A Day at Foxconn Constructing an iPad

This is a very rare look at the assembly process for iPads. This video also takes a look at the experience Chinese workers share at Foxconn:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cL60TYY8oQ&]

All in all, constructing an iPad looks very boring. Now I want to see a MacBook Pro with Retina Display assembly line. I imagine that anything newer might present more challenges or variety in the process. 

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Apple Has Dominion Over Computers

iPad 2 laying downJohn Gruber writes persuasively about the leadership Apple has taken in the computing market:

This, it’s now clear, was correct. If anything, it was understated — Apple is now the strongest and most successful company in the world, across any and all industries.

If not for the iPad — imagine, for a moment, that the company still to this day had not shipped a tablet — Apple would still be thriving, based on huge (and hugely profitable) iPhone sales and the Mac’s steady continuing growth (six years of consecutive quarterly growth ahead of the overall PC industry). But it was the iPad that pushed Apple over the top. The iPhone suggested Apple would dominate pocket computing. The iPad suggests Apple will dominate computing, period. Daring Fireball »

I’m so glad as a life-long Apple user to see this day finally come. I’ve always felt that Apple cares about people and machines more than the ‘almighty’ dollar.

I think that whether people new to Apple and their products perceive this to be true depends on whether they continue to use Apple stuff as I have. Honestly, Apple just does so many things right that when they make a mistake I believe the problem was truly beyond their control, and I forgive them without a moment’s notice. When other tech companies make mistakes it looks like they were just being careless.

The Surface Tablet is Hopeful, Oxymoronic, and Pitiful

The Microsoft Surface tablet as shown in promotional photosHere we go again: another supposed competitor for the iPad. I guess if Microsoft knows what’s good for them, they will hone their focus and choose a niche in the market; like appealing to enterprise users. But something tells me Microsoft’s ego won’t allow for it, and they’ve already bit off more than they can chew.

I’m somewhat disappointed.

The Microsoft Surface is not going anywhere if it does not ship soon. And if it does not ship soon, that’s going to discourage potential consumers from dipping into their pockets for what’s expected to be a tablet pricier than the iPad.

Apple does their events fairly well. Whenever they can, they release new gadgets very close to the time they are announced. Many consumers appreciate this about Apple, and it’s disappointing other tech companies are stubborn and unwilling to launch a product in a timely manner in the interests of consumers.

I’m somewhat confused.

Let’s think about this. Microsoft doesn’t have an app store ecosystem; that is a major downside against the potential success of the Surface, for sure. On the other hand, enterprise users will be tickled pink just to be able to run a full version of Microsoft Office with a highly portable cover/keyboard to type on. Most reports are saying the cover should be easier to type on then, say, the iPad’s on screen keyboard. So there’s a few reasons the Surface may get a footing in spite of innumerable reasons it should fail.

There is the typical complications that come with Windows devices. You can either run Windows Metro, or Windows Metro along with Windows 8. You have a choice between two models: a consumer level device and a professional grade one. Whether the consumer model will be of much use depends on consumers and app developers adopting the Surface early. If it doesn’t support quality apps and foster rave reviews—akin to iPad reviews—then the consumer model will stink.

If the Windows phone app selection is a reference point, it doesn’t look hopeful. The iPhone market was quite healthy before the iPad debuted. The iPhone helped the iPad. It looks like Microsoft hopes—counter to trends—that the Surface will help Windows phones’ market.

And who especially wants to use the professional model that runs Windows 8 if all it’s good for are PC apps? It’s like a notebook computer that lost its legs and got prosthetic ones from the waist down. The keyboard cover might extend its life expectancy, but it won’t give it a quality life. It’s an incomplete thought for an efficient work-related tool. Straddling the fence—attempting to be all things to all users—will haunt the Surface’s early years.

I’m somewhat skeptical.

I’m highly impressed that Microsoft finally claims to be delivering a tablet after all these years. I’ll believe it when I see it, to be honest. Various reports have noted that Bill Gates announced a tablet around 2001. He even showed off a prototype at an event (similar to the announcement of the Surface). Then, about two years ago, Microsoft leaked a dual screen tablet concept they called something like “Courier” (I can’t remember the name). That machine never saw more than a measly prototype and was ultimately abandoned. If consumers remember this, they will be apprehensive to purchase a Surface.

So, after all this time, the company that conceived the modern tablet device finally comes to market with a device and it’s mostly unoriginal in design. If you look at the Surface, it’s half iPad-wanna-be and half Windows ultrabook. It is playing several significant compromises that place it squarely on the middle of the road.

And yet we know so little about the Surface. The video ad doesn’t demonstrate the device, and not much was shown at the announcement. Of what was shown, there was bugs and apps on the Surface crashed! Talk about pathetic….

Conclusion

It’s hard to say what to make of the Surface. Too little is known. What is known is it lacks apps and has bugs—oh, and Microsoft wants to get you excited, but they aren’t ready to tell you how much it will cost.

Unbelievable. Some already dare to call the Surface ‘competition for the iPad’. When will we ever learn?

Apple Makes $2 Billion a Year in iPad Smart Covers

Red® iPad Smart Cover“The majority of iPad users own one of these flexible accessories, which brings Apple in a $500m fortune each quarter,” he added.

So here you have Apple making $2 billion a year on Smart Covers. Meanwhile, there’s the competition — the likes of LG, Sony and Motorola — who can’t make $2 billion a year on their competing tablets. CultOfMac »

Hysterical. What a contrast. It blows iPad competitors to oblivion, IMHO.

Changes to the U.I. Design in iOS 6

iOS 6 is available for developers, and they are showing off some of the program changes Apple announced. On the other hand, Designers are highlighting the incremental adjustments to the graphics, and the introduction of new graphic designs in, say, the all-new Maps app. Designers, grab a bag of popcorn, curl up in your desk chair, and enjoy the tour of the varying changes in U.I. for iOS 6.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8tjDKHLdr8&]


Not that many of these changes matter to users, but each change matters to us designers. Apple’s changes reflect the movement of Apple mobile app culture. Designers look for inspiration from Apple’s designs, and sometimes they deliberately set out to make a departure from Apple’s designs. In any case, Apple’s graphics continuously raise the bar challenging designers to make gorgeous and intuitive designs in their apps.

What I find most notable are the changes that would not seem to matter, like the blackened look to the toolbars in the Camera app, and the less-pointed arrow hands on the Clock app icon. Little things like these are the nuances designers think through meticulously; endeavoring to refine and draw nearer to perfection even in the most subtle ways.

Macs are Increasing in the Workplace, Windows PCs are About as Expensive

The Windows and Apple logosEstimates see Mac’s share of the enterprise market hovering at around 5 percent, but the consumerization of IT is slowly forcing companies to accept Apple’s products as part of the everyday workflow. According to Gartner research, 60 percent of companies currently don’t allow Macs in the office, though the tide is changing as 64 percent of businesses will likely allow them to be adopted over the next few years.

Leading the charge in bringing the Mac into the workplace is a combination of demand for Apple’s mobile devices and a more affordable computing options for OS X. A recent study from Good Technology found that the top-six most-activated devices in enterprise were all Apple products, with the iPhone and iPad accounting for 79 percent of total activations.

Traditional views frown upon Apple’s computer system because of higher perceived costs associated with using the platform. “It used to be, ‘How do we keep Macs out,'” Silver said, but the prices have come down and the playing field has evened out.

While an average Mac setup runs $1,622, a Windows machine costs $1,513 and software makers charge slightly more for Apple-centric products. Average IT labor expenditure for Macs is lower with $636 compared to Windows’ $781, however companies report a wide variety of experiences in this department. Apple Insider »

Cool. Especially the last part. I’ve recognized that Apple computers were not necessarily more expensive than PCs for sometime. Most people still think they are.

Good to Know: Gamers are Getting a Real Controller for the iPad & iPhone

This is the black Snakebyte iDroid controller

The Snakebyte iDroid controller

“We are thrilled to present the incredible snakebyte idroid:con to all Android and iOS gamers,” said Mike Steup, Managing Director of Sunflex Europe. “This controller reflects our already existing innovations in the gaming sector in the mobile and Android™/iOS™ market. The controller fulfills any gamers’ demand for perfect handling, functionality as well as compatibility and it lets you play games on your Android and iOS platform the way they were meant to be played when they were first created.” Cult of Mac »

I like gaming with the iPhone and iPad as they are; controller-free. But I can see this being helpful when playing games, say, with the iPad on the AppleTV.

If you didn’t know, you can share what you’re playing on an iPhone or iPad on your television through the AppleTV. I know, it’s the coolest thing ever. When you do this, a lot of games turn the TV into the viewing screen, and the iDevice into a controller interface. It works, but it can be a challenge to learn.

Nothing beats having a real controller. So when you connect the controller to the iPad, let’s say, and the iPad to the AppleTV, then you have essentially everything you could ever ask for—equals with a console game.