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  • 2023 HomePod review roundup: similar sound, same price

    Anyone who thinks that smart speakers are ‘hi-fi’ is deluding themselves. Neither the audio bandwidth coming through the internet is insufficient, (nor through Bluetooth for that matter) nor is the speaker itself capable of reproducing the full range of hi-fi sound. Hi-fi is for the audiophiles. They pay fortunes for top quality equipment and listen to vinyl records, for example. Three-hundred dollar speakers don’t qualify. The sound that comes out of Apple HomePod is ‘good enough’ for the rest of us. That’s who it’s for. 

    I have a pair on my desk. I like the 360 degree sound. The smaller HomePod mini can’t compete in sound. 
  • 2022 iPad review: Decent upgrade, bad lineup position

    ireland said:
    Kill this iPad, bring back last year's iPad Air, rename it "iPad" and lower the price. Keep home button iPad around as education bulk buy.

    iPad mini, iPad and iPad Pro. Give iPad Pro additional ports (three in total): SD Card, USB-4 and MagSafe 3.

    Yes, done!

    What you suggested is essentially what Apple did. 
  • Russia regulator demands answers for VK removal from the App Store

    I agree with you. A Chinese professor at MIT was prosecuted under Trump's China Initiative. US Judicial system exonerated him this year. 
    Over 99% of the time the case was in federal court occurred under Biden's tenure, not Trump's. Biden didn't cancel the case. And you choose to attack Trump.

    Do you have any idea, at all, of how the US justice system works?
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 review: Incremental upgrade and unexciting

    dewme said:
    Alex_V said:
    Without contradicting any of the opinions expressed here… [snip] Apple can use that fact to bargain and drive component costs down, which is why no company can match Apple quality, for the same price, while hoping to come anywhere near Apple’s margins.
    That’s all fine and indisputable product development and supplier management concepts, which is all part of the Tim Cook mastery that has been executed within Apple with amazing precision during Tim’s time at the helm. This may have some bearing on the new M2 MacBook Pro feeling left-behind compared to its MacBook Air, but I think the reasons are a lot more diffused across a wider number of factors besides amortizing up-front, non recurring, and component supplier related investment costs.

    In my opinion, it’s probably a contributing factor, but not the primary one. I believe the primary throttle on Apple’s ability to move even faster is human resource limitations, as in getting enough people with the right skills assigned to its product teams. Apple threw down the gauntlet when they committed to Apple Silicon over Intel. To make everything more challenging they put a hard timeline around completing the transition, not simply starting it. This basically rewound every Mac product team back to square one and chopped the tail off of the ability to amortize the cost of certain components over a longer period of time. Fortunately, Apple’s profitability and war chest of funds allows it to absorb substantial unrecoverable sunk costs. 

    My opinion is that Apple isn’t putting older technology, like the Touch Bar, into products like the M2 MacBook Pro to “use up” their stash of Touch Bar assemblies acquired in great volumes, but rather that they lack the human resources to simultaneously redesign more than a couple of high demand new products at a time under tight schedule demands. If they could trickle out releases over an extended time frame things would be much different. But they set a tight timeline for the Apple Silicon transition so trickling out new products is not an option. 

    You are right “that it is all part of the Tim Cook mastery.” Thank goodness for that! Basically Apple manufactures products, and the more profitably they can do that, the better. Innovating is one marvellous way to make profit. That’s why it’s ‘all hands on deck’ to launch new iPhones every year—profit is healthy and volumes are phenomenal, which keeps the company in the black. I agree that Apple have limited personnel, and a precious few who can lead new product development (NPD) at the company. But, time and again, people moan about Apple not updating this or that product, or not adding this or that new technology. Tim Cook has to walk a fine line between innovative NPD which is fantastically expensive and time consuming, and incremental changes to old-model products which is much cheaper and more profitable. In a ‘just-in-time’ system there are no Touch Bars lying around. With the updated 13" MacBook Pro, they simply switch the processor and this or that part, and keep the production line going. Meanwhile existing components for that particular model get ever cheaper, so Apple can drop the price a little, yet still maintain their healthy margins. It’s like car companies having many different models—sedan , sport utility, compact etc.. Apple puts the product on the shelf, and so long as there is demand, they keep churning it out. Once demand dries up, they retire the product.
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 review: Incremental upgrade and unexciting

    Without contradicting any of the opinions expressed here, I’d like to remind everyone of one important concept, something that Apple does better than anyone in the industry: ‘amortisation’—the gradual process whereby a manufacturer recovers the initial capital investment on a new product. The sums invested in setting up production lines or factories are staggering. Ideally, as with iPhones, that investment is recovered quickly because of the fantastic volumes sold. But in product models that don’t sell in such great numbers, the longer you can keep that production line going the more profitable it becomes. It is like an orange where, instead of giving less juice the more you squeeze, it gives more. If Apple’s margin on hardware averages 25%, then the more production lines that it has churning out older models the more profitable the company can be, because older models make 35–40% (guesstimate). Also, by limiting their product range, Apple can go to their supplies and say: “We want this component, we plan to order 2 million a year, for the next 7 years.” If you are a supplier like LG or Sanyo or Samsung, you cry tears of joy when you win an Apple order, because you’re guaranteed revenue for so long! E.g. imagine how many LG-manufactured 27" 5K monitors Apple has sold since 2015. Apple can use that fact to bargain and drive component costs down, which is why no company can match Apple quality, for the same price, while hoping to come anywhere near Apple’s margins.