Touching Tribute to Steve

Apple’s homepage has a touching montage dedicated to founder Steve Jobs. Moody music and a Gretzky quote set the atmosphere for the “creator” of all things i. It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I got a knock on my door with the news of his passing.

You will HATE Apple?

Everyone around me knows how I’ve gone off the deep end with my Apple fandom. I’ve gone as far as buying a mini-macbook air pocket mirror and photoshopped Call of Duty on the screen. Why? Because it makes me happy. Because the neurons in my brain don’t always fire correctly. So when an article comes across my lap with any message other than “Apple creates world peace and happy babies,” it gets my attention.

To summarize the opinion in question it’s – “you will hate Apple one day.” Now this person acknowledges that Apple can choose to sell pies and the masses will fall in line for a slice but one day this beloved company will make you angry. I respect the thought and to a degree we are witnessing small cases already. Tim Cook has had to deal with fallout from the overseas labor practice review and then there was the recent Greenpeace stunt. Scrutiny over the speed in which security updates to recent flash/java disguised trojans surfaced over the web. “So this is the ship they say is unsinkable.”

It’s easy to dole out an opinion that contains the words “one day.” This form of statement can be tossed into infiniteness where 250 years down the road one would still be able to say “just you watch, one day it’s going to happen.” Let’s shrink that view and say “you will hate Apple within the next 25 years.” Great that sounds more like a respectable opinion. And I disagree.

Apple is still in second place. This is a good thing. Target fed off Walmart’s shadow and continued to grow while the smiley face was hit with negative media reporting. The same goes for Lowe’s second fiddle to Home Depot and AMD’s silver to Intel’s gold standard. Being in second place allows the type of legroom to be original. AMD had to strengthen its server CPU business and continues to set the standard in GPU’s through its ATI division. Without the weight of maintaining a lead, Lowe’s continually impresses consumer polls with it’s attention to organization and customer service. With an accented pronunciation, Tarzhay’s innovation in design and use of celebrity often gets hyped when it’s competition is scrutinized over labor standards. That’s effort, energy and resources that Walmart could have used in preparation for a more important battle with online retailers. Taking into account the post-PC market the figures back-up Apple’s placing. Windows accounts for 40% of market share, Android 35%, iOS 22%, and Mac OS X 2%. Apple comes behind in both mobile and standard operating systems. Let’s face it, leaders in the market Apple competes in have plenty of problems that Apple doesn’t. This frees up the resources necessary for Apple to remain innovation and design leaders.

The once loved list of IBM, Walmart, Nokia, and more recently Facebook, Best Buy, and Netflix never had a guy named Steve Jobs. Do not underestimate his leadership within Apple posthumous. He was a legitimate rockstar. A model for Iron Man’s Tony Stark. He was a legend that died well before his time. Let’s look at that list. Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia, John Lennon and Bruce Lee all passed away at too young of an age and, in part, that’s the reason their enterprises are still strong. They remain above long lasting scrutiny. Game of Death was a shitty movie but the Dragon was in it and it’s an inspiration for movies today. Hollywood will make Steve the subject of several biopics which helps to further entrench his mystifying aura. I’m not saying Apple gets a free pass but they get a certain leeway and cult status that won’t evaporate anytime soon. Don’t underestimate Steve Jobs.

In another way, Job’s manic work ethic and control issues ensure that Apple’s pipeline is fully stocked. He notably delegated the iPhone 4S to another team so he’d be able to focus on the next iteration. In 2010 he locked up the rights to use Liquid Metal which will slowly be appearing in upcoming devices like the MacBook Pro refresh. Don’t forget about the vaunted Apple Television that will help the company completely take over the living room. Even on accident Job’s opened a pathway into becoming THE dominant player in the the gaming market. Do you think Microsoft and Sony are worried about each other? They’re captive to the plans outlined by Job’s before his death. This is the pipeline that piqued China’s interest, we all know how important they are and Apple is one of just a handful of American companies they like.

AAPL’s one of the few companies that zombifies it’s buyers. It’s a huge brand like Coca-Cola and Disney. People buy AAPL shares just to have it. Their happy when the stock goes up and they don’t worry when it does go down. Apple no longer needs a person like Guy Kawasaki to be an evangelist, the buyers do that. Write an anti-mac comment on a forum to see the flame war blaze. I’ll be one of them that come out of the woodworks with digital fatigues ready to defend the thing I type on. I think that’s why I’m compelled to write this. That and my brain not working right thing.

Now I’ll be realistic here and admit that labor practice standards are a significant issue. So is the Greenpeace stunt in protest of Apple’s coal use. Tim Cook, if history is correct, will be well suited to transform some of these issues into net positives. Nike had a similar situation when the sweatshops were exposed and they remain a top ten global brand today. Even if Cook chooses to do the bare minimum in responding to media concerns, Apple has positioned itself for longevity.

The hippy haircuts may be gone but so long as Apple maintains some core mantras the future looks bright. I’ll leave you with number 12 of Guy Kawasaki’s list of things he learned while working for Steve Jobs. “Some things need to be believed to be seen.” I believe I’m right, you’ll see…..one day.

Missed me???

I have to apologize for the hiatus. It’s been a busy week which would make for great blogging, too bad anonymity is essential in what I do. For now and to my countless three readers out there, I submit some of the things that have occupied my visual cortex of late.

In no particualar order:

Marie Calloway’s short stories entitled “Adrien Brody” and “Jeremy Lin” best read in that order.

Google Plus has overhauled their layout and I’ve been hacking my profile along with some pretty creative people. Check it out HERE.

Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start and the 12 things he’s learned form Steve Jobs:

  1. experts are clueless
  2. customers cannot tell you what they need
  3. biggest challenges beget the best work
  4. design counts
  5. BIG GRAPHICS. BIG FONT.
  6. jump curves, not better sameness
  7. it works or didn’t work
  8. value different from price
  9. A players hire A players
  10. real CEOs can demo
  11. real entrepreneurs can ship. dont worry be crappy
  12. some things need to be believed to be seen

Finally I’ve been messing with CS5 of late. Here’s what I did to the photo below:

Source image was from a pre-college trip. 5 of us went through Santa Barbara and ended up in Yosemite.

1.Increased contrast, tweaked levels and curves and applied an overlay with a high pass filter set to 50% opacity.
2. Highlighted shadows with standard burn tool.
3. Text graphics and bars were made within photoshop.
4. Using layer mask desaturate foreground and background
5. extracted dan forden image and insert using 80% opacity and gaussian blur.
6. Used the Yellow Filter twice. Once on my friend (originally Mexican) and then myself (natively black).
7. Finally, used chink tool to narrow eyes.

Do you have a MacBook? Want one?

Can there be too much Apple?

Recommended reading SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: OS – Apple fan boy or higher. CPU – Super Geek or higher  GPU – Mega Nerd or Higher 

I’ve gathered some confirmed and speculative rumors with an attempt to make sense of what this means going into the future. MacRumors reported a few weeks back that production already commenced on the new line of MacBook Pros with an initial batch of 100,000 to 150,000 units a month. With the PC market and the likes of Acer banking their business on UltraBooks, Apple has clearly started a REVolution with high-performance mega-mobile computing. Netbooks were a fad in a new market tablets now reside in, but the MacBook Air and UltraBooks are categories that may just be integrated into the standard laptop segment.

For now let’s discuss the evolution of the new MacBook Pros which are due to hit the market sometime this Fall. Legacy technology looks to be ditched in this incarnation so say goodbye to an optical drive, Ethernet and FireWire port. I don’t know about you but I haven’t touched either of the three in about a year. No wait, I watched five minutes of Redbelt to see if the drive still worked. Then I went over to Netflix to finish it. I hear the SD card slot and a new combination of SSD and HDD will get a starting nod though it’s unconfirmed if the disk drives will be a single unit hybrid like this, Apple proprietary, or standard laptop units. Apple continues to push thunderbolt being fully backed by Intel gives it a chance to succeed. It is after all faster than USB 3.0, does audio/video and is compatible with mini display-port. All this nerdy, geeky tech talk means brings us to this. The internal omissions will give the MacBook line a slimmer more Air-like profile. It may even be more dramatic of a tapered wedge due to its larger overall size than the Airs. Can’t wait to my finger board to the Apple Store!

Photo by GearPatrol

It’s still called the Pro. Not the MacBook 15” Air and not the Macbook Air Pro. So how is Apple going to differentiate the two? It starts with the new Ivy Bridge CPU. I’ll simplify what it means as best as I can. Slight boost in CPU performance, huge increase in the integrated GPU (about 30%) and ridiculous battery life due to the reduced 22nm architecture. Since it will be marketed towards the professional-level user Apple will also upgrade the dedicated graphics processor to something like the AMD Radeon 7700m family of chips. Games will look and run five times superior to PS3 offerings. Video encoding times will be something along the lines of an 8-core Mac Pro from a few years ago. I’m guessing raw GeekBench scores to clear 13000 easily as the current ones consistently hover around the 8,000 – 9,500 mark. Basically, you’ll be able to replace your desktop or iMac with this laptop and maybe an external display. Heck, I’ve been able to do that with the 2010 model i7 MacBook Pro paired with the Cinema Display.

Get ready for HiDPI. High Dots Per Inch. Not quite retina but close in other words. The iPhone 4S has 364 dots (or pixels) per square inch. Expect the new Macbook Pros to at least clear 200. Gizmodo also reports that these new computers will sport a surface trackpad. The entire palm rest will be touch-sensitive, gesture controllable, and I don’t think it will make this generation. The costs of the aforementioned seem to be broaching Apple’s standard product cost ratio so look for Tim Cook to keep this further down the pipeline.

The iPhone basically cannibalized the iPod market. A more powerful iPad plus iOS integration into Lion could certainly do the same to the 11 inch MacBook Air which already ate the entry level polycarbonate MacBook line. The Air’s genetic physical traits would pass upstream to the current line of MacBook Pros. The Mac Pros eventually will bow out to the iMac as the standard desktop power professional workstation. Finally, the Apple TV would be replaced by the umm Apple…Television. I know.

Photo from hindustantimes

Do you own a MacBook Pro? If so, I’d recommend backing up your data and start making plans to sell via Craigslist, Amazon or eBay. A visual refresh always kills market value as well as all the new power under that aluminum hood. My 15.4” MacBook Pro with 8GB ram and pre-Sandy Bridge 2.66GHZ i7 looks to be fetching $1,100 to $1,200 on the used market. This could go as low as $700 after the new line comes out. If you made it this far into the reading, slap another 100 points to your GeekBench score.

You deserve it.

“One more thing, is all Apple needs.”

Could this be the next must have design?

If my hunch is right, Apple HQ has that thing in the pipeline and it was supplied none other than by Steve Jobs in a Tupac-like role. When Jobs was forced out of Apple 27 years ago, nothing innovative was created by the company. John Scully had an opportunity to prove it was capable of producing something revolutionary while structuring an environment capable of competing with big brother and Microsoft. Time revealed that 1 Infinite Loop could not create without; however, Steve proved he could compete demolish the competition when he was asked back.

Father knows best and Steve’s first move was to strike a $150 million dollar deal with Microsoft. Add the iMac, iPod, iTunes, AppStore, iPad, Macbook Air, Pixar and the iPhone to the list that started with the Apple I, II and Macintosh. The man redefined our common conceptions and turned Apple into one of the wealthiest companies in the world.

Apple is now orphaned, however it can ride its fiscal success for the next few years without any significant technological innovation but it doesn’t last long (see Microsoft). Chief Apple Designer Sir Jonathon Ive said “if we can’t make something that is better, we won’t.” Without it’s creative father, just how is Apple going to do this? Like any good son taking over the family business, Cook will get a shot before confidence wanes. He’s going to need to do well immediately if one expects reasonable growth above the upper edges of the long term trading channel valued at $460. Plus, I think good ol pops had a gift to give.

Now we’re not at that point yet, though it’s clear creativity has stalled. The iPad got thicker and heavier. What’s next for us? Siri on the Nuevo New iPad? WooHoo! Retina on the Newer Nano? Oh, I know! Thunderbolt AND USB 3.0 on the Nearly Now Macbook Pro. No. No. And no. These moderate updates will not do regardless of inferior competition. Dig through the rumors and ask yourself if Jobs could’ve done better. Pushed harder. Got more.

Famous for creating the “I’m working 90 hours/wk and loving it” T-shirts to get the Macintosh team motivated, I think Steve Jobs worked his magic one last time. Rumor has it he did not work on the 4S. Rumor has it that he worked on a secret project yet to be released. Rumor has it that it’s the iPhone 5.

Masayoshi Son said, “I visited Apple for the announcement of the iPhone 4S [at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California]. When I was having a meeting with Tim Cook, he said, ‘Oh Masa, sorry I have to quit our meeting.’ I said, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘My boss is calling me.’ That was the day of the announcement of the iPhone 4S. He said that Steve is calling me because he wants to talk about their next product. And the next day, he died.”

I know. Wow. It’s mind blowing how passionate Steve Jobs was and I’m sure his creative juices were given huge electric jolts considering his time constraints due to failing health. The iPhone 4S was a logical progression and Steve knew the team he assembled for it would be self sufficient. So he worked on the followup in the days leading to his untimely death. Covert style. Whatever they choose to call the next iPhone is sure to be a cult classic based upon the idea it was his last project. An egomaniac like Jobs wouldn’t want to go out working on a moderately improved product, would he?

Summation time. Steve Jobs worked on the next iPhone. This will give Cook plenty of time to find the next creative genius and develop him without sacrificing reasonable growth to the shareholder. And I NEED this new device. I am a Machead, I realized. I have the Apple Cinema Display, an i7 Macbook Pro, an iPad 2, an Apple TV. They all work beautifully together. I now more than ever, understand I just need…one more thing.