Good Reads for October, 2017

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a handful of openly opined, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes these will be profiles of Apple execs, some smart thinking about the way Apple do business, or perhaps even a video about an oft-forgotten Apple product, the likes of which was never seen again. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • It’s pretty easy to see Angela Ahrendts’ influence on Apple Retail. In the three years she’s held the position of Senior Vice President of Retail, we’ve seen an entirely new breed of Apple Stores appear, ones with more of a community feel and focus than the transactional and technical assistance from the stores of old. Buzzfeed’s profile of Ahrendts paints the picture: retail is dying, but Apple thinks they have some ideas that can turn the tide. Now, if only they could do something about taking the entire online store offline every time they need to update it, we’d be in business.

And now, after streamlining and simplifying the company’s e-store, Ahrendts is turning to its brick-and-mortar storefronts, overseeing an ambitious redesign, and taking the reins of an organization that went through a tumultuous 10 months under former executive John Browett, who was eventually fired, leaving Apple retail without a leader for 18 months.

  • It’s no secret that the iPhone X is more expensive than any iPhone before it. US consumers feel some trepidation towards the US $999 starting price, and although that’s nothing new for us Aussies, all of this comes at a time when iPhone sales are plateauing. But why? It is because the iPhone design has stayed the same for multiple generations in a row now, and this is the first real change to the iPhone design since the iPhone 6? Whatever it is, Neil Cybart of Above Avalon says the iPhone X shows that Apple still has the courage to change key iPhone paradigms, 10 years after the original.

Apple has seen quite a bit of success with its iPhone pricing and product marketing strategy over the years. However, these two variables are not the most important items impacting iPhone’s evolution. Design, or the way consumers use the product, has a much larger impact on iPhone’s future, and Apple is making big changes to how we will use iPhone going forward.

  • Putting aside the high price of the iPhone X aside for a moment, Time’s John Pullen writes that Apple’s best product is one you can’t buy. Apple’s privacy mini-site tells us about their focus and commitment to ensuring that your data stays private, either by handling machine learning queries on-device, or ensuring that you’re unable to be singled out by using differential privacy. And as we put increasing amounts of our lives online, that privacy starts to become increasingly important.

The second reason I trust my kids’ naked baby photos to Apple is the company’s longstanding commitment to privacy. Succinctly outlined on Apple’s new privacy website, the company’s stance on keeping a lid on data has been catalogued not only in its marketing materials, but in its posture toward groups looking to crack its products’ embedded security. Proactivity and transparency are undervalued but essential character traits of any company I care to do business with in 2017.

  • Jannis Hermanns discusses using the iPad Pro as his main computer for programming. Unsurprisingly, it’s completely possible with a finely-tuned setup. If all you’re doing is writing code in a text editor and not dependant on an IDE, as well as the odd bit of communication with other team members, then doing all your development work from an iPad Pro is easy, provided you have the right apps.

In the summer of 2017, I wanted to know what it would be like to use an iPad Pro as my main computer. I found out that it can actually work, thanks to an iOS app called Blink, an SSH replacement called Mosh, iOS 11 and running stuff on a server.

  • Last but not least, it’s not quite a read, per se, but Stephen Hackett has a great video on the Apple Pippin, Apple’s forgotten game console. He gives us an overview of the hardware of the thing, and even hooks it up to a TV to see how it all works. Reading about the Apple Pippin is one thing, seeing it in action is another.

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