Categories
Business Technology

Trump is right about something! Made in USA counts for a lot

You probably rushed to dismiss it.  After all, in this globalized world it seems counterintuitive that Apple should produce iPhones entirely in the US.  Some would say impossible.  And it is Donald Trump saying it, the man is ridiculous almost 24/7.

Now think about it again.  Cost?  Yeah, sure it would be more expensive to produce in America but Apple has the margin to support it.    It would not be more expensive to the consumers.  And even these Tim Cook days of actually giving back to shareholders, it isn’t just about the stock market.  Apple stock has become a global “too big to fail” ticker, it’s price was never really connected to its performance much anyway.

Some say it is impossible to produce an iPhone entirely in the US.  So let me get this straight.  There are countries out there more advanced than America?  And this is OK with everyone?  Nobody else perceive a medium term threat in the situation?  It is true that no country actually produces an iPhone, it is simply a matter of assembly.  So why can a Mac pro be produced in America and not an iPhone?  Samsung might not seem much of a threat these days but that can quickly change.    You set up your whole supply chain somewhere else and pretty soon “somewhere else” is selling iPhone knock offs at a tenth of the price.    Furthermore they attract more customers on the back of their legitimate claim to be manufacturing or assembling iPhones.  Their countries learn how to produce such items in terms of all their processes, taxes, permits, government procedures and a million other little things we call “know how”.  You are greasing the way for anyone else to roll in and compete.

I know all this sounds very unliberal and unbusinesslike.  That is because we have been schooled to always assume that the free market is the best choice.  It usually is.  Abusing worker rights in China is not.  There is nothing liberal or free about what Apple has been doing (and continues to do) to squeeze its suppliers.  It didn’t join the move of “Made in Argentina” when Samsung and Blackberry did.  Apple doesn’t care about building long term relationships with any market in the world other than America.  Apple always treated its distributors like crap, was always secretive, has always decided from the top and bossed everyone else around.

Well there is no point running complex business analysis or logistics calculations on it.  It is a matter of soul.  What is Apple about?  If it is a truly global company, why does it act like a bunch of Californians with attitude who don’t care about anything?  Making iPhones in America won’t solve any problems.  It won’t make them worse either.

And it just might force the company to face up to the fact that it isn’t really sure what it is about anymore and how it connects to consumers.

 

 

Categories
Technology

Mobile revolution in perspective

Some people on the planet feel the need to bring some balance to this debate.   Not that there is much debate.   Everyone seems sure that mobile devices will conquer the planet.   Apps are growing like mushrooms.   Many with less meaningful content than an edible fungus.  This doesn’t stop marketing departments investing in mobile platforms for everything.   Everything.

Don’t get me wrong.   I am happy that this is leading to some interoperability.   (Not so happy we are wasting a lot of global energy pandering to a very small minority of …well whatever Apple dreams up of, often on its own little island.  We should be talking about “tablet compatible” things, not “iPad” compatible.)   It is great that websites are getting better to navigate from different resolution screens.   I have been a road warrior and smart phone user since the days when this involved carrying a brick in my back pocket and being laughed at in meetings for using it.

I have done work on a mobile phone.   Back in the days when you could find a phone with a decent keyboard I would even write thoughts like this on one.   But real individual information processing work gets done on a PC.   Unless you are in the business of only reading stuff or killing pigs by throwing birds at them from a slingshot.

There are some rock solid obstructions to a mobile device being truly capable:  1. Screen resolution.   I struggle with netbooks because the 600 pixel limitation to the height makes getting anything done on the internet difficult.  Even 768 on many laptops is annoying.   2. Screen size.   Some of us are lucky enough to not mind ridiculously small fonts.   Not everyone.   The Galaxy Note is a step in the right direction. 3. Keyboard.  Again netbooks are a good example.  Read reviews and all the complaints people make about smaller keyboards.   For anyone that writes to make their living this is serious.   Virtual keyboards on touch screen never, ever, ever come even close and voice recognition remains a problem in the real world.  4. Multi tasking.   Even if Alt-tab isn’t your second nature, when you are working you are very often multitasking.   I’m not talking about an iPhone finally being able to run essential tasks simultaneously.   I am talking about 5 spreadsheets, 8 browser windows, a business app and a few other things running at the same time because I need to them to put something together.   Even a simple presentation will often demand 6 or 7 software applications running concurrently.  5. Speed.   When we are talking about serious work, the speed of the device is essentially stalling your thought process.   I am annoyed at upgrading to an 18 megapixel DSLR because it takes that much longer for my Core i7, SSD laptop to process the images.  Time is money and mobile devices are wasteful in this respect.  Unless they are a laptop.   Mobile enough!

The list continues with other major or minor niggles.   “Niggles” being things that bother you.   Like the room being too cold.   Like your chair not being comfortable.   Like all those things you don’t want bothering you when you actually try to get some work done.   For anyone wanting to focus on a task involving the use of technology, a PC will continue to be the best place to get it done.

Niggle free.

Categories
Society

The planet is lucky Steve Jobs stuck to making gadgets

I think everyone in branding envies Steve Jobs.   Some turn it into adulation, others into hate.  He was the ultimate spin doctor.  From “we burn Pentiums to the ground” to “we love Intel” in the space of a few months.  Or “we will never use Adobe Flash” to “OK, we will implement it in everything again”; most politicians would do well to study how he did it.

From the Apple IIe back in the early 80s, to my Macintosh and then the Quadra at University, I must admit I never agreed with the company’s approach to doing business.   Because there was only one beneficiary:   Steve Jobs!  The concept of a sales channel simply didn’t exist in his mind.   Up or down his supply chain everyone was milked for everything they had.  5,6 or 8 billion dollars or whatever his net worth was as he died and not a cent given to charity.

And yet the whole planet mourns.   If this man was in charge of a country, he would have set his neighboring country off doing space exploration (he would keep the rights and take the credit though), we would all be earning $100 a month and he would be re-elected every time.   We would all believe we are living in a golden age of a perfect life as we waited for the next version of his social policies to actually work.   He would be president of the United Nations and kick everyone else out of the meetings.  We would put up with his laws being practically a dictatorship; and like it too!

We should all breathe a huge sigh of relief at the passing of this genius.   Because it wasn’t evil genius.   Simply a megalomaniac without a real vision.   Selling gadgets for people to play “Angry Birds” on, isn’t a vision.   Fighting poverty in Africa, famine or cancer is a vision.   Getting rich people to buy shiny hardware doesn’t change the world.

Read here about “The Other Steve Jobs: Censorship, Control and Labor Rights”