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Tech

What’s the most underrated tech brand?

The most underrated tech brand is Sony.

Many people have this image of Sony as being a company that was once innovative, but has since fallen from grace and is now mostly known for gaming (Playstation), Music (Sony Music) and Movies (Columbia Pictures), the latter two not particularly related to tech.

Let me explain why Sony is still innovative in fact, at a higher level than Apple or Samsung or most other tech companies right now.

Firstly, Sony has been one of the most innovative tech companies of all time. The list of their accomplishments cannot be understated:

Trinitron – Wikipedia televisions, whose superior design ( the single-gun three-cathode picture tube, and the vertically aligned aperture grill) made it reign supreme as one of the best color televisions on the market for over 20 years

-the Betamax – Wikipedia video format in the 1970s

-the first portable music player, the Walkman – Wikipedia in the late 70s

-SDDS format, a competitor to the Dolby surround sound format

S/PDIF – Wikipedia interface (the S stands for Sony)

-the Super Audio CD – Wikipedia (Super Audio CD), still used today in some high end audiophile systems

-Sony and Philips also jointly developed the Compact disc – Wikipedia

-Sony introduced the 3.5″ floppy disk, which lasted for a good 2 decades after their introduction

-the Blu-ray – Wikipedia format, was primarily spearheaded by Sony and still used today

-Other more forgotten physical media formats (all proprietary to Sony): UMD, Memory stick, PS Vita memory etc

-the first popular CD based video game console, the Playstation (yes the Sega CD and Turbographx CD came before, but it was the PSOne that popularized the format for video games)

-the best selling video game console of all time (and most people’s first DVD player), the PlayStation 2 – Wikipedia

-the Vaio – Wikipedia line of laptops which amongst other innovations introduced the first LED backlit displays (became standard on all laptops after that), chiclet style keyboards (way before Apple and others did), thin and light designs (years before the MacBook Air), and switchable graphics (now standard on entry level gaming laptops)

-the first consumer OLED TV (the Sony XEL-1 – Wikipedia)

-the first popular robotic companions (AIBO – Wikipedia) and oddities such as the Sony Rolly – Wikipedia

-the first truly immersive head mounted displays (Sony Glasstron, HMZ-T1 – Wikipedia, T2, and T3) – its designs are still being used today by smaller companies in the HMD niche

-The first handheld gaming console to use exclusively digital games and no physical releases (PSP Go – way ahead of its time)

-The first handheld gaming console with an OLED display (PlayStation Vita – Wikipedia)

-the LDAC (codec) – Wikipedia high res wireless audio codec

That’s a heck of a lot of innovations for any tech company. But most people think Sony’s innovations have come and gone, and just like post Steve Jobs Apple, their products have languished since – and they couldn’t be more wrong! Sony is still innovating, they just have been very low key in marketing their more cooler products.

Let’s take a look at Sony’s current tech portfolio now, shall we? Some things may surprise you

-Sony’s most well known product right now is the PlayStation 4 – Wikipedia, and its the best selling console of its generation

-Sony’s Mirrorless Sony α – Wikipedia Cameras have completely upended the DSLR market and as a result forced Canon and Nikon and other camera makers to move to mirrorless as well

-Sony’s OLED TVs (like the A9F and A9G) have the speaker built into the display itself; no other television maker has done this

-Sony’s Quantum Dot TVs using Triluminous technology – came out WAY before Samsung’s QLED TVs did. Samsung would have you believe they invented it – but it was Sony.

-Sony’s Sony Xperia – Wikipedia phones are perennially underrated; they were one of the first smartphones to have water resistance (IP67+) and support high res audio and currently are the only smartphones on the market with a 21:9 cinema aspect ratio display.

-Sony’s high end Walkmans and Headphones (like the WM1Z and Z1R) compete with the best of the best from other high end audio, each costing over $2k+ – as a high end audio brand, Sony is as respected as any other company which is impressive for a company who dabbles in basically every price range. Sony SA-Z1 Hi-Res Near Field Powered Speaker System Signature Series their latest speaker, an unheard of design that projects near-field sound to the listener, retails for over $6k.

-Sony’s action cameras (AS300, X3000 etc) were the first on the market with optical image stabilization (OIS) – its competitors like GoPro were still using EIS (Electronic image stabilization)

-They have a line of very successful noise cancelling wireless headphones (WH-1000XM3) as well as the first ever noise cancelling wireless earbuds (WF-1000X) as well. The fact that they caught up to Bose in noise cancellation technology is astonishing considering that Bose specialized in that technology for years while Sony has their hands in every industry.

-Just other generally cool stuff that other companies do not care to try; Sony Glass Sound Speaker a glass speaker that doubles as a lamp? Sure.
A projector that can project touch surfaces onto any area? Xperia Touch Official Website – Sony Mobile (Global English) this is astonishing technology, and I can just imagine if Apple made something like this it would grab headlines everywhere. But Sony as usual, keeps their cool stuff low key.

-And lets not forget, they are still making aibo robots as well (again, which other company is doing this???).

Sony should be getting much more appreciation for their innovation. They are still one of the most innovative companies on the market yet people always forget about them. It’s very rare that a company does so many things so well, and for so long. That’s why Sony tends to charge a premium for their devices.

Categories
Tech

Why do Audiophiles hate Bose?

What Audiophiles like might not be what normal people like. Usually, Audiophiles prefer a flat frequency response – no unnatural boosts in any frequency. Bose products usually smooth out the frequency to make it sound more pleasant to people’s ears. Bose products generally sound very good, so that old line of No Highs No Lows Must be Bose doesn’t really apply at least not for me, I think Bose’s Soundlink speakers and Quietcomfort headphones do indeed have decent highs and lows. It’s the unnatural frequency boost that audiophiles ie. purists don’t like because its not what the original recording intended.

But at least Bose boosts the frequencies evenly, unlike Beats for example which boosts the lows just wayyy too much.

Also, don’t necessarily trust audiophiles, if they claim to hear such minute differences as the difference between 99.99% oxygen free copper cables and pure silver cables, balanced headphones and non balanced headphones, the extra frequencies vinyl and hi res audio have over CD, or they have a $5k electro-static headphones paired with a $1k DAC and $1k tube headphone amp or a $50k speaker setup with professional sound proofing or whatever, then good for them. For the majority of us humans who have just normal hearing not superhuman hearing, Bose is usually good enough.

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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)