Maniac (2018)

Released September.

Two struggling strangers connect during a mind-bending pharmaceutical trial involving a doctor with mother issues and an emotionally complex computer.

Bizarre but interesting watching.

Books about anxiety

From Good E-Reader:

Sales of books related to “finding happiness” climbed a whopping 83% from a year ago, Barnes & Noble said.

Why are books that have to do with anxiety soaring? It could be because we are completely inundated with news 24/7, presented in a way that seems like the world is going to come crashing down any minute. Reading about an upcoming trade war or mass shootings invoke a sense of fear in you which triggers a reaction and creates a sense of fear in your subconscious which makes you insecure.

Apple’s optimistic view of the future

Asymco has more about Apple’s bet on longer-lasting devices:

Apple is making a bet that sustainability is a growth business.

and

An iPhone at $1200 may be less expensive than an iPhone at $600 if the $1200 version lasts twice as long as is used twice as much each day. The $1200 phone delivers 4x the utility at twice the price, making it half the price. By making more durable products, both in terms of hardware and software, the customer base is satisfied and preserved.

This is true long-term thinking, and it seems to permeate the company.

This makes me think about Apple’s view of the future, about trends today that it bets will be mainstream in the intermediate to long term.

Apple bets that data privacy will be vastly more appreciated by customers and mandated by regulators in the long run. That privacy versus convenience is a false dichotomy.

That the population in general will be more aware of and conscious about their everyday physical and mental health and risk factors, and will want help changing their lifestyle for better health (Apple Watch, HealthKit, ResearchKit, CareKit, Screen Time).

That renewable alternatives to traditonal, fossil-fuel based energy will eventually, through markets and regulation, become mainstream.

Apple’s always had a strong view of the world in which its customers live, but its scope has grown vastly.

In the 2000s, Apple made a bet on access and accessibility as part of its digital hub strategy (WSJ, 2001). Its digital stores brought first music, then movies, TV shows, books and finally apps to its customers. iOS had great accessibility built-in from day one. And its early bet on Apple Stores saw its customers being able to touch and experience its devices and software before buying them.

This decade Apple has moved on to awareness and responsibility in a new world of abundance of media and data, and scarcity of energy and attention. It is wonderfully optimistic.

Apple’s public commitment to durable devices

The most interesting part of the September 2018 Apple event was the segment on environmental responsibility (from ~1hr20m to 1hr25m on the keynote video). And of the three-part strategy – increase the use of recycled/responsibly sourced raw material, build longer lasting products devices, and expand reuse/recycling of iPhones and iPads – the second one caught my attention.

Apple’s probably the only electronics devices company, and one of a few major brands, that has publicly declared it wants you to use a product as long as possible, and will help you do so.

It’s walked the talk, mostly. It pointed out that the 2013 iPhone 5s will run iOS 12, that iOS 12 runs in fact faster on a device that iOS 11. This wasn’t always the case – the iPhone 3GS barely ran iOS 7 and iPhone 4/iPad 3 crawled on iOS 9. The iPhone 5, though, runs iOS 10 just fine.

But it also shows up in other ways: the App Store hosts older versions of 3rd party apps so you can download them on older versions of iOS.

Similarly, it hosts older iOS and iPod OSes too – last month, I restored a 2005 1st generation iPod nano and iTunes treated it like a first class citizen, including little touches like identifying the right colour of the device in the icon.

Most of its own iCloud services still work with old versions of iOS – my 2011 iPhone 4S on iOS 6 syncs contacts, calendar, notes, reminders, safari bookmarks, photos, and sends/receives iMessage right out of the box.

Finally, because this is a commitment to good, long-lasting design, there’s also a much higher chance that engineers/designers have thought through little details and edge cases.

I’ve been a fan of before and after photos of cities, building façades and infrastructure projects. On a day of particularly bad traffic on the Western Express Highway in Bombay, here’s a photograph of one of the Metro lines under construction. Perhaps I’ll post another one from the same stretch when it’s complete (don’t hold your breath).