Posts tagged Apple
“ iTunes is dead. But it’s still the big play. Microsoft became trapped in the Windows legacy and now, it appears, that Apple is becoming trapped into the iTunes legacy.”
“ We don’t do focus groups - that is the job of the designer. It’s unfair to ask people who don’t have a sense of the opportunities of tomorrow from the context of today to design.”
Jonathan Ive was interviewed by the Evening Standard.
On competitors’ failures:
Most of our competitors are interesting in doing something different, or want to appear new - I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us - a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different - they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.
And on innovation and spending time on details:
It’s incredibly time consuming, you can spent months and months and months on a tiny detail - but unless you solve that tiny problem, you can’t solve this other, fundamental product.
You often feel there is no sense these can be solved, but you have faith. This is why these innovations are so hard - there are no points of reference.
Every additional interview with Ive further convinces me him and his team share the motivations of Benedictine Monks, who stole away from society to obsess over meticulously hand-written Bibles.
An Apple commissioned study by the Analysis Group (and their department of boring names) estimates that Apple has created roughly 514,000 jobs in the USA.
Half-a-million might seem large, but when you consider the infrastructure required to deliver $500 billion in value the estimate seems conservative.
If Mountain Lion’s AirPlay allowed me to use my TV as a wireless, non-mirrored display I would be all over this beta.
Sure, it’s surprising that Apple introduced Mountain Lion with private briefings rather than a formal Keynote. Perhaps this is the mark of a post-Steve Apple finding its footing. Or maybe the breadth of Apple’s coverage is growing beyond what a reasonable Keynote schedule will allow.
My guess? I think Apple knows it couldn’t hold a major press event where three of their top ten features are ports of iOS’s clunkiest implementations: action sheets, the notification drawer, and Game Center. And the rest aren’t exactly scene stealers. Can you imagine the news cycle that would follow if this was unveiled on stage?
Mountain Lion is a necessary update, but as news goes it’s for the wonks. Its significance is what it implies down the line, the suggestions it makes about how our mobile and desktop lives will meet.
Though I’m positive they’re holding back their best feature or two. Siri would be amazing and it makes sense that they’d hold it back until a new iPad launches so they can blanket their product line.
But my big prediction for Mountain Lion is this: it will be free.
“ When an Apple employee approached Pixar for a “Mac Tools Programming position,” a Pixar employee reportedly responded: “Only problem - we can’t poach from Apple.”
Court documents from the anti-poaching collusion trial involving Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, Intuit, and others.
I know it isn’t comparable to factory conditions, but this evidence directly conflicts with Tim Cook’s email in response to worker issues, which states: “We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment.”
(Via The Verge)
iBooks has always struggled to find a unique market to help Apple turn it into a unique product. After today’s announcement, I think Apple’s finally found such a market in education.
Education checks all the boxes: it’s a market that feeds Apple’s funnel (students have been very good to Apple in the past, especially between Jobs), is sufficiently valuable (worth billions), and uniquely benefits from digital technology. The last point is especially important, so let’s break it down:
- Textbooks require frequent updates. In most fields print publishing is too slow. My physical anthropology courses had to heavily supplement textbooks as new discoveries refigured evolutionary charts every month. In the computer science field, publishers like O’Reilly have already switched to print-on-demand models to offset these effects. Electronic versions can be updated with relatively little effort, with no additional costs to the student.
- Education is interactive by definition. If you aren’t participating with a textbook in some way, you’re probably not learning. Lectures, quizzes, flashcards, study groups, and walkthroughs both surround and are embedded within textbooks. Novels may slightly slightly benefit from interactivity (a real world map to trace Ulysses, perhaps), but textbooks will benefit hugely as they’ve been demanding interactivity since before the computer. Further, they already rely on different ‘modes’ of engagement (reading, quizzing, reviewing, and indexing) better handled on a screen than on a page.
- Textbooks are expensive and yet their market is cash strapped. To me, the biggest announcements today were that Apple has partnered with 90% of the textbook industry, iBook textbooks start at $14.99 or less, and textbooks can be purchased by chapters. The iTunes equivalent to this would have been launching with every major label and charging $1.60 per album (iTunes did sell albums by tracks, like the chapters of textbooks, but the labels were not happy about it). When the iBooks textbook pricing was announced the auditorium audibly gasped. Do not underestimate the importance of these price points. Textbook purchasing is incredibly bureaucratic, political, and lobbied. Wooing professors is hard and courting the state governments whom purchase high school texts is near impossible. Only at an absurd price point, one which allows governments to significantly cut costs, could Apple succeed. But how did Apple convince a textbook old-school industry (pardon the pun) to hand them the keys to their business???
- Textbooks currently live within confined marketplaces. I think the reason textbook publishers embrace Apple is because iTunes U expands their marketplace beyond pricey college walls. Currently, a coup for textbook publishers is being listed in a 500 person seminar syllabus. iTunes U, with its 700 million downloads, changes the scale. Suddenly, every publisher will be creating content for popular, freely available classes with the hopes that tens of thousands of iTunes subscribers will purchase their wares without having to pay a $30,000 tuition entry fee. Further, such an ecosystem will lessen Apple’s dependence on these publishers: it’s not hard to imagine colleges creating their own textbooks for popular, free online classes to create a new flow of income.
This last point is major. Apple’s educational ecosystem, if successful, could redefine our college system. Free classes will be offered for free in hopes that students will pay $15 for an ebook. Personally, I can’t wait to audit a course from home with materials designed for the experience.
Sidenote: Remember Amazon’s tepid foray into textbooks, the Kindle DX? Heh.