Apple Desperately Needs Some New Fruit

Apple

I love my Apple iPhone, but this core product debuted in January 2007.


We’re going on almost 9 years!!!


Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is enormously successful:


– It accounts for 92% of the smartphone industry’s profits (even though it only sells 20% of the smartphones). 


– The iPhone bring in almost 2/3 of Apple’s total revenue now going on almost $200 billion. 


But, the new growth that Apple seeks in not based on any real exciting innovation.


Take for example Apple’s announcements this week:


– A new larger 12.9 inch iPad with a stylus (the Apple Pencil).


– A revamped Apple TV set-top box. 


– Apple’s iPhone 3-D Touch that controls the smartphone based on how hard you press. 


Uh, ho-hum–this is all V-E-R-Y boring!


Google has a similar problem with their core business of advertising on Search and YouTube accounting for 89% of their revenue.


But at least Google continues working towards their next moonshot, and has reorganized their innovation labs into a separate entity called Alphabet–working on everything from:


– Self-driving cars


– Delivery drones


– Internet balloons


– Smart thermostats (Nest)


– Broadband services (Google Fiber)


– Longevity research (Calico)


– Smart contact lenses


– Robotics


Unfortunately for Apple, the death of Steve Jobs in 2011 has meant the loss of their driving force for innovation. 


Despite a workforce of about 100,000 and a gorgeous new flying saucer-looking headquarters, can you think of any major new products since Jobs?


Apple is a fruit in it’s prime–ripe and shiny and hugely smart and successful, but without any new fruits going forward, they are at risk of becoming a stale mealy apple, versus a bountiful and delicious fruit salad. 


Apple is very secretive, so maybe the fruit is coming. 


I hope for our sake and theirs that Apple is seriously planting for the future and not just harvesting on the past. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apple Watch M~A~N~I~A

Apple Watch Mania

The Apple (Smart) Watch doesn’t go on sale for another 2 weeks…


But the Apple stores are streaming with excited customers already.


There are displays lined with the watches from the sports model to the stainless steel and even the 24-karat gold ones.


Ask the Apple salesperson and they’ll set you up at the next table for an associate to help you try on the watches including the 38 cm and 42 cm displays and various fashionable bands. 


They have this cute little rag to shine up the watch displays before you try them on over these black mats, just as if you are in a fancy jewelry store sampling diamond rings or something. 


I’ll tell you, while there is plenty of well-founded skepticism about these ranging from their not being a killer app to their inherent obsolescence (the battery is like 6 quarters thick on this version), and the watches are NOT intuitive to use, people are STILL going to buy these just to be stay current with the changing technology. 


Right now, I’m pressing down on the display (in my mind) and sending my heart beats to Apple for another transformative technology move.


One of my favorites on this watch is using the voice control to send text messages…Dick Tracy eat your heart out. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Way Things Were

Old Fashioned
So here’s the word of the day–Troglodyte.



How many of you know this word?



It usually refers to someone from prehistoric times, like a cave-dweller. 



But it is used to refer to people who are basically just old fashioned. 



A near relative of the Troglodyte is the Luddite who opposes new technologies. 



Today, a colleague said to me that he misses the old organization phone books we used to have with organization charts and readily available contacts everywhere. 



It didn’t matter that we have this electronically now, he likes the hardcopy ones that he could keep on his desk and flip through…to heck with technology. 



Then he goes that someone called him (jokingly, I think) a troglodyte for feeling this way. 



Well there is something to be said for the good ‘ol days and I understand people that appreciate “the way things were”, but in many ways, those days weren’t all that good–think poverty, illness, corruption, racism, and more. 



So I feel quite blessed to be living now, rather than say at almost any other time in history. 



In looking out towards the near future, I am prepping myself for the new smartwatch coming out from Apple later this month, and while I have my doubts about it (having gotten so attached to my smartphone especially the large screen–6 plus, Yes!), I realize…



That the next technology tidal wave is coming with wearables (and then embeddables), and if you don’t get on board and adopt early…you might as well be riding an old Timey Bike around town with a big sign on your back that says, “Troglodyte…A Stick In The Mud and Stuck In The Past!” 😉



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Marie-ll)

They Ain’t Nothing

Apple StoreMicrosoft store
So Microsoft has tried to do the copycat thing of the Apple Store. 



See Apple (top photo) streaming with customers trying out their world-class computers and smartphones yesterday. 



See Microsoft (photo underneath) just a few storefronts down in the mall with nice vibrant colors, but just a handful of customers (the non-red shirts) in the entire place.



BTW, I took a look at the iPhone 6 Plus and liked the size (I thought I wouldn’t) and ordered one (will be nice I hope to actually see the screen on this thing). 



At the same time, I tried the Microsoft Surface, and my wife says to me can you videotape me showing how long it takes to actually try to figure this thing out–piece of garbage!



It was also confusing why the Microsoft store was selling Dells and other companies computing devices–Ah, maybe because they don’t have anything competitive of their own???



Microsoft great try with the overall store (Touche!) but you just don’t have the retail products to compete with Apple–and the piles of Xbox in the rear of the store to draw people in–that wasn’t working either. 



Microsoft still a winner at enterprise computing, but Apple hands-down has you on personal computing–everyone to their corners. 😉



(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Rosh Hashanah iPhone Greeting Card

Rosh Hashanah
I had to share this wonderful Rosh Hashanah greeting.



This was developed using Apple’s iPhone icons.



It is one great technology way to usher in the Jewish New Year of 5775.



Please G-d, let it be a wonderful year full of blessings! 😉



(Source Photo: Sarah Herbsman from Pamela)

A Razor to Apple’s Throat

I love Razer’s Project Christine – a completely modular PC.

There is a stand and you simply attach the components you want: Central Processing Units (CPU), Graphic Processing Unit (GPU), Power Supply Unit (PSU), Solid-State Drive (SSD) storage, and so on.

By making the architecture open and plug and play–just jack in a new module– and change out whatever you want, whenever you want. Obsolescence be gone.

This is a challenge to pure standardization, and a way to make customization cost-effective.

The cooling is done with mineral oil that is pumped throughout from the bottom reservoir.

At the top, you see a module for a command center for adding operating systems, adjusting configurations and settings, or monitoring performance.

A subscription model is planned where for a annual fee you can get the latest and greatest upgrades.

Project Christine PC is the epitome of simple, useful, scalable and beautiful.

Watch out Apple, you have a Razor at your throat–it’s time to seriously up the innovation game. 😉

Instructions For the Modern Age

Instructions For the Modern Age

We went apple picking today and it was a nice time, thank G-d.

The weather was beautiful and the apples were plentiful and delicious.

One funny thing that I noticed was this sign with instructions for how to pick apples.

Like we need instructions for one of the most natural things in the world.

Even in the Bible, in the Garden of Eden, the first man and woman figured this one out.

Perhaps, with all of our technology we now possess, there is a feeling or realization that we have lost touch with our more primitive instincts.

Often, I wonder if a major calamity were to actually strike, how many of us, especially in the big cities would know the basic skills to survive.

Heck, we can’t even leave the house without our smartphones–we’d feel naked–like Adam and Eve after eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

Technology has made us more capable, but it has left us lacking knowledge on how to grow things, build things, fish and hunt, and much more, leaving us in many ways more vulnerable.

How can we live in an information age, and yet be stupider for it?

As I learned in college, you can have wonderful book knowledge, but have little to no practical knowledge.

I would say we need to do a much better job balancing the teaching of theory and practice…so we won’t need signs that have to tell us how to pick an apple anymore. 😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Apple Is Giving Us The Finger

Apple Is Giving Us The Finger

As I always say, I love Apple–and they still have the best darn Smartphone on the market–but they continue to disappoint with anything new.

This week, with the introduction of the iPhone 5S, Apple had the opportunity to introduce something new and exciting, but instead what did we get?

– A faster processor and Touch ID fingerprint reader.

In nutshell, since Steve Jobs untimely passing, Siri was a bombshell, actually just a big consumer product bomb.

And now with the fingerprint reader as the big newcomer add-on to the iPhone, it’s as if (sorry to say), Apple is giving us all the proverbial finger.

While the fingerprint reader is cute and a faster logon, it is really not a must-have or a game-changer.

The only thing less exciting than Touch ID is the new Yahoo logo.

In the last two years, Apple has taken a mighty innovation lead and squandered it.

Still, no one can touch their highly integrated iPhone product.

However, if much more time goes by without something meaningfully new and innovative, they will be in trouble.

Rumors of an iPhablet (iPhone/tablet) with a significantly larger screen (ranging from 4.8 to 6 inches) will be more like the Samsung Galaxy S4 with 5-inch screen rather than than iPhone 5S 4-inch screen, and would have attraction for people who like to read or watch on a larger, better display.

Of course a significantly better camera would be helpful too–need I say more?

Some interaction with wearable technology, like a Google Glass with augmented reality would also be a winner.

And a fully ruggedized smartphone, similar in concept to a Panasonic Toughbook–and up to military grade specs–that withstands drops, spills, dust, and lots of everyday field use punishment, would be way cool for the action-adventurer in all of us–and maybe then we wouldn’t need all the silly looking cases.

In the meantime, put your index finger on the home bottom, while Apple puts their middle finger up at you, the consumer.

Steve Jobs, where the heck are you? 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to CNET)

Wheelchair Complexity

Wheelchair Complexity

So my approach to enterprise architecture, product design, and customer service, as many of you know, is plan and simple, User-centric!

Innovating, building things, servicing customers, and communicating needs to be done in a way that is useful and usable–not overly complex and ridiculous.

The other day, I saw a good example of a product that was not very user-centric.

It was a type of wheelchair, pictured here in blue.

And as you can see it is taking 2 men and a lady quite a bit of effort to manipulate this chair.

This little girl standing off to the side is sort of watching amusingly and in amazement.

What is ironic is that the wheelchair is supposed to be made for helping disabled people.

Yet, here the wheelchair can’t even be simply opened/closed without a handful of healthy people pulling and pushing on the various bars, levers, and other pieces.

If only Apple could build a wheelchair–it would be simple and intuitive and only take one finger to do everything, including play iTunes in the background. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Technology Heals

Technology Heals

My wife took this photo today at The Drupal for Government Conference at NIH.

The man in the photo was not only participating in the conference, but also taking notes on his Apple Macbook Air.

It is incredible how technology is helping us do our jobs and be ever more productive.

This is the vision of technology taking us beyond the natural limits we all have and face.

I remember a few years ago when I was in the hospital for something and feeling bad about myself, and my wife brought me a laptop and said “Write!”–it was liberating and I believe helped me heal and recuperate.

I wonder if hospitals in the future will regularly provide computers and access to patients to not only keep them connected with their loved ones, but also let them have more options for entertainment, creativity, and even productivity, to the extent they can, while getting well.

Kudos to this gentleman–he is truly a role model and inspiration for us all.

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)