10 Worst Design Failures of All Time

Nokia N-Gage is one of the most famous examples of design shortcomings. Although the concept of a phone combined with a gaming console proved to be a winner (right iPhone?) the clumsiness of the design doomed Nokia’s plans. Examples? To change the game you needed to remove the battery (?!). Speaker and microphone were placed on a side of the phone, so you needed to actually speak to the side of the device.

Jerry Cao, UXPin.com

I normally consider “Top 10 XXX of All Time” style articles to be the cancer of the Internet, but good Christ some of the things on this list truly are horrific design failures.

Divide. Profit. Repeat.

We were in Tennessee. During the motorcade, he spotted some ugly racial epithets scrawled on signs. Late that night in the hotel, when the local dignitaries had finished the last bottles of bourbon and branch water and departed, he started talking about those signs. “I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Bill Moyers recalling a late night conversation with President Lyndon B. Johnson

This quote feels particularly pertinent at the moment. Funny how some things never change.

Apple discontinues Airport Wifi Routers

The technology had been standardised; it had a name; now Wi-Fi needed a market champion, and it found one in Apple, a computer-maker renowned for innovation. The company told Lucent that, if it could make an adapter for under $100, Apple would incorporate a Wi-Fi slot into all its laptops. Lucent delivered, and in July 1999 Apple introduced Wi-Fi as an option on its new iBook computers, under the brand name AirPort. “And that completely changed the map for wireless networking,” says Greg Raleigh of Airgo, a wireless start-up based in Palo Alto, California. Other computer-makers quickly followed suit. Wi-Fi caught on with consumers just as corporate technology spending dried up in 2001.

A brief history of Wi-Fi | The Economist

It feels weird to me that Apple have stopped making Wi-Fi routers. Coupled with the news of them leaving the display business, it just all feels a little… un-Apple of them to seemingly let go of so many components of the total user experiece.

With regards to wireless networking, I can’t help but feel that it’s simply because Apple is moving to launch a home automation hub to compete with Google Home & Amazon’s Alexa. I really do hope that is the case. It’s starting to feel like Apple is cutting a whole lot of things before providing adequate replacements. And nothing pisses people off more then not being sure of what’s next.

Apple Acknowledges Iphone 6S Battery & Shutdown Issues

Apple has determined that a very small number of iPhone 6s devices may unexpectedly shut down. This is not a safety issue and only affects devices within a limited serial number range that were manufactured between September and October 2015.

If you have experienced this issue, please visit an Apple Retail Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider and have your device’s serial number checked to confirm eligibility for a battery replacement, free of charge.


Market Share vs Profit Share

BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long estimates that Apple accounted for 103.6% of smartphone industry operating profits in the third quarter. Its share is over 100% because other vendors lost money in the business, resulting in Apple having more smartphone profit than the industry netted overall. In the year-earlier period, Apple grabbed 90% of smartphone profits, Long said in a research report Thursday.

Patrick Seitz for Investors Business Daily

Something to consider when reading all the “Apple Doom & Gloom stories” of late.

Foursquare Wants to Make “Her” a Reality

Dennis Crowley (Co-Founder) and Jeff Glueck (CEO) of Foursquare interviewed by Recode – click for original article:

“Imagine a friend is walking alongside you,” Crowley said. “Can we make a personality like that, that talks to you in that sense? It’s not 30 years out. We’re going to be playing with this stuff a year from now.”

I don’t think we’re 30 years off either. But if Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa is what we are basing the “current” state of consumer AI, I don’t think “Her” is happening next year either…

“I want to make that Scarlett Johansson that whispers in your ear, but it’s all about local places and local discovery,” he added. “I want to replicate the experience of walking through the city with a friend that knows the city inside and out, and I want to make that for millions of people.”

(I had to stop reading at this point to reflect on what I’m sure is the inevitable release of a Kim Kardashian’s “AI” app. Everything about that concept is hilarious to me.)

“In your glasses or EarPods or watch, some kind of filtering will have to happen,” Glueck said. “All these apps are pushing notifications at you. Certain devices are more personal, and you’ll have to have a high standard of whether you’ll want to be interrupted.”

This is a problem TODAY and I think this will be an interesting old new battleground for both Apple & Google moving forward with AI.

In the times of Nokia & Erickson, every single notification was consumed with attentiveness. Each was meaningful in value because there were basically only 3 types of them: Incoming phone call, incoming text message or alarm.

The notification today, to the average user, has been devalued significantly. It seems like just about every app and service “needs” our attention multiple times a day – and can get it with equal priority. Compounding the problem, some users don’t use the granular notification settings that iOS and Android provide to limit the onslaught or filter valuable alerts. On the other extreme, other users will create a digital echo chamber, instinctively turning off all but the most basic of notifications.

Today, most users missed out on the valuable contextual data their phone is bursting with because they either can’t see it or can’t hear it.

The curent state of things makes it difficult for developers to establish a meaningful conversation with a user who isn’t actively listening. As AI becomes a reality and interactions between humans and devices becomes more fluid and meaningful, the way a device interrupts to notify a user surely must be rethought and evolved not just at the notification level, but at the OS level.

I don’t know about you, but eventually, I’d stop listening to even “that Scarlett Johansson” if she kept pestering me about Starbucks having 10% off Lattes for Foursquare Mayors.

Apple Should Buy Netflix

The truth is that Apple’s executives seem stuck in the iPod/iTunes era, where selling 70% of all music players led to leverage over the music labels; with streaming content is available on any device at any time, which means that selling hardware isn’t a point of leverage. If Apple wants its usual ownership of end users it needs to buy its way in, and that means buying Netflix.

Ben Thompson for Stratechery.com

Fascinating arguments from Thompson. As he says however, a Netflix acquisition remains as unlikely as it is “un-Apple”.

I’m hard pressed to find a more deliciously efficient solution to Apple regaining a product-centered focus.

Apple is clearly at a crossroads. Buying Netflix could be the exact type of “think different” it needs.