What yesterday’s Apple satellite announcement really means

I took the summer off to move with my family from California to Virginia, thus escaping the inevitable fires of doom. I deliberately left my Apple/Globalstar column up so it would be still staring at readers when Apple made its eventual announcement, which was yesterday. That was a gutsy move on my part, but clearly I was correct. Today’s column — my first from our new home in Virginia — looks at specifics of the Apple satellite announcement, placing it in a more informed context.

Apple spent only five out of 65 minutes in yesterday’s product announcements talking about satellites, yet the title of the event — Far […]

Apple’s Space Ambitions are Real

Last summer, a couple weeks before the iPhone 13 announcement, Chinese market analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote that the iPhone 13 would include satellite communication capability.

Huh?

This was a bolt from the blue. No other Apple analysts were writing about satellites at that time.  And while Ming has a very good track record based on finding out from Apple’s supply chain about likely details in upcoming products, there was nothing about this satellite tip that even made sense, since it didn’t seem to involve hardware at all.

Generally speaking, a Ming tip is a hardware tip, but this one was not.

Ming’s prediction was widely and quizzically […]

Tesla won the self-driving car war, they just aren’t telling us

There was a time when I could figure something out, just plain figure it out of raw data, then blurt my conclusions out to the world through this rag just to see what would happen. And what would inevitably happen was a thousand experts would pipe up just to tell me to pipe down, saying that I was too frigging stupid to read, much less write. Except occasionally I got it right (pure luck) so, damn it, they had to keep reading my work. Well I’m back to try again and here it comes: When the history of autonomous cars is written, the winner will be Tesla. Heck, I think they’ve already won.

Autonomous […]

Mark Zuckerberg’s Pact with the Devil

This is a column about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, but it starts with an old story about Intel and Monsanto from my book Accidental Empires. Stick with me here and you’ll soon understand why…

There was a time in the early 1980s when Intel suffered terrible quality problems. It was building microprocessors and other parts by the millions and by the millions these parts tested bad. The problem was caused by dust, the major enemy of computer chip makers.

Semiconductor companies fight dust by building their components in expensive clean rooms. Intel had plenty of clean rooms, but it still had a big dust problem, so the engineers cleverly decided […]

After switching to ARM, expect Apple to buy TSMC, too

Readers have been asking me to comment on Apple’s decision, announced at last week’s World Wide Developers’ Conference, to start switching to Apple-designed ARM processors for its Macintosh computers. I usually don’t like to do second-day (or, in the case, second-week) stories unless I can add something new to the discussion. Oddly, I usually can and that’s the case here, where Apple’s move to ARM has a big-picture strategy component that is absolutely vital to the company’s continued success. It also doesn’t seem to be covered yet anywhere but here.

Forget all the talk about Apple moving to ARM because the chips are better than Intel’s or consume […]