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  • New EU laws could soften Apple's grip on App Store content and revenue

    Some very silly comments on here about Europe, which are nothing more than a parochial view and polarised politics and debating style of some in the US - the weakest of which resort to insults. Accusing people of communism, particularly of a free trade block, is really very silly. Europe has a very keen sense of individual rights, that is, of consumers to get a good deal. This has included removing roaming fees when travelling between countries in the block. 

    Its sounds like the commission wants to make sure these app stores don't control or restrict in an arbitrary fashion. 

    App stores are not products, they are effectively media platforms. They throw up lots of complex issues around power, influence and citizen rights. There's been lots of straw man arguments about weaker products etc. - it says nothing about banning gatekeepers from providing products. If anything, it could encourage investment by providing clearer rules for how these entities operate. If you know the rules will be applied fairly or you have the right to reply, you're more likely to invest in that app. 

    Lastly, if we didn't question market dominance or monopoly behaviour, we'd probably still be using IE. Democracy is eternal vigilance and transparency is good for everyone. If you make a great product, you don't need to act like a monopoly do you? I seem to remember a time when I bought Apple product because they were innovative and great. In addition, I can see a time when a platform will probably not be American (e.g. China) and those rules, especially around political expression are all important. 

  • A very false narrative: Microsoft Surface vs Apple iPad, Mac

    The article makes a fair point about the numbers, but the same argument could have been used about the Mac platform in comparison to the large number of Windows users. The point was, a dedicated core of pro users chose the Mac and these opinion formers influenced others to go out and buy the same. They believed the hardware was well made, fully featured and the software was often more stable, more thoughtfully designed and 'just worked'. In short: it looked like the future.

    I think it's fair to say it's unfortunate that the party that has helped to erode their narrative is Apple itself. Many Mac users face the choice of buying underpowered hardware without the features they want, but have to pay a premium for doing so. This led to the extraordinary situation where there was increasing demand for the older MacBook Pros. At the same time, desktop Macs have not been updated, leading to that bizarre announcement that Apple is 'starting' to develop a new Mac Pro. This is just as well, since being able to install an NVIDIA 1080 graphics card into either a 2012 Mac Pro or a Hakintosh makes their current hardware offerings increasingly irrelevant.

    I don't think anyone is going to pretend Windows 10 is the go-to platform, but many Mac users have began to look again, chiefly because Microsoft seem committed to improving it and trying new approaches. Although Sierra is an improvement on previous releases, many users complain Apple's software has decreased in quality and some developers complain about out of date APIs and software tools. Many are familiar with complaints about pro software being pulled or new versions lacking features. All of this has pros and cons, but rightly or wrongly the perception this that Apple really isn't taking the Mac platform anywhere. The other perception is that it is making computers based on making things look nice, rather than how they are used.

    You make the fair point that perhaps this isn't for Surface to win (yet), but it certainly is for Apple to lose. If other companies innovate or try new approaches, Apple increasingly looks like it's resting on its laurels: the age of the Mac hardware freeze suggests this. The ire of pro users has already peaked online, while interest in Surface and an increasing negative attitude to Apple means they could just as well rescue defeat from the jaws of victory.

    There's a great video on youtube about the Mac Pro and ex-Apple staffers apparently contacted the vlogger to say the 2013 Mac Pro had been a disaster from the start. It was instructive to hear that an education institution had been given some of these machine to feedback to Apple prior to release and after assessing them, went out and bought 2012 cheese grater Macs instead: the new Mac simply didn't meet their expectations. Even though this got fed back, it was probably already too late. Apple had built a huge factory to make these things and was now committed come what may. To nip interest in Surface in the bud, it will need to change the narrative that is no longer responsive to users nor innovating in desktop computing.

    avon b7elijahg
  • Google radically scales back glassy new HQ plans, unveils conventional corporate building ...

    Signature buildings are not as important as how organisations function. One of the most celebrated buildings at MIT was not the one by IM Pei but a wooden prefab dating from the war. Researchers loved it because it empowered them to do whatever they liked, including punching a hole through a wall if they needed to. Another Norman Foster designed building, the so called Guerkin in London is lovely outside and famously a terrible office space due to the circular design. The Apple Park looks nice, but in the end what happens in that building and the culture is far is more important important. 
  • Editorial: The future of Apple's Macintosh

    Interesting article, but with all it's reference to sales figures, it doesn't answer what people need PCs for compared to a tablet or indeed whether the tablet as a discreet category as it is with Apple is even relevant anymore. The near religious belief that the touch interface is the final destination for OS design or interaction is just that - just a belief. The trade offs with this approach such as only being able to work on screen between two apps or not being able to work in a non-linear fashion are rarely discussed. These are trade offs that are acceptable with a phone-sized device but as you trade-up into larger more powerful devices, it increasing makes less sense. The cut and past method on iOS is almost like right clicking in Windows - something Apple used to try to avoid. 

    I'm not mud-raking but if Apple is brave it could go back to fundamentals and re-invent the Mac. The Mac's ability to drag and drop already makes workflow vastly more efficient between apps. People buy Macs because of the openness and flexibility of the UI approach. What would appear 'focused' on a small screen would seem limiting on a Mac. There's no reason why the dock, window management and multitasking couldn't continue to be innovated upon, perhaps radically. With AI, the OS could, for example, know based on previous use, what window to bring to the front when a file was dragged. The finder could be re-thought, particularly around full-screen apps. It seems to me the 'let's import from OS' approach is more indicative of a company that is not innovating but borrowing from itself. It's like the question of how an OS should work is a 'settled' deal, which is disappointing. 

    Ultimately Apple will continue to sell Macs because it is the platform upon which it writes its iOS apps. Pro-tools and other pro-level software will also continue to make it a go-to platform for creatives. Many scientists use Macs. Apple still has a reputation for making longer-lasting hardware with fewer IT call-outs. I've also seen how Apple was on the ascent in education only to then throw that away. These days many schools are resorting to chrome books. Part of the success of OSX was about laser-like focus on what the OS could do and what it was for and how it could be improved to enable the user. I wish Apple would let there actually be a Mac group that could be let off the leash and be a speculative place for imagining the future. 

  • Editorial: The future of Steve Jobs' iPad vision for Post-PC computing

    hydrogen said:
    steveau said:
    Good analysis and the suggestions for improvements are all relevant, but you have missed the big improvement that is totally necessary if the iPad is to be truly post-PC: native handwriting recognition. <...>
    Handwriting ! relics of the past ! who still uses handwriting ?
    Actually in terms of learning handwriting is neurologically more complex. Hence making hand written notes are more effective than simply typing them. Your brain binds the position of the hand with the words themselves. Handwriting is no more the past than drawing is.