Apple’s Law

Apple’s Law: the more money a company makes, the worse it gets at developing software. 

I don’t understand it either, but it’s so.

File under: Yosemite

There’s An App For That. But It Won’t Make You Any Money.


Wow. I really did not think the Apple app market was this contorted. A thorough analysis by Metakite reveals that 0.07% of the 1.2 million apps account for more than 40% of App Store revenue.

I expected a “hockey stick” curve that’s characteristic of power law models, but I didn’t expect one like this. The hockey stick breaks upwards at around position 870 on the U.S. Top Grossing list. With about 1.2 million apps in the App Store at the time the data was collected, that arguably puts 99.93% of apps in the “long tail” of the App Store. The “head” of the App Store, those 870 top grossing apps that make up 0.07% of the App Store population, collect over 40% of the App Store revenue that’s paid out.

In fact, if your app doesn’t stand near the very top of the charts — at 0.5% — then you won’t even garner $25,000 in revenues.

Given how much app development costs, this is shocking. I doubt it’s a sustainable business for most.


Made In China For Apple


Nearly every Apple device is made in China. Soon, per Tim Cook, more of Apple’s money will come from China.

This makes me sad.

In large part because Apple has long been a great American company and Tim Cook is absolutely committed to sucking up every dollar (yuan) he can out of China. And China knows this. And, as we know this is how China operates, China will demand Apple spend more money in China. And hire more marketing in China. And employ more engineers in China.

And give China access to their devices and services.

And be more China than America.

Think I’m wrong? Fair enough, but I’m pretty good at reading the tea leaves.

Cook is taking a great American company and making them far bigger, far richer — and more Chinese than American. You may like this or you may not care.

I care.

Thus, it doesn’t at all surprise me that Apple is now showing off its China credentials with this latest promo video.

The Steve Jobsian use of calligraphy is clever, but this is not being done to show Apple’s roots, rather to make the China market believe Apple is Chinese.

iCloud. It Just Doesn’t Work.

Everyone knows that iCloud is, well, sub-optimal. This article from Tech Radar stings a bit because they cover the enterprise and Apple still entertains hopes to be relevant in the enterprise:

iCloud is a major weakness: will Apple ever fix it?

In many ways, Steve Jobs’ mantra of owning the “whole widget” is responsible for Apple’s online faults. Instead of outsourcing the development of online technologies to a company that can handle it, Apple chose to develop them in-house and, as such, now has to develop hardware and software, both online and offline. A herculean feat that even Apple cannot manage.

I don’t think this is fully correct. Rather, iCloud’s major problem is that it is in strategic opposition to Apple’s core, it’s high-margin hardware.

The cloud promises access to your data at anytime, from anywhere — across any device.

Except…Apple makes all its profits off its own devices. They want you locked-in. The cloud is the opposition of lock-in. Apple wants you only on its device. The cloud wants you on any device. And so on and so on…

Expect iCloud to remain sub-optimal because Apple must keep it deliberately limited. Yes, Apple PR and the Echo Chamber will proclaim this as a *feature*. You know, Pages is free and access to your files and content is so gosh darn elegant and intuitive. Oh, and security!

If that works for you, fine. But Apple’s branded iCloud will never be fully optimized — because Apple won’t allow this.

Apple Is As Boring As


After the big “Apple is boring” kerfuffle, you just knew that the Echo Chamber was gonna take to their desks and pen many strongly worded letters.

Expect many more to come, all in the same vein as this very TLDR post from TUAW:

Apple is as “boring” as it’s always been

So let me get this straight: Apple should be trying to delight us with products that, from the get-go, may not be all they’re cracked up to be?

Truth be told, the “Apple is boring” trope is nothing new. More often than not, such arguments tend to aggrandize vaporware and snazzy looking prototypes with limited mass appeal over technologies and products that are fully baked. Products that sell. By the tens of millions.

Apple has never been a company to open up the doors to its R&D facilities, invite the press in, and boldly declare, “Look at all the cool stuff we’re working on!” Apple spends billions of dollars on R&D every single year, undoubtedly working on crazy new and futuristic technologies. Hardly a secret, we’re often privy to such endeavors via Apple’s numerous patent filings; 3D hologram display? Check. iPhone with a flexible, wraparound display? They’ve worked on it. They’ve even patented laptop/tablet hybrids, wearable sensor strips, and all sorts of other “out of left field” ideas.

Because God forbid anyone say anything at all potentially negative about a uber-rich for-profit corporation that doesn’t know I exist. THESE FALSEHOODS MUST NOT STAND!

And Apple so too does work on cool stuff! You just don’t know about it!

Good lord. How is it possible that actual growed men have fits because someone somewhere says something bad about a company whose products they like? Is that their life?

Please stop.

You like their products? Great! But the company is boring. A giant boring company with massive retail and manufacturing operations. It’s boring. Period.

What? Disagree? Fine. But why the need to mock other giant for-profit corporations? HoloLens is cool. Driverless cars are awesome. Seeing companies attempt these big changes is cool — and it may inspire the next generation of engineers, dreamers. Why the need to belittle that?

Oh, and if you think it’s wrong that Google, Microsoft and others talk about the future and not, you know, products available now, then follow your own advice. Go on. I dare you. No more posts about “iPad Pro” or “MacBook Air Lite” or iPhone 7 or anything else. Go on. I double dog dare you. Let’s see how serious you are.

I Majored In Beer


Great time to be alive:

Enrollment at Michigan’s Kalamazoo Valley Community College will likely spike next fall, as it recently announced a new academic program in sustainable brewing. Yes, you read that right: You can now major in brewing.

The “two-plus-two” program puts students through four years, the first two at KVCC, where they’ll earn an associate’s degree before moving to Western Michigan University to complete the bachelor of science. The curriculum was created with input from some of the country’s top brewers, including Mike Babb, a former Coors brewer and teacher at the Siebel Institute in Chicago, and advisor Dave Sippel of Arcadia Brewing Company.

Toaster Fridge! Toster Fridge!


For at least a year, I’ve extolled the virtues of Surface:

I love that Microsoft is sticking to its vision despite the doomsayers. Surface Pro 3 is meant to be both iPad and MacBook. Comparing it to just one device is skating to where the puck never was.

The Surface Pro 3 has the potential to become the device we all really crave: both a tablet and a laptop.

That column of mine actually spurred a rebuttal column from the very same site! Apple would never dream of copying Microsoft!

It gets better.

Earlier this month, I wrote two posts here noting that Surface was the correct vision for the enterprise, not iPad. I noted that Apple “fears” the Surface and told you to expect Apple to contort the iPad into a Surface-like device.

The only reason for an iPad is for some lean-back fun. A video, a game, a crude sketch. Which is fine — but not at the crazy high prices Apple expects. The value simply isn’t there.

To justify these ridiculous prices, Apple aggressively promotes the iPad as a device for creativity and productivity. Marketing works, but it can’t overcome reality forever. For creativity, iPad’s fine, though certainly lesser than a laptop. As for productivity? Not even close. People who are getting work done are *not* using iPads. Those who say otherwise are lying to you — or have flunkies doing the actual work on their laptop.

Apple knows this.

I am repeatedly excoriated by the Apple Echo Chamber whenever I dare suggest Apple got the vision wrong — or note that Apple has or will copy another company. When that other company is Microsoft, the howls are piercing.

And yet…

Just today, the echo chamber is all a-twitter with anointed members of the priesthood demanding a Microsoft Surface. From Apple.



They hate it when I’m right.

Apple Because Apple Doomed Apple Insanely Great Apple Click Click Click


Because the blogosphere sees that the Apple Echo Chamber gets *millions* of clicks every single month, and *millions* of dollars in monthly “sponsorships,” they want in on that action.

Nom nom nom!

Which is why to them, Apple fanboys are not sheep. Apple fanboys are pigs. Pigs at the trough! Feed them! Stuff them! Nom nom click click.

Few practice this as religiously as Business Insider. Thus, we get this bit o’ stupid:

Right Now, Apple Risks Missing Out On The Next Big Thing In Technology

Microsoft’s 2.5-hour event on Wednesday was suddenly enlivened by the surprise introduction of the HoloLens, a new piece of hardware that will run on Windows Holographic, Microsoft’s new platform for virtual and augmented reality experiences.

The initial reactions to the HoloLens have been overwhelmingly positive.

By all accounts, it sounds like augmented reality devices like these are “the next big thing.” And at this point, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Samsung, and others have invested hundreds of millions — even billions — of dollars into these new virtual and augmented reality experiences.

Apple, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found.

How dare you! Apple nowhere to be found! This is outrageous!


I will not! I am outraged by this! Microsoft just demo’d vaporware! Apple will have an even better virtual reality glass — when the technology is ready!

Seriously, stop.

You’ve been played. The Echo Chamber feeds on your outrage. I stand corrected. You are not the pig, but the pig’s feed.

Here’s the truth: Microsoft showed off some great products — for now and for the future. This is what great tech companies do. Later this year, Apple will do the same. There is absolutely no reason for you to feel a need to choose sides between two massive, hyper-rich for-profit corporations.

But as long as you do, the echo chamber and the wannabes will happily consume your time.

Click click nom nom.

Um, Apple. Is This Safe?


OS X Daily has this handy tip for locating the rightful owner of a lost iPhone:

When you find someones lost iPhone, if it’s a fairly new model, you can almost always find the owner and the owners contact information simply by asking Siri. But you do have to phrase the question carefully.

Summon Siri by holding the Home button and ask exactly: “Whose phone is this?” or you can ask “Who owns this iPhone?”


Thing is, we oftentimes don’t ‘lose’ our iPhone. Rather, we forget it.

For example, you’re a busy 20-something woman who has dinner with friends. You forget your iPhone in the restaurant. Five minutes later, you realize your mistake and rush back. It’s gone. That dude at the table next to you noticed your mistake and grabbed that shiny iPhone.

And now has your address.

I’m not so sure about the safety of this.

UPDATE Jan 26: Loop Insight, which initially promoted this feature, now suggests that Apple consider altering it, so your public contact information is not accessible to anyone via Siri. Keep the pressure up. Apple needs to correct this.

This Industry Is Still Completely Self-Unaware

A TechCrunch post that everyone who’s anyone is re-tweeting as quickly as possible to prove just how much they get it:

This Industry Is Still Completely Ridiculous

Since then, as you probably already know, our world has gotten even more surreal. If anything the ridiculousness is accelerating. It’s like the tech industry is subject to a Moore’s Law of weird.


Thing is, TechCrunch has spent *years* writing *everyday* about how super-awesome it is to be in tech, to be an entrepreneur, to get funding, to build your app! They have grown rich and possibly influential by promoting this industry as “completely ridiculous.”