by Jean-Louis Gassée

Here we go again: Apple is rumored to build an electric and, hopefully, electrifying car. Are the rumors founded? If so, will Apple create a better Tesla or something else entirely?

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According to the “official” Wikipedia chronicle, Apple Car rumors first appeared in late 2014. Since then, like a flu virus, the rumor mutates and reemerges every season. The most recent strain says that Hyundai/Kia will be the manufacturing partner with prototypes appearing in 2022 — or maybe 2024 — with production models by 2026 or 2028. We know that there’s large-scale development work on one or more car projects inside Apple Park and other Valley locations, that the company is hiring experts from Tesla and other auto industry leaders. …


by Jean-Louis Gassée

Trump failed to get reelected last November and has been hard at work on a 2024 comeback. Last week’s desecration of the Capitol put that plan in jeopardy. But a (highly speculative) look at Trump’s handling of the pandemic shows he could have been easily reelected.

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Trump: Job One, a November 2016 Monday Note, was an extrapolation of what we had learned about the just-elected President troubled relationship with facts and his pathological repulsion to losing. Just elected, Trump had to make sure that, four years down the road, he wouldn’t be ignominiously fired like a washout candidate on The Apprentice.

The extrapolation proved correct. As we know, until the very end, against recounts and unsuccessful lawsuits, Trump stayed in character, calling the election rigged and insisting he had actually won a second term. …


by Jean-Louis Gassée

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Another year opens, rich with possibilities. Today, from occasional forays into politics to safer explorations of high-tech developments, we survey some of the more salient topics ahead of us.

From this Quiet Before The Storm weekend, as I look forward to a new year of Monday Notes, a long list of topics unfolds. First and foremost, I hope we’ll all get vaccinated as quickly as possible — and I can’t repress a perhaps impolitic thought involving vaccine logistics and Jeff Bezos… Hearing of the difficulties in distributing the two new vaccines, I fantasize about a mutually beneficial opportunity: Jeff Bezos marshals his money and his company to mount the kind of gigantic Vaccine Day operation that Amazon and its founder will forever be remembered for — and we all get to be vaccinated in a few short weeks. …


by Jean-Louis Gassée

Today, an unstructured, sentimental reminiscence and acknowledgment of my debt to Apple. A company that, warts and all, was gratifying to have worked for and continues to be enjoyable to watch.

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I joined Apple 40 years ago on the day of the company’s IPO, December 12, 1980. As I signed my employment agreement in Geneva I was elated, ready, and relieved.

The relief stemmed from leaving my previous employer, Exxon Office Systems, a moribund and culture-deaf attempt at diversification dreamed up for the oil giant by the Boston Consulting Group. By contrast, Apple was lively and aware. …


by Jean-Louis Gassée

The generally positive first reviews of M1-based Macs has generated animated discussions. Judging by users’ reactions, Apple’s new M1 processor truly is a BFD (Big Fantastic Disruption), but, as expected, certain critics have questioned the success.

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When I published my previous Monday Note, PC Life After Apple Silicon, I thought it would be received with little hullabaloo, so imagine my surprise when it generated between 10 and 20 times more Tweetbot Mentions than any of my previous (607) pieces. Three questions enkindled the most heat.

First, Markitecture. A participant I won’t name argued that Apple Silicon is “just marketing BS”, that a “Raspberry Pi is an ARM computer just like an M1 Mac”. Knowledgeable participants gently explained that starting with the A6, Apple Silicon cores have been original Apple designs, they’re not just 64-bit cores licensed from ARM. An Hungarian researcher by the name of Dezsö Sima offers an exhaustive history of Apple processors that shows the transition to homegrown cores clearly started with the A6 device. …


by Jean-Louis Gassée

Apple Silicon, in its first incarnation as the M1 System-on-a Chip, combined with a new macOS version, is about to expand Apple’s share of the PC market — at Intel’s expense.

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The results are in. Apple Silicon Macs met the lofty promises made at Apple’s June WWDC and repledged at the November 10th introduction of three new Macs powered by the new M1 chip. According to the reviews that have emerged since the embargo was lifted on November 17th, the new Macs do provide the promised combination of better performance and longer battery life. As Dieter Bohn noted in his review [as always, edits and emphasis mine]:

“…just for a moment, enjoy: a tech company made a big promise that it could do a hard thing and then did that thing." …


by Jean-Louis Gassée

Reviews of new Apple Silicon Macs are not out yet. They’re likely to be good. But one small disappointment lingers: Why didn’t Apple use the transition as an opportunity to bring Touch to the Mac User Interface?

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At last June’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), Apple announced its transition to the homegrown Mac CPUs it calls Apple Silicon, a proprietary derivation of ARM designs for which the company possesses an Architecture License. For Apple, this means full freedom to alter, extend, and own its CPU designs.

(A fact perhaps lost in the mist of time: The original Advanced RISC Machines Ltd was “structured as a joint venture between Acorn Computers, Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and VLSI Technology”. What we see started a long time ago with the ARM processor inside the 1993 Newton.)

While the intro of Apple Silicon itself was vague on numbers and schedules (more speed bang for less battery buck, available “late this year”), a number of observers, yours truly included, thought they saw a hint of things to come in the extensive demonstration of the accompanying Big Sur operating system and UI. iMore’s Joseph Keller voiced the perception in his article macOS Big Sur makes Macs with touchscreens seem within reach [as always, edits and emphasis…


by Jean-Louis Gassée

Apple’s latest quarterly numbers are good, Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri profess credible optimism…and yet Wall Street “punishes” Apple, sending shares down by more than 5%. Why?

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This past Thursday, Apple released its latest July to September quarterly numbers and concluded its 2020 Fiscal Year. But for two connected exceptions, Greater China and iPhone sales, the Q4 numbers were solid and, in places, historic:


by Jean-Louis Gassée

It happened: Tesla has delivered consistent financial and industrial performance for five quarters. The company is now well-positioned to produce millions of electric vehicles in a not-too-distant future. Why, then, does it continue to tout as Full Self Driving something that isn’t so?

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Two weeks ago, in a Monday Note titled Musk’s Exaggerations Will Catch Up With Him. Or Not., I posited that in spite of his long history of verbal excesses, Tesla CEO Elon Musk would continue to move forward unscathed. It’s an easy prediction. But for a slap on the hand from the SEC after he imprudently tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private and had secured funding at $420 per share, Musk has suffered little punishment for his outrageous claims. (At the time of the audacious tweet, August 2018, Tesla shares traded at the $60 level. …


by Jean-Louis Gassée

Why did Apple give Verizon’s CEO so much airtime during the iPhone 12 introduction last week? Was it a mere tactical advertising transaction, or does Apple have more strategic aim?

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There is much to praise in “Hi,Speed”, Apple’s coming out party for the iPhone 12 on October 13th. As always, and perhaps better than before, new products were well served by imaginative staging and superb video production. Before the main attraction, the HomePod mini opening act provided surprisingly rich food for thought regarding Apple’s Home, Intelligent Assistant, and Music strategies. All this for a diminutive $99 device.

But the HomePod was quickly eclipsed by the presentation of the eagerly awaited iPhone 12. On the surface, Apple’s new smartphone line looks promising: A significantly faster and more capable A14 processor; an updated, cleaner design; a shrewd escalation of hardware and software across the four new models, from the iPhone 12 mini (“The world’s smallest, thinnest, lightest 5G phone”) to the fully equipped iPhone 12 Pro Max aimed at serious photographers and video makers.

Jean-Louis Gassée

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