PMUG Blog

  • Competing Interests

    August 19, 2016
    Khürt Williams

    I enjoyed reading the Washington Post Tim Cook interview. The interview was wide in scope and really gives you a window into the mind of Apple’s CEO. I recommend it. One section that raised my eyebrows was the discussion of security and privacy. This issue is a fascinating one to me because Apple has taken such a leading role in advocating privacy rights for consumers. As Tim explaned in the interview, “Customers should have an expectation that they shouldn’t need a PhD in computer science to protect themselves.”

    Elsewhere in the interview, Tim talks about Apple’s mission.

    The DNA of the company is really what I was talking about there. The North Star has always been the same, which for us, is about making insanely great products that really change the world in some way — enrich people’s lives. And so our reason for being hasn’t changed.

    I absolutely believe the folks at Apple get out of bed in the morning to make great products. However, it really isn’t that simple. If you don’t believe me, perhaps I could interest you in a 16GB iPhone. Making insanely great products has always required compromises. Apple has to make a profit if they want to stay in business and every Apple product (just like any other company’s product) that comes to market requires thousands of small compromises. That’s always come with the territory but until recently, I’ve never really thought of Apple having a competing North Star. Now I wonder.

    Privacy is a big deal to Apple. Tim explained:

    Privacy, in my point of view, is a civil liberty that our Founding Fathers thought of a long time ago and concluded it was an essential part of what it was to be an American. Sort of on the level, if you will, with freedom of speech, freedom of the press.

    I think this is more than CEO puffing. I think Tim, and the rest of Apple leadership, feels this in their bones and they are absolutely willing to go to bat for consumers on the issue of privacy. They took a drubbing over the San Bernardino case and I suspect they’d do it all over again. The question, however, becomes what happens when protecting consumer privacy gets in the way of making insanely great products? If Apple’s unstoppable force hits its own immovable object, who wins?

    There are plenty of consumers already getting off the Apple services bandwagon in favor of Google precisely because the way Google does everything on its servers results in some insanely great user experiences. Apple is responding by trying to get those types of services on-device–as opposed to the less private cloud storage as Google does. We’re early days on this but it seems, at least for the immediate future, that the cloud service solution is better, faster, and more adaptable than on-device.

    If Tim Cook were sitting here right now, I suspect he’d argue that the 2016 version of an insanely great product is one that (in addition to many other features) protects user privacy and going back to the issue of compromises, it’s probably better that you not let somebody else index all of your photos, even if that would make it easier to search out pictures of canteloupes. I agree with that particular compromise but as we move into the next few years, I think the goals of great products and protecting user privacy aren’t always going to align.

    Read more at MacSparky


  • The 5 stages of grief for a headphone-jack-free iPhone (Macworld)

    August 17, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    It started as rumbles and turned into solid rumors. Now, with the report from Bloomberg by Mark Gurman that the next iPhone won’t have a headphone jack, it seems like a sure thing. The standard audio plug that’s been around for decades (and in every Mac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone) is being removed from Apple’s most popular product. As someone who’s been listening to music ...

  • Symbolic Leadership

    August 12, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Om Malik: 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 ...

  • Google Docs and the iPad

    August 10, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Today I received a pleasant surprise when Google issued an update to Google Docs and Google Sheets finally enabling split screen. In this case the “finally” term is merited. Apple first announced split screen in June 2015. It took Google 14 months to update these apps for split screen. I’d love to hear the story behind why it took so long but suspect we never ...

  • On the Economic Feasiblity of Apple Providing Decent Wireless Earbuds With the New iPhones

    August 10, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Thomas Ricker, writing for The Verge: “I’d prefer ‘good enough’ wireless earbuds included with the iPhone,” says Gruber, “and ‘amazing’ headphones as the upsell product.” 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 ...

  • Gurman on New MacBook Pros

    August 10, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Mark Gurman, writing at Bloomberg: 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 ...

  • New MacBook Pros are reportedly on deck, but not in September

    August 10, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Everyone knows the MacBook Pro has languished. Apple has focused less on its portable option for power users in recent years and more on iPads, of which there are now two Pro models. But many, many people still rely on the MacBook Pro to get work done, and after more than four years without a major overhaul, Apple is reportedly gearing up to surprise ...

  • Bloomberg: Apple said to be testing new MacBook Pro

    August 10, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Mark Gurman: The updated notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys, and will be offered with more powerful and efficient graphics processors for expert users such as video gamers, said the people, who asked not to be named. The new computers have been in advanced testing within Apple since earlier this year, said one of the people, who didn’t want to ...

  • Apple details iOS security at Black Hat conference

    August 9, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Apple engineer Ivan Krstić spoke on far more than Apple’s new bug bounty program at the Black Hat security conference, and delved into the inner workings of iOS hardware and software security features both in iOS 9 and the forthcoming iOS 10. Security is such an important issue these days. It’s a great move for Apple to speak publicly about what they are doing to ...

  • Inside Tim Cook’s Apple

    August 8, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Rick Tetzeli has published a wide-ranging interview with Tim Cook, Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue. At the heart of the article is the concern that Apple is stretching too thin, moving far beyond it’s old scope of projects and products: Steve Jobs had been the company’s editor, proud of saying no to features, products, business ideas, and new hires far more often than he ...

  • The world’s first website went online 25 years ago today

    August 6, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Wow. I’ve been doing a podcast for more than 22 years. I didn’t realize I had started so soon after the web went online. ∞ Read this on The Loop