Archiv für den Monat November 2016

Speculation is mounting that Jony Ive has checked out at Apple

Last fall, Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive was asked what he would do if he weren’t designing for Apple.

„If I wasn’t doing this, I think I would just be drawing or making stuff for friends,“ Ive said during an interview with Charlie Rose. „Maybe it would just be Christmas tree ornaments, I don’t know.“

Last Sunday, the London hotel Claridge’s unveiled its annual Christmas tree installation.

It was designed by Ive.

Ive’s official Apple bio says he’s „responsible for all design at Apple, including the look and feel of Apple hardware, user interface, packaging, major architectural projects such as Apple Campus 2 and Apple’s retail stores, as well as new ideas and future initiatives.“

But people who know the company well are starting to suggest that Ive has been taking more of a backseat role and may not even be deeply involved in product design anymore, which was where he made his biggest mark on the company.

„I’ve heard that he has lately been checked out or not as directly involved with product design, and that he’s been largely focused on architecture,“ Apple watcher John Gruber told Jason Snell, the former editor of Macworld, during a podcast last week. Ive is mostly working on the new retail stores and working closely with head of retail Angela Ahrendts, Snell said he’s heard.

Gruber later clarified on his blog that he did not mean to imply Ive was on his way out, and that Apple sources have told him „every aspect of every new product remains as much under his watchful eye as ever.“

Apple BookKif Leswing/Business Insider

There isn’t a whole lot of evidence one way or the other. But a new glossy book taking a look back at Ive’s best designs is certainly stoking the speculation.

„Criticizing execs is unpopular, but Ive seems stretched thin, burnt out, and bored,“ Apple blogger Marco Arment tweeted. „I’d love to see some fresh design leadership at Apple.“

The history

ive treeRob Price/Business Insider

During Apple’s meteoric rise from 2000 to 2011, Ive was at Steve Jobs‘ side.

He ran Apple’s industrial design department, which was empowered to imagine products like the iPhone. Ive often gave concepts to Apple’s engineering department, telling them to make the product design possible, which is counter to how industrial design works at other high-tech firms.

Ive considered himself Jobs‘ closest friend, and he is still seen as a critical person for the company. His 20-person team designed every single one of Apple’s iconic products in the past 15 years, from the iPod to the iPhone.

If Ive were to retire officially, it could spook investors.

After Jobs‘ death, it looked as if Ive had received even more responsibility at Apple. He expanded his role from strictly physical industrial design to digital user interface as well.

Then, in the summer of 2015, Ive received a promotion to chief design officer. The news was announced in a British newspaper on a bank holiday Monday.

CEO Tim Cook explained the move in a memo to employees, which was leaked and published on 9to5Mac:

„As Chief Design Officer, Jony will remain responsible for all of our design, focusing entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives. On July 1, he will hand off his day-to-day managerial responsibilities of ID and UI to Richard Howarth, our new vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, our new vice president of User Interface Design.“

When Ive left, Harper Alexander, his handpicked lab manager and right-hand man, left the group, too — he now does corporate recruiting for Apple.

Many analysts, such as Above Avalon’s Neil Cybart, still believe that Ive is one of the most important people at the company. „With Jony Ive positioned as overseer of Apple design, his influence on Apple’s product direction cannot be overstated,“ he wrote earlier this month.

But earlier this spring, Apple’s iPhone SE launched without a product explanation from Ive, as most previous Apple products had received. And he kept a low profile at the launch event — only one reporter who attended told us he saw Ive, while many others said they thought he wasn’t there.

Ive contributed voice-overs to the launches of the iPhone 7 and MacBook Pro this fall. But as many have observed, he did more press, including two interviews, for his new book than he did for Apple’s latest products.

Ive is certainly keeping a much lower profile than he did before his promotion.

Impossible to tell

IVE SECSEC

Despite Ive’s clear importance to the company and his role in Apple lore, the company does not list Ive as one of its six most highly compensated executives in Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

(Those execs are CEO Tim Cook, CFO Luca Maestri, Ahrendts, Online Services SVP Eddy Cue, Hardware SVP Dan Riccio, and General Counsel Bruce Sewell.)

The last time Ive was listed on a SEC Form 4, which is required whenever an „insider“ acquires or disposes of stock, was in 2009. It said he owned 28,127 shares of Apple stock at the time. There’s been a 7-1 split since then.

Simply put, nobody outside Apple knows how much Ive makes, even though we know what the rest of Apple’s executive team makes.

Shareholders do not know what Ive makes. It could be massive, or he could already be collecting a nominal salary because he’s effectively retired. It’s impossible to tell.

Making it harder for investors to gain clarity on the situation, Ive has traditionally run a leak-free, extremely secretive ship. Even Snell and Gruber, with their inside Apple sources, realize there is only so much an Apple employee would know, given that Ive’s team has traditionally worked apart from the company, especially the software engineering department.

Former Apple exec Scott Forstall, who developed iOS, could not get into Ive’s lab with his senior vice president ID card, according to a biography of Ive.

The team was small, at fewer than 20 members, although it has grown recently and now includes user interface as well. Few people ever leave the group, although Daniel Coster, a longtime member, was wooed by GoPro.

These team members sit together at lunch and are fiercely loyal to one another. If anyone knows if Ive is no longer showing up to the shop, it’s them, and they’re not talking — to other Apple employees or the press.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

The future?

Apple Campus 2Apple Campus 2.City of Cupertino

Of course, Ive could just be head down, working on Apple’s next big thing — the successor to the iPhone that will ensure the company remains the world’s most admired for years to come.

Snell suggests that the Apple Car, now seemingly on the back burner, was an Ive passion project. That’s certainly plausible. One of the reported goals for the Apple Car project was to retain top talent who might be bored working on incremental iPhone improvements.

But it’s much harder to see Ive driving the development behind a pair of smart glasses, or augmented reality, which Apple is currently working on.

Ive told The New Yorker that the face „was the wrong place“ for technology, in a long profile written in the fall of 2014, just before Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. Ive sounded tired:

„He was a few days from starting a three-week vacation, the longest of his career. The past year had been ‚the most difficult‘ he’d experienced since joining Apple, he said later that day, explaining that the weariness I’d sometimes seen wasn’t typical. Since our previous meeting, he’d had pneumonia. ‚I just burnt myself into not being very well,‘ he said.“

A quote from Jobs‘ widow in the same profile hinted at a role change as well:

„He had discouraged the thought that Newson’s appointment portended his own eventual departure, although when I spoke to Powell Jobs she wondered if ‚there might be a way where there’s a slightly different structure that’s a little more sustainable and sustaining.‘ Comparing the careers of her husband and Ive, she noted that ‚very few people ever get to do such things,‘ but added, ‚I do think there’s a toll.'“

Ive’s studio is currently located on the ground floor at 2 Infinite Loop, with a direct passageway to 1 Infinite Loop, where Cook and the rest of his executive team members meet weekly.

When Apple moves into its new „Spaceship“ Campus 2, the industrial design group will get the best location on the ring.

They’ll be on the fourth floor, in a new 30,000-square-foot studio. They will have a view of much of Apple’s campus. It’s a symbol of how important the industrial design group led by Ive has been to Apple.

When the team moves in, will Ive be there, looking at the campus he designed and helped build with them? Or will he be off in England designing retail stores, the Apple Car, or Christmas ornaments for friends?

http://www.businessinsider.de/jony-ive-in-back-seat-at-apple-2016-11

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What will the car of the future look like?

Technological breakthroughs such as autonomy are giving free rein on car design, so we’ve asked leading designers what the car of the future might look like

Autonomy, digitalisation, electrification and connected cars are no longer fashionable buzzwords looking to a brighter future.

Today, aspects of all three are already present on our roads, from cruise control functions that read the road ahead and adjust your speed, through to the self-driving Tesla Autopilot and Mercedes Driver Assist functions that are already on stream.

These are technological breakthroughs with far-reaching consequences; they are the result of the march of time and advances in understanding, and they are statesponsored because of the promise of fewer road injuries and accidents. They are an inevitability that will, in the words of Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche, prompt a profound change to cars “as radical as the industry has seen in its 120 years of existence”.

At the heart of this pivotal moment in time stands a generation of car designers with an entirely new rule book at their fingertips. But what does that rule book look like and how radically different is it?

Autocar polled leading designers from around the automotive industry to hear their views.

MICHAEL MAUER, Volkswagen Group head of design, on whether cars will end up looking the same:

“The mobility world of tomorrow gives us designers entirely new creative possibilities. Electric drives and autonomous driving remove any obstacles and change design more radically than has been the case in recent decades.

“But that does not mean we will have uniform autonomous vehicles. The streetscape of the future will become even more varied, even more colourful, even more emotional.”

SATORU TAI, executive design director for Nissan, on changing priorities and the short and longterm challenges:

“Cars may go through a phase of looking similar, but in the long run I think further advancement of technologies will then enable us to have more freedom in shaping unique designs, just as they did in the past.

“With the complete change of powertrains, the layout will become more flexible. We will no longer need an extended bonnet or bootlid. If we only pursue efficiency, I think the overall design of cars will become boxier and mono-volume orientated.

“Since many of the upcoming technologies are about man/machine interfaces, there will be a transition period and I am sure interior design will have more significance than exterior design. To a degree, the interior will influence the exterior design all the more and they will, eventually, resume the relationship they have today.”

GORDEN WAGENER, head of design at Mercedes-Benz, on bringing simplicity to complex solutions:

“Look at how much design has changed this company in the past three years. We’ve made the transition from an old luxury company to a modern luxury company, simply through design. Looking to the future with the challenges to come — digitisation, electrification — I think designers are the people to envision it.

“We’re living in the future; we’re five, 10, even 15 years into the future. Design has never been more important. There’s so much happening and, as designers, we’re really in the driver’s seat here. The new world will become very complex and it’s the designers who will try to make it simple.”

KLAUS BISCHOFF, Volkswagen design chief, on a focus on interiors:

“The biggest shift for design will be the interiors of EVs. Because we have pushed the ID concept’s climate control system into the nose, the dash can be pushed back 20cm — which gives a great deal more room in the cabin. Today’s car interiors are close to the driver, almost hemming them in; in future EVS, space in the cabin will be far greater.”

LAURENS VAN DEN ACKER, design chief for Renault, on whether to go radical or remain conventional:

“The first thing to say is that there’s never been a better time to be a designer. Technology means engineers can do things they couldn’t five years ago and that has opened up all sorts of avenues. Marketeers have realised that in a world of no really bad cars, design is what makes the difference.

“We can write our own future — and I don’t see car sharing taking that away. People will still care what their car looks like. People won’t want to be in a vehicle that looks like a trash can, and besides, most people won’t want to share a car. It’s something personal; it would be like sharing your cat.

“The biggest opportunity in the near future will be space; an electric drivetrain is 40% more compact than a combustion one, so that’s an opportunity. But how far do we go? I’m in favour of change but think customers will still want to see classic proportions. I don’t see a reason for revolution.”

SIMON HUMPHRIES, president of ED2, Toyota’s design HQ in Europe and one of the key development centres for Lexus and Toyota, on why there’s no single answer:

“Consumers’ values will become increasingly diverse, and consumers will become increasingly confident in their ability to choose without following mainstream trends. Acceptance of new, radical design and non-traditional hierarchies will result, and that may signal the end of mass trends in design as people seek new methods of self-expression.

“Size will no longer define the automotive hierarchy and branding strategies will have to change. The paradigm shift from gasoline to electric will not happen overnight; they will co-exist, resulting in each finding its own speciality. Choice will depend on lifestyle and the ‘allrounder’ car of today will be replaced by more specific designs, with the different experiences being offered becoming the brand differentiator.

“There will also be new influences from developing regions, leading to new concepts and ideas based on criteria other than the traditional European view of the car.”

MORAY CALLUM, vice-president of design at Ford, on how the designer’s job is changing:

“There’s more design to do because it’s more complicated. So much more goes into everything. When I started we chose between a 5.0in round headlight or a 7.0in headlight. Now we’ve got around 35 people on headlights, because there are around 50 different parts.

“We’re not just going to the car design schools to recruit now, because our role is getting wider as our relationship with the car is changing. As designers, we have an expanding role around how these systems we add work. For instance, the designer’s job is to make the [infotainment] logic logical to customers; we’ve got more interior designers than exterior designers now. You fall in love with the exterior but live with the interior — and most of the pain points are inside.”

ALFONSO ALBAISA, corporate vice-president and executive design director for Infiniti, on changing limits and how to persuade customers to embrace that change:

“I don’t feel there is a limit to designing cars for the future. The only issue is how we walk with our customer into the future, because the customer’s appetite for change is what we must relate to. Sometimes, depending on culture, the customer can be slightly conservative. This also depends on their social situation, but sometimes they are ambitious and expect significant design changes.

“I think premium customers are open to change if we provide a clear benefit to them. It’s important; if you change something significant, there must be very clear customer benefit. If there is not, the customer will reject it because they have so many good choices in the marketplace.

“In reality, the modern user experience and how it relates to and works with the owner has a much higher value than piping or wood on an interior, and I feel there is a great potential in the coming digital technologies.”

ROB MELVILLE, McLaren chief designer, on whether driver-focused supercars are less likely to change than conventional cars:

“They’ll change too — and soon. Our philosophy is to create breathtaking designs that tell the visual story of their function, and we have an amazing bandwidth of functionality and focus coming in our products. We plan to do this by using our advanced technologies, aerodynamic software and manufacturing processes to create our beautiful yet functional designs. We will continue to be brave and innovate.

“Clever design will be the dominant force and will always predominate over new legislation, which is an opportunity to find new solutions and make cars even more individual. It’s an exciting challenge for the team. The freeing up of crash structures will mean improved aerodynamics, which is fantastic, and the interior space/ volume of the car will be designed to suit our vehicle’s requirements.

“Customers will accept the changes as long as it is authentic, radical design. Radical design just to be trendy lacks integrity and this turns customers off. Our customers are very sophisticated and appreciate radical design that delivers improved experience, usability and fun. It has to put a smile on your face.”

STEFAN SIELAFF, Bentley director of design, on ultra-luxury design — and a history lesson:

“Maybe ‘transport boxes’ will be part of the future, but it will go one step at a time and I can say our customers want our cars because they make a statement, not just because they do a job.

“Bentley will always follow a fusion of performance and luxury; dynamics must be part of the mixture. But even if sometimes you will want to turn the seats around and leave the control to the systems, sometimes, at the right times, our customers will want to drive. It’s a compromise we know at Bentley; for 100 years our owners have done the same, albeit with chauffeurs driving.

“The question is not just about design but also technology. How will that change what we want from the interior space? And even if we give people more space, it won’t be about just opening the car up. Our customers want architecture, not just space.

“I am old enough to remember East and West Germany. In the East there was basically one car, a Trabant, available in five colours. The day the Berlin Wall came down, people were clamouring to change. That history lesson suggests there is no desire to own cars that look identical.”

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/what-will-car-future-look

Machines are becoming smarter marketers

artificial-intelligence-930x620

Marketing is only helpful when it’s meeting a need. It sounds simple, but those needs can be really tough to parse. Like any consumer, my needs evolve every day, if not every minute. I won’t stand for poorly targeted ads or messages that are irrelevant to me.

I work in marketing technology, and this industry has been talking about data-driven personalization for years. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we’re only just beginning to realize the potential of machine learning to match goods and services with a particular person in a specific situation.

Machines are changing how marketing is done. I’m not just talking about workflow automation or customer service bots. I’m talking about software that can help brands understand, meet, and even predict the subtlest of consumer needs.

It’s a new phase that I think of as Marketing 3.0. The 1.0 version, marketing in its early 20th century form, involved selling products to people who had demonstrated a need. The 1950s saw the rise of Marketing 2.0: ad men who shaped consumer desires to sell products. Machine learning allows marketers to move beyond this model and return to the original purpose of marketing, while adding speed and scale.

Marketing 1.0: Meeting needs as expressed
Marketing 2.0: Creating needs, then meeting them
Marketing 3.0: Machines analyzing needs, then meeting them

Marketing 3.0 uses machine learning to match product and consumer faster, more precisely, and in the right context; and to identify people who have an implied rather than overtly demonstrated need. Machines learn from a large pool of real-world examples, so they can predict future intent by observing past behavior. Marketers don’t have to comprehend the precise patterns that emerge from massive amounts of data or map out the rules that determine people’s behaviors.

In other words, machine learning shifts the role of the marketer from trying to manipulate customers’ needs to meeting the needs they actually have at a given moment.

Think about a BMW dealership looking to sell more of a particular model. They can use machine learning to identify indicators for people who bought a 5 Series in the past year: They researched similar cars like the Audi A6 and Mercedes E Class, they asked about mileage per gallon, and they had similar demographic traits.

Say I’m looking to buy a car and have a friend who recently bought a 5 Series. I’ve read about one of its new features: a 3D view of the car that I can see from my phone. When I search for “BMW 5 Series” on my iPhone, I’ll see a list of dealerships within a 10-mile radius of my regular commute. I call the dealership to ask about their inventory, and they know I’m ready to buy. I’m automatically matched with the sales rep who sold the same car to my friend, knows the specs I’m interested in, and can talk to me about 3D view.

I see massive opportunity to use predictive capabilities to link online and offline interactions — mobile ads, email campaigns, phone conversations, and in-person experiences. It’s becoming a reality as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon continue investing in voice assistants and natural language processing technologies. Amazon is reportedly updating Alexa to be more emotionally intelligent. It’s not a huge leap to transition from making voice commands in my living room to calling a business and making a purchase directly through my Echo. A conversation is the most natural form of interaction, and the most conducive to forming relationships.

I think voice will be central to how marketers balance machine learning capabilities with the need to create human experiences. Even if machines can surface information and recommendations at exactly the right time, people still want human conversations, especially when it comes to buying complex or expensive products. I’m fine with Alexa ordering me a pizza, but not a car.

As I see it, the role of machines is to draw correlations between consumers’ behaviors and their ultimate intent. The role of the marketer is to figure out what can be automated (e.g., triggering an email after a purchase is made) and what can be augmented (e.g., predicting what products will most intrigue a customer) by using software. The next wave, Marketing 4.0, will take this a step further by meeting consumers’ expressed and unexpressed needs.

We’re moving toward a more predictive world in which machine learning powers the majority of interactions between consumers and brands. I don’t see this being at odds with human connection or authentic experiences. Marketing will be ambient and truly data-driven. It will catch up with consumer expectations and with the potential of technology to change how marketing is done

Machines are becoming smarter marketers

Amazon will continue to invest heavily in India

Amazon.com     Inc.     will     continue      investing  heavily  in  India,  the  chief   of its local operations said, dispelling  concerns of slower spending by the  US  e-commerce  company  after  its   chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky  said that while the India investments  were  starting  to  show  results,  they   had   hit   margins,   contributing   to    lower-than-expected  results  in  the   third quarter. “Not   at   all,”   Amazon’s   India   chief    Amit  Agarwal  said  in  an  interview   on   Monday   when   asked   whether    Amazon       would       slow       down        investments     in     India.     Amazon,      which  initially  said  it  would  invest   $2  billion  in  India,  had  said  in  June   that it would invest an additional $3  billion in the country. That investment is on track, Agarwal  said,  adding  that  the  company  is   “excited  about  the  momentum  that   we see in India”. “India is very early in its e-commerce  trajectory. Amazon is very early in its  e-commerce  trajectory  in  India.  To   transform how India buys is going  to take a long time; it will take a lot  of investment and… for many years.  This is just the beginning.” Amazon is betting big on its Prime  service in India and expects the  loyalty programme to dominate  sales in the coming months. “Prime continued to be the top seller  in all of October, not just for wave  one (of the Great Indian Festival).  Prime membership continues to  be a top seller and it is going to be  so going forward every month. My  belief is that Prime membership will  be the top seller every month based  on the trends that we are seeing,”  said Agarwal. On Monday, Amazon also said that  it witnessed record numbers during  its month-long Diwali sale event,  the Great Indian Festival, with sales  jumping 2.7 times from last year. This year’s Diwali sale has proven  to be the biggest showdown in the  history of Indian e-commerce, with  Amazon India and rival Flipkart  going all out to woo shoppers. While Flipkart claimed to outsell  Amazon India during the first leg of  the sale season, Amazon claims it  came back strongly during the latter  half of the sale season, with bigger  discounts in key categories such as  smartphones and large appliances. “October this year for us was 2.7  times of last year’s October—which  is incredible because last year was  4 times the October before,” said  Agarwal, adding that this growth  came even as “conversations”  suggested growth in India’s  e-commerce business was going to  be flat. Agarwal said that October could be  an inflection point for e-commerce  in India. “We had categories from  phones to Amazon Fashion to  appliances growing three to 11  times; even newer categories such  as luxury and beauty grew 46 times;  grocery and everyday consumables,  7.1 times; furniture, 11.8 times; gold  jewellery, eight times—so a lot of  these categories are showing robust  growth.” Agarwal said that 70% of the  company’s new customers in  October came from tier-II and tier-III  cities, adding that it was confident  of carrying the momentum from its  Diwali sale well into November and  December. Mint couldn’t independently verify  the numbers, but, in general,  all e-commerce marketplaces  (including Snapdeal, Amazon and  Flipkart’s smaller rival) did well in  October, carrying forward their  momentum from their annual sales. “When I look at the gaps between  the waves, our growth rates in those  gaps continued to the same extent.  We’re growing at 150% year-over- year. At peacetime, the growth rate  is still what I’m telling you. And as  we exit out of wave three (the third  sale event in October), we don’t see  a slowdown,” Agarwal said. “The broader e-commerce story is  not just a Flipkart-Amazon battle. Of  course, both Flipkart and Amazon  are trying to get a fair share of the pie  in key categories such as electronics,  fashion and large appliances. And  despite drags on margins, nobody is  going to reduce investments in India.  What you will see, however, is that  they will focus on innovation. For  example, during the festive season,  smartphone sales shot up and a lot  of the sales jumped due to things  like product exchanges. Another  new innovation was something like  Amazon Prime. So, you’ll see a lot of  that going forward,” said Sreedhar  Prasad, partner-e-commerce at  KPMG

Samsung Plans To Give Galaxy S8 An AI Digital Assistant

All the cool companies have them: digital assistants. Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, and Google  has the cleverly named Google Assistant. Now, Samsung plans to bring its own iteration of a virtual assistant in the Galaxy S8 next spring, according to a new report from Reuters.

The assistant will be based on work by Viv Labs, a San Jose-based AI company that Samsung acquired this October (the move immediately fueled speculation that Samsung was moving into the AI space). The founders of Viv Labs already have a strong track record in the field as the creators of Siri, which Apple bought in 2010.

Samsung appears to be tapping into Viv’s existing strengths rather than aiming to revamp the platform. One of Viv’s hallmarks is that it is designed to be a one-stop-shop that works seamlessly with third-party services. “Developers can attach and upload services to our agent,” Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee In-jong said during a briefing, according to Reuters. “Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease.”

If the digital assistant is a hit, it could help Samsung make up for its financial losses over the Galaxy Note 7 recall, which is projected to cost the company at least $5.4 billion. It could also rebuild consumer confidence after the Note 7 debacle and, more recently, a recall of a Samsung top-loading washing machine due to “impact injuries.”

But the company is entering a crowded market. Apple paved the way with Siri, though its early lead is shrinking after the launch of Google’s Assistant, which can tap into Google’s well-established knowledge graph and search capabilities. And there’s always Amazon Alexa, which already has a home in the smart-home devices the Echo, Dot and Tap.

„Every door can be unlocked.“  Ellen Fondiler

http://www.forbes.com/sites/shelbycarpenter/2016/11/06/samsung-plan-galaxy-s8-ai-digital-assistant