Notice how the faithful are falling over themselves to tell you which celebrity has an Apple Watch — even as they patiently wait by the phone for Apple to tell them theirs is preparing to ship.
And I called this.
In January, I wrote that Apple had gotten boring and was now attempting to “buy cool.”
I followed that up a month later: Buying cool is now a core strategy of Tim Cook’s Apple.
It’s why he bought Beats, with its high-priced, middling-quality headphones. Because they were cool.
It’s why he’s spending money hiring cool BBC DJ Zane Lowe.
It’s why those iPad ads all focus on cool and hip and today’s music even though you know they’re computers for your parents to read or play solitaire.
Now here’s what I find especially interesting about all this: it’s not only a marketing strategy. Apple itself seems to *need to believe* it is (still) cool.
With Angela Ahrendts on board and Jony Ive gone all Eurotrash, the melding of Apple Inc and Celebrity Inc has shifted into overdrive. Warning: Buying cool is never innovative.
Apple products used to be the best. Apple products used to market themselves.
Those days are gone. Even the Echo Chamber now spends their time linking to the many celebrities with the newest Apple product.
The heart rate sensor in Apple Watch uses what is known as photoplethysmography. This technology, while difficult to pronounce, is based on a very simple fact: Blood is red because it reflects red light and absorbs green light. Apple Watch uses green LED lights paired with light‑sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through your wrist at any given moment. When your heart beats, the blood flow in your wrist — and the green light absorption — is greater. Between beats, it’s less. By flashing its LED lights hundreds of times per second, Apple Watch can calculate the number of times the heart beats each minute — your heart rate.
PR says what?
Not just photodiodes but SENSITIVE PHOTODIODES!
But wait! There’s more!
GREEN LIGHT ABSORPTION! THAT’S RIGHT MOTHERFUCKERS! GREEN LIGHT ABSORPTION!
Ehrmagerd it’s mother fucking magic!
Oh, and I’ve been monitoring my heart rate with my iPhone (and Android phone) for fucking years.
At what point did the Apple blogosphere embrace the sales & profits religion? I mean, I’m old enough to remember when the Apple faithful could actually tell me why an Apple product was better. Now they all just insist that since Apple makes the most money, that’s all the proof we need.
I know I possess a mostly negative view re Apple Watch. I understand if you disagree. But, fuck. These “follow along as I go TRY ON an Apple Watch” blog posts are the most douchebag things I’ve read this year.
Another day, another celebrity sporting a pricey new Apple Watch. But sure. Overwhelming demand. So you have to wait. Girlfriend you being played.
How much is Apple paying all these celebrities, models and fashion icons to wear Apple Watch?
So much talk out there about the end of Moore’s Law. Maybe. Thing is, I don’t think this is such a big deal. Computing is evolving from the big and complex and is breaking down into simple, discrete parts, just like software has ‘devolved’ into apps. Computer chips everywhere will impact us more so than powerful computer chips somewhere.
This Hillary Clinton woman of the people tour is fascinating to me. It’s so brilliantly Art of War. Everyone, even Clinton’s most ardent supporters, know that she is worth over $100 million and lives a life unlike any of us. She’s no woman of the people. That’s as phony as a three-dollar bill. But, the brilliant part of it is not that it gets her face on the news every night. Rather, that we all shrug and say, “yep, she’s a phony. They’re all phonies.” Ha! Clinton is leading us to believe that *every* politician is equally a phony just like her, and so her phoniness is no longer a weakness. Fucking brilliant.
It’s extremely telling that Macworld’s Macalope is so clearly struggling to find “hate” to expose. Her latest isn’t just bad, it’s weak. HOW DARE SOMEONE SOMEWHERE COMPARE GALAXY S6 WITH APPLE WATCH!
Google Android is dead. Long live Google Android. (No, I never understood that either) I’ve been saying forever that Google should jettison Android development. It’s no longer the strategic necessity it once was. Android is a vehicle for ensuring other services are available to the world. Specifically, Google search, maps, ads and the like. Thing is, it’s no longer needed, at least not for ensuring Google goes everywhere (it’s legally allowed). If Google had nothing to do with Android, more than a billion of us, across all platforms, would still use Google maps, search, mail, calendar and related services daily. So, why bother?
This idea was long considered heretical but is now moving into the mainstream of pundit thought. I love that.
I say I’m going to feed my dogs. I then don’t feed the dogs IMMEDIATELY. This is how they react:
Green Day’s very best work is fine. Most of their stuff is shite. They do not belong in the Rock and Roll hall of fame.
Rich people in San Francisco start taking busses to work. Less congestion, less pollution. Stupid people get angry over this.
The following nugget o’ truth is not an endorsement of any person, group or work, merely a statement of reality:
Hugos 2010-2014: Vote socially conscious works! Vote inclusive writers! Vote works that promote gender spectrum!
Hugos 2015: SAD PUPPIES ARE POLITICAL! BANISH THEM!
Ten-dollar idea: Uber, but to tell me which site I clicked on that caused these pop-unders that then ask if I really want to LEAVE PAGE when I click to close them. I won’t be visiting those sites ever again.
Billion-dollar idea: a $100 per year Google notifications concierge service for Apple Watch. It alerts you to traffic concerns, air travel issues, upcoming appointments, dinner reservations, and more. Thing is, as sucky as Apple is at notifications, Google is great at it. But, I don’t see how Google’s service works on any smartwatch if based on ads.
Blockchain, not Block chain.
Android will surpass television in spreading American content, culture and creativity around the world. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, ESPN, Disney and so much more sent directly to 3 billion persons by no later than 2020. Thank you, Andy Rubin.
You probably got your son or daughter an iPhone. Understood. That said, if you want to limit usage and monitor what sites and apps your child is using, and how many (thousands of) texts they are sending each day, get them an Android phone, not an iPhone. In my report on these applications for Toms Guide, I discovered to my great surprise that these are very useful tools. Oh, and because of the limits Apple places on developers, they don’t really work so well on iPhone.
Silicon Valley VCs and their toadies love to point to Europe and insist that regulatory action against Big Tech will fail. Because, you know, France and Germany and whoever else is in Europe just don’t get it. What they don’t tell you is that strong government regulation over Silicon Valley companies works damn well in China. Just ask Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg.
Think the brave brave VCs will speak up about that?
Look, it’s only a trailer. We need to ease up on the Star Wars madness. That said, I do not understand all those asking how come Chewie doesn’t have gray hair? I mean, fuck. How come his hair isn’t shiny purple? It’s a made-up creature from a made-up planet!
This may very well be the droid I’m looking for.
No, I do not think email is disappearing. Worse. As dictation on our phones gets so much better, and audio recording becomes commonplace, I suspect our days will be filled listening and responding to dozens, possibly hundreds of short audio clips with emailed transcripts. Fear the future.
There has never been more to watch on television than now, and yet I watch less television now than at any other time in my adult life. I am not sure why. In a Techpinions column I wrote last year, I noted that smartphones are the first screen. That’s probably why; got my eyes focused on this tiny screen, not that big one hanging on the wall. That said, I love how we are now honest and truly and finally witnessing the disruption of the cable TV model. Firstly, because it’s liberating. Secondly, because America’s best minds should not be focused on creating clever ways to make us buy channels we don’t want to watch. It’s so much better now, and cheaper — better and cheaper — to have a television that gets OTA broadcast signals, combine that with Netflix and HBO Go, maybe Hulu, definitely Youtube, and be done with it.
I hope you have a great week! Thanks for reading.
I believe drones, for all the bad they will collectively inflict upon us, will do much good. More importantly, I believe drone-filled skies are a near-term inevitability.
More to follow.
For now, an old column I wrote for Techpinions:
If I was that guy in The Graduate, my one word would be: “Drones”.
If I were the next Steve Jobs, I would dream of drones. If I were the next Bill Gates, I would envision software empowering drones built on every kitchen table.
You know what’s going to power the DeLorean back to the future? Drones.
Not since the launch of the iPhone and possibly not since I first used Mosaic have I felt about a technology as I do about drones. The market for drones is expected to reach $91 billion by 2020. I think this radically understates their impact, even considering the current muddled legal environment.
Every big company should enlist a cabal of cheerleader blogs to promote LITERALLY EVERYTHING THEY DO just like Apple.
Fuck dealing with analysts or media or going onto Twitter.
Have the cheerleaders do that. Build up that echo chamber the way Apple has.
It works fucking awesome.
Every little thing Apple does or might do gets promoted. Every little thing any Apple competitor does or might do gets mocked.
The bad gets buried. The good gets held up as if it’s the next insanely great second coming of the new big thing.
Day after day, month after month, year after year.
I am reminded of this not just when Apple releases a new product, but also when I visit any news or tech site and they are talking up Apple.
EVEN WHEN IT’S FUCKING DUMB.
Which is the brilliant part of the echo chamber. It fosters stupid. Better, it fosters known, obvious, verifiable stupid that gets parroted without question.
THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT.
Consider the two latest examples:
My God, the breadth of stupid in this assertion. BUT THE BLOGOSPHERE TAKES IT SERIOUS BECAUSE APPLE!
Nobody else has anything like this. Nobody.
Of course Apple Watch isn’t going to become Apple’s most profitable product ever. To build a news article around such clearcut dumbness ought to get the lazy editor responsible fired. But it’s Apple so exactly the opposite happens.
When you control the message, when you lead a planx of willing sycophants, you are unstoppable. Damn, but I love Apple for this.
Another example, also from today:
Yay Team Apple!
Wait. What smartwatch market? When did we suddenly give fuck all about a smartwatch? Who do you know that has a smartwatch? Which company has even a part of its business vested in the success of a smartwatch market?
How many smartwatches has Apple sold? Shipped?
DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS YOU VILE PHILISTINE!
My God. This is just so fucking amazing. Allegedly smart human beings trumpeting stupid shit. Why? Because it leads to another click, another ad image, a better paying sponsorship for the weekly feed. Well, if that’s what you must do during your short time on this planet, so be it. Seems to me there’s got to be a way for you to make money on sponsors and ads and still be, you know, completely honest and not stupid.
Or am I now being stupid?
I’ve written much about Apple Watch. Nearly all of it bad.
But this 9to5Mac image is worth a thousand blog posts.
Jony Ive mugging for the foreign press at some fashion show in Milan. Worse: The highlight of the Apple Watch is clearly the bands — which any company could make.
This is really how you want to see yourself? This is why you buy Apple Watch?
Fucking waste of Apple’s truly unique strengths.
It will get worse.
Jony Ive’s chase for Eurotrash glory and Tim Cook’s mad pursuit of profits over product, and this is not just today’s but tomorrow’s Apple.
I suppose this ad from Chinese smartphone upstart LeTV is to be expected. Apple is now the world’s biggest company. They are the establishment.
I recently wrote of my admiration for how Apple so effectively markets its newest products. Apple Watch being just the latest example.
Read the tech blogs. Read the pundits. Watch the traditional media. It’s not just that Apple PR gets its product message out so effectively, but that whatever new product Apple introduces *now* is anointed the magical one true *right* way — even when that “way” is entirely unknowable.
Suddenly, smartwatches are THE FUTURE.
A laptop with no ports is THE FUTURE.
Just like an iPod with no buttons is the future, until it’s not. Or an iCloud that doesn’t work at all like a traditional hard drive is the future, until it’s not.
Or a tablet is the future! Except when yours is gathering dust.
Or a phablet is stupid. Until it’s the future.
Yes, brilliant. Thank you. But the key lesson was this:
The amazing thing about all this is that Apple is getting people to spend their hard-earned money *now* on products that at very best only point the way to a future.
Once there, once in the actual future, you need to buy still another Apple product! Fucking brilliant.
How fucking amazing is this!
Apple gets the media and its Echo Chamber not just talking about their new product but all the glorious things their new product can do in a glorious future.
Except, once there, should we ever get there, you will have to buy another *new* Apple product. Because the *current* product, the one you just bought, doesn’t actually do all those glorious things!
My God. Is it any wonder Apple is the world’s richest corporation?
Except…others are starting to learn. Perhaps we’ve all spent far more money than we can afford on products that (might) reveal the future, but aren’t, you know, actually the future. The latest example of this growing rebellion comes from USA Today, of all places. Bob O’Donnell astutely notes:
Long-time tech industry watchers probably remember hearing the phrase that it always took Microsoft three iterations to get things right.
Comparing today’s Apple to old Microsoft! Danger!
Lately, it’s starting to look like Apple is becoming a generation two company. More Apple products, it seems, aren’t hitting their prime until their second iteration.
Yet the Apple bloggers encourage you everyday. Everyday. Buy. Buy. BUY! The newest! newest! NEWEST!
While the first iPhone was groundbreaking in many ways, it wasn’t until the iPhone 3G (which, of course, was actually the second version), that many people feel like they really got it right.
Similarly, while the original iPad was a very innovative product, it wasn’t until the second generation iPad, with its dual-core CPU and built-in camera, that many felt they got it right.
The new MacBook, for example, while offering a number of impressive innovations — such as the cool new haptic (nee Taptic) touchpad — has received mixed reviews from a number of people because of the lower performance CPU and the single USB-C port. Quite a few of the reviews say things like “great product, but wait for the next version.”
Many of the reviews of the Apple Watch — though certainly not all — are coming to similar conclusions about waiting for a next generation version.
“It just works” no longer applies to the first version of a very expensive Apple device. That’s huge.
I spent a month reviewing various parental monitoring apps for Toms Guide.
Confession: I thought I would hate them. I mean, what kind of parent “monitors” their child’s phone usage?
Wow. I was so wrong.
These help you filter out inappropriate content, limit app usage, restrict how many texts your child can send in a day. Some even help locate your child in an emergency.
But, they only work (well) on Android (imho). iPhone restricts app developers from so many facets of the device, including GPS and limiting time or restricting browser usage, that it’s hard to recommend similar services for the iPhone.
If you’re interested in parental monitoring apps, get your child an Android.