The Macintosh Endgame

Jean-Louis Gassée:

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Instead of racing to the bottom as the market plummets, Apple appears to be taking the “high road”, in a sense: They’re taking refuge at the high end of the market by introducing new, more expensive MacBook Pros, with a visible differentiating feature, the Touch Bar. This is known, inelegantly, as milking a declining business, although you shouldn’t expect Apple to put it that way.

[…]

But what would an Ax Mac mean in the real world, to software developers? The mind reels at the thought of yet another upheaval as developers rush to convert third-party Mac apps. Or will they? With hundreds of millions of iOS devices sold year after year, and ever more software engineering resources allocated to the platform, iOS-based hardware will win the day. The billion dollar question, here, is when? As Horace Dediu a.k.a. @asymco put it in a June 2014 tweet:

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In the end, iOS numbers make the decision. For its part, Apple will stay out of the way and let customers — and developers — decide when it’s time to buy the last Mac.

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Can India really become a cashless society?

BBC:

What is fuelling this optimism (shown by Paytm and other companies) is that India is the second largest market for smartphones behind China. This has coincided with a rapid rise in internet users. The country presently has more than 450 million internet users, a number expected to touch 700 million by 2020.

[…]

But despite this sharp uptick in mobile and online payments, this overall user base is still very small for a country with a population of 1.25 billion people. And India still has a long way to go to before it can become a major cashless economy.

[…]

The country has more than 24 million credit cards and 650 million debit cards. The number of debit cards has been growing steadily but most people only use them to withdraw money from ATMs instead of using them to make payments.

Fun fact:

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Bitcoin was supposed to change the world. What happened?

Vox:

Bitcoin was supposed to render financial institutions obsolete

Too ambitious. Agreed.

There’s been little to show for $1 billion in venture capital investment

Though not readily apparent, learning is an important result.

Bitcoin never resolved its constitutional crisis

That’s why everyone is exited about blockchain and not just the Bitcoin community itself.

“The Bitcoin community has become more boring,” Sirer said. “That’s a good thing. We used to see a lot of scams. There are not so many scams anymore.”

True.

He pointed to a couple of areas where Bitcoin experiments might still bear fruit. One is in remittances.

Totally! To see this in the Indian context check out my paper.

Now Is Not The Time To Criticise The Galaxy Note 7

Mcsweeneys:

Now, I’m not going to stand here and pretend like this phone (Note 7) doesn’t have problems. After all, the proof that it gets overheated and explodes for practically no reason at all has been evident for months, but now, we need to focus on its positive aspects and wipe the slate clean. It is our company phone now, and there’s no use complaining about it anymore.

I wish I could’ve quoted the full article. Go, click on the link, enjoy.

Uber Adds Indian Wedding Service as New Rules on Cash Kick In

Bloomberg:

Customers can pre-pay for rides that can be shared with family and friends for wedding-related travel, such as hopping between markets, shopping for the perfect outfit and getting guests to the venue […]

While uberWeddings (under uberEvents) has been available in other countries since April 2015, it has been recently introduced in India.

Sure, demonetisation has been messy, but maybe it could nudge the urban segment towards the (better) cashless economy. Like this feature, such an economy is inherently more organised and easier to account for. Now, that is worth celebrating, isn’t it?

Innoveracy: Misunderstanding Innovation

A gem of a post I’ve come across:

  • Novelty: Something new
  • Creation: Something new and valuable
  • Invention: Something new, having potential value through utility
  • Innovation: Something new and uniquely useful

[…]

To be innovative is very difficult, but because of the difficulty, being innovative is usually well rewarded. Indeed, it might be easier to identify innovations simply by their rewards. It’s almost a certainty that any great business is predicated on an innovation and that the lack of a reward in business means that some aspect of the conditions of innovation were not met.

The causal, if-and-only-if connection with reward is what should be the innovation litmus test. If something fails to change the world (and hence is unrewarded) you can be pretty sure it was not innovative enough.

A lot of us confuse innovation with novelty.