Tag: iPod

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Thinking About Apple HomePod

HomePod arrived yesterday at 9:40 a.m. PST; thank-you UPS for prompt delivery of my preorder. The device replaces Google Home, which will be dispatched to a new owner (hopefully), via Craigslist or NextDoor. Perhaps Big G’s assistant would have satisfied more if I lived the Google lifestyle like during my Android and Chromebook days. But I walk the Apple Way today, for better or for worse.

My initial reaction: Wow and uh-oh. The wow harkens back to the original iPod, which Apple released in October 2001. The company’s design ethic treated the overall experience as the user interface: Attach FireWire cable to Mac and device, music syncs. iTunes manages music on the Mac; for iPod, a simple scroll-wheel navigates tracks displayed on a small screen. The uncomplicated and understated approach defied the UX of every other MP3 sold by all other manufacturers. HomePod is a defining, roots-return that’s well-deserving of the portion of name in common with its forebear; both share in common emphasis on music listening as primary benefit. 

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Anyone Calling This Article Clickbait Doesn’t Get It

In December 2014, I cajoled: “Writers, Own Your Content!” All my work-written blogs—thousands of posts—between mid-2003 and April 2009 are gone. The companies shut down the sites (because of acquisition and restructuring). Now, to prevent future deletion calamity, everything I want to preserve cross-posts here, as is the case with yesterday’s “Whatever Apple Was, It Isn’t Anymore“, which appears on BetaNews as “Apple’s core is rotting“.

Unsurprisingly, the BN version generated more reader reaction—119 comments as I write. You can consider the post as example of what I referred to two days ago when answering question: “Where are the Comments?” Most of the reaction to my stories takes place elsewhere. As such, I sometimes feel need to transplant some of the interaction here, as I did four months ago with post “Who’s the Troll Here — This Dude or Me?” I do so again, today. 

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iPod is Classic

In my professional life as a journalist, I only wrote one rumor story for which sourcing was truly sketchy. Generally my rule is this: Write what you know to be true in the moment based on the most reliable—and identified, meaning we directly communicated—sources available. But I didn’t feel confident about my Oct. 17, 2001 iPod story. My source (only one) confirmed that six days later Apple would unveil a “digital music device”, but it wasn’t clear what that meant, something the story reflects.

I reminisce about iPod because it’s gone. CNET, where I worked when writing about the mystery music device, reported the device’s disappearance yesterday. The link for iPod Classic now goes to iPod Touch, and the music player is no longer sold at Apple Store Online—not even refurbished. The extended name, adopted in 2007, is appropriate. The original iPod is a “classic”. It is one of four foundational products released in 2001 that still drive everything Apple in 2014. Music changed the fruit-logo company long before iPhone established the world’s largest tech company. 

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Apple's Gang of Four

Ten years ago—that’s right, 2001—Apple made four investments that bore fruit in a 21st-century success story. Everything that came afterwards, even iPad and iPhone, traces back to what I call the “2001 Four”.

Apple made these investments during difficult times. The dot-com bust rippled disastrously through the tech industry, the United States was gripped in recession and Apple’s stock value had collapsed. Shares opened at $343.72 today about four bucks off the 52-week high. Apple’s market capitalization was $317.21 billion at yesterday’s close. Going back in time, Apple shares traded for less than $10 a decade ago. As I explained last month, Apple’s fortunes have dramatically changed. 

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Future of the PC as Seen From 2003

Sometimes the past feels all the more distant.

In November 2003, Jupitermedia held a small event competing with the then massive and now defunct Comdex. As a senior analyst working for the company, I was asked to give presentation: “Evolution of the PC.” The topic is so broad I griped: “Why don’t you just give me a bag of rocks and tell me to hit one of the great lakes.” So much about computing has changed since that presentation, the content seems simply ancient to me.

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2001: An Apple Odyssey

It is not uncommon for bloggers and journalists to get hung up on the present. For Apple, there’s big noise about soaring stock price, even considering economic recession, and increasing demand for iPhone. But the past defines the present. For Apple, products or services launched in a single calendar year—and the consistent execution that followed—define current successes, including iPhone.

I contend that next to 1984, when Apple launched Macintosh, 2001 was the most important year in the company’s history. 

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The Five-Year Plan

Lots of people are probably digging under rocks trying to uncover what will be the next, big, earthshaking technology trend. I won’t say, but I will offer an observation about reading the signs.

The first CD players started selling in the United States in 1983. By 1988, CDs surpassed vinyl records’ popularity (See Wikipedia, Gramaphone Record). Another two or three years would pass before music CDs reached mass-market dominance.

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Whew, It was worth the Risk

Well, it is great to be mostly right. Apple did in fact launched a video service today, with music videos and TV shows, and even video podcasts, so I’m three for three there.

The company also announced a new video-based iPod. I even got the Mac entertainment repositioning right. Apple released a new iMac with built-in video camera and new entertainment interface called Front Row.