Tesla Means Something

Sharp take by Ben Thompson on the new Tesla Model 3 and the parallels of Tesla to Apple:

When it comes to the iPhone I have argued that Apple’s smartphone was, relative to the phones on the market, Obsoletive: the iPhone effectively reduced the phones that came before it to apps on a general purpose computer, justifying a higher price even as it made cheaper incumbents obsolete.

This doesn’t quite work for Tesla: at the end of the day a Model S is still doing the same job as a traditional BMW or Mercedes-Benz. It just does it better: a Model S accelerates faster, it has more storage, it has innovative features like limited auto-pilot and a huge touch-screen interface, and you don’t have to stop at the gas station. Most importantly, though, it is a Tesla.

The real payoff of Musk’s “Master Plan” is the fact that Tesla means something: yes, it stands for sustainability and caring for the environment, but more important is that Tesla also means amazing performance and Silicon Valley cool. To be sure Tesla’s focus on the high end has helped them move down the cost curve but it was Musk’s insistence on making “An electric car without compromises” that ultimately led to 276,000 people reserving a Model 3, many without even seeing the car: after all, it’s a Tesla.

Thompson refutes the Clayton Christensen’s idea of ‘disruptive innovators’ like he and many others claim Apple and Tesla to be. It’s the strength of the Tesla and Apple brands that allows them to do and achieve what they do, not because they’re necessarily disruptive.

Put that in your disruptive pipe and innovatively smoke it, Christensen.

3D Touch

Interesting to see how iOS apps are taking advantage of 3D Touch:

Flickr may have my favorite twist on 3D Touch so far, with a slight change to how peek works. When you’re previewing a photo in your camera roll, Flickr lets you scrub from side to side to quickly see more pictures. It’s a small change, but as soon as you try it, you wonder why Apple didn’t figure this out in the first place — it ought to be in the iPhone’s camera roll, and maybe even everywhere there’s a gallery of photos. Unfortunately, Flickr has only implemented this so far for your own overall camera roll; it doesn’t work inside of albums or for other users, and it totally should. (Flickr does, however, let you do a standard peek at most profiles, photos, albums, and notifications.)

I’m looking forward to getting an iPhone 7 next year.

Unshackling the iPad

Stephen Hackett’s thoughts on WWDC 2015:

That’s not to say there isn’t news to be talk about. As someone whose tablet is basically a Netflix machine most weeks, I’m excited Apple finally realized they can do cool things with it. Unshackling the iPad from the iPhone’s feature set is a huge change with tradition, and one I welcome.

Bingo. Unshackling the iPad from the iPhone’s feature set.

I think this is a big reason I’ve neglected my iPad 3 as much as I have.

I have an iPhone 6 Plus because I wanted even more of a reason to disregard my iPad, but now Apple goes and makes the iPad more useful(well, not my iPad, since many of the new multitasking features only work on the iPad Air 2 due to processor requirements).

Damn you, Apple.

I am in charge of my device, my device is not in charge of me.

Steven Levy on the problem with his ever-increasing notifications:

But it’s hard to do this right when every single app wants to send you notifications. Even given that the system will limit itself to notices worthy of instant notice – and The Melvin Renaming is evidence to the contrary – there are just too many notifications elbowing their way into what should be a narrow passage labeled, “Stuff I absolutely need to see.”

This decreases the value of all notifications. If you want an example of another realm, consider the situation of “alarm fatigue” in hospitals, as recently exposed in a book by Dr. Robert Wachter, excerpted here on Backchannel recently. Of the 350,000 drug prescriptions a month that Wachter’s hospital issues, pharmacists get alerts on nearly half of those. In the hospital’s five Intensive Care Units, bedside cardiac units alerts go off 187 times – per patient, per day. That’s 381,560 a month. If you weren’t inured, you’d go crazy. But what about the really serious ones?

We aren’t at that level of desperation yet with online notifications. But the Age of Notifications is about to face its biggest mess yet, as alerts move from phone screens to watch faces. Notifications are just about the entire point of a smart watch – you’re not going to be reading books, watching movies or doing spreadsheets on them. And a tilt of the wrist is the perfect delivery system for those little blips.

I say these are his ever-increasing notifications because I don’t have this problem. Because I turn off most notifications on my iPhone. The only time my phone vibrates is when I receive a phone call. You know, that old-timey medium were you hear a voice and you talk into your device and they can hear you.

I understand I’m an outlier in how I handle my notifications, but I still don’t have any sympathy for these self-made “victims” of notifications. I am in charge of my device, my device is not in charge of me. As George Carlin said, I have this real moron thing I do, it’s called thinking. When I install a new app, and that app asks permission to send me notifications, I think for a minute if really makes sense for Flappy Bird or Instagram to send me notifications. The answer is usually no.

I have some advice for anyone who feels their device is running and ruining his or her life:

  • Delete Facebook from your device

Now those hours you’d normally be wasting following the lives of other people? Use a small fraction of that time in the settings area of your iPhone or Android phone. Familiarize yourself with how notifications are handled and turn off the unimportant ones.

I’m normally a big fan of Steven Levy, but shame on him for writing that piece.

R.I.P. Palm Treo, 2005-2008

treo_650_big.jpg

Last month marked the retirement of my Palm Treo 650. This phone, combined with my Treo 600 before it, lasted me for over 3 years – and it did it’s job very well. Its top selling point for me was the Hot Sync ability. The fact that if I ever lost or broke my phone, I could just sync my new phone with my computer and all my contacts would be back. In fact, the information on my Treo(s) was actually legacy information from my Samsung SPH-300 (Palm OS) and my Palm Vx before it. So you can see, syncing is very important for me. The idea of having to re-enter info into a phone annoys me to no end.

In January of 2007, I was almost ready to renew my contract with Cingular and get a new Treo 680 – but then Apple dropped the iPhone and that changed the whole game. Suddenly the Treo looked dated. Ok, fine, most mobile phones still look dated, but before the iPhone, the Treo had no foil, nothing innovative and modern to contrast its dated operating system. Looking at the Palm Treo now next to the iPhone is like looking at the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System next to a Playstation 3.

…and like the NES, I still love my Treo, but it’s day has passed. I might occasionally pick it up to look nostalgically at the antiquated OS.

…or to play Dope Wars.

Oh Really? iPhone is Not the Next iPod

Why Apple’s iPhone is Not the Next iPod:

Additionally, the potential success of the iPhone could be dampened by its price. If looked at as three devices in one, the price isn’t unreasonable — buying a 4GB iPod Nano and a BlackBerry 8700c (which acts as a phone and Internet device) separately for instance would set you back about $500. But when looked at as simply a phone, which is the way many people perceive the device, it’s just plain expensive. People may not be willing to pay $499 to $599 for a cell phone that does not function any better as a phone per se, in that it makes calls as well as the next phone.

Bullshit.

Other devices priced around $500 when they debuted:

  • Treo 600
  • Motorola RAZR
  • iPod (first generation)