Apple Gear Setup Challenge

Chris Wilson, started a fun little exercise after coming across a YouTube video about the Ultimate Apple Setup for $1000 and wondered about other price points. The budget spans across four different price points: £500, £1000, £2500 and £5000.

Andy Nicolaides published his picks on The Dent and proceeded to challenge a selected few.

Rules (Set by Chris):

  • You cannot use any other items, if you have a Mac Pro lying around your home, I don’t care.
  • The prices are based off Apple’s website.

I’m approaching this challenge with what I will buy for my needs given the specific budgets, rather than a recommendation based on the best bang for your buck.

Edit: ‪For each category, I looked at it as if I had no devices at all, starting fresh with the respective budget at hand. What would I buy? I’ll always get an iPhone first, it’s the affordable device that does pretty much ‘everything’!‬

Note: All products at the time of this publication are at Apple prices bought from the Apple Store.

Fortune’s 100 Iconic Designs of Modern Times Features Eight Apple Products

Fortune Magazine is celebrating the 60th anniversary of putting together a project aimed at discovering and listing the 100 best-designed products of the ‘modern era’ by recreating the same survey in 2019. The survey, according to Fortune, took over a year to complete, again partnering with the IIT Institute of Design (ID) to compile the list of the top 100 iconic designs of this modern era.

Top of the list, is yours truly, the original Apple iPhone (2007):

“An iPod, a phone, an Internet communicator” was how the late Steve Jobs announced the iPhone to the world in 2007. At the time it was an impressive claim. Now it seems like a massive understatement for a device that changed how we live.

Followed by the Macintosh (1984) in second place:

Apple started the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, but the Macintosh defined the category.

“The Macintosh was not the first personal computer, nor was it the first one with a graphical user interface, but it was the first complete product that took all these ideas and more into a complete package. It became a computer one could understand and interact with using both language and vision, typing and drawing. It changed the way we relate to a computer.” — Johan Redstrom, professor, Umeå University.

The rest of the Apple products featured on the list are scattered but all remain in the top 65:

  • Original iPod (2001)
  • MacBook Pro (2006)
  • App Store (2008)
  • iOS (2007)
  • Apple Watch (2015)
  • Apple Pay (2014)

You can see the full list from the source below.

Source: Fortune

WWDC2020

WWDC 2020 ‘All-new Online Format’

Apple Newsroom:

“We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead.”

As expected, Apple joins the ever-expanding number of tech companies cancelling planned live interpersonal events this year. The current measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID–19 of the novel Coronavirus outbreak inevitably made holding its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in its usual standard format an impossibility.

Giving the vagueness of the announcement with more details to be revealed in the ‘weeks ahead’, seems to me work on the new format is still an on-going process. I’m intrigued to learn more about how exactly Apple will present this ‘all-new online format’, and how it will compare to the efficacy of their live in-person events. The success of this ‘all-new online format’ will no doubt fuel the discussion on the necessity of WWDC being a live event going forward.


Update: MAY 5, 2020 — Apple to host virtual Worldwide Developers Conference beginning June 22:

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference virtually, beginning June 22, in the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website for free for all developers. The company also announced the Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for student developers to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground…

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing:

WWDC20 will be our biggest yet, bringing together our global developer community of more than 23 million in an unprecedented way for a week in June to learn about the future of Apple platforms.

Blockbuster new Product Expectations from Apple

Walt Mossberg, The Verge:

The pressure was on for Cook’s Apple to bring out the next beautiful, premium, innovative product to maintain Apple’s streak, its margins, and its growing ecosystem of devoted users.

Cook’s first big all-new product was the Apple Watch, which was released in 2015. But it took until the third generation of the Watch in 2017 for Apple to find the right hardware, software, and functionality. It was essentially a reboot.

The other major hardware success under the Cook regime has been AirPods, the wireless earbuds released in 2016 that seem to be everywhere, looking like white plastic earrings.

Respect to Mossberg. A calculated fair assessment from a seasoned veteran with a solid understanding of the consumer tech industry.

One can argue the AirPods and Apple Watch could’ve been the blockbuster new products of the past decade considering how they’ve dominated their respective categories. What they lacked, perhaps, is Steve Jobs’ mind-blowing marketing gasconade that would’ve elevated them beyond their current status. Tim, isn’t a product guy, as Uncle Walt describes him. Jobs, as he was known, was an astute salesman. And perhaps that’s one of the missing puzzle pieces why none of the new product categories released in the past decade had the same blockbuster effect as say, the iPhone.

I’m not the least worried about Apples ability to produce another blockbuster product in the coming decade. What I’d rather see first and foremost as we enter that period, is stability across the board; from company culture to products and services.

Genius

Apple to Expand Authorised Repair Service Network

Apple Newsroom:

Apple today announced a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small — with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorised Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries.

One of the first lessons I learnt about third-party repairs happened a decade ago when I dropped and smashed my iPhone 3GS’ LCD and the touchscreen digitiser to smithereens. The ensuing experience putting my faith in a third-party repair shop instead of the certified Genius Bar technicians at an Apple store is one that shaped my approach to repairs ever since. To cut a long story short, the iPhone came back worse with more damages than it went in with following the ‘repairs’; issues with the front-facing camera and speaker, unresponsive touchscreen and Home button to name but a few. The lack of robust training know-how and the use of low-quality parts were unquestionably apparent in this repair saga.

Siri Logo

Upcoming Changes to Siri Privacy Protection

Apple Newsroom:

We know that customers have been concerned by recent reports of people listening to audio Siri recordings as part of our Siri quality evaluation process — which we call grading. We heard their concerns, immediately suspended human grading of Siri requests and began a thorough review of our practices and policies. We’ve decided to make some changes to Siri as a result.

Following the suspension of using human contractors to listen to Siri audio snippets for its Siri grading program to improve Siri’s effectiveness in providing accurate responses to queries, Apple have now temporarily terminated the program and offered its apologies for failing to live up to their high ideals and upholding the level of privacy its users are accustom to.

However, the practice will resume in-house when upcoming software updates are released, and a few evaluation process changes have been made:

First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.

Second, users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time.

Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.

I’m glad to see Apple continue to take ownership of its responsibilities in addressing the situation, offering its apologies, and putting forth changes that align with their strong privacy stance and the respect it has for its users. I will be sure to opt-in to help with improving Siri.

Source: Apple Newsroom.

Apples Privacy Stance

“I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. Our commitment to protecting your privacy comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.”

Tim Cook

The above quote is an excerpt from a letter by Tim Cook published on Apple’s website back in 2014, detailing Apples commitment to user privacy.

It is with this stance that the initial attraction I have for Apple products based solely on my love of their hardware elevated by the respect shown in protecting my privacy with the use of the accompanying software.

The Apple ecosystem can be a beautiful convenience, and many users love the seamless integration of software and hardware across the platform. What has become even greater importance in many peoples use of Apple products and services is the undying protection of our privacy as a Fundamental Human Right that Apple vehemently defends.

Ask a lot of Apple services and product users why they have invested their time and energy in Apple beyond the beautiful hardware and stellar OS’s and top responses will more than likely be one of two reasons or both – ecosystem and privacy. The latter has garnered quite a lot of attention in recent years with privacy advocates relentlessly calling out companies that potentially misuse customer data with a fraction or non-existent transparency.

Often masqueraded under the thin veil of ‘anonymous data collection to improve your experience’, every tech company is susceptible to using data in ways users might not be fully aware of, we are, after all, in a digital age of ubiquitous data harvesting. Whether users tolerate the unethical amassing of data to be sold off without consent is a decision a user should regularly review.