Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.
I have always been fascinated by how big-name corporations try to predict the future.
This is especially true when it comes to technology.
With the tech world changing so rapidly, I continually find myself interested in how the big names in that business try to stay ahead of the curve. Some — like Apple — always seem to be on the right side of that wave. Others always seem to be playing catch-up.
I read three articles this week that offered an enlightening window into two major companies: Apple and Netflix. If you use their products, you will enjoy these pieces.
The secret of iOS7 (9/19/13, I, Cringely): The best tech writers are able to present their own visions of the future. In this case, technology journalist Mark Stephens — known by his pen name, Robert X. Cringely — delivers his predictions about Apple’s predictions.
Cringely dissects the release of Apple’s new iPhones and iOS7 operating system, positing a beautiful theory on where the ground-breaking company might be headed next:
Here’s what I think is happening. At the very moment when Apple critics are writing-off the company as a three- or four- or five-hit wonder, Apple is embracing the fact that desktop computers only represent about 15 percent of its income, making Apple clearly a mobile technology company. As such, it is more important for Apple to expand its mobile offerings than its desktops. So Apple in a sense is about to make the Macintosh deliberately obsolete.
Much like last week’s piece from Brent Cox, this one springboards from actual news into a stream of thoughtful analysis. I will have to remember to look back at this article a few years from now; we can find out whether Cringely was right or whether he has simply offered another example of tech predictions gone awry.
Let’s get ready to rumble (9/19/13, McSweeney’s): Speaking of Apple, this story — written by another author with a pseudonym, J.K. Appleseed — takes you behind the scenes of the Apple Store, from the eyes of an employee.
This is an exposé of the most enjoyable kind.
I really do not want to spoil much, because the whole thing is such a wonderful read, but Appleseed basically offers a jewelry store’s worth of gems about Apple’s behind-the-scenes ethos and employee policies.
I know Apple most likely did not sanction or support such a piece, but company officials should not be too upset at the article’s contents. If anything, readers learn exactly why Apple has seen such success in the last decade; its leaders pay so much attention to the human experience — and not just with their products.
Netflix and the delusion of choice (9/22/13, Medium): I was introduced to the site Medium this week, and I am intrigued by its model: curating news content for users while making the content less newsy and more filled with perspective.
Right away, I found an article you would never see — at least in its presented form — in a newspaper.
Writer Tom Gantzer breaks down his main issue with Netflix: its convoluted, sometimes overwhelming recommendation system. He uses GIFs and photo comparisons with Spotify to make his point, and he does it with a verve and viewpoint that seems to fully embody Medium’s ideals.
(I would, by the way, also recommend this article in Techcrunch, in which one of Medium’s overseers — also a co-founder of Twitter — lays out his vision for the site. It’s pretty fascinating.)
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