21.16: Notes on Spring Loaded
Arguably one of the most relevant announcements from yesterday’s event went by as a 70ish second side note from Tim Cook. I’m probably biased because I’ve got personal stakes on the matter, but Apple’s involvement will be one of the most relevant affairs that have happened to podcast industry almost since its inception.
Opening Apple’s Find My network to third parties last month was one of the boldest moves Apple has done to enhance the potential of an unexploited feature. I was so bullish on the software-only play that I was convinced physical AirTags would never see the light — as if there was no need for them anymore.
On top of that, Apple is not known to sell low-priced items. Yet here they are. And in retrospect, I’d say it is both obvious and such a brilliant move. AirTags not only hold the potential of enhancing Apple’s Find My network reach — to an extend a competitor as Tile would never gain — but also can unleash a massive accessory ecosystem around them. In other words, a moneymaker.
In a similar fashion as AirTags, I was convinced the Apple TV was already dead. Plenty of new TVs are already shipping with AirPlay and Apple TV+ built-in. Then why creating an expensive device that doesn’t add almost anything new to the mix? Just to fix the controversial remote?
The new Apple TV sole value prop is about pushing the boundary on what would be already considered, by most, ultra-high video/audio quality. Haven’t they learned anything about the HomePod story? It was canceled exactly for the same reason: up to a certain point — which is lower than one might presume — almost nobody cares about ultra-high video/audio quality. In other words: a Google Chromecast is good enough and costs a fraction of an Apple TV.
Design: maybe I’m the only one, but I love the new iMac design. The chin I believe is part of an iconic shape and has its reasons to live on. About the white borders… they are screaming iMac Pro down the line. That one for sure will come in black.
TouchID: staying away from opinionated comments around design, it is curious that Macs still doesn’t feature FaceID. Wouldn’t it be a natural fit for them? Is it just about the fact that people use to cover webcams with tape because of privacy concerns that hold the feature back?
Colors: I was skeptical about colors because of the complexity that would add to the accessory ecosystem. 7 colors mean 35 additional SKUs ranging from trackpad, mouse, and keyboard. Again, wrong, never underestimate Apple’s ability to manufacture different versions of a product. They are supply chain masters. Curiously enough, they are still not for sale separately.
Ports: USB-A is officially dead. Magsafe is somehow back. The Ethernet implementation is kind of a hack, yet brilliant.
Display: the only product I was wishfully (but unrealistically) expecting was the same iMac, but without the M1 — aka. a LED Cinema Display or low-end Pro Display XDR. Maybe that’s the reason iMacs still have a chin, to make some design room for a chin-less display. No surprise here, that will never happen folks 😢.
Now that the M1 spans across the entire iPad — MacBook — iMac lineup, I don’t understand the value proposition for an iPad Pro anymore. The featured use cases feel so strained and out of touch that I don’t think this product speaks to anybody but people who want the best iPad.
It features all the goodies MacBooks lack: a decent camera, cellular connectivity, FaceID, an amazing display,
touch input. Yet it lacks the only thing that makes the product underwhelming: macOS. How come if both share the same internals, why not mix them all and create the perfect computing experience for the rest of us?