I finally got around to watching Alex Gibney’s Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine.
The verdict: two thumbs down. I only wish I had more thumbs to vote with.
I didn’t hate it because it’s a hatchet job. In fact, I’m not even sure it is a hatchet job. Much of it wanders aimlessly, exploring the good and bad sides of Steve Jobs.
It’s just not a well conceived or executed film — which is surprising, given that Gibney’s previous documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, was widely praised.
There’s a big difference between the two.
Going Clear explored a subject that is murky to most of us, and is based on a book that was extensively researched. The Man In The Machine is none of that. It’s simply a rehash of things that are well known about Steve, presented as if they’re news. More ▸
Earlier this week, I expressed a distinct lack of love for the S-naming that Apple has applied to iPhone every other year.
My point was that by choosing this path, Apple has actually trained the world to believe S years are “off-years” that feature only minor innovations. This, when some of iPhone’s biggest advances have actually arrived in the S models.
As Exhibit A in my argument, I now submit yesterday’s BuzzFeed article entitled 20 Minutes With Tim Cook. More accurately, I submit a single paragraph neatly tucked mid-article. Here, John Paczkowski illustrates two reasons why Apple’s S naming is a bad idea (though he did so unintentionally): More ▸
The pre-holiday Apple event was only part of a much larger drama that’s been played out many times before.
First came the rumors. Then came leaks with substance. Then came the presentation — less surprising because of the leaks — which disappointed Wall Street and dropped the AAPL stock price. Then came a frenzy of articles pro and con, followed by a day-after bump in AAPL stock when Wall Street (momentarily) came to its senses.
What else could there possibly be to talk about? I’m sure we can think of something…
A frequent complaint of Apple event critics is the excessive use of hyperbole. Hard to argue this. Then again, when one unveils brand-new products, hyper-adjectives are just too tempting for mortal men. That’s how we humans show enthusiasm. More ▸
Well, now we know why Apple went silent with the Watch ads after its initial flurry. They’ve been busy beavers over there.
Now we have four new big-budget ads featuring a cast of dozens acting out scenarios shot all over the world.
The only problem — they’re the wrong ads at the wrong time.
At a moment when many seem to be on the fence about the Watch, these spots are just sleepy. They’re lacking in fun and excitement, and not the kind of ad you rave to your friends about.
Even worse, they actually give credibility to the doubters. Among the unusually high number of negative comments on the Apple-centric sites are many along the lines of “They made me realize how little I need an Apple Watch.” More ▸
Wow. That was quite a spectacle. It was as if someone dropped raw meat into a piranha tank.
The raw meat was a report by a company called Slice Intelligence, claiming that Apple Watch sales were off a whopping 90% from launch week. The piranha were a few hundred news services and blogs who’d apparently been starved for weeks.
Sometimes I wonder if people understand how organizations like Slice work. They make money by selling their services to client companies, and they attract new business by sending out press releases that become “news.” The more shocking the story, the more PR they get — and, in theory, the more new clients they can reel in.
In this case, Slice got exactly what it hoped for. Its name was attached to one of the biggest stories of the week. But, in the absence of any numbers from Apple, just how believable is the story? More ▸
I’ve been quiet about my Apple Watch since it arrived in mid-May.
I was trying to honor one of blogdom’s most important rules: never be the last of a thousand reviews.
Fortunately, I’ve found a loophole. This isn’t a review — it’s an observation.
Of all the opinions I’ve read, positive or negative, one comment pops up more than any other: Apple Watch doesn’t yet have a “killer app.”
The latest came just three days ago, when CNBC posed the question Is interest in the Apple Watch dissipating?. The article offers not a shred of evidence that indicates a lack of interest, but it does offer one quote from an analyst, “It’s not clear what the killer app is. It’s nice to get notifications, but it’s a nonessential product.”
Well, here’s the stark reality: The Apple Watch has no killer app. And it will never have a killer app.
But anyone who hinges the success of the device on the idea of a killer app is living far, far in the past.
If you need any proof, just look at the iPhone. We can all agree it started one of the biggest technology revolutions of our time. So … what’s the killer app? More ▸
Well, okay. Maybe that headline was a bit too optimistic. Let me re-phrase:
They will never understand Apple. Ever.
I suppose we can just chalk it up to human behavior. As the original Macintosh team at Apple liked to say, it’s more fun to be the pirates than the navy. In Star Wars terms, one could say it’s more fun to be the rebels than the Empire.
Given the size of the company today, Apple can easily be seen as both the navy and the Empire. So I get why the sport of finding the cracks in Apple’s armor is so popular.
That said, I remain amazed that so many fail to grasp how Apple thinks and behaves — though they’ve seen the same scenario play out time after time. More ▸
Who the heck do I think I am? I’m a creative director who’s had more than a few adventures in technology marketing, including branding, product naming and strategy. I have a long history with Apple and NeXT — where I took a blood oath to uphold the principles of simplicity.
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23 Sept: New York, NY
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