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+ - Interesting Tim cook interview->

Submitted by Camembert
Camembert (2891457) writes "Over at Fast Company, there is an interesting interview wih Tim Cook. You don't have to be an Apple fan to find it inspiring reading (in my opinion). Cook goes in detail about the focus on excellence rather than numbers; the culture of intense cross-skills collaboration, etc."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Swiss vs Apple marketing (Score 4, Interesting) 389

For info I am interested i watches, with a little collection including several vintages. Nothing truly expensive, most even cheap, I do simply like the mechanical engineering.

This being said, the Swiss watch industry has been carefully marketing its expensive mechanical watches, creating that impression of refined heirloom engineering and jewelry, while by and large you pay simply for marketing and big profits. Very little real innovation happens in the world of mechanical watches. There is the coaxial escapement from Daniels, but what else was recently introduced? The price of luxury watches goes mainly to profit, marketing (posters with Daniel Craig everywhere), boutique costs. In a way you don't get more real engineering quality in many swiss watches than in a gold apple watch.

Then comes Apple. As a watch enthusiast, while I am not yet conviced about the current utility of a smartwatch, I was immediately impressed by the attention to materials and the straps & bracelets. Barely any innovation happened in that respect in the traditional watches. Look how the lugs are easily exchanged and are ideally adapted to each strap. There is the refined bracelet that you can resize without tools. The magnetically closing milano mesh (admittedly this would not work with a mechanical watch), the way the sports band folds under (this was first done by designer Newsom in his rare Ikepod watches, no coincidence that he is on the Apple design team now). I like how Apple did not simply add a strap to a watch but truly thought it over from scratch.
Then there is the marketing, where health will become even more a cornerstone in future iterations, since they have hired people specialised in medial sensors. Everyone wants to be healthy, I think this will be the "killer app" going forward. And even in v1, there are several millions of happy iphone users who will be curious to try it, I think that it is indeed not a stretch to imagine it selling a few million pieces by EOY, with real ramp up coming from v2 onwards.

I think that the apple watch and the more refined android smartwaches will start to bring havoc to the sub $1000 segment of traditional watches from this year onwards. Luxury mechanicals will still sell, but the perception of the public about their worth may well change, I am not sure that the traditional Swiss marketing "you're looking after it until you pass it on" will have staying power.

Comment: safer than dvds (Score 4, Interesting) 62

by Camembert (#49171161) Attached to: Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement
I once read that sometimes the secret service in N. Korea would switch off the electricity of a block of houses and then do a raid. DVD players would be stuck with the disc inside, and if it turned out to be a western movie then the owner had a real risk of being executed. The solution was to use UPS. Of course usb sticks are easier to conceal.

Comment: More successful companies should do this (Score 5, Insightful) 191

by Camembert (#49028819) Attached to: Apple Invests $848 Million Into Solar Farm
Obviously, this initiative will generate plenty of snarky comments and cynicism over here because, well, Apple.
But if we take a step back I think it is great that a company sets this example to combat climate change while it would be so easy not to anything that doesn't bring direct shareholder revenue. I hope that more successful companies follow this example.

Comment: Re:Not all audiphiles are like this (Score 1) 418

There are some basic fixes that make a big difference, like using a carpet when you have a reflective floor. And the positioning of the speakers. Etc. But not many spouses would be supportive of going all out on acoustic treatment in a living room, already visible floorstanding speakers can be a struggle to get accepted.
In my experience, in most living rooms where some basic good sense is applied, a more advanced speaker will sound noticeably better than a basic one.

Comment: Not all audiphiles are like this (Score 5, Informative) 418

Just a note of perspective. It is easy to tag audiophiles as naive fools with too more money than sense.
But not all are like that.
I am quite interested in good rendering of favourite music, so are a few friends. We do indeed try out hifi gear, but that doesn't mean we all fall for this snake oil product.
By and large most people are used to the sound of multimedia speakers or mini systems. For a music lover, it is possible to get so much better results, and it does not need to cost crazy money on crazy products for a decent result.
So far I find speakers having the largest influence on the end reproduction quality. There is some difference between the electronics, but once you are beyond the bare basic level the differences are getting smaller. But speakers are worth spending money on if you are a music lover using a good quality music source.

Comment: Asian success was not unexpected (Score 4, Interesting) 534

by Camembert (#48922085) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever
I live since a few years in Asia (first Singapore, now Hong Kong). 3 years ago I saw lots of people with iphones in de metro, gradually this shifted to mainly big Samsung phablets which are really popular here. Switcher friends told me that they liked their iphone 4/4S but they simply like a bigger screen more.
Now, the iPhone 6 Plus is (very visibly in the metro) stealing customers back from the Android camp, often these are switching back buyers.
I did ask a few colleagues about their switch back, the general opinion is that while they needed to unlearn a few Android habits, they thought that the Apple gear worked very well, and (ALWAYS a factor mentioned by the lady colleagues) they thought that the iphone was simply a beautiful, elegant device.

I upgraded 2 months ago from a 4S to the 6 Plus myself. I am not so impressed by hateful online arguments (nor do I have a problem with Android phones), and it must be said that it works indeed very smoothly. It is still just about portable and the comfort has made me almost abandon my old ipad (between the 6Plus, and the small MAcbook Air the ipad sits now a bit uncomfortably). Also, the camera is remarakable. Without doing scientific tests, I have the impression that the general image quality is akin to my old Nikon D200 (without the nice bokeh of course), the pictures are more than good enough for most casual uses.

Comment: Re: Dizziness (Score 1) 74

by Camembert (#48815757) Attached to: Ars: Samsung Gear VR Is Today's Best Virtual Reality
GP here: in the apps that I tried there was no lagginess nor was the accellerometer too inprecise, it sas simply a matter of living an illusion of movement that the body doesn't feel that gave me an unpleasant feeling. A VR app where I just looked around without moving (like, an aquarium app where sharks swim around you, or the zeiss cinema app) work very well without nausea.
So these are my experiences with the iphone 6plus and the stooksy set, I expect that the Samsung experience will be roughly similar.
A killer app: VR point of view porn videos. I am not a big porn consumer (no, really), but I was curious enough to download a trailer from a vendor site. The visual effect was shockingly convincing. Most strange was in fact seeing tattoos on "my" arms.

Comment: Dizziness (Score 3, Interesting) 74

by Camembert (#48809945) Attached to: Ars: Samsung Gear VR Is Today's Best Virtual Reality
Out of curiosity I bought the Stooksy VR set for my iphone 6+. It is a Google cardboard variant from plastic foam, and despite its crude appearance it has some good features: ability to adapt for the distance between your eyes, a focus ability and very useful for me: big enough to accommodate my glasses.
In practice it is really impressive (considering that there are not that many great apps on the ios store that can handle google cardboard), the first time I tried Hiroshi Jump and the Zeiss cinema app I was grinning like an idiot.
But I soon found that I was quickly getting dizzy when using the more interactive apps or rollercoaster side by side movies,as the difference between what you see and feel is so big. Think about playing Doom for the first time, but in my case an even stronger dizziness. How do others experience this?

Comment: Not surprised (Score 2) 86

by Camembert (#48553051) Attached to: China Plans Superheavy Rocket, Ups Reliability
I currently live in Hong Kong, and I do several business trips to Chinese cities. I am not surprised that China is catching up in the space race, based on the general impresson of ambitious, intelligent and thorough workers. Indeed, they have not caught up everywhere (both as in the geography where there is a divide - but closing, and as in product categories), but it is obvious that China will only get more dominant.
A lesson for western countries (I am European btw) may be to increase school quality. Schools in HK and China can be VERY high in quality (perhaps pushing the kids too far), andI learned twice already from chinese expats in the west that their kids found the supposedly excellent local western schools too simple. Eduation is investment in the future, and I notice that China does that well.
Meanwhile, when I go back to Europe every half a year, I am saddened by the general lack of ambition. People tend to wait for th e government to do something for them. Over here, people are much more ambitious and enterprising.

Comment: Re:I don't blame WalMart Employees (Score 1) 287

by Camembert (#48431257) Attached to: Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

It's taking it from WalMart, not the Walmart employees.

Walmart is worth almost $500 billion - I'm sure their bottom line can afford to take a hit.

( I imagine some of these scammers are being total dicks to the poor employees, which is awful of them. But scamming the company? I don't really see a huge problem with that. )

I detest that twisted logic that because a company is rich, it is acceptable to steal from them.

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)