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It’s worth noting that game consoles always lag behind the PC in performance. That’s because console makers have to lock in on a design a couple of years ahead of the launch and then give that specification to game developers so they make launch titles. The custom chip takes a while to design, and it can be engineered better than a general-purpose PC to run games.
But PC makers have the advantage of just taking the fastest off-the-shelf graphics chip and marrying it with other state-of-the-art components. They can build a more modern machine that isn’t based on last year’s technology. So it’s no surprise that a new Nvidia graphics chip with expensive PC trappings will be able to run circles around game consoles that haven’t launched yet.
This highlights what I view as a fundamental problem with the console business going forward. While smartphones and tablets are eating into gaming from the low-end, Microsoft and the other console makers are aiming for the high end. But that high end already won’t really be the high end by the time the console launches because you’ll be able to get PCs that are more powerful.
Sure, such PCs may not be specifically tailored for gaming, but that gives the consoles maybe a few months — a year at best — as the pinnacle of high end gaming. Meanwhile, the smartphones and tablets will continue to evolve at a much more rapid pace.
Said another way: the last console upgrade cycle was 7 years. In 7 years, we’ll have seen 7 new iterations of the iPad. Does anyone think the 2020 iPad won’t stack up well against the Xbox One when it comes to specs? If so, you’re crazy. The 2015 iPad will probably stack up pretty well.
That means Microsoft will have to release another new Xbox much sooner than they did in the last cycle. But as Takahashi notes, the reason the hardware is already dated by the time it comes out is that it takes a lot of time to make these systems. And a lot of money. So…
The wristwatches of The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Awesome! Also, looks like the inspiration origins of Daft Punk helmets
Nice scoop by Mark Gurman. Makes sense to me. I was always surprised that Apple didn’t move to integrate Flickr into iOS when they already did so on OS X with iPhoto. Let’s just hope this helps alleviate the photo management nightmare.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was facing a Congressional panel today with tough questions about the way the company has organized itself in an effort to lower its tax burden. But at the end of the questioning, John McCain had something else on his mind. That, friends, is what we call a softball.
The quintessential question of our time.
While everyone else was scrambling to get stories written as quickly as possible following the Xbox One unveiling, Wired’s Peter Rubin got the “exclusive” early look. And Wired’s presentation is quite nice.
I’m still not sure what to think of the new Xbox. Certainly, Microsoft did a better job presenting it to the world than Sony did a few weeks back with the Playstation 4. But even Rubin’s thoughtful walk-through makes the whole thing sound fairly complicated. I’m still just not sure that tablets and smartphones haven’t changed the gaming and living room space more than any of the old guard in the console arena cares to admit. (Though it’s looking like Nintendo will have to sooner rather than later.)
I had both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360. Overall, I found them to be solid systems with a number of UI/UX frustrations that I simply don’t think I have the patience for anymore. And then, of course, the red ring of death. Maybe Microsoft has greatly improved the experience here. We’ll see.
Certainly some of the new Kinect stuff sounds interesting. But the “wow” factor of the first Kinect seemed to subside faster than anyone thought it would. Just like the Wii before it. I’ll take simplicity and great user experience over something that gives good demo any day.
With that in mind, I’m still more optimistic about whatever Apple brings to the table here whether it’s later this year or early next year. Surprise, surprise, I know. But there is zero chance I’m going to deal with IR-blasters to have a “seamless” experience.
Alexis Madrigal spoke with outgoing Intel CEO Paul Otellini about the time Intel talked to Apple about powering the original iPhone:
“We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we’d done it,” Otellini told me in a two-hour conversation during his last month at Intel. “The thing you have to remember is that this was before the iPhone was introduced and no one knew what the iPhone would do… At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn’t see it. It wasn’t one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought.” “My gut told me to say yes,” Otellini added.
First of all, either they passed on it or weren’t offered it — seems like a pretty clear-cut difference to me. Not sure why Otellini is trying to trying to obfuscate that. Actually, I get it — one way you’re arguably incompetent, the other way you’re dumb. Lose/lose.
His follow-up statements sure makes it sound like Intel passed on it, even though Otellini’s gut told him to say “yes”. Yet another lesson in trusting your gut.
One potentially good thing out of all this, Tim Cook will address it directly tomorrow in front of the Senate:
Mr. Cook is expected to emphasize that Apple is most likely “the largest corporate income tax payer in the U.S., having paid nearly $6 billion in taxes to the U.S. Treasury” in the last fiscal year. “Apple does not use tax gimmicks,” Mr. Cook is expected to testify.
He is expected to seek to rebut the Congressional findings by arguing that some of Apple’s largest subsidiaries do not reduce Apple’s tax liability, and to argue in support of a sweeping overhaul of the United States corporate tax code – in particular, lowering rates on companies moving foreign overseas earnings back to the United States. Apple currently assigns more than $100 billion to offshore subsidiaries.
To me, there is a distinct movement towards a particular style and I would be very surprised if Apple were ignorant of it. It’s not “flat design” per se and it’s certainly nowhere near the “Metro” levels that people are suggesting they may follow, but it’s a mellowing out of the visual indicators that people need to trigger the idea of a tappable element. Why? Because this is not 2007 anymore, and we are all now fully aware of the medium and the process; we don’t need to be led garishly by the hand. There is still a sense of depth and tactility but done in a refined and suggestive way, sensitive to the changed perceptions that people have of interacting with touchscreens.
That’s something important not being talked about nearly enough in all this “Apple is moving towards flat design” chatter: it’s not that flat design is necessarily “better”, it’s that Apple can start changing some things now because so many people have become accustomed to using the iPhone (and smartphones in general) over the past 5+ years. Not as much hand-holding in the design is required. Apple no longer has to try as hard to make new users think they’re just doing something like pressing a bunch of buttons on a screen. Hopefully that’s liberating for the design team.
Apple Plans Fresh New Showcase Store for San Francisco
Hard to tell which is dumber: the article or New York’s Attorney General.
It sure sounds like he’s not going to be happy until every smartphone is a remote detonation device. And if that happened, he’d probably sue the companies for making weapons of mass destruction.
The Dissection Of A Vintage Mac
Want. (I have the disassembled clock print already.)