Tag: Apple

Apple HealthKit already created some disruptions …

… At least in the minds of people.

Marketing is a powerful persuasion tool and you sometimes need a few early applications to create 243076870_1166dfc14e_zthe impression that something radically new came and is changing an area.

I like to listen to podcast while doing repetitive activities that don’t require my brain too much. One of the podcasts I listen to is the Clinical Air from the Pharma Talk serie. A few weeks ago, I listened to episode #14 about consumer electronics in clinical research. It was all about the Apple HealthKit. In a sense it was very interesting to hear about it as it contained more details than its Wikipedia page for the moment ; another top-level summary of its capabilities is found in this Rahlyn Gossen’s blog post (Rahlyn was one of the guests of this episode). Episode #14 was published on July 21, 2015.

Tonight I listen to episode #12 about digital startups and applications for clinical research. It struck me that the discussion was more serious, more focused on actual startups and apps, what they try to solve, how they would/should evolve in the future, etc. Apple was mentioned only once, as part of provocative titles of articles in the press at that time. Because “that time” was August 29, 2014 (when episode #12 was published), one month before Apple announcement.

For some things, we’ll have to dig for information before big marketing campaign, in order to find out interesting content that explore various areas instead of being funneled in the same direction …

Photo credit: Birds: a tragedy by Shannon Kokoska on Flickr (licence CC-by-nc-nd).


Frankly speaking, I don’t really understand the passion for the new Apple iPad (an "iPhone on steroids"?). It’s a beautiful-looking machine but it also jails its user in the "Apple ecosystem". It’s just consumerism.

Apple has a record of launching beautiful-looking devices and shiny products. In the beginning of the years 1980s, they popularized the computer mouse and the graphical user interfaces as we know them today. In the beginning, one would love the simplicity of use of Apple computers and software, especially compared to the MS-Windows or GNU/Linux versions at that time (I’m speaking of the years 1990s). The end-user was then at the center of the "computer experience". But now, it seems the end-user becomes a (paying) consumer, nothing else.

Since a few years, Apple developed its own, closed ecosystem and is now cleverly taking advantage of the miniaturization of electronic devices to sell content via this ecosystem. Indeed, Apple first developed the iTunes Store that was initially only a music store but later offered other multimedia content and applications (most of them for a fee). Legally selling music via the internet was disruptive at that time when most music available on the internet was only personal copies from some individuals. With the miniaturization of electronic devices, phones became "personal digital assistant" with the ability to play music, play games, run office application, take photos and videos, surf the web, exchange e-mails and instant messages, etc. Computers also became miniaturized, giving birth to netbooks.

The great thing about these small devices is that they are usually forced to save data in common formats in order for their clients to be able to use these photos (jpeg), videos (3gp) and music (mp3) on other devices than their phone or netbook. However, nearly all manufacturers also created their own "Store", websites selling multimedia content and applications (not only music anymore) specifically created for a platform but also specifically locked to a platform. One may argue that Apple iTunes Store is easier to use and provides more content than any other platform (which is probably true) but nevertheless, Apple is locking its customers to its platform.

The advent of the iPhone and now the iPad further locks its users to use Apple Store thus to use Apple-approved content, Apple-approved music, Apple-approved applications, Apple-approved books, etc. Of course, there is a way to open some of your own documents previously saved in a more usual format. But there is no way to share the content you bought from a Store with your child, spouse, parents and friends. Apple owns the content you bought, you are just leasing it from Apple for your own personal use.

So, technically, the iPad may be a nice looking device but it’s also an iPrison for your data and what you can/can’t do. I agree computers and electronic devices needs to be user-friendly and shouldn’t annoy users with technical details. But I also would like that the same computers and electronic devices give the freedom to modify, share content, look at details if that’s the user wants.

Finally, I like this citation from Laurian Gridinoc, before Apple annoucement:

HAL-9000: What is going to happen?
Dave: Something wonderful.
HAL-9000: I’m afraid.
Dave: Don’t be. We’ll be together

Don’t be afraid, indeed: Apple will know what you want, dictate what you’ll like but won’t disable any life support systems as it needs your money!

About iPod+DRM

I don’t understand why people are buying and offering Apple iPods to their family members. In fact, offering an iPod is like telling you: “Here is a costly electronic device I’m giving you, it’s cool thanks to huge marketing efforts but hey, in 5 – 10 years (or immediately if you lose your player), you won’t be able to read any music files you bought anymore: it has DRM inside. Moreover, when this one will be old, you’ll be forced to buy an Apple player to keep listening to music you bought”. In short: “I am offering you a beautiful trap”.

I recently bought a Samsung Flash player. It has a really nice design, it is easy to use, it behaves like any USB key (so you don’t need drivers, specific software, …) and, more importantly for me, it can play ogg vorbis files without any problem! 🙂

More info on this DRM-thing? Read the Stop DRM Now website (French equivalent), the Defective by design website and why DRM puts you at risk as innovator, artist and even consumer.