Posted on March 10th, 2015
Few things can sum up Apple better than going to their website so you can watch the March 2015 Special Event Keynote and having to click on a link which says "Experience the keynote." You may watch a keynote with "lesser" companies... but with Apple, you experience a keynote.
The reason this sums up Apple so perfectly is that, in the end, it IS just a keynote... but Apple brands it as some kind of life-changing "experience" so they can inflate the hype around it. Which is exactly the direction they seem to be going with their products, so at least they're consistent.
So, yeah... on with this keynote thingy...
The show opened with a look at the absolutely stunning flagship Apple Store in West Lake, China...
I mean, holy crap... like so many Apple Stores I've visited, you don't need any hype... this jaw-dropping, magnificent, astounding architectural achievement IS something to be experienced. I hate shopping, but I'll go out of my way to visit an Apple Store... especially one that looks like this. ZOMG! THAT SECOND FLOOR IS DEFYING GRAVITY!
I had to laugh when Tim Cook said "This is the way we like to see our stores" while a photo of it completely packed with people pops up behind him. Apple stores are always packed. At least when you compare them to the shop that Microsoft has undoubtedly plopped down across the aisle at the mall, which is undoubtedly mostly empty.
No doubt, Apple's retail presence is impressive. And so very, very smart. People wander in to see what all the buzz is about... have a killer retail experience... get sucked into the Apple Reality Distortion Field... and end up leaving with an armload of Apple products. I still marvel at all the doomsayers that predicted Apple would fall flat on their face. "If Dell can't do it with their numbers, what chance does Apple have?"
A pretty good one, as it turns out. Apple used retail to build their brand and their customer base (120 million visitors last quarter!). And where is Dell? I rarely hear anything about them any more.
AppleTV is a product I actually like quite well. That being said, it is feeling a bit antiquated compared to the competition. I'm sure Apple is working on that but, in the meanwhile, Apple is lowering the price of the product to $69. Which may sound like a bargain... but you just know it's a precursor to releasing a better/faster/stronger product come the holidays.
The HBO Now announcement was long overdue. Having access to all of their award-winning content whenever you want it pretty special... I just don't know that it's $14.99 special compared to what you get from Netflix. I'll probably subscribe off and on as shows I want to watch arrive... but I can't see paying for it every month.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to plug the money-shot, Tim ran through some impressive numbers, confirming the massive success of iPhone 6 that everybody already suspected. Other than the larger size, which I still struggle with, I'm pretty happy with mine. Apple Pay is frickin' amazing, when you can use it. The camera is mind-boggling for a phone, and I prefer it over the "superior" cameras in their competitor's offering because they just look so much better... but there's still a lot of room for improvement.
All of this is pretty much "meh" until real-world applications I give a crap about start appearing. I love the idea of HomeKit... it's the next step in home automation... but where is it? Where are all the home-kit compatible doohickeys that fulfill the promise of the technology? On it's way, I'm sure. But until I can actually buy it, it means nothing to me.
Using a device you carry with you every day to contribute to medical research seems like a no-brainer. And heeeeeeeere's Apple with HealthKit. If this truly helps with research, then more power to them. Otherwise, more meh. EXCEPT... if anybody needed proof that Apple is working overtime to find new ways to get integrated into your life, TA DAAAAA! Add this to the rumor of Apple developing a car, and you can see how there's nowhere they won't go to inject themselves into every aspect of everything you do.
THE NEW MACBOOK
It's remarkably small and light. It's stunningly beautiful. It's everything you could want in a travel laptop...
And here's Jony Ive gushing over its every feature as only Jony Ive can...
Now... before I get to the part where I say "ZOMFG! I WANT ONE SO BAD!"... a rant...
FUCK ME SIDEWAYS... YET ANOTHER CONNECTOR I HAVE TO INVEST IN?!?
First it was Firewire, which Apple abandoned after pushing the entire industry to adopt it.
Then it was Thunderbolt, which Apple was all excited about for about two minutes... before, apparently, abandoning it for USB-C... which is the only port on the new MacBook, combining power, display, and peripheral connectors in one tiny connector.
Which means I now have to buy an adapter for my Thunderbolt periphreals, even though I just got them? Dick move, Apple. Dick move.
But, yeah... I want one pretty bad. It takes everything I love about my 11-inch MacBook Air and ups the game exponentially.
A nice idea, really. And Apple did it better than anyone who's tried before But, in the end, TOO THICK! TOO THICK! TOO THICK!
Seriously, it's too damn thick. If it were half as thick, I'd be placing my preorder right now. But having a giant dongle stacked on my arm? I just don't know. Some of the features are there... it's Dick Tracy come to life... but until I try one on, I'm just not convinced. Especially when the price of admission starts at $350.00
And yet... if somebody wants to buy me an Apple Watch Edition in gold, by all means, please drop the $10,000 to $17,000... and do so. I'd absolutely wear it from time to time!
When it comes to the Apple Watch features, I'm impressed/not impressed. Some of the interactivity with the iPhone looks truly helpful and worthwhile... the Apple Pay component is fantastic... but all the tactic crap? The "I'm sending you my heartbeat" and such? Who gives a shit? Being able to send a crappy, crude drawing? Might be fun the first two times you do it... but after that? Why?
Tim Cook made a good presentation for how Apple Watch will integrate into your life in meaningful ways... but is it enough? I'll let you know when I've tried one. Until then I remain skeptical yet optimistic to the possibilities.
And leaning towards the "Sport" edition in Space Gray with a Black Sport Band.
Or waiting for Apple Watch 2.0 which is a damn-sight thinner.
Posted on March 18th, 2011
Because I'm traveling on a restricted ticket, I ended up with an extended layover in London. Not that I'm complaining... I love London, and visit every chance I get (which would be a lot more often if the US Dollar wasn't rubbish against the British Pound). It's just that it's tough to be here when I don't have any personal time to hang out with friends that live in the area.
Hopefully next time.
Thanks to a patient taxi driver and London's excellent public transportation system, yesterday I managed to get a big chunk of the city's "Featured Spots" stamps collected from Gowalla. Then today before dinner I finished off the two remaining spots I needed. Some of the fringe locations (such as Wembley Stadium and the Prime Meridian of the World), will have to wait for next time, but I got all the biggies from the city and surrounds (you can click on them to see what they are)...
I maintain that Gowalla makes for an excellent travel guide when visiting larger cities, because the most popular tourist spots always seem to get "Featured" status. Out of the above stamps, I've been to these places multiple times. I admit it was kind of nice to be visiting them again not as a tourist, but as a collector! Thanks, Gowalla!
One place I haven't been to multiple times is the new Apple Store in Covent Gardens! It's the largest Apple Store on planet earth (at least until the New York Grand Central location is built). It's also incredibly beautiful, as Apple did an amazing job refurbishing the building. What I love most is how, from the outside, you can't really tell its an Apple Store at all...
Somebody just bought a new iPod!
No giant sign or anything... not even a glowing Apple logo... just elegance and class through and through. They discourage picture-taking inside, but Apple's official site has some beautiful photos you can look at.
The exact opposite of elegance and class would be the massive outpouring of tacky souvenir crap that's been unleashed in "honor" of the upcoming royal wedding. The stuff is everywhere. Plates, cups, notepads, stickers, cards, books, pencils, platters, postcards... you name it. I would not have been at all surprised if you could buy hemorrhoid cream with Prince William and Kate Middleton printed on the tube...
Something tells me this stuff doesn't have Her Majesty The Queen's approval.
I started out my day with the best breakfast in London at Pret...
It's heaven on a baguette!
The Egg & Roasted Tomatoes Baguette is so amazing that I ate a very light dinner last night so I'd be hungry enough to eat two. My biggest fear is that one day I'll come to London and they won't be making them anymore. For lunch I went back so I could have the Carrot & Humous Crunch Baguette. For dinner I went back yet again so I could have a Mozarella & Pesto Toastie. As usual, every single thing I've ever eaten at Pret has been delicious. And I love that they have so many vegetarian-friendly options. I keep hoping that Seattle will get a Pret, but in the USA it's just New York, DC, and Chicago for now.
Every trip to London I rave about how much I love the Johnston typeface which is used on all of the city's public transportation logos and signage. It's highly readable, yet somehow manages to be sublimely beautiful at the same time. Every time I see it, I fall in love all over again...
Hands-down my favorite sans-serif font of all time. If I ever redesign my blog, this is the typeface I'll be using.
The weather in London has been pretty much shit. It's been windy, cold, and rainy all day long. Seattle has a reputation for rain, but I've found London to be a much drearier place, weather-wise...
Still surprised when I hear tourists call this "London Bridge"... IT'S TOWER BRIDGE, YOU GITS!
The good thing about this is when the sun comes out in London, it's glorious (just like Seattle). I've had my share of beautiful London sunny days, so the weather hasn't bothered me too much.
And that's all she wrote from London. Tomorrow morning early, early, early I head back to the airport for my connecting flight. I'm hoping for better weather at my final destination. If I wanted cold, windy, and wet... I would have stayed at home.
Posted on July 17th, 2009
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