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The New iPhones: Apple's Strangely Wrongheaded Pivot
September 18, 2017
It fascinates me that succession from a successful CEO to the chosen successor almost always goes badly. This phenomenon isn't limited to the CEO level -- I've seen highly successful CMOs followed by handpicked successors who also seem to have no clue as to why their predecessor did so well. I think it comes down to a lack of mentoring combined with misconceptions.
Russia, Fake News and Facebook: 24/7 Manipulation
September 11, 2017
Back when the Internet first came to be, there was the belief that the result would be more facts, less censorship, more intelligent discourse and less successful manipulation. Being able to converse with each other would lead people to be more honest, and our world increasingly would resemble a utopian ideal of peace and prosperity. Now, decades later, "fake news" has proliferated.
Gadget Ogling: Samsung's Return, Ultrasonic Tea, and Roaming Fridges
September 9, 2017
In 2016, Samsung's smartphone division wasn't so much on the rocks as dangling by a single fingernail, millimeters from plunging into a deep, dark chasm. The Galaxy Note7 had a terrible habit of exploding or catching fire. Not exactly the best look considering people prefer not to be injured while checking Instagram. The Galaxy Note8 is free of those combustible foibles, we've been assured.
Has Google Become a National Threat?
September 4, 2017
The idea that Google might be becoming a national threat is what struck me when I read a column by Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University. She makes a compelling argument that Google has reached a point where it no longer allows dissent outside the company -- though, given the recent firing of a Google engineer, that may be true inside the firm as well.
Apple to Sate iPhone Curiosity Sept. 12
August 29, 2017
Apple plans to refresh its iPhone, TV and watch lines at an event scheduled Sept. 12. In addition to upgrading its iPhone 7 models, the company is expected to debut the "iPhone 8" to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand. It reportedly will have an OLED display with barely any bezel, a fingerprint scanner at the rear of the phone, and support for facial recognition and wireless charging.
As New Turnaround King, Is HP Better Than Apple?
August 28, 2017
HP is the new turnaround king -- but is it better than Apple? IBM was the king of tech in the 1980s, but in the 1990s it was the king of turnarounds, after almost going under but coming back from a negative brand equity, which occurs when folks will pay more for a no-name product than one with a negative brand. Apple, at the end of the 90s, was in much the same shape IBM was at the beginning.
Google May Have Pixel Chromebook Showcase, Tiny Home in the Works
August 23, 2017
Google appears to be planning a Pixel-branded Chromebook and a downsized version of its Home smart speaker, following in the steps of Microsoft and Amazon respectively. Along with two expected new Pixel phones, Google this fall will unveil a Pixel-branded Chromebook and smaller, lower-priced version of its Home smart speaker, according to a report.
What Tech Companies Are Doing Wrong With Extremists
August 21, 2017
It is starting to worry me how little the responses by tech firms will do to fix the problem of extreme views instead of just driving them underground. This is largely due to the excessive focus firms now have on how they are run. Companies tend to be run tactically, with officials more likely to make decisions that will seem to make a problem go away but do not deal with the cause of the problem.
Report: Apple to Funnel Megabucks Into Original TV Content Development
August 17, 2017
Apple reportedly has decided to put more than $1 billion toward the acquisition and development of original programming, part of a long-awaited rollout of a new television and film experience. The investment will leverage Apple's thus far underwhelming Apple TV business, bolstering its core video and music library to fulfill the promise of disrupting traditional television and film studios.
Gadget Ogling: Trending Hot Plates, Toys for Future Coders, and a Ringy Dingy Ring
August 16, 2017
If you've looked at Facebook for more than a minute over the last few years, there's no question that you'll have encountered a top-down, perfectly filmed food video from BuzzFeed's Tasty channel. The cooking clips are enormously popular on the social network, racking up billions of views a month. Now BuzzFeed is trying to monetize its success in a new way. Enter the Tasty One Top, a hot plate that seeks to make cooking simpler.
How Tech Could Help Creators Look Before They Leap
August 14, 2017
The folks who made The Emoji Movie apparently were worried about its Rotten Tomatoes score -- it had earned a 0 percent rating at one point, based on a scattering of early reviews -- so they stopped critics from publishing further reviews until just before previews began running. The result was a great opening day, but attendance fell off sharply because, well, the movie sucked.
While You Wait: 4 Potentially Higher-Status Alternatives to the iPhone 8
August 7, 2017
At a rumored $1,400 sale price the coming iPhone 8 likely will test just how much people are willing to pay for a new phone -- particularly, how much parents are willing to fork over for their kids. While iPhones once conveyed status and sense of luxury, similar to a brand like Cadillac, pretty much everyone and their brother has iPhones today. The first few customers who get their hands on the latest model will be envied for about a week.
Dual-Lens Camera Revealed in Leaked Note8 Images
August 2, 2017
Photos posted to Twitter show the next Samsung Note phone will have a dual lens camera. Reporter Evan Blass posted a photo of the front of a black Note8 to Twitter on Monday. On Tuesday, he added front and back images of gold and black versions of the phone, as well as a stylus device called the "S Pen." The latest photos show a dual lens camera at the back of the phone.
HomePod Devs Stumble Upon Next iPhone Design Clues
July 31, 2017
Developers combing through the code for the Apple HomePod have found clues to what appear to be features in the next generation of iPhones, and they tweeted their discoveries on Sunday. The firmware for HomePod, Apple's $349 smart speaker expected in December, apparently contains much of the codebase for future iPhones. One of the goodies in the HomePod's code is a new biometric method for unlocking an iPhone.
Why Facebook's Willow Beats Apple's Saucer
July 31, 2017
Facebook knocked it out of the park with its financials last week, and a lot of its success comes from Zuckerberg's unique focus. Unlike other firms that jump from project to project, ranging widely from what makes them money -- like Google -- Facebook stays close to what made it successful. There is no stronger evidence than when you compare the two office projects from Apple and Facebook.
Amazon's Secret 1492 Health Team Sets Sail
July 28, 2017
A secret Amazon team, dubbed "1492," reportedly has been working on a skunkworks project devoted entirely to healthcare. The unit has been developing hardware devices and software applications related to electronic medical records, telemedicine and other health-related issues. Amazon's aim is to cover the bases in the healthcare arena, likely a bid to cash in on its massive profit potential.
The 5 Technologies We Need to Change the World
July 24, 2017
I just finished reading an interesting hard science fiction book called The Punch Escrow. The story takes place several decades in the future, and it revolves around the idea of quantum foam and teleportation. It points out why teleportation never may be practical, but it brings up the idea of human 3D printing, which could be used more effectively for space exploration.
10th Anniversary iPhone Buzz: Late, Expensive, Possibly Awesome
July 18, 2017
With September fast approaching, speculation has begun to roil about the next generation of iPhones, particularly the iPhone 8, or whatever Apple decides to name its special 10th anniversary edition of its smartphone. However, fans aching to get their hands on the iPhone 8 may have to ache longer than those upgrading to the expected new iPhone 7s and 7s Plus models.
HP Is Back: Should It Rename Itself Compaq?
July 17, 2017
HP just took over the PC market lead worldwide. You probably don't get how incredible this is, so here's an analogy: It's as if a crooked referee put a bunch of lead on a racer who already was overweight and shuffled him to the back of the pack, but in the end, the guy finished first. You'd seriously want to look under his T-Shirt to see if you'd find Superman's costume.
Gadget Ogling: Show and Tell, Fidget Folly, and Connected Nightlights
July 12, 2017
The Echo Show is the first in Amazon's line of smart speakers to incorporate a screen, and it seems very much more "speaker with a display" than "tablet with better audio and microphones." It has all the functionality of Echo, including access to Alexa, Amazon's voice-operated assistant. The screen can, for example, provide a more detailed weather outlook than what Alexa spouts out.
Could Tech Nerf North Korea?
July 10, 2017
When a hostile country regularly lobs missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again. Approaches to North Korea tend to be in-the-box thinking, but there are new technologies that effectively could neutralize the threat it poses.
The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
The United States of Amazon
June 26, 2017
Amazon's significant expansion into yet another market -- this time, grocery stores -- dominated many of my conversations last week. Clearly, Amazon warned us. I've been here before -- back in the 1990s, when Amazon was just books, I was running the company's e-commerce unit. I got into an argument with one of the analysts focused on Amazon, who believed the company wouldn't go beyond books.
Apple Centers Health Data Strategy on iPhone
June 19, 2017
Apple quietly has been strategizing to expand its growing healthcare business to include the management of digital health records, with the iPhone operating as a central data hub. Apple reportedly has been in talks with numerous health industry groups that are involved in setting standards for the storage and sharing of electronic medical records, in a way that would give consumers more control.
The Art of Manipulation and Misdirection
June 19, 2017
Last week, I listened to an economist talk about Apple's complaints that Qualcomm had charged Apple too much for access to patents. What was fascinating was that Apple had folks focused on the 5 percent Qualcomm had charged it instead of on the massive profit that Apple made on each phone. The price of the iPhone 8 likely will be well over $1,000 -- but it could cost well under $500 to build.
Cook Gives Up a Few Crumbs of Apple Auto Info
June 16, 2017
News about Apple's plans for the automotive market have been dripping slowly from the company for months, and CEO Tim Cook this week released a few more drops from the faucet. Apple's auto efforts are zeroing in on autonomous systems, he said. Self-driving is a core technology that Apple considers very important to its auto plans, but it's very challenging from an AI perspective, Cook noted.
Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home
June 12, 2017
The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod, its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within. HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the room.
Hearing Crickets at Apple's WWDC and a Pin Drop in the Senate
June 12, 2017
The two mammoth events last week were the Apple WWDC keynote and ex-FBI chief James Comey's appearance at a Senate committee hearing. Now I'm sure a lot of folks didn't have the time to watch both events -- and particularly for the Comey event, I'm sure the coverage has the right and the left believing very different realities. Apple is becoming more and more like a typical tech firm.
The Max-Q: The Coolest Thing Out of Computex
June 5, 2017
I didn't attend Computex this year, and that was sad for everything but my budget, because there was a ton of cool stuff announced at the show. Dell, HP and Lenovo showed off new designs that were both attractive and compelling. Mixed-reality headsets hit; based on Intel and Microsoft technology, they were far more affordable than the strong virtual reality stuff already in market.
Rumored Apple Plans Hint at Smart Speaker Battle Ahead
June 2, 2017
Apple reportedly has begun production of a high-end speaker with Siri-based digital assistant technology to compete directly with Amazon's Alexa-based Echo speakers and the Google Assistant-powered Home speaker. Production is in the early stages, but the device could be unveiled as early as next week at WWDC. That would position the company to begin shipping in time for the winter holiday season.
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What do you think of Apple's new iPhones?
I plan to buy an iPhone X.
I plan to buy an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus.
With the X, the iPhone 8 models already seem inferior.
Any of the new iPhones is better than any other phone.
No phone is worth $1K to me.
I'd never buy an iPhone, regardless of price.