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Apple's Schiller was 'shocked' at ad agency's suggestions for branding turnaround, documents show

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
Email correspondence made public as part of the second California Apple v. Samsung patent trial illustrates Apple marketing guru Phil Schiller's displeasure at the company's high-profile ad agency, which in 2013 was under the gun to churn out quality material in light of Samsung's own media blitz.

Schiller


The email string, first spotted by Business Insider, comes from a 2013 conversation between Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Schiller and longtime advertising partner TBWA/Media Arts Lab, a high-profile ad agency behind some of the best campaigns in recent memory.

In the first note, Schiller expressed concern about a Wall Street Journal story titled "Has Apple Lost Its Cool To Samsung?" and told TBWA, "We have a lot of work to do to turn this around."

The ad agency -- which apparently has an aversion to capital letters -- responded with a long, detailed list of bullet points outlining ideas, strategies and possible avenues Apple marketing could take to reverse the "chilling narrative on apple."

The first of "3 big areas" of discussion involved a company-wide response that looked to change company behavior, focus on the upcoming product roadmap, advertising and new approaches to sales. TBWA suggested an emergency meeting "similar to antenna-gate" that would convene top-ranking executives including CEO Tim Cook and design chief Jony Ive.


Email from TBWA/Media Arts Lab to Apple SVP Phil Schiller.


Second, as seen above, the ad agency compared the then-current situation to Apple's situation in 1997, when marketing played a large part in bringing the company back from the dead. To accomplish this, the firm tossed out the idea of experimenting with new marketing ideas that went beyond what was discussed at weekly marketing communications (marcom) meetings.

Finally, TBWA recommended the team hold a regular mini-marcom meeting to coordinate efforts.

Schiller did not appreciate the memo.



TBWA apologized for its "over-blown" reaction and suggested a more even-handed approach. Subsequent emails from Schiller showed the marketing chief was increasingly concerned with Samsung's marketing prowess.

"I watched the Samsung pre-superbowl ad that launched today. It's pretty good and I can't help but think 'these guys are feeling it' (like an athlete who can't miss because they are in a zone) while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone. That's sad because we have much better products," Schiller wrote, ending the email, "Something drastic has to change. Fast."

The final correspondence revealed in court showed Apple's board of directors was also getting anxious over the company's lack of effective advertising. While there was definite tension between Schiller and TBWA/Media Arts Lab at the time, as reported in mid-2013, the firm continues to produce high-quality ads as Apple's go-to agency.
post #2 of 76

Again... Why are these memos and supposedly private bits of information being leaked? Aren't all of these things restricted to the court and to lawyers, the judge and jurors? Most importantly, what has this to do with the trial at hand? It seems utterly extraneous to the defense of the patents.

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post #3 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Again... Why are these memos and supposedly private bits of information being leaked? Aren't all of these things restricted to the court and to lawyers, the judge and jurors? Most importantly, what has this to do with the trial at hand? It seems utterly extraneous to the defense of the patents.

I thought civil cases made everything public.

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post #4 of 76
This happened in Jan 2013?

Interesting. It puts a decidedly defensive spin on the "can't innovate my ass" quip. It means the sensationalist "doomed" narratives from WSJ (and others) are working to destroy Apple, and putting Schiller on defense. Journalism my ass.

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post #5 of 76
Discovery is not public, but things introduced into evidence are pretty much always public except in limited circumstances. Those emails wouldn't fall into a trade secret category. Apple initiated the litigation, so they knew such materials would come out.
post #6 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

This happened in Jan 2013?

Interesting. It puts a decidedly defensive spin on the "can't innovate my ass" quip. It means the sensationalist "doomed" narratives from WSJ (and others) are working to destroy Apple, and putting Schiller on defense. Journalism my ass.

To me, it looks like nothing more than a righteous and reasonable response to an ad agency propossl that was missing the ball.
post #7 of 76

4-page graph-ridden DED article showing why Apple ads are better than Samsung ads with a timeline dating back to the stone age in 3, 2, 1.

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post #8 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

Again... Why are these memos and supposedly private bits of information being leaked? Aren't all of these things restricted to the court and to lawyers, the judge and jurors? Most importantly, what has this to do with the trial at hand? It seems utterly extraneous to the defense of the patents.

I think they see Schiller as an easy mark in their attempt to discredit the entire company by association. The fact that the documents reveal Schiller's single focus is on trying to turn things around from a marketing perspective is because he feels the company doesn't have any faith in their own IP as being strong enough to protect them from the onslaught of Samsung products and marketing prowess, hence the patents are worthless. They are attempting to present a deductive fallacy, but perhaps they see Schiller as the Achilles heel in this case. I certainly don't see him as a guru of anything. Lately, the marketing has been pretty bad, in my opinion. But, yeah, it has nothing to do with the patents.

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post #9 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

Again... Why are these memos and supposedly private bits of information being leaked? Aren't all of these things restricted to the court and to lawyers, the judge and jurors? Most importantly, what has this to do with the trial at hand? It seems utterly extraneous to the defense of the patents.

 

I don't get it either. It is interesting, though. If anything, to me it shows how much people like Schiller care about Apple. Apple is still scrappy after all these years on top. I'm lovin' it, MacDonalds-style.

 

Samsung's lawyers are trying to paint Apple in a corner crying for answers and not having a clue what to do. But... regardless of how this trial goes, ultimately 2014 itself will say more about how Apple's doin' than any court case will. I hope they update Apple TV to make all these other products look like toys.

 

And as unpopular as it is around here, I hope they release an actual TV. The TV market is a confusing mess that needs someone like Apple to come in and make sense of it. Each player is making like 50 TVs and the longer you look into buying a TV the more confusing it gets. You can't get information, all you get is conflicting opinions. It's bad out there. And even the best TVs on the market are kind of ugly looking, and the backs of these supposedly sexy sets look like the facade of a fucking Borg star ship. With remote controls designed by morons and software the likes of which looks like is was created by the blind. This market is ripe for some real innovation. For someone like Apple to come along and carefully and methodically design the TV from the ground up in a cohesive, simple, well designed, integrated experience for modern times.

 

YOU CAN'T BUY A TV WITH A DECENT SET OF SPEAKERS BUILT IN. IT'S A JOKE!!!!

 

The best TV of the moment: The moron-named Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B has dual 5-watt speakers? WTF is going on? It's like living in bizarro world. My 8-year old Pioneer has dual 13-watt speakers. The 6-year old Kuro 9G had 18-watt ones. And watching a movie on a modern LED TV is like cutting your eyes with razor blades. The whole thing is upside-down.


Edited by Ireland - 4/7/14 at 5:38pm
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post #10 of 76
And people still think this lawsuit is a good idea because by god Samsung needs to be shamed and punished. Who cares if confidential stuff like this gets published as long as Samsung is shamed. 1rolleyes.gif
post #11 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

And people still think this lawsuit is a good idea because by god Samsung needs to be shamed and punished. Who cares if confidential stuff like this gets published as long as Samsung is shamed. 1rolleyes.gif

 

If Samsung loses this time again none of this leaked stuff will matter, and they will look very bad. Like the way a new president's dirty laundry is forgotten once he wins. If...

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post #12 of 76
Amazing how much people can spin thing when quotes are taken out of contexts. Sanity. Go Apple.
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post #13 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

If Samsung loses this time again none of this leaked stuff will matter, and they will look very bad. Like the way a new president's dirty laundry is forgotten once he wins. If...
IF Samsung loses, maybe.
post #14 of 76
Sounds like a fun idea to compare ads
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post #15 of 76
I can't believe someone from Apple's ad agency would compare 2013 Apple to 1997 Apple and do it to Phil Schiller. I hope to god this person isn't still working on the Apple account.
post #16 of 76
First, doesn't 'tossed out' mean the same as 'binned'? Super-confusing that the term has double contradictory meanings.

Second, I am shocked—shocked!—that Phil Schiller would write "the iPhone" instead of just "iPhone".
post #17 of 76
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Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Second, I am shocked—shocked!—that Phil Schiller would write "the iPhone" instead of just "iPhone".

 

I hope for your sake you're being sarcastic.

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post #18 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I hope for your sake you're being sarcastic.

Honestly, I'm not shocked, but I find it somewhat interesting that Apple's SVP of Marketing wouldn't have internalised Apple's linguistic idiosyncrasies (which I enjoy, by the way).

Edit: Ah, didn't realise how my use of shocked mirrored Schiller's. That was dumb of me and wholly unintentional.
Edited by Zandros - 4/7/14 at 5:44pm
post #19 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

And people still think this lawsuit is a good idea...

What alternatives do you think might be preferable?
post #20 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I can't believe someone from Apple's ad agency would compare 2013 Apple to 1997 Apple and do it to Phil Schiller. I hope to god this person isn't still working on the Apple account.

The guy he spoke to was James Vincent, the company president at the time and he was in charge of the Apple account. TBWA's top staff are listed here:

http://www.tbwa.com/leadership/

Lee Clow there did the 1984 ad. The Media Arts Lab (MAL) appears to be a subsidiary that is kept more hidden from the public:

http://www.standard.co.uk/business/markets/apples-own-ad-agency-and-other-secrets-of-a-stellar-brand-6451855.html

This would help prevent competitors using the same agency or hiring staff away. It seems Phil was ready to ditch them:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303847804579481883007501484

"In an early 2013 email to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Mr. Schiller, the company's senior vice president of global marketing, wrote that Apple "may need to start a search for a new agency." He added, "we are not getting what we need from them and haven't been for a while.""

The offending part of the email is shown in the link from the AI article:

http://www.businessinsider.com/phil-schiller-emails-2014-4



I can understand where the guy was coming from because it's a mindset a lot of people got into because of all the negative press - he was buying into media reports about Apple and then suggesting their company needs to behave differently instead of just doing the job he was hired to do.

Look at how many people posted here on the forum about the Apple stock as if Apple was days away from closing the doors unless they quickly changed their business strategy despite still being one of the most profitable companies in the world.

The trouble with external ad agencies is they don't follow what's actually going on in the company and what messages need to be sent out. They assess the outside perception like everyone else and just try to suggest ways to fix those perceived issues. The trouble with internal ad groups is they would be more likely to run out of ideas as they aren't working with multiple clients and experimenting with a variety of ideas and styles.

There's also the problem of not giving out product info to marketing agencies too soon. Maybe their internal ad groups should be responsible for the ad themes so that they have a roadmap and then they can ask the external agencies to flesh out those themes rather than rely on them for everything. It would be like a script writer making a story arc and then having assistant writers fill out the details. They could then have multiple external agencies flesh out the themes and pick which one does the best job.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone 
I think they see Schiller as an easy mark in their attempt to discredit the entire company by association. The fact that the documents reveal Schiller's single focus is on trying to turn things around from a marketing perspective is because he feels the company doesn't have any faith in their own IP as being strong enough to protect them from the onslaught of Samsung products and marketing prowess, hence the patents are worthless. They are attempting to present a deductive fallacy, but perhaps they see Schiller as the Achilles heel in this case.

That's an interesting take on it. Phil is the SVP of marketing though so it's his job to keep Apple's brand perception under control so he was probably feeling a bit of pressure. Samsung could try to make it look like Apple was heavily dependent on their marketing but as Phil himself said, there was nothing wrong with the company in terms of operation, the problem was on the marketing side so I doubt it would have much effect.

Some of these details ought to be kept confidential as some of them could strain relationships with companies Apple works with.
post #21 of 76
I'm not well verse about any of this stuff regarding patent cases and marketing stuff. I suppose given all the alledged heat on Apple to innovate or else Phil might've been feeling some pressure. It is very competitive out there and everyone especially Sammy is gunning for Apple. But how does marketing fears or not fit into the whole patent infringement question? Honest question no sarcasm meant?
post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The ad agency -- which apparently has an aversion to capital letters --

lol.gif

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post #23 of 76
Oh my god... the grammar.

:/
post #24 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I don't get it either. It is interesting, though. If anything, to me it shows how much people like Schiller care about Apple. Apple is still scrappy after all these years on top. I'm lovin' it, MacDonalds-style.

Samsung's lawyers are trying to paint Apple in a corner crying for answers and not having a clue what to do. But... regardless of how this trial goes, ultimately 2014 itself will say more about how Apple's doin' than any court case will. I hope they update Apple TV to make all these other products look like toys.

And as unpopular as it is around here, I hope they release an actual TV. The TV market is a confusing mess that needs someone like Apple to come in and make sense of it. Each player is making like 50 TVs and the longer you look into buying a TV the more confusing it gets. You can't get information, all you get is conflicting opinions. It's bad out there. And even the best TVs on the market are kind of ugly looking, and the backs of these supposedly sexy sets look like the facade of a fucking Borg star ship. With remote controls designed by morons and software the likes of which looks like is was created by the blind. This market is ripe for some real innovation. For someone like Apple to come along and carefully and methodically design the TV from the ground up in a cohesive, simple, well designed, integrated experience for modern times.

YOU CAN'T BUY A TV WITH A DECENT SET OF SPEAKERS BUILT IN. IT'S A JOKE!!!!

The best TV of the moment: The moron-named Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B has dual 5-watt speakers? WTF is going on? It's like living in bizarro world. My 8-year old Pioneer has dual 13-watt speakers. The 6-year old Kuro 9G had 18-watt ones. And watching a movie on a modern LED TV is like cutting your eyes with razor blades. The whole thing is upside-down.

"OLED-info" blog had a story today from the Korea Herald about an LG OLED one-off done up for Apple, supposedly because once again their planned TV for 2013 is in trouble. I may send a link if I can find it.

Here: http://www.oled-info.com/new-rumors-suggest-lgd-developing-65-oled-tv-panels-apple
Edited by Flaneur - 4/7/14 at 7:08pm
post #25 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



I can understand where the guy was coming from because it's a mindset a lot of people got into because of all the negative press - he was buying into media reports about Apple and then suggesting their company needs to behave differently instead of just doing the job he was hired to do.

Look at how many people posted here on the forum about the Apple stock as if Apple was days away from closing the doors unless they quickly changed their business strategy despite still being one of the most profitable companies in the world.

The trouble with external ad agencies is they don't follow what's actually going on in the company and what messages need to be sent out. They assess the outside perception like everyone else and just try to suggest ways to fix those perceived issues. The trouble with internal ad groups is they would be more likely to run out of ideas as they aren't working with multiple clients and experimenting with a variety of ideas and styles.

 

Schiller seems overly sensitive and weird here. What you describe isn't a problem with ad agencies. A company can be explicit in the message they want to send. In the case of the ad agency executive, he referred to narratives. They're just an issue of what kind of message is conveyed. If they're so far apart on message that seems more like a meeting topic than one to be discussed via email.

post #26 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

YOU CAN'T BUY A TV WITH A DECENT SET OF SPEAKERS BUILT IN. IT'S A JOKE!!!!

Get a sound bar.
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post #27 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Oh my god... the grammar.

:/

Couldn't agree more. Sounds like breathless Valley-speak from a poorly-educated teenager.

I sincerely believe that the senior management, starting with CEO, of the most valuable company in the world -- from an English-speaking country -- needs to learn to articulate their thoughts in a more precise, a more grammatical, better punctuated fashion.

Get some speech/English coaches, guys. This is embarrassing. SJ would never put up with such crap.
post #28 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

lol.gif

Looks like someone using a regular keyboard after using one with auto correct for a new extended period of time.
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post #29 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

YOU CAN'T BUY A TV WITH A DECENT SET OF SPEAKERS BUILT IN. IT'S A JOKE!!!!
 
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Get a sound bar.

 

Give me a TV with no speakers on it. That's what we really need. Go 5.1 surround or go home.

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post #30 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

Give me a TV with no speakers on it. That's what we really need. Go 5.1 surround or go home.

Not everyone has the space nor the budget. I live in a house that's almost 100 yrs old. Needless to say room for large flat panel TVs and a bunch of speakers were not included in the plans.
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post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


"OLED-info" blog had a story today from the Korea Herald about an LG OLED one-off done up for Apple, supposedly because once again their planned TV for 2013 is in trouble. I may send a link if I can find it.

Here: http://www.oled-info.com/new-rumors-suggest-lgd-developing-65-oled-tv-panels-apple

 

I'd say the rumour may not be true, but if I'm not at all happy with LED TV's I should hope to God Apple isn't. I hope this is what's holding them back. That size sounds wrong to me, however. Gut feeling says Apple would only go 65 if they felt there was a really need for it. I'd say their first set would be closer to 50 so they could highly focus on one size for at least the first year. And the brilliant thing about iTV will be there won't be model identifiers. It will be the iTV and there will be one of two sizes. Like the way MacBook has two sizes and no letters. Somewhere in the menu will tell folks "Mid 2015" or whatever.

 

But the Samsung CEO just said OLED won't be affordable for the consumer until 2018, so I have my doubts Apple can pull that off in 2015.

 

Aside from the real issue which is content. Without the right content this TV will be a sexy object lacking where really matters.


Edited by Ireland - 4/7/14 at 7:46pm
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post #32 of 76

I'm sure if Apple took Samsung's aggressive advertising approach they could turn out some really great and scathing ads, but people would hold it against them.

 

All the same, after seeing some of Samsung's ridiculously blunt and blackguarding ads I believe the Apple Empire should Strike Back.

post #33 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

perhaps they see Schiller as the Achilles heel in this case. I certainly don't see him as a guru of anything. Lately, the marketing has been pretty bad, in my opinion.
Agree. Specially with your second point.
post #34 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post
 

 

Schiller seems overly sensitive and weird here. What you describe isn't a problem with ad agencies. A company can be explicit in the message they want to send. In the case of the ad agency executive, he referred to narratives. They're just an issue of what kind of message is conveyed. If they're so far apart on message that seems more like a meeting topic than one to be discussed via email.

You do have to wonder how they got so far apart.  One thing I saw an agency do once when they had an unhappy client, was to create two isolated creative teams that competed against each other for the clients approval.  The people on the two teams didn't talk to each other and came up with differing approaches.  The client got some new ideas and the agency got a better relationship with them.

post #35 of 76
I've worked with very large advertising companies on par with TBWA and it's jaw-dropping to see how they operate when a Fortune 500 client is dissatisfied with their efforts. In addition, it's quite a sight to watch when that same large, long-term client decides to go shopping for a new advertising company. I can't think of an analogy that is massive enough to do justice to what goes on... When you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about.

Schiller, essentially told James Vincent, TBWA... "You've not been doing your job!" To put this in context of the overall picture, an advertising company of TBWA's size, should have used their lobbying power in DC to contain the whole iBook price-fixing mess before it came to a head. Lobbying power, you ask? Yes, the large advertising companies own the best lobbyist in DC... They pay their rent and provide their furniture. In turn they get access to the very highest political offices. If TBWA had been doing their job, Apple wouldn't have went out and hired a lobbyist of their own, as they did recently.
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post #36 of 76
Samsung is making it more complicated than it really is and to confuse the jurors.
post #37 of 76
Great Apple advertising? Haven't seen a great Apple ad since Apple became a predictable boring company. That'd be since Tim Cook took the reigns. In 2014 Apple hasn't done a f-ing thing -- just like in 2011 -2013! Shiller is wrong, the the Mad boys are right. But why listen to the very people you pay to be experts? Apple needs to get off its self righteous ass and do anything remotely surprising, original, or creative. AAPL is a featherless peacock under Tim Cook!
Edited by MJ Web - 4/7/14 at 8:46pm
post #38 of 76
IMO Apple could use a good dose of light-hearted humor at this point in time... even if they decided to laugh at themselves a little. Something that could take the steam and punch out of the serious obnoxiousness and digs that Samsung and others like to use to paint a picture of Apple.

Self-effusing humor could work wonders towards pulling back the view of the mega serious computer beheamoth that Apple has become, and bring it back down "touchable" size... 1smoking.gif
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post #39 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post
 

You do have to wonder how they got so far apart.  One thing I saw an agency do once when they had an unhappy client, was to create two isolated creative teams that competed against each other for the clients approval.  The people on the two teams didn't talk to each other and came up with differing approaches.  The client got some new ideas and the agency got a better relationship with them.

 

That must have been an important account, and yeah I would have expected their face to face meetings to keep things synergetic. In such cases they have the opportunity to speak about the overall direction and review any generated pre-production assets or concepts to be pitched. Email just seems like a weird place for that, because if there is any misinterpretation, you can't correct it in the same time frame as you would over the course of a meeting.

post #40 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I'd say the rumour may not be true, but if I'm not at all happy with LED TV's I should hope to God Apple isn't. I hope this is what's holding them back. That size sounds wrong to me, however. Gut feeling says Apple would only go 65 if they felt there was a really need for it. I'd say their first set would be closer to 50 so they could highly focus on one size for at least the first year. And the brilliant thing about iTV will be there won't be model identifiers. It will be the iTV and there will be one of two sizes. Like the way MacBook has two sizes and no letters. Somewhere in the menu will tell folks "Mid 2015" or whatever.

But the Samsung CEO just said OLED won't be affordable for the consumer until 2018, so I have my doubts Apple can pull that off in 2015.

Aside from the real issue which is content. Without the right content this TV will be a sexy object lacking where really matters.

1) who cares what Samsung said?

2) the article stated that the size would likely be 55" panels at around 10,000/month... about right for a roll out into this space for Apple.

3) did you happen to notice the thinness? Which happens to back up my statement a couple of days ago of "... not much more than a few millimeters of glass or other material" with not much more that a couple of connectors and a wifi chip.

4) no speakers for you to bitch about their quality... including those that you obsessed about in the new iMacs. I'm thinking synchronized wifi-bridged 5.1 surround sound or 3d sound bars/boxes ala Sonos for the future... or even BT speakers for "simple and inexpensive" purposes.

5) never forget, Apple hates wires and cords... unless they're going to an ugly break-out box or device that can (and should be) shoved in a closet or be hidden somewhere out of sight.

6) Also Apple hates sharing "shelf space" or their logo with anything else in view. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a new AppleTV wouldn't be much thicker than an iPhone, maybe 1.5x15x15cm and there be a slot dock on the back of a panel like the one in the article to essentially "hide it" as well.

Carry on worrying and complaining about today's tech challenges and shortcomings... and I'll continue dreaming and envisioning about what the future may hold.... 1smoking.gif
Edited by ThePixelDoc - 4/7/14 at 9:29pm
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
Reply
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