The Next-Big-Thing Edition Sunday, May 1, 2022

Apple Inc., ‘After Steve’, by Clay Shirky, New York Times

Ive had been the key figure in product design for years, but in his elevated role, Mickle writes, “designers defined how a product would look and had an outsize voice in its functions. Staff began summarizing their power in a single phrase: ‘Don’t disappoint the gods.’” Apple’s wealth underwrote Ive’s perfectionism. Leather for the wristband was sourced from tanneries across Europe; countless hours were poured into the design and manufacture of the customized winding crown. Determined from the beginning to make ultraexpensive versions, Ive requested — and got — a new 18-karat alloy that was twice as durable as ordinary gold.

Yet as the story unfolds, it becomes clear the watch will not be the Next Big Thing. As Ive acquires more control than he had over the iPhone, the watch shifts from a useful screen on your wrist into a fashion object. Meetings with the Vogue editor Anna Wintour, a product event in Paris and the creation of a $17,000 model run alongside gradually reduced expectations for its health tracking and battery life. By the time it finally launches and sales fall short of projections, the reader has seen it coming, one decision at a time.


When the Next Big Thing turned out to be services — iCloud, Apple Music, the App Store — built on top of the Last Big Thing, Cook adapted brilliantly. He took Jobs’s advice and did what was right, but in ways that put less of a premium on the kind of work Ive was best at. The moral of that story is there is no moral. Even one of the richest, most beloved firms in the world could not make its most talented employees successful at the same time.

How Technocrats Triumphed At Apple, by Tripp Mickle, New York Times

To many present, Mr. Cook’s approval seemed like a win for Mr. Ive. But the designer would later recast it as a Pyrrhic victory. He would tell colleagues that the debate over the event and the larger struggle over the watch’s marketing were among the first moments that he felt unsupported at Apple.

With time, his grievances would grow. In the wake of Mr. Jobs’s death, colleagues said, Mr. Ive fumed about corporate bloat, chafed at Mr. Cook’s egalitarian structure, lamented the rise of operational leaders and struggled with a shift in the company’s focus from making devices to developing services.

Disillusioned with Mr. Cook’s Apple, Mr. Ive would depart five years later, in 2019. His exit would change forever the balance of power at the top of a company long defined by its product ingenuity, leaving it without one of its most creative thinkers and the driving force behind its last new device category.


Apple Thinks My Own AirPods Are Stalking Me, by Tiernan Ray, ZDNet

These are my AirPods Pro, which I have had for years now as I was able to verify by using the iPad to play a sound on the AirPods.

Apple's technology doesn't know these are my own AirPods. The strange behavior began to appear in February.

You Probably Didn't Realize, But Apple Still Sells iPods, by John McCann, TechRadar

2022 may be the final major software update for the iPod Touch, which gives Apple something to think about in 2023. Does it continue forcing software upgrades onto a device with seriously dated tech that will likely struggle to run future releases; retire the iPod line forever; or launch an audacious eighth generation?

For Enterprises That Use Mac, Consider 1Password Or LastPass As A Company-wide Password Management Solution, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

For years, IT departments have told users to use complex passwords that aren’t repeated. That advice didn’t come with any solutions to help people properly manage them, though. Today, tools that were previously aimed at consumers now have strong enterprise offerings. For IT departments looking to ensure password security, both 1Password and LastPass have strong solutions.


Honey, Let’s Track The Kids: The Rise Of Parental Surveillance, by Tim Lewis, The Guardian

Macy was frantic: she stretched for her phone, but couldn’t reach it. She listened out for passing cars, but it was a remote spot and they didn’t come often. The first went by without stopping, then the next, then a third. It became dark. Macy had lost feeling in the arm that was trapped, and her neck throbbed. By 10.30pm, 28 cars had come and gone. But then the 29th did stop: Macy heard the doors open, and the voices of her stepfather and brother calling her name. They followed the tyre skids down the embankment and her stepfather held her hand through the blown-out sunroof. Macy had kept it together until this point, but now she sobbed.

The family had found Macy using the Find My Friends app, which allows users with Apple iPhones to share their location with others. Her mother, Catrina Cramer Alexander, had checked it when Macy hadn’t come home and was not answering calls. They then jumped in their car and followed the pulsing blue dot to the ravine.

Apple’s Not-So-Secret Plan To Take Another Gigantic Bite Of The Microchip Market, by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal

If the same holds true for modems, it could mean that future Apple devices will do things that simply aren’t possible with Apple’s current combinations of its own chips and those of others. Those could include putting cellular connectivity into smaller devices—possibly even AirPods—or augmented-reality experiences that feel more real than what is currently possible.

Bottom of the Page

My thesis is that if Windows CE wasn't such a 'success', beating out Palm OS and getting Palm to abandon their own OS and move to Windows, Microsoft will be more humble in realizing the threat from iPhone, and, who knows, Windows Mobile may still be around.

Now, if Apple's iPhone wasn't such a huge success, and Apple wasn't such a rich company, will Mr Ive's Apple Watch be a better watch/fitness/communication device at launch? Will Mac computers not have to suffer the lost years of missing ports and non-functional keyboards?

Not that the Apple Watch isn't a success now, and not that Mac are not selling like hot cakes. Nevertheless.


From the inability of iPadOS to living up to customers' expectations to the entire Safari fiasco, Apple still have problems to figure out.


Is Apple also working on tiny SSDs too? Maybe put some into AirPods so that all the bluetooth glitches from time to time don't affect the audiobooks that I am listening.

If I remember correctly, one of the early selling points of iPods is music that doesn't skip. It's time to apply that to AirPods.


Thanks for reading.