Apple R&D Reveals a Pivot Is Coming

Neil Cybart on Apple’s increased R&D spending:

People are focusing on the wrong thing when analyzing Apple’s path forward in the face of slowing iPhone sales. Instead of debating how much Apple will try to monetize the iPhone user base with services (not as much as consensus thinks), the company is instead planning its largest pivot yet. There are only a handful of logical explanations for Apple’s current R&D expense trajectory, and all of them result in a radically different Apple. In a few years, we are no longer going to refer to Apple as the iPhone company.

Neil makes some astute arguments and suggests Apple is serious about making a car:

In reality, people are grossly underestimating the odds that Project Titan will lead to Apple actually shipping an electric car. At this point, I peg odds of Apple selling its own electric car to be at least 80 percent. There is one very simple reason for my high degree of confidence: Project Titan is a long-term pivot. I don’t consider Titan to be just another project that Apple has been tinkering around with in the lab for years like an Apple television set or Apple Pencil. Instead, Project Titan is much more about building a foundation for Apple that will literally represent the company’s future.

It would be one hell of a pivot.

Budweiser Renames Its Beer "America"

Fast Company:

With the backdrop of the Olympics and a comically botched election, this summer is bound to be what Ricardo Marques, a vice president from Budweiser, calls “maybe the most American summer ever.”

So Budweiser is going to potentially ingenious, potentially absurd branding extremes. The company has kept the same can you already know, but when you look closely, you’ll realize that it has swapped out its own name, “Budweiser,” for “America.” That’s right, Budweiser has renamed its beer America for the summer.

I’m not American, but this strikes me as over the top.

The Real Reason Apple Made the Apple Watch

Tim Bajarin on the origin of the Apple Watch:

I have long been observing these key moves around healthcare, which accelerated after Jobs’ death. It seems clear that Apple’s management has now and will continue to have a major focus on bridging the gap between a person and their healthcare providers. I believe Apple is on a mission to improve the overall health of its customers as well as that of the healthcare system, a task Jobs gave them before he died. And while Apple’s products define Jobs’ legacy, it may turn out that his and Apple’s greatest contribution may be to bring greater order to the fragmented healthcare world.

It is within this backdrop that the Apple Watch was born. Apparently, Apple was looking at ways to deliver on Jobs’ goal of making their customers healthier by using technology to help monitor and track health related data points. It became clear to them that they would need some type of mobile device platform to do this. They concluded that a standard fitness tracker couldn’t do the types of things Jobs and current Apple executives really wanted to see. That’s how the Apple Watch came about.

I’m skeptic this was the only reason for the introduction of the Apple Watch. One hell of a dying wish though.

Building a New Photography Workflow With the iPad Pro

Drew Coffman:

Though the iPad Pro enables me to be more creative, that doesn’t mean there’s a solution for every creative task I want to accomplish — and in photography in particular, using the device as a primary machine forces me to make some interesting choices.

I’ve tried many photo-editing iPad apps, but I haven’t found the one for me yet.

My Tablet Has Stickers

Steven Sinofsky on the future of the iPad:

In one of the amazing Steve Jobs interviews from Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, when asked about tablets replacing laptops, Jobs said to this functionality gap that it was “just software”.

Respectfully, he was partially right. While more and better software was needed, the other part of this shift is the accompanying broad range of otherchanges that will take place. If you doubt those changes are happening now, then consider how much of your work life/process/culture has changed by the introduction of smartphones. Tablets just took longer because they are not just additive but substitutes. The change is more like email which took two decades to become something resembling a universal tool even after being around for 20 years.

I completely agree. iOS has slowly, but surely taken over my computer usage. While I still use my Mac every day, I don’t use it nearly as much as my iPad or iPhone.

Life's Too Short for Slow Computers

Nilay Patel writing for The Verge:

We can sit around and argue about whether speeds and feeds matter, but the grand ambition of the Apple Watch is to be a full-fledged computer on your wrist, and right now it’s a very slow computer. If Apple believes the Watch is indeed destined to become that computer, it needs to radically increase the raw power of the Watch’s processor, while maintaining its just-almost-acceptable battery life. And it needs to do that while all of the other computers around us keep getting faster themselves. It’s a hard road, but Apple is obviously uniquely suited to invest in ambitions that grand, with billions in the bank, a top-notch chip design unit, and the ability to focus on the long-term.

In retrospect, I wish the Apple Watch was less ambitious. If Apple focused more on Glances and Notifications – instead of apps – maybe the Apple Watch would’ve been seen as more of a success.