It was just after church, I cut through the field to meet the car, mom yelling at me not to get too far, and I saw it, a butterfly, orange and brown, some yellow, small, atop a blade of grass, its wings slowly fluttering, I heard they were all gone, butterflies, but there it was. I snatched it. It died in my hand but mom and sister would know it was real.
You research a product. You compare alternatives. You seek out the best deal. You buy it. All online. For weeks after, Google continues to push ads in front of you asking you to buy the very product you just bought.
How might that work in Google AI-powered sex robots?
WE JUST DID!
Apple began its annual developers conference today.
There was almost nothing of interest for anyone, honestly. As Apple has become the tech equivalent of Coke or GE, the Apple blogosphere has become like an Amway salesman, insisting you must act now, join now — buy now buy buy buy never stop buying — a sort of mutual affirmation society that only can stay up only when all agree on their mutual specialness borne of their mutual use of the same company’s products.
As I told you would happen, the company rushed out its competitor to the highly popular Amazon Echo device. Probably much better sound, definitely far more overpriced, but ultimately hobbled with Siri, maybe the greatest failure in Apple’s storied history.
I’m old enough to remember these:
Only when the technology’s ready!
1000 No’s to every Yes!
We make just enough product to fit on this here little table!
What is Apple even good at anymore?
How did it become so dull, so corporate, so just enough, so depressingly normal?
Money? Margins? Middle class in China?
Is it because all the amazing stuff is collapsing out of view but Apple has always been about what’s in front of our view?
A hardware company in a cloud realm? A branded product in a world where we speak into the air and our desires are met, magically, out of sight? No branding required.
You fear the present as much as the future but you can only buy now. That’s what Apple is counting on. Here’s what the company announced this morning:
- A copy of the Amazon Echo, just as unattractive. Costs way more, limited by Siri, probably offers much richer sound. Calling it HomePod, a stupid, silly name, makes me wonder if this is just another beta product Apple is foisting on its most devoted consumers.
- An augmented reality kit that might actually, by 2020, alter our world. We take screens with us, always, and are digitalizing the physical world. The potential for this, good and horrific, is clearly there.
- Updates to the iPhone OS that nobody cares about, even if the Apple Echo Chamber insists we must.
- A $5,000 “iMac Pro” with no purpose other than status symbol, let’s be honest. It’s hard to believe Apple is serious about the Mac line if this is its response to the amazing innovation taking place in desktops and laptops. Again, the Echo Chamber will insist the opposite of this but you know I’m right and they are hacks. Hope? Corporate Apple is focused on the money, and that’s not Mac, but there are still a few pirate hearts inside the company. Yes, hope.
- Person-to-person payments using Apple Pay which ought to incite a revolution but Apple’s past 7 years of software development have made me extremely skeptical. Couple that with Apple locking its best services inside Apple products only and the rise of new forms of commerce, sharing and interacting, like Bitcoin and WhatsApp, and I must hedge my best on this one. It might be great. It likely will not.
- A new “do not disturb” option for iPhone users driving a car is testament to how deep we’ve ceded our lives to the screen, so deep that we regularly place our lives at risk, and risk the lives of others, just to send out a text message.
- Something with iPad but nobody cares. Truth, still: you can go a day without your iPhone, you can go a week without your Macbook, but you can go forever without an iPad.
- Updates to the App Store, which should make finding apps easier but searching for apps still is awful, which really shouldn’t be given that it’s been about a decade now.
Did I miss anything?
They’re still making Apple Watch, right.
Dammit. Dammit dammit dammit!
Look at those illustrations of the future — made in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s. Wonderful, colorful, powerful, towering, glorious, representing the best of us, our shared hope. Apple used to endeavor to these. No more. Dammit. Now, it’s all about margins, ecosystem, lock-in, China, tax dodges, streaming music, TV shows, higher profits, increased sales.
I want the wonderful! The shared hope.
Where do we look for that?
I’m not sure I can build it myself.