Apple

iTunes Match and Siri: a match made in heaven

This week Apple released iTunes Match. iTunes Match scans your iTunes library and makes all your music available over the internet. Just seconds after the scanning had completed on my iMac, my iPhone showed my entire 8,000 song music library. Amazing.

My favorite aspect of the original iPod was that it held all your music. I didn’t have to think about what to sync. I didn’t have to think about what I could play. I always had everything. With the iPod Nano and iPhone, managing music became a pain.

Yesterday while driving to Palo Alto, I tested Siri and iTunes Match. “Shuffle songs by Smashing Pumpkins.” A few seconds later, music started playing. But here’s the amazing part: my phone didn’t have Smashing Pumpkins on it! The music was streaming from iCloud.

iTunes Match and Siri means I don’t have to think as much anymore. I don’t have to worry about syncing music. I don’t have to worry about how to control an interface while driving.

While it may seem like this is making us lazier (it is), it’s also making us more powerful. Building great products isn’t about adding complexity, it’s about adding simplicity. Technology like this is  approachable by more people. And it’s magical.

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My Memories of Apple

I’ve been a fanboy for almost 20 years now. I fought for Apple when no one believed in the company, and I was lucky to have spent time on the inside.

Apple isn’t just a company I love, it’s a part of who I am.

Apple is not gone, but it won’t be the same without Steve. It’s his DNA that made me fall in love. These past few weeks, I couldn’t help but remember all the great times I had with the company.

I’m sure Apple has a long history ahead of it, and I hope many more great memories to come.

1992 – My first Mac

I remember waking up one morning to find a strange man setting up a Mac LC II in my room. I don’t know who he was or why we chose to buy an Apple computer, but on that day, history was made.

CompUSA volunteer

When OS 8.5 was released, Apple called for volunteers to work at CompUSA and help sell Macs. Free labor, talk about fanboys! I did get this free shirt.

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On staff

Ok, this isn’t a specific memory. But through junior high, high school, and college, I help various staff positions because of my Apple expertise/nerdiness. In high school I was on yearbook staff as the computer guy, helping with desktop publishing.

And in college I took care of the cluster computers in the dorms, which allowed me to skip the housing draw every year and live in awesome houses.

Steve Keynote, Macworld 1999

This is the first keynote I remember watching. I think being at Stanford was the first time I had an internet connection that allowed this.

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The first time I saw Steve live, on stage.

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2001, Woz

Woz was giving a guest lecture at a class I wasn’t taking. Eric and I dropped in and got to meet the legend.

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First person in the Palo Alto Apple store

I stood/slept in line for 21 hours to be the first customer in the Apple Store on University Avenue. One of the greatest experiences of my life. I got to meet the entire Apple executive team, including Steve himself.

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Apple Store, Stanford

To pay off my college loans and car loan, I bought Macs from the bookstore and sold them on eBay. This consumed my life for about 3 weeks.

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Interview at Apple

I parked next to Steve when I went for my first interview.

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Internship offer

I got my internship offer on the phone while I was driving around campus loop. I remember negotiating it against a better offer from Handspring. Apple didn’t budge, but I took their offer anyway.

Full time offer

I clearly remember pacing back and forth in my room at Bob House when I got this offer. I was negotiating against a better offer from Amazon, and Apple did match it this time.

Original iPod announcement

I was in Town Hall watching Steve Jobs unveil the very first iPod. The room was for press only but they had a few empty seats and I was at the right place at the right time. It was a great presentation, but no one knew what the iPod would do to Apple. You can see me in the intro video at 5:30.

WWDC 2004 with Jimmy Eat World on campus

The only year I was able to attend most of WWDC. I loved the party we had on campus each year, and I love Jimmy Eat World.

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iPhone announcement

I watched the iPhone announcement live via webcast from Apple’s offices on the 50th floor of the Citigroup building. I don’t think there was ever a presentation with more gasps and amazement. Unlike the iPod unveiling, this time you knew this device was going to change the world.

Posterous

I’m lucky to be surrounded by Apple fanboys just like me. During Apple keynotes, the entire company gets around a conference table and watches the magic together.

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Would you pay for a Super Bowl commercial out of your own pocket? Steve Jobs did

Steve’s deep passion for Macintosh is what made “1984” possible.

As CEO, you need to be so passionate and believe so deeply in what you’re building, that you are willing to push forward no matter who or what gets in your way.

Sometimes that even includes the board of directors. Apple’s board said they didn’t want to run “1984”. Steve Jobs didn’t let that stop him.

In this amazing clip, TBWA charman Lee Clow tells why “1984” was a breakthrough commercial, and how it almost never aired.

Source: Art and Copy

Why the AppleTV is my favorite Apple product

In a recent interview with Mashable, I was asked, “What’s your favorite Apple product?” Jenn didn’t publish that part of the interview, but she did tweet my answer: AppleTV. And I got a bunch of replies from people who probably thought I was crazy.

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Obviously I love my iPhone. My MacBook Air is the best laptop I’ve ever owned. And Lion was the biggest (and riskiest) OS leap Apple has made, and they nailed it. 

But AppleTV has a special place in my heart. And I think it deserves more credit. Here’s why the AppleTV is my favorite Apple product today:

Features – The first version of the AppleTV was a failure. In the second version, Apple CUT features. They made it simpler. They made it do less. They won by making the experience better, not by adding features.

  • I love watching Netflix, listening to my music, and renting HD movies. These are the obvious features.
  • AirPlay is magic. Streaming photos, videos, Youtube, Pandora, and soon games from my iPhone or iPad wirelessly to my TV is incredible. This is the future.
  • The screensaver on my TV is a photo slideshow from Aperture. Right now it’s all photos of Kate (using face detection). This makes me happy.

Disruptive – The Mac is a better computer. The iPhone is a better phone. iPods are better mp3 players. But the AppleTV is not an improvement on any previous device or service. Together with iTunes, AppleTV is an entirely new kind of product.

  • AppleTV brings digital media to normal people. It merges technology with my physical world in a very simple way.
  • AppleTV (via the iTunes store) promotes paying for media. I’ve never believed in stealing music or other content, but for a while stealing was a better experience than buying. I’m glad Apple turned that around.
  • I can watch media on my TV. I don’t want to watch movies on a laptop screen. Music shouldn’t be played on computer speakers. I (and other normal people) want to sit on a comfortable sofa and watch a television. Nerds like projectors because they think bigger is better. It’s not.
  • AppleTV has the potential to disrupt media distribution like nothing else out there. I can imagine moving away from Time Warner in favor of a 100% on demand content service.

Underdog – I like rooting for the underdog. It’s not one of the successful Apple products, but I think it has a ton of potential.

Fifteen years ago, I was trying to convince my friends to buy Macs. Ten years ago: iPods. Four years ago: iPhones. And today: AppleTV. It’s a device I use every day, and I love it. My laptop is for work. My iPhone is for work. But my AppleTV is for fun. It’s when I decompress.

And at $99, it’s the most approachable Apple product out there.

Why Apple built Final Cut Pro X

I worked on Final Cut Pro from 2002 to 2008. It was an amazing experience. The Final Cut Pro X project was just getting started when I left Apple. It was an ambitious and controversial move, but it made sense for Apple. Here’s why:

Apple doesn’t care about the pro space
The goal for every Apple software product is to sell more hardware. Even the Mac operating system is just trying to get people to buy more Mac computers.

The pro market is too small for Apple to care about it. Instead of trying to get hundreds or even thousands of video professionals to buy new Macs, they can nail the pro-sumer market and sell to hundreds of thousands of hobbyists like me.

Millions of people are buying phones and cameras that can shoot HD video, and many of them are looking for ways to edit. I know how to use Final Cut Pro because I worked on it for 6 years, but for most people it’s just too complex.

FCP X lets Apple move beyond the pro space, and sell to a much larger group looking for better tools.

Apple doesn’t compete on features
In the early days of Final Cut Pro, the product stood on its own. It was the first truly powerful, software based non linear editor.

Editors had two choices: spend $50k on an Avid system, or $1k on a Final Cut Pro license. You couldn’t compare the two on features because the experiences and price points were vastly different. Every seat FCP won away from Avid was a huge victory.

But things changed in 2006 and 2007. Serious competitors to Final Cut Pro came from Adobe, Pinnacle, Sony, and others. People were choosing their hardware and software based on format support, or specific features they needed.

That’s boring. Apple doesn’t play that game.

So it was time to reinvent the video editor. And Final Cut Pro X really delivers there. FCPX isn’t defined by a feature chart. It’s not trying to do more than its competitors, it’s doing it better.

And once again, Final Cut Pro stands on its own. And once again, Final Cut Pro will expand the market of video editors out there, and I’ll be one of them.

Final Cut Pro 1.0 didn’t win over every Avid user, and Final Cut Pro X won’t win over every Final Cut Pro user. But they’ve laid the foundation for something incredible, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Congrats to all my friends on the Final Cut Pro team who shipped this incredible release!

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