Categories
Tech

What would Steve Jobs think about the current state of innovation at Apple?

Well I think Apple has become a very iterative company instead of innovative. the 4S was the last device released in Steve’s lifetime. Apple is generally a trendsetter in the industry. The Macbook Retina (2012) and iPhone 5S (2013) spurred the adoption of high res displays on laptops and fingerprint sensors on phones after they were introduced. But I’d say after 2013ish it started to go downhill, and the innovation turned to iteration trying to catch up to Samsung and others.

Look at this…
iPad Pro and iPad Mini were released after Jobs died. I doubt he would’ve approved of having 3 different kinds of iPads available at once. He was a proponent of simplicity and giving the consumer only a few choices.
At the same time we had the Macbook 12 inch, two different sizes of iPhones, Macbook Air somehow still available, and the three worst offenders lately have been: Apple Watch – no matter what I don’t think Jobs could have justified the purpose of having a smartwatch. And especially one priced at $10k.
iPhone 7 – this completely divided consumers with the removal of the headphone jack. As an avid analog music listener I doubt Jobs would have been happy about that either.
2016 Macbook Pro – eliminate all legacy ports and replace them with USBC. No Jobs wouldn’t have done this either. He would have left at least one USBA port in there. Yes the earlier Macbooks removed the optical drives before anyone else did, but at that time everything was shifting to digital downloads. We have not shifted to world where everything uses USBC yet. And yeah the touch bar – totally useless. Just like Force Touch.

IMO the last great product Apple released was the iPhone 5S. After that they are just playing catchup to Samsung. (disclaimer: I own an iPhone SE)

Categories
General

the iPhone 10th anniversary & legacy..

On the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, people have been celebrating how revolutionary it was.. and yes, it does deserve all that praise. Steve Jobs was a brilliant marketing genius and visionary. Apple products haven’t been the same since he passed away. The Apple Watch (whats the use case?), the iPad Pro (stylus?), the new iPhones (no headphone jack?) and the new MacBook lineup (all USBC?) have all been criticized a lot since they came out and some design flaws like the camera bump in the new iPhones, no headphone jack, the elimination of magsafe and switch to all USBC etc have caused to people to wonder if Steve Jobs was alive if those things would have been approved.
Well, I’m not sure, but definitely I can say the presentations haven’t been as awe-inspiring with Tim Cook in charge. He’s more of a quiet delegator whereas Steve could light up the room and take charge with everything.

The iPhone brought *capacitative* touch computing to the massive. Previously, touch screens have been mostly resistive touch which made those devices very hard to use and required a stylus to use them. Back in the mid 2000s I did use some Palm devices, Pocket PCs and carried around a hefty Windows Convertible PC (yes they had those back then!) all which required styluses to use. It was a pain.
After the iPhone and iPad came out, every device got much easier to use, and just using the fingers was so simple and easy.

There are some things I miss about the pre-iphone phones though. I think people unfairly look at the old Blackberrys and Windows Mobile devices as crap compared to the iPhone but thats not exactly true. People forget that the original iPhone had no 3G, no copy+paste, you couldn’t attach images in emails, there was no selfie cam, there was no video capability or flash, no third party app store, etc. A lot of smartphones back then had all those features. No it wasn’t as easy to install a third party app onto a Pocket PC or Palm OS device as an iPhone’s App Store, but there definitely was a thriving marketplace for those old devices. It wasn’t as bad as people thought it was.

Moreover, I liked how every device looked so unique. You had flip phones, slider phones, swivel phones, dual slider phones, transforming phones, etc. These days everyone has the same phone.. iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy, etc the same black slabs everywhere. Back then there was very slim chances you and your friend had the exact same phone model. Here are some standouts (I own alot of these):

Nokia XpressMusic 5700
Nokia XpressMusic 5700
Blackberry Porsche P9981
Blackberry Porsche P9981
Samsung Alias 2
Samsung Alias 2
Pantech Matrix Pro
Pantech Matrix Pro
Nokia N95
Nokia N95
Nokia N93
Nokia N93
Nokia E90
Nokia E90
Nokia E70
Nokia E70
Motorola Aura
Motorola Aura
Motorola Flipout
Motorola Flipout

Yeah especially Nokia had a lot of really cool designs… we won’t be seeing these kind of designs anymore unfortunately.

And another thing is cellphone charms! remember those?

cellphone charm
cellphone charm

Young people might not even know that back then, phones had a hole where you could attach a charm to it.. that hole is not longer on modern smartphones so cellphone charms (the way people could customize their phones) have now been replaced by smartphone cases, which IMO isn’t quite as great. Yeah you can still customize your phone with a case, but its not the same as having a good old fashioned charm.

So yeah just pointing out some of the negative side effects of iPhone’s legacy..

In other news, I’m going to Korea next month and not a moment too soon.. been dying here of boredom having nothing to really do. my plan right now is to just save up money for next year. After the hassle of getting yet another work visa at the border, I don’t really plan on doing that again. I’m planning to leave in another year or so, and go back to either Korea or Canada. Yes, that means I’ll have to leave my current job, but unless I can work remotely it just won’t work out. I don’t get enough vacation time with my current job to get the freedom that I want.

Also, planning on selling my home too. There are a few reasons for this. Yes having a place in San Francisco is nice and all, but the housing market in SF is beginning to cool off, and for the price I could sell my apartment for, I could easily buy another place in the US (I’m thinking San Diego because of the weather and West coast location), AND have enough spare money to help me get another place in Vancouver Canada (with the help of a mortgage) as well. I’ll just rent out a storage locker while the unit is on sale and then just move things out when I get my new places. But yeah that’s my longer term plan. My best friend in San Francisco is in the same situation as me except he is 5 years older so its probably even more urgent for him, but he doesn’t want to stay here either. And besides him I have very few friends and very little reason to stay in SF. 90% of my friends are in Korea or Canada so it makes more sense to move to those places instead. I’m in the USA just for saving up money that’s it, but hopefully the US/CAD exchange rate remains the same next year else I’m losing a lot of money if I don’t exchange now…

Categories
General

Power of human destiny and decision

One of the people who I admire most is Steve Jobs. He characterizes everything that a leader should have – vision, dedication and tough management.
He gave a commencement address at Stanford University and some of the things he said were very relevant to me:

1) He talks about how you cannot connect the dots going forward, you can only connect going back. The future is entirely unknown but you should always give things a shot. His attending of a calligraphy course changed PC history.

2) Love what you do and don’t mind the failures. Life has alot of great ironies, and he talked about how getting fired was the best thing to happen to him.
Sometimes a bad thing can lead to a good thing. But you always have to have the faith to keep going, the failures that you make cannot set you back.
Always look to the future and not to the past. I have regrets in life but I don’t think about ‘what ifs’ because they are irrelevant. History has put
you on this path and you can’t rewind back time to redo things. The only way to go is forward.

3) Death overrides everything. Death is the thing that no one can escape and he talks about how the prospect of dying drives him to do all that he could.
It’s true. In life, there’s lots of risks, but what does it matter? If you are going to die, you have nothing to lose. Taking risks is what makes great companies
and great fortune. It’s a shame people often fear it because they fear the unknown.

One of my great mantras is that life is 50% your decision and 50% fate. The ‘fate’ can be substituted with any external force beyond our control.
Call it karma, or destiny, or God’s will, but there’s a certain part of your life that is uncontrollable. However I believe a great majority of your life is controllable. Our decisions make alot of impact. If you put your hand on a hot stove, then you can’t say it was ‘fate’ that caused your hand to be burned. There is direct causal relationship between putting your hand on the stove and your hand burning. In short, X->Y implies that it was entirely your decision.

An example of something that’s entirely fate would be your friend dying in a car accident. You have absolutely no control over how/when your friend dies, therefore your decision, X, has no relationship to the outcome, Y.
In this case, it’s entirely ‘God’s will’ that let it happen. You could also make an argument that it was your friend’s decision to drive a car or get drunk, but that also depends on whether you believe that everyone else on earth is the same as you. What if other people on earth are not like you, they are merely illusions or machinations and the only causal factor on your life is you? But I’ll leave that for another story.

In any case, our career, finances, relationships, health, all have a degree of control that is attributable to us. Some of these decisions can lead to fate controlling and others up to us entirely.
Example: I don’t write my SATs and I don’t apply to Princeton University => Princeton University doesn’t accept me. This is directly a cause of your decision not to apply. What if I reworded it?
I don’t write my SATs and I apply to Princeton University => Princeton University doesn’t accept me. Now it’s still causal but now the cause is I didn’t write my SATs. What if I do this?
I write my SATs and I apply to Princeton University => Princeton University doesn’t accept me. Now we bring fate into the picture. You did what is required to apply. The things you have control over is your SAT mark, GPA, references, Extracurricular, Essay, etc. But now there is a bit of the uncontrollable factor => The admissions board at Princeton. You have no control over their decisions. So merely by our decisions, we can cause fate to be brought into the picture. Interesting isn’t it?

In conclusion, I highly value Steve Job’s advice and I think that more things are actually under our control than we think. Our decisions might account for more than 50% of our life if we believe that fate can also be influenced by our decision. Those things which are PURELY fate are actually quite rare.