“…but the deeper software integration from the foldable display just isn’t ready yet.”

Lenovo let Chaim Gartenberg at The Verge get his hands on their new foldable PC.

For me, it all boils down to this quote from Chaim:

Unfortunately there's just not a lot we can show off here. There is a functional (!) version of Windows running on this hardware, but the deeper software integration from the foldable display just isn't ready yet.

It's important to experiment with new form factors for devices, but when you're bringing a product to market, it's much more important to have your use cases figured out and your software ready and working.

This reeks of trendy novelty and a complete lack of deep thinking. Lenovo appears to be riding the foldable wave started by Samsung back in February.

What's the use case for a folding laptop?

Would I buy this to replace a tablet or a traditional laptop?

Where's the benefit in saying "me first!" with a piece of shit?

Categories:

Product

There’s a first for everything.

John Gruber on the MacBook keyboards:

I consider these keyboards the worst products in Apple history. MacBooks should have the best keyboards in the industry; instead they’re the worst. They’re doing lasting harm to the reputation of the MacBook brand.

I just started a new job and normally I get excited because that means I get a brand-new MacBook Pro.

This is the first time in my 19 years as a graphic designer I'm not looking forward to getting a new machine.

And that sucks.

Categories:

Product

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Is that you, Suunto?

News came last week that Alphabet's health division, Verily, got clearance from the FDA to test the EKG feature on their smartwatch. Remember, last year Apple introduced this feature on the Apple Watch Series 4.

Anyway, that's not the follow-the-leader news that caught my eye. It was the watch photo featured in the Verge story. It reminded me of a watch I had seen before:

The reason I know about the Suunto Lumi is because I bought one and wrote a blog post on it in 2009.

Everything is a remix.

LG’s “hybrid” smartwatch

Engadget's headline: LG's first hybrid smartwatch is mix of ambition and compromise

Ok, that smartwatch represents neither ambition nor compromise, that's called shitty design. It looks like something a freshman year product design student would turn in for their first assignment.

You're not convinced yet? Check out this tweet from Avi Greengart showing the flapping watch hands in action. That's straight up hilarious.

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Reply Hazy, Try Again Later

Over at Slate, Will Oremus lets us know Alexa is losing her edge:

As recently as a year ago, Amazon single-handedly controlled the global smart speaker industry, with a market share upward of 75 percent, according to estimates from two of the leading market watchers, Strategy Analytics and Canalys, based in Singapore. Amazon itself boasted in a February earnings report that it had sold “tens of millions” of Echo devices in 2017. That figure included not only its flagship Echo smart speaker but the Echo Dot, Echo Show, and other Echos, the company clarified to me (though not other Alexa-powered gizmos, such as the Tap or Fire TV). It makes sense that Amazon was crushing the competition, because there wasn’t much competition yet: Google had just launched the Home in late 2016, and Apple’s HomePod was not yet on the market. The Echo has been available since 2014.

Would-be rivals faced an uphill struggle. Amazon’s head start in smart speakers resembled the daunting leads that Apple famously built in portable MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets. But Apple’s high prices at least gave competitors an opening to build cheaper alternatives for the mass market. Not so with Amazon. Because it viewed Echo partly as a path to Amazon purchases, the company sold its smart speakers at affordable prices, opting to maximize sales rather than profit margins. How could latecomers compete?

First off, Oremus is being selective with his MP3 player timeline.

Apple entered an already crowded MP3 player market when it launched the original iPod in 2001. The classic and often quoted 'BrownFury' on SlashDot said what all short-sighted nerds at the time were thinking, "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

Table stakes, erroneously determined by the dorks, had been set. Apple was a day late and a dollar short. Except they weren't.

Amazon was first to market with the Echo, but not best to market. The smart speaker product segment is still a young one and it's unclear which one(s) will be the winner(s). A few weeks ago I questioned the value of a speaker you can order things from (will this blog entry look cute and naive in a decade?).

As I see it, Google seems to have the biggest lead in AI assistants and voice recognition/dictation, but Apple will be releasing iOS 12 in a month which includes Siri Shortcuts, something I'm very excited about.

Maybe Apple ends up dominating the premium end of the smart speaker category, mirroring what they have been doing with the iPhone for 10 years, while Google and Amazon fight for the rest. Maybe Google winds up the winner.

We don't know. Won't know for a while.

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Logitech Buys Blue

Back on July 30 it was announced Logitech is acquiring Blue Microphones for $117 million in cash:

Logitech is making a big purchase to secure a foothold in high-end audio recording. Tonight, the company announced that it’s acquiring Blue Microphones for $117 million. The all-cash transaction will result in Blue, known for USB condenser microphones including the Snowball and Yeti, joining Logitech’s existing portfolio of brands. Aside from Logitech and Logitech G, the company also owns Astro Gaming, Jaybird, and Ultimate Ears. Yeah, it’s putting together quite the roster.

This seems like a good move.

I've been using a Yeti mic by Blue for a few years now to record Weekly Exhaust and I've always been a fan of Logitech peripherals, particularly their M705 wireless mouse.(h/t The Wirecutter)

Categories:

Business, Product

thermal bug

Jim Dalrymple has the scoop on the firmware fix for the overheating MacBook Pros (via Daring Fireball):

“Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we’ve identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro,” An Apple representative told me. “A bug fix is included in today’s macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website.”

That was quick.

Microsoft Surface is the billionaire cockroach that won’t die.

From Wired: Surface Go Is Microsoft’s Big Bet on a Tiny-Computer Future:

Panos Panay is the betting type. You can see the evidence in Microsoft's Building 37, where two $1 bills stick out from beneath a Surface tablet sitting on a shelf.

When I ask Panay about the dollars during a recent visit to Microsoft, he says it was a wager he made a few years back on a specific product. I ask if it was a bet on Surface RT, the very first Surface product Microsoft made, and he seems genuinely surprised. "I would have lost that bet, and I’m going to win this one," he says. "It’s about a product that’s in market right now." And that’s all he’ll volunteer.

Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, isn’t there to talk about the ghosts of Surface’s past, or even the present. Panay wants to talk about his next big bet in the Surface product lineup: the brand-new Surface Go. But to call it “big” would be a misnomer, because the Surface Go was designed to disappear.

I have to hand it to the people at Microsoft. They won't give up on Surface. You cannot give up in the hardware game when you have billions of dollars in your pockets already.

I've thought Panos Panay is particularly adorable ever since he introduced the Surface Book back in 2015. Look at him, the little-big engine that could. You get excited at your show-and-tell day at school! Yeah!

Panos is clearly the right guy for the job, but the real question is whether Surface is the right hardware for the job. I can't find Microsoft having any meaningful representation on tablet marketshare stats for 2018 (or 2017 or 2016).

But hey, what do I know? If Apple starts screwing up iPads like they're currently screwing up their MacBook Pros, maybe Microsoft has a shot at getting in the race (just kidding, they don't).