We’ll Always Have Apple

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Seven and a half years ago,  reported this story for NPR’s Morning Edition. “Rumor has it,” said show host Steven Inskeep, “that Apple Computer may be about to release its own cell phone that plays music.” Possibilities like this led Inskeep to conclude that, “it may be almost impossible for the company to live up to expectations.”

“The market potential for cell phones to play music is huge,” one of Sydell’s sources confirmed. At the time, such a prospect led another of the reporter’s sources to euphorically proselytize,

“It’s going to be really cool. It’s going to be usable. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to have that Apple coolness attached to it, that aura of just ooh.”

This morning,  filed another story on Apple, replete with euphemistic allusions to genital size. After so many years and so many iterations of the now pervasive “cell phone that plays music,” it was hard not to get the impression that some of the that “aura of just ohh ooh” was beginning to wear off.

Just listen to one of Sydell’s sources this time around, “She used to have an iPhone but says it ‘basically became kind of useless other than, honestly, as a phone.'”

The once great and powerful music playing cell phone is now “kind of” useless for anything other than calling people? What’s next? Multi-media tablets that are “kind of” useless when it comes to anything other than reading books?

But not everyone has hopped off the Apple bandwagon these days, and Sydell made sure to find a more properly Appletini-tastic note to end her report on,

“J.P. Gownder, an analyst at Forrester, says the Apple device is likely to keep track of vital health signs, sports scores and stock prices. He imagines it will be the perfect complement to a larger iPhone, which is kept in a bag or back pocket.

‘You could imagine a world in which some sort of iWatch and maybe a large-size iPhone co-exist on the same body,’ he says. ‘And they just offer people different kinds of information in different contexts.'”

Like, just imagine you’re at the movies, and you want to check what time it is on your iPhone to see if you can still run to the bathroom before the previews start, and ooh, you totally do! So you go relieve yourself just in time to get back to your seat as the lights dim.

Then, later on in the evening, you want to check what time it is to see how much is left in the four and a half hour long monstrosity that is Transformers 5: The Search for Optimus, but, ooh no! You can’t check your iPhone cause that washed up celebrity shamed you into turning it off before the movie began. Don’t worry though, cause now you can totally check what time it is on your brand new iWatch!

You might even be able to whisper sweet nothings about how Michael Bay is just an adolescent Steven Spielberg-wannabe into your smart watch just like, “comic book character Dick Tracy.”

If none of this sounds as interesting or as revolutionary as the cell phone that also plays music of yesteryear, don’t worry, Sydell says there’s still hope,

“Apple is coming late to smart watches and bigger phones, but this was also true when Apple introduced its first iPod, iPhone and iPad. Apple is a company with a long history of opening up existing categories of technology and turning its devices into must-haves.”

Clearly, NPR isn’t the only one with an occasional soft spot for Apple. The insidious relationship between the American media and this particular developer of consumer electronics is well documented.

Indeed, it’s as if there’s something in our national consciousness that needs to believe Apple ever was, and will forever remain, the platonic ideal of artistic and technological innovation. Even if, like many companies, Apple outsources thousands of its jobs to workers in low paying, poorly regulated economies, and consistently finds ways not to pay taxes on the billions of dollars it makes in profit, at least we, as Americans, can still be proud of the unique, entrepreneurial spirit that that continues to make Apple the leading provider of cell phones that play music and watches you can talk to.

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34 thoughts on “We’ll Always Have Apple

  1. Apple outsources thousands of its jobs to workers in low paying, poorly regulated economies, and consistently finds ways not to pay taxes on the billions of dollars it makes in profit,

    Eh, the punchline wasn’t really worth the long leadup.

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  2. I follow the tech industry as much as I possibly can and I think I have a different take on this whole thing. A lot of this comes from Robert Scoble, the tech guru I have written about here before. The fact is, smartwatches are going to be a big thing, despite the jokes about them here and elsewhere. Tech companies are investing a lot of money in them and they are being pretty smart about the features. This is part of the ‘wearables’ phenomenon that has been happening for a couple of years now. Eventually these items are not going to need a phone to pair with and then we’ll never look back.

    While I am far, far, far from being an Apple guy, they do play an important role in the industry. Scoble and others refer to Apple as the force behind ‘normalizing’ tech innovations. Right now smartwatches are a niche for earlier adopters. Apple will make them mainstream. It’s just what they do. They didn’t invent mp3 players…they just took them mainstream. They didn’t invent smartphones…they took them mainstream. This will be no different.

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  3. I am no means an early adopter. I’ve had an Apple computer way back when. The ex actually wanted it. I did like that it was “complete” and you didn’t need to buy other hardware or install drivers like the PCs at the time, but otherwise, meh.

    I don’t have an Iphone. For me, a smart phone is a tool. I’m not wedded to apple or android or whatever, and frankly, I don’t understand the love and devotion to apple products, especially when idiots “geniuses” at the apple store give me factually wrong info about products and accessories.

    That being said, it appears that the press is in bed with apple just as much as they are in bed with the gov’t, cia, nsa, etc. Color me suprised!

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/04/former-l-times-reporter-cleared-stories-cia-publication/

    Oh, and Ethan “Indeed, it’s as if there’s something in our national consciousness that needs to believe Apple ever was, and will forever remain, the platonic ideal of artistic and technological innovation.” Was this ever true or is it just good PR?

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  4. Indeed, it’s as if there’s something in our national consciousness that needs to believe Apple ever was, and will forever remain, the platonic ideal of artistic and technological innovation.

    The Cult of Steve is really quite fascinating, as a cultural phenomenon.

    The fact is, smartwatches are going to be a big thing, despite the jokes about them here and elsewhere.

    Unless/until somebody gets on the ball with modularity, all of this stuff is really marketing and not much else, iff’n you ask me.

    I don’t need a phone, or a laptop, or a home computer, or a watch, or smartglasses… I need functions, and I don’t particularly care what they’re embedded in, as long as the form factor suits the purpose.

    Right now, all the manufacturers are trying to sell me form factors with some functions I want and a bunch of them that don’t work in that form factor all crammed into one device.

    Part of this is emergent technology phenomenon: it’s hard to design for function when you’re not really sure which functions people really want. I get that part. But we’ve had these pieces of technology around for a while and nobody’s started taking what we learned from bottom-up adoption and started engineering actual function into form.

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    • Patrick,

      My understanding of the direction they are going for the watches is that they will have two functions:

      1) Act as content filters for your apps.

      2) Assist ‘monitor’ technology like the Fitbit.

      With regards to #1, the watched out now have the ability to filter only certain parts of your FB or Twitter feeds, only show you designated content from a given app, etc. I think that’s probably a decent entry-point into the market. As far as actual usage goes, the public will determine much of this.

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  5. What we’re seeing is that people don’t want “a phone where you can read email”, they want “a portable touchscreen internet-connected device”. And that kind of device needs to be bigger than the first iPhone was.

    But when you have that device, it’s a bit inconvenient to drag it out of your pocket every time you want to, e.g., see what time it is. So you get a watch. But wouldn’t it be useful if that watch could show your calendar, display text messages, do any non-full-screen function? And that’s what a smart watch is.

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