Monday, April 2, 2018

Apple and in-house chips for MacOS

Lots of commentary today around Bloomberg's story regarding a switch by Apple to in-house chips (from Intel) for the Mac.

Perfectly consistent with Apple's stated goals (control the whole stack) and addresses some issues (waiting for Intel, instruction sets sometimes not even needed, etc.).

Of course, transitioning won't be trivial but I wonder if a solution is viable given Apple's unusual business model and execution.  Simply said, why couldn't Apple just include BOTH an Intel chip and an in-house chip?  The costs of a processor seem to be in the $25-40 range.  Given Mac pricing, it seems doable to just build in both and use the appropriate processor as necessary.  In fact, notwithstanding Apple's adherence to strong margins, they could even swallow some (or all) of this and treat the extra cost burden as sort of a down payment on the future to derisk the transition for a couple years.

I know this is the exact opposite of Apple's usual course of taking the hard decision and stepping firmly into the future (or at least Apple's vision of the future) but, if viewed as a choice between emulation software and simply including the hardware, maybe this is more user friendly (and thus entirely consistent with Apple's approach)?

Friday, March 2, 2018

Headphones, TrueDepth, and Warby Parker

There have been rumors of Apple expanding its headphone line beyond airpods, earpods, and in-ear headphones.

As much as I have historically agreed that the Beats line will slowly wither away, I don't think we are anywhere near that today.  And it doesn't make sense for Apple to rebrand Beats headphones as Apple.  The Beats aesthetic is nothing like the Apple aesthetic.

Apple looks for simplicity, small size, and distinction.  Thus, airpods are NOT Beats devices.

A very Apple device would be earbuds that feature noise-cancellation.  This has historically required in-ear fitment as the noise cancellation strongly encourages having ambient noise getting a direct route to the ear.  This would be fine for Apple (they already make in-ear buds) but it isn't distinctive.  What would be distinctive is using the TrueDepth camera to take a detailed image of the ear for customized external fitment (note that Warby Parker already does this for eyewear).  This wouldn't make sense until TrueDepth cameras are more prevalent but, once they are, the doors open for a wide range of personalized wearables.

And, of course, medical devices like hearing aids.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

lots of HomePod questions

I've been wondering how HomePod will work with different people for things such as messaging, calendars, etc.

I wonder if there will be a limit on the number of "authorized" or "recognized" users?

Remember how in iOS 9 Siri now had to be trained for a specific person?  Perhaps we can give permission to share those voice patterns so that HomePod can recognize individuals?

Sharing music libraries is going to be wacky.  I guess if at least one authorized person has Apple Music, HomePod will allow all authorized users?  Otherwise, it will create some ill-will for music to be available if only one person gives the command.  But how will playlists work?  Can one person destroy another's?  And what about age restrictions?  Tricky.

And, because this may be more than a technical issue and instead is a contractual/regulatory one, how will telephone hand-offs work?

I guess we'll learn a lot more next week. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

october 25

Doesn't today feel a little like the day that the markets begin their seemingly inevitable collapse?

iPhone X production shortfalls

Given the history of launches and related shortfalls, I assume the X will be in short supply.  Unfortunately, news reports (rumor reports?) suggest that the X will be even more constrained at launch than its predecessors.

BUT, maybe they are wrong - why else would Apple be promoting the X so heavily on its homepage more than a week before launch (I assume most casual customers are not pre-ordering at midnight Friday)?

Thursday, October 19, 2017


The more I see AirPods on the street, the more the Beats acquisition, at least in hindsight, seems sensible.  Which is funny as it was difficult to explain when it closed (i.e., less than 3 years before the introduction of AirPods).

Of course, thinking about other acquisitions, it fits in with Apple's history - purchases show up in product in 2-4 years.  But, time and again, it's hard to see things differently from the past.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Kobe Steel Surprises

I wonder if any auto manufacturers experienced surprising crash test results that can be explained by the Kobe Steel misstatements.