Apple’s monolithic moment

All hail the M1 processor!

No question, Apple Silicon is a very big deal. But—it’s an even bigger deal in the context of Apple history. Monolithic even.

Cue the 2001: A Space Odyssey metaphor.

In the movie, an enigmatic Monolith is discovered beneath the surface of the moon. Planted by extraterrestrials eons ago, it’s actually a marker of human evolution. When exposed to the sun, it emits a signal to notify its makers that humankind is no longer bound to this earth.

The M1 chip is Apple’s very own Monolith. Exposed to the world, it sends a signal that Apple, after decades of evolution, has reached an epochal milestone.

To explain, a little archaeological dig is in order…

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2020 holiday ad: Apple vs. Apple

Life can be so cruel.

Pity poor Apple. All year, its products compete head-to-head against those from other tech companies. But when its big holiday ad goes up, it must compete with itself—forever haunted by the Ghost of Great Apple Holiday Ads Past.

So how does the 2020 Tierra Whack ad compare?

Not particularly well. Thank you for the entertainment, Apple, but you forgot the parts that made your previous holiday ads so memorable.

You didn’t relate to the joys and sorrows that come with being human. You didn’t express the joy you get by helping people connect emotionally. You didn’t celebrate your core values, which are so relevant during the holiday season.

More specifically…

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HomePod mini: in search of the lost cord

Damn, HomePod mini looked pretty great in Apple’s unveiling last week.

They had me from the first image where it sat elegantly on the side table. Simple. Clean. Not a cord in sight!

It was my ultimate music-player-intelligent-assistant fantasy come true. A gorgeous device I could put absolutely anywhere.

Until it wasn’t.

Silly me. I made the unforgivable error of believing my eyes. At the very end of that scene, for just the briefest moment, came a glimpse of a cord trailing away from mini.

Nooooo!

From there, Apple took us on a winding path visually, with the vast majority of shots showing a “cordless” HomePod mini. A casual viewer could be forgiven for drawing the wrong conclusion.

Out of curiosity, I went back for a re-viewing.

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Phil Schiller and the last wisp of Steve’s Apple

Once upon a time, eight Senior VPs formed Steve Jobs’ inner circle.

Steve empowered them because they were talented, strategic, trusted and in tune with his vision.

Well, time marches on. Apple doesn’t have Steve anymore. Tim Cook has reigned for nearly nine years. One by one, most of Steve’s Gang of Eight have been replaced.

Today only Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams remain. The original Big Guns of hardware, software, retail, marketing, finance and legal have all checked out.

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Ellen’s little people problem

America loves a good “fall from grace” story. At the moment, The Ellen Show is serving up an excellent one.

Public accusations from staff have been nonstop.

Sexual harassment. Bullying. Out-of-control managers. Toxic work environment. It’s a smorgasbord of nasty.

If true, there are but two explanations. Either the real Ellen falls way short of her lovable public image, or she empowered her managers and failed to oversee them.

In other words, Ellen is either a bad person or a bad CEO.

I’m not exactly an insider. But I did spend two months working in Ellen’s world producing JCPenney’s $5 million, five-part Ellen campaign on the 2012 Oscars.

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