Janko Roettgers, reporting for Variety (I was not aware Variety had a Silicon Valley beat reporter):
Google has hired a former lead Pebble and webOS designer Liron
Damir as the new head of user experience of its Google Home group,
which works on products such as Google Home, Chromecast and Google
Wifi. Damir announced that he joined Google on Linkedin this week,
writing that he was “super excited and proud to be joining Google…
to lead the design of Google Home products.”
A Google spokesperson confirmed the hire Thursday, but declined to
Most recently, Damir worked as head of UX for Essential, the new
startup from Android founder Andy Rubin. Before that, he was VP of
design at Pebble, the pioneering smart watch maker that got
acquired by Fitbit in late 2016.
Seems like a bad sign for Essential that they’ve lost their head UX designer before their (overdue) first phone has even shipped.
Market News Updates:
According to research provided by CoStar, sales per square foot at
all but a few public retailers have declined to an average of
around $325 in recent years, down from nearly $375 in the early
2000s. There’s little doubt that the online giant Amazon.com, Inc.
has been disrupting traditional retailers, however, several
companies have managed to grow sales despite the declining trend
With sales per square foot viewed as a major component of retail
success, according to industry data provided by eMarkter, the #1
retailer in sales per square foot is Apple Inc., which did a
staggering $5,546 per square foot. […]
Leading the jewelry retail industry with sales of $2,951 per
square foot, Tiffany & Co., through its subsidiaries, designs,
manufactures and retails jewelry and other items worldwide.
Again I say: Apple’s retail stores are a vastly underestimated strength of the company. None of Apple’s competitors have anything like it.
Also seems like a good time to re-link to my 2012 piece on Apple stores, “A Big Misunderstanding”:
What Apple understands and its critics did not (and still do not)
is that many people, from all walks of life, simply appreciate
nice things. They accuse Apple of pretension and elitism, but it’s
they, the critics, who hold that the mass market for phones and
tablets is overwhelmingly composed of tasteless, fickle shoppers
who neither discern nor care about product quality. […]
Apple is not selling caviar against cheese and crackers. They’re
selling better-tasting cheese and crackers, and all you have to
do is come into their store and taste some to believe for
yourself. Anyone who believes Apple is about to have the rug
pulled out from under the iPhone and iPad by commoditized Android
devices should spend a few minutes inside an Apple retail store
this holiday week.
2012 was the peak of Android/Samsung mania. A lot of people really did think Apple was about to have its lunch eaten in the phone and tablet markets.
Kif Leswing, reporting for Business Insider:
“Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod
Touch, now with double the capacity, starting at just $199, and we
are discontinuing the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano,” an Apple
representative told Business Insider in an email.
The iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano have been removed from Apple’s
website and online store.
The end of an era. It took exactly one decade for the iPhone to completely cannibalize Apple’s entire iPod business.
I’m sure there are still tens of millions of these iPods in use, and will be for years to come. They’re great for working out. The hardware form factor isn’t what did these in — it’s the antiquated notion of having to sync audio files to them via a cable connected to a Mac or PC. If the content on your audio player isn’t coming to it over the air, most likely streaming, it isn’t relevant.
It’s interesting to think about a Nano-sized iPod running iOS. In theory that’d be useful. But if it didn’t have cellular networking, it could only stream when you were on Wi-Fi. So people would just keep using what they’re using today for audio — their phones. Even though the phone is a worse form factor purely as an audio player because it’s so big, comparatively, it’s better overall because it has a network connection almost everywhere.
The iPod Touch (which Apple updated yesterday) exists as an alternative to an iPhone. An iPod Nano running iOS would exist as something people would buy, and then carry around, in addition to their iPhone. I don’t think that would sell.
Update: What I’m describing — a tiny device that can stream network audio sources to wireless headphones — would sure make for a great future Apple Watch.