Friday, April 1, 2022

Project “Breakout” Is Apple’s Plan To Reinforce Its Garden, Not Disrupt Banking or Wall Street

Apple’s newest push into a non-tech market is finance and this one could be the biggest ever than Apple’s move into mobile market. According to sources, Project “Breakout” is Apple’s attempt to bring more financial tools and services to its users. There are a lot of speculations as to what it can mean but looking at how and where Apple can dive into, let’s just right to it and ask: Is Apple Bank is coming to an iPhone near you?

The news came from Bloomberg. However, I feel Bloomberg should have done a deeper dive into this information from its sources at Apple or at least ask for clarity on the project. Immediately after the news came out, some fintech stocks dropped. However, I wonder if they should have been the ones to worry about Apple’s encroachment into the financial services market.

Any time Apple moves into a new market, in this case, the financial services market, it takes years for Apple’s impact to be felt. And it is never felt in a jolt at felt throughout the market. It’s more of a roll and before you know it, it’s a big, big wave.

Apple Pay was first introduced 7 years ago in October of 2014. It has taken that long for mobile payment to be ubiquitously accepted. There was a time when many were not sure Apple Pay would have a chance. Even now, Apple Pay is not accepted at the largest retailer in the world, Walmart, and as most gas stations I go to (I rather use Apple Pay than use my card because potential for skimming devices). 

In these seven years, there has not be a major change to Apple Pay or new services from Apple except its expanded use with some public transposition systems. 

So, how big of an impact will Breakout be? We just have to wait and see. So far, there is no talk about banking. The likely services could be related to the news about hardware subscription that Apple may push out in the near future. And by near future, in the next year or two. And with Apple, it’s never guaranteed that it’s coming until Apple announces it publicly.

Here are the potential services from Breakout:
  • Increase Apple Pay. Recently, Apple unveiled Tap to Pay on the iPhone allowing merchants to accept payments. Apple has opened this up to other payment systems. It’s a good move since the government is likely going to be watching this closely for anti-trust and monopolistic practices.
  • Apple users can already buy Apple hardware in installments so I’m very curious what value Apple’s hardware subscription will really bring to users. However, Apple could be looking to finance the subscription with its bazillion dollars in the bank. I’m not a financial person so I don’t know how Apple will benefit financially. It will be “selling” hardware and likely bundle services along with the subscription fee. I watched a CNBC segment about this when this was announced and Wall Street seems to like it a lot since it means Apple will have a predictable revenue stream on an annual basis and the dependence on iPhone upgrade cycles will reduce market anxiety. Despite having a market capitalization of nearly three trillion dollars, there those who still think Apple will be bankrupt for some weird reasons. 
  • The idea that Apple is looking to bring financial services in-house as Bloomberg suggests instead of working out another bank or partner means that Apple is comfortable with disrupting the financial market. It could be a big deal over time. Instead of working with a financing company, Apple will handle everything relating to the subscription - credit checks, lending (see below what else Apple can lend to), fraud and risk analysis, and, of course, payments.
  • Apple credit card could be just the next step. Bloomberg has made it clear that current deals and partnerships will continue. Consider Apple Card. Apple works with Goldman Sachs. This is just in the United States. What about the rest of the world? Could Apple Pay and new financial functions serve as Apple’s version of the credit card everywhere else in the world? 
  • Apple Cash - I currently have less than $50 in my Apple Cash. I really have no idea where that money is sitting other than that it’s there on my iPhone. Like Apple Card, this is only available in the US. Consider possible international expansions. Wow.
  • How about banking? Could Breakout involve retail banking? Savings account? CD? Issue debts to Apple users? I’m not hopeful about this. It’s possible but if Apple does get into banking, it will not feel like traditional banking we currently know it as.
  • Lending - Apple will mostly allow lending limited to Apple products - iPhones, iPads, Macs, and sales from the Apple Store. Wait, one more thing: Apple Financing for Apple’s own car. And recently, Tesla launched a Tesla subscription. Prior to Breakout, Apple would work with a partner to finance purchase of its hardware. In a couple of years, lending from Apple will be much more mature. And when Apple’s car does hit the market, it will be ready to finance it all on its own.
I’m not suggesting at all that Apple will become your bank. I honestly don’t know if Apple is interested in doing that as we know it. Can you imagine Siri as your bank teller? No way! Siri still has no idea what I am asking it. However, when it comes to getting users to buy or subscribe to its products and services, it makes sense for Apple to control everything from end to end, even when Apple starts sell a car.

So, I think it’s too premature for fintech, Wall Street, and local banks to start packing it in. The markets as those are too low and Apple is not quite ready to scrape the bottom of the barrel for changes to increase its profits. Apple wants to augment its garden, nothing more.

Dual Screen iPhone or Folding iPad - Which Would Mobile Warriors Prefer

I recently upgraded to a green iPhone 13 Pro Max mainly because I have grown more accustomed to writing, articles and coding, on a smallish screen compared to the iPad and the Macbook (I have also have a habit of coding/writing during minutes of down times that I have over the day insteading of firing up Twitter or Apple News to catch up on headlines) and I'll be traveling more so I wanted a better camera to take videos and photos. It's a heavy device going from the iPhone 12 mini and it got me wondering if a dual screen or folding iPhone with eight to nine inches of screen is going to make sense. Witht the iPhone Pro Max weighing in at 8.46 ounces or a little more than half a pound (240 grams), it got me thinking about the weight of what a dual screen iPhone would weigh and if it makes sense in the context of what's on the market.

When we think of folding phones, we think of the Samsung offerings. And of course, we also have Microsoft's Surface Duo which I like a lot. Both devices are attempt to push the bounds of a mobile device that you can fit into your pocket.

Let's start with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. The screen is 7.3 inches weighing in at 9.56 oz (0.6 pounds, 271 grams). It has also has a 6.1 inch screen on the outside. Given the size of this outside screen, it makes sense to compare this to the iPhone Pro because it also has a 6.1" screen and weighs in at 7.19 ounces (204 grams). We can lazily double up on the weight of a dual screen iPhone and suggest it would come in at 14 ounces or so. Even the iPad mini only comes in at 10.56 oz or almost 300 grams.

The Surface Duo has the following specs: 8.1" screen with a hinge in between and 8.82 oz or 0.55 pounds (250 grams). It's only a tad heavier than the Pro Max but the real use specs are nowhere near what you get out of the iPhone. You only have to look at the reviews to realize that. However, between the Fold 3 and the Duo, I'd get  the Duo without question. If I really had to.

I'm going to guess that Apple's dual screen or folding screen effort, which we will likely not see until after 2025 or beyond, is going to weigh closer to Samsung's Fold 3. And at that weight, does it make sense for Apple's first folding screen device to be an iPhone with dual screens or a foldable iPad? 

My money is on foldable iPad with 9 to 10 inches screen. And that is exactly what Apple watchers are suggesting. According the Macrumors, Apple is testing just such a device with a 9" screen. Another reason why Apple will likely have a folding iPad before an folding iPhone is because of the MacBooks. There is a lot of working being done behind the scenes on a dual screen MacBook. Go ahead and search the Internet and you will see Apple has been working on this for years. And yeah, it'll be years before it sees the light of day but that's a post for another day.

Now, I'm only talking about size and weight and use case becomes very important. After upgrading to the Pro Max, I rarely reach for it unless I am in an outdoor setting and I know I will use the camera a lot and I won't have my messenger bag for which I can carry my iPad mini in. Last week, I went to the Hungtington Library to take photos of the beginning of the rose season. It was the first time in the two weeks since I got the Max that I used it the whole day. If it was any other trip to the Huntington, I might have taken my iPad mini to read or sketch there. 

And this is why I also think it makes sense for Apple to release a foldable iPad than an iPhone. Maybe at some point, Apple will release an iPhone that can fold in half. I don't know. It would have to justify a very important utility, thin, and weighs a lot less than the Fold 3. Maybe a flip phone form factor?

So choosing between the two, I would want Apple to give me a foldable iPad than an iPhone. No one knows what it will look like and how the folding scheme will work (it's not working for the Fold 3 I can tell you that) or if it will have dual screens like the Surface Duo, which I do not mind. However, going by the size and weight, it makes the most sense to me.

How about for you? Foldable iPhone or iPad?

Saturday, March 26, 2022

MacOS Can Boot From A M1 iPad, Only if Apple (Or An Engineer With A Lot of Hands On His/Her Time) Makes It So

 "Make it so," Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation starship, the USS Enterprise, commanded in his familiar British accent even though he's French because, I did not know this, that by the 24th Century, French was became an obscure language.

My hope is that Picard can just as easily command the USS Cupertino to get their engineering team finally allow MacOS work on any iPad with the M1 chips and beyond because it makes sense, it is doable, it is in high demand, and it will make Apple a lot of money. 

One reason why I do not think Apple is ready for MacOS to run on an iPad is the experience - there are some UI issues that Apple needs to work out for touch interface. Of course, like most Mac users and increasingly iPad users as well, we have been using our iPad with a keyboard and mouse. 

I have used Windows 10 and 11 on a HP laptop for work and half the time, I do not even remember that the screen has touch features. And I hesitate to use it because of smudges and it was not very intuitive. If Apple is trying to come up with a touch scheme that is different from the iPad experience but will work better with MacOS, I am all for it. 

You know the Apple elitists. If you do not satisfy them, they can be a loud minority. I'm not saying Apple cares at all what they think. Apple will do it own thing. But the media may help amplify those voices. So, Apple will need to make the MacOS on the iPad experience seamless. Not everyone will use a keyboard and mouse with it. 

In the photo above, I am running MacOS in my 2018 iPad mini through a remote access app. And for short durations, it is fine. I have tried it on an iPad Pro with 13" and it works better. I use it with a keyboard and mouse. There is a touch element to the app for me to use MacOS with and it works just fine in a pinch but it is no where nearly as good as using a mouse. So, Apple, if you eventually allow MacOS or a version of it to run on the iPad, I am fine if you only allow physical keyboard and mouse to use it if you have not already figured out a new touch interface that works just as well. 

Right now, I am writing this post (including this sentence) using the MacBook keyboard via Universal Control on MacOS Monterey. 

The other issue is battery life. All iPad Variants of the iPad is limited to ten hours of use. As far as I can recall, Apple has limited iPad battery life since the original iPad to 10 hours of use. Right now, there are MacBooks that have 50% to 100% the battery life of the iPad. 

Despite the current perceived limitations of running MacOS on an iPad, there are million of users who would not mind and want to be able to do more with this revolutionary device. My iPad is with me nearly 100% of the time. And if I can use it in ways that I do on the MacBook, I would love it.

I'll get into some advantages for Apple why iPads should be able to run MacOS. For now, I think it is a matter of when Apple "makes it so" or see iPadOS evolve enough to resemble the MacOS and have similar experience. 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

12" OLED MacBook Would Be Possible With M2 Chip Made With the 4nm Process From TSMC

It's been a while since I've visited the 12" MacBook. Based on what I have been reading and doing some light research, I think the M1 on a 12" MacBook would not have been feasible but a 4nm M2 chip would be just what Apple is looking for in order to release a 12" MacBook. 

I'm currently working on this post using my very old 2016 MacBook. It's old. It works fine for the most part but the keyboard is not going to last much longer, maybe another year, and the battery life is not what it used to be. I had thought about getting the MacBook Air with the M1 but given all the rumors about a redesign, I decided to wait. And meanwhile, it'll give me a chance to fulfill my promise to myself to use  my MacBook to become a proficient coder, content creator (being dabbling with Youtube video, animations, and blogging. 

One of the reasons I went with a 12" MacBook early on instead of a MacBook Air or a Pro was that I thought I was going to write on it for a vast majority of the time. And that was true. I think I use my MacBook for writing with some Web surfing, and very little coding. 

If I had been a coder back in 2016, there was a good chance I would have went with a more powerful machine and a bigger screen. That's in the past, I am still very much interested in an updated 12" MacBook.

I had hoped that Apple would come out with a M1 version but now I think about it, perhaps a M2 might be worth the wait should Apple release the chip later this year. Here is a couple of reasons why I think it is worth the wait.

I'm not a chip expert by any stretch of imagination. By double or even triple stretch. What I know is that the M1 chip is made with the 5nm (nanometer) process. It's small. The Intel chips used by the MacBooks were 10nm. I had read somewhere that these nm designations are not as clear cut and could be for marketing purposes but I think the difference between a 5nm and 10nm, no matter how it is cut, is a big difference. Apple has demonstrated by benchmark and power usage. Just compare to how much better the battery life are on the M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips are compared to the Intel chips and power utilization. 

When Apple moves from M1 to M2, TSMC will be using the 4nm production process, a 20% difference. I do not know if it means M2 chips are 20% smaller and more efficient than the 5nm M1 but I do know that it'll be faster and even more efficient. 

Had a 12" MacBook use the M1, I imagine the battery life might not see the jump that MacBooks with M1 chips have in terms of battery life. It might mean that if Apple wanted to give the 12" MacBook more battery life, it would have to throttle and slow it down to achieve any meaningful battery life increase. That would totally degrade the user experience. As I start to utilize my MacBook for coding, encoding videos, and more processor intensive uses, I am probably not going to like the a slower M1 machine.

With the M2, a smaller and more powerful chip, Apple can turn the 12" MacBook into an even more mobile power machine. And with M2, the 12" MacBook can achieve a battery life that is impossible on any Intel chip that Apple could fit inside the body of a 12" MacBook.

Here are the battery life for the current M1 machines:

  • Macbook Air - 18 hours
  • Macbook Pro 13" - 20 hours
  • Macbook Pro 14"- 17 hours
  • Macbook Pro 16" -  21 hours
Those are impressive battery life. Let's look at the previous versions with Intel chips:

  • Macbook 12" - 10 hours (barely)
  • Macbook Air - 12 hours
  • Macbook 13" Pro - 10 hours
  • Macbook 16" (2019) - 11 hours
The M1 Mac achieved an improvement of 50% on the MacBook Air to 100% on the Macbook Pro. I am expecting the 12" MacBook with the M2 chip to have an improved battery life of at last 50% if not more.

As for processing power, I hope when Apple would compare the M2 chip to the M1 chip and forget about how bad and power hungry the Intel chips are. There would be no need to dig up the past in this regard.

And whatever screen sizes the M2 MacBooks will ultimately come with, these Apple computers will be ultimate mobile computing machines to be reckon with.



Saturday, December 4, 2021

Messaging Myself Helped A Lot With daily Tasks and Mindset

 Do you talk to yourself sometimes? I do. I talk to myself sometimes. Perhaps, I should talk to myself more often. The best way to do this in the mobile world is through texting yourself. That’s what I do on my iPhone with Messages. It could probably be done with any other app you choose to use. And it has been a great help in helping me keep track of some things while allow me to quickly post thoughts that I don’t want to forget the moment I walk into the house or out the the shower.

In essence, my messaging app has become my default personal and private (as much as I can keep it that way) feed for my daily life. 

I have included locations that I’ve been to that I want to revisit, where I parked my car, and where I want to visit for the first time.

I have also posted links to things that I want to check out later that day.

Other things that I have messaged myself includes quotes, ideas, things I want to consider more in-depth or research, and reminders. I get that there are already apps for that but is there anything out there that really pulls all these together. Your default messaging app is likely your most used app on your phone. It’s a no brainer that you would go to that app automatically because you’ve already got the muscle memory to do that.

In fact, this is not a new idea. There are a few other apps that I have used, Signal, Keybase, and GroupMe that allows self-messaging. Beyond that, they all work the same. So I imagine most other apps would allow self-messaging.  On the iPhone, Messages is my default messaging app on the iPhone so it’s what I use.

I’ll give you an example of how well this works for me. I was walking out of a supermarket with my wife when pointed to a sign about how shopping cart wheels lock up when take out of the parking lot. And I have tried it on the past and the wheels did lock up. In a hurry to get to our next stop, I did not have time to look it up right then and there. So I messaged myself to look up how this works when I get home.

Could I have done that using reminder? Yes. Will I look into it? There is a good chance I will do that but also a good chance that I’ll get distracted and this got pushed back. But since it was on messages, I saw it right away when I got home and looked it up later that evening.

One added bonus I like to share. It changed my mindset. It’s one of those “me, myself, and I” thing but I felt it has helped me sort of think things through and added some perspective and clarity to what’s mind in general and at that particular moment. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Apple Going All In On Autonomous Vehicles Is The Only Thing That Makes Sense

 Today, Bloomberg was leaked by someone at Apple that the iPhone maker is still trying to become an iCar maker (I am pretty sure Apple's car will not be called the iCar) by trying to leapfrog competitors in a 4-5 years time frame. The thing about this is that it seems more of a plausible leak of Apple's actual plan rather than those spread by "sources" who in the past really does not seem to know what Apple's plans really are.

While it is typical for Apple car rumors to surface a couple of of times a year to give the stock a jolt upward, it is also typical for rumors of trouble from Asian sources that Apple cut iPhone production in the January quarter to drive the Apple's stock price down, what makes this leak more news worthy is that it seems to be what I think about how Apple will engineer and release a car. 

Apple is going to where no car company has gone before - a fully autonomous vehicle that require no direct control from a driver. If true, it will achieve something Tesla is coming close to do but not close enough. It will truly be revolutionary. If you think about it, despite the advances in build material, engineering, and design, the automobile has not really changed much at all.

Now, Apple will not be interested in a Tesla killer. It will not try to muscle in on the car market with another "me, too" vehicle. Unless Apple can bring something to the market that has more to offer than what is already out there, Apple will not do it. This is why Apple's car project, aka Project Titan, has been around for years not without anything to show for it. 

Sure, Apple can design an awesome looking car and complete with Tesla, Mercedes, BMW, and probably Lucid, the car that Apple seemed to have been rumored to release did not seem to offer anything new. What made today's Bloomberg article about Apple's car more plausible is this - no steering wheels or pedals. Now, that just seem crazy, right? But for an intelligent car that can safely navigate Los Angeles traffic, it would have to be truly revolutionary and do something no other car is capable of.

I'm old school about my car so I cannot imagine ever buying a car that I do not have control over. But wait a minute. Steering wheels and gas/break pedals have been around since the Model T and nothing has changed. It's likely that if the Bloomberg article is true, it means that Apple has indeed come up with a way, maybe better or not, for passengers to navigate the Apple car on the road without the need for a steering wheel or pedals.

Impossible? Well, isn't SpaceX's Dragon capsule sending astronauts into space using iPads in space? Suppose Apple has found a way for iPhone or iPad to allow passengers in the Apple car to navigate traffic to get the intended destination.

There is a caveat here: Apple could be blow smoke screens with this leak to Bloomberg and make its competitors waste resources on something Apple itself is not working on or it not actually going to delivery in 2025 as the leak suggests. From a strategic sense, someone at Apple may believe this leak works for Apple. I would not want to venture a guess as to what that advantage is.

Why do I think that? Well, no steering wheels and pedals. Completely no human operators whatsoever. Perhaps Apple is rethinking the whole idea of transportation. What they are coming up with isn't a car at all but a whole new type of vehicle that is truly autonomous and controlled by an iPhone or iPad. Yes, such a car still need some kind of input from the passengers. And if there is more than one passenger and with multiple destinations, the Apple car will find a the best and safest way to get passengers to their destinations.

Apple will be completing with the EV companies as well as traditional car companies that are trying to evolve into EV companies. Apple is not going to compete against them. These companies are very good at what they do and are entrenched. Maybe Apple might succeed in a minor manner with a regular EV car running of version of iOS. But it means it will be competing on someone else's terms. That is not how Apple has competed in the smartphone market or the watch market. It will bring something truly revolutionary or it will not. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Re-Imagining the Original iPhone SE With Today’s Tech

I miss the original iPhone SE (it is the same as the iPhone 5) a lot as I am sure many other iPhone users do as well. While the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini are decent replacements as far as sizes go, there is nothing like the feather weight SE that easily slide into pockets and bags. So, I want to explore what the chances are that the 4” screen iPhone with its 4.87” x 2.31” size ever make a comeback? In my mind, it is complicated - I would not bet on it but I do believe that the chances of it happening are better than anyone realizes.

Until that happens, we can only imagine what such an iPhone SE would be like. Look-wise, an imaginary iPhone SE with the original form factor would look pretty much the same as far as the size is concerned. If Apple keeps the screen size the same at 4”, it means we will have a home button with Touch ID. To keep costs down, it will not have FaceID. 

If anything, Apple would likely increase the screen size to about 4.5” that would encompass the surface area like the current iPhone since the iPhone X. This new iPHone SE would have a notch as well but it is unavoidable at the time. Under the screen tech just is not quite there yet. Otherwise, Apple have would implemented years ago.

Now, imagine having such a small device with the power of equivalent to that of Apple’s M1 chip inside, that is just what the A15 chip is. And with the power efficiency of the modern chip, give this SE power and longevity.

So, let’s talk about the power and battery life of such a theoretical SE - with an efficient A15 chip, this small iPhone would fly. And it would be future proofed for many years. On top of that, given how small the SOC is now, Apple can conceivable fit additional battery. Combined with a more powerful chip that uses less power and a larger battery life, the 10-hour battery of the original SE could climb into the 12-13 hour range. I’m talking about a 20-30% increase in usage per charge. It may not seem like a lot compared to the 15 hours or more of the iPhone 13, Pro, and Max, as a daily driver, this small SE can hold its own. Plus, it does not have as big of a screen to power as the bigger iPhones so we might see an even bigger battery usage out of it. 

Next time, let’s talk about is screen, ability to handle new iOS features, and how such a small device could be a perfect computer as well.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

iPad Mini is the Best iPhone Pro Max (Except For Battery Life and Camera)

I know, the title here makes no sense to some. The iPad mini is tablet. The iPhone Pro Max is more of the Swiss army knife of the mobile world - it can do a lot. You can do a lot with it on the go. The Max can do it all. It is why is has garnered the most attention year after year during Apple events. The Max is the device that is evident from the billions of R&D Apple poured into it. While that is great, I think it is time to evaluate its use from consumption and productivity points of view. And in my mind, even my iPad mini 5 and the just released 2021 iPad mini has a lot to bring to the gaming, reading and viewing videos for content consumption while productivity is where is shines for a vast majority of users. 

I guess I'm suggesting that unless you need the latest and best of the Max features, the iPad mini brings a lot to the game and could be the option to go with if you're looking for a device with a bigger screen than the Max but not quite want to carry around the bigger 10 to 12.5 inches version. 

Before we continue about why the iPad mini might be a better option for consumption and productivity, let's address features that are missing form the mini that the Max boasts. The mini battery lasts up to 10 hours. Maybe 12 hours if you turn on the power saving mode. On my aging mini 5, the feature has been helped me a lot during gaming and switching between apps that run in the background. If there is one thing that would have me ordering the new mini would have been a longer battery life. I do not understand why Apple has not increased the battery life on the iPad line while the battery life of the iPhones and MacBooks has created by leaps and bounds over the years. The 10-hour limit on the iPads is so pre-2010 and it has fallen behind those of Android and Chrome tablets that range from 12-15 hours. It makes sense that Apple can increase the battery life on the iPads and will at some point but no one knows why it has not done so yet. I will not venture a guess as to why that is.

The other issue is the camera. The iPad mini camera is bad and the camera on the iPad mini 2021 is a better improvement but it lacks those of the Max. And it makes no sense that Apple would put the latest and greatest camera on the mini or even the iPad Pro. Probably like the battery issue I mentioned above, cost is an issue and differentiation between devices is essential for Apple. Speaking to the camera on the iPad mini 2021, let's just say that people appreciate Apple even improved it at all. Reading through about eight or so tech reviews on the mini, the camera was given a paragraph's mention while only a couple provide sample photos taken by the mini. That shows just how much expectation people has for the mini with respect to the camera.

With that out of the way, the iPad mini truly is outstanding as a mobile device. People generally think that smaller means less power and features omitted. With the iPad mini Apple just released, it is equipped with the latest A15 chip that also powers the iPhone 13 and benchmarks shows that it is one of the fastest chip out there - not just the fastest Apple chip but in the entire computing world. It will have staying power for years. Even now with my iPad mini 5, released in 2019, with the A12 chip that powered the iPhone XS and the popular XR that was only discontinued this fall, it feels every bit as speedy as it was running whatever iOS it came with. I read books on there, write articles, play games, make calls/FaceTime, and even began coding with it (learning to my way into some programming languages and hope to build my own AI one day).  

The only regret I have is that I did not get mine with cellular modem. At the time when I bought it, I thought I would only use it for reading books and comics and gaming. I had a cellular iPad Pro that I was using for productivity and work. Eventually, I came to like the mini size more. With the new iPad mini screen coming in at 8.3” and nearly the same size, it is only better.

Some might argue that the iPad mini screen is too small for productivity. I disagrees.  Perhaps some compromises might have to be made but I think with a little imagination and motivation, it would work perfectly. The same can be said of a device of any screen size but for me, the mini stands at the crossroad between smartphones and tablets. The mini was a phablet before there were phablets.

I would like Apple to make a few improvements but I will save that for another time - my own version of click-baiting if you will. I will likely hold onto to my green iPhone 12 mini for another year because it just that good. I am going to use my iPad mini a bit longer as well until I become more apt with coding and then I can reward myself with the iPad mini 6 later. But even if I do decide to use my iPad mini 5 until the iPad mini 7 comes out (Apple is not likely to released a new mini on an annual basis), it would still continue to do just about everything I expect it to do running iPadOS 16 and 17.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

iPad For the Week

 I figure I need a MacBook for coding.  As I continue my slow coding trek, I assumed that I need a Mac in order to do that. However, I’m still at the level where I can get away with a Mac while I use online sources and apps to beef up my coding muscles. This week is going to prove it.

I will be having a change of scenery as I am staying closer to work so we do not have to suffer the Los Angeles traffic. LA is flat and you have to drive pretty much everywhere you go. This morning, I packed my wife’s MacBook Air, I was about to put my 12” Macbook into my bag when I realized that I have been doing a lot of work on the iPad mini and the iPad Pro over the weekend. 

Over the weekend, I did the following in terms of productivity:

  • Research products
  • Sketched some artwork
  • Writing
  • Used Numbers (Apple’s spreadsheet) and Google Sheets (Google’s spreadsheet)
  • Worked on online store (Yup, starting a hobby to learn how e-commerce works.  What better way than to create an online store)
  • Coding lessons
  • Reading up on materials relating to AI, coding, and online sales
  • Edited photos and videos
  • Wrote a short story
Aside from those productive tasks, I also read a Batman comic, writing in my journal, and watched movies. All of this was on the iPad. 

In the coming week, I think I can continue to do all of the above without having to use the Macbook for any of this.  Some tasks couple be easier on the Mac but others like sketching with the Apple Pencil and reading on the go is definitely either the Macbook is not capable of or convenient. Despite the Macbook being light and mobile, I like have to use both hands while propping it up while I can hold the iPad in one hand while reading on the couch or bed.

And this is on a 2019 iPad mini. I imagine I can do pretty much the same thing if I decided to upgrade to the 2021 iPad mini or even the Pro at some point in the future. That’s another line of thought for another time, perhaps later this week. 

And with iPadOS 15, my iPad mini is even more amazing. I’ll be updating how things are with the mini.  By the way, speaking of coding, Apple is supposed to release a version of Playgrounds that lets users submit apps into the App Store.  I cannot wait to try it out. 

The question I’m faced with in the future is whether I need a Mac anymore. I am sure Apple is faced with that dilemma internally.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Safari On Windows and Even Android Will Help Apple Cast A Wider Net To Protect User Privacy and Grow Its Ad and Search Revenue

Microsoft's Edge, Google's Chrome, and Firefox are the go-to browsers for most laptop and desktop users. Perhaps, Apple should really get back into the browser market if we are to really believe that Apple cares about user privacy and not just that of users behind its various highly protected and curated gardens. And with web technology evolving and getting better all the time, web apps could make a comeback and Apple has to make sure it does not get left behind and release Safari again for Windows and even Linux. And releasing browsers for Windows and Linux with greater privacy protection and features could help Apple increase its service revenues as well as help protect users on the increasingly complicated Internet.

Also, consider Apple possibly leaving billions on the table in the search and ads market, could Apple afford to do nothing and let others make all the money in the browser business? Right, the argument would be that Apple is being paid tens of billions by Google to be the default search engine and that it would be risky for Apple to walk away from that money. 

Apple can still earn billions from Google while still getting into back into the browser market on Linux and Windows. It is the best way for Apple to expand privacy protection for users and increase its services revenue. And release browsers on competing platforms would be the best way to go about it. Would it lose money since Apple make most of its money from hardware sales and a growing service portfolio as a result of this move?

It is unlikely. Apple users will buy Macs, iOS devices, and watches (maybe even AR hardware) regardless provided it continues to produce top end devices and provide reasons for new users to hop on to its platform. That will take care of itself. And its executive team and analysts will find a safe path for Apple continues to grow its hardware and higher margin services including ad sales. After all, if Apple do release  Safari on other platforms again, as long it is growing the service revenue pie, Apple is not going to worry about where the growth is coming from. Furthermore, I think Apple has forgotten the halo effect its products have had on non-Apple users. 

If Apple does get into browser business again to grow its services business,  it is likely years away. The main reason is that Apple browser is pretty good but would have to come with its own search service. Right now, Apple search is bad and not getting better.  It is inconsistent and it does not provide adequate results. Apple need to really double and triple down on its search and AI efforts. Supposed it happens, Apple will have an opportunity to get back into the open Internet where is is largely absent.

When the time comes, Do not expect to call it Apple Search. It would be too boring. Call it Siri or Spotlight would make sense.

Whatever Apple call its search service, do not expect a simple search prompt on a mostly empty page like Google or DuckDuckGo. I have no idea how Apple will implement its search engine. It will be a vastly different take. This is why I think Apple will not implement it until it can really get it right. It would have to be an intelligent search service with a vastly improved Siri playing a big role. If done correctly, even if Apple choose not to show ads directly to users, it would be a showcase of its technology and privacy protection. 

Would you be excited about using Apple's Safari on Windows or Linux along with Siri and better privacy?