Ben Thompson:

Interestingly, both Apple and Nike have markedly similar business models: as various pundit never tire of telling us, Apple is selling a commodity and is doomed to inevitable margin pressure and/or massive loss of share in the face of good-enough cheap Android. For better or worse we in tech are stuck with these folks, because who knows what they would make of a company like Nike, selling pieces of leather and bits of fabric. Talk about a commodity! And yet, there is Nike, sporting a ~45% gross margin in an industry that averages 33%. Clearly they are more than just an apparel maker.

Lost in the story of the demise of the FuelBand is just how similar Nike and Apple are in many respects. Apple’s “iWatch” may not be the reason Nike is killing off the FuelBand, but both companies will be better off as a result of a partnership in this space — as will consumers.

Ellis Hamburger:

But after just a few years, sharing on Facebook feels like walking up to a group of parents, teachers, friends, cousins, camp counselors, classmates, and colleagues, and boasting about my latest accomplishment, or about the merits of the brunch I just ate. “People treat posting on Facebook like it’s public,” says danah boyd, a sociology researcher who interviewed over 150 teens for her recent book on social media. If Facebook wants its News Feed to remain the source of news about friends, family, and other people we care about it, it needs to change its definition of friendship.

Lots of good points. While Facebook is doing a lot to ensure the company doesn’t get disrupted from the outside (read: Instagram, WhatsApp, and to some extent, even Oculus), inside, the network is definitely starting to have the feel of social rot.

Relationships change over time. And Facebook has now been around long enough to be exposed to this. This is problematic if they do want to maintain the lead as the “social network”. But maybe they don’t. Maybe that network was just the start.

Alexander Huls:

Blur your eyes, and they might have all been the same tedious, manipulative movie. I felt nothing watching these characters disappear off-screen, hurtling toward whatever lies beyond. I’m no sociopath. The problem is that death at the movies has died. The movie industry has corrupted one of cinema’s — if not all of fiction’s — most emotionally taxing moments into hollow formula, the kind of thing that passes in the blink of a plot point leading to a literal, if not figurative, explosive finale that takes up half the budget. Considering this, it’s odd that death’s killer is the new, risk-averse economic logic of Hollywood.

Hard to argue given the plots of so many movies these days — naturally, many based on comics. Hollywood has conquered death — and cheapened it in the process.

Farhad Manjoo:

Samsung’s problems, meanwhile, will be more difficult to address, as you can tell by spending some time with the S5. One of its major new features is a fingerprint-sensor meant to let you unlock your phone without typing a passcode, a feature Apple introduced on the iPhone 5S last year. I don’t fault Samsung for copying Apple’s fingerprint idea, just as I won’t fault Apple for copying Samsung when it makes a bigger phone. Fingerprint unlocking is a good idea, and more phones should have it.

But I do fault Samsung for the slipshod manner in which it introduced fingerprint scanning. I’ve been using the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor for the last six months, and it has worked about nine times out of 10 for me. The Galaxy S5’s finger sensor is unusable. It has failed to recognize my finger just about every time I have tried it. It has been so terrible that the sensor feels more like a marketing gimmick than a legitimate feature. 

I’ll just reiterate: I understand why Samsung felt like they needed to include this feature in their new phone. But why on Earth would they let such an inferior product actually ship? In what way does it benefit them to have something so broken on the market? in fact, it must hurt them. Right?

Carrie Rickey:

Bale is 40 years old. Onscreen for 28 years, he’s been starring in feature films nearly as long as Barrymore (32 years), Daniel Day-Lewis (also 32 years), and Tom Hanks (30 years). Unlike those performers, who almost always play leads, Bale is the prince of ensemble movies, feeding off the actors around him, elevating their performances as they electrify his. Excepting American Psycho and The Machinist, where he is the lead, Bale is an accomplished team player. It’s typical for Bale to play a role like G-man Melvin Purvis to Johnny Depp’s sensual John Dillinger in Public Enemies, or a haunted, prosthetic-legged bounty hunter to Russell Crowe’s charismatic, nimble outlaw in 3:10 To Yuma, or the introverted fanboy dazzled by glam-rock extroverts Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Velvet Goldmine. Even when he’s the eponymous character in the Dark Knight trilogy, he’s one in the ensemble.

Crazy to think that Bale’s career is nearly as long as those of Day-Lewis and Hanks (Barrymore, of course, was also a child star). And what a career it’s turning out to be. No question he’ll win another Oscar when all is said and done.

In fact, the main thing holding him back from another Best Actor award may be his reluctance to take true leading roles. Christian Bale is someone who absolutely could be a Tom Cruise-type movie star. But he chooses not to be. As Rickey points out, even the Dark Knight trilogy isn’t your typical formulaic movie star stuff. The closest he got to that may be the awful Terminator movie he made (which he was fine in, though everything else about it was pretty awful). And that garnered him more attention for other reasons

I’m glad Rickey took the time to single out Laurel Canyon as well. A very underrated film. 

Now let’s hope he gets the chance to portray Steve Jobs. Though you do have to wonder if it’s a role he would really want…