The visual style of the invitation strongly suggests bokeh, giving credence to what I first heard two years ago: that Apple is shooting for SLR-quality imaging in the iPhone cameras (or at least, alas, the Plus model).
There has been speculation that new Macs will also be announced at
this event, but I don’t think so. I’ve previously outlined my
reasoning for thinking the company will not introduce Macs in
Only a fool bets against Dalrymple, so I won’t. It makes sense to me, however, that Apple would announce new Macs alongside the new iPhones. The iPhones are already sharing the stage with the new Apple Watch 2 models, and I got the feeling last year that Apple very much wanted to stick with just one fall event. If Dalrymple is right, though, I would guess the new Macs will be introduced in October — not with an event, but with small-scale private media briefings.
New episode of my podcast, The Talk Show, with special guest Guy English. Topics include Tim Cook’s five year anniversary as Apple CEO, Steven Levy’s behind-the-scenes look at Apple’s AI and machine learning efforts, Apple’s decision to change the pistol emoji from a realistic revolver to a toy squirt gun, and the demise of Vesper. Also: our favorite Looney Tunes characters.
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This style of beta testing isn’t something I just accidentally
fell into. It came from the mid-’90s. UserLand had just released
Frontier’s free “Aretha” version, and there was a mailing
list for people using Aretha.
I’d never been a part of anything like that. There were all these
people talking about everything about the app. It was collegial
and interesting and fun — and Dave Winer, the developer, was so
open about everything, and he listened. It seemed like a miracle
to me that such a thing could exist. I loved it. I’d been waiting
all my life for such a thing, for a community like this.
I threw myself into it, then ended up working with Dave informally
on some small projects, and later took a job at UserLand (which
was my dream job, for sure). […]
It might seem funny to think of beta lists as having children and
grandchildren, but the NetNewsWire list was very much the child of
the Frontier list, and the Glassboard and Vesper lists were the
The best beta group I’ve ever been a part of is BBEdit’s. I got invited in the late 90’s after having sent a series of bug reports and feature requests. I’ve been on it ever since. If Frontier’s beta testing mailing list is one of Vesper’s grandparents, BBEdit’s is another. Even better, it’s one that’s still thriving.
Richard Pérez-Peña, Mitch Smith, and Stephanie Saul, reporting for the NYT:
The anodyne welcome letter to incoming freshmen is a college
staple, but this week the University of Chicago took a different
approach: It sent new students a blunt statement opposing some
hallmarks of campus political correctness, drawing thousands of
impassioned responses, for and against, as it caromed around
“Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support
so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers
because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not
condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where
individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with
their own,” John Ellison, dean of students, wrote to members of
the class of 2020, who will arrive next month.
Lucas Shaw and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:
Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new
material exclusively on rival Apple Music by making their songs
harder to find, according to people familiar with the strategy.
Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have
been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured
playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the
people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps. Those
artists have also found their songs buried in the search rankings
of Spotify, the world’s largest music-streaming service, the
people said. Spotify said it doesn’t alter search rankings.
Update: Spotify is not diddling with search results. Promotion, yes. Search, no.
Despite its idiosyncratic format, “Endless” — one long streaming
film, whose songs (different from those on “Blonde”) were not
available separately — fulfilled Mr. Ocean’s contractual
obligations to Def Jam, enabling him to release “Blonde” through
Apple without any involvement from the label, according to three
people with knowledge of Mr. Ocean’s deal who spoke on the
condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss
it publicly. The financial arrangement between Mr. Ocean and Apple
is not known. Apple, Def Jam and a representative for Mr. Ocean’s
managers all declined to comment.
Record labels, more and more, are unnecessary middlemen, especially for well-known acts.
Cheng Ting-Fang, reporting for Nikkei Asian Review:
Intel’s recent pledge to expand its business making chips for
others highlights its ambition to snatch chip orders for Apple’s
popular iPhones from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as
early as 2018, industry experts said.
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker by revenue, announced earlier
this month that it will license technology from British mobile
chip designer ARM with the aim of securing more business from
smartphone companies. LG Electronics will become the first
smartphone company to adopt Intel chips following the ARM deal.
Would be a crazy story if Apple switched from Intel to AMD for x86 CPUs for the Mac, but switched to Intel for CPUs for iOS.
Gian Maria Forni, writing for Bits n Chips, back in October:
According to our sources, Apple is pondering about using custom
x86 CPUs in its next iMacs and MacBooks, during 2017-2018.
Nowadays it’s hard to avoid the use of x86 ISA in high end and
professional personal computers, but at the same time Intel CPUs
are too expensive if we compare these with ARM SoCs.
So, Apple’s target is to realize a complete x86 custom SoC family,
like Sony and Microsoft did with their consoles. AMD is the
perfect partner to do this.
Most of the speculation about Apple taking control of its Mac CPU is about switching the instruction set to ARM. That’s possible, of course, but problematic in many ways. (You wouldn’t be able to use Boot Camp to boot into Windows, for example.) This is just an idle rumor from a year ago, but it’s intriguing to think about Apple designing their own SoCs for Mac with the help of AMD.
Lengthy profile on Apple’s AI efforts by Steven Levy, for Backchannel:
Probably the biggest issue in Apple’s adoption of machine learning
is how the company can succeed while sticking to its principles on
user privacy. The company encrypts user information so that no
one, not even Apple’s lawyers, can read it (nor can the FBI, even
with a warrant). And it boasts about not collecting user
information for advertising purposes.
While admirable from a user perspective, Apple’s rigor on this
issue has not been helpful in luring top AI talent to the company.
“Machine learning experts, all they want is data,” says a former
Apple employee now working for an AI-centric company. “But by its
privacy stance, Apple basically puts one hand behind your back.
You can argue whether it’s the right thing to do or not, but it’s
given Apple a reputation for not being real hardcore AI folks.”
This view is hotly contested by Apple’s executives, who say that
it’s possible to get all the data you need for robust machine
learning without keeping profiles of users in the cloud or even
storing instances of their behavior to train neural nets. “There
has been a false narrative, a false trade-off out there,” says
Federighi. “It’s great that we would be known as uniquely
respecting user’s privacy. But for the sake of users everywhere,
we’d like to show the way for the rest of the industry to get on
This is the crux of the whole piece, to my mind. The AI community is largely focused on privacy-invasive data collection and doing the computation in the cloud. Apple’s approach protects privacy by keeping the data (and performing the computation) on the device.
The other interesting angle in the piece is about most researchers wanting to publish their work, whereas Apple is attracting those who are more interested in the products themselves. But Apple is allowing their researchers on differential privacy to publish their work.
A few days ago, the creators of the notes app Vesper
announced to end its development and eventually shut down the
sync server. Being in this industry ourselves, we can understand
that making this move isn’t easy, and we’re sorry for both the
developers and the Vesper users who grew fond of the tool. If
you’re a Vesper user and considering Ulysses as a future
replacement, this post is for you. To ease migrating your notes
from Vesper to Ulysses, we’ve created a small tool which lets you
do exactly that.
Very cool. It even keeps your tags and photo attachments.
But Vesper was innovative in two key ways: tags and photos. No
note taking app before or since has treated photos as well. And I
can find no replacement for the way it handled tags. […]
The brilliance of Vesper’s photo handling was that it didn’t treat
photos as inline elements. They were almost like metadata, an
aspect of your note. The photo itself could be the whole note.
When Apple added photos to Notes last year, many said it was the
death knell for Vesper. But Notes treats photos differently. They
are inline, part of the note. They are not the note itself. For
me that’s not as attractive. It adds complexity where I’d rather
He’s got a wonderful story at the end, about a particular note he wrote in Vesper. I don’t want to spoil it.
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We think the future will favor independent creators selling their
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I was this week’s guest on Anil Dash’s Pop Life, on Talkshow. It’s like texting in public. It was fun, and there were some excellent questions from the audience. I tell the story about the first time I met Steve Jobs.
This week marks the fifth anniversary of Tim Cook’s appointment as
permanent CEO at Apple — he was appointed CEO on August 24th,
2011. As a result, we’ll no doubt see quite a few retrospectives
this week looking back over his time at Apple, and evaluating his
tenure. As context for that analysis, I wanted to share some
numbers about Apple in the quarter and year before he took over,
and compare it with numbers for the quarter and year ending in
June of this year. Not all the applicable data sets go back that
far — Apple has changed its reporting segments in at least a
couple of ways during this five year period, but we’ll mostly try
to compare before and after as closely as possible.
Outstanding work. Both the factual comparisons and his analysis. Particularly eye-opening to me is Apple’s increase in R&D spending as a percent of revenue, and the correlating drop in margins. Dawson writes:
That reversed the trend under Steve Jobs, and the increased
investment in R&D is roughly equivalent to the drop in margins
during this time — Cook has made a massive bet on R&D and by
implication on future products.
EpiPen, the life-saving allergy product, is now a $1 billion a
year business for Mylan, a drug company that’s currently enduring
a wave of bad publicity over the extraordinary surge in EpiPen
pricing. In 2007, an EpiPen cost about $57. Today that price
has skyrocketed to over $600 — all for about $1 worth of
EpiPen is an emergency medication that’s stabbed into a person
experiencing anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening allergic
reaction that can be triggered by anything from bee stings to
food. I’ve never used an EpiPen, but as someone with a peanut
allergy who once made his own trip to the ER after a
particularly unfortunate restaurant experience (“these Chinese
beans sure are crunchy…”) I can tell you that anaphylactic
shock is really no fun.
Mylan is able to do this because they have no competitors in the U.S. Not one. If you need an EpiPen, you’re buying theirs. It’s despicable. Long-time DF readers may know that my son has a severe dairy allergy, so we’ve been buying EpiPens for years. Our insurance covers two per year, but after that we’re buying them out of pocket. We’ve never had to use one, knock on wood, but they expire every year, and we need a set for home and a set for school. We can afford it, but many parents can’t.
I don’t know how the executives at Mylan sleep at night.
Based on the comments I’ve read below the main concerns seem to be
that Instapaper will either be shutdown or materially changed in a
way that effects the end-user experience. I can tell you that
neither of those are the plan for the short-term or long-term of
the product, and I am personally looking forward to providing you
with the same great service under a new owner.
The same lag carries onto scrolling performance in many
applications, and infrequently in every application after heavy
continuous usage. The phone does not get too hot, mind you, but we
do notice that after continuous sessions, it progressively begins
misbehaving. Scrolling behavior in particular is behind what you’d
expect out of an $850 device, especially after this has been one
of Samsung’s weak points for years.
When compared to the OnePlus 3, we find that the Note 7 often
neglects using its four cores as opposed to the OnePlus 3, which
efficiently mixes up its core utilization when handling the same
task. GPU profiling on the Note 7 makes it extremely clear that
the phone leaks frames on several actions, even minor animations
throughout the UI such as a WiFi network spinning circle
animation. In some instances, we found outright damning displays
of the Note 7’s occasionally-pitiful fluidity accompanied by the
walls of green bars denoting serious difficulties pushing the
But this is not just a matter of opening or returning to your
application sooner than on other devices, Samsung’s software is
noticeably slower than that of competing devices in almost
The stock keyboard still sees issues with split-second lockups,
and the sharing menu on the Note 7 often leaves you waiting for
options to load. The notorious TouchWiz Launcher has earned itself
a reputation for slow speed and stutters throughout the years, and
while it is not as bad as it used to be, it can still miss clear
frames while switching through homescreens, and despite years of
integration, Flipboard still remains the most jerky leftmost
homescreen panel ever introduced by an OEM.
Apple appears to be making a slight branding change to its retail
business, dropping the “Store” moniker when referring to its Apple
Store locations. Apple has already made the change online, and all
of its store pages now refer to stores by names like “Apple Union
Square” or “Apple Valley Fair” or “Apple The Grove,” instead of
“Apple Store, Valley Fair” or “Apple Store, The Grove.”
It’s a change that appears to have started rolling out with the
launch of the newer Apple Stores, like the Union Square location
in San Francisco. Apple has always referred to that store as just
Apple Union Square, and over the course of the last few days, the
company has updated all of its retail store webpages to remove the
“Store” branding. What was once “Apple Store, Fifth Avenue,” for
example, is now just “Apple Fifth Avenue.”
The “Store” branding only made sense when the concept was novel. Now that Apple’s stores are well established, it makes sense to drop the “Store”. Think about the brands that are Apple’s peers in retail. No one goes to the Tiffany Store or Gucci Store, they just go to Tiffany or Gucci. It’s not even just a premium thing — you say Target and Walmart, not Target Store and Walmart Store.
After nearly fourteen years of operation, Gawker.com will be
shutting down next week. The decision to close Gawker comes days
after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s
six other websites, and four months after the Silicon Valley
billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal campaign
against the company.
Needless to say, Gawker courted a huge amount of controversy. And
the decision to shutter it may, for all I know, be tied entirely
to legal liability. But I have no doubt Gawker’s controversial rep
put a permanent dent in ads sales - think of it as an inverse
premium. The other thing though is that Gawker had no endemic ad
proposition. Fun, news scoops and schadenfreude have no allied
consumer products. But if you look at the other Gawker Media sites
they were each carefully and wisely aligned with strong endemic ad
So given all that’s happened, even over and above whatever legal
complexities are involved, it makes sense that a big corporate
media giant would see the other Gawker Media sites as the drivers
of value, not Gawker itself.
It always seemed clear to me that Gawker was Nick Denton’s baby, a labor of love. The other more targeted Gawker sites were there to prop up Gawker financially. Now that the company has been sold, there’s no one left who wants Gawker propped up.
This is an interesting perspective on Olympic medal counts — pro-rated by population. The United States finishes in the middle of the pack, right behind Russia and North Korea. New Zealand and Jamaica are performing the best (other than statistical outliers).
Indian culture doesn’t put much value on sports, so even good athletes are under family pressure to give it up and focus on school.
Cricket is so popular in India that most of the best athletes play it — but cricket is not an Olympic sport. (And even if it were, it could only give them two additional medals: one for men and one for women.)
This week’s episode of my podcast, The Talk Show, with special guest Jason Snell. Topics include the latest rumors regarding the upcoming new iPhones and MacBook Pros, Rick Tetzeli’s cover story for Fast Company on Tim Cook’s Apple, the saga of Apple Maps, and the connection between baseball and mechanical keyboards.
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According to Kuo, Apple is aiming to introduce a new 10.5-inch
iPad Pro model next year to go along with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2
and a “low-cost” 9.7-inch iPad model. Kuo makes no mention about
the fate of the current 7.9-inch iPad mini, although many have
assumed that model may be phased out as the recent 5.5-inch
iPhone “Plus” models have helped lessen demand for Apple’s
If true, I’ll bet the aspect ratio changes. I can’t see why else they’d change to something so similar to the existing 9.7-inch size.
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I think Gruber is missing the point — attending a game when a
division you are responsible for is down for six hours is a clear
lack of empathy for the customers, and also is a sign that
standards are falling of what used to be an Apple Standard for
building products of delight. Sure, things might have taken as
much time to fix the iCloud, but the message you would have sent
out to rest of the Apple team would have been different.
Let’s unpack this. First, it has nothing to do with “empathy for the customers”. 99.999 percent of the customers whose iCloud accounts were affected by the June 2 outage have no idea who Eddy Cue is, let alone care whether he attended the Warriors game.
As for the message to Apple employees, that’s really the only part of the “Eddy Cue should have skipped the game” argument that makes any sense to me. I disagree with it, but at least it makes sense. But it’s predicated on a lot of assumptions about Apple employee attitudes and morale, and Cue’s leadership and management abilities. Are the engineers and system administrators who were responsible for fixing the outage delicate emotionally fragile children who felt hurt when they found out Eddy Cue went to a basketball game while they were doing their jobs? Or are they mature professionals, who realize that the only thing that mattered was fixing the outage?
And let’s go further. Let’s say Cue did skip the game. How would the employees working on the outage know that he skipped the game? Should Cue have been calling them every 15 minutes to see how it’s going? Should he have made them feel small by screaming at them, telling them that they’re incompetent shitheads? Should he have made them feel guilty by telling them that he was missing Game One of the NBA Finals, because of this outage? Or, should he simply trust them, leave them alone and let them do their jobs — in which case, he might as well have just gone to the fucking game.
If we’re going to talk about symbolic leadership, I like what it says to Apple employees that Cue went to the game. It says having fun and a life outside work is good.
A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within
hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that
will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days
for Adblock to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of
that time for Facebook to disable it.
Philip Elmer-DeWitt (who was on the same episode of TWIT) transcribed Om Malik’s rant:
This is coming from the so-called celebrity influx into the
company, whether it is through the Beats acquisition or Eddy Cue.
I mean, look at Eddy Cue. The guy was hanging out at the playoffs
when iCloud was burning. For six hours. You know, he wouldn’t have
survived a day if Steve was around.
I’m sorry, that’s what gets me worked up about this company. They
have all these wrong priorities. They want to do entertainment
content? Buy damn Netflix and move on from there. Do it properly
if you want to do it. Don’t try to do this stupid penny-ante stuff
which adds no value to the company. Absolutely none.
(DeWitt’s comment: “I couldn’t disagree.”)
I’ll just point out that Eddy Cue started at Apple in 1989, and reported directly to Jobs while creating and running the iTunes Store, App Store, and iLife suite. You’re free to argue that Cue is doing a shitty job, but “he wouldn’t have survived a day if Steve was around” doesn’t hold water.
And the whole thing about Cue attending a Golden State Warriors game — Game One of the NBA Finals — during an iCloud outage is nonsense. If Cue had skipped the game, the iCloud outage would not have been fixed a minute sooner. Not one minute.
I was on Leo Laporte’s TWIT show yesterday and ended up going
on a bit of a rant about Apple and “Planet of the Apps.” My view
on “content” efforts like this is pretty simple. It is
distracting, non-core to Apple and basically avoids the bigger
challenges: how to add data and Internet DNA into a company that
has managed to struggle with services. The App Store needs more
smarts and better search, and it needs to take a contemporary,
data-centric approach to surfacing apps. “Planet of the Apps” is
just an old media-like thinking applied to “apps.” I might be the
only one who feels that way, but the reality is that these kinds
of efforts are really not good for Apple at a time when it is
competing with Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Apple — if it really wants to get into content and wants to make
a strong statement to the Hollywood establishment that has stymied
its television efforts so far — should make a big, bold bet. It
should use its massive stock market capitalization and cash hoard
to buy Netflix.
Om is a good friend, so it pains me to say this, but he’s off his rocker on this one. I’m as skeptical as anyone about this Planet of the Apps show and why Apple is producing it. But I highly doubt it’s a distraction for anyone at Apple. It’s not even shooting in the Bay Area; it’s shooting in L.A.
Buying Netflix, on the other hand, would be a huge distraction. I’m not saying it could never happen or would certainly be a bad idea, but Apple’s services are built to take advantage of its hardware. Netflix is the opposite — it’s a service designed to be available on any device with a screen. With iTunes, Apple already has a library of movies and TV shows. If Apple wants to produce original content, they could start their own production company for a tiny fraction of Netflix’s $42 billion market cap. A fraction.
To me, this reads as Om being bored with Apple, and wanting them to just do something. Saying Apple should buy Netflix is no different than Eric Jackson’s call two years ago for Apple to start making mega-billion acquisitions. As I wrote then:
Conglomeration may well work out well for Facebook. General
Electric has done well with that model for over 100 years. But it
would be a disaster for Apple. Apple makes acquisitions for
integration. Exhibit A: PA Semi — a chump change $278 million
acquisition that laid the groundwork for Apple to become the
leading mobile semiconductor company in the world.
Today, we’re letting America choose between two new expansion
packs about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
At the end of this promotion, Cards Against Humanity will tally up
the sales of both packs, and depending on which pack gets more
support, we will donate all the money in support of Hillary
“I’d prefer ‘good enough’ wireless earbuds included with the
iPhone,” says Gruber, “and ‘amazing’ headphones as the upsell
Same, but that doesn’t mean it’s economically viable for Apple to
do it. When I first read Gruber’s take a few weeks ago I thought
bundling an acceptable set of wireless earbuds would be too
expensive. After all, the most popular models recommended by
experts start at around $80, and can easily cost more than $200.
But that was before I received the Meizu EP-51 Bluetooth earbuds
These Meizu earbuds cost $28 and are pretty decent. Of course Apple could make something similar. Apple loves profit margins, but institutionally their distaste for wires and cables is even stronger. They might go with Lightning earbuds by default, but they should go wireless. That’s what justifies removing the standard jack — not that one port is better than another, but that wireless is better than wired.
The new top-of-the-line MacBook Pros will be slightly thinner than
the current models but are not tapered like the MacBook Air and
latest 12-inch MacBook, one of the people said. The new MacBook
Pros have a smaller footprint than current models and the casing
has shallower curves around the edges. The pressure-sensitive
trackpad is also slightly wider, the person added.
Interesting. I was expecting a tapered design.
The new computers have been in advanced testing within Apple since
earlier this year, said one of the people, who didn’t want to be
identified discussing products before their release. The MacBook
Pros aren’t likely to debut at an event currently scheduled for
Sept. 7 to introduce next-generation versions of the iPhone,
according to one of the people. Apple spokesman Bill Evans
declined to comment.
Interesting. I definitely expected them to be announced at the September event, even if they’re not available for sale until late October or early November. That’s what Apple did with the iPad Pro last year. If they’re not announced at the September 7 event, when will they be announced? They could do a smaller event in October, but I was told last year that Apple no longer wanted to do that.
Anthony LaForge, “curator of Flash in Chrome” (talk about a shit job):
Today, more than 90% of Flash on the web loads behind the scenes
to support things like page analytics. This kind of Flash slows
you down, and starting this September, Chrome 53 will begin to
block it. HTML5 is much lighter and faster, and publishers are
switching over to speed up page loading and save you more battery
life. You’ll see an improvement in responsiveness and efficiency
for many sites. […]
In December, Chrome 55 will make HTML5 the default experience,
except for sites which only support Flash. For those, you’ll be
prompted to enable Flash when you first visit the site. Aside from
that, the only change you’ll notice is a safer and more
power-efficient browsing experience.
The standout features will be a dual-camera system on the larger
iPhone, a re-engineered home button that responds to pressure with
a vibrating sensation rather than a true physical click and the
removal of the devices’ headphone jack, said the people, who
didn’t want to be identified discussing unannounced features.
Apple declined to comment.
It sounds like the plus-sized iPhone really will be the only model with the dual lens camera. Depressing if true.
The new iPhones will remove the headphone jack in favor of
connectivity via Bluetooth and the charging port. That will make
room for a second speaker, said the people. Apple started allowing
headphone makers to build headphones that can connect via the
iPhone’s charger connector in 2014, the same year the company
acquired headphone maker Beats Electronics.
That’s a dodge around the fact that Gurman apparently does not know what sort of ear buds (if any) Apple is including in the box. The iPhone already supports both Bluetooth and Lightning headphones, but the one that Apple includes in the box is the one that the headphone jack is being replaced in favor of.
Produced at the Channel 6 studios, the show at its peak was
syndicated to 22 other stations across the nation. Locally, the
Magical Ark’s audience in the early 1970s was larger than Captain
Kangaroo and Sesame Street combined.
Organist Larry Ferrari provided the music, which included “Send
Your Pictures to Captain Noah” and their theme song, “I Can Sing a
When I was a kid, Captain Noah was the show to watch. Over 3,600 episodes.
There’s been much controversy recently around Olympic logo design,
but let’s not forget the rich and varying narrative the Games’
graphic design has weaved over the decades. Ahead of Rio 2016, who
better to cast their eyes and critical judgement over the good,
the bad, and the ugly of logo design for Olympics past, present,
and future than Milton Glaser? Here he is.
And then, impossibly, Rodriguez got better. At 22, he had a
40-homer, 40-stolen base season and was probably the best player
in the league again (the MVP went back to Gonzalez but this time
it didn’t directly affect A-Rod — he finished a distant ninth in
the voting). Two years later, Rodriguez added 100 walks to his
superior shortstop defense, high average, big power — he was
again probably the best player in the league. He finished a
distant third in the MVP voting to Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas,
a couple of sluggers who didn’t even pretend to play defense.
The lack of respect — the lack of love — obviously rankled him.
At free-agency time, Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras made it clear
that they had every intention of shaking up the world, every
desire to let America know that this Alex Rodriguez guy was not a
great player, he was THE great player, the consummate player, the
ideal player, better than anyone.
And they signed a deal with Texas that dropped jaws all over the
country. Through the years, baseball players have set records with
big deals, but this one was on a whole other level. Even now, 15
years later, A-Rod’s 10-year, $252 million deal in 2001 ranks as
the third-largest in baseball history. And one of the two deals
ahead of it was the one A-Rod himself signed later as an extension
with the Yankees.
A-Rod was the second-best hitter I’ve watched in my lifetime. The best, of course, was Barry Bonds, whose name is also inextricably linked to PEDs.
Also in Fast Company, Mark Sullivan interviews Apple Music marketing chief Bozoma Saint John:
Q: What can you tell me about what you have learned about race and
gender in corporate America? Some women and minorities have
described the feeling of having to be twice as good to get
where they want to go.
A: I always find that question quite funny, because I don’t have
another experience. The experience I have is this. This body,
this is it. I don’t have anything else to compare it to.
Frankly, I think it is unfair to me, if I did it to myself, to
say, “I wonder how this experience has been different to mine?”
It would undercut my own successes and my own passion and my
own journey. I really don’t do that. This experience is what I
have. Do I work hard? Hell, yeah. Am I passionate about what I
do? Yes. Do I hope I have a future in this? Absolutely. Do I
hope nobody gets in my way? They better not.
Derek Jeter, commemorating Ichiro joining the 3,000-hit club:
Most of all, I’ve admired Ichiro because he’s a model of
consistency. In my mind, the most underrated characteristic for
anyone is consistency. It’s something that gets overlooked until
it’s gone. I think baseball was always more than just a game to
him. This was what he was born to do. And most impressive of all,
the guy’s 42 years old and I can’t remember him ever being on the
disabled list. He has taken great care of himself. He seems to
approach baseball like a craft that can never be perfected. I
don’t think he has a concept of “time off” from the game. It’s his
life’s work. That starts with working hard all the time, even when
no one’s looking.
He really has been remarkably consistent. What he’s doing this year is simply extraordinary for a 42-year-old. He looks like he could play for years. (And of course, much like Jeter did, Ichiro picked up his 3,000th hit in spectacular fashion.)
Excellent, must-read cover story for Fast Company by Rick Tetzeli (co-author of last year’s also excellent Becoming Steve Jobs biography). It’s about as accurate and insightful as a “state of Apple” profile could be. I wish I had written it.
What Apple has accomplished with Maps is an example of the kind of
grind-it-out innovation that’s happening all the time at the
company. You don’t hear a lot about it, perhaps because it doesn’t
support the enthralling myth that innovation comes in blinding
flashes that lead to hitherto unimaginable products. When critics
ding Apple for its failure to introduce “breakthrough” devices and
services, they are missing three key facts about technology:
First, that breakthrough moments are unpredictable outcomes of
ongoing, incremental innovation; second, that ongoing,
behind-the-scenes innovation brings significant benefits, even if
it fails to create singular disruptions; and, third, that new
technologies only connect broadly when a mainstream audience is
ready and has a compelling need. “The world thinks we delivered [a
breakthrough] every year while Steve was here,” says Cue. “Those
products were developed over a long period of time.”
That one paragraph goes a long way to explaining what Apple really does. Tetzeli also makes a compelling argument that Apple is better positioned on artificial intelligence than any of its competitors, because they’re the only company that’s with you everywhere — from your desk to your wrist to your car.
I spoke to Tetzeli while he was working on this piece, and I’m quoted a few times. This one begs for an explanation:
Under Cook’s leadership, Apple has come to seem quite fallible to
many people. Its recent products have seemed far less than
perfect, at least compared to the collective memory of its
astonishing iPod–iPhone–iPad run from 2001 to 2010. There are the
public embarrassments, like its 2012 introduction of Maps, or
those 2014 videos of reviewers bending, and breaking, an iPhone 6
Plus. Apple Pay hasn’t become the standard for a cashless society,
and the Apple Watch “is not the watch we expect from Apple,”
according to John Gruber, editor of Daring Fireball, the
preeminent Apple-centric website. Then there are the design flaws:
Apple Music has been saddled with too many features, as if it were
something designed by, God forbid, Microsoft; the lens on the back
of the iPhone 6 extrudes; the new Apple TV has an illogical
interface and confusing remote control.
If I recall correctly, the context of that remark was related to the Sport/steel/Edition tiering of the Apple Watch product lineup — particularly the $10,000-and-up Edition models. But it could have just as easily been about the slowness of the software. In hindsight — especially now that we’ve seen the zippy WatchOS 3 — Apple Watch was released before it was ready, which is un-Apple-like.
About the Linked List
The Daring Fireball Linked List is a daily list of interesting links
and brief commentary, updated frequently but not frenetically. Call it
a “link log”, or “linkblog”, or just “a good way to dick around on the
Internet for a few minutes a day”.