Apple Losing its Appeal?

I am a fan of Apple products. In fact, I have been a fan so long that I still remember my first Apple computer purchased in 1987. Owning an Apple during that time was radical because it was molding and changing a new market of home users. Over time Apple pushed the envelope again and again. But when it came to my phone I was a hardcore Blackberry user. I was convinced that nothing would ever replace Blackberry devices and that they would forever rule the world. I was surely wrong about Blackberry. Today I use an Apple iPhone 6 Plus in conjunction with my Apple Watch and enjoy them both. I was indoctrinated from Blackberry to Apple that I would be a happy customer, and so far I have been pleased.

Today Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 and a new watch. In a nutshell, I was not impressed and left feeling deeply disappointed. In viewing the reaction of audience members during the presentation, it almost felt like a scene of canned laughter and applause for a television sitcom. I became a bit flustered that each of the new qualities Apple introduced is the standard to competing phones. It had me questioning, “why am I still loyal to Apple?” For starters, the customer support is rock solid. I have never had an issue with an Apple product that could not be resolved with a quick call to Apple technical assistance. Additionally, the ease of use without having to hire a nine-year-old to help you figure out how to use a feature has been a relief. But Apple thinks that all of its users are or will be some amateur turned professional photographer. This is simply not the case with me. I don’t plan on creating any home movies. While I am appreciative towards Apple’s efforts in creating an entertainment device, I would have wished for some practical convenience features.

Many of us professional business users tend to wear the battery life out of our phones. I would have liked to have seen a wireless battery charging platform or something similar to a Tesla charger for the iPhone that will bring your battery life to 70% in 5 minutes. While it is true that Apple extended battery life maybe an hour longer, I remember that same conversation a few iPhones prior where there was a battery flaw causing a replacement recall. Okay, the new home button is no longer an actual button. So what!? Sure, I get haptic feedback which I rarely if ever use. Then the huge announcement that the iPhone 7 is water and dust resistant which is a far cry from waterproof. To me, this only means that once again I am at the mercy of purchasing another Apple condom or similarly based Otterbox.

If Apple wants to impress me, then begin creating devices that don’t crack or break when you accidentally drop them. We live in an active world where Apple claims to be a part of but creates devices corresponding to the children’s egg-and-spoon race. Apple must create a game changer scenario where its devices are durable for a family and practical world free from required and bulky Otterboxes. Why should my prescription eyeglasses be more durable than my iPhone? Once Apple personally answers that question, then maybe I will be awed and impressed.

A part of me would like to buy the new iPhone 7. The practical part of me says it is not worth the move yet. I cannot see the benefit of upgrading my nearly two-year-old iPhone 6 plus. I think I share the sentiment because Apple is struggling and flatlining among many of its loyal users. Sadly the observation I am witnessing is akin to the once dominant Blackberry device. As the mobile device community grew and became radically diverse, it left Blackberry far behind. My fear is that Apple is losing its creative edge allowing other devices or technologies to overshadow its long-standing innovative side.

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Happy Labor Day

Today is Labor Day in the United States. I am trying to put on a happy face to celebrate it. I guess I should be reflective of the contributions that workers have made to our country. Instead, I am feeling a bit malaise because workers are truly not celebrated in this country.

During the Cold War, there was a sense of national pride at how we competed and excelled in science, industry, and technology. The only threat I can remember is when Japan and Germany began importing inexpensive cars. American automotive companies fired back with similarly priced with boxy looks. However, as time progressed foreign automotive overtook American companies causing a chunk of our industry leaving the United States.

Should we be celebrating Labor Day as anyone with a job? Do we honor those factory workers in Bangladesh or China? More than likely today 90% of our household appliances, cars and sciences were built on the contributions of foreign workers. I am beginning to see the disgust of American rhetoric becoming a tough pill for citizens to swallow. It is not the fault of foreign workers. Instead, it is the failure of American companies avoiding paying American workers by moving operations overseas or outsourcing.

What I find ironic is that Labor Day is celebrated as perhaps a marketing scheme. There is a Labor Day NASCAR race and of course the Labor Day shopping mall sales. To me, it diminishes the spirit of Labor Day and a reflection on workers. Those that should be enjoying a rest are put to the tests of stresses by working overtime. Maybe we if became contemplative in our thoughts during holidays we would become a bit more respectful and truly proud of our accomplishments. We may even find a bit of unity to keep jobs from being outsourced or migrated overseas.

Internet Porn Addiction

Recently Pamela Anderson wrote an Op-Ed on the addictive dangers of pornography. I agree that internet porn addiction is an issue. However, I would interject that internet addiction is just as critical. While I am out eating at a restaurant, I will notice people sitting at a table not engaged with each other but texting or playing on a mobile device. The recent storm of Pokemon Go may be adding to our internet addiction. There is a problem because on the go internet applications used on mobile devices have led to an increase in injuries because people are not paying attention.

Let us go back to internet porn addiction. I would argue that relationships, in general, could be one reason for internet porn addiction. After all, pornography, in general, is all about fantasy and desire. When a couple has differing sexual norms then, of course, there will be an imbalance of sexual needs. For example, the recent movie Fifty Shades of Gray highlights some role play of pain versus pleasure. If a Fifty Shades scenario were brought into every bedroom, there would be an increase in separation or divorce rates. Not to mention a possible increase in police calls for claims of domestic violence. I think it is important that books like Fifty Shades of Gray are not the Kamasutra but a catalyst. This is where the internet porn has become the online version of the Kamasutra. The fact is society has forced many sexually based conversations into nearly scrubbed political correct conversation making it nearly impossible to discuss. Perhaps this is a reason internet porn addiction is raising because we are not addressing the core forms of sexuality. When people cannot discuss a matter, then it creates a false safe place.

It should also be a far cry that Pamela Anderson should be discussing internet porn when one of her homemade videos surfaced causing a curiosity storm to see it. Sarcastically speaking I guess Pamela was making a homemade film to look back on. The fact is that humanity has interests and questions. The problem is that we have attempted to become this strict standard in an internet world. The hazard I see is there are many addictions without an open dialog or safe space to discuss remedies. American culture is the birthplace of Playboy, Hustler, and internet porn. It won’t go away until we begin discussing why millions of viewers enjoy it and are addicted to it. Just banning porn will only shift content to the underground where it will become an easier black market.

Why Is Trump Leading?

Recently I have been questioning why Donald Trump is leading in the polls? Listening to the outrageous rhetoric every week is nearly similar to listening to a child have an irrational temper tantrum. What is most interesting is that Trump appears to have a broad support in what he is saying. I have tried to grasp why he has such a large following. I think in part to us; Americans are growing tired of terrorism in general. After all, it was terrorism that brought down the World Trade Center towers in New York. However, most interesting is that domestic terrorism seems to have outpaced international terrorism. For example, school shooting rampages, abortion clinic bombings or shooting not to mention continued GLBT crimes are still out there but not being reported at the same rate or provide a different marker to identify those crimes as terror related.

Clearly, when Trump speaks, he turns off any filter of his delivery and language. I think this is what is making him so attractive to the social media world. Social media and news media today are filled with buzzwords or headlines with little support to the facts. In fact, most of our news appears to be more entertainment based than credibly reported the news. This is where I think Trump has seized to moment to rally a large group of people. If you ever listen to Trump speak perhaps you should listen to a bit carefully to understand how he gains support. For example, Trump wants to build a wall along the Mexico/United States border. Trump provides no details on how to create it, time frame or any details on the program for the exception that Mexico will somehow have to pay for it. What is remarkable is that many Americans support his idea without any supporting claims except outlandish or disturbing comments such as “it should have been built long ago”.

Personally, I think Trump is attempting to rally Americans just tired of terrorism, outsourced jobs, undocumented workers, politically correct language and a weak economy. The notion that Trump will fix any of these areas is something that a vast majority of his supporters think will magically happen if Trump is elected. Perhaps Americans are so disenfranchised about our stale and stagnate political system is that Trump may fire Congress for getting in his way. This is because we as Americans for too long have been exposed to reality television programming that is not the actual reality of how things work behind the scenes.

The bottom line is that Trump cannot fix any of the domestic affairs set before Congress and the American people. This would take compromise, and that word alone is why we are in the mess we are in today. Trump is CEO of a rather successful corporation. Like Trump or not you must admit he is successful and very entertaining to watch. However, this is not the level of diplomacy and entertainment by Ronald Reagan standards. Reagan at least was governor of California before becoming president. Trump has never held any form of public office. Reagan had a natural appearance with carefully selected words and a script to address his audience. Trump never stays on script and sounds like a first-year college student presenting his political science class presentation without preparing notes or fact cards – or reading the Constitution. However, we watch and either clap, nod our head or shake in disgust or disbelief.

Trump may be a fad for politics, but he reminds me of Sarah Palin in some respect. She was very unfiltered in the middle of her campaign. After the McCain/Palin election, she became just as unfiltered as Trump, and she still has a rather loyal following today. I think that is where we are in politics today. We do not care about the facts anymore before perhaps we are too tired of trying to locate credibility in the process. Americans are tired of wars, terror, and diplomacy in general. At least that is the feeling I get. This is why perhaps we do not care anymore because politicians will do and say anything to grab a headline. After all, it provides a huge level of entertainment.

Are the elections over yet?

I will be pleased when the presidential elections are finally over. I am tired of the daily robo calls begging me for my support. However, it does not stop there. I tire of the barraging political items stuffed in my mailbox. It does not end there. There are television ads that pepper those once annoying product ads usually during my favorite TV program. I hate to say it, but I already miss horrible commercials.

The next step of insanity is after the elections. We are forced to listen to statistical commentary by political journalists for the months before the actual inauguration. The American voter will subject to dissection each day on the news. Then without warning it will start all over again with new elections and who may run in the upcoming election. It is a vicious cycle that seems never to end. Americans are inundated with political news as if we are interested as to who is running rather than the actual issue at hand.

I guess I will be glad when it is over… alternatively, perhaps when it starts all over again?