Opinion pieces & commentary Overview Updated September 21, 2016

Opinion pieces & commentary

OpinionOpinion pieces are intended to provide interesting perspective on an Apple-related topic, and to be an entertaining read. They represent the opinions of their authors, and not of the site as a whole: this is the reason we don’t label them as editorials.

We use the ‘Opinion’ prefix for longer pieces, and ‘Comment’ for shorter pieces that may be making just a single observation.

We fully encourage discussion and debate on opinion pieces, and you are of course welcome to strongly disagree with both the author and other commenters. All we ask is that you apply the golden rule to your interactions: treat others as you’d wish to be treated. In particular, debate the topic not the person – it’s absolutely fine to say that you think someone is completely wrong because x, y and z; it’s not ok to call their views idiotic.

That said, we love to hear your thoughts and views, and really appreciate those who take the time to give their considered opinions.

238 Opinion pieces & commentary stories

December 2010 - September 2016

Opinion Stories September 21

AAPL: 113.55

-0.02
Stock Chart

One of the new features of macOS Sierra is that it can automatically ‘manage storage’ on your Mac. What this means is, if you’re getting low on SSD space, macOS can automatically upload older and larger files to iCloud and then delete them from your Mac. When macOS deletes a file, it leaves an alias that will download the file from iCloud as required.

Effectively, you don’t have to worry about how much physical storage your Mac has – you can just treat it as an infinitely large drive and macOS takes care of shifting things back and forth from the cloud as required.

That’s great in theory, but there seem to be a few flaws in practice …

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Opinion Stories September 19

AAPL: 113.58

-1.34
Stock Chart

I’m personally still very happy with my ultra-pocketable iPhone SE so I have no plans to buy the iPhone 7, but with Apple touting a brave new wireless future, I thought the launch would make an opportune moment to decide whether or not it was time for me to make the switch from a wired world.

Those who know me are often surprised to find that I wasn’t one of the first to switch to wireless headphones. I have a well-known aversion to wires, even going so far as commissioning a bespoke desk to hide them away out of sight. But while I’ve tried a few wireless headphones over the years, I’ve always come back to my wired Bowers & Wilkins P5 …

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Opinion Stories September 12

AAPL: 105.44

2.31
Stock Chart

Update: I’d been under the impression that the W1 chip in AirPods required matching tech in the iPhone 7, but it turns out this isn’t the case, and the chip can perform its pairing and power-saving magic with older devices too. That only underlines my desire to see Apple license the chip.

Of all the things that Apple announced during the iPhone 7 launch, the W1 chip actually impressed me most. I’d guessed that Apple would be including something like this, suggesting beforehand that the tech might solve three problems with Bluetooth audio.

First, fast and rock-solid pairing. First-time pairing should be quick and painless, and once headphones have been paired to a particular iPhone, they should instantly re-pair next time they are used. No more of the ‘will they or won’t they?’ question familiar to current-generation Bluetooth products.

Second, the connection too should be ultra-reliable. No random cutouts that interrupt the audio stream. Even half a second’s stuttering quickly becomes really annoying when listening to music.

Third, the power efficiency should be better than current low-energy Bluetooth, so charging headphones becomes a weekly thing for the average user, not something we have to do every few days.

Apple still hasn’t revealed much detail about the W1 chip, but it definitely addresses at least two out of the issues, and probably all three …

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9to5toys 

Opinion Stories September 7

AAPL: 108.36

0.66
Stock Chart

Six Colors’ Jason Snell (via Daring Fireball) posed an interesting question in his preview of today’s launch event: how will Apple justify the removal of the headphone socket? Will it do so loudly or quietly, and what will it sell as the benefit?

What’s going to be interesting is how Apple explains the move. Does it play it off quickly with a shrug—“wireless is better”—or does it go into detail? Does the jack’s removal get blamed on some other great iPhone feature that required the space? Does Apple have a bigger story about wireless headphones that it uses to distract from the removal issue?

I’ve already suggested that Apple has been preparing the ground for some time now, but I think yesterday’s KGI report contained a rather large clue as to how Apple will sell the move …

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Opinion Stories September 2

AAPL: 107.73

1.00
Stock Chart
Apple Television concept by Martin Hajek
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One of the longest-running rumors about Apple – that it was working on launching a fully fledged television – finally fizzled out last year, when a WSJ report said that the company had ultimately decided against the idea. Instead, Apple is aiming at a (delayed) subscription TV service, complete with original programming.

It was speculated at the time that there were two reasons for the decision. First, that Apple had been unable to come up with a compelling differentiator that would have given consumers a reason to buy an Apple television over the many rival products. Second, that there simply wasn’t enough money in the business – margins are slim, and replacement cycles are lengthy.

But a Sony Bravia issue reported this week has highlighted a third reason that an Apple television may have turned out to be a very bad idea …

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Opinion Stories September 1

AAPL: 106.73

0.63
Stock Chart
Apple Store in London's Covent Garden
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I expressed surprise on Monday that Tim Cook would write what I described as a ‘tone-deaf’ open letter on the Irish tax ruling, and it’s been fascinating to see the responses.

In particular, I think there’s a significant difference in perceptions of this issue between Americans and Europeans. This difference does, I think, explain why Cook made what seemed to me to be a strategic error.

My surprise was that he focused exclusively on arguing that Apple was obeying the law, doing nothing that other large companies don’t do – and the unfairness of the situation from Apple’s perspective. Many commentators on the piece echoed these arguments, and it’s clear that many Americans are puzzled by my description of the letter as tone-deaf, so I thought a little context would be helpful …

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