My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Apple Refresh and the US Economy - Chinese Dragon has a Jade Eye

Monday, September 6, 2010

Apple Refresh and the US Economy - Chinese Dragon has a Jade Eye

John Public never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

Albert Einstein, Interview, Dec., 1930

Apple rocks.

That simple statement sums up my impression of the refresh of the Apple iPod, the Apple iPod Nano and its now squish form factor and even tinier screen, back to being a basic music player and the all-buttoned-up Apple iPod Shuffle.

Brushing these aside quite brusquely, the show stealer was the Apple iPod Touch, that device that looks like the Apple iPhone………..and works like it too, with FaceTime……………and the Apple iTV, which finally has become a true set top box instead of just a pared down Apple Mac, now sporting Netflix streaming and Amazon movie rentals at US$0.99.

Rumours have borne veracity for once as confirmed in the article “New Apple TV: $99, Netflix streaming, 88-cent TV rentals”, published September 1, 2010 11:43 AM PDT by Matthew Moskovciak, CNET News - Crave as well as in the article “For 99 cents, Amazon sells shows, Apple rents them”, published September 1, 2010 2:31 PM PDT by Ina Fried, CNET News - Beyond Binary.

Despite the criticisms, the small portable form factor and the lower pricing points for the rentals and streaming and the device itself has won me over. A relatively low key event, John Public leaves the drooling over the specs of these consumer electronics devices to the techies, as ultimately it is about the “gadgety goodness” of taking a bite out of the Apple that makes listening to CEO Steve Jobs and his Sermons on the Mount worth tolerating, looking like a character out of MIB (Men in Black).

But America, John Public is concerned about the future of Technological Innovation in your country, as these products are “Made in China”. United States of America is now like Jamaica.

To be a bit more ominous, this repeated hoopla has me a bit worried. Apple has been doing refreshes for its products for quite a while, but with very little new to show for it.

Granted, they have a highly successful business model in terms of Apple iTunes and Apple iTV may be just what they need to woo the content providers to come on board, as only FOX and ABC stream to the device. The other Broadcasting Networks and Content Providers are wary of this hard-drive less device and its CEO’s ambitions to do to them what he had done to the still stuck-in-the-past Music Industry, whose music distribution he now effectively controls.

No FaceTime on the Apple iTV, though this may be coming in future refreshes, a web cam attachment required for the entrepreneur hacker with The Jetsons (TV Series 1962 - 1993) on the brain should do the trick though. Just a plain, boring cute little box, a revolution in pricing but a major let-down for those expecting more than just another Roku or TiVo clone. Its utilization of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks as a streaming alternative is an excellent choice.

But more in the Let-down Department: none of the devices had any solar powered components as previous reports of Apple Engineers reportedly fling patents for solar powered implementations to cut the cord as stated in the article “Apple eyes gadgets with built in Solar panels”, published January 22, 2010 7:46 AM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech and as further asserted in the article “Apple patent bid combines Solar with touch screen”, published June 7, 2010 6:31 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech.

Apple, why bother?

So John Public wistfully glances at the other happening of the day and wonders if possibly the comments of retired Intel CEO Andy Grove, though championing protectionism, also hint at a generally well known and growing problem in the United States of America: lack of Innovation and investment in their Technology Sector as stated in the article “Is the American tech industry oiling its own guillotine?”, published August 30,2010,7:00am PDT By Jason Hiner, ZDNET - Between the Lines.

The US Tech Industry, albeit having its cadre of hired engineers on American Soil, still out sources IT workers and the manufacturing of it tech gear to Japan and the People’s Republic of China. This highlighted lack of employment and investment in Research and Development in an area that could be a growth engine for the American Economy in the long term is what prompted Senator Barack Obama, President of the United States of America to invest in Silicon Valley, particularly in areas that would:

  1. Result in the lowering of her Energy Bill in terms of Electricity Usage as stated in the article “Obama commits billions to solar firms”, published July 4, 2010 11:34 AM PDT by Reuters, CNET News - Green Tech
  2. Expand All-Electric Vehicle Research, specifically Battery Development as stated in the article “Obama: Clean energy's Venture Capitalist-in-Chief”, published August 5, 2010, 5:00PM EST By Mike Dorning, POLITICS & POLICY, Business Week
  3. End a dependence on Foreign Based Fossil Fuels as stated in the article “'Green' gas and Diesel get boost in Biofuel grants”, published December 4, 2009 12:33 PM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech.

Given the challenges facing the Green Tech field:
1.      A shortage of manpower as stated in the article “People power in Tech in short supply”, published March 26, 2010 8:29 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech
2.      Rare Earth minerals shortages for photovoltaic and Wind Turbines Production as stated in the article “Rare-earth metal recycling needed to power green tech”, published May 17, 2010 7:31 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech
3.      A general lack of standardized certification, which CompTIA is trying to address with its Green Energy Certification as stated in the article “CompTIA offering Green IT exam”, published March 25, 2010 10:34 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Green Tech.

America’s once Technology Innovation Silicon Valley is very far behind People’s Republic of China in terms of Research and Development. This all does bear repeating, till the reality sinks in to those non- science minded, socialite types who see Science and Technology as a waste of Taxpayers money, circling over NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration) like the bureaucracy Vultures on Capitol Hill……..

In fact, the United States of America has become a Social Networking lollapalooza that is not focusing enough on hard technological innovation and research. Many US companies have scaled back on their Research Initiative and Budgets, choosing to even outsource Research, with most of the Production and Research being shipped overseas, the now standard practice industry-wide as stated in the article “The Other U.S. Energy Crisis: Lack of R&D”, published June 17, 2010, 12:01AM EST by Peter Coy, POLITICS & POLICY, Business Week and in the prior article “America's Green innovation Problem”, published May 3, 2010, 4:41PM EST By Rob Atkinson and Devon Swezey, Business Week - VIEWPOINT.

So as John Public enjoy the new Gadgets from Apple, the confident smiles and the cheering, John Public cannot help but wonder who is really smiling, as John Public suspects it is Foxxcon, the People’s Republic of China manufacturer that makes most of Americas tech toys, meanwhile plotting to flood the US with their cheaper LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) to short circuiting America’s Research and Development in Wind Energy with their lower prices.

Later the People’s Republic of China will make money from America by selling them cheaper All-Electric Vehicles and Alternative Energy gear such as solar panels and wind turbines, built, ironically, with American Research money, made proudly in the People’s Republic of China with Chinese labour, money all going back to the Economy of the People’s Republic of China, leaving Americans to admire the new colour line-up of Apple products and American Taxpayers dollars lining Chinese Businessmen’s pockets.

Fellow Americans, support your Senator Barack Obama, President of the United States of America Drive to revive the Spirit of Innovation and a love for all things scientific as it will be the long term savior of your economy.

As despite the correctness of retired Intel CEO Andy Grove as it relates to a lack of innovative thinking, protectionism and financial legislative gimmickry, or even lower priced Apple gadgets selling like out-of-stock Apple iPads cannot a Recession Battered Economy recover……….. 

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