Goal posts of the imagination: Innovation means shipping


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Let’s go back in time seven years. That was when the Macalope first wrote this:

It’s amazing how future Microsoft products beat current Apple products time and time again, isn’t it? You’d think Apple would have just given up by now.

That was in response to contentions that Windows Mobile 7 (which later shipped as Windows Phone) would crush the iPhone. Not that that context has anything to do with what we’re about to talk about. Cough.

Now, back to the present where Microsoft shows us the future. Again. It looks kinda cool. It’s not, technically speaking, holograms as it was described, oh, 10,000 times in Wednesday’s presentation, but what else are you gonna call them?

So, yeah, if you assume it all works and people will actually get to use it some day, it looks pretty cool. That is, of course, not all we’re going to do. No, that would be ridiculous. What we’re going to do is assume it’s shipping right now.

“When did Apple become the boring one?” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

Uh, like forever ago by this definition. Apple has always been “the boring one” that doesn’t show you a half-baked product that the girls and boys down in R&D think could be huge some day if they could get the darn thing to work. Oh, and figure out how to sell it. Ha. Yeah, this headset/driverless car/everlasting gobstopper is gonna be, like, a million dollars a unit if it ever even ships so good luck with that, marketing.

In fairness to the pundits losing their minds over Microsoft’s HoloLens , though, pundits also oohed and ahhed over the Surface and that turned out perfect so there.

HoloLens is not vaporware (depending on how you define vaporware). It’s a thing that really exists and it does seem to be pretty cool. But it’s not a product. It’s still in development. Does Apple announce products that it’s still developing? No. For the most part, it waits until the product is finished and then unveils it. Eh, the Watch and Apple TV maybe less so, but still much more done than not.

This is all covered material, people. This was all in the syllabus. If you aren’t going to do the required reading then the Macalope has no choice but to give you a failing grade.

“HoloLens Hands-on: Microsoft Leapfrogs Apple in Innovation” (another tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

F. F-. F’s all over the place. See the Macalope after class.

The Macalope is sure Apple could trot out some prototypes that seem crazy cool but, alas, it’s too busy shipping stuff to have time to do that.

Although the holographic headset I played with wasn’t nearly as sleek as what was shown on stage (we test drove a clunky dev kit), HoloLens could transform everything from education and entertainment to home improvement and medicine.

“Although HoloLens is utterly not complete, it will inevitably remake the world. It is our new god. Bow down before it.”

Despite the unbridled enthusiasm of the “Sure, let’s take Microsoft’s word for it, what could go wrong with that?” set, there is some reason to be skeptical as Ben Kuchera points out:

The problem is that Microsoft has only shown that hardware in a controlled environment, and we have to keep in mind the difference between these first displays of the technology and the reality of what is actually shipped.

Ben, Ben! No, no! What we have to do is go bat guano bananas over it and wonder why Apple hasn't shown us some equally miraculous half-baked creation of technology, masking tape, and the dreams of baby goats that’s still a looong way from shipping and who knows what the price will be?! That’s the only rational course of action. It’s called analysis, Ben. Look it up.

Yay, technology! Yay, computers!

Kuchera notes that Kinect was first demonstrated with a gee-whiz video... aaaand most of it never came to pass.

If anything the Macalope agrees with Gus Mueller, who not only chastises Microsoft for “announcing” holograms (which aren’t really holograms) with no price or ship date, but Apple as well for announcing a watch with just the starting price and the vaguest of ship dates.

There’s marketing and then there’s baloney. If you’re still eating the baloney, the joke’s on you.

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