The MacRumors drinking game

MacRumors has a large and active forum and each news post on the main site also gets automagically turned into a forum thread in the news discussion subforum. Certain people will use some of these threads—well, really, nearly all of them—to dunk on Apple and the various things the company is or isn’t doing (or is perceived to be doing or not doing). The actual topic of the thread is often irrelevant.

Here’s a fun (?) drinking game. Take a drink any time someone mentions the following in a MacRumors news post discussion thread. NOTE: I am not responsible for any blood alcohol poisoning that may result.

  • Refers to Tim Cook as:
      • Timmy
      • Tim Crook
      • Tim Apple
      • Tim Hollywood
      • A bean counter
  • Fire Tim Cook
  • iSheep
  • iToy
  • Crapple
  • Emojis
  • Animojis
  • Memojis
  • Watch bands
  • iWatch
  • Touch bar/Emoji bar
  • Butterfly keyboard
  • Headphone jack
  • Form over function
  • Too thin
  • Bending
  • “You’re holding it/using it/[something] it wrong”
  • Apple is now just a fashion brand
  • Overpriced
  • Steve Jobs
  • Where is the new Mac Pro? (Update: Announced for Fall 2019, so not so much this one anymore–see next item)
  • New Mac Pro is too expensive
  • More to come…

Bad design: Apple’s tumor battery case

As soothsayers and Nostradamus wannabes attempt to divine Apple’s product schedule for everything (except the iPhone), let’s pick on the company again for a design that is both ugly and awkward.

This is the Apple iPhone 6/6s Smart Battery Case:

Image courtesy Apple

Or as I call it, “Is that a deck of cards in your case or are you just glad to see me?”

Why it’s ugly: it looks like the case has a large rectangular growth attached to it. I suspect very few would describe this appearance as visually appealing.

Why it’s awkward: Pick up your smartphone right now (if you don’t have one, use your vivid imagination instead) and hold it as you normally would. If you’re like most people, you’ll be gripping at least three fingers along the bottom side edge of the phone. Note in the photo that this would put your fingers right on top of the bulge where the battery pack meets the regular part of the case. Awkward.

This is a surprisingly ugly product from Apple, which usually gets at least the aesthetics right.

Compare this to the Anker Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case for the iPhone 6/6s:

Anker Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case for iPhone 6

Sure, the phone is a bit longer as a result but the design actually keeps in mind that people don’t want a lumpy, misshapen phone. It also costs about $80 less than Apple’s battery case while offering 75-90% of the equivalent battery extension.

Apple Event September 9, 2015 -or- Canadians, Mortgage Your Homes

Yesterday (September 9) Apple unveiled its latest assortment of new devices (minus Macs, which are typically announced at a separate event). Nothing genuinely new, but lots of upgrades on existing products and new form factors for some. This post was originally made on Broken Forum.

While the event was filled with non-surprises thanks to weeks of persistent, detailed and pretty much accurate rumors, here are my thoughts on the announced products:

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus: Nice improvements all around but two small steps backward, with both phones being slightly heavier than last year’s and equipped with smaller batteries. The latter is unsurprising as Apple has previously shown it’s willing to shave down battery size to make its devices thinner.

These phones are outrageously priced in Canada, as if we have all won the Lotto 6/49 (I won $10 on it once). It’s interesting to reflect that the original iPhone retailed for $499 U.S. (that was a 4 GB model). Here are the prices for the 16 GB models as listed on the US and Canadian Apple sites:

US Canada
iPhone 6s $649 $899
iPhone 6s Plus $749 $1029

Both phones are priced about 38% higher in Canada. The difference in exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollar right now is around 24%. Apple must hate moose or something. Boo to these prices, I say. There’s the “Apple premium” and then there’s just plain old soaking ’em for all they’re worth.

I’m unconvinced by Force Touch as a truly useful feature. Maybe when they add Force Choke to phones. I’d like to use Force Choke to hang up on spam calls. I don’t feel there’s anything about these phones to really swing more people Apple’s way. They’ll still sell a billion of ’em because they’re perfectly fine phones.

Apple TV: Since Apple TV hasn’t been updated for three years, this hardware refresh basically gets Apple caught up to the interfaces on other streaming devices. I’m not sure where the upper price point is for these things so I have no idea if the reaction to the new Apple TV will be “Must have!” or “Must wait for the price to come down.” The app store and gaming are nice additions but I don’t think they’ll convince a lot of people to buy or upgrade that may not have otherwise. Also, why does the base model come with 32 GB of storage while the phones still come with 16 GB? Bad, Apple.

Apple Watch: The updated watchOS finally gives third party apps a little more flexibility but it remains to be seen how performance and battery life are affected, as even Apple’s first party stuff has issues with responsiveness/lag. Perhaps more than any other Apple product in recent years, the Watch really seems best to hold off on until the second generation hardware arrives. Also, I saw a student at the college this week wearing an Apple Watch. Because the display is normally off when not in use, I was struck at how it looks like a very nice digital watch with a dead battery. Also that student could have spent the same money to buy enough Kraft Dinner for the entire school year. That would be super-gross to eat and maybe even fatal, but still.

iPad mini 4: After trying for a year to convince people to buy the iPad mini 3, which was the exact same hardware as the previous year’s iPad mini 2, only with Touch ID and a $100 higher price, Apple has announced the iPad mini 4 and quietly escorted the iPad mini 3 out back and had it shot. This is basically the iPad Air 2 shrunk down to iPad mini dimensions. Thinner, lighter, all that good stuff. It starts at $399, not a cheap price but not overly outrageous for the specs and quality of build. My iPad mini 2 died so I’d seriously getting this as a replacement over anther mini 2 (which had its price reduced). Except it costs $2 million in Canada.

The iPad Air 2 was not updated because Apple apparently needs at least one flagship product to bypass every year. But wait, maybe the iPad Air 2 isn’t the iPad flagship anymore, Maybe it’s the…

iPad Pro: This is kind of interesting but in the end it’s still just a very big iPad. It would be great for reading comics, which I rarely do. It would be nice for reading magazines, which I do more often, but I don’t need to drop [Canadian price redacted due to local obscenity laws] dollars on a magazine reader. The Apple Pencil seems like a decent stylus but initial impressions and specs suggest it may be good but not great for doodling. I’m not going to spend [Canadian price redacted due to local obscenity laws] for a doodling device, either. Or if I were I’d probably buy a Cintiq instead, but win the lottery first. As expensive as it will be, I still find it intriguing. I’m one of those nutty people who actually like large tablets (for certain tasks) and one that’s thinner and lighter than a Surface Pro has some appeal (I say, as an owner of a Surface Pro 3). Not being able to run “real” programs is a downer, though, even if iOS is getting better multi-tasking and the like in iOS 9.

Tim Cook’s Hair: This isn’t a new product but it still kind of scares me. I am waiting for Tim Cook’s Hair 2.0 to launch. Come on, Jon Ivy, you can do it. Make Tim’s hair the fastest, lightest, thinnest (er, maybe not thinnest) hair it can be.

Steve Jobs, gone at age 56

I couldn’t think of a more poetic headline and besides, those are impossible to deal with when doing a search years later.

Today Steve Jobs died. The Apple site has a simple page to him dedicated here. The statement on it is from current CEO Tim Cook and reads:

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

I have a love/hate relationship with Apple. I’ve applied to work for the company. I’ve mocked the iPad for bringing iBooks to Canada with no actual books to purchase. I’ve owned three iPods, two of which sit on the desk where I’m writing this, alongside my iPhone 4. I’ve dismissed the original iMac (the one with the hockey puck mouse). I’ve marveled at the elegant design of the current iMac. But through all of my mockery and admiration I have acknowledged that Apple would not be the company it is today — not even close — without one of the most utterly capable CEOs any tech company has ever seen.

Steve Jobs wasn’t just a visionary — he not only oversaw Apple and the introduction of a slew of incredibly successfully, industry-defining products (iPod, iPhone, iPad, the iTunes music store, the mock turtleneck sweater) but also an entirely different company as well — Pixar. To be so successful with just one company is amazing. To be so successful with two — simultaneously! — is insanely amazing. Unlike a lot of people with vision, Jobs was able to transform his into reality. He was also a terrific speaker and showman. When he reappeared earlier this year to introduce the iPad 2 people ate it up, ignoring how much thinner and frail he looked.

And in the end life was cruel to him. Having survived pancreatic cancer in 2004 and a liver transplant in 2009, he took medical leave in January of this year, resigned as CEO in late August and today, just weeks later, is gone, felled by an illness that money and power cannot ward off. He was only 56.

The world has lost a uniquely talented individual. It will be interesting to see where Apple goes in the years to come with Jobs’ guidance. It would not surprise me if it falters, his imprint was so strong. But it’s also likely he planted the seeds to keep the company strong, knowing his time was coming to an end.

Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs.


The cult of Apple

Really, is there any other explanation? This post is in reference to the new Apple iPhone 4:

I’ll be heading to the Stonestown Apple Store around 3AM (did not pre-order, as I had plans to exchange my < month old 3GS at AT&T until they decided not to have any, the bastards). iPadding the wait like Woolen Horde.

Someone who already had a less-than-a-month-old iPhone 3GS (latest model) stood in line at three in the morning to get an iPhone 4 (new model) and killed the time waiting for the store to open by playing with the last Apple gadget (iPad)  he also waited in line for. It’s like a Syfy movie about mind control devices except it’s actually happening.

People are weird.