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Sponsor: MailButler

Popular Apple Mail plugin MailButler has already started the email revolution when it first became available less than a year ago. Ever since it has regularly been adding new functionalities to Apple’s built-in mail client, such as the ability to undo, track, and snooze emails, convert emails to notes, upload email attachments regardless of size, create beautiful signatures, and more.

As you can see from this list, MailButler is a pure productivity tool, which allows you to reduce the time spent on working with emails and to email like a pro. Very recently this list has got three new items. Now MailButler users can add GIF’s to their emails, put their Inboxes on hold in particular time ranges and unpause them later, and share quotes from their emails on sources of their choice.

Bottom line: if you use Apple Mail on your Mac, you really should check out MailButler.

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The Genealogy of the MacBook Pro

I was an early user of the first MacBook Air. When that product was launched I saw in it something different: a dedication to a new measure of performance: thinness and conformability. The key image used to launch the Air was the laptop sliding neatly into an inter-office envelope. The implication was that the laptop does not need to have its own special “laptop bag”. It could fit into any bag. Users would be able to slip it into all manner of new contexts. It sought to compete with computing non-consumption.

The Air was launched by Steve Jobs in 2008 and was almost universally panned. It was considered underpowered and the dedication to thinness was seen as irrelevant to what consumers wanted. The stock price fell.

The product went on to become Apple’s most popular laptop. It still is. It grew the base of Mac users to over 100 million today.

For the same reason, I was an early adopter of the newest MacBook Retina. The even thinner new MacBook was spectacularly thin. It was smaller than an iPad. It had no ports except one USB-C and a headphone jack. It required dongles for physical connections. It had a new keyboard that barely registered movement and it had a new trackpad that did not move at all but played mind tricks to make you think it did.

As I used it over the last year, I became used to it. It was not my only laptop. I had an older 15 inch Pro, but over time I came to use the MacBook Retina exclusively. I thought I could not do “real work” with it but I managed. I got used to the keyboard. I got used to the trackpad. I got used to the need for a dongle to connect a display. But these challenges were more than offset by delightful improvements. I was delighted by the small power brick and the ability to use any USB power to charge it. I was delighted at the all-day battery life which meant I would charge it the way I charged my Phone: at night.  I was delighted that I could use it in places where I could not use a laptop: on any airplane tray, stowing it in the seat back pocket. And I no longer cared what bag I had for my computer. It did not make me productive by completing tasks more quickly. It made me more productive by letting me be do things when and where I otherwise couldn’t. I love my MacBook.

Now Apple launched a new Pro Mac laptop.The new Pro laptop has the same (slightly improved) keyboard as my MacBook. It has the same (larger) trackpad as my MacBook. It has the same (but more of) USB-C port.  It has something new called a Touch Bar which puts function keys into a touch screen but mainly it feels like a grown-up version of my MacBook Retina. It’s faster too.

Overall, the new MacBook Pro feels to me like an evolution of the MacBook of 2015. I remember at the time thinking that this baby MacBook is probably the wave of the future: the new keyboard, new trackpad, new thinness, new USB-C, deprecation of other ports. These required enormous engineering efforts and it would be silly to leave them on only one model. In any case, from where I was standing all these were “better”. Not along the previous definition of goodness but along a new definition: making the computer more conformable and easier to put into use in more places. The very ideas that drove the development of the Air of 2008. Indeed the very idea that drove the development of laptops since the 1990s.

What’s fascinating to me from a product management point of view is that the groundbreaking new features which re-define the product’s direction are not designed to trickle-down from the top-of-the-line to the bottom, but rather that they trickle-up. The low-end product gets the updates first and the the Pro products adopt them later.

And we can even trace this genealogy of features through to an even “lower-end” product: the iPhone. The iPhone “ethos” of usability and conformability has permeated through to the Macs, starting from the lowly and advancing to the top of the range. The question of where Apple’s design direction comes from can be answered: the bottom.

All this is consistent with a strategy of “low-end evolution”. A way to defend the low-end rather than abandon it in pursuit of what the most demanding customers are asking for. Rather, Apple seeks to incubate a new performance measure. Re-defining goodness.

So is this new MacBook Pro a worthy successor to the MacBook Retina? My attention is riveted by the Touch Bar. It seems a completely new way of interacting but requires discovery and practice. What Apple has to achieve is allow the product to work well without it but also to allow users to evolve their experience with it. Over time we got used to trackpads instead of mice (many resisted the change). We got used to a different, small travel keyboard. We got used to new ports (HDMI vs. VGA) and we got used to wireless everything (it may seem easier, but remember having to always enter credentials vs. plugging in a cable).

The touch bar is a new UI metaphor. It will take time but it is looking at me right now, winking.

Listen to “Is the shine off (the) Apple?” – Podcast

Apple is among the biggest companies in the world. But what has it done for us lately? We break down where the company is headed with help from two of the best Apple analysts in the game — Horace Dediu and Neil Cybart. How does Apple compete going forward? Will they introduce a car? Or are they doomed to a slow decline?

Source: Listen to Is the shine off (the) Apple? – Omny personal radio

Sponsor: Working Copy, Git client for iOS

Working Copy is a powerful Git client for iPhone & iPad. It lets you clone repositories, edit files and commit changes. Other applications can open files inside Working Copy, granting Git access to all of iOS.

Having Git on both your regular computers and your iOS device is the ideal bridge between traditional and post PC computing. Work with the latest tools on iOS to embrace the future without leaving the stability of your current setup behind.

Development workflows are rapidly moving to iOS. Download Working Copy now.

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Working Copy

Asymcar 30: The Big Bang Theory

We talk finance and other curiosities with Sviatoslav Rosov PhD, CFA, Analyst.

Beginning with Henry Ford’s “Old Fashioned Layaway Plan” followed by the launch of General Motors Acceptance Corporation, the Certified Pre-Owned sleight of hand and today’s auto sales finance and reporting controversies all shaped the industry. Finance is one of many vectors which tie the system together into what its is.

We once again explore the other vectors that might open disruptive opportunities for an entrant. Wide ranging discussion touching all the big points ultimately asking whether Big Bang change is coming. Or will it the big whimper?

Source: 5by5 | Asymcar #30: Asymcar 30: The Big Bang

Asymcar #29

Horace and Jim begin with the industry’s rhetorical bubble. We consider the auto eco-system’s atmospherics on auto companions and quickly revert back to the reality of today’s manufacturing practices and industry lead times.

Source: Asymcar #29

SUBSCRIBE: The future of online services

Some say that advertising keeps the internet lights on. Advertising is a great business model for services but it has limits. There are only so many ad budgets to go around.  What will fuel an internet that outgrows all the ad money in the world?

This is the topic that Ben Bajarin and I will explore in our next event: SUBSCRIBE: The Future of Online Services. 

We will explore:

  • How will the online services business models evolve?
  • How will VR affect entertainment and communications?
  • How will AI affect shopping?
  • How will blockchain affect economics?
  • How will hardware affect software and services and vice versa?
  • How will  users, usage, and capital connect?

Join us to learn more about the internet economy by studying the economics of the internet.

SUBSCRIBE is a 1/2-day event taking place on both coasts. Register at:

The first 20 registrants receive an early-bird discount.

Learn more about SUBSCRIBE at SubscribeConf.com.

The Critical Path #163: You Say You Want a Revolution

Horace discusses politics and disruption with Michael Tofias. Is disruption of government possible? Michael pursues the study of American political institutions, elections, Congress, and computational political economy to reveal how disruption might play out within governments.

Source: 5by5 | The Critical Path #163: You Say You Want a Revolution

Sponsor: Working Copy, a powerful Git client for iOS

If Git is already part of your work, Working Copy is the perfect tool to bridge the gap between personal computer and the new computing devices.

You can clone repositories, view and edit files, commit changes, and push commits back to GitHub or your company Git server. Other applications can open files inside Working Copy, letting you edit text files, source code and images from Git in your application of choice.

Review changes to your projects with a state-of-the-art diff viewer for both text files and images and explore commits made by the entire team with a commit graph unrivalled on any platform.

Download Working Copy on the App Store.

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The Critical Path #161: Who’s Jack Dorsey

Lots of talk about cars, Elon Musk et. al. and even Twitter.

Source: The Critical Path #161