Amplify the Obvious

Amplifying the obvious about tech and tech commentary
~ Saturday, February 15 ~
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Apple Logo

One of the smartest decisions Apple ever made was to design a graphic logo, and put it the back of their laptops and monitors and phones. The distinctive logo appears all over TV and movies, even though Apple famously refuses to pay for product placement.

This came to mind while watching the Olympics - an interview with Evgeni Plushenko, followed by him walking away and using his phone, with the Apple logo clearly visible.

Even many cases for the iPhone include cutouts so the logo shows through. Partly this is snob appeal - look how cool my phone is - but it is also good marketing. My Nexus phone has the word NEXUS on the back, but it is nowhere as distinctive as that cute little Apple logo.

Tags: apple iphone
~ Friday, January 24 ~
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Apple Nostalgia

Today the tech press is getting all mushy over the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh, which was announced in a super bowl ad. Why people get all teary eyed over a multi-national conglomerate, I will never understand.

Kevin Drum takes a contrarian view of Apple’s infamous 1984 commercial.

Tags: apple macintosh
~ Wednesday, January 22 ~
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Apple the Patent Troll

Seems to be kinda hard to be against patent trolls and still be an Apple fan. Apple looks to be just another rich corporate bully, not much different from Microsoft - in fact, Microsoft is also a partner in Rockstar.

Tags: apple patents
~ Sunday, December 2 ~
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Inside the Apple Bubble

Shawn Blanc points to an essay by Dana Levine about the iPad mini that brings to mind a couple of issues with the Apple “community”. The essay basically says two things - the iPad mini, mostly because of its size, is quite nice to have. And the lack of a “Retina” display isn’t that big of a deal.

Now I don’t disagree with either point. But what I find odd is that someone would treat these two things like they have discovered something new and exciting. Only inside the Apple bubble would these be treated as insightful observations. People who don’t live entirely in Apple’s world have known about small form factor tablets - they have sold in the millions. Only inside Apple’s bubble would someone “discover” that you can still have a nice, useful tablet without state of the art resolution.

Until the release of the mini, the consensus of Apple fans seemed to be that the iPad was pretty much the perfect size, and all those silly little Android tablets were missing the point. And that the Retina display was yet another innovation that put Apple a cut above of the competition. But once the mini got released, suddenly the consensus changes - there are lots of reasons why a smaller tablet is a great thing, and hi res displays are nice, but certainly not a requirement.

This self imposed blindness that so many subject themselves to is going to provide more surprises in the future. Someday Apple will introduce something very much like Android widgets to IOS, or are going to bring out an iPod Touch with a 5 inch screen, or an iPhone that is not just taller, but wider, too. Or a touch screen laptop. And these will be received as further Apple breakthroughs, and people will write essays about how cool they are, and be oblivious to the fact that out in the real world, these aren’t breakthroughs at all.

My point isn’t that Shawn Blanc or Dana Levine in particular are guilty of any of this. But certainly the Apple community as a whole is. There is a whole wide world out there, full of cool things. Just because Apple hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean something isn’t cool.

Tags: IOS Apple iPad Mini iPad Android
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~ Thursday, November 1 ~
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Return of the Apple Premium

In the computer age - pre iPad - Apple was known for premium pricing. Their computers cost more than Windows machines, which kept them at a small fraction of market share, though of course they made plenty of money. This is still the situation today - the cheapest Mac laptop is $999, while many Windows laptops can be had for half that much.

But the first iPad was surprisingly affordable at $500. Competitors to this day have had a hard time beating Apple on price. But with the iPad mini, that changes. By asking half again as much as competitors for it’s small tablet, Apple is once again charging a premium for what it considers a premium product.

Apple is so popular now, that I’m sure they will sell millions of them. But like with computers, not everyone sees the “premium” in Apple hardware and software. Especially with the new mini, which has a screen that is decidedly NOT state of the art. This is a product that will appeal to the Apple faithful, but also leaves a big opening for Google, Microsoft and others.

Tags: iPad Apple IOS
~ Wednesday, October 24 ~
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Lackluster?

The new mini iPad is nice enough. But not really a big deal. The screen isn’t even as nice as Google and Amazon tablets costing way less.

But they will sell plenty of them. People will buy it because it comes from Apple.

Still, like the iPhone 5, I don’t see the “magic”. Hardly the end of Apple, but I wonder if the most interesting tech is going to be coming from others now. Samsung, Amazon, even Microsoft are all releasing interesting, innovative products.

I hope Apple is still focused on innovation, not just lawsuits.

Tags: Apple iPad Kindle Surface
~ Saturday, September 29 ~
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What is it with Apple and fonts?

I already complained that Apple removed the option of setting a minimum font size for Mail in IOS 6. Now I find that they also removed the ability to set fonts and sizes in Safari with OS X 10.8 (“Mountain Lion”). Why remove these user options? Is it just more of Apple wanting to control everything - they know what is best for you?

I find it really frustrating that they decided to remove functionality from Mail and Safari. Especially on the Airs with their small screen, it’s nice to be able to control the font wherever you can. So now I am using Chrome as my browser, because it gives me more control of fonts. 

Tags: Apple fonts IOS OS X 10.8
~ Wednesday, September 19 ~
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Breaking Out of the Walled Garden

So if you don’t want to be part of Apple’s world anymore, but you have a house full of Apple gadgets, what do you do?

First, I’m not going to be so fanatic about it that I’m going to cost myself a lot of money. I have an iPad 3 that is only a few months old, and I’m not just going to go buy a new Nexus or something. But when the time comes to replace it in a year or two, I’ll be looking at Android devices.

My iPhone 4 is another matter. It is now 2 generations old, and will probably need to be replaced in the months to come. There are lots of attractive Android phones to choose from, so this will be the easiest device to switch.

Now I also use an Apple computer. My Macbook Pro died recently, and I’ve been struggling along with an old G4 Mini that I had in my closet. It is very much out of date, and needs replacing. But what is the alternative to Apple for computers? A Windows machine? Sorry, Microsoft is as bad as Apple, and I rid myself of them years ago.

So I don’t really see an alternative to buying another Apple computer. I’ll probably buy a used one so Apple doesn’t make any money, or maybe a refurb, so they don’t get their usual profit margin off my purchase. But I don’t really see a way around buying another Mac.

As I slowly migrate away from Apple, on the software side, I am making sure I don’t get locked into their world. I sync with services that are cross platform - which means no iCloud. Toodledo or Google for tasks, Google for email and calendars, Simplenote for text, Dropbox for whatever. All these services have compatible apps on various platforms, so if I go to Android or to Amazon or to whatever, I can still get at all my stuff.

Tags: Apple IOS Android Microsoft
~ Tuesday, September 18 ~
Permalink Tags: Apple Samsung IOS
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~ Thursday, September 13 ~
Permalink Tags: Apple