Wednesday, September 28, 2011

monitors that aren't also computers, an endangered species

In an article titled Apple Thunderbolt Display teardown: So many chips it’s hard to believe there’s no computer inside 9to5mac passes along this observation:

iFixit says that both sides of the logic board are packed with so many chips “that it’s hard to believe there’s no computer inside”.

Considering that we've arguably already arrived at the point of saturation, with regard to incremental improvements in computational power producing noticeable improvements in the user experience on displays the size of the Thunderbolt Display, making use of high-end CPUs and GPUs not constrained by power dissipation, and given the inexorable migration of the performance of such high-end chips to low-power, low-cost, highly integrated chips of the sort found in the iPad, how long will it be before it simply makes no sense to build something as complex as the Thunderbolt Display without also making it a computer in its own right? Five years? Ten? (The same logic could be applied to TV tuner hardware.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

HP needs to rediscover its roots

John Dvorak says Meg Whitman will get nowhere as CEO of HP, and won't last two years in the position.

IMHO, HP needs someone who remembers what HP's strengths once were, when it had some, someone with the patience to attend to detail, someone like my sister-in-law. Let's just call her J.

J worked in inventory control at an HP facility not located in Silicon Valley. By the time she retired, she knew just about all there was to know about inventory control and the software used to manage it. (Not her bragging, but me recognizing the ring of sterling competence on the rare occasion she talks about the work she used to do.)

No, she doesn't know all there is to know about running a company, but she's sensible and, outside of her kitchen, knows how to delegate responsibility. What's more, I'd be willing to bet she'd come out of retirement for a fraction of what they're paying Ms. Whitman.

something from The Wayback Machine

The year was 1997, but what Steve Jobs had to say sounds like it might have been written in 2011… (see video)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"time's up, pencils down"

Ever wonder how John Gruber got to be as popular a pundit as he's become? His Sept. 21st piece about Apple's fall event, which has in previous years been about music, their iTunes Store and software, and iPods, is a case in point. It's a combination of reasonably good command of the language, plain old common sense, and a light touch of humor, in addition to the occasional tip from an inside source. He's not afraid to admit when he's posting sheer speculation and has a pretty good batting average, but mainly he lays out his reasoning for anyone to inspect who cares to go to the trouble. Agree with him or not, you have to respect his approach.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hoffa suffers brain malfunction

As reported by 9to5Mac, Jim Hoffa, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union, in an interview on State of the Union, has characterized Apple, Inc. as being unpatriotic, saying:

“Look at Apple, they have $76 billion dollars in their checking account, and they’re not spending it… instead of investing here, everything they do is in China, or in Asia somewhere… There’s something wrong with that.”

He might do better to ask what the institutions in which it is invested are doing with Apple's money, since it's certainly the case that they haven't stuffed it into a mattress.

Monday, September 05, 2011

larger touch screen devices from Apple

The Unofficial Apple Weblog sometimes combines a poll with comments, which, given the nature of their readership, can produce interesting results. Earlier today, Erica Sadun began one such combination, titled You're the Pundit: Will iOS and OS X merge?. Now she has followed that with another, titled You're the Pundit: Are we going to see a touch iMac? Since my AIM password seems not to be working, here is what I'd intended to post there.

By the time the iPhone SDK was released, I had an idea for an app, but it wasn't until the iPad came along, with it's larger screen, that I was able to produce something publishable, and I still felt hemmed in. The full-blown app I have in mind really needs at least a 20-inch screen, and 27 inches would be better, but that screen still needs to be responsive to touch. At such screen sizes, a touch-based operating system that doesn't make allowance for moving on-screen objects around arbitrarily, as on a desktop, and by doing so cause them to perform actions, interact, or be acted upon, will probably seem quaint and hamstrung. Since I fully expect Apple will eventually produce larger touch screen devices, it seems likely that we haven't yet seen all of what they have planned for such an environment, much less all of what they have in mind for gestural computing in general. There may even be a place for windows on larger touch screen devices, but OS X's windowing system would need significant reworking, and I'd expect any window-related APIs to bear the "UI" prefix, so the OS is likely to be called "iOS", even though it will have drawn further inspiration from Mac OS and provide a user experience that's closer to Mac OS than what other iOS devices do. Hopefully, they will come with front-facing stereo cameras, for tracking gestures not involving touching the screen.