Peter Bright:

The Surface Book should offer another feature found in laptops: better performance. The keyboard unit can include a discrete NVIDIA GPU. That’s only usable when the tablet is docked, of course. The keyboard also includes an extra battery; the system as a whole can manage a 12 hour battery life, Microsoft says, but that’s only when using both batteries. The tablet itself has much less battery life.

Yikes, that keyboard attachment is hideous looking. Despite all that — the Surface remains a compelling product whose success is hampered by the lack of good touch-first applications.

Adamant has come out for Safari 9 (this might be El Capitan only, not sure). It works just like its iOS counterpart: set it and forget it. No clutter in the toolbar like you get with Ghostery. Very cool.

Horace Dediu:

Looking at new features like 3D Touch, Live Photos, and better cameras, one can observe how easily acceptable and desirable they are to those who first see them. As were Siri, FaceTime, Touch ID and iCloud, making something meaningfully better is a sign of sustaining innovation which does not over-serve. Paradoxically, the improvements are not usually things that users ask for. Surveys always show that consumers want “better battery life” or a “bigger screen” but delivering something else entirely which nevertheless leads to mass adoption shows an uncanny insight into what really matters.

I love this passage from Dediu. Coincidentally, the Evening Standard had an interview with Apple SVP Eddy Cue, in which he said something very similar:

Can customer feedback be something of a minefield? “There are things people can tell us and there are things they can’t,” he continues. “Both are really important but one of the dangers is to only do things people tell you to do. You would never do [new iPhone features] Live Photos or 3D Touch if you only listened to people. To innovate you have to look beyond. We used to say that we get paid to look around corners.”

It reminds me of a story I heard in college about cars in the 1950s. (You know, the cars with the big fins on the back.) The parable told was that the big car companies asked people what they wanted in a car, and cars kept getting more and more boring. Then they started asking people what their neighbors would want in a car, and people said things like: “Oh he’d want something crazy with wings, and bubbles, something like a jet.” And thus they made cars with tail fins, and people loved them.

It’s an adaptation of this Henry Ford quote:

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

We are often the worst judges at what we truly want. We would all love better battery life, but very few us would be compelled to go spend another $400 for better battery life.

MG Siegler on Live Photos:

That is, static pictures which suddenly come alive. But the true power comes from the re-creation of a memory, in front of your eyes, on your iPhone. It sounds like I’m overplaying it, but I’m not.

As a parent, it’s one of my favorite features.

Holy shit:

CPU SPEED IS KNOCKING ON THE DOOR The single core CPU performance of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is roughly comparable to that of the 12″ MacBook Retina. The multi-core CPU performance is ‘knocking on the door.’ GPU SPEED MATCHES OR EXCEEDS 13″ APPLE LAPTOPS The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus blow away all the dual-core laptops in the Manhattan OpenGL 3D animation. And they beat all but the 13″ MacBook Pro in the T-Rex 3D animation.

Jack Marshall:

Mr. Murphy said he’s taken Eyeo up on its offer, and plans to implement an option within his app whereby “acceptable” ads will be displayed to users. The feature will be switched on by default, Mr. Murphy said, and he will receive a flat monthly fee from Eyeo in return. Mr. Murphy declined to disclose the fee, but said he expects to make less money from Eyeo’s payments than from sales of the app itself.

Go ahead and scratch Crystal off the list of content blockers to buy.

Michelle Dean:

The problem, Armstrong says, was that because she felt so beholden to them, she was agreeing to do just about anything to keep the advertisers happy.

I hate the title of this post, but it encapsulates so well what I talked about in the native advertising post. It’s not that people who do this are evil, or have bad intentions. It’s that they get caught up in it.

DHH with some interesting thoughts on Evernote and Dropbox:

Both Evernote and Dropbox are facing increasing indifference from customers and competition from simply Good Enough features in someone else’s more complete offering. “You’re a feature, not a product”, as Steve Jobs famously dismissed Dropbox (see The case against Dropbox and Evernote, The First Dead Unicorn for but two deeper analyses).

I know a lot of nerds will revolt against that theory, but they really shouldn’t. You may not like iCloud, but I assure you that it is very good and a lot easier to understand and setup for the average user. Notes is also getting closer to Evernote, is easier to understand and setup, and just there.

When something is already there, and is almost good enough — in most cases that’s all you need to kill a 3rd party service or product. Dropbox and Evernote’s biggest problem was never someone doing what they do better, just someone building something close to what they do into something popular. Apple has already done that with iCloud and Notes.

Steven Aquino:

Therein lies the rub. For as much as I adore the MacBook, the problem is that it’s still a laptop. In my experiences with laptops, I’ve found that their form factor works against me, accessibility-wise. As someone with low vision, I often need to get super close to the screen in order to see it. The issue, though, is that I find a laptop’s screen to be too “far away” to see comfortably. I have to lean in to see, almost to the point where my nose is touching the glass. Adjusting the screen’s position does help a bit, but it’s still too far away to be comfortable. There are things I could do on the software side to compensate for this, but it doesn’t negate the fact that the device’s form is less than ideal. To again paraphrase Jony Ive, with a laptop, I feel like I have to fit the device.