Summary of “Divine Discontent: Disruption’s Antidote – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

Amazon’s highly modular structure, varied businesses, and iterative approach to those businesses enable it to create services with itself as its first, best, customer, and then extend those services to developers and retailers, even as the exact same factors lead to product disasters like the Fire Phone.
The second element of the failure framework, the observation that technologies can progress faster than market demandmeans that in their efforts to provide better products than their competitors and earn higher prices and margins, suppliers often “Overshoot” their market: They give customers more than they need or ultimately are willing to pay for.
Apple seems to have mostly saturated the high end, slowly adding switchers even as existing iPhone users hold on to their phones longer; what is not happening is what disruption predicts: Apple isn’t losing customers to low-cost competitors for having “Overshot” and overpriced its phones.
We now offer customers gift certificates, 1-Click shopping, and vastly more reviews, content, browsing options, and recommendation features.
Word of mouth remains the most powerful customer acquisition tool we have, and we are grateful for the trust our customers have placed in us.
One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent.
These examples are from retail, but I sense that the same customer empowerment phenomenon is happening broadly across everything we do at Amazon and most other industries as well.
Owning the customer relationship by means of delivering a superior experience is how these companies became dominant, and, when they fall, it will be because consumers deserted them, either because the companies lost control of the user experience, or because a paradigm shift made new experiences matter more.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple’s working on a powerful, wireless headset for both AR, VR”

The company is working on a headset capable of running both AR and VR technology, according to a person familiar with Apple’s plans.
It’s notable that Apple is working on a headset that combines both AR and VR given its intense focus over the past year on pushing augmented reality in iPhones and iPads.
Apple’s headset would connect to a dedicated box using a high-speed, short-range wireless technology, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.
The box, which would be powered by a custom Apple processor more powerful than anything currently available, would act as the brain for the AR/VR headset.
Everything would be built into Apple’s headset and box, the person said.
While Apple hasn’t done much publicly with AR and VR, it’s been working behind the scenes.
Bloomberg reported in November that Apple aimed to have technology ready for an AR headset in 2019 and ship it as early as 2020.
The 8K displays in Apple’s new headset would help the VR and AR images look more lifelike.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple Now Runs On 100% Green Energy, And Here’s How It Got There”

Now Apple says it’s finished getting the rest of its facilities running on 100% green power-from its new Apple Park headquarters, which has one of the largest solar roofs on the planet, to its distribution centers and retail stores around the world.
In response, Apple worked with NV Energy and the state’s utilities commission to create a new regulatory structure called the Nevada Green Rider Program, which let big green power buyers like Apple pay extra costs associated with developing renewable power.
The Green Rider program let Apple purchase power from two other Nevada solar farms-the 50-megawatt Boulder II solar array, and the 200-megawatt Techren Solar project, which is expected to come online by the end of 2018.
Not only does that commitment help the developers of the green energy projects secure financing, but it also gives Apple low and predictable energy rates for years into the future.
It gives green power producers such as Apple a way to prove that it produced a certain amount of green energy from its renewable energy projects in a certain market.
In other cases it means green energy the company buys via long-term power purchase agreement with renewable energy projects located near an Apple facility.
In 2015, Apple started a program to move suppliers toward green energy.
Still, there’s a very big name missing from the list of suppliers that have taken the 100% pledge-Foxconn, which uses more energy than any other Apple supplier-and very likely more than Apple itself-and its massive manufacturing plants in China.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple’s artificial intelligence fight is its toughest since the 1980s”

While the iPhone is singularly important, both to Apple and to the category of devices it’s inspired over the last decade, technology companies are now jockeying to usher in the next wave of personal computing.
Big tech firms like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are saying that they’re now “AI-first companies.” That’s bad news for Apple.
The company’s most ambitious projects, like a physical store with no human cashiers, hinge on more and more advancements in artificial intelligence.
In 2011, while Google was just starting to form its now-massive AI team and Amazon executives were pitching the Echo smart speaker, Apple had acquired a startup spun out of SRI Labs called Siri.
Since the late 1990s, Apple has been the dominant consumer-electronics company, if not the dominant company overall.
Winning at AI is not like any fight Apple has been in for years.
Apple hasn’t really competed in market that it hasn’t essentially defined since its early PCs days, when it paid Ridley Scott to make genre-defining ads about its place in the PC market.
We likely won’t know whether Apple is serious about revamping its AI strategy until Giannandrea starts flexing his role in the company.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple’s 2019 Mac Pro will be shaped by workflows – TechCrunch”

The answer, it turns out, was that Apple had decided to start completely over with the Mac Pro, introduce completely new pro products like the iMac Pro and refresh the entire MacBook Pro lineup.
The reasoning given at the time on the Mac Pro was basically that Apple had painted itself into an architecture corner by being aggressively original on the design of the bullet/turbine/trash-can shaped casing and internal components of the current Mac Pro.
After an initial recap in what they’d done over the past year, including MacBooks and the iMac Pro, I was given the day’s first piece of news: the long-awaited Mac Pro update will not arrive before 2019.
“We want to be transparent and communicate openly with our pro community, so we want them to know that the Mac Pro is a 2019 product. It’s not something for this year.” In addition to transparency for pro customers, there’s also a larger fiscal reason behind it.
There have been some other very interesting things going on at Apple since our last Mac Pro update, and they’re shaping the future of all of its pro products.
“We’re getting a much deeper understanding of our pro customers and their workflows and really understanding not only where the state of the art is today but where the state of the art is going, and all of that is really informing the work that we’re doing on the Mac Pro and we’re working really hard on it.
It’s not just MacBook Pro, iMac Pro, Mac Pro – it’s the enabling force of eGPUs, it’s iPad Pros as input devices, purpose-built extensions and portable workstations.
All we currently know about the Mac Pro is that it’s modular and that it’s being shaped by the feedback from those pros in-house, as well as external conversations with developers and professional users.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Silicon Valley Warms to Trump After a Chilly Start”

The tech industry has warmed to the White House, especially as companies including Alphabet, Apple and Intel have benefited from the Trump administration’s policies.
Mr. Trump “Has been great for business and really, really good for tech,” said Gary Shapiro, who leads the Consumer Technology Association, the largest American tech trade group, with more than 2,200 members including Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Mr. Shapiro said that he had voted for Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s opponent, in 2016, but that he and many tech executives had come around on Mr. Trump.
Michael Kratsios, the White House’s deputy chief technology officer, said in an interview that while Mr. Trump and Silicon Valley had their differences, “In places where we do see eye to eye, I think we’re achieving extraordinary success.”
On the campaign trail in 2016, Mr. Trump was so critical of tech companies that Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, once joked he might send Mr. Trump to space in a rocket.
Tech executives worked to build a relationship with the president, with some meeting him at Trump Tower before his inauguration and again at the White House in June.
Silicon Valley’s favorite thing about Mr. Trump is almost certainly his new tax code.
Donald J. Trump Jan. 17, 2018 The shifting relationship between Silicon Valley and Mr. Trump appears to have upset some tech employees.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In an Era of ‘Smart’ Things, Sometimes Dumb Stuff Is Better”

While riding a bicycle, for example, you often have to let go of the handle bar and lift the watch toward your face to check the time.
Until the Apple Watch manages to constantly display the time without sapping the battery, a normal wristwatch is better for telling the time in all those scenarios.
A kitchen timer vs. Amazon EchoOne of the most common uses of Amazon’s Echo is to set a kitchen timer.
Just say “Alexa, set a timer for 80 minutes” while you’re busy chopping vegetables.
There are reasons a cheap kitchen timer can be superior.
So if you have to check your food for doneness and change the kitchen timer, an old-school timer – either the analog variety or the type with a digital time display and two or three physical buttons – can be easier.
You can also constantly see how much time is left on the timer, whereas with the Echo, you have to open a smartphone app to see the remaining time or ask Alexa to tell you how much time is left.
Over the long term, using a smart speaker as a timer gets tedious.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple Plans Upgrades to Popular AirPods Headphones”

Apple Inc., seeking to bolster its wearables business, is working on upgrades to its wireless AirPods headphones, according to people familiar with the matter.
Like with its mobile devices – the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch – Apple intends to frequently update the AirPods with new hardware features.
The first AirPods include a chip known as the W1, and Apple released the W2 with the Apple Watch last year.
The latest iPhones can survive splashes, while the Apple Watch is considered “Swim-proof.” Apple’s plans could change or be delayed, the people said.
Apple introduced the first AirPods in 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 as a way to replace the traditional wired headphone jack.
Since launch, AirPods have been considered one of the top-performing Apple products and have resonated with both reviewers and consumers.
Apple’s Other Products segment, which includes AirPods, Beats headphones, the Watch, Apple TV and accessories, generated more than $5 billion in revenue for the first time in the company’s fiscal first quarter, representing 36 percent year-over-year growth.
Apple has said it is releasing an upgraded AirPods case this year that allows the headphones to be recharged wirelessly, like the iPhone X. The company is also working on an augmented-reality headset that would launch in 2020 at the earliest, Bloomberg News has reported.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Apple Is The World’s Most Innovative Company”

The only things more impressive than Apple’s financial numbers are the products that generated them.
Fast Company: What makes a good year for Apple? Is it the new hit products? The stock price?
Did we make the best product, and did we enrich people’s lives? If you’re doing both of those things-and obviously those things are incredibly connected because one leads to the other-then you have a good year.
FC: Given the relentless pace of change in the world, how do you prioritize what Apple is going to spend its time on, which things deserve attention and which things are distractions?
In the scheme of things versus our revenue, we’re doing very few things.
TC: What drives us is making products that give people the ability to do things they couldn’t do before.
What comes with that is trying to anticipate not only the great things that people can use your products for but those things that might not be so good, and try to get out in front of those.
TC: For a casual observer who hasn’t been a user of our products, the thing that they might miss is how different Apple is versus other technology companies.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Apple Plans to Root Out Bugs, Revamp iPhone Software”

Apple’s annual software upgrade this fall will offer users plenty of new features: enabling a single set of apps to work across iPhones, iPads and Macs, a Digital Health tool to show parents how much time their children have been staring at their screen and improvements to Animojis, those cartoon characters controlled by the iPhone X’s facial recognition sensor.
Just as important this year will be what Apple doesn’t introduce: redesigned home screens for the iPhone, iPad and CarPlay, and a revamped Photos app that can suggest which images to view.
“This change is Apple beginning to realize that schedules are not being hit, stuff is being released with bugs – which previously would not have happened,” when Apple was a smaller company with fewer engineers, customers and devices to manage, says one person familiar with the company.
The shift is an admission of what many customers have already come to notice: Some Apple software has become prone to bugs and underdeveloped features.
At Apple, all new features are tied to a big release in the fall, when Apple rolls out its splashiest new software, and a more modest update in the spring.
Under the previous system, a person familiar with Apple says, “Inevitably, some things will be late because you underestimated how long it would take. Some things have to be cut, some things have to be rushed. It’s the result of having thousands of people working on the same schedule.”
The first test of the new development strategy will come in the fall, when Apple debuts the next iPhone and iPad software upgrade.
Apple plans to integrate Animojis into FaceTime, letting people put virtual faces over themselves in video calls.

The orginal article.