What Apple should do with all its money.

Quarterly earnings report after quarterly earnings report Apple is making so many billions of dollars in profit it has no idea what to do with it.  They basically have the reverse problem of every government on this planet these days, what to do with all these damn billions of dollars laying around.  Once you swim Scrooge Mcduck style through it, what do you do with mile high wads of cash?  Well besides hiring some employees so their products actually work well (I’m looking at you Apple Motion the most bug prone piece of software apple has ever released and the apple Podcast app), I have a suggestion that will not only help their future bottom line even further, but might help the world at the same time.

There is a crisis in the the United States, and it is only getting worse over time, and it might be the most important crisis the united states needs to address.  Unfortunately the US government isn’t agile enough to breakthrough political gridlock and actually do what’s necessary.  Maybe Apple can help, and maybe they should take it on as a moral imperative to go above and beyond to do what they can.

I propose apple should:

•Start an extensive R & D lab to design the classroom of the future.

•Make free teacher training sites across the country to implement the best practices learned from the R & D

•Make a fund to help provide the poorest schools with technology and training. Continue reading

The Pros Lament: Apple WWDC 2012

Oh Joy to the Apple Faithful, today was time for my usual “Apple Day” Ritual, which involves going into an information black out and fervently waiting for a spoiler-free video stream of the keynote to be posted to Macrumors.com.  I’ve been doing this ritual for a long time and I have learned that The Steve Giveth and The Steve Taketh away.  This is Apple’s nature, and while I recognize it’s for the best to push forward and clear out the decaying and dead, I sometimes still have to take time to mourn.

Today I want to eulogize my beloved Macbook Pro 17 inch.  This was their baby.  And they just killed it.  I’m typing this now from a 2010 17-incher I affectionally call Big Lappy.  It’s huge, it’s heavy, it might even give me back pain, but I take it everywhere, I throw it in my backpack and ride around town on my bike.  I use it like other people use a macbook air (on couches, in bed, while eating), only I do it all better.  Why is it better?  Because I can watch movies in full 1080p and the screen is so big and bright it’s better than any HDTV, especially when i keep it close to my face.   For ADHD multi-taskers, I can watch the Daily Show and read my endless stream of blog feeds AT THE SAME TIME!.  Try that, and fail, on your 11inch-macbook air.

But most importantly having a large screen makes doing the kind of work I do, video editing and motion graphics, not just possible but pleasant.  The more screen real-estate = better access to tools = a better way to get things done.  For pros being able to have the screen real estate to have two application on the same screen without compromise is a must.  (And no I don’t want to have to use an external monitor to get the same effect, I do prize portability).

Continue reading

Replacing Steve Jobs

Tim Cook just gave an on-message (read dull) interview for the 2012 All things D Conference.  Many Apple faithful were quick to complain how the new CEO was missing Steve Job’s vital charisma.  Mr. Cook was handpicked by Steve (notice the familiar usage), not for his charisma but for his excellence at running a global tech juggernaut day to day, and his loyalty to Apple’s (Steve’s) core values.  So I believe people are misplaced in wanting Mr. Cook to be another Jobs.

While Apple is lucky to have such a good manager as Mr. Cook, they do have a problem with a leadership vacuum.  They need a genius high up at Apple to help lead the way.  Unfortunately, no one can replace Steve Jobs.  Steve Jobs the visionary, the driving asshole inspirer, and the laser-eyed design fanatic won’t be found in one individual.

But maybe three people can replace Steve Jobs.  I know this sounds nuts, but hey Steve Jobs believed crazy ideas can work, right?

I think Apple needs to have a a creative triumvirate (a quorum of 3, 3 wise men, the Three, what ever you want to call them) to hold the role that The Steve used to hold.

  • One visionary would represent software and user design.
  • The second visionary would represent external hardware appearance and aesthetic design (cough, Jony Ive, cough).
  • The third visionary would be there as the great motivator, the one who keeps the culture of Apple inspired and connected to its highest ideals.  The Third Visionary would also be the public face and spokesperson for Apple at media events.

Why three visionaries?  Well, an even number of people won’t always agree and end up in deadlock, and you need to have some compromise.  Also more than three would lead easily to the too many cooks in the kitchen phenomenon.  Like the three bodies of the U.S. government, you need balance of power.  Basically, to vote on issues related to Apple’s future, you would have five equal votes.  The board would get one vote, the Creative triumvirate would get one vote each, and Tim Cook would get a deciding vote in tie breaker situations.

Apple will do well without a visionary like Steve for awhile, as they can continue their great streak in the short term.  But in the long term, Apple will need the spirit of a tech visionary to keep guiding the company into undiscovered territory.  Maybe they will find the three to do it.