It’s All In How You Look At It

Speculating about the next Apple product is a cottage industry that’s generally useful for nothing more than driving clicks and feeding the trolls. But today, Ben Kunz at BusinessWeek had a thoughtful piece on the much rumoured television from Apple. He doesn’t have any supply chain evidence, but this is the first analysis I’ve seen that suggests that makes any sense. Why would Apple get in the crowded, low margin, slow turnover, big TV game? Kunz suggests that it is a different game that they’d get into.

Apple will sell small screens in a unique format, likely with a pure glass bezel or, if the technology permits, an entirely transparent screen—and seek to fill your entire home with secondary television/video devices…We want more screens, and we want to do other stuff while watching, so why wouldn’t Apple sell pretty little panels to spread throughout our homes?

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On the Meaning of Magic

People who like to slag on Apple regularly complain about their use of the term “magical” to describe the iPad.  For instance:

I’ll tell you what is magical. Harry Potter, unicorns and sawing women in half are magical. Making a computer or a bloody Mac takes no magic at all, it takes silicon and factories, and workers, and sweat, and designers, and marketing people.

Seems to me that Apple doesn’t mean that kind of magic.  Rather, Apple is referencing Arthur C. Clarke’s widely known third law:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

So, Apple is really making a claim about how advanced their tech is, not about its supernatural powers.  Actually, they probably meant it the way Gregory Benford restated it in Foundations End:

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

FWIW, it’s not such a jump to substitute “religion” for “magic”. . .

Where’d Everybody Go?

As a quick followup to the Apple/Nike piece, consider Nick Bilton’s recent blog post over at the New York Times.  It is entitled “Disruptions: Too Much Silence on Working Conditions.”  In the wake of Apple’s troubles with worker issues at Foxconn plants, he notes the continuing silence of  other tech companies that use Foxconn to manufacture their products.

In the last week I have asked Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Microsoft and others about their reports on labor conditions. Most responded with a boilerplate public relations message. Some didn’t even respond.

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