December 17, 2015

News: Apple Shuffles and Promotes Some Executives

Some changes took place for Apple today—as announced in a press release, Jeff Williams is moving into Tim Cook’s old COO role, Johny Srouji has been promoted to executive level, Tor Myhren has been hired to work with graphic design and marking and communications, and finally, Phil Schiller will oversee the App Store across all platforms…

December 13, 2015

Link: Who Stole the Desk from My Hotel Room? ☍

Dan Wetzel:

Then I heard something that terrified me to my myopic, Marriott point loving soul … this was part of a chain wide redesign of rooms. No more desks. In any, or at least many, Marriotts. Seriously. Even full service Marriotts in business districts, work areas were out. […]

I was told this had to do with the habits of Millennials, who don’t use desks. [Insert “Millennials don’t do any work” jokes here.] They prefer rooms that are designed to “hang out” in and whatever work they do can be accomplished on their phone. Hence we have two beds and a couch but no chair or desk.

I’m sort of sick of companies assuming they know what Millennials want, especially when it’s almost always a means to disguise a cost-cutting measure. How about if we’re going to update hotel rooms for the better, ditch the dressers, add more electrical outlets, improve Wi-Fi, and offer usable HDMI inputs on TVs? I don’t need a “hang out space” for friends if I’m traveling—we’d go explore our surroundings. Then again, if I’m getting in late and wanting to go immediately to bed, or traveling by myself, the “hang out space” concept appeals even less.

Link: The Pixel C was Probably Never Supposed to Run Android ☍

Ron Amadeo for Ars Technica:

It appears that the Pixel C was planned as launch hardware for a new, all-touch version of Chrome OS which at some point got canceled—necessitating a switch to Android. The story is a lot more complicated than that, though. What follows is the best timeline we could piece together showing the Pixel C’s troubled development history.

The Pixel C’s early reviews have been kind of rough, primarily due to the software being the phone-sized apps blown up to a tablet screen. Based on the hardware (especially that keyboard layout), this theory makes sense and is really a shame that Google didn’t allow the Pixel C to be a Surface-y Chromebook.

December 12, 2015

Link: Here’s What Makes Apple’s Battery Case so ‘Smart’ ☍

Rene Ritchie for iMore:

By keeping the Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6s light, and making it smart, Apple’s offering an alternative for people who just want some extra battery life. Not all the time, but for when they’ll be using their iPhones more heavily than usual or for when they’ll be away from power for longer than usual.

I held off a few days with sharing my opinion on this new case. It’s a bit weird, kind of ugly, and seems to have some different compromises from competitors’ products. After reading this, there are some good arguments for the way Apple designed this case. It’s a very very simplified approach, and should be a nice alternative for people that want some extra battery life without having to worry about maintaining their battery case. I’m rarely that far from a charger and usually get through a whole day on a charge anyway, so I probably will not be getting one, but it’s nice that there’s an option, and it might challenge other manufacturers to try some new things.

Link: Ben Brooks on the Surface Pro 4 ☍

Ben Brooks reviews the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 from a MacBook and iPad Pro user’s perspective:

On a good note, I loved carrying the Surface Pro 4 and setting it up. It is a much better system, case, and pen holder than the iPad Pro. It feels more solid too. As a package of hardware it is really great and I loved taking it around and using it. But then you run into the battery life issue — this is a device you need to treat like a laptop: bring your charger with you. I opted to just bring the iPad Pro as a backup — almost a threat to the Surface Pro 4 each day that if it died the iPad Pro would take over. That threat didn’t work, unfortunately.

I think this is a really good look at the product—the Surface Pro 4 is a fascinating device approaching the idea of mobile computing from a laptop perspective that just happens to look like a tablet. The iPad Pro with a keyboard attached is the opposite of that, a tablet that is masquerading as a laptop. A number of my coworkers have replaced their PC laptops with Surface Pro 3s and absolutely love them, but most of the usage is either with the Type Cover or an external keyboard and mouse attached, just like traditional PCs. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just makes the Surface Pro and iPad Pro comparisons difficult.

November 30, 2015

Link: Can the MacBook Pro Replace Your iPad? ☍

Fraser Speirs offers a great satire piece, with just enough truth to the whole unnecessary Mac vs. iPad argument:

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about the MacBook Pro and, in particular, whether it can replace an iPad Pro for getting real work done.

Firstly, consider the hardware. The huge issue with the MacBook Pro is its form factor. The fact that the keyboard and screen are limited to being held in an L-shaped configuration seriously limits its flexibility. It is basically impossible to use a MacBook pro while standing up and downright dangerous to use when walking around. Your computing is limited to times when you are able to find somewhere to sit down.

November 19, 2015

“I think Apple sees the Mac’s relevance as substantially less in 10 years than it is today and iOS as substantially more. I don’t think that means there is a whiteboard in Cupertino with the day of the Mac’s death written on it.”

November 12, 2015

Link: Desktop Computer ☍

Asymco’s Horace Dediu offers an explanation on who the iPad Pro is really for and how it differs from the rest of Apple’s lineup. This 9 minute video is thought-provoking and well worth your time.