A More Positive Take on Apple Card

Apple’s Strategy with Apple Card – Tech.pinions

Casual observers of Apple will remark that releasing a credit card is out of character from Apple. I disagree as forming an opinion on this matter depends entirely on what you believe Apple is as a company. Is Apple a computer company? Services company? Product company? Technology company? In my view, and I’ve written extensively on this, Apple is a customer experience company. If you view Apple as a company, who strives to look for product opportunities where customer experience is lacking, and they have an opportunity to solve some pain points for consumers, then any product category is not off-limits. This certainly extends to technology, but technology is simply an ingredient of the overall Apple process.

I understand this take, but I think it’s reasonable to say that Apple ventures outside of consumer and pro technology are a new frontier for Apple. Microwaves generally have poor user experiences, as do toasters, so would it be totally expected for Apple to release the Apple Wave toaster this fall? How about fitted sheets? Or bookmarks? Or the million other things that generally are not good user experiences but we deal with on a daily basis?

I’m being a little facetious here, and I get the argument (Ben knows his stuff, after all). I guess I’m just more on the “this doesn’t feel like the Apple I love” camp for this one right now. Like I said yesterday, I hope this all goes great and it makes total sense and everyone is happy; I’m just not totally on board now.

Apple Card and a “New” Apple Inc.

Apple Card is the product that finally killed the Apple fan in me – TNW

Well, it’s happened. Apple is no longer a creator of attractive goods and services you want in your life, now it’s officially a financial institution following profit at all costs, wooo!

Join me in giving a round of applause to the product that killed the Apple fan in me: the Apple Card!

I completely sympathize with this feeling. I don’t think that Apple has gone evil or anything, but this whole product has left me feeling generally slimy since it was announced back in June. As a general rule, the idea of Apple products is that they are so good you are happy to pay for them. The better a product Apple makes, the more premium they can charge and the higher profits they can earn. The vast majority of their revenue comes from delighting users.

A credit card company does not make most of their money by delighting their users, they make it from interest paid by customers. Specifically, the worse people are at using the card (in terms of making payments on time) the more money Apple makes. Not that they will be, but the more debt Apple Card users get into using this product, the more money they will be paying, and Apple’s revenue will go up.

Somebody tell me I’m wrong about how Apple will be making money from this, because this product doesn’t make me like Apple more, it makes me like them less. I’m not ditching any Apple products or anything, but I completely sympathize with people who will because of it.

How to Start Blogging (the answer is not “figure out your SEO”)

Focussing on the Wrong Things When Starting a Blog – Chris Hannah

I think that, especially when you are starting to write a blog, nearly everything that I see being suggested is detrimental.

Everyone’s telling you to start worrying about SEO, prioritise getting your website linked to from popular websites, working out monetisation, creating a schedule, creating the perfect design, blah, blah, blah.

I completely agree with everything here. Unless you are trying to make a living by doing this stuff (spoiler: you almost certainly can’t, and 2019 is a tough time to start a blog, especially a tech blog) then this is not how I would suggest anyone start.

Worrying about your Google rankings and maintaining a “brand” in the early days is tough and I personally think gets you looking at the whole endeavor in the wrong light. Part of the beauty of writing is that you can find out who you are by doing it. You won’t know what you’re good at, nor what people like to hear you write about until you do it for a while.

Find your passion. Find your voice. Don’t stress about the other stuff until you have the basics figured out.

Oh, and platforms are a rabbit hole you can get lost in. I suggest WordPress unless you have a really good reason to use something else. WordPress in the de-facto standard, instigates with basically everything, and has plugins for basically anything you want to do. Oh, and if you hate it and want to move one day, you can easily export your data and take it elsewhere; you own your content.

And an extra shout out to Chris for having his site adapt to dark mode. BirchTree does this too; switch your device to dark mode to check it out!

The Things That Keep Me Using an Apple Watch

The one feature that keeps me using the Apple Watch – Lee Peterson

Since losing my activity data in this watchOS beta period I’ve come to realise how I use it has altered since owning the original. I’ve also taken a break from it and come back all because of one thing – my calendar.

Lee lost all his activity data after using the watchOS 6 beta, which is really rough, but his point about the calendar being the “one feature” that keeps him on the Apple Watch got me thinking: what feature (or features) keeps me using my Apple Watch?

  1. Calendar. Like Lee, having my work calendar on my wrist, especially with the Siri watch face, has been a game changer for me at work.
  2. OmniFocus has a good Watch app and on days where I have a lot to do, getting it on my watch face is monumentally useful for me, and ticking things off from my wrist with haptic feedback and everything is very satisfying.
  3. Weather checks are easier on my watch than my phone.
  4. Notification filtering, especially around emails is major for me. I get a notification for every email and when one comes in I either (a) archive it if I don’t need it, (b) read it immediately on my phone, or (c) save it for later so I can deal with it later. Ultimately, this means when I sit down to work on my email, only things I actually need to address are in my inbox. It’s the best tool I have for maintaining inbox zero at all times.
  5. Workout tracking, of course.
  6. Taps on my wrist for driving navigation.
  7. Siri on my wrist for when I’m out of the house.
  8. Morning alarms that don’t wake up my wife, they just tap me on the wrist.
  9. Media playback controls, which are mostly useful when on a walk or run.
  10. Apple Pay with a tap.
  11. Remote camera control, which I have used 3 times this summer for different family photos we’ve taken.
  12. Voice memos, such as when you’re with a doctor and they’re giving instructions you need to remember.
  13. This isn’t software, but I also love the ability to customize my watch with the vast array of watch bands out there.

I think that’s it for now, but it would appear that I am far from giving up my Apple Watch anytime soon.

Surface Go Performance Follow-Up

The Surface Go, the most interesting computer Microsoft has released in recent memory, was released a year ago this month. I got mine a few days after launch and posted my review several weeks later…conveniently before the return window closed.

Look, I get that this is a $399 device and it’s not going to be the fastest machine in the world, but I personally found the performance issues to be relatively shocking for a device sold straight from Microsoft.

I liked a lot of the device at the time, but at $399 it seemed insane to me how slow it was at doing literally anything. Brad Sams has a good retrospective on his YouTube channel today and he suggests the $399 one I bought is not even worth picking up and you really should get the $499 model at minimum.

Here’s the thing: if you want a Surface Go because it runs Windows, then get one by all means, but if you want something small and easy to use and that runs reasonably well, the iPad wipes the floor with it.

In a very downvoted video, I compared the speed of the 2018 Surface Go to the 18 month old iPad from 2017. The iPad outperformed the Surface Go at every turn, and at 18 months older and over $100 less expensive, it seemed insane to me that the Go was as bad as it was.

Today, the Surface Go is still $399 for the “don’t even bother” model and $499 for the one you should actually get. Meanwhile, there is a new $329 iPad that has an A10 (one generation newer than the 2017 model I tested) and the iPad Air at $499 with an A12. Basically, iPads $70-150 less than the entry-level Go are far faster, and the comparable iPad Air at the $499 price point wipes the floor with the slightly faster Go as well.

Again, if you prefer Windows, then this comparison is moot, but if you are looking for something that has a 10” screen and lets you do basic tasks on the go, there is far more horsepower in the Apple offerings. You should really read the rest of my review if you’re interested in the Surface Go because I think it’s a really good Windows device with the exception of performance.