Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, speaking with Jens Hansegard:

Hansegard: You’ve done a few, small designer collector sets with Minecraft, a popular block-building videogame. Now, we’ve been told that something bigger is coming up. Is this true?

Knudstorp: Minecraft is a very fascinating game because it offers a great construction-like experience. We’re very happy to work with the company. Making Lego Minecraft products was one of the biggest wished-for items and they have done very, very well in the market. That’s why we are expanding our offering. That’s all I can reveal right now. We think it’s a very exciting opportunity for us.

I’ll say. That’s going to be massive.

Quick Observations On Apple’s Q2 2014

In no particular order:

  • A 7-for-1 stock split is insane (in a good way).
  • 800 million iTunes accounts and almost all of them have credit cards attached. This is perhaps the most important (and to some extent, most overlooked) part of Apple’s business going forward. They’ll hit a billion very soon.
  • Tim Cook’s second explanation on the iPad “miss” was better than his first. At first, he said it was channel inventory and sell-through. But later he spoke about how fast it grew — faster than any other product Apple has ever done — and implied that it’s hard to maintain such growth. Both explanations may be true, but the first is a technicality, the second is something everyone should be able to understand.
  • iPad revenue for the quarter was $7.6 billion. If my math is correct, the iPad has brought it roughly $32 billion in revenue in the past 12 months. If it were a stand-alone business, those numbers would place it in the top 100 of the Fortune 500. Think about that for a second.
  • By the same count, the iPhone as a stand-alone business would be in the top 25 of the Fortune 500.
  • Overall, this quarter was only the 15th best in terms of profit in the history of any company in the world.
  • Apple cash horde was actually down this quarter due to the buybacks. But it was almost all U.S. cash that was down — Apple still refuses to repatriate the overseas cash and instead is borrowing debt to pay for these massive buybacks. At one point, it sounded like Apple was basically (but indirectly) asking the U.S. for a tax holiday to bring some of their money back to the U.S.
  • The iPhone ASP decreased by quite a bit. But it wasn’t because the iPhone 5c is selling well, it’s because the iPhone 4S continues to sell well.
  • That said, margins overall were still amazing at 39.3 percent.
  • Angela Ahrendts is starting next week, nullifying reports to the contrary.
  • Tim Cook continues to sound more confident about the Apple TV as a product category as he announced “about” 20 million units sold. If I had to guess, I think we’ll see a new Apple TV product announced well before the iWatch this year.
newyorker
Moleskine is very good at telling stories. The question is whether people are interested in hearing this new one. The company’s revenue continues to grow each year. Customers remain willing to buy Moleskine notebooks. They are also willing to engage with the brand online—but only to a point.
Adrienne Raphel on Moleskine’s foray into the digital world: http://nyr.kr/1mcX11z (via newyorker)

The one thing people seem to unanimously like about the Amazon FireTV is the voice search. So yeah, this makes sense. Though I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s able to search across all content on the Apple TV (unlike on the FireTV right now).

I just wonder if we’ll see this roll out before any new Apple TV hardware or if it will utilize the iOS Remote app. Otherwise, you’d think we’d need some new hardware to be able to listen…

Yes, that’s Tim Cook narrating. As Rene Ritchie notes:

My best guess as to why Tim Cook narrated the “Better” video is because it speaks to Apple’s core values, and speaking to Apple’s core values is both deeply important to Tim Cook, and how he’s been positioned atop and within Apple.

You can say Tim Cook is not a product guy, but there’s no question that he knows better than anyone how Apple does what it does. And because he cares about it, he’s made that process… better.

The bad news is that we’ll no longer have a view of the Bay Bridge from the proposed arena. The good news, from John Coté:

The Warriors will own the site outright, rather than leasing it from the Port of San Francisco, and the team says the arena will be entirely privately financed - a rare instance of a modern sports venue that would use no taxpayer funds or public land.

In other words, this is definitely going to happen now. The Warriors are coming to San Francisco.

Zach Epstein with more on Amazon’s forthcoming smartphone and its “3D” technology:

Amazon’s motion sensing and head tracking technology also changes the way users access menus and other features in apps. In fact, we’re told that Amazon’s smartphone apps don’t even have traditional menu buttons. Instead, menus and other functions are accessed by tilting the phone to the right or left. These tilts cause new panels to slide in over the current screen.

So for example, if the user tilts the phone to one side while reading a book in the Kindle app, the phone will open the X-Ray menu, which is a reference tool that provides contextual information relevant to whatever the user might be reading at the time.

A tilt in the messaging app while composing a new message will open up a panel with the phone’s camera roll, allowing users to quickly and easily insert a photo. Tilting the phone to one side while using the weather app reveals the extended forecast.

Again, this reeks of functionality that stems from novelty and differentiation rather than usefulness. But we’ll see. If they can nail this, maybe it will be a new interaction paradigm. My guess is that it will be nearly impossible to nail such interactions, though.