Obligatory Apple Launch Post: iPhone 6s, Apple Pencil, And Apple TV Siri

In an internal memo, Steve Jobs once wrote:

“Tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem”.

That ethos and sentiment has been the compass that guided these fanatics back to these product launches again and again, ever since. This is despite late entry and duplication into many ball games (most recently wearables, mp3 players, touch screen mobiles, and on and on).  This has allowed for boring product launches with blase product features, that only become enhanced thanks to a sheepish developer community that writes code facing Cupertino 5 times a day.  Like today’s. Ready? Here’s what you missed:

(S)orta New iPHONES:

Check it out yaaall. BAAACK TO BACK
Check it out yaaall. BAAACK TO BACK

They’re just like the other ones except faster processor, and better camera. They had access to both technology pieces along, but meeeh! Why not make you wait a product cycle? You’re GONNA buy it.  But, wait! Now with a feature called “3D TOUCH”. Check it out! Might wanna buy a new phone just for it a year before another new one:

ipad pro and APPLE PENCIL:  

This ain't ya daddy's iPad prices!
This ain’t ya daddy’s iPad prices!

“If you see a stylus, they blew it”

That was Steve Jobs on the prospect of adding a stylus to his iPad manifestation. But, whatever. WANNA SEE IT? I BETCHU DO:

Apple TV now With Siri:
apple tv apps benandsiyablog

I’m gonna go get a sandwich… maybe some soup with it. Siri, want any before we watch T.V. together? Fine, just have my show cued up. I’m out:

Calm DOW: 2 Reasons To Ease Fear Of A “Black Monday”

Say it with me: “THIS IS NOT ANOTHER 2008 CRASH”. It is not even close. Natural bear markets are simply not the same as fundamentally and functionally flawed market practices that landed the World Economy in the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Lost Ya? Fine. Maybe Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Donald Trump can help (yea, comin in EARLY with the Donald mention this week – we know you missed it). Here’s a quick 1-2 punch at your unfounded fears of a “Black Monday” (big shout out to Chuck D, and Flavor Flav of course)

  1. Understand CHINESE Economics:
    china econ infograph benandsiyablog

America is currently the largest economy by far nominally (about $18 Trillion to #2 China’s $11).  But, that won’t be true for long. With China’s population sitting around 4 times the size of America’s (1.3 BILLION PEOPLE) and a middle class around the size of ALL  AMERICANS. Put simply, that’s about 350 Million people with more than enough money to survive and buy Nike shoes, and iPhones.  The more of these that are bought by this Chinese middle class, the more stock speculation money investors who bet on that happening worldwide get to cash in on. While, last week we found out that China isn’t growing as fast as your 401K and retirement fund managers might like – this isn’t the end of the world.  As more and more Chinese people move out of poverty into the middle class, China will become the world’s undisputed economic champion – at least for a while. This is inevitable. Managing the road there has proved a challenge for the centrally controlled mixed markets in Beijing, but we’ll get there sometime mid-century one way or another. So, when your favorite Presidential candidate says:

He maybe right about the planning part, but unless he’s gettin ready to quadriple America’s population and spending dollar real quick (watch out, ladies 😉 ), there’s nothing any coming President can do about this rising tide from the east – and really why would you want to?

SO BASICALLY: All speculation is not equal worldwide. China is figuring out how to act with new money. Give it some time, and stop betting on that economy to perform like America’s matured markets… (in bed)  

2. Slippery OIL Prices:
oil price raised benandsiyablog

As China grows and slows (together with all other BRICS countries), they almost form the wake on which the next best markets surf on. So when that Boat slows down, the wake breaks, and fun times come to ugly splashes from all those dependent on sustainable (and more importantly STABLE) Chinese economic growth. Where there is growth, manufacturing plants need to be built and property needs to be bought to house them. That’s usually a result of more things needing to be made in the manufacturing sector for a population that has more income to buy more cars, iPhones, and chocolate, for instance.

Seeing as today’s main source of fuel for continued growth and keeping the economic engine greasy on that is oil, its easy to see how that drives presumed supply and demand. Oil “supply and demand”, however, is based on speculation… speculation that China would continue to grow and need more oil at some arbitrarily expected pace.  This means OPEC (oil monopoly) keeps up the million barrels a day rate of supply, while the real world only needs half that. When that China growth slows down, and they DON’T need as much oil as speculated – market oil prices reflect the lessening demand by pummeling the barrel price below $40.

SO BASICALLY: As the saying goes, “follow the money”. Nothing follows market monies as consistently as oil  and other commodity prices.  Far too often, oil prices follow the fast money (market speculation) so closely that they’ll happily walk into a wall with it, causing even more volatility. We’re producing more of something we don’t need more off. Good for your car fill up price, bad for your retirement plan.
This is a comment on how oil markets work, not on how well your GE, IBM, or Apple is doing. In fact, here’s part of an e-mail from Apple CEO Tim Cook sent to Finance jester, Jim Cramer just this morning:

I continue to believe that China represents an unprecedented opportunity over the long term as LTE penetration is very low and most importantly the growth of the middle class over the next several years will be huge

There you have it! Having a cold, or even a week of pneumonia or mono is not a death sentence. It is manageable. You’ll be fine.
I talked to texted a few investor friends on trading floors across the country watching that fateful “DOW” that was trending twice on twitter this morning, and opened at a negative -1,000 points, and they all agree that after a 6-year bull-run (constant growth), a correction of real stock asset prices was inevitable. Instead of 4-5 million iPhones or Nike Sneakers, China will buy closer to 3 million. CALM DOW! #NoTypo

Open Letter: Dear Bootleggers, MP3 Is Dead. PLEASE BURY IT!

Downloading music was cool – till it was “not so cool” to download music and they arrested people to make examples of them. We started on Napster, when that was a free thing. Then they got busted, and spiderman’s brother – Sean Parker moved along amicably. So did we, to Kazaa (or Bearshare, or whatever P2P sharing system got those viruses on your parents’ computers, but you denied it like the stone-cold vigilante you were).  All along, the bit-rate (basically how good the code makes the music file sound based on how its compressed If I lost ya already, its okay to move along and skip through) was confined to the bit-rate of around 128 kbps governed by the widely accepted “.mp3 standard”.

That was a mistake we made. All of us: the music industry that allowed that to be how music was digitally distributed, the hardware makers of “.mp3 players” (remember those?), and artists for allowing their hours of laborious art-work to go down the digital drain never to be appreciated again. That is bad!

How bad? That is the audio equivalent of watching the 3-D movie Avatar on that black and white T.V. with a big butt that your grandmother refused to let you connect your Nintendo to.  That is like viewing a Picasso painting or Basquiat for you new-age hippies through an Instagram-filtered photo taken from your friend’s iPhone 4 on that Euro-trip they took with their family.
So here we are today. Streaming is the water all levels of listeners and audiophiles sip from.  The convenience of poppin open your Youtube (variable), Spotify (320 kbps), or – as of today – Apple Music app (256kbps) and hearing your jam instantly is unbeatable. That’s fair. However some of us dinosaurs still have the iPod Classic with a click-wheel (its 160 Gigs in the palm of my hand. Stream THAT).  We also load individual files to our iFuns (Pandora, and iTunes haven’t quite kept up with extensive catalogues of Young Thug, and Gucci Mane).  Whether it’s that, or putting together a dj set – the difference is definitely notable when your earphones or speakers puke out an .mp3 version of a mastered instrumentally dynamic album by D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, or Muse.  While streaming is still in its infancy (though growing fast), this is one of the main issues it is supposed to fix – raise music appreciation by fixing the audio quality for listeners.  We ALL LOVE the music. Whether we buy, stream, or steal illegally download it, that love remains steadfast. It’s how we treat and value it that is inexcusable today. So bloggers, new musicians, and online bootleggers – STOP POSTING MP3s for download! DEAD THAT.  Unless it’s the aforementioned thugger-thugger leak that will never land on iTunes or be worthy of higher mastering, consider it like the Zune laid to rest in the image above – DEAD.

Yours Musically,

-Audio African

Ben’s Diary: I Shattered My Phone Screen And I Still Didn’t Buy A Case


Dear Diary,

I shattered my phone screen and I still didn’t buy a case.

I currently rock an iFunSIX®™©, which is not an endorsement of the phone (though if you DO want your company’s name here, holler at this dude.  I will sell out for cash.  #nobrandintegrity), but is an actual fact. It’s the fourth or fifth iteration of the Fruit Phone I’ve owned.  Never once during any of those purchases have I felt the need to get an extended warranty or a phone case.  Every single time I’ve declined those two options, I’ve had the exact same conversation with the exact same spray-tanned sales rep. Continue reading Ben’s Diary: I Shattered My Phone Screen And I Still Didn’t Buy A Case