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  • Some False Assumptions About Apple

    April 27th, 2017

    In recent columns, I’ve covered at length the attempts by the tech media to present the just-released Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone as not only superior to the iPhone 7 but more advanced than the unannounced iPhone 8. The latter is obviously an absurd comparison.

    But what bothers me most is that the Galaxy S8’s known flaws are being largely overlooked by reviewers. Consider the flawed biometrics, key components to enhance the handset’s security. Consumer Reports initial review came close, mentioning the inconvenience of putting a fingerprint sensor at the rear and the limitations of its slow iris detection system that cannot handle darkness and bright sunlight. It’s not as flexible as the ones you see on TV, but there’s nothing said about the flawed facial recognition that can be fooled by a photograph.

    Well, you get the picture. Imagine if an iPhone had similar flaws. You’d never hear the end of it.

    The critics want to tell you that Apple is in deep trouble and there’s no way the iPhone 8 can possibly compete. But what about other Android  competitors, such as the LG G6, which is being touted as a cheaper alternative to the Galaxy S8?

    Now when it comes to the Apple Watch, since Apple doesn’t reveal actual sales, it is assumed to be a failure. But independent estimates of its sales show that it leads the pack when it comes to smartwatches. An alleged larger competitor, Fitness wearables, has its own problems, with sales less than expected during the December quarter. This after buying up two competitors, including Pebble.

    For a product that continues to lead the market, the Apple Watch isn’t getting the love — at least not yet. But with reports that the third edition might contain such features as a new self-emitting display technology, MicroLED, it can’t be dismissed. What makes a potential move to MicroLED more credible is the fact that Apple acquired one of the pioneers of that technology, LuxVue, in 2014. So even if there’s an iPhone with OLED display in our future, it may only be a temporary move until Apple can perfect even better displays.

    You can certainly be assured the critics are really going after the Mac. It’s a legacy product, it’s Apple’s Achilles heel. It has to be set aside so Mac users would be forced to switch to — Windows?

    I suppose you have to remind such people that the Mac is also used to build apps for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV. There are 100 million Mac users out there, most of whom wouldn’t want to see their preferred platform discontinued because people said a business of that sort is not a good fit for Apple.

    Yes, I know it sounds absurd to me too.

    But it’s not as if Apple hasn’t done things — or not done some things — to foster that impression. It will take a while to live down the failure of the Mac Pro, and the only real solution is to release a compelling upgrade that answers the needs of professional users. That would be a huge start towards a Mac renewal.

    It’s also clear that Apple is serious about being dedicated to its professional applications. It was revealed this week, at the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference, that Final Cut Pro X, Apple’s video editing app, now has two million users. When it first came on the market in 2011 as a successor to Final Cut Pro 7, the app was attacked for losing important features needed by creatives.

    Over the next few years, Apple restored lost features and added others. When you look at the bill of particulars, you’ll find capabilities that seem far beyond what a student or hobbyist might need. The 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display was clearly designed with FCP X in mind. You’d be able to edit a 4K movie at its native resolution, and have space left on the display for menus and palettes. The app was also updated to work swiftly with the new iMac’s graphics hardware.

    During the rollout of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar last fall, one of the key demonstrations included a FCP X update with Touch Bar support. Apple recently hired developer Tim Dashwood, who had previously created 3D and 360-degree VR plugins, to join the team.

    Obviously Apple is committed to the app.

    Apple’s other pro app, Logic Pro X, has received two major updates so far this year, with loads of new and enhanced features listed on recent release notes.

    Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to see a new Mac before fall, perhaps a 2017 MacBook and maybe even a long-awaited refresh for the Mac mini. You know, just to see what’s possible.

    The critics will continue to tout Microsoft’s premium-priced Surface PCs as the next great thing, even though sales continue to be a fraction of what Apple sells. The real threat of the Surface, however, is to mainstream PC makers, as Microsoft continues to rain on their parades.

    Oh, and the other day, a reader suggested I was putting myself in Samsung’s legal crosshairs by suggesting it may be responsible, in part, for some of the negative publicity about Apple. I wish they would do something; I could use the publicity.



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