“Apple Inc is looking for a display specialist to lead the investigation on emerging display technologies such as high optical efficiency LCD, AMOLED and flexible display to improve overall display optical performance.”
The job listing has since been removed by Cupertino HQ. We assume, this could be related to a future iWatch (can’t see this being released in near term with a ‘flex body’ if they’re posting the job NOW) or future iPhone.
On the matter of an ‘iWatch’, Microsoft did try this before:
However, Steve Jobs also said this:
“So when a good idea comes, you know, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving among that group of 100 people, get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know – just explore things.”
Ideas only become great when everything else is there to support it. Am iWatch or future TV can be successful for Apple, because everything is in place to capitalize on the success: Apple ID, broadband, iTunes, App Store, Siri, iCloud, GPS etc. Essentially, an established, “integrated” ecosystem exists feed these “thin client devices”.
Microsoft’s SPOT watch didn’t have that robust infrastructure and ecosystem…so it just didn’t make it far in 2003.
Sometimes, ideas are too ahead of their time. If Apple had released the iPad first vs. the iPhone, they would have missed the BOAT because the ecosystem IS the mobile phone user…not the third category user.
Releasing the iPad after the iPhone essentially staged the playing field properly as the education curve for users would allow them to easily adopt the iPad, and enable developers to tweak existing apps, before moving to full native iPad apps and easily add revenue to their bottom-line. The resulting effect of third category success (iPad) for Apple has been the complete and utter decimation of PC sales as has been reported recently.
Oddly, the issue of skeuomorphism has taken the front stage since the news broke about the Apple re-organization. I also remember reading about this design belief through Fast Company’s Co. Design article back in September 2012. The battleground was already in place.
Even as Jobs supported Forstall’s views on skeuomorphism, he also viewed Jonathan Ive (Senior VP, Industrial Design) as his “spiritual partner” [Forstall worked at NeXT and he joined Jobs to return to Apple in 1997 as part of the NeXT acquisition as a move to SAVE Apple with OS/X — Forstall continued with iOS, Passbook, Maps]. However, Jony hated skeuomorphism as did many of the other designers.
From Fast C@mpany:
It’s funny to see the media report along the lines of “The Sky is Falling” already. Since I am still using my iPhone 3GS, I cannot comment on Siri but for Maps, Apple’s strategic error to the “bass booster” called modern tech media was not releasing the product as a “beta release” and eliminating Google Maps outright since have used it since the original iPhone release since
1997 2007 (sorry, tired eyes). That said, Apple Maps hasn’t been that bad and I’ve never encountered any issues outside of missing “Street View” as a feature.
Apple’s strategic error with Maps was possibly a by-product of Steve Job’s ghost. His thermonuclear stance with Android/Google may have blinded the troops into following through with their spiritual leader even though he was gone. Also, it doesn’t help when Wozniak (Apple’s co-founder) is talking to the media with a lukewarm posture about Siri right now - and I can assure you, he is a brute-testing nerd as I’ve seen his posts on Facebook, Techcrunch and in the media. He uses everything which is an example of a good user.
Nonetheless, Apple announced the slaying of two executives part of the current management platform. One came as a surprise (not entirely, but still a surprise) — with a long history at Apple since he joined the company in 1997 with Steve Jobs as part of the NeXT acquisition.
Surely, this is a big blow for Scott. After Steve Jobs passed on, many articles dubbed him “Mini-Steve” with reports of ruffled feathers between Jonathan Ive and himself at times. Before Jobs died, he reportedly told Tim Cook that no one should interfere with Jonathan Ive and this included Scott Forstall. Jobs also said that his direct report should be Tim Cook and no one else. This is remarkable revelation given Scott came to Apple in 1997 with Steve Jobs under a strong history of support.
I will add, the other thing not mentioned in Apple’s release or in media reports is the lacklustre response to Apple’s passbook. Yes, some major brands are getting right behind it but out of the gate, the value proposition has been slow for consumers to grasp. I get the concept. But recently, I used my Starbucks app and was prompted if I wanted to add it to Passbook. So I said yes. After saying yes, going into Passbook does nothing with respect to the Starbucks app. I see categories and then upon selection, I am simply re-directed to a bucket of passbook-friendly apps. So what. Nothing seems to be connected — maybe I should watch the Apple event on Passbook. Cuz, if I don’t see any value now, its footprint on iOS6 and my old 3GS is a waste of space.
This just doesn’t feel like Apple. It’s like an empty shell of nothing promoted as something great.
John’s tour, on the other hand, was very short-lived at Apple. Joining January 2012 until this month, very little was heard about his efforts in the media but some reports suggest that this wasn’t a great exec boarding at Apple. Perhaps a cultural fit or execution matter, I’m sure we’ll find out more from leaks or insiders as time goes on. That said, Apple’s revitalization through retail stores was put on the map through a combination of factors — Jobs, focus, and someone who understood consumer retail. We know about the predecessor but we know very little about Mr. Browett. Based on John’s background, I don’t think his experience fit with Apple’s cultural platform. Most likely, a wise move.
That said, even as Apple’s press release praises the brilliant delivery under Cue’s online services group, let’s me be honest here. iTunes, while functional, needs a bit of an upgrade. I have a vague recollection about some minor aesthetic changes but what we’re using today has the feel of 2001. Further, Ping and MobileMe were failures and maybe not fully under Cue’s watch but my point is, more than ever, this new re-organization is going to place extra pressure on the online group. Honestly, I feel that iTunes feels like WinAmp 17 (what is the current number, lol?) which is my point. Where’s the evolution — don’t ask me what I want just tell me what I NEED in Jobsian-speak! :-) Also, iOS6 AppStore offers up a dramatic re-design but the verdict isn’t in on this one It seems much, much slower for on a 3GS and while unfair, it no doubt has far more utility on iPhone 5. That said, developers have rumbled that it’s much harder to get traction into the AppStore ecoystem now. We’ll see how this evolves.
I do believe Apple made another bad decision to deploy iOS6 support for the large installed base of 3GS users. Simply put, we’ve had 3 major iOS upgrades over three years. That’s fair and it is time to move on. Of course, Apple fearing a revolt probably went with some wrong assumptions. On 3GS with iOS6, I have no clear downgrade option and thus, am left with no option but to live through the iOS6 user experience on a slower iPhone..
Even Instragram’s camera feature works poorly with my 3GS now. It’s slow and non-responsiveness at times where I see a dark screen but no image most of the time. I can’t definitively confirm this is attributed to iOS6 and 3GS but it’s made the social photo app non-usable for me. I’m now relegated to taking a photo with Apple’s camera app, then launching Instagram to upload it to the masses. Not fun and it has all but killed my engagement with Instagram until I upgrade to the next iOS device.
Apple’s going to find it hard to keep pace with the new competition. Sometimes, it’s much easier to be innovative from the wine cellar and nip at the feet of slow, lumbering, and somewhat blind giants like minnows or piranhas. Perhaps Apple’s re-organization will shake things up leading to dramatic re-imagining of Cupertino prowess in the coming years. Apple is definitely not hurting but I will admit that market sentiment for recent quarter financial announcement was nothing short of silly (C’mon! Headlines like “iPad sales weak” because the market EXPECTED 15m units sold but Apple only sold 14m unit smacks of foolish tomfoolery). As it goes!
We’ll see in the coming year how Apple really is under Cook’s leadership. I do like Tim Cook. He’s done some great things. We can be sure that Cook will run the numbers like a tight ship (no squeaky leaky here and Jobs made sure of that) but let’s hope the vision, product direction and imagination continues in the absence of a laser-focused individual who lived and breathed Apple at the cost of a really enjoyable normal life.
In Video #3 of our ongoing “What Would Alex Bosika Do?” series with guest host, Roger Beharry Lall, we break open the floodgates on tablet dimensions and beer. There’s enough laughter and innuendo here to freak out the CEO’s from RIM, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. Watch our random walk down tablet lane. ;-)
So we ask, “Does Size Really Matter?”
More YouTube videos on this growing channel:
- 6 Companies That Creatively Use Tablets (mashable.com)
- Size matters to tablet users, study finds (lenovo.com)
- Do iPads or Tablet Computers Constitute Their Own Product Market? (mydistributionlaw.com)
- Apple design expert Peter Bressler recreates Roger Fidler’s tablet prototype to point out major design differences (edibleapple.com)
- Samsung Galaxy Note throwdown: A big phone or small tablet? (reviews.cnet.com)
- Boosted by tablets, mobile TV is rising (lenovo.com)
- The New 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet: 4 reasons to buy it (blogs.blackberry.com)
- Rethinking the viability of the Windows 8 tablet (zdnet.com)
I’ve said it before. I LIKE TIM COOK. This video confirmed that he’s in charge and can run the ship the right way for the next ten years.
Thanks to MacLife.com for the Tim Cook graphic below. (I subscribe to their digital newsstand subscription — 99c per month, what a steal for a great publication!)
TIM COOK IS ALL SMILES
“We have one (industrial design) organization. We have one hardware organization. We have one marketing organization. It’s not like we’re this big company with all these divisions that are cranking out independent products. We’re simpletons.” [The Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2012]
TIM COOK’S PRAETORIAN GUARD
“It’s Unreasonable That We’re Fighting Over Rectangles”
“In some cases, for most of us in the industry, it’s defying common sense. We’re all scratching our heads and saying, “How is this possible that we’re actually having an industry-level debate and trying to stifle competition?” Consumers want rectangles and we’re fighting over whether you can deliver a product in the shape of a rectangle.”
— — Kevin Packingham, Samsung’s Chief Product Officer
One story caught my attention.
It was about the time Steve Jobs flipped (literally) a month before Apple was to launch the iPhone back in 2007. By the way, none of the language below is real. I made it up to make it a little more interesting. Do not sue me. :-)
Jobs: Call in the senior team!
Jobs Peon: Um, okay Stevie! I’ll…er, get right on it!
Senior team: *&^%, what now?
(enter visions of running blonde with hammer throw sequence)
Jobs: What’s wrong with you guys!
Senior team: ……. (silence)
Jobs: Do you see this?!
Senior team: …… (silence)
Jobs: Look at my iPhone prototype! Do you SEE this?!
Jobs pulled the prototype iPhone from his pocket to show a zillion and one scratches on the device. Okay, maybe a dozen or so. But you get the point.
Jobs: Where do you think carry their phone most of the time? Yes, in their pockets! Guess what else they carry in there often? Wallets, money and yes,KEYS! Keys will scratch the screen!
The prototype screen was actually plastic. Steve demanded a glass screen and wanted to see perfection in six weeks. Apple immediately sourced Gorilla Glass from Corning, an American company. This demand literally came a month before Apple was to ramp up production for the launch!
Jobs: I want a glass screen. I want an unscratchable screen! And I want it perfect in six weeks!
The Gorilla glass required great engineers and a company that could do this. One of Apple’s executive knew where and he went to China to secure a bid to cut Gorilla Glass into millions of screens. Subsidized by the Chinese government, this company would become known to all of us as FoxConn.
About six months ago, I joined WIND Mobile as a new customer and opted to purchase the Blackberry Curve 9360. A sleek device with good battery management. Last week, after months of use and more than a bit of hurry, I put the Curve in the same pocket as my car keys. When I pulled out my Blackberry, guess what I saw? Yep, no Gorilla Glass. A nice long scratch in the centre of the smaller screen.
How does that make me feel after spending $450 for the phone without a subsidy? I’m not a happy camper.
You get my point. Attention to detail is everything and what surprises me the most about this story is that the design of that first iPhone came Jonathan Ive and team - a team that has done their fair share of glamorous work with success to boot! Ive, his team and other executives failed in the most basic of user case testing: How would consumers would carry this new, revolutionary iPhone?
Imagine how people would feel paying $600+ or less (with subsidy) for their new product with something as simple as that happening.
Major earmark for brand and product failure.
- Rumor has next iPhone taller, thinner, with flat metal back (electronista.com)
- Foxconn CEO: next iPhone will put ëGS3 to shameí (electronista.com)
- First Parts of the New iPhone 5 Revealed (smartphone.biz-news.com)
- Apple partner Foxconn says Fall iPhone 5 will be the ‘Samsung-killer’ - Computerworld (blog) (blogs.computerworld.com)
- Guest Post: How Liquid Metal & Gorilla Glass 2 may be in the next iPhone (wirelessventuresltd.com)
Source: Business Insider
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS - USA), the 2012 inflation rate is currently hovering around 1.2%. With the Fed’s endless engagement using market measures like “Operation Twist” and whatever other “easing” Bernanke see’s fit, it truly is hard to believe that so much “liquidity” (DEBT MONEY JUICE!) has kept the economy from transforming into apocalyptic hyper-inflation.
Putting aside the global economy, companies like Tim Cook plan post-Steve Jobs. It may also been the driving force by Apple’s new retail chief John Browett, former CEO of Dixon Retail, a European technology retailer. (See Apple Press Release)have decided to act differently. It is likely that Apple’s recent move was a
In short, Apple has given Apple Store employees a 25% raise! Open the champagne!
Bottom-line: Apple has done what is long overdue. I’ve seen and heard this happen, too often, and in too many companies in our hyper-competitive, GLOBALIZED, low-inflation environment. Staff goes “all in”, the company either succeeds or stumbles along, staff are told to continue to sacrifice for the end game, commitment continues to be “all in” but in the end, all is lost in meaning, message and vision with the sacrifice of talented employees. In some cases, stories from tech startup warriors report have hit a common thread: one in which their top executive(s) operate on the following: “I don’t believe in life balance. I only believe in execution.”
On the surface, this is a sound business principle because execution is everything. That said, it doesn’t fit the bill if the work environment is a modern day tech gulag which is full of misery, friction, and an endless parade of promises (the so-called “win-win” part of the labour contract).
To the start-up founders and leaders: It doesn’t matter if YOU believe in your work as a transformative agent to modern civilization. It’s still your vision and your dream. Your warriors will tag along for the ride and help you realize that dream as long as they feel they’re part of it with a small portion of the “win-win” contract which they hope will come knocking on their door one day. If they don’t see that, your platform of continuous sacrifice will fall on deaf ears over time except in extreme cases where there is 25% unemployment in the national economy.
Looking deeply into the data, it does appear that the U.S. (at least) is really in the range of real, true and undeniably high unemployment levels; namely, 20%+. In that type of environment, labour is more willing to accept unfavourable conditions out of sheer economic reality.
Recently, I heard some interesting perspectives from the new technical wizards exiting academia today. They’re committed on the whole, believe in productivity and want to be part of real things that do change the world. However, not at the cost of their personal livelihood and comfort (re: social space). Is this selfish? Doubtful. If anything, this new generation of employees is looking at the modern world as one that is half-full and half-empty with a careful balance that is their guiding principle in life. There has been an entire series of books that speak to these new principles. Even though Tim Ferriss’ “The Four Hour Work Week” was one of the most recent (first) ones, there’s plenty more where that came from. And it continues unabated.
Back to Apple. This news is about giving back. I don’t know about you but Apple’s retail store employees are true warriors. They’re cool, they’re knowledgeable, they’re passionate and in so many cases, they’re patient. Whether Apple Store employees were underpaid is a topic for another debate. The point is that Apple made the right decision in today’s environment. Apple’s front lineIS the retail store employee and the silent army of happy consumers that refer countless business leads to Apple. With $100 billion dollars in the bank, it was really hard for Apple to justify the lack of compensation (a raise!) with Apple Store employees for so long.
In the context of a low inflation environment, Apple’s 25% raise is amazing on two fronts:
- The across-the-board raise is astronomically above-par to any raise in the current economic climate (I can’t recall another company offering so much)
- Apple’s retail store salaries were so low that they were not market competitive (tragic given the groundswell of support to build this brand)
Kudos to Apple for MAKING the right decision.
Here are some interesting things to point out about Apple since Tim Cook took the helm:
- Short weeks after Jobs’ passing, key executives got promotions in rank and salary after not seeing such progress (ever) under Jobs
- Apple implemented in-kind charity donation programs (Steve never allowed for this) shortly after his death
- Tim Cook (“finally”) visited Apple’s supply chain (specifically, FoxConn) unannounced to investigate claims of abuse, suicide and other matters among FoxConn employees (I emailed Steve Jobs a year after D8 demanding an Apple update and got no reply)
- As recently as last week, it was reported that Tim Cook was strengthening his control of the supply chain to maintain costs and to also mitigate abuse risk within the supply chain as reported in the recent years
After New York Times’ expose about FoxConn and Apple, I emailed Tim Cook reminding him that Apple had a responsibility to act pro-actively and to respond publicly to these claims (Sure, I wasn’t the only one but at least I did write in). At D8, Steve Jobs promised this would be a top Apple priority. A year went by with no Apple news. I emailed Jobs for a response and received no reply.. Two weeks after my email to Tim Cook (re: NYTimes), I was added to a specific distribution list (form letter but specific to my concerns) where Tim Cook outlined his key plans and actions regarding Apple’s supply chain. Shortly after recent supply chain visits, Apple sent out a press release about “Supplier Responsibility” but more importantly, Apple sent this to me via email after my initial concerns about FoxConn abuse claims. Pretty impressive.
That kind of PR coordination is driven by an operations-centric mindset. This, no doubt, was the hand of Tim Cook! Impressive. When I discussed this with an industry insider (mobile) over beers (his company, a competitor to Apple), he claimed that this was the work of Tim Cook and was something Apple was very good at vs. his own company and something that Apple could pull off but his company could not. Really? That’s unbelievable.
In my view, Tim Cook is making a dent in Apple’s universe. While Steve dented the universe and changed the world, Tim has not only impressed me with his speaking and presentation style but with his compassion which didn’t really exist under Jobs, IMHO. When I hear stories about Tim Cook sitting with employees in the cafeteria to talk about Apple (compared to Steve who only reportedly sat with Jony Ive) that is a welcome change to a brand that so many people (including myself) love so much.
Tim, please stay on top of corporate social responsibility. Even though Apple has been in the cross-hairs with Greenpeace for sometime, Apple has responded (eventually) and led the industry on matters that might be environmental in nature or involve other aspects of the business. For example, Apple issued a release about a “Greener Apple” under Steve Jobs a few years back and how they were handling the issue of toxic chemical removal from their high-tech products. It was an impressive announcement.
Social responsibility is a growing trend and requirement for business and modern brand management. Consumers are highly-sophisticated today and no matter how beloved you may think your brand is, if your products reek of bad business practices, consumers will eventually revolt and your brand will suffer.
In a brilliant documentary called “Objectified”, industrial designers discussed the meaning of design and how it plays into our daily life. At one point during the documentary, one of the designers alluded to a “new responsibility” among designers that requires them to think about design outside of a vacuum; that is, not to design and put all focus on the product, design and its careful role within the environment. The designer focused on a new, higher calling for designers that requires them — no, commits them — to incorporate “environmental” design into the product so that any product can eventually be treated for proper waste disposal at the end of its life. That’s a massive paradigm shift in industrial design! This is a welcome change and a signal that even industrial designers face the obligation of social responsibility in their own work.
The Apple Store raises may help some very loyal warriors within Apple Stores stick around longer. Next time, though, don’t wait so long Apple. The Microsoft poaching is a tragic consequence of such haphazard corporate/human resource policy but in the end, money should also not be the centre of all decisions. It should be about a partnership of actions (skills, passions, and loyalty) to drive a broad, comprehensive vision forward. People, by nature, like to associate themselves to great causes — like tribes (Seth Godin speak) — and for the most part, they will join the campaign. Within reason.
In the final analysis, it’s up to the rest of Corporate North America to make some serious macro-decisions and to think about their number one resource (talent). A resource which represents main street and has sadly suffered the past four years from a recurring theme of bad ethics, criminality, poor risk protocol, and utter greed. Perhaps this is a chance opportunity to rebuild on broken, formerly entangled relationships between firm and labour, to build better opportunities together vs. revert back to the old nurture model that pre-dates our modern, globalized world.
This is not a manifesto for excessive unionization, restrictive labour policies, or any kind of “entitlement” but is a call to action to re-shape the corporate contract that embraces labour, as a holistic productive input (IQ, EQ, ethical) that than a cost/monetary unit within business operations.
Can other tier-1 brand corporations mirror Apple’s recent move? Let’s see. For the most part, main street has suffered from a recurring wave of corruption, corporate bailouts, and downsizing that has left most of them thinking that the “rest of us” means employees somewhere else in this world.
It’s time to pay it forward.