iPredict

[Updated with one additional paragraph I forgot to include when I posted this half an hour ago]

Apple’s latest special event is in less than 24 hours and as is usual before this event every year, speculation is rife about what they will announce. A new iPhone is widely expected to be launched but nobody is still quite sure what’s going to be in it. It’s been a while since I last wrote an Apple-related piece so I’m quite rusty but this post is basically my two cents about what could possibly come out of this event. More internet garbage!

What’s new! 

An amazingly new iPhone.
Well, amazement lies in the eyes of the beholder. The new iPhone will have a faster processor and a better camera. The difference from its predecessors being that this one will have iOS 10 and as we have noticed increasingly in small yet significant features of iOS 10, there seems to be a lot of on-board machine learning happening which means that the 64-bit, rumored 3Gb RAM might finally be put to more use than just driving that retina display for watching videos.

Wireless “AirPods”?
Err. Umm. I’m going to stick my neck out and say no. iOS 10 is Siri-heavy. To my mind, while you can design a mic into the “AirPods”, it’d be quite an experiment to make that deep-dive before giving users time to adapt to them. The other reason this rumor has been gaining traction is the expectation that Apple will remove the 3.5mm audio jack (which is a reasonable thing to assume) and the discovery of a low power Bluetooth chip patent. That chip PROBABLY has something to do with the Apple Watch and less to do with the earphones.
My guess would be that the earphones are lightning-enabled.

Design Changes!
I hate what the iPhone 6 and 6S feel like (I’m not even going to mention the plus versions of those things). But since millions around the world seem to like this new design, Tim Cook-led Apple is unlikely to fix what isn’t broken. But here’s a word I’d expect to be mentioned somewhere in the keynote: Liquid Metal.

Pencil
With all the weird rich-text and media support throughout the iOS 10 system, it is only logical that Pencil support comes to the iPhone. But the moment those words are spoken at that keynote, remember these words “If you see a stylus, they blew it”. Google it if you don’t know who said that.

Camera
“It’s the best camera that has ever been put in a smart phone”- Phil Schiller, tomorrow.
But Phil, if it’s going to be protruding, I still don’t understand it. Just make the phone that much fatter please. Nobody really cares about 3mm. If you want to make the thinnest phone ever, congratulations on losing that battle anyway.

Storage Space
Here’s why the “best camera ever” matters. Storage. The one tiny but relevant rumor has been that apple will wave goodbye to the 16Gb model. Say hello to 32, 128 and 256Gb! The size of iOS 10 probably has a lot to do with that too.

But here’s the thing. I get the feeling that Apple is holding back the real updates for next year and that this update is going to be a lazy-product cycle demand device that really is a filler. All year so far they’ve struggled in the market (nowhere near the $120 peaks they hit last year) and the fluctuations might carry on till the end of the year irrespective of what they do with their phones. So once the storm is weathered, you might see more exciting features in the phone. So keep the expectations low.

Other announcements

MacBook Pro update
It’s feels like it’s been ages since the previous one and they’re really proud of the MacBook so this will be something to watch out for. Expect Skylake, USB-C and Touch ID. I like the rumor about the OLED touch bar for the function keys but somehow that feels like a gimmick they’d have on the MacBook first. I’m on the fence on that one.

Apple Watch
This is the one Apple device that has so much scope for improvement, it feels like a joke to me. Sure there’s cool tech in it but if Apple was simply about the tech, it wouldn’t be Apple. I’m waiting patiently for the day when all the bio-engineers and fashion designers sit together in Jonathan Ive’s design studio and say “Can we fire that intern who talked us into releasing this thing and pretend like it never happened and start over?”

HealthKit, ResearchKit and CareKit are really, really good. Here’s my problem with the watch- It’s the dumbest smart device to come out of one infinite loop. And while I’m sure that will change in the future (when it becomes capable of existing without an iPhone), in the meanwhile I’d expect it do something to complement the iPhone and change this parasitic relationship they share into symbiotic relationship. Remember the low power Bluetooth chip? That could help, no?

The event is tomorrow, Wednesday September 7th at 10AM PDT, 1PM EST, 10:30PM IST and can be watched at this link: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2016/

Watch it! I’ll try to do a post event piece about what actually transpired and I promise I will compare it with this list and happily take all the rotten tomatoes aimed my way when these turn out to be wrong. LOL.

Goodbye iPod Classic.

Only a few hours ago, I was writing the introduction to my previous post and I happened to mention the various industries Apple has changed with its brilliant products over the years. One of them, was the Music industry. The iPod truly changed how people listened to music. Sometime in 2001, the iPod took the world by storm. That iconic, inimitable click wheel that let you scroll through your songs was an instant hit and it stayed a hit for more than a decade.
The iPod was everything that Apple stood for. Simplicity, Convenience and Brilliance.

I will keep this post short not because there isn’t anything to say about the iPod but because it speaks for itself. Many competitors tried and failed at challenging it and that speaks volumes for the superiority of the iPod.
But now, after many years of loyally serving music enthusiasts around the world, the iPod classic has been retired by Apple. Other variations of the iPod have taken over the baton from the classic and proudly carry on its great lineage but for Apple fans like me and many many others around the world who have had the good fortune of using one of those magical devices, it’s a tearful, nostalgic moment.
While Apple has made the exit quiet and unceremonious, dear iPod Classic, you will not be forgotten.
Goodbye.
Anirudh Dinesh, Editor-At-Large, Dudurudh. 

Inherently Apple…or not.

Every now and again, Apple likes to shake up an industry. What makes Apple special is that it’s not just one industry that they’ve changed forever.
Apart from the Macs changing the way ordinary people interacted with computers, the iPod changed the way people listened to music, iTunes changed the way people bought and sold music, the iPhone
changed how people viewed and used mobile phones and the iPad brought a major shift in the capabilities of a “Post-PC” computing device.
With every launch Apple did what they did best- what they, in the immortal words of Steve Jobs, had set out to do- Put a dent in the universe.

Recent developments in the world of technology have made that more difficult. Apple’s competitors in the smart phone market have adopted aggressive marketing ploys to wrest control of the market space from Apple. To a large extent, they’ve been successful too. Apple, historically, has valued user experience above all else. The competition looks at technology from a different perspective. To them, a smart phone is a collection of numbers. 2GB, 8-core, 41MP, 4200mAh , 441ppi, $599. What they’ve been insanely successful at, and this is the tragedy, is to convince people that a smart phone is just a collection of numbers.
Apple looks at technology differently. To Apple, a smart phone is the sum of everything you do with it. Starting from the keynote to the advertisements, the focus was on how beautifully Apple’s phone works not on what makes it work. At least that’s how it was until Steve Jobs was around.
Although it’s too premature to judge, Apple has failed Steve Jobs on one front. He wanted Apple to outlive him. Apply has out survived Steve. It may not have outlived him. While they’ve largely succeeded at keeping the core values that was characteristic of Steve’s Apple, Apple’s identity is beginning to change. History will judge if that’s for the better or worse.

This post is in reaction to the keynote address at the launch of the new iPhones and the Apple watch.

To normal people watching the launch of the iPhone 6, it would’ve seemed rather grand and impressive. By the standards set by the competitors, Phil Schiller hit all the cliched notes. But it was very evident that not even Phil believed that the iPhone 6 had anything that was going to create ripples in the industry. The phone has a bigger screen, a faster processor, a better camera and the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, iOS 8. People are used to this “upgrade” launch concept thanks to the competition bringing in a culture of launching phones every 7 months. To an Apple fan, the most striking thing was the amount of time Phil spent crunching numbers that were genuinely unimpressive. For instance, he compared the Graphics processor of the iPhone 6 to that of the first iPhone and said that it happens to be 84 times faster. A fact, but a comparison that highlights nothing other than the fact that you really have nothing else to show. Don’t get me wrong, Steve jobs did that too but he compared a phone with it’s immediate predecessor, not to a 6 year old phone that had no need for graphics at all. Honestly, Phil should have compared it do a 15 year old hand-held video game instead and said its 400 times than that.

As far as number crunching goes, both of those are useless comparisons.

Infinite journalists and biographers who have covered Steve Job’s famous keynotes have noted many times that he used to use positive words like “magical and beautiful and create a reality distortion field”. Sadly, when Phil does it, he creates a really distorted field instead. He comes across as trying desperately to force feed your brain that “the iPhone 6 is the best phone you’ve ever seen”. In an almost samsung-isation of the company, Apple treated the iPhone 6 as a collection of numbers. That, to my mind, was the biggest let down on their part.

But the keynote was never meant for those iPhones. The star of the show was, what the media anticipated to be, a watch. Apple watch. Apple went all out for this device. Tim Cook even used Steve’s famous “One more thing….” line.One of the great successes of this device on face value is its customizability. Apple lets you pick your own strap. In the sea of those multiple straps you can use, are some really ugly ones. First step, stay clear of those straps. Pick the right one and this is a decent looking (not mindblowingly beautiful) watch that’ll fit on your wrist with no fuss.

Even though I said earlier that Apple’s identity is beginning to change, one bit of innovation they’ve done for the watch, gives me a ray of hope.

The digital crown.

In a very casual way Apple proudly announced that their goal for the watch “was not to shrink the iPhone to fit your wrist”.
Keeping that in mind, They’ve converted what has been on watches for ages- the crown into an input device that has multiple functionalities. A user interface change that could be as important to the smart watch industry as touch screen was to the mobile phone industry. It’s a simple feature no one has thought of yet but is bound to be copied by the competition.
That simplicity in thought and ingenuity in execution is inherently Apple and hopefully it carries over to the other products too.

Apple’s latest launch has been met by rather encouraging reviews. Mainstream media’s expectations seem to have been met. But for Apple, it is crucial to remember one thing. Mainstream media treats
Samsung’s sad excuses for phones as good. By those standards, Apple is bound to do well. But Apple’s competition has never been from others, it has always been a battle within. A battle to make the best possible device a user could use. A battle to be the Gold standard. A battle to change the world.

Stay safe! Stay informed!                                                                                                                           

 Anirudh Dinesh, Editor-At-Large, Dudurudh.

Apple: Change isn’t always good.

Late in the evening on a October day last year, I remember sitting down to watch the evening news.
Apple had just won a huge legal battle against Samsung worth about a Billion dollars, launched their latest iPhone ( iPhone 5 ) and launched a mini tablet for the first time,  iPad mini. Raking in profits as usual, for any normal organization, those would’ve been good times.  But apple had come under severe criticism. Their share prices had dropped considerably since the 700$ peak it had reached in September of that year.
For an apple fan ,watching this unfold was quite hard. Apple seemed to be making the same mistakes it had made when it almost went bankrupt a little over a decade earlier when it tried to beat Microsoft in volumes. Only this time, apple was trying to outsell samsung.  But Samsung played it smartly. Pulling apple down to its level and beating them there, giving out a sign of  superiority.

The problem can’t be found in the balance sheets. The solution won’t be there either. The numbers will show that 5 million iPhones ( iPhone 5 ) were sold in the opening weekend. Easily apple’s best selling phone at the time. The iPhone 5 went on to break quite a few sales records. And that’s something iPhones generally do. And that’s because they are genuinely great products. Expensive but absolutely great.
And then there is the iPad mini. A device launched, presumably, with a single intention of competing with Samsung in a market that Samsung and the others created to sell cheaper tablets. Smaller screens, slower processors and every other trick in the book to lower costs. It’s what they did with the netbook market. To be fair, that worked for those companies. But by principle, apple shouldn’t have gone there. Apple didn’t enter the netbook industry for a reason. Because those devices were just crowd pleasers. They had no class because there was nothing new about them.
But with the mini tablet market,
Apple succumbed to corporate peer pressure. Following others blindly.

And recently, Apple made another blunder. The iPhone 5C.
What they got right though, was the other iPhone. The iPhone 5S. An absolute beast. A killer 64bit architecture processor, a much improved camera, and to cap it off, a finger print scanner for improved security. Brilliant.

The iPhone 5C is basically the iPhone 5 with a larger battery and a plastic back. Ok it’s some polycarbonate material or something but  it certainly looks like plastic and there’s no justifying that.
If that was done to reduce cost they failed. They’ve withdrawn the iPhone 5 and placed the 5C in its place. Generally when apple releases a new phone, the price of the previous phone drops anyway. The iPhone 5 would’ve cost almost the same as the 5C once the 5S released. And the iPhone 5 remains a great phone interms of look, feel and performance. Without the look and the feel, the phone isn’t apple at heart. Had they left it at the 5S and  possibly released the iPhone 5 with a larger battery for iOS 7 they would’ve been so much better off.

Apple, for no presumable reason, has changed. Principles compromised for profits. Values forgotten in popularity. The heart, ignored in competition. The 5S has out sold the 5C by 4 devices to one. That itself speaks volumes in favour of quality over low prices.
The sooner the top managers at apple realize that, the better.

Remembering Steve, again.

I remember sitting down to write a blog post about the passing of Steve jobs roughly a week after it happened .

For one week I couldn’t gather my thoughts . I couldn’t get my head around that news . I tried but I couldn’t convince myself . Eventually when I got myself to write something , it was a paragraph . I was all teared up and there was no way I could write anymore . 
Couple of months later, my friends happened to gift me a copy of his biography by Walter issacson . He describes, towards the end of the book , how jobs had become frail and weak because of his illness .
That description , and I keep saying this to everyone , is one of the best I have ever read or heard . But It disturbed me . I was upset . 
And now , some time ago , I came across what is claimed to be the last photo of Steve jobs . 
Dressed in loose fitting black clothes and wearing his, now iconic, round rimmed glasses, a thin , frail looking , weak Steve jobs , unable to walk by himself , being supported by someone else . 

I recollect his speech to a batch of Stanford graduates at their graduation. There hasn’t been a single occasion  when that video hasn’t raised my spirits and given me renewed energy to get out there and start working on everything I’ve ever wanted to do.
Among the many other parts of that speech that I keep reading to myself over and over , this one stands out .
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life”

As I read that passage once more , I glance down at that last photo of his.
Suddenly , I can’t think of what to say anymore . 

That picture only reiterates what he said . One day he is the leader of the world’s most valuable company . The next , he needs someone else’s support to move around. And it could happen to anyone. So if you have something to do , to do it now, do it well and do it only if you love it.

That picture is going to stay in my head forever. I’m not going to put it up here because that’s not how the world should remember him. 
I’ve never met the man. Or even spoken to him. I live roughly 12,000kms from where he spent most of his time. But I’ve never felt closer to a person. 

Don’t be trapped by dogma, he said. Something that has become increasingly difficult in today’s world. But you look at his life and you know he followed that sincerely. And that gives me hope. 

His address at the Stanford convocation is something everybody should watch. He finishes by wishing, all of us, what he wished for himself. To be able to ” stay hungry . Stay foolish”.

The timing of this post has no significance. But this post does. It gutted me to see the man I loved and adored so much in that sad condition. 
But it shook me. And I needed to get those thoughts out of me. 
I needed to remind myself of everything he represented throughout his life. And so I went back and read all those old articles and quotes and speeches. 

Steven paul jobs changed my life . I don’t know when . Or even how . Just that he did. I’ve been asked to think rationally . Judge logically . I can’t . But that , I guess is the magic of Steve jobs. A harsh , sometimes even rude ignorance to other people’s idea of rationality.

I remember how I ended that post I wrote about his passing. And I still find it apt.
Thank you Steve , for being an inspiration , a mentor . This post is for you , wherever you are . And as a tribute , I make this post from my iPod touch . Yes I am making a blogpost from my portable music player . Need I say more ?

( P.S : I made this post on my phone , but this note has automatically saved on that iPod as well so I’m going to go post it from there. I love apple )

iRemember- Remembering Steve Jobs .

It’s taken me a while to make this post. The reason, I don’t know. But one thing I know for sure. The world has lost a visionary, a creative genius, the kind of person who truly is one in a million. Steven Paul Jobs. The man behind the half bitten apple. The man who redefined how we would use of phones and how they would make them. The man who made a Phone do more than just make and receive calls. The man who put portable in portable music players .

This is not a post to highlight the life and times of Steve jobs. A blogpost can’t do justice to that. This is a tribute. A post to bid adieu. To say goodbye. One last time .

No matter what anyone says, there is one indisputable fact. He was one of the greatest creative geniuses of recent times. His visions for the phones of the future, nobody else had.
When the iPhone first came out, it was an instant hit for a reason. And it was not because of the brand name of apple but because of the fact that it took phone technology and usability to a level nobody anticipated. With every new iPhone, the cellphone evolution process becomes a revolution process.
 
Today cloud computing has become a domestic reality through iCloud. In 1997, Steve jobs had spoken about something exactly like it. 14 years ago, a dream. Today a reality that helps millions of apple users protect their data from crashes. Dreamer? No. Visionary .

 I still can’t digest the fact that he is gone. For the past week, I have been in total shock, as have been other Steve jobs admirers. 5th of October. A day when the world lost the apple of it’s eye .

 Steve jobs. You will be missed. A lot of tributes from a lot of people have poured in for him . If apple called the new iPhone, 4S meaning iPhone 4 Steve, it is the best tribute of them all. No doubt. And like president Obama said “There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented”.
Thank you Steve, for being an inspiration, a mentor. This post is for you, wherever you are. And as a tribute, I make this post from my iPod touch. Yes I am making a blogpost from my portable music player. Need I say more?