Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

No More Nano

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Happy Friday.

Here in Austin, weekend highs of 107 F are expected — another nice, cool Austin summer weekend!

Austin’s not the only thing heating up. The U.S. Commerce Department just announced earlier today that U.S. GDP quickened to 2.6 percent in 2Q, a pace over twice that of 1Q’s 1.2 percent.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, “both consumers and businesses helped propel growth in the second quarter.”

If the economy keeps heating up like this, competition for top talent could follow. But don’t expect HPE CEO Meg Whitman to take that top job at Uber. According to a report from TechCrunch “she’s not going anywhere.”

However, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt is apparently on a shortlist for the Uber CEO job, a list that Bloomberg suggests is less than six names.

Immelt was already set to step down as chairman and CEO of GEO next month, so, yeah, he might have some time to take the Uber gig.

While that’s still a developing story, there’s a story about developers also unfolding.

Microsoft just announced that it has opened up Windows 10 S to developers and education customers, but not for testing to consumers.

According to a report from Thurrott, “The Home for Tech Enthusiasts: News, Reviews & Analysis”:

“We’re releasing [Windows 10 S] today to developers because we want to be sure they are testing Windows 10 S,” a Microsoft statement notes. “We especially want EDU-focused developers to continue to innovate and make apps that teachers and students would use from the Windows Store…This is very much meant only for developers and IT pros, not consumers to broadly download/switch to Windows 10 S.”
– via Thurrott.com

And finally, in the “We don’t sell that anymore” category, Apple confimed yesterday it has discontinued the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle. 

What happened, you ask?

In short, first the iPhone, and later the Apple Watch, killed the iPod Nano and Shuffle radio star.

I loved me some iPod Shuffle, but at some point we all just gonna have to move on…

Written by turbotodd

July 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

Posted in 2017, apple, GDP, ipod, uber

Back in a Flash

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Head ups. Adobe has announced it will stop updating and distributing Flash at the end of 2020.

You’ve been given ample warning.

TechCrunch is reporting that until then, Adobe will still partner with the likes of Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft and Google to offer security updates for Flash in their browsers and support new versions of them, but beyond that, it’s no frills Flash, all the time.

HTML5 has won the day.

***

U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday in an interview that Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the U.S., but didn’t elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built.

Do these new Apple plants get build before the Wall on the U.S./Mexico border, or after?

Sorry, I NAFTA hafta ask!

***

AI neuroscience startup Vicarious announced that it has raised $50M in a round led by Khosla Ventures, according to VentureBeat.

The company is said to be using computational neuroscience to build better machine learning models that help robots address a wide variety of tasks. They focus on the neocortex, a part of the brain concerned with sight and hearing.

Does that mean Alexa will soon be able to fetch me a beer from the fridge??!

Written by turbotodd

July 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

Pets at Home Builds In-Store Digital Experience with iPad App Using IBM MobileFirst Capabilities

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Pets at Home, the UK’s leading pet specialist retailer and IBM today announced the launch of Sales Assist, an IBM MobileFirst for iOS app for iPad which will be used across 440 stores nationwide to make it easier and simpler for customers to purchase the products they need.

Pets at Home offers a unique omni-channel experience for pet owners, including a large network of stores, brand websites, innovative and exclusive products, and pet services through vet practices and grooming salons.

With the Pets at Home website capturing some of the highest levels of web traffic in the pet care retail market, IBM is working with the brand to further evolve the digital experience and bring it to life in stores across the country.

Previously, customers who were unable to secure the right products and services for their pets had to either go online or visit another store. However, the introduction of Sales Assist into Pets at Home stores means that store colleagues now have a fast way to access a wider range of insights and products to be able to convert these enquiries into sales on the spot.

“At Pets at Home, we’re investing in innovative new technology to reinvent the retail experience for our customers. We want our consumers to be able to learn about and order the right products across every channel, and mobility is at the forefront of this transformation, “said Chris Holyland, Ecommerce Director at Pets at Home. “By customizing Sales Assist, in collaboration with IBM and Apple, we are providing our consumers with access to an even bigger range of goods regardless of location. The unique tool allows our colleagues to confidently show product information, ratings and reviews from the shop floor, opening up opportunities to foster higher brand engagement and ultimately provide our consumers with the experience they expect.”

Sales Assist is one of over 100 apps in the IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio that are changing the nature of work for retailers and global companies across industries by putting real-time data in the hands of employees.

Using iPad, more than 3,000 Pets at Home store colleagues will have quick access to the retailer’s product databases while assisting customers to provide a more compelling in-store experience.

You can learn more about IBM MobileFirst technology here.

Written by turbotodd

July 11, 2017 at 9:14 am

iPhone Shmyphone

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Apparently I missed the whole iPhone 10-year anniversary celebration thing yesterday.

Judging from my RSS feeds, though, there was a lot of fond remembrances of how much the iPhone changed the world, even if the original 2G phone connections were lethally slow.
In 2007, I was still a diehard BlackBerry user — my Bold took me around the world and back again, and it did email really, really well (and worked in just about every country I flew to).

But eventually I pried my cold, live hands from the BlackBerry keyboard and migrated to the iPhone. I’d already been a Mac user since…well, I won’t say when…and it only seemed logical.

I’m not one of those who holds the iPhone up on the altar of technology worship. Nor do I denigrate the iPhone because it’s presence has led to no end of human folly and absurdities due to its use or misuse. And don’t ask me to name any of them, because I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

No, for me, the iPhone is a tool, plain and simple. A wonderous one, one that allows me to stay in touch with people all over the globe at the touch of a button.

One that allows me to watch human calamity in real-time from afar.

One that allows me, for good and bad, to respond to work email from anywhere I have a data connection (which is almost everywhere, but not completely).

One that allows me to learn new things, entertain myself, buy stuff, take pictures and videos….we all know what it does for us, personally.

What it does for culture and society and the broader world? Well, I can make a strong argument that it brings us all closer together, but others would argue it does just the opposite, that it takes us further apart.

As with anything, and as with any technology, it’s really all relative and depends on your point of view.

As I look back on the first ten years of the iPhone, I force myself to remember that these devices are called “smartphones.”

Whether or not the iPhone (and subsequent smartphones) have made us any smarter is probably still up for debate.

Whether or not I would pretty much be lost without my own is not.

Are you paying attention to me? Are you still reading this?!

Look at me and stop looking at that damned phone!

: )

Written by turbotodd

June 30, 2017 at 9:06 am

Apple 2017 WWDC Opening Keynote: What Does It All Mean?

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There was a lot to absorb today in the opening 2+ hour keynote from Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose, CA.

There are plenty of blog posts that are deconstructing the individual pieces and all the speeds and feeds. As a longtime, but skeptical, Apple fanboy, I thought I’d throw in my two cents…

  • Apple HomePod. Is it a “breakthrough home speaker” or is it Apple’s answer to the home assistant market from which it has been conspicuously absent?  Yes, and yes.  But it’s not about the speaker, nor does it seem to be about Apple’s home assistant. It’s somewhere in between, and with Google Home and Amazon Echoes and Taps flying off the shelves, and introducing new capabilities almost daily, Apple has a LOT of catching up to do here.
  • A new and invigorated Siri…hopefully. — Let’s face it, aside from IBM Watson, Siri was one of the first faces of a common AI. But AI seems to have taken a a few gap years, and certainly hasn’t exactly been studying for the GMAT or LSATs. We did see some new Siri capabilities with iOS 11 today (a more proactive, Google Assistant-like-orientation vis a vis the Apple Watch), a new male voice, and some cool language translation betas. But I, for one, expected to hear more about the newer and smarter Siri.
  • The ARKit Future. Apple’s new augmented reality feature in iOS 11, ARKit, is probably the most exciting “new new” thing we saw on stage today from Apple. The Wingnut AR demo (Peter Jackson’s new AR company) absolutely killed it in terms of future AR direction, and the gaming potential alone could be HUGE. AR is the immediate future of our mobile augmented reality future, and ARKit could be one of the jumpstarters developers need to start to make it (almost) real.
  • Hang on to your MacBook Air. There was lots of advanced chatter about new MacBooks, and that’s just what we got: A new MacBook (it looks like an Air, but doesn’t have the name), new MacBook Pros, a new iMac, and even an iMac Pro. Oh yeah, and a 10.5 inch iPad Pro. Hang on to those vintage 2011-2012 MacBook Airs — you might be able to sell them to desperate MBA loyalists in a few years.
  • Amazon on the Apple TV. Not sure if this is just a strategic hedge against other TV set top players or a me, too, but the really interesting part of this could be the enhanced AI and voice capabilities, especially now that 3rd party developers will be able to write to it.
  • Making new time with the Apple Watch. Okay, I’m a sucker for gimmicks, so the new “Toy Story” character watch faces and animations — all over it. For fitness buffs, the new and improved Activity tracker could help you get rid of that expensive personal trainer, but the headline for the watch for me personally was using Siri’s contextual answers and suggestions (assuming Siri HAS been doing her homework).
  • iPad Multitasking Features. Apple realizes that to jump start iPad sales, it needs to better position the device as a full-on laptop/notebook replacement. To do that, it needs to continually show that the iPad can do more and faster. Today, it introduced several changes that make it easier to multitask, including a new dragging and dropping capability that allows one to move assets between two apps in Split View. Sounds arcane enough, but much needed, even if it was more “me, too” against the Mac OS desktop. Apple also showed off a new File System for iOS and an overhauled App Switcher that should up the ante on the iPod’s potential for taking over as “the” work machine (The new Apple Pencil capabilities, including marking up PDFs, will also help here).

I’ll be keeping an eye out for other reactions, particularly from developers. Apple pointed out the review time for newly-submitted App Store is down to 24 hours, and highlighted the fact that developers have been paid out over $70B U.S. since its launch in 2008, and on pace to deliver $10B+ this year alone. 

Written by turbotodd

June 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Apple Earnings And AirPods

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Apple announced its latest earnings report, and while the company doesn’t typically break out sales of its Apple Watch, Cook did note that the revenue in the last year from Apple’s wearables business was “the size of a Fortune 500 company.”

As The Verge pointed out, the smallest Fortune 500 company “pulled in $5.1 billion in revenue last year.”

The Apple announced its latest earnings report, and while the company doesn’t typically break out sales of its Apple Watch, Cook did note that the revenue in the last year from Apple’s wearables business was “the size of a Fortune 500 company.” wearables business consists of the Apple Watch, the Beats headphones, and the company’s newest entrant, AirPods (more on those in a moment).

As The Verge pointed out, the smallest Fortune 500 company “pulled in $5.1 billion in revenue last year.”

The Apples wearables business consists of the Apple Watch, the Beats headphones, and the company’s newest entrant, AirPods (more on those in a moment).

CNBC reported that Apple iPhone unit shipments were off the mark, selling 50.8M against a 52M expectation. And while 451 Research highlights that smartphone buying intent has fallen to a nine-year low, Wall Street projections suggest some 300M iPhones could be set for an upgrade this fall.

It could be needed, as Mac growth was tepid at 4 percent YOY, iPad units fell 13 percent YOY, and Apple’s China sales fell 12 percent YOY.

On the upside, the App Store was up 40 percent and Apple’s developer community grew by over 20 percent, according to Cook.

Now back to those AirPods.

They seem to be a sleeper hit. You can’t find them anywhere, save for maybe Craig’s List, and I’ve been told there’s at least a six week wait.

So while Apple may have missed on their AirPods demand forecast, those folks who *do* have them in hand (or, in ear, as it were) seem to love them madly.

Tech.pinion’s Ben Bajarin partnered with Experian to track down 942 people willing to take a quick AirPods user survey. Customer sat with the AirPods is at 98%! — that’s 82 percent “Very Satisfied” and 16% “Satisfied.”

That’s a record for customer sat for a new product from Apple, according to Bajarin. He points out that the iPhone had a 92 percent customer sat level when it was released in 2007, and the Apple Watch came close at 97 percent in 2015.

The Net Promoter Score for AirPods is also off the charts at 75 (the iPhone’s NPS is 72).

Writes Bajarin: Product and NPS specialists will tell you anything above 50 is excellent and anything above 70 is world class.

So what gives? Bajarin suggests it’s partially the fact that AirPods users are most likely early adopters, so they’re going to be inclined to love the product.

But I also have to think the fact that these are the first wireless ear buds from Apple, ones which automagically synch up with Apple devices (Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc.), and have good sound and battery life are big contributors to their speedy success.

And, based on some of the survey verbatims, they just seem to work better than prior Bluetooth headphones.

Imagine that. A new product that just works.

CNBC reported that Apple iPhone unit shipments were off the mark, selling 50.8M against a 52M expectation. And while 451 Research highlights that smartphone buying intent has fallen to a nine-year low, Wall Street projections suggest some 300M iPhones could be set for an upgrade this fall.

It could be needed, as Mac growth was tepid at 4 percent YOY, iPad units fell 13 percent YOY, and Apple’s China sales fell 12 percent YOY.

On the upside, the App Store was up 40 percent and Apple’s developer community grew by over 20 percent, according to Cook.

Now back to those AirPods.

They seem to be a sleeper hit. You can’t find them anywhere, save for maybe Craig’s List, and I’ve been told there’s at least a six week wait.

So while Apple may have missed on their AirPods demand forecast, those folks who *do* have them in hand (or, in ear, as it were) seem to love them madly.

Tech.pinion’s Ben Bajarin partnered with Experian to track down 942 people willing to take a quick AirPods user survey. Customer sat with the AirPods is at 98%! — that’s 82 percent “Very Satisfied” and 16% “Satisfied.”

That’s a record for customer sat for a new product from Apple, according to Bajarin. He points out that the iPhone had a 92 percent customer sat level when it was released in 2007, and the Apple Watch came close at 97 percent in 2015.

The Net Promoter Score for AirPods is also off the charts at 75 (the iPhone’s NPS is 72).

Writes Bajarin: Product and NPS specialists will tell you anything above 50 is excellent and anything above 70 is world class.

So what gives? Bajarin suggests its partially the fact that AirPods users are most likely early adopters, so they’re going to be inclined to love the product.

But I also have to think the fact that these are the first wireless ear buds from Apple, ones which automagically synch up with Apple devices (Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc.), and have good sound and battery life are big contributors to their speedy success.

And, based on some of the survey verbatims, they just seem to work better than prior Bluetooth headphones.

Imagine that. A new product that just works.

Written by turbotodd

May 3, 2017 at 9:52 am

Apple Acquires Workflow

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Happy Thursday… Much as with March Madness, there were some significant upsets yesterday in the Dell World Golf Championships here in Austin Texas… Most tragic was last year’s winner, Jason Day, announcing his withdrawal from the tournament after six holes due to his mother’s terminal cancer. He held a gutwrenching press conference, but the former world number one golfer clearly has his priorities in the right place.

Jason, here’s wishing you and your entire family all the best as your mom fights for her life. For those of us familiar with your backstory, we know how much of a fighter she is and how much she helped you get to where you are today.

Now, back to the technology news of the day: Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow, a tool that lets you put together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks.

TechCrunch reported the news, but was unable to get financial details for the deal. As they write:

Workflow has been around for a couple of years and we’ve covered it and its updates. It shares some similarity with the service IFTTT, in that it allows people to group together a bunch of actions that can allow them to perform complicated tasks with one tap. It had built up a sizeable number of users and downloads over the past few years.
– via TechCrunch

They also report that the Workflow app will continue to be made available on the App Store and will be made free later today.

Which makes all you people who bought the app in the last week suckers.

Written by turbotodd

March 23, 2017 at 10:07 am

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