The problem with three hour keynotes is that there’s so much news, it’s impossible to tell what the company wants people to focus on.
17 three hour keynote today, Google announced a ton of stuff, but the new Hangouts is the most interesting one to me. Since Myke and others have left the Internet, iOS, iMessages hasn’t been as helpful to me as it once was.
The Verge has hailed the new apps as “big fix for Google’s messaging mess”, but here on Day One, that just really isn’t that true.
The iOS app is buggy. URLs aren’t always clickable, and I’ve had it crash a couple of times already. It is, however, much faster than Facebook’s Messenger app.
Apple’s Messages.app support Google Talk out of the box. Currently, Google Talk sees incoming Hangout messages, but replies made in the iOS app (or on the web) don’t sync up with Messages.
Now, most people will use Hangout on the web or on their phones, but it’s disappointing to see this half-baked backwards compatibility for those of us who want to use the service via a native application. Google should have either made sure Talk users could send and receive Hangout messages, or have drawn a line in the sand, cutting off Talk-only users from the new service.
If Google and Apple can’t update Messages to work with the new back-end system, I’d like to see Google release a Mac app.
Updated: Apparently, there’s a Chrome extension. That helps.
All in all, I think Hangouts can be a real competitor to iMessage and Facebook Messenger, but as it stands today, it’s a little rough around the edges.
Sadly, that’s what I’ve come to expect from Google.
I’m using Facebook Messenger now to keep in touch with people outside the iMessage universe. I think this will be our new solution.
This weekend, I picked apart a report claiming that big, sweeping changes could be coming to Apple’s service business.
One of the big rumored changes is a shift toward Apple repairing more iPhones, as opposed to simply swapping out defective devices.
The repairs are completed within 30 mins. iPhone only. Only certain internal parts are available, but they say that’ll be expanded. Stores are to have a Genius scheduled to do iPhone Repairs every hour the store is open.
From your prev [sic] role, I know you have an understanding of how many NTF devices are sent back. This drastically cuts down improper swaps. Not to mention the costs involved to send back an iPhone and re manufacture for a simple home button issue.
While I don’t know if @swgs is an Apple employee or not, his input on iPhone repairs matches what I’ve heard other places. As several people pointed out, iCloud restores can take that long, so a repair might not entail a longer wait than a “replace and restore” would.
His second point is about “NTF” devices. NTF is short-hand for “no trouble found,” a term applied to devices or laptops taken for repair or replacement with no actual hardware issues. Usually, NTFs occur because a Genius mis-diagnosed a software issue for a new one, or swapped something just to make a customer happy. Being able to physically swap out parts could clear prevent a number of NTF phones being sent back.
While I’m sure it significantly cheaper for Apple to repair “simple home button issues” than to have to replace the phone (as the original report stated), but I still think Apple needs to tread lightly here. If Stores can’t keep up with demand, Geniuses should be able to replace a phone at their own discretion, if that’s what’s right (or faster) for the customer.
(And no, I’m not saying swapping a device just to keep a customer happy is good customer service, but it happens.)
In this 60 Minutes interview, Gates talks about his inventions, philanthropy work and Steve Jobs. In a world of terrible news, Gates is a shining light of hope to million across the world.
Mad Mimi is a design-oriented email newsletter service founded in 2008. Developed to provide a mobile-app-like feel, and with a drag-and-drop email composer, Mad Mimi offers a simple, elegant user experience that helps customers create, send, and track beautiful html email campaigns.
Mad Mimi also offers robust APIs, integrations, and add-on features. This makes it a perfect fit for today’s visionaries, artists, and entrepreneurs, including great digital brands like Fancy and StumbleUpon, who use Mad Mimi to communicate with their customers.
Why is not May 26 yet?
Is there anyone cooler
on near the planet as this guy?
You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
Mikey Campbell over at AppleInsider has an article about AppleCare that’s been making the rounds this weekend. Reportedly leaked from a Town Hall meeting at Apple’s headquarters, a lot of the rumored changes in the article seem insane.
Here’s Campbell writing:
“The biggest announcement, was the way repairs for iPhones will be handled soon,” the person, who asked not to be identified due to their active status as an Apple employee, told AppleInsider. “The way it is now, if almost anything is wrong with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the entire device is exchanged for a like-new re manufactured (sic) device, whether brought into an apple store or sent in for mail in repair. Now we are starting to actually repair the products and return the same device to the customer.”
Apple has been doing in-store iPhone repairs for a while now, but this seems like a far-more sweeping policy change is in the the works.
As it stands now, if your iPhone or iPad doesn’t work right, they’ll swap it for a new or refurbished unit on the spot, but this suggests they’ll repair it instead. I’m not sure many customers will be happy waiting to get their iPhone fixed instead of just swapped out, especially if it introduces a wait of several days, as having your Mac fixed customarily does.
That’s my exact thought, too, and Jim and I aren’t alone in it.
To be fair, I’ve never taken apart anything but an original iPhone, and that was just for fun. While I’ve heard from Geniuses that the iPhone 5 actually isn’t bad to work on at all, I can’t imagine that it is easier or faster than just replacing the thing. While it may be cheaper for out-of-warranty repairs, I just want to go get my in-warranty iPhone swapped if the home button craps out.
Of course, cost is a huge issue when it comes to servicing products. Here’s Campbell again:
The new in-house repairs are to be rolled out across the U.S., with international support coming online soon thereafter. [Apple Vice President Tara] Bunch reportedly said Apple expects to save nearly $1 billion per year with the change in policy.
Historically, when bean counters get involved with Apple’s policy making, things don’t end well.
Speaking of money, the company is also rumored to be thinking about changing how customers pay for AppleCare.
In another huge departure, Apple will reportedly reconfigure its paid AppleCare service as a subscription model, or introduce a new tier, which will be attached to a customer rather than a specific product. Under the proposed system, a customer is entitled to in-store training similar to the One to One program available to new Mac buyers, with each device owned being covered by the warranty. The new AppleCare may also include “exclusive” 24/7 support, though that has not been confirmed as a full set of features and pricing is not yet etched in stone.
“In-store training” doesn’t make much sense to me as part of AppleCare, unless Apple is about to change One to One yet again.
Adding perks like “24/7 support” and better in-home support makes a lot of sense as a “new tier,” but people already balk at the somewhat expensive AppleCare warranties. In my time at Apple Retail, I would very often share with people that even the cheapest repair on their Macs could easily be more expensive than the warranty — even the $349 coverage for MacBook Pros.
Changing AppleCare from a one-time purchase to some sort of subscription would ease the sticker shock, but I think people are also weary of paying yet another monthly bill for something they don’t see tangible reasons for owning.
However, if I could pay a flat fee each month (or yearly) and have all of my Apple products automatically covered under AppleCare, I’d do it. I just think I might be in the minority there.
In wrapping up his article, Campbell brings up Apple Support Communities, the Apple-run support forums:
In addition, Apple personnel will begin to take a more active role in the discussion boards, helping to answer questions, consolidating threads and performing general maintenance.
In college (before my days as a Genius), I spent a lot of time on the then-named Apple Discussion Boards. It was very, very rare to see someone comment with the little “Apple employee” badge next to their name.
Out of all of these proposed changes, I see this one being the least likely. The beauty of things like the Genius Bar and Apple’s online chat support system is that the conversations are 1-1. On a (somewhat) public thread, all sorts of people can jump in and muddy the waters, opening the door to an interaction going south, leaving Apple Support holding the bag.
All in all, I’m not encouraged after reading AppleInsider’s report. While AppleCare and the surrounding services aren’t perfect, most of these changes — on the surface at least — seem like moves in the wrong direction.
I really wish they had this running when I was there last month.
It seems that more and more, people are clamoring for a MacBook Air with Retina display.
And for good reason. Retina displays are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, but at 3.57 pounds, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is a full 0.61 pounds heavier than the MacBook Air of the same size. At its thickest points, the Air is still thinner than its Retina-equipped cousin.
A thinner, cheaper MacBook Pro with Retina display just seems to fit the bill for most people.
I don’t think we’re going to see a MacBook Air with Retina display next month at WWDC, however.
Announced at Macworld in 2008, the original MacBook Air started at $1,799. A 64GB SSD added another $999.
In October 2010 at its “Back to the Mac” event, Apple re-vamped the MacBook Air adding an 11-inch model and re-vamping the 13-inch, which enjoyed a starting price point of $1299, with the 11-inch machine starting at just $999.
This pricing shift, coupled with the company discontinuing the MacBook, position the Air as Apple’s entry-level notebook.
While this was a radical shift from the “premium” product the Air was just two years earlier, customers flocked to the new thin machines.
For a while, the Airs set below the MacBook Pros, but in 2012, Apple added the awfully-named “MacBook Pro with Retina display.” Instead of killing of the non-Retina MacBook Pros, however, Apple kept them around. In fact, you can still buy a MacBook Pro today.
There are several reasons Apple did this, but I think the most important one is price. There is a $300 difference in the base model of 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Retina versions, with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display selling for $400 more than its non-Retina sibling.
Without the standard MacBook Pro in the middle, there would be a large gap in Apple’s pricing structure. More importantly, however, it’s vital to see that Retina machines simply cost more.
One solution to this would be for Apple to do with the Airs what it did with the Pros: offer a MacBook Air with Retina display and a MacBook Air. Doing so might even allow Apple to kill off the standard MacBook Pro, as it could still offer three groups of pricing.
Even if Apple did that, I still don’t think the MacBook Air with Retina display earns its wings at WWDC.
While the MacBook Pro with Retina display is thinner and lighter than the standard MacBook Pro, it’s still a good bit thicker (and heavier) than the Airs.
This is for several reasons, but the biggest is the battery. Just look at this monster:
While the MacBook Air’s battery takes up a similar amount of space, it’s much thinner, thanks to the Air’s tapered profile:
Famously, adding the Retina display to the iPad made it thicker and heavier, and my guess is that Apple’s doesn’t want to repeat that with its notebook line.
While the imminent arrival of Haswell means new machines will surely sip even less power than the Airs of today, I’m not sure it’s a big enough jump for Apple to keep the Air as slim and light as it is today. Like the iPad mini, I just don’t think the math adds up for a MacBook Air with Retina display quite yet.
All it requires is two super old motherboards and shaving your head.
I generally enjoy space movies, but this looks intense.
The update promises “stability fixes for Thunderbolt and Target Disk Mode.” Exciting times.