Dear Tim Cook,
It’s that time of the year again. We’ve got the kickoff to the gadget-selling season Wednesday with the introduction of new iPhones and possibly more Apple products.
I love to geek out as much as the next guy, so thanks for inviting me.
You’ve got quite a sales job ahead of you, though. I say this as an iPhone fanboy who thinks the phones are as good as they could possibly be, save for two improvements I’ve been asking for every year. Give me an all-day battery and a shatter-proof screen and you’d be talking total perfection. I have three other requests as well. More on that in a minute.
The battery/broken glass thing is clearly something Apple is incapable of doing – otherwise, it would have been done by now, right?
Now on Wednesday, I know you’ll stand on stage and say the new iPhones are the fastest, most powerful, sleekest ever designed, I get that. You need to sell new phones.
Those features don’t matter to me. Between you and me, come on, admit it: You could whip out that iPhone 7 from 2016 right now and do everything you needed to do without missing a beat.
New is fun and sexy. But the fact is, people are taking longer to upgrade their phones because they’re made so well, they last longer and the changes are minor.
For the next iPhone, I miss the headphone jack and would love to see expandable storage, but I know that won’t be happening. Apple makes too much money selling iCloud upgrades.
But here are three simple improvements that shouldn’t be that hard to pull off.
•Please stop nagging me every morning to upgrade to iCloud for backup photo storage. I haven’t run out of room on my phone and you know it. If I want iCloud, I know where to find you. At least, Tim, please let me turn off the endless Apple iCloud notifications. I shouldn’t have to wake up to them every morning when I open the Photos app.
Wide Selfie Mode. Your rival Samsung has been offering this feature for several years now, the ability to cram more people easily into a Selfie, thanks to a wider view camera. But Samsung’s way is complicated. I’d love to see Apple simplicity to help more people with their Selfies.
•Siri. To say her name is to think about what could have been. You were first with the personal digital assistant in 2011, on the iPhone 4S. And while Siri is far and away the most used personal assistant, it’s not the best – and you know that. Google Assistant wins every survey, hands down, for accuracy, and Amazon is constantly announcing cool new tools it has added to the Alexa assistant. Just this week, it offered concert and touring information for our favorite acts. To Alexa, I can ask “When will Bruno Mars be coming to town?” and get the answer. Siri just gives me the dreaded “Here’s what I found on the Web,” which is no help at all. If an assistant is to be hands-free, then it had better read me the answer to my query.
Apple is the world’s most valuable company, a trillion-dollar concern, with more than $240 billion in cash waiting to be invested.
So I have a great idea: Put a little bit of that toward fixing Siri and making her way more useful.
One more thing. There have been so many leaks about the new products, I feel as if I already know everything you are set to announce. A surprise or two Wednesday would be most welcome.
Good luck, Tim.
In Other Tech News this week
Four years after the Sony hack, the Justice Deptartment announced charges against a North Korean national hacker it said was responsible for hacking computers for Sony’s entertainment division. The hack revealed comments about actors and salaries that provoked the firing of former Sony Pictures Entertainment chief Amy Pascal.
Facebook and Twitter went back to Capitol Hill – Google was a no-show – and came in for tough barbs from Senators. The upshot: The tech firms look to be closer to some form of regulation. Lawmakers warned that regulation may loom for social media companies, which are largely unfettered by the kinds of rules that govern other large consumer companies.
Twitter, meanwhile, permanently banned online conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who had been subject to a temporary ban, citing abusive behavior Jones, the force behind the InfoWars website, already had been banned by Apple, Facebook, Stitcher and YouTube. His website is still visible on Google, however.
This week’s Talking Tech podcasts
— Tech #101: Update your smartphone passcode now.
— We get letters: Cutting the cord will save you money.
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