The Apple Store: Fascinating look behind the scenes

This was a fun read with lots of cool insights. If your blood pressure surges and adrenalin courses through your veins as you approach the big white electronic temple then read on. Here’s an excerpt from: Retail Therapy: Inside the Apple Store:

Let’s explore Loss Prevention. Theft hurts profit. Theft matters more with portable items of great value, like say a laptop, or a smartphone, or high-end speakers. Multiply that value by how many different models and spare parts an Apple store needs to keep in stock, and you have a few million dollars of goods on hand. Scale up more if it’s a big flagship store. That warrants not only video cameras and bag searches of employees, but armed professionals. Apple stores have the equivalent of undercover Federal Air Marshals on hand, like my friend Brock.

 

[GEEKY] List of Siri Commands

How to Use Siri – Full list of Siri Commands for iPhone, iPad, Video:

Below is a comprehensive Siri Commands List (updated for iOS6) for the new Siri Personal Assistant, optimized for mobile Safari browsers. These cool and useful Siri Commands can be used on your iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPad, iPad mini, and the iPod Touch. If you find this list helpful, or if you would like to add to our list of top Siri Commands, please use the comments section below.

 

Designed in California, Made in China

James Dyson (the vacuum cleaner guy) said something which may seem obvious but is nonetheless very controversial:

“Apple’s success as a technology company is built on hardware. The current fixation with digital is misplaced.” (fromThe Real Meaning and Future of Apple’s Mantra – Designed in California)

Good article. Read it.

Sparrow vs. Mail.app and Mountain Lion

Did you hear that Google bought Sparrow? Sparrow is a really cool email client that I for one have been using very happily for a while now.

Did you hear the announcement that there would be no more development of sparrow?

Did you hear that some people were upset at this, while others defended Sparrow’s “right” to let themselves be sold? (Huh????)

Anyway, I am not getting into that discussion. I was selfishly sad, because I am very fond of Sparrow and I know (from first hand knowledge, more than once, but also as a customer) that the product that is acquired doesn’t often do well in its new home, and so I need to end my addiction to Sparrow.

But then came the announcement that Mountain Lion (the new OS X for Mac) was coming out today. I thought I had a theory: Maybe Mail.app on Mountain Lion would be every bit as good as Sparrow.

Sparrow, seeing the writing on the wall decided better not to wait for the inevitable, and ran into Google’s arms. (After all, I can think of many worse companies to be acquired by.)

For that and other reasons (like impatience) I bought my Mountain Lion ($20 for all three computers — good deal!) First impression: Hmm, what’s changed? Second impression, quick let’s go look at Mail.app!

Bad news. Mail.app is a clunker compared to Sparrow. It’s slow to launch and slow to work with compared to Sparrow. Sparrow works much more nicely with GMail than Mail.app.

I guess I will stick with Sparrow, for now.

 

MacBook Performance comparison

Due to an unusual set of coincidences I have 3 different Macintosh computers in my office today so I could run performance comparisons. After a brief bit of research I came across XBench, a free, open source benchmarking suite. I am not positive that it is the state of the art, but it’s quite popular. Here’s what I found:

Mac Pro, Early 2009, with 6 Gig of memory and a Solid State Disk (SDD) (MacPro4,1)

  • Overall: 234.09, CPU: 198.42
  • Memory: 474.51
  • Graphics: 379.61

MacBook Air, Late 2010, with 4 Gig of memory and a SDD (MacBookAir3,2)

  • Overall: 126.07
  • CPU: 149.17
  • Memory: 198.90
  • Graphics: 159.94

Macbook Air, Late 2011, with 4 Gig of memory and a SDD (MacBookAir4,2)

  • Overall: 199.85
  • CPU: 205.25
  • Memory: 508.89
  • Graphics: 316.38

I know, you want to know the units, and I don’t know them. But still you can see remarkably that the brand new MacBook Air is almost as performant as the huge towering Mac Pro, Pretty amazing and telling.

Weight of tablets

I’ve been playing around with each of the major tablets while considering ‘my next move’ 🙂

Oddly I have not been able to find a side by side comparison of their weights. After googling for 3 minutes. So as a public service let me transcribe my notes on this vital topic.

  • Apple iPad 2: 21.1 oz
  • Barnes and Nobel Nook Color: 15.8 oz
  • Amazon Kindle Fire: 14.6 oz
  • Barnes and Nobel Nook Tablet: 14.1 oz
  • Amazon Kindle Touch: 7.8 oz
  • Amazon Kindle 4: 5.9 oz

 

I don’t ‘get’ iTunes match

What I don’t get is the price. First I had to have bought the music (from Apple or someone else) and now I have to pay again ($24.95 per year) in order to make it all available over iCloud.  I think I will stick with my new favorite, Spotify.

I am sure I don’t fully understand the details, but it seems to me that the essential benefit that the new iTunes provide is that I can access my whole music collection (as far as it is ‘legal’) from any device attached to iCloud. Anything else?

Well, I think the very idea of ‘owning’ a music collection is antiquated. I mean it’s evidently inefficient that millions of people have a copy of the same bits that form “Let It Be” on each of their computers.

iCloud solves this, in one way. I have to buy the ‘Let it Be’ bits, persuade iCloud of that fact, and iCloud will let me access their copy of the same bits, from any device that I connect to iCloud. Ok.

Spotify (and other services like Rhapsody) solve this differently. They buy the bits and let me rent them for a tiny amount of money, $9.95 per month. Depending on how much new music I listen to this is more or less expensive than the combination of buying the song and paying iCloud to host it.

But the advantage is that the music I don’t listen to anymore doesn’t keep taking up room on my computer. And new music that becomes available is immediately available to be under the same subscription fee.

Here’s an article on ZDNet Asia, “iTunes Match: A solution for a problem that Apple helped create” , that is I agree with.

Free iPhone 3GS upgrade to iPhone 4?

So Radioshack is offering $50 off the price of an iPhone 4 for the next several days. As far as I can tell, the difference between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS is not that great, so I’ve not really been that interested. But it got me thinking.

It turns out that there are many sites that supposedly give you cash for your old iPhone. Oddly, Radioshack is offering $125, and I see sites like Gazelle.com and CashForiPhones.com offering anything between $125 and as much as $315. How can that be? I am not sure.

As current AT&T contract lock in is over, so from my calculations: $300 for the phone, $50 discount from Radioshack is $250, so if I can get $250 for my old phone, it’s a free upgrade. My remaining question is, who the heck is CashForiPhones.com and can I trust them?