The Monetizing-Said-Hardware Edition Thursday, August 3, 2017

Apple And The Oak Tree, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

The reality is that Apple’s elegant transaction-based business model, centered on selling software-differentiated hardware, died along with the iPod. One could certainly argue that Apple’s services don’t differentiate their hardware, at least not in a positive direction, but it is impossible to deny that said services play an ever more important role in monetizing said hardware, above-and-beyond increasingly infrequent (on an individual basis) up-front purchases. And while that is great for Apple’s continued growth, it is a limit on Apple’s freedom to maneuver — and now, for the company’s Chinese customers, a limit on their freedom to circumvent China’s Great Firewall.


Apple is no longer the little reed they were when Jobs could completely change the company’s strategy in mere months; the push towards ever more lock-in, ever more centralization, ever more ongoing monetization of its users — even at the cost of the user experience, if need be — will be impossible to stop, for Tim Cook or anyone else.

Why Apple Is Experiencing Another Growth Spurt, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

“Wall Street is waking up to the reality that the next great product might not be an Apple car or the TV or the Watch,” said Trip Miller of Gullane Capital Partners, which loaded up on Apple shares when they were below $100. “The services business is the next great product.”


Apple Shares Three Short 'The Rock X Siri' Ads, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Each video features one short scene from the original ad, with the Rock interacting with Siri to set a reminder, take a selfie, and set a timer.

Review: Vinpok Bolt-S Cable Returns MagSafe-like Technology To The USB-C MacBook Pro, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

The Vinpok Bolt-S cable has a USB-C detachable end that inserts into the computer, with the cable itself held in place with a magnetic ring. The approach is not all that dissimilar to that of Apple's MagSafe, but with all the functional elements external to the laptop, rather than as part of the computer's case.

Google Earth Gets A Big iOS Update, by John Voorhees, MacStories

‘Voyager’ is designed to help you plan your next trip with over 140 stories organized by topic like ‘Museums Around the World,’ ‘Mexico City Street Food,’ and ‘Beautiful Hiking Destinations in Canada.’ When you pick a location, Google Earth offers ‘Knowledge Cards’ that you can pull up from the bottom of the map. Cards include galleries of photos for your chosen locale as well as basic facts and links to Knowledge Cards for points of interest and related searches.

Plex Brings Live TV Features To Fourth-generation Apple TV, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

To use Live TV, Apple TV owners must have a Plex Pass subscription and a compatible digital antenna and tuner connected to a Plex Media Server.


Apple Should Remove The 99¢ Tier From The App Store, by Mo Bitar

And if you don’t think your product is worth $4.99, really consider whether you should be making it in the first place.


Microsoft Website Reveals Touch Cover Keyboard For Apple's iPad, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

Whether the hardware is forthcoming or was a scrapped project, it's openly mentioned on Microsoft's site, on a page listing products with integrated lithium batteries. The inclusion of a battery in the Microsoft Touch Cover for iPad would suggest that the keyboard accessory is Bluetooth, and does not sync over the Smart Connector port.

Oh, Snap! Scientists Are Turning People's Food Photos Into Recipes, by Laurel Dalrymple, NPR

To do this, researchers have been feeding the computer pairs of photos and their corresponding recipes — about 800,000 of them. The AI network, called Recipe 1M, chews on all of that for a while, learning patterns and connections between the ingredients in the recipes and the photos of food.

"What we've developed is a novel machine learning model that powers an app. The demo that you see is just a pretty interface to that model," says Nicholas Hynes, an MIT graduate student at CSAIL who also co-authored the paper.