As we approach the three year anniversary of Minimal Mac, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a book of my best writing on the site to date. The goal being three fold:
For those who have been reading for a while, it is an archive of the best stuff in one professionally produced package.
For those new to the site it is an easy way to get up-to-speed on what you have missed.
For me, it is a way to gather and archive what I feel is my best work on Minimal Mac. Should some random meteor or freak zombie invasion take out Tumblr, well, here is the stuff I really care about.
Thus, Minimal Mac: What We Believe In was born.
Now, I wish to be very clear about what this is. Every single item in this book exists on the site as it stands — right now — for free. I have simply done the hard work for you; which is going through nearly 2000 updates and compiling the best posts, essays, and quotes into a couple of hundred pages. I then had these professionally edited and the cover, layout, and design done to make it an attractive and easy to read book.
Available now in ePub for Apple iBooks & .mobi for Amazon Kindle The cost is only $5. About the cost of a decent sandwich. Buying it not only gets you a copy of the book in both versions but also helps to support the work I do here.
Apple’s current biggest competitor is itself, and I think Steve Jobs learned this the hard way - from the sidelines. When he returned, one of his first hires was a gentlemen named Tim Cook, and while Tim Cook holds a degree in industrial engineering, he is not an engineer, a designer, or a poet. Tim Cook is an execution machine and he exists at Apple to enable them to pull off one thing - the iPod Mini moment.
Here, in a nutshell, is why the Microsoft Surface is not, and can not be, disruptive:
Apple did not beat you with the iPad. They beat you with the iPad market. A market they created out of the ashes of burning netbooks, low cost laptops, and PCs that no one really liked or wanted in the first place. There simply was no other option at the time available for them to buy otherwise. Apple created that option.
Just like the iPad created a whole option, and thus, new market (the one you keep calling the “tablet market”), the only way to compete is not to get into that market but to create a whole new one. One that will suck the life out of the iPad market. Something so disruptive, so mind blowing, so magical that, like the iPad, people will form lines around the block for months to get it.
Turns out, though, that there’s one more bit of precision required to make the Apple Store so Apple-y. The notebook computers displayed on the store’s tabletops and counters are set out, each day, to exactly the same angle. That angle being, precisely, 70 degrees: not as rigid as a table-perpendicular 90 degrees, but open enough — and, also, closed enough — for screens’ content to remain visible and inviting to would-be typers and tinkerers.
This has been passed around a lot as remarkable attention to detail and a way to get folks to touch the devices and thus begin to form a bond with them.
I’ve avoided linking to it until now because the fact is, this is not all that unusual. There are whole consulting companies that work with retailers to incorporate these sorts of strategies. In the industry it is typically called a Planogram and the strategy being employed by Apple is based on Attachment Theory. These techniques are used in various ways at every major retailer in the country.
The reason this is a story? I have no idea. Because it is Apple and it is therefore seen as especially brilliant? Likely.
The real question I want an answer to is why I can’t stop buying Gorilla Munch cereal at Trader Joes despite the fact it is at the toddler eye level.
I usually don’t go out of my way to post these types of deals. But, when it features two of my favorite things that I use daily, how could I not? I mean, both Marked and DragonDrop for only two bucks? You’d be crazy not to get them both.
Every year, on this day, I take some time out to remember my friend Rodney. Rodney committed suicide via a gunshot to the head on June 15th, 2002 after a long struggle with depression. He was a dear friend, Mac fan, and talented writer. I miss him dearly.
Every time Apple releases something incredible or posts record sales, I can’t help but think about how much he would have been enjoying it. That is, as much as depression or the medicines used to treat it allow you to enjoy anything.
Some who know me know that I live with bi-polar disorder (manic depression). I have spoken about it before. I have been hospitalized for attempted suicide myself many years ago.
There is no real cure. After many years of medication and therapy treatment that had varying degrees of success, I now use a combination of mindfulness meditation and non-violent communication to help me navigate through it. It has been the most successful of all.
That said, there are struggles. I would be a liar if I said that I don’t understand what it was that made Rodney ultimately pull the trigger. Despite having a successful job, a loving wife, a nice house, and being a respected writer for several sites, none of those things matter when the chemistry in your brain decides it is time to go and that it will never get any better.
This day also happens to be my wedding anniversary so it is always a bit bittersweet. In fact, I normally wait until the 16th to post this but, for some reason, that did not feel right this year. I guess because the fact is that he died today. That there is no glossing over it. That denying such is in some way denying that life is filled with both things gained and loss. That both are OK and deserve all of the emotions appropriate for each.
Finally, if you or someone you know is suffering from a mental disorder, I urge you to use compassion and empathy when speaking with them about it. But, please do so. Ask them to seek whatever help they can. Let them know how you feel.
Not sure what more to say other than thank you for listening to me fight through the tears once again.
My favorite take on today’s event yet. I think Kyle nails it in several ways. Starting here:
Apple’s hardware is getting to the point where it’s so good that it’s good enough for nearly everyone, so dramatic improvements like a retina display for Macs is a relatively minor improvement for users.
Like I said earlier, there is plenty in today’s announcements to want but, unless your tasks depend on you having the newest and fastest, nothing to really need.
More importantly, and thus thrust of the post, he really nails what Siri means for the shape of possible future hardware from Apple:
…Siri could make the smartphone unnecessary for a lot of people in the same way that the iPad makes the PC unnecessary for many regular users. That’s what a disruptive innovation is, and it provides Apple with new, untrod territory to explore. If Siri continues to get better, and makes good on its promise, it will allow Apple to create new kinds of computing devices that do to the iPhone what the iPhone did to the iPod.
I agree and think in only a couple of years time we will be in smack-our-head-we-shoulda-seen-that-coming territory largely due to Siri.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Jim Whittle, purveyor of smart leather goods and accessories, for sponsoring this week’s RSS feed. If you are looking for some great, minimal, handmade, leather wallets, journal covers, or iPad sleeves — for Father’s Day or any day — give Jim Whittle a look.