Summary of “Apple and the Oak Tree – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

1 By the spring of 2003 Apple had introduced the iTunes Music Store, a seamless and legal way to download DRM-protected digital music,2 but particularly in those early days the value of the iTunes Music Store to Apple was not so much that it was a selling point to consumers, but rather a means by which Apple could play dumb about how it was that its burgeoning number of iPod customers came to fill up their music libraries.
To be clear, I’m not very bent out of shape about this; the reality is that piracy was happening before Apple woke up to the music revolution, and would have continued whether the iPod came along or not.3 In fact, by offering a legal alternative that not only matched but exceeded the convenience of piracy, Apple pointed the way to a surprisingly bright future for the music labels.
What is worth noting is that Apple’s breakthrough product – the one that started Apple down the road to the iPhone, iPad, App Store, everything that contributed to yesterday’s financial results – was not simply a product of Steve Jobs vision, or Rubinstein or Tony Fadell or Jony Ive or any of the other folks at Apple.
Apple’s preference, of course, is that you stream via Apple Music, one of the key parts of Apple’s Services businesses; the “Services” line on Apple’s income statement is now the second-largest, and has loomed largest in Apple’s quarterly presentation to analysts for the last year-and-a-half.
Later that year Apple would release the iPhone 6 and reap the rewards of that advantage: Greater China quickly became Apple’s second-largest market, buying an incredible $59 billion worth of Apple products in the company’s 2015 fiscal year.4 Naturally, despite the fact Apple’s China sales have faltered with the iPhone’s increasingly stale design, services revenue has only grown; according to App Annie, App Store revenue in China surpassed App Store revenue in the United States last fall, making China the most important market for Apple’s fastest growing segment.
Tim Cook argued on Apple’s earnings call – correctly and fairly, to be sure – that in the case of removing VPN apps the company is simply following the law; of course there is no law that says Apple, contrary to the company’s behavior in other countries or markets, ought to invest $1 billion in a Chinese company competing with a Western challenger, or open R&D facilities worth $500 million when the company has been reticent for years to let technology-focused employees work in San Francisco, much less across the Pacific.
5 As for the HomePod, Cook highlighted on the earnings call that it is “Designed to work with your Apple Music subscription”; if you have a Spotify subscription and want voice control, you will have to get an Echo instead. Indeed, Apple’s attempt at services lock-in is steadily increasing: HomePod supports only Apple Music and Siri, CarPlay supports only Siri and Apple Maps, iOS still doesn’t let one change default applications.
What has always made the “Apple is doomed” argument so dumb is that it has always implied that Apple was some sort of special snowflake, incapable of leveraging its massive user base or demonstrated ability to iterate on its industry-leading products.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Microsoft Has Become the Surprise Innovator in PCs”

Perhaps because it’s way behind Apple, Microsoft’s hardware division is creating products more daring than much of what has been coming out of its rival lately.
Late last year, Microsoft also unveiled Surface Studio, a big-screen desktop that bears a passing resemblance to the Apple iMac – except its vertical display effortlessly pivots into a kind of digital drafting table, a slick trick that you can imagine Steve Jobs having lots of fun showing off at a keynote address.
In the spring, Microsoft showed off Surface Laptop, which sounds humdrum enough; in shape and purpose, it isn’t much different from the MacBook Air, Apple’s pioneering thin and light laptop.
People loved the Air, but Apple doesn’t appear to want to upgrade it, so Microsoft stepped in to perfect Apple’s baby.
Under Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Surface chief, the company has given its designers and engineers license to rethink the future of PCs in grand ways – to sit in an empty room, dream big things, and turn those visions into reality.
For Surface Studio, Microsoft built a brilliant companion device called Surface Dial – a palm-size knob that sits on your drafting-table screen, creating a tactile interface with which to control your computer.
Like Microsoft’s digital stylus – which works across the company’s PCs and tablets, whereas Apple staunchly, weirdly opposes adding touch-screen abilities to its Macs – Dial is one of those interface breakthroughs that we might have once looked to Apple for.
For these reasons and others, it’s unlikely that Microsoft’s PC hardware business will beat Apple’s anytime soon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The billion-dollar palaces of Apple, Facebook and Google”

The tech giants, Apple, Facebook, Google and the rest, are also in the business of building physical billion-dollar enclaves for their thousands of employees.
“It’s a circle and so it’s curved all the way round,” he said, which “As you know if you build things is not the cheapest way to build something. There’s not a straight piece of glass on this building.” At the same time the height would never exceed four storeys – “We want the whole place human-scale”.
Many of the greatest inventions in modern technology have been made in rough and ready, easy-to-adapt spaces – in the garages, front rooms and borrowed office desks where Apple, Google and others were hatched and in Building 20, the big wooden shed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where major advances were made in linguistics, nuclear science, acoustics and computing, to name but a few.
While it’s impossible for a company the size of Apple to recreate that exact spirit in its workplace, the big circle does look over-determined and too complete, as well as expensive and slow to build.
The company’s wealth and power may in any case be enough to counteract any unhelpfulness in its architecture, but Apple Park looks like the sort of splendid monument that empires build for themselves – Lutyens’s buildings for the British Raj in Delhi, the skyscrapers that went up on the cusp of the Wall Street crash – after they have passed their supremacy.
If Apple Park seems aloof and extraterrestrial – despite the fact that quite a lot of its landscape is open to the public – then Facebook and Google want you to know how much, like street jugglers or mime artists, they want to engage you.
Under the Google tent or inside the Apple circle there is little but googleness or appleness.
If the same can be said of other office buildings nearby, one could have hoped that the force of Google could have achieved more.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple Prime and the iPhone Pro”

Will Apple release an ‘iPhone Pro’ product?Will Apple release an ‘Apple Prime’ product?The first, comes by way of John Gruber, who yesterday wrote a post making the case for why Apple could release a new iPhone at a higher price point than the current high-end models.
For those more worried about any rising upfront costs, for the past couple of years, Apple has been touting their ‘iPhone Upgrade Program’ - including on-stage during iPhone unveilings.
Because you’re basically paying Apple in perpetuity.
We all understand why Apple outsourced the ‘iPhone Upgrade Program’ to Citizens Bank - again, Apple is not a bank.
Of course, even if they don’t fully go down that route, it leads to the notion of Apple offering some sort of premium service, perhaps akin to Amazon Prime.
The ‘iPhone Upgrade Program’ is far too expensive right now to be bundled into a hypothetical Apple Prime offering.
It’s an interesting thing to consider - especially for Apple’s most loyal ecosystem citizens - down the road.One easier and undoubtedly more palatable short-term opportunity for Apple: offer these hypothetical ‘Apple Prime’ members healthy discounts on the latest and greatest iPhones Priming the hardware that feeds into subscription services and vice/versa.
Because Apple has put the groundwork in place - no matter how shitty the foundation may be - to obfuscate the cost of such a device through the ‘iPhone Upgrade Program’.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Capitalism the Apple Way vs. Capitalism the Google Way”

While lots of attention is directed toward identifying the next great start-up, the defining tech-industry story of the last decade has been the rise of Apple and Google.
The greatest collision between Apple and Google is little noticed.
A few weeks after Apple’s concession to shareholders, the founders of Google announced a new share structure that would defend against a similar situation: The structure gave the founders’ shares 10 times the voting power of regular shares, ensuring they’d dictate the company’s strategy long into the future and that Google was, in the words of the founders, “Set up for success for decades to come.”
What has happened to Google and Apple in the wake of these events is the defining story of early 21st-century capitalism.
Several hedge funds started asking for much larger payouts, with some of them filing suits against Apple and even proposing an “iPref”-a new type of share that would allow Apple to release much more cash in a way that didn’t incur as high of a tax bill.
What has Google done in that same period? Google is, like Apple, making loads of money.
The paths taken by Apple and Google manifest alternative answers to one of the main questions facing capitalism today: What should public companies do with all of the money that they’re making? Even as corporations have brought in enormous profits, there has been a shortage of lucrative opportunities for investment and growth, creating surpluses of cash.
Who’s right? Which principal-agent problem is more vexing? Stock-market returns are one, albeit imperfect, way of answering this question and since the initial developments, Google has far outperformed Apple.

The orginal article.

Summary of “iPhone Bugs Are Too Valuable to Report to Apple”

“I wanna share some news with you,” Krstic said at the Black Hat conference, before announcing that Apple was finally launching a bug bounty program to reward friendly hackers who report bugs to the company.
Researchers I spoke to are reluctant to report bugs both because they are so valuable and because reporting some bugs may actually prevent them from doing more research.
All of them said they have yet to report a bug to Apple, and none of them know of anyone who has.
One of the reasons why the researchers we talked to aren’t itching to report bugs is that Apple’s rewards aren’t as high as they could or maybe should be.
In the private, gray market, where companies such as Zerodium buy exploits from researchers and sell them to their customers, a method comprised of multiple bugs that can jailbreak the iPhone is valued at $1.5 million.
“Either you report and kill your own bugs, or you decide not to report the bugs so that you don’t complicate your own life and you can keep doing research,” another researcher who was invited to Apple’s bug bounty program said.
Until Apple provides those devices, or invites more people to participate, the bug bounty program will have a hard time attracting serious attention from independent white-hat iPhone hackers.
In a way, the lack of bug submissions should also be seen as a testament to the security of the iPhone, but also as a sign the program needs changes, and perhaps more people looking for bugs, according to Guido.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Life, Death, and Legacy of iPhone Jailbreaking”

Beginning shortly after the first iPhone was launched, and picking up steam in 2008, jailbreaking was a full-blown cultural and economic phenomenon.
Users themselves have stopped demanding jailbreaks, because Apple simply took jailbreakers’ best ideas and implemented them into iOS. *. When the iPhone 7 was released on September 16, 2016, Todesco found a way to jailbreak the new version of iOS within a few hours of getting his phone in the mail.
The early pioneers of jailbreaking helped turn the original iPhone from a feature-light phone into a powerful tool that could do many of the things our phones do today, from playing video games to tracking your bike rides.
Ten years after the iPhone hit the sleek tables of Apple Stores worldwide, and the first-ever jailbreak, that Wild West is gone.
It’s a world where jailbreaking itself-at least jailbreaking as we’ve come to know it-might be over.
Apple, long aware that jailbreaking was becoming an increasingly mainstream trend, broke its silence on the practice on September 24, 2007, when the company issued a statement: “Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed.”
Apple patched the bug that enabled the TIFF exploit, setting off what would be a years-long battle: The iPhone Dev Team and other jailbreaking crews would find a new vulnerability and release new jailbreaks.
One of the reasons was that the iPhone, in part because of the jailbreakers, has became harder to hack.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple’s AR is closer to reality than Google’s”

Next up on Apple’s agenda is augmented reality, the act of superimposing digital data and visuals atop a live video feed of your surroundings – something that Google, Microsoft, and many others have been experimenting with for a long time.
Apple is far from being able to claim it invented AR, but its new ARKit in iOS 11 is already showing signs to suggest that Apple will help bring AR into the mainstream faster and better than anyone else.
Apple’s AR will immediately reach millions of people who already have the requisite hardware.
Google’s Tango is about the future whereas Apple’s ARKit is about the present.
Considering how little time it took to develop two convincingly accurate AR measuring apps with the iOS 11 beta, and reading the comments from their makers, Apple also appears to have an advantage in the ease of development with ARKit.
It’s exciting to think that there are still three months before the release of the next iPhone and the accompanying finalization of iOS 11, by which time Apple’s big-budget app developer partners are likely to have a deluge of AR-enabled apps for people to play with.
Apple’s iPhone is more convenient than Google’s Project Tango devices and with iOS 11 it’ll have much better AR capabilities than its nearest premium Android rivals.
So if we’re looking for the AR innovator that will take the technology into the mainstream, Apple once again looks like the likeliest suspect.

The orginal article.

Summary of “iOS 11 preview: keep it simple, smarty”

You still start with a home screen grid of apps and folders, and the visual language that started way back in 2013 with iOS 7 isn’t radically changing either.
Multitasking The App Switcher is entirely new in iOS 11.
The real trick is bringing up a “Slide Over” app, which amounts to a skinny hovering window you can arrange on the left or right on top of either a single app or a split-view app.
It’s internal to the browser app so when you do it you can’t use split view to get another app – though you can bring in a slide over app.
Say you have two apps open in split view: you can drag on an image or some text, drag it over to the other app, and place it.
Files app The last part of the Trifecta of “Computer things” in iOS 11 is the most obvious one: a better way to handle files.
For developers, the App Store, for example, now splits out games and apps, which might help juice the market for real productivity apps on the iPad. It also created a really solid, automatic screen recording feature, which is the very thing I’ve used to make the GIFs in this article.
Keep it simple, smarty When you combine this trifecta of better multitasking, drag and drop, and the Files app, you get much closer to using the iPad like a traditional computer than ever before.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 4 people Steve Jobs handpicked to review the iPhone reflect 10 years later [Video]”

With the iPhone, we became, for the first time, a society of people who were online continuously-wherever we went.
Steve Jobs had unveiled the iPhone onstage in January 2007, but the phone he displayed wasn’t anywhere near finished.
POGUE: We are assembled on the anniversary of a great event, the unveiling of the iPhone 10 years ago.
The laptop, the desktops, are what we always think of when we hear “PC or Mac.” But really, the personal computer that people rely on, is the one that Steve Jobs introduced 10 years ago.
POGUE: Were all four of us in the room when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone?
More.POGUE: So. Now iPhone sales, for the first time in 10 years, have reached a peak and are dipping down.
A lot of people say, since Steve Jobs died six years ago, Apple doesn’t have this idea man anymore.
Ten years in, what’s the impact of the iPhone? Is it what we predicted?

The orginal article.