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Apple is Absent from NAB 2016

Apple is Absent from NAB 2016

It appears that Apple has decided that they are so big and important that they don’t need to go to events like MacWorld and NAB. Apple was absent at the recent NAB 2016.

Presumably, the reasoning is that they can schedule and host their own events, stream them live and generate a huge online draw. This reasoning may be true for products like the iPhone or iPad, but I think it begins to fall apart when it comes to the video production space.

Final Cut Pro X is not a dominant factor in the video editing space. Most of the workshops and workflows this year were including Adobe’s Premiere and After Effects. In fact, I attended two workshops which outlined ways to export content from FCPX in order to better handle color and audio. Many of the filmmakers I talked with at NAB were using Premiere because of the easy integration with other tools like After Effects, PhotoShop and Bridge. Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve software is becoming an attractive choice for very good color correction and grading.

Final Cut Pro X was first introduced at NAB 2011. Since then, the development of this software has been lackluster. I think that Apple’s choice to not be widely present at NAB 2016 (they were there in a small suite of a nearby hotel) is a mistake. Video production is only becoming bigger and more important. One of the major themes at NAB 2016 was the small (1-3 person) video production team that has the ability to output quick, sophisticated, and effective video content.

Let’s hope Apple is paying attention.

Update: Latest AAPL numbers indicate that Apple may need to focus better on priorities!

Disruptive Tech, Bitcoin, and a New Order

BitcoinI’ve spent the holiday time off doing a deep-dive into the disruptive technology of Bitcoin and the underlying techonlogy.

From what I can see, Bitcoin is quickly becoming a profoundly disruptive technology. Actually, it’s not really specifically Bitcoin itself. Digital currencies, and even cryptocurrencies, have been around for a number of years. The real interesting technology is in the Blockchain platform that is the core of Bitcoin. A trusted, decentralized, system of checks and balances (i.e., a trusted ledger of activity) has the potential of reorganizing our social and governing structures in unprecedented ways.

The disease of traditional opaque and hierarchical structures has reached a breaking point. Too many so-called leaders are spewing tired academic papers and regurgitating old-school slogans and memes from like-minded leaders in the stagnant academy. For these withered minds, innovation is merely some new fork of an existing traditional approach. They continue to compete with each other, with false smiles, for recognition in a dying and increasingly competitive environment. They continue to attempt to micro-manage with hidden agendas, from fear and insecurity. They continue to destroy any creativity and innovation.

Nothing produces a wretched tyrant like a disconnected, insecure, and socially awkward leader.

The good news is that Bitcoin demonstrates the best of the disruptive technologies. For example, it has huge potential to become a game-changing way for 3rd world citizens to participate and benefit in a world-wide P2P banking system. It also has the potential for becoming a secured platform for voting. This has profound implications for the democratization of world systems.

This same concept has the very immediate potential to disrupt existing diseased organizations by removing ineffective leaders and giving back some power to innovative, creative teams who do the real work in agile organizations.

These are large and deeply important concepts for our world in the next few years. I urge you to look closely!

Beware of iOS 8.4

Beware of iOS 8.4

One of the biggest reasons I never apply an OS update from Apple as soon as it is released is because I don’t want to lose functionality.

Sometimes an Apple update just breaks things. This has happened often enough to make me wait until it’s discovered and fixed. But increasingly, Apple has secretly eliminated features or functionality in order gain a financial benefit. It appears this has happened again with the iOS 8.4 release. Home Sharing has been quietly cut from iOS 8.4. If you update, you will no longer have the ability to stream audio from iTunes from your Mac OS X computer to iPhones, iPads, and iPods for free.

Rumors are that such an uproar from the Apple community has convinced Apple to return the feature, but not until iOS 9. So if you don’t want to lose this capability, stay away from iOS 8.4.

The iPhone 6 After Four Months

The iPhone 6 After Four Months

I’ve now had my iPhone 6 four months and I’m ready to give a balanced review.

First, it should be noted that 4 months ago I upgraded from an iPhone 4s. My philosophy with Apple products in general has evolved from a “got to have the latest” mentality into a “I will upgrade when the improvements are significant” mentality. In the past 5-8 years, Apple has provoked me to upgrade it’s products on roughly a ever-other-generation schedule. And the trend seems to be towards an ever-widening gap between upgrades.

The Hardware

The jump from an iPhone 4s to the iPhone 6 was significant, and it felt that way in all respects. The sleek and refined hardware design was impressive in aesthetics and weight. The fingerprint authentication worked surprisingly well and after setting up authentication for both right and left thumbs and index fingers, I found it to be very efficient and natural.

One criticism I have of the iPhone, and indeed almost all smart phones, is that they are not really comfortable devices in our hands. There’s very little about a “slim-brick” design that fits well with our hands. The ergonomics are mostly wrong for the human hand. It’s no wonder that so many folks drop their phones while using them.

That said, the iPhone 6 is no worse than most. I found that Apple’s own slim leather iPhone cover offers a sleek and simple design that stays true to the iPhone design, providing a solid grip in the hand.

The Software

The transition from IOS6 to IOS7 (and then to IOS8) was significant. There were not only a number of interface shifts, but there were also some annoying bugs to be worked through. It has taken Apple longer than I expected to address these bugs. And, I am not convinced that all of these bugs (e.g., wifi, bluetooth, battery life, and others) are resolved yet. Once I became more comfortable with the new interface, I began to enjoy it. The speed increase was noticeable and appreciated.

I spent the extra money to get the 128GB model since I was impressed by the iPhone’s camera specs and results. It was a wise choice. The camera is impressive for both stills and video. Although I own a DSLR, I find myself using the iPhone more often as my primary camera when I’m out and about. The stock camera app is adequate for most folks. But, if you are a more serious photographer, there are a number a great apps that give you more control over shutter speed, aperture, and timing. (I’m planning a post devoted to iPhone apps for photography and video.)

With so much memory on my iPhone, I spent the first month downloading almost 9 pages of apps. Since then, the download frenzy has waned. I have settled on regularly using about a dozen apps which now live on the first page of apps.

iPhone As Business Tool

The most significant evolution for me since purchasing my iPhone 6 is one that I would not have predicted. I am now essentially running an arts & culture website entirely from my iPhone. This means I take and edit photos and video, write content, manage various social media, post and comment, all from my iPhone. I’m a one-man, mobile, content-generating, broadcast machine!

With my iPhone fully engaged in activity almost 16 hours a day, I am now looking into solar-powered battery chargers. Any recommendations out there?

Apple Watch

Apple Watch

I’m excited about Apple’s new iPhone 6. I will probably upgrade my iPhone 4s in a few weeks when they become available. I’m not sure about the iPhone 6 Plus. I don’t think I want to be carrying around a small iPad mini in pocket.

I am especially excited about the new 8MP camera with an f/2.2 aperture and the ability to capture 1080p HD and 60-fps and 240-fps for slow motion video. (I wish the 240-fps worked at 1080p, but sadly it’s only at 720p.) I am also eager to see how well the video stabilization works.

The disappointment for me today was the Apple Watch.

I’m not sure that this is really a market that Apple will be able to revolutionize with this watch. I’ve become quite comfortable not wearing a watch and relying on my ever-present iPhone for time and everything else. The fact that you need an iPhone for the watch to be useful just strikes me as Apple just not thinking through the reality of how people will use the devices.

I think there is a market for wearable health monitoring devices, but I think something more like the $100 Fitbit is the way to go. I can’t think of even one of my friends or family that will spend $350 for a watch that needs an iPhone to be useful.

If Apple’s stock price is any indication, there are other people out there with similar reservations about this direction for Apple. I doubt that Steve Jobs would have released this Apple Watch on his watch.