All things Apple23 posts
All things Apple23 posts
Here is how I see it as the father of a second grader.
I want the best education for my son. I’m willing to pay for that as well. I see no need to send my son to a private school though. In my experience looking at ratings they don’t necessarily fair any better in most places. Where I grew up they tested lower then my public school. When moving to a new place I choose the district with the highest rated school. I pay higher taxes, and more for the place I live as a result.
With that preface in mind, here is what I expect. Low teacher to student ratios, high student expectations and high levels of investment for each student. One of those investments should always be technology. Because of the young age that the students come in at this technology must be cutting edge. If its not, it misses the point of technology education. The knowledge they learn will be useless within a few years.
Another purpose of technology in the classroom is to let students engage with the subject in multiple ways. Not just learning how to use technology but learning more by using it. There are a lot of differing studies on how kids learn best but the ultimate truth is that they learn in different ways. This means that subjects need to be taught in different ways to reach multiple students. For instance, if you are learning about history a teacher could read from a textbook, show a video, have kids act out parts, play games, assign reading, or a number of other avenues. The reason I love the idea of the tablet is that they have the ability to handle all of these activities in ways laptops or desktops do not. They are more interactive, more personal, and much simpler devices that can focus on any one of these techniques and add to the experience.
Now, I’m not saying they are needed. But I am saying that, given the right quality of software written for them that the educational benefits far exceed their cost. My son will be using Google apps for education this year as well as Chromebooks. While I think this a good financial choice and makes certain types of school work very easy to handle, it lacks the core of what I want technology to enable with my son. New ways to learn.
So I’m on the side of tablets, but what about iPads specifically? This is harder. Broadly, when I talk about tablets, I just mean a simple screen with touch interface. The real meaningful part though, is the software. At this moment in time, the vast majority of high quality educational apps are written for the iPad. Would these developers write for other platforms if schools adopted cheaper android tablets? Sure, but there is a chicken and egg problem here. So lets focus on right now. Do I think the cost of an iPad is worth it? For each student to bring home, no. I think each student should have regular access to an iPad though. If that means for lower income schools the teachers share carts of iPads then that is a great option. I don’t think they need to come home, and I wouldn’t sign my son up to bring one home even for free. I would purchase one specifically for him if they provided the software. As it is he uses mine for education and leisure.
My last point is what I think Apple should do. They have a history of working in education and I think it is vitally important to their ethos and future growth. I believe they should develop an education only version of the iPad with specific software designed for schools. From a hardware aspect, I think it should come in a durable plastic case (perhaps even colored). The screen should be plastic as well for durability and cost reduction. I think they should keep the retina screen but a lower end tech is fine. I think this is important for eye strain. No camera, mono speaker and built in locking mechanism. Lastly, a much larger battery should be included as well. Many apps they would use are battery hogs and this would be a hindrance.
The software should allow for multiple users and a teacher/student mode. They should create APIs that allow developers to easily manage multiple users save files for single apps. So when a student logs in only their saved files would be visible. They could also tie this into their home devices to work from home. Some of these features could make it to the broad release of iOS as well. I think the right price point here is around $199 per device. At this point I think they can still make a profit here using the same strategy as the 5c but even older hardware. In this space specs don’t matter. The software can be tuned to run specifically on this hardware. Many resource hogging aspects of iOS could be disabled in this version allowing greater performance on slower hardware. The win here would be consumer good will, platform knowledge for kids and parents and attracting developers.
If they don’t do something along this route, many schools will abandon these programs. Developers will see this and not invest in education focused apps and tablet use (not just iPads) in school will dwindle. To me the future of tech in school should be broader then a notebook with a browser. For the sake of my son, I hope that doesn’t happen. Even if I choose to use one at home with him I would not see the same gains as if the school actively supported it for all aspects of his schooling.
Sorry for the long post, just happens to hit close to home.
Sorry about that. I had another title in mind but then decided that my real goal was to get Nilay to respond. If I came up with the title first, I probably would have written in that style.
It was a shameless, yet successful effort. Also, it is a sentiment I fully agree with. Even though The Verge is doing it right for the most part.
I’d love to hear further from him on the subject but I’m happy with what he wrote.
Oh christ. I’m just going to respond to this one comment amongst the many useless available here because it looks like the most fun to tear apart.
These are not facts they are interpretations. Let me give you an easy counterpoint for each.
1. On Android and WP you can have widgets on separate pages or require a swipe sideways or down. They are no more ‘hidden’. You can’t have everything on one screen. On WP if you put all the tiles on one screen they show no information just an icon. Same as iOS.
2. Yes, there is. If the developer thinks it will be useful. They can send a notification just like with anything else. The purpose of that screen is to look at what is going on now in one place. The important point is that it is one simple action away from anywhere in the system. Other implementations require at least the same or sometimes more depending on the types of widgets.
3. The widgets are fixed in width but can grow in height depending on the developer needs. With a scrollable list this makes sense.
4. There is a ton of guidance. Both in the form on documentation, limitations and developer relations like WWDC sessions available online. Much more so then Android at least. Not to sure about WP. Though they are more limited then what Apple allows in their widgets.
5. If a developer thinks the user could use a specific feature in a widget they can make a widget for a part of their app. Even if Apple doesn’t allow pinned contacts, you can be sure a developer will release a widget that can do this. There is nothing stopping that. Besides Apple already puts common contacts in the multitasking view in iOS8.
See, that wasn’t so hard. Notice how we ‘interpreted’ the function of iOS differently. If you want an example of a fact you could state ‘The Home button, when pressed once returns you to the last view of the Home Screen’. That is a fact. The relative merits of that action are open to interpretation.
Ah, I missed those comments though I did read the article.
Just gotta love when people argue about the professional merits of something so purely subjective as photography. I should know I’m a ‘professional’ Graphic Designer. What qualifies me is my history of convincing the right people I’m good enough to pay. No different with photographers. Plenty of amazing photographers with ‘amateur eyes’ out there. Not getting paid to do something has no bearing on your skill level.
What’s the “you’ve got amateur eyes” comment from? I missed that.
Yes. I love cars. Just as much as gadgets. I don’t love them for the reason most enthusiasts do though. So it’s hard finding like minded car nuts in the various auto blogs. How could we get this done? It can’t be that hard for them to add this. Also, I’d love to see more technology related car news. They do some but miss a lot.
That’s it, that’s exactly my point. While the article was kind of a final straw it was really only a minor foible, my anger came from the state of the industry. Thus why I said Journalism is fucked, not The Verge. Like you said, in this state where we have to be more guarded, my radar went off. They simply could have done more easily, without changing the articles content to provide context and a proper source.
Also, I actually liked the article. My disappointment came after I saw it on a bunch of other sites. It takes the wind out of it. Ideally The Verge would have taken more time then the other publications and tell us how it really works in everyday use. We don’t have to settle for more of the same.
So there’s a simple answer to most of the issues you brought up. I asked that they make the reader aware of the context and any biases they may have going in. Not that they follow up each sentence with a citation. They do this often with these types of articles. And while I’m no journalist I do remember being told citations are generally only needed at the first use of that source. As for a bias, just mention what the company did for you if anything in exchange for writing an article. Did they invite you to a demonstration and provide an open bar (that would sway me)? If nothing, then great, mention it.
So the solution would have been easy. In the first or second paragraph mention the general source. It was probably a press release. In that case they can simply “according to the press release…” for the first bit of info from the release. The quotations are equally easy, “in an interview with The Verge…” or “The founder notes in the press release that…” .
It’s basic stuff because that is all that we’ve needed for 100 years. Without it we don’t know where we are getting our information from. And yes it is different if an app was found by the writer or a PR department called and asked them to write an article. Take for example their article on Slack, the context was that they use it in the office for their real business. That article wouldn’t mean the same if Slack PR just asked them to write something. Context is everything and it’s easy to establish. So when it is not established I feel like there is some deception going on.
Not any more then wanting a metal case, contrasting keyboard and screen bezel. That is the upscale look now because Apple set the trend. Design is just a series of trends. My point was outside of the design they are nothing alike. In the details of the design they are nothing alike. If you blurred two picture enough they might look alike.
Would you say there was a trend toward darker metals? I’ve seen them used many times over the years but I never noticed a trend. It went like this for Apple. The Black iPhone 5, didn’t work because anodizing black is hard. They went with a much easier to anodize grey. People really like the shade. Apple, knowing full well that dark colors are associated with pro equipment wants to use a dark shade on their other devices.
HP was only following a trend, nothing wrong there. Apple is just heading down the obvious path in their design process. Utilizing industry trends to communicate purpose. Anyway, the color choices barely matter. Your post seemed like a jab at Apple quality as much as their design sense. If that was the intention you were wrong.
So I think they will keep it where the old 13" was before the reduction. $1,199. They will probably keep the old ones around to keep a lower price point for awhile.
On a separate note. I wish they would clear up the line. It’s one of those few things I think ’that’s not what Steve would do’. Their model lineup is confused by the naming and retina screens. Especially if they do what I just said they probably will.
This is what we will have:
11.6" MacBook Air
13.3" MacBook Air
12.8" MacBook Air with Retina Display
13.3" MacBook Pro
13.3" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
15.4" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
I think it should be the following:
12.8" MacBook (was the Air)
13.3" MacBook Pro
15.4" MacBook Pro
When I first got Macs for the family it was this:
15.4" MacBook Pro
17" MacBook Pro
Uhh… I don’t know since it’s just a concept. My guess is still 4 since they just made 8 standard on the Pro. It’s always best to get the next step up from the base if you can anyway. The base is just there to catch as much market as possible.
New and shiny!
CPU is much better. GPU is much better. High limits on RAM and disk storage. Basically everything is just a bit better. In line with the price difference. For most uses though probably not much in everyday use. So now unless you really need horsepower there is no need to get the Pro model. Which is exactly how it should be.
First off, thank you for taking to time to write a thorough response. I will admit I chose that title with hopes that you in particular would share your thoughts. I think this topic (not one article) is just as important and its in big trouble (some might say its ‘fucked’).
I want to get a few things out of the way before tackling your points. I think The Verge is a true standout in the online news landscape. You are right that the quality of ads as very high, they are even sometime enjoyable. The Verge does a great job of balancing ad visibility and reader annoyance. You guys don’t always hit the mark here but it’s certainly better then other large news organizations. Beyond that though, and what keeps me coming back, is the community. The commenter base is generally respectful and smart and hold each other to high standards. Add to that the occasional standout editorial piece and steady news updates and I visit often.
So the issue here is not really a term such as ‘native advertising’ which has a loose definition and is be properly debated all over the web. The real issue is about the seperation between the editorial side and the business side of your organization. I don’t know and, without any further evidence, will have to trust you that this was not a paid sponsorship.
With that said, let me break down the problems with the execution of this article.
When reading an editorial piece it is very important to know the context or any biases that the author may have before reading the content. Was the mentioned product or service promoted to the author or did he/she find it on their own? Were any of the points in the article made by the promoter or did the author work from completely neutral starting point? A good editorial piece should answer these questions quickly.
The piece on Spring did not. There was no clear statement that Spring reached out to The Verge. The quotes from the founder were not properly cited. Did you interview him, did they send a press release, did you find those quotes elsewhere? The end result was that upon reading the first couple paragraphs I assumed the context of this article was about retail in general, then malls and then an app that aims to solve it.
By the end of the article it was more clear what the real context was, a marketing push for this app. So I finished what started out as an interesting piece with a sour taste in my mouth. Then someone pointed out that articles with extremely similar theses had all been written at the same time. This soured my view even more. My assumption then is that you were provided some sort of press release which spoke to these similar points. But this release was not mentioned or provided.
This is not how it should be. In fact many of the articles The Verge puts out like this do provide context. So when I read this and felt deceived I came away a bit angry that a site I trusted seemed to be doing it intentionally. Maybe it was just bad journalism but (take this as a compliment) I doubt it. While quality has seen a slip recently the bar here is much higher then most in the tech space. That is why I had suspicions about a deal, financial or otherwise.
Putting all of the stuff about one particular article aside. It was really just a tipping point for my anger in general at what I’ve seen happen to journalism in the last 5 years. The financial strain seems too much and the motive lies in the wrong place when the entire organization is paid for by advertising. I wrote another post about my wish for a paid model that works for everyone. Until then I will have my worries.
Again, thanks for your time. Congrats on the new job and I look forward to what you have in store for us soon.
What do you mean impossible? There’s no reason the thumb needs to be slide perpendicular to the reader. When using my trackpad my thumb wrests right about there anyway. Just move it down a hair and slide up. No need to reposition your hand. Don’t think about it like traditional thumb readers. I imagine Apple did it this way they would make it readable from any position. But yes a slide would be necessary. That is not a bad thing if implemented correctly, unlike the S5.
I’ve thought a little further on why this bothers me so much. I don’t mind when a news organization chooses which press release to seed to their readers. That in itself is a form of editorial opinion. It’s not like they would release any random crap sent to them. What got me with this was that so many sites did so as well. Not just tech sites or business sites but really random places like MTV and Christian Science Monitor. I don’t know for sure but for a company this new and small it is hard to believe they would get such coverage without some form of sponsorship. There are literally hundreds of apps of this size launched each year. Why did everyone care about this one? Where there’s smoke I guess.
To the larger point of my post though. Regardless of this instance, I don’t believe the trend toward sponsored content inline with editorial news content is good for us. It seems in every facet of society the corporations are able to use their money back influence to higher degrees then previous generations allowed. Maybe I’m looking at the past through rose colored glasses, but even if that is true we should expect more from our journalists. Staying informed is the only way for a democracy to survive.
Yes, and they also disclose that it was a press release. Many times they even attached the press release. I have no problem with that, I even expect that from a news source. This article was not that however. Also, rewriting press releases is native advertising. Which is why respectable publications noted them as such. Just as many do now with ‘sponsored content’. It has nothing to do with money.
No, I want them to disclose it. It was not written like a review, the thesis of the piece was about the future of retail and social interaction. The app seemed secondary to that point. No press release was disclosed or linked to.
Further up I linked to a another article about a Scribd app release that was done perfectly. It disclosed the source and why they chose to write about it. This article did neither and was in my opinion written this way to mislead readers into thinking this app was just being discovered by the author on his own. There is a big difference.
Sadly you are probably right but that is the very definition of advertising. Regardless of money being involved. That is why I don’t read many blogs without being referred there by another trusted source. There is a ton of crap online and I don’t expect The Verge, who I’ve followed sense the Engadget days and listened to the ideals of the founders since they were doing This is My Next, to regurgitate this crap.
To some degree I suppose you are right but here is the difference. In this case it was clear that you (The Verge) were promoting this app at the behest of the company in conjunction with a concerted marketing effort. This should have been disclosed or made clear in the article. Without that disclosure it is difficult for the reader to determine if the content was influenced. Generally this type of thing makes note of a press release or wherever the information came from. This article on Scribd is a good example.
So my suggestion in this case would have been to start the article by stating that ‘Spring asked us to take a look at their app…’ or ‘After hearing from the guys at Spring here is our impression…’. I would like some point of reference about why you guys decided to write this article. Instead the first two paragraphs and the title made it seem like this app was secondary to the main point. So it seems like you are offering an unbiased editorial opinion on what app you would use to solve this problem. It is subtle but still a huge difference. I didn’t realize it was a puff piece until it was pointed out that every other site had written the same thing (or very close). Which does not happen with original opinion pieces like that article seemed to be.
So what should you do? Be clear on your source (specifics) and in the article not just the bottom. If any deals are made, disclose that clearly (like the Sony article). If any restraints were placed on you by the company or any affordances were given make it known in the article. For example on Jalopnik when they do a car review they state “Disclosure: This car company wanted me to review their car so bad they flew me to paris, put me in a nice hotel and fed me steak for every meal…” We all know that is usually the case but I have more trust that what they are saying isn’t influenced when they lay it on the table.
Trust is what you want from me.
New thought. What if someone came up with a service like Netflix for news consumption. You pay a flat fee and they pay the providers per view. How would that sit with you guys? I know services like Flipboard are like a free version of this but what if they added a paid layer that made the experience better and let content producers earn a living. Thoughts?
But how much?
Good points. Smashing Magazine has a similar model. The publish a book annually I think. The are more of technical advice site though.
I bet news is more of a priority to you then you think. People (especially the demographic here) like to know what’s going on. Maybe not about tech or any other specific thing but they definitely do. Either you seek it out or get it through osmosis but I’m sure you like to stay informed. That is basically what news is in a broad sense.
That is far more an issue of OSX then the hardware. I imagine Apple would want far more control over data use within apps since very few carriers offer unlimited data.
It would be a great option though. Hopefully they figure it out so that you don’t need to manage data and the system controls background data usage. It’s probably harder then it seems. I’m always shocked when I tether how much data a laptop uses vs. a phone.
Clearly I’ve put the reporters here on the defensive. I apologize for that. I am in full support of you guys and understand that you probably want no part in this type of stuff.
But your bills need paid and profit needs to be made. There should be and always was a clear separation. But now large publications are tearing down that wall. I put up another post talking further about the point of monetization. I don’t think it is too late to put the incentives back in the right place.
You know, I’ve seen lots of definitions for native advertising. I see it like this. That content was sponsored, it clearly was. The talking points were provided to some degree resulting in massively similar articles being released on very different website at the same time.
This is fundamentally different then what the content contrived. It read like editorial content but it was in fact a puff piece. I’m sure it is a nice app but again I ask, why did you and 100 other sites write the same piece at the same time?
This may not meet your definition of native advertising but it does meet mine.
a notice or announcement in a public medium promoting a product, service, or event or publicizing a job vacancy. (Google)
And the native part refers to the content being made to look like it is part of the publishing platform it is on rather then originating elsewhere.
This was clearly a product promotion campaign that The Verge participated in without making that clear in the article.
Besides all of that, this one article is just a drop in the bucket of the larger point I am making about the state of journalism. With regards to that, I’d like to see The Verge take a clear stance against native advertising and any other deceptive ad practices. I’d love to read a piece by you guys on the subject.
And that is why they can’t pay their bills. It is not your fault but the industry made a mistake thinking that ad revenue from banners and other clickable ads would make up the difference. We truly face a problem because sites like The Verge and institutions like NYT face extinction and in their death throws are experimenting with the very idea of editorial content. In another 10 years we could have 0 idea where our knowledge base is coming from. Don’t think for one second it will always be clear who sponsored what content.
Sure, as it is now there would be plenty of opportunity to find content elsewhere. I did specifically say “If things had gone differently with online news, how much would The Verge be worth to you each month?” This means if the people never got used to free news content online and everyone charge something, how much would you pay for The Verge. It is a thought experiment not a practical matter.
Well I would think that if the pen use on the Surface were more then a gimmick that the founder of the company would be one of the people using it. Even though I don’t feel any draw (hehe) towards it why put it in if you can’t use it for just this purpose. Quick idea sketches.
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