As a follow up to the ongoing and groundbreaking series at the New York Times about Apple’s dark side (labor exploitation of Chinese workers at Foxconn), Nightline just aired their own investigation, and courtesy of the Verge here’s the takeaway message in handy factoid form:
It takes 141 steps to make an iPhone, and the devices are essentially all handmade
It takes five days and 325 hands to make a single iPad
Foxconn produces 300k iPad camera modules per day
Foxconn workers pay for their own food â€” about $.70 per meal, and work 12 hour shifts
Workers who live in the dorms sleep six to eight a room, and pay $17.50 a month to do so
Workers make $1.78 an hour
(Foxconn CEO) Louis Woo, when asked if he would accept Apple demanding double pay for employees replied “Why not?”
your move, Apple, indeed. The question is, will consumers also be willing to pay $20 more for their iPads? (If not, will Apple be willing to eat that cost?)
I think the best way to honor Steve Jobs’ legacy as a visionary is to refuse to be content.
Why was the Mac such a success? Because of user discontent with computers at that time – and the existence of Macs is why Windows 95 was such a revelation to me, and why I love Windows 7. The same applies to music players, to handheld PDAs, to phones, to tablets. I love my Blackberry Bold Touch and I lust after a Kindle Fire, but they wouldn’t be worth lusting after if not for the iPhone and the iPad.
Discontent drives innovation, and stagnation creates opportunity.
I think that Steve Jobs understood this more deeply than many of the users of his devices. He created user experiences from start to finish – but he was always pushing the envelope. The intensity of Apple users’ fandom is testament to the value of those experiences, but it also in a sense created the same stagnation that afflicted the technologies obsoleted by Apple. It was Jobs’ genius that he refused to be content, even though his products created contentment.
Jobs created the iPad out of nothing, but suppose he hadn’t? Apple aficionados would still be happily using iPods, iPhones, and MacBooks. If some other manufacturer had created the tablet, Apple’s users would have dismissed, pointing out the many advantages of their elegant Apple products over such ungainly eyesores. Apple users have always been content with what they were given. Steve Jobs, alone, pushed the envelope, innovating not out of discontent by Apple users but by the discontent of everyone outside Apple’s fold.
That was a mighty burden and a challenge for Jobs, surely – one that I suspect he needed to maintain his creative output. After all, he could have easily milked the supply of loyal Apple fans endlessly without any real innovation at all. But it was his eye on the rest of us, still using Windows and Blackberries and Android, that pushed him onwards. It was our discontent with Windows 95, with our StarTacs, our Handsprings, even our mice and our monitors, that were the inspiration for his innovation and it was the stagnation of Microsoft, Logitech, Motorola, Samsung, etc that gave him the opportunity.
I think that without Steve Jobs, Apple risks that same stagnation. It’s already happened, in a sense, to the MacBook line and the iPod. And that’s ok, because Apple raised the bar, and could easily continue on autopilot on its existing product line and customer loyalty. It would then fall to another company to exploit that stagnation, and keep the engine of innovation moving forward. That’s Steve Jobs’ true legacy.
With iCloud, Apple is transforming the cloud from an almost tangible place that you visit to find your stuff, to a place that only exists in the background. Itâ€™s never seen. You never interact with it, your apps do â€” and you never realize it. Itâ€™s magic.
Compare this to Google, the company perhaps most associated with the cloud. Googleâ€™s approach has been to make the cloud more accessible to existing PC users. Theyâ€™re doing this by extending familiar concepts. Google Docs is Microsoft Office, but in the cloud. Your main point of interaction is a file system, but in the cloud. Gmail is Outlook, but in the cloud. Etc.
Meanwhile, another company now largely associated with the cloud, Amazon, has essentially turned it into one giant server/hard drive that anyone can use for a fee. But it takes developers to build something on top of it to give users a product to use. Some are great. But many again just extend the idea of the cloud as a remote hard drive.
While the fundamentals are the same, Appleâ€™s approach to the concept of the cloud is the opposite of their competitors. Appleâ€™s belief is clearly that users will not and should not care how the cloud actually works. When Jobs gave a brief glimpse of their new North Carolina datacenter that is the centerpiece of iCloud, he only noted that it was full of â€œstuffâ€ â€” â€œexpensive stuff,â€ he quipped.
How on earth can Apple’s approach to the cloud be the same and also the opposite? There’s a cloud alright, and it’s being smoked big time.
Someone explain to me how Amazon or Google force the user to care how the cloud actually works? When I read books on the Kindle app, “it just works” on iPad, Blackberry, or iPod – i put one device down, pick up the other, and start reading right where i left off. When I open a document in google docs in one web browser at work, I save my document and go home and open the same document from my PC at home, and “it just works”.
OK, I think Gruber had a better insight in pointing out that for Google, the Cloud is accessed through a browser window, whereas for Apple, it’s accessed through your entire screen. But then again, have we forgotten about AWS? Or App Engine?
whatever. get ready for endless droning on by the MG Sieglers of the world about how the Truth is In the Cloud. ooooooh!
J complains that the Mac version of Kindle is not exactly stable:
The Kindle for Mac application is crap. Not in the sense of â€œlimited functionality and poor UIâ€ (although those are true, too), but in a more serious â€œcorrupts user identity every time it does its (weekly?) auto-updateâ€. I had originally thought the problem was with the version available in the Mac App Store (which, thanks to Apple, is much, much older), but no, the direct download from Amazon does it as well.
I’m guessing that Amazon is starting to wean itself from Apple given that there’s the issue of in-app purchasing hanging over their heads. I’m not really sure if there wll even BE a Kindle version in the App Store in two months, esp if Apple sticks to the June 30th deadline for in-app compliance.
Even if Amazon and Apple divorce, iOS/OSX users will eventually be able to use the web-based version of Kindle though. I haven’t used it yet, it’s still in beta, but it should be available soon. At such point I would expect Amazon to dump a lot of dev resources into the web version as well to keep people from jumping ship to ibooks.
The quintessential question – buy an iPad or a Kindle? – is rather glibly answered by Mark Jaquith here: buy both.
Well, that’s what you’d expect an iPad owner to say, because they are the sort that can afford to blow $500 on an oversized iPod (the new 4th generation version of which is, as even Jobs himself conceded, basically iPhone 4 without the flawed phone or exorbitant monthly expenses).
But Jaquith also makes a pretty solid case on the philosophical merits for one of the devices over the other. It’s implicit, but pretty much impossible to deny which device is superior, from this:
With the Kindle, youâ€™re becoming absorbed in a story for an hour or more at a time. You can read in bed, right before you go to sleep, without worrying that it will rile you up. To the contrary, the Kindle relaxes you. You might even take it outside to the pool or to the hammock. Flight attendants will chastise the iPhone-using passenger next to you as the plane descends for landing; but you, the gentle Kindle user, sheâ€™ll merely touch on the shoulder and tell you with a smile to make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened.
The iPad wakes you up. BAM! Hereâ€™s the news, with pictures and video. TWEET! Hereâ€™s the torrential banality of Twitter to distract you from something (or everything) important. TWEET! Hereâ€™s the same exclamation used again because youâ€™re paying the insanely addictive Angry Birds game. ZAP! Hereâ€™s you firing off an e-mail over your morning coffee.
Iâ€™ve never found myself struggling which to pick, much in the same way that nobody is ever torn between having tea and going sky diving. They are different devices, for different purposes. And thatâ€™s a good thing in the case of the Kindle. There is something almost drug-like about having a device that can do anything. Itâ€™s hard to turn off that ability. With the Kindle, you wonâ€™t be thinking about increasing your Fruit Ninja high score, or frantically checking and re-checking your e-mail. Youâ€™ll be in the only state that is appropriate when reading a book: completely lost in it.
And the iPad? It lets you live your soul crushing, hyper connected, vanity searching, e-mail enslaved life in any room of the house, instead of being planted in a desk chair in a darkened basement. And it has two other things going for it: itâ€™s easy to set it down and rejoin the world, and sometimes youâ€™ll lose it in a stack of mail for a day and be forced to do something edifying instead.
I just bought an iPod Touch 4th Gen because my kids took my 3rd Gen away from me. I intend to use it entirely for two things: Skype and Facetime with my iPhone-4-totin’ wife. For everything else, I have my blackberry – and if I really want to play Angry Birds, I can ask my kids’ permission.
I’m embarking on a hackintosh project because I want to dabble in some iPhone/iPod application development. This post is really a sort of notepad for some of the resources I am researching to help with this. The hardware is a refurbished Dell Mini v10, and I can report that it gets 2 fps (Dalaran) to 20 fps (out in the wild) playing Warcraft. 🙂
As far as learning how to do app development, I will use the courses on Apple ITunes University and also I bought this book.
unfortunately, none provide a simple way to add an OS/X install as a multiboot option. I used a freeware partition software to create a new 80 GB partition, so hopefully I can use that for OS/X but I’m really treading on new ground here. Ideally I can multi-boot into XP or Snow Leopard.
If anyone has any words of wisdom or advice, please do let me know! This isn’t for the faint of heart, clearly.
Apple’s announcement today of it’s new iPad tablet system (alas, not named Newton 2), running iPhone OS and featuring a 10″ multi-touch screen – doesn’t strike me as the Kindle killer that everyone is making it out to be. Yes, it will definitely be an ebook reader and will have licensing agreements with textbook publishers like McGraw-Hill and the behemoth book chain Barnes and Noble. But at a price probably around $1000, it will be four times as expensive as the Kindle, and despite the glorious full color multi-touch screen, will still not be as easy to read as elecctronic ink technology.
The price point matters – iPhone and iPod dominate their respective segments, but only because they provide tremendous functionality and design at the same price point as their competitors. Meanwhile, Mac computers remain relegated to niche market share, because they are such a poor value. The Mac OS operating system is innovative but for fundamental computing tasks – office work and online – most users are OS agnostic at best (Word is Word; Gmail is Gmail) and biased towards what they know (ie, Windows).
For the iPad to compete against Kindle – which has a huge marketshare lead and truly is to books what the iPod was to music, despite e-readers from Sony being around for years – it needs to compete on price and functionality. And there’s no way that the average person is going to be willing to read a 400-page book on an LCD screen.
I think Apple knows this, which is why it is courting the textbook market, the gaming market, and also putting iPhone OS on the device to keep it compatible with the universe of apps from the App Store. These add value to the device in the sense that they keep it a general-task device and not a single-purpose one. But in doing so they are competing against their own products – I bought an iPod Touch myself for less than $200 and I can run any app on it that the iPad will, and most are designed for a small screen so what’s the advantage of 10 inches? And why pay 4x the cost? Conversely why spend $1000 for a iSlate when you can drop a few hundred more and get a full-featured macbook? Or spend the same amount of money and buy a full-featured Windows laptop? Or spend half and get a netbook running Chrome OS, or a new Pine Trail netbook which can play real games like Warcraft?
Textbooks and other digital documents can certainly be made more innovative and hyperlinked and interactive on the iPad, but that media revolution will not be confined to Apple’s garden. And it’s a guarantee that Kindle v3.0 is going to incorporate color e-ink and a touch interface (though probably not multi-touch). Any new innovations in content delivery and integrating media and text will be just as exploitable by laptops and netbooks in particular.
And there are amazing new display technologies coming out – including color e-ink and hybrid CD screens, which will let other manufacturers build devices for ebook reading and media consumption at a fraction of the cost of what Apple can. I think that Apple has learned the wrong lesson from it’s success with iPod and iPhone and will end up doing everything poorly rather than a few things well.
UPDATE: Steve jobs dismisses netbooks, saying a netbook is “not better at anything! It’s just cheaper. But it’s not better at anything.” Shows how little he understands about netbooks. And he claims the iPad’s on-screen virtual keyboard is a “dream to type on” – yeah, right.
For the first time, Apple is recommending the use of anti-virus tools to protect Mac systems.
Long something of a phantom menace, strains of malware capable of infecting Mac machines have gradually been increasing in prevalence over recent months. In addition, VXers are making more use of web-based attack and applications specific vulnerabilities to infect PCs whatever their underlying operating system might be.
Windows-specific malware attacks are still orders of magnitude greater than assaults on Mac machines, but the risk to Apple fans is now enough for the Church of Jobs to admit a risk exists.
The admission that security scanner software was a good idea for Mac users came in an unheralded update to Apple’s support site made on 21 November, first picked up by Brian Krebs at Security Fix on Monday.
Apple goes further than just recommending the use of one scanner to advise the use of multiple tools. “Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple anti-virus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult,” it said.
The supposed invulnerability of Macs to viruses has long been a selling point and marketing mantra for Macs’ superiority over the Windows world – as the screenshot I’ve taken of Apple.com’s “Why a Mac” page demonstrates (see above). The idea that you need two anti-virus tools by Apple’s own recommendation is actually pretty funny; if I were Microsoft I’d cut an ad saying that the Mac platform is so unstable, just one virus scanner doesn’t cut it!