concept cars
Concept products are like essays, musings in 3D. They are incomplete promises. Shipping products, by contrast, are brutally honest deliveries. You get what’s delivered. They live and die by their own design constraints. To the extent they are successful, they do advance the art and science of design and manufacturing by exposing the balance between fantasy and capability.AUG 12, 2008 READ »
iPhone 2
Suppose you were the CEO of Apple in 2005 when a couple of intergalactic visitors with time-warping technology offered you this bet: Design and manufacture a small mobile device that seamlessly combines the functionalities of a cellular phone, a web surfer, an audio/video player and a small PC, and your company will double its market cap and establish a third mass-market computing platform after Windows and Macintosh. Would you take it? Before you say, “Are you nuts, why wouldn’t I?” ponder just a few of the issues involved:JUL 16, 2008READ »
Walk on water
As they say, every turn-by-turn direction starts with the first step. The longer Apple waits the harder it gets. From iPods to iTunes to iPhones to iOS, Apple’s modus operandi has been to introduce products and continuously improve them into widely attractive maturity by adding value without increasing prices, enlarging ecosystems, deepening integration and generally delighting users with a constant stream of innovations. With a user base fast approaching half a billion and thousands waiting in line to buy its latest product at this very moment, we empirically know this to be true. Why should Apple Maps be any different?SEP 24, 2012
iPhone rumor
So the fact that the new device wars are now actually fought not on hardware specs but on vertical integration accords Apple a unique advantage. Hardware discipline coupled with constrained SKU count give Apple enormous economies of scale which, in turn, provide depth, reach, staying power, unparalleled gross margins, service excellence and, ultimately, customer loyalty. Counterintuitive as it may seem, rivals may find out that too much hardware “innovation” can actually kill a company. And that is a dilemma.JUN 6, 2012READ »
BusinessWeek: In Silicon Valley, that kind of evangelism usually involves firing insults at the competition. While that hasn’t typically been Google’s style, Gundotra hasn’t shied away. As he says, “It’s an art to create a sense of inevitability.” In a keynote speech at a Google event for developers last year, he even took aim at Steve Jobs and “a draconian future where one man, one company, and one device would be our only choice. … That’s a future we don’t want.”DEC 28, 2010READ »
Fred Wilson: “I’ve been saying for a while now that I think mobile economics will trend toward web economics as the mobile web goes mainstream. In other words, the business models that work best on the web will ultimately work best in mobile. The corollary to that is that the business models that don’t work well on the web will not work well in mobile in the long run.”JAN 31, 2011READ »
What’s not publicly known is Ive’s role, if any, on Apple software. The current meme of Ive coming on a white horse to rescue geeks in distress from Scott Forstallian skeuomorphism is wishfully hilarious. Like industrial design of physical devices, software is part form and part function: aesthetics and experience. Apple’s software problems aren’t dark linen, Corinthian leather or torn paper. In fact, Apple’s software problems aren’t much about aesthetics at all…they are mostly about experience. To paraphrase Ive’s former boss, Apple’s software problems aren’t about how they look, but how they work. Sometimes — sadly more often than we expect — they don’t: NOV 5, 2012 READ »
By parsing a “natural language” request lexically into structural subject-predicate-object parts semantically, Siri can not only find documents and facts (like Google) but also execute stated or implied actions with granted authority. The ability to form deep semantic lookups, integrate information from multiple sources, devices and 3rd party apps, perform rules arbitration and execute transactions on behalf of the user elevates Siri from a schoolmarmish librarian (à la Google Search) into an indispensable butler, with privileges.NOV 12, 2012 READ »
Google Buzz
In its urgency to offer a me-too product, Buzz confuses the read/unread email paradigm with real-time messaging stream like Twitter. It adds insult to injury by co-mingling various cognitive spheres like blogs, photos, videos, status, etc into thin soup delivered through an unceasing firehose. The final blow is the embarrassingly unfocused layout: the complete absence of visual hierarchy and progressive disclosure, overabundance of visual cues/links for action, and clumsiness in using white space to strip away meaningful information density.FEB 15, 2010READ »
Consumers (a market much larger than the enterprise enclave) want devices that are easy to learn, joy to use, consistent, dependable, all without having to be excessively managed. As the Wintel episode illustrates, we have no evidence that this can be achieved through the now-defunct “One OS, many hardware manufacturers” strategy. On the contrary, Apple, RIM, Palm and even Microsoft with Xbox have already demonstrated the benefits of hardware+software+services integration.MAR 16, 2010READ »
Google apps
During its growth period, Microsoft entered into one risky bet after another, from cable TV to office equipment automation to Dick Tracy watches. It saw threats to its core revenue base from every new development, every new player to come along. And expand and spend it did. It did, mostly because its management thought it could.DEC 15, 2009READ »

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