Apple's secret sauce

Lifted from a comment friend-of-the-blog Thomas H. Williams -- author, photographer, beekeeper -- posted here on Monday:

The real secret sauce and driver (literally & figuratively) for Apple Inc. moving forward is their silicon, paired with 5G networks.

Investors need not fully comprehend 10 teraflops of performance, a 16-core Neural Engine, a Secure Enclave, multiple media engines supporting ProRes media encoding/decoding and unified memory architecture. All they need to know now is the competition may never really catch up.

These system-on-chip features translate to incredible amateur/pro video performance but also workable voice control over devices that formerly required a keyboard. Augmented reality [AR] glass in my spectacles is one thing, smart AR glass in my windshield is game-changing.

I drove blindly through patches of dense fog last month in New Hampshire with only a Waze voice & Moose Crossing signs to warn me. Pilots, ship captains and truckers already receive far more than mapping help from company-issued iPads. AR glass paired with hi-res cameras, IR & LiDar sensors will change night driving completely.

AR assisted manufacturing and repair will be affordable to all assembly plants.  Years ago Apple systems became a standard for pro photography & marketing firms. Just like schools with iPads, adoption of Apple hardware in many more fields is becoming mandatory, because of improved app capability & chip performance, not merely public health concerns.

I’m asking the M1 MacBook Air I use to flawlessly type technical jargon for medical & legal reports I create for others. I rarely need to proofread.

My take: I wish my M1 MacBook Pro would do as much for me.

20 Comments

  1. A holy grail for me has been total voice control over my devices. I’ve had poor luck hiring others to assist me with processing photos, authoring technical reports and conducting AI/nanotech research. Starting with a G5 tower in 2005, I turned on nearly every Apple Accessibility-type feature, not just dictation. My computers quickly develop personalities, talk back, do research and process photos (writing & executing scripts) while I make lunch or sleep. These features are there for anyone but mostly only handicapped people get close to mastering them. I taught them how for a time.
    Unfortunately, processing power for these features was the bottleneck until Apple’s M1 arrived on the scene. Now I bop around inside my documents, search tagged photos (2 million of my own), and dictate 8-10 hours, using mostly my voice, every weekday. Siri and I have written 3 volumes of a teen science book together, she literally suggests & types alternative sentences and directs me to more relevant images, in addition to waking me up if I oversleep after shoveling snow the day before. We fight over medical/legal terms but we learn to co-exist. Yea, it’s a little creepy but you never met the people I hired in the past.

    10
    January 4, 2022
    • John Butt said:
      I had to read this 3 times I am so astounded! So much to take in, I do similar stuff, but never with voice. Having lost an eye 1 year ago I should start but don’t have much idea how. I will try!
      It seems like you could write another book.

      6
      January 4, 2022
    • Bart Yee said:
      @Thomas Super, super description of how you’ve benefitted from M1 and MacOS accessibility! I’d love to see a series of articles, blog posts, or a book written to address how these can be used for any Apple device (probably A13 and 14 equipped iPhones and iPads) and specifically for M1 equipped iPad Pros and Macs.

      Maybe ask PED if it could be a side column or periodic blog post as another benefit of subscribing? Compensation would be a detail though.

      Anyway, I am intrigued on how you’ve trained your Apple AI / Neural engine. If you’re even getting close to Star Trek Next Generation / Voyager computer level, or now Zora on Star Trek: Discovery complete with budding sentience, well, sky’s the limit (not skynet though!)

      1
      January 4, 2022
  2. Robert Stack said:
    @Thomas: When I read this the other day as a comment, my thought was: “Wow – he really nailed it!”

    It’s good to see that others, including PED, agree!

    7
    January 4, 2022
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    I seem to still have posting privileges. Well, until I don’t I have to comment on Thomas’ post.

    WOW, a genuine AI use case. Most excellent Thomas. I see an iMac commercial extraordinaire in there.

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    January 4, 2022
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    “Finch” comes to mind.

    3
    January 4, 2022
  5. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    Bravo, Mr. Thomas. I am blown away.

    3
    January 4, 2022
  6. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    @Thomas Thank you for your ongoing contributions to the comment section. Your thoughtful posts increase the “dimensional reach” of our discussions.

    3
    January 4, 2022
  7. Thanks, everyone. Accessibility features take patience and time to understand & implement. Dictation success comes over months if not years, the system needs to learn the nuances of your speech. Don’t turn off everything if you get frustrated, Apple tosses your progress, in the name of Privacy.

    5
    January 4, 2022
  8. David Emery said:
    The one complaint I have about my 16″ Pro Max is the trackpad is -way too sensitive- even when I adjust the pressure setting. That means when I’m using it I generate a lot of accidental/unintended clicks, some of those have done Bad Things like closing tabs on the browser when I was just moving the mouse from one tab to another… I also get a lot of ‘duplicate comment’ here because the browser detects multiple unintended mouse clicks.

    That said, I agree with Thomas. The triplet of 5G, processing power, -and- battery life (Something Thomas did not emphasize enough) will enable some significant changes.

    Speaking of battery life and forthcoming products: Wife reminded me that the time I most need my glucose monitor is at night when I often wake up with low blood sugar. “When/how would you charge the watch if you have to wear it at night?” That’s a very good question for Apple to consider.

    0
    January 4, 2022
    • “When/how would you charge the watch if you have to wear it at night?”

      Since Apple added sleep-tracking, I’ve been wearing my watch at night. I charge it first thing in the morning. It doesn’t take long — maybe 15 to 20 minutes (I should time it). I’ll top it off after exercise as needed. A quarter of a circle is enough to get through the night.

      4
      January 4, 2022
      • Bart Yee said:
        @Philip @David
        I agree, if you want a full charge so you can wear while sleeping, I charge while getting ready for bed. Usually there’s at least 30-45 min of down time cleaning up or preparing, so that’s when the Watch goes on the charger. I use an Anker Power IQ multi port fast charger with Anker Powerline or better MFi cables to deliver the fastest charging for all my Apple devices. A spare Watch charging cable, although not inexpensive, is handy during the day if you deplete your watch (like in workouts with health monitoring and data transfer).

        Hopefully within another Watch generation or two, battery life can be extended.

        0
        January 4, 2022
  9. Alan Birnbaum said:
    I find it interesting that no one has made any comments on the M1 MacBook Pro keyboard.

    Specifically the F4 key is for search, F5 key brings up Siri, and the F6 key put on do not disturb. The F7 key is rewind and the F8 is fast forward to the end as well as F9 being just fast forward. A subtle but very pleasant surprise !!!

    2
    January 4, 2022
  10. Paul Lane said:
    @Gregg Thurman

    Greg – could I add my appreciation for your contributions to this forum. I am one of those long-term buy and hold investors (sorry) but I have valued all of your posts about trading in options. I have found them fascinating and instructive. Please reconsider your decision to leave us. We consider you “one of us”.

    Regards
    Paul

    5
    January 4, 2022
    • Robert Stack said:
      @Paul: Well said – I completely agree re Gregg. I don’t trade options, but his POV has been really valuable to me. Gregg – reconsider! 🙂

      0
      January 4, 2022
  11. Why I pay to participate on Philip’s Apple 3.0 forum:
    Reason #1: You all help me learn more about investing without going back to college or Merrill Lynch $$$$.
    Reason #2: It helps me keep up on relevant Apple topics, often originating from sources kept behind ¥₽£ paywalls.
    Reason #3: The community of those who comment are experienced Apple observers and always eager to learn more.
    Reason #4: Philip Elmer-Dewitt is a trusted filter/moderator/journalist I’ve read and learned from for decades. Despite family subscriptions to Time for 50 years I owe the dude! Note: Mom still subscribes.
    Reason #5: It is a wonderful stimulus and provides insights to help me of research and write.
    Reason #6 __________ (fill in the blank with your own benefit)

    2
    January 4, 2022
  12. katherine anderson said:
    Thrilling to learn of this. Thank you Thomas; I missed it on Monday, as I miss so many great comments …everything slips by so fast, with each ped30 post.

    2
    January 4, 2022

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