Good Reads for February, 2017

Each month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of jokingly jovial, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes, they’ll be about how Apple has lost its way and needs to buy another big-name company to stay afloat — or not, as the case may be. Other times, we’ll be looking for replacements for macOS like this hasn’t all been done before, or wondering about what Steve Jobs had in mind for the iPad, in a post-computing world. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • A rebuttal to Ian Bogost of The Atlantic’s piece about the myth of Apple’s great design from Nick Heer of Pixel Envy, tells us about this whole “design” thing. What is “sufficiently great design”, anyway, and could you say any Apple product released in recent memory has it? If Apple products didn’t have some semblance of design, whether we’re talking about the how it looks or how it works, would the company be doing as well as they are? You be the judge.

Everything that has ever been designed has required a series of decisions based on what’s possible, what’s necessary for the final product, and what reasonable compromises can be made for everything to work correctly. “Sufficiently great design”, in this context, is also about making choices and compromises that produce a better product in typical use.

  • These days, you can categorise Apple’s revenue into four major parts. It’s iPhone, iPad, Mac, and everything else. If you’ve kept up with Apple’s financial results, you’ll know that revenue from the iPad has plateaued for the last few quarters. In order to answer the question of where the iPad fits into Apple’s overall lineup, AppleInsider writes about the delicate balance Apple has to strike if it wants to make iPads more successful, while keeping the Mac a distinctly separate product.

Much of what has made iPad successful as a product and as a platform is its clear differentiation from the conventional PC. Rather than relaxing that, Apple appears to be doubling down on Steve Jobs’ vision of iPad as a “Post-PC” computing device.

  • Following Apple’s widely-panned reveal of the Planet of the Apps TV series, there were calls for Apple to buy Netflix. Or perhaps the two things weren’t related at all, and Apple’s own ambitions into the world of original video content has resulted in speculation that Apple would simply buy a pre-existing content company. But Neil Cybart claims Apple doesn’t need to buy Netflix, because of what it wants to do with video streaming.

Upon closer examination, calls that Apple should buy Netflix are misplaced as they do not take into account how Apple actually views the world. Many of the arguments assume Apple’s current hardware-centric revenue model is in trouble. In addition, each of the three primary reasons cited for why Apple should buy Netflix contain significant gaps in logic and rationale.

  • I’m going to cheat a little here and point out a piece that was technically published after last month’s Good Reads. Part two of Wesley Moore’s quest to find an alternative to macOS delves into Linux, mostly because Apple has been ignoring the Mac lineup, and there’s better hardware available out there than Apple’s pricey offerings. That’s all well and good for the more tech-minded among us, but if you’re going to do that, why not just build your own Hackintosh?

Part 1 was about evaluating 13 alternative operating systems and then choosing one to use full time. The selected OS was elementary OS. The motivation for this change is to get access to better hardware since Apple is neglecting the Mac lineup.

Start the discussion at talk.appletalk.com.au