My buddy Casey Liss has some great tips for WWDC, especially if you’re a first-timer this year. All worthwhile pieces of advice, but the bit about bringing an iPhone battery pack is a biggy. Seriously, don’t come without one.
Last Macworld, the Olloclip lens accessory for iPhone also got a big workout. Ben Brooks was passing his around the group because we forgot ours. It’s definitely a good buy, especially for those tight indoor shots and should be a big hit this WWDC.
One day, when I was about 9 or so, my cousin gave me a mixtape. It was black, with dirty white labels on both faces.
The contents were scrawled on the labels in ball-point pen, with the text crowding into the corners and folding back on itself to stay in the lines. On one side of the tape was written “Doolittle - Pixies, Bloodletting - Concrete Blonde”.
The label on the other side was dedicated completely to one album. It read “Beastie Boys - License to Ill.”
I wore that thing out playing it on repeat in my Sony Walkman on the bus to school, the smell of vinyl and unwashed kids heavy in the air.
That tape would end up defining my musical life for a decade and ended up forming the backbone of the music I love today. I haven’t talked to him in years but I owe him for introducing me to the ‘Boys.
Today, MCA, Adam Yauch, of the Beastie Boys, died from that piece of crap, cancer. Thanks for all the laughs. I’m gonna try to dig up that tape and my Walkman and relive those days listening to it over and over in the back of the bus.
As I conjectured a few weeks ago, Apple switching to a 32nm process in a tweaked version of the A5 processor in the ‘old’ iPad, (called iPad 2,4) has resulted in better battery life. Anandtech ran some tests and the difference is hefty, clocking in at close to 16% more life on the same battery.
In addition, the 32nm die being smaller decreases the fail-rate of their manufacture, driving down costs slightly and increasing the margins on the most important iPad Apple sells.
This also allows Apple to test the 32nm part in a ‘stealthy’ way, rolling it out in a subset of older iPad 2s in order to give them time to suss out the issues that could arise.
I think ‘making it cheaper to manufacture’ is always on the agenda for Apple, but in this case they’re also using the iPad as a testbed for a smaller, less power-hungry process that they can implement on a larger scale in the next iPhone. It’s brilliant.
It smacks of the aggressive supply chain magic that Tim Cook has been performing since way back when he got the COO slot.
There are plenty of things that have made Apple successful that you can attribute to other people. Steve’s drive and editorial vision, Jony Ive’s clean Deiter-Rams inspired designs, Forstall’s hotly competitive software-perfectionist agenda. Those are all reasons that Apple has made some brilliant and delightful products over the past several years. But they aren’t examples of the kind of logistical brilliance that has made it the biggest company in the world.
Cheaper to make and more power conscious, widens margins, eats up power differential of LTE for iPhone and enables testing of new parts in a low pressure-high volume environment. And does it all at once. That’s Tim Cook.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger had limited personel resources available when it came time to build Burbn into Instagram. For that reason, and likely others, they decided to focus on an iPhone app.
Marc Andreessen, after investing an initial $250k in Burbn, dropped off the investment map and, when it came time to decide between the cross-platform Picplz and the iPhone-only Instagram, he (and the organization) went with Picplz. This meant that they missed out on the next round of funding, which accounts for some 10% of the company.
Unlike Instagram, Picplz planned a cross-platform approach. It had just launched an app for Android in May and planned to roll out an iPhone app in August. Instagram would not launch its iPhone app until October.
Mr. Andreessen suddenly found himself in the awkward — and conflicted — position of having two competing products in his portfolio. He told the two that he would have to choose one or the other and promised to stay in touch, according to people close to the company.
But what happened next, these people said, left bad blood. Months passed without a word. That November, Instagram’s co-founders were left to learn from technology blogs — along with everyone else— that Mr. Andreessen had led a $5 million investment in, and would take a board seat with, their competitor.
It was a calculated bet against Instagram and it left Mr. Systrom livid, these people said. Instagram’s founders never met with the firm again.
The whole ‘Times pieces in worth reading. I don’t really think that Andreessen is crying in his milk over the $100M that he ended up netting anyway though.
Update: And as my colleague Robin Wauters points out, it can be argued that Andreessen Horowitz actually acted as ethically as possible, given the situation.
This was originally published a couple of years ago, but I thought it was worth transplanting here. I’ve also been able to make a couple of needed structural changes
I’m flying down the beach. The wind rushes in my ears as the inhuman power of the horse beneath me propels me down the strand, it’s muscles bunching and flexing as it’s hooves dig into the soft, slightly damp sand and throw it up and back in a blurry fan that flies out through the edges of my vision, softened by the liquid that my tear ducts are furiously pumping out to try to keep my eyes lubricated.
The sun and surf are blending together like the scrubbings of a wet oil brush on canvas. All the while I pull in deep breaths of coconut oil, hibiscus and warm skin, the smell of Tahiti.
After a few minutes of this, my eyes glaze over and I reach my left hand down towards my pocket and pull out my iPhone, just to check Twitter…
Actually I didn’t pull it out.
But the only reason I didn’t reach for the device that’s been my constant companion for the last several years is that I didn’t have it yet.
This is a real memory, but it happened when I was 14, on a family vacation to Tahiti, a place that I would visit several times over the course of the next few years, including with my wife for our third anniversary.
That particular memory however, was a special one that has carved itself into my neural pathways in a way that refuses to fade. The feeling of being slightly out of control, an inexperienced rider on an animal that could sense it, on a beach in a foreign country with it’s unfamiliar sights, smells and sounds. A totally new and exhilarating experience.
Recorded in my brain 12 years before the iPhone was released.
If I’d owned an iPhone at the time, you can bet it would have been in my pocket, with a French SIM that allowed me to text and maybe even sneak a net connection here or there. But those things didn’t exist for me in 1994. This was the era of pagers and whispered calls on the family line to that girl. So I existed in the moment, unable to be anywhere but where I was, right there.
I’m not saying that the iPhone or another smartphone would have made that experience worthless. I’ve captured many great moments on various models over the years with the camera, microphone apps. I’ve had my journeys guided, my darkened closets lit, my questions answered… as long as the battery was charged.
What I do think about however, is how the iPhone would have affected my ability to remember that moment as clearly and sharply as I do. Would I have been able to exist in the now, my brain capturing it perfectly even while not thinking explicitly that this was something that I wanted to be able to recall whenever I wanted to, for the rest of my life.
I talk a lot about the ways that technology like the iPhone can enhance our lives, because I truly believe that it can. Not because it’s an iPhone per-se but because of what it gives us access to: Limitless information, expertise on every subject, increasing ways to do everything we need to do in a world that moves far faster than anyone even a half a generation ago could have dreamed that it would.
What does this this information do however, to the way that we remember things and, perhaps more importantly, the way we wonder about things?
Can you remember for instance, the last time that you thought for more than a minute or two about a topic without reaching for your iPhone for an answer? Has a debate about exactly who was the actress “in that one thing that time” lasted any more than 60 seconds before someone is Googling it out of the ether?
There is no longer any grey area, no place to stretch your mental legs.
There was once a time when the BS would fly back and forth in a storm off self-assured snowballs of opinion, sometimes you were right, sometimes you were wrong but the important thing was that the discussion was had.
I once had a friendly ongoing argument with a friend over lunch that lasted weeks because I was convinced that Kelly Lynch and not Laura Dern was in Jurassic Park and even when a cast listing on the back of a Laserdisc (yeah, that’s right, LD) proved me wrong, I was still beliggerent about how closely I felt they resembled one another.
We finally solved it by renting and watching both Jurassic Park and Roadhouse back-to-back. If that had happened in the era of iPhone, the entire thing would have lasted a minute, maybe two and IMDB would have solved it all right there at the table. I would have never had to see the movies or have the discussions, or do anything at all.
It’s a question of unearned information. There’s no need to wonder about it, it’s right there.
I used to have conversations about movies, books, countries and cultures where the only source of information was what all of the participants had actually experienced and pondered themselves. Now everything is someone else’s opinion, searched for, read and regurgitated in our voices.
So how long will it be before we decide that it’s easier to just regurgitate rather than form our own opinions at all?
There’s a lot of good to be gained from devices like the iPhone that broaden our horizons and connect us to people and places in remote parts of the earth where we will never visit physically. But when we’re done absorbing all of the information available to us instantaneously, loudly voicing our opinions on things that we knew nothing about until reading the Wiki on it five minutes ago and using the iPhone to prove people wrong left and right, how much of what we just said or did will stay with us?
The recent disaster in Haiti and numerous other incidents have proven the effectiveness and absolute necessity of a near real-time crowd-sourced font of information like Twitter.
What hasn’t been proved is the beneficial nature of its effect on our attention span and our ability to enjoy life in front of us. Are we destined to be seven people sitting in the same room, the cadaverous glow of the screens of our iPhones glowing up at us as we play Words With Friends with each other, forsaking the physical world for one that’s experienced passively.
If we experience everything with the constant always-on distractions that a smartphone or tablet can provide, will we ever be able to experience things fully again, in a way that stays with us for half of our life and beyond? Can we still form our own opinions and craft them into our own systems of belief when it’s so easy to let ourselves be constantly bombarded with the absolutely certain and instantly delivered opinions of others?
That’s what we have to wonder about, while we still can.
Clever idea for physical interface mockups from Juan Sanchez. The image below demonstrates an interesting point about 1:1 interaction with digital interfaces though.
Notice how the interface element hasn’t been completely revealed and the thumb is already ‘off screen’. Concessions have to be made when a physical interface is translated over. Perhaps a threshold beyond which an action is automatically completed, or an accelerated rate of movement that breaks the 1:1 ‘sticky finger’ interaction model.
How those concessions are made, and how they are communicated to the user are important.
A nice, well-balanced take by Ben Kuchera at The PA Report. Backing anything, but games and complex industrial products especially, on Kickstarter is risky. Think like a mini-VC and you should be ok: business plan, talented and established team with a track record, business people involved.
As a side note, if you’re interested in great game writing and a curated list of ‘must-reads’ in that arena, Ben is doing great work over there.
Fortune’s Philip-Elmer Dewitt on why the heck Apple needs to make a full-on TV at all.
One more thing. No one has championed the idea of an Apple-branded TV set longer or more enthusiastically than Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, who has been writing about it since 2009. But what set him going down this path?
The answer came in a Munster profile published last Friday in Bloomberg Businessweek:
“Somebody close to Apple said we needed to be doing more work on the television and that started it all,” Munster says. “You start with these crumb trails, then it turns into a dirt road, and now it’s a paved road.”
Indeed it is. But what if Munster’s tipster was trying to lead him to Apple TV, the set-top box, and not some still-mythical TV set?
Update: What I’ve heard—second hand—is that the tip Munster got about the Apple ‘television’ was actually about the 27" iMac and Munster just wouldn’t let the TV angle die.
Federico Viticci posts up a nice roundup of developer complaints about iCloud and John Gruber of Daring Fireball says it’s not as good as Dropbox for developers or users yet.
None of this matters because of this one fact: almost 70% of the 350M+ users of iDevices have access to iCloud, with some 100M+ using it already. Those are numbers Dropbox just can’t match. iCloud may not be better for all use cases, but it does fill a very large need for simple sync.
Dropbox currently has some 50M users, nowhere near all of them on iOS.
Paul Haddad of Tapbots adds some very good points, namely that there is no need for another account or a third-party API and iCloud works in the background unhampered by Apple’s restrictions.