Don’t Be An Apple Asshole. I’m Looking At You Apple Watch Guy.

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Here’s the thing. I know and more importantly, you know that Apple Watch is a pricey showpiece.

That’s it. A high-margin, high-priced showpiece whose sole reason to possess is to show it off.

Hey. Don’t hate the messenger. Don’t pretend that Watch’s sensors and bluetooth and computer-on-a-chip actually have a functional purpose. They don’t. We all know this. You’re going to use your iPhone for Apple Pay, your iPhone for texts, your iPhone for music, your iPhone for reminders, your iPhone to track your steps. Not Apple Watch. Not really.

In the future, years from now, it’s absolutely possible that Apple Watch, or whatever it morphs into, will impact your life beyond showing off.

But not now.

Which brings me to my main point: don’t be an asshole.

You bought an Apple Watch. You want everyone to know you have an Apple Watch. You want even strangers, people you don’t even know, to see you have an Apple Watch. You hope they even comment on it.

Fair enough. We’re all human, we all crave validation, praise, affirmation — even if it comes to us by a product we purchased. It’s all good.

Just don’t be an asshole.

As I wrote yesterday, almost no one on the planet will be able to afford Apple Watch. If you can, great. Just be mindful that most of the world can’t.

I wrote that because I noticed a rising tendency by the echo chamber to promote the costly specialness of Watch. Gruber, for example, wrote a — wink, wink — “Paging Auric Goldfinger” post on Watch. Tidbits was positively giddy over how much of the world’s gold Apple might buy up.

Knock it off.

As Richard Anderson wrote in a response to my original asshole post:

“Us Apple people need to stop being such jerks about how good the company we give money to is, and how terrible everyone else is. It’s helping nobody.”

Yep.

iPad Not Even The Best iPad

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Despite the aggressive marketing, despite the deal with IBM, the relationships with school districts, and despite Apple’s insistence that iPad is transformational, the type of device that turns your teenage Brian S Hall from the kid who gets bullied into the next Oscar-winning film director, iPad sales continue to, well, shit the bed.

It gets worse.

iPad is probably no longer even the best iPad.

The new Dell Venue 8 7000, so-named because Dell absolutely doesn’t want to sell even one of them, may be a better iPad than the iPad. At $399, it’s almost certainly a better value. From Recode:

At just 0.24-inch thick, Dell says the Venue 8 7000 is the world’s thinnest tablet. And it is impressively skinny.

The 8.4-inch, 2,560 by 1,600 pixel touchscreen is also gorgeous. Text looked crisp, and details and colors popped from the screen when I was looking at photos and video.

Not only does it look slick, but it also makes the tablet narrower than the iPad mini and Galaxy Tab S 8.4.

The Venue 8 7000 comes with an Intel Atom processor, two gigabytes of RAM and 16GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot.

Battery life was also impressive.

How did Apple allow this to happen? iPad is supposed to be one of their pillars.

Answer: a gaping disconnect between what Apple says iPad can do and what iPad actually does.

This is a serious problem.

Apple may tell you that you can do ‘real work’ on your iPad, and may offer you iWork for free, but you know better.

Apple may tell you that you can create the great American movie with iPad, but you know better.

Your iPad, if you’re even bothering to use it all, is a high-priced, high-margin Kindle. Because, and we’re just being honest here, that’s really what it’s best for.

As the Recode reviewer of the new Dell confesses:

I use my iPad mainly at home, as a reading and multimedia device, and for catching up on emails and social networks while watching TV. And the Venue 8 7000 handled all those tasks well.

And so do you.

And so does everyone.

To make a film, to do your work, the iPad is simply a poor tool for the job.

This is not a problem that is going to magically disappear. Worse for Apple Inc, is that they seem unprepared or possibly even incapable of correcting this. Worse still, their latest product, Watch, is even less functional, less useful — and more expensive!

High-priced screens that nobody really needs.

Lucky for Apple that iPhone will keep gushing profits.

The World’s Greatest Technology Company. Reduced To Hawking High-Margin Watch Bands.

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There is a reason, my fellow Apple traveler, that Apple continues to emphasize the steel-leather-gold bands that are so so customizable — personalizable!

Because that’s what they want you to focus on.

Because Apple Watch is of so little consequence, so little function, so little innovation, that the money, the value, is in the watch band.

Fucking tragic.

Tim Cook calling Watch the “most personal” device the company has ever made can’t mask the sad truth: it does so little for you, beyond showing off, that the *only* way Apple can push these things is by getting you to *not* consider the actual watch of Apple Watch.

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Hey. Don’t hate the guy who points this stuff out.

Tim Cook’s Apple

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12 pages of advertising” of the Apple Watch.

In Vogue magazine.

I totally get that Tim Cook is all about the profits.

And I fully understand that profits requires branding, branding demands marketing.

I just wish it was all focused on great technologies that do great things. Apple Watch is not that.

Apple’s appearance in Vogue’s March edition puts it in the company of European fashion houses and high-end luxury brands, which pour into fashion magazines’ March issues to preview their spring collections.

Yep.

And here’s the thing: I don’t even have to tell you this. You know it. You know it, even those of you reading everything you can about Apple Watch, telling all your friends, learning all its specs, its features, reminding yourself that you will not just wear it everywhere, but use it, use it to track your steps and to notify you of a text.

But you know it don’t mean shit. It won’t improve your work, your creativity, nor your life. It’s a showpiece. And you buy it to show it off.

Tim Cook’s Apple.

The Greatest Legacy Of Steve Jobs? Freedom From Pornography.

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The Apple of Tim Cook is not the Apple of Steve Jobs. Tim Cook’s two major hires at the helm of the world’s biggest technology company are Paul Deneve, formerly of Yves Saint Laurent, and Angela Ahrendts, formerly of Burberry. The current CEO is clearly intent upon transforming Apple into “attainable, affordable, casual luxury.”

This strikes me as absolutely the right decision for all holders of $AAPL, but I have serious doubts that it’s going to change the world.

Steve Jobs absolutely wanted to change the world.

Steve Jobs did change the world.

Steve Jobs gave us the tools to change the world.

Jobs built a business — a self-sustaining, profit-making entity — that literally and profoundly changed the world. More than once.

It’s easy to point to Jobs’s many world-changing achievements. I think his greatest achievement may be one almost never discussed: freedom from pornography.

Not the Apple, not the Mac, not iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iOS or the software, standards or accessories, not the stores, not even Apple itself matters most. Rather, a thriving, highly profitable, beloved and nearly billion-user strong ecosystem of hardware, software, content and services that is porn free.

Until Steve Jobs, very late into his illustrious career and too-short life proclaimed iOS a porn-free zone, I never thought such a thing could happen. Maybe no one did. For those of my age, approaching adulthood in the early days of Windows, fully immersed in the web at the dawning of Netscape, careers advancing with the rise of Google, we utterly failed ourselves, our culture, our elders and our children by allowing pornography to thrive. Everywhere.

We failed when we allowed pornography to fund our tech businesses. We failed when we did nothing to stop any child — every child — from stumbling onto all manner of pornography simply by venturing online. We failed when we allowed (virtual) pornography outlets to be constructed all around us, available for free, anytime, anyplace, to anyone, at the click of a mouse or the misspelling of a familiar URL. Even when we had children of our own, we propagated the lie, telling ourselves and one another that it was not harmful, that it was merely a cul-de-sac that our children would be routed around thanks to simple, technical parental controls. We insisted that the growth of pornography everywhere was nonetheless an issue of personal responsibility. We remained silent and unmoving as others sneered at anyone who dared to serve as “moral police” and limit pornography’s insidious growth.

Through our actions and our inactions on pornography, we diminished human relations, damaged the glory of sex, harmed the way our children see themselves and one another, damaged our culture, and convinced ourselves there was simply nothing we could do or should do about it.

Steve Jobs was better.

It’s probably hard for today’s youth to understand: before the iPhone (and iOS) took the world by storm, and at a time when most were convinced that, as with Mac vs PC, Apple’s iPhone would be marginalized by the smartphone wars, it was almost unthinkable to believe any computing device, any technology company, any digital ecosystem would even dare ban porn.

Jobs did. The haters and the small thinkers immediately brought out their knives, furious at what they believed was their right to have pornography instantly, freely accessible to all, always, everywhere, even inside Apple’s own stores. Steve Jobs held firm.

You know, there’s a porn store for Android. You can download porn, your kids can download porn. That’s a place we don’t want to go — so we’re not going to go there.

In early 2010 — and Jobs’s anti-porn strategy was absolutely not proven at this point — Gawker got into a very public spat with Jobs, arguing that not guaranteeing unfettered access to porn inside Apple’s ecosystem was anti-freedom. The rather shocking small-mindedness of the Gawker argument is eye-opening nonetheless for how it ‘War is Peace-like’ insists that “freedom” can come only once Apple does exactly what they want.

The email exchange continues with the author of the Gawker piece, Ryan Tate, growing increasingly angry at Jobs for having the audacity to not cave in to his tiny, prurient demands. Tate later informs his readers: “There’s something absurdly Orwellian about Jobs’ line that the iPad provides “freedom from porn.” It’s a statement I suspect will haunt him.”

Has anyone ever been so completely wrong about any issue involving any aspect of Apple? I don’t think so.

It’s rather amazing to now recall that this incident was painted by so many across the media as proof that Steve Jobs was dictatorial, anti-freedom, anti- revolutionary, anti-inclusive. They were 100% wrong. Jobs, as always, was the true revolutionary. He offered us a path, forced no one upon it, merely pointed the way, and he gave us freedom from porn. Jobs helped correct one of the great failings of the Internet revolution and of my generation.

Pornography is not gone. But, with iPhone and iOS, I am now fully connected to the world, to its people and things, to all the global web has to offer, porn free.

Delivering the commencement speech to Stanford in 2004, and knowing he had pancreatic cancer, Jobs as he did so often, clearly revealed the way forward:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

The foul, corrosive effects of pornography were not allowed to dirty Apple or its products — and this liberated its users. Time now to focus on what is truly important.

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

Here’s to the crazy ones.

Note: I originally published this on Medium on December 11, 2013.

Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That!

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Per the gossipy-named Apple Insider (emphasis added):

Apple’s Jony Ive and Tesla’s Elon Musk ‘inseparable’ in conversation at Oscars afterparty

One of the top designers in the world and the leader in electric car technology were spotted engrossed in private conversation this past Sunday at an exclusive Academy Awards afterparty

A source tells AppleInsider that both Jony Ive, Apple’s famed designer, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk were among the attendees at Madonna’s A-list Oscar afterparty on Sunday — an extremely exclusive event where all press and photography are strictly prohibited. Ive and Musk were observed speaking “really close” and “basically inseparable” from each other for a period that seemed to stretch on for roughly 30 minutes, this person said.

Madonna’s Oscar party in Coldwater Canyon is commonly known in Hollywood circles as the afterparty of the popular Vanity Fair Oscar party, where both Ive and Musk were confirmed in attendance.

This year’s event was sponsored by Gucci, which provided attendees with an exclusive Gucci passport wallet as a party favor on their way out.

These people are so not like you.

Dear Future Apple Watch Wearers: A Brief Reminder To Not Be An Asshole

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I get it. Apple makes a lot of great products.

It’s a big world out there, a world of near-infinite options. How do you choose?

You chose Apple. And you can reel off the many (perfectly valid) reasons for choosing Apple.

And by choosing Apple, by spending more money than everyone else, you seek validation.

This is normal for all people after they make any significant purchase.

Thus, you read the many Apple cheerleader blogs. You even — and I don’t understand this at all — listen to the Apple cheerleader podcasts.

Apple is special, they tell you. Apple has always been special. Apple will always be special. Apple cares about special things, things that are not “common” and not based on “market share” and not a “race to the bottom.”

Read: those people. The world’s 90%.

Apple is special and you buy Apple and you use Apple and you read about Apple. Therefore, you are special.

This $800 iPhone, this $1,500 Mac, this $600 iPad, this $7,000 Apple Watch, this $80,000 Apple Car — these are proof! Proof of your specialness.

That’s okay, really. You are Team Apple. You have sided with the world’s richest corporation. Sure seems smarter than siding with the world’s poorest corporation!

But, here’s the thing: don’t let your choice, your team preference make you an asshole.

As Tim Cook’s Apple has gone even more upscale, emphasizing high-fashion and literally gold adornments, eagerly adopting the Vertu business model and taking it global, I have noted a rising tendency by the cheerleader blogs to sneer and mock those who don’t choose Apple.

Thing is, Apple may not necessarily be the right choice for everyone.

Oh, AND ALMOST EVERYONE ON THE PLANET CANNOT AFFORD APPLE!

You can. That’s awesome. Perhaps it’s a legit reflection of your specialness. I sure believe I made the right choice in buying an Apple MacBook. That said, we are presently in a world where so very much of the economic gains are flowing upwards, not down, not out. So when you show off  your brand new gold-encased Apple Watch, embrace your enthusiasm but stay mindful that even if the other person totally sees the value and benefit of the latest Apple product, they simply may be unable to (ever) afford it.

Pull back any judgments you have on those who don’t have the same as you.

iTunes Users Have No Taste

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What is this shit?

All this time I thought Tim Cook deserved the universal mocking he received for force-feeding a awful U2 album onto everyone’s iTunes.

But no. It’s you.

The list of the most listened to artists last month reveals that iPhone users — on the hole — know dick-all about good music.

Jury Orders Apple To Pay

Apple was found guilty of infringing on several patents held by some entity known as Smartflash:

Court documents allege that around the time of Smartflash’s founding, Racz met with executives from what is now Gemalto SA to market technology relating to the patents-in-suit. Among those who gained knowledge of the patented tech was Augustin Farrugia, who left Gemalto in 2002 and subsequently took a position as Apple’s senior director of Internet service security and DRM technologies.

Okay, so you read that right there and instantly think, yeah, guilty. Fair enough. The real question comes in determining damages:

Smartflash sought $852 million in damages from Apple, a portion of which was calculated as a percentage of iPhone, iPad and Mac device sales. Apple lawyer Eric Albritton argued against awarding hardware royalties for a single device feature.

Apple argued that the patents were worth $4.5 million at most, saying the royalty demands were “excessive and unsupportable.”

End result? Apple has to cough up $533 million.

Huge, huge loss.

Unless you’re Apple. Unless you’re pretty much any giant tech company.

The blogosphere loves to point out when Apple, er, flatters someone else’s intellectual property, or when Samsung “copies.” Thing is, it strikes me as always being worth it — at least if you’re the size of these giants.

Apple had a *net profit* of $18 billion — Billion! — last quarter. LAST QUARTER!

This huge patent loss cost the company about 2 days worth of profit. Why the fuck not infringe, copy, outright steal? I’m being serious. The money Apple has to build, buy or otherwise take is nearly unfathomable.

Angry Asians Abhor Apple Action

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Quartz writes that “some” “Asians” “in China” may be upset at Apple for it’s possibly “racist” new “yellow” emoji.

Some bloggers praised the new selection, especially since previous Apple emoji depicting humans had only come in a single shade: white. But more users found the yellow toned emoji mildly offensive (there is a long racist history of using “yellow” to describe Asians) or just inaccurate.

Am I expected to have a thought on this?

Honestly, someone(s) will always be offended by anything. On the Internet.

I assume Apple vetted this and that it is *not* racist at all. But I really don’t know. Quartz has quickly morphed into pageview journalism so I don’t know if this is just the normal WRITE MORE ABOUT APPLE ANYTHING ABOUT APPLE CLICKBAIT or if it’s that plus something that’s meaningful.

UPDATE: Per Anil Dash, there are all sorts of rules for the implementation of skin tone (and other human features) for emoji. I find this amazing.

Child-proofing the bloggers

Oof.

We bloggers are supposed to not say bad about one another, but sometimes dumb has to be called out.

Google has released Youtube for Kids. This is great news for parents with younger children:

Videos in the YouTube Kids app are narrowed down to content appropriate for kids. You can browse channels and playlists in four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. Or search for videos of particular interest to your family, like how to build a model volcano, math tutorials, the amazing (and endless) world of trains—and everything in between.

Within moments of the release, of course, we have the self-appointed knows-it-all tut-tutting that we must not shield our children from “The Internet.”

But maybe there’s a harm in whitewashing the Internet, in putting limits and safety nets all over it.

Fuck but the dumb.

Empowering parents with content designed for children has suddenly become “whitewashing the Internet.”

Does this kind of stupid lying bullshit piss off others as much as it does me?

But wait. There’s more!

By boxing kids in to an app or service that provides only content the application decides to distribute means kids aren’t exploring and growing on their own. Despite the dangers, there is something special about discovering a new video or website on your own, and sharing it with peers.

In addition to the hyper-controlled resources that stifle imagination, Lender says that creating a space exclusively for kids can make adults rely on an iPad or laptop as a crutch for playtime. Like plopping a kid down in front of the television and walking away.

Wow. You suck. You’re awful. Just an awful human being and bad parent. Because you want to provide your child with appropriate content and obviously that’s “hyper controlling” and “stifling imagination.”

Stupid and offensive blogger bullshit.

How much you wanna bet me the blogger is childless?