Oct 2012

1976 Saul Steinberg New Yorker Cover, Apple Maps Version

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