Month: October 2011

Why Siri and Not Assistant

Tim Bajarin, via John Gruber: Yes, Siri is an important product for enhancing our user interface with the iPhone. But Siri is in its infancy. When it grows up, it will be the front end to all types of searches conducted on iPhones, iPads, Mac’s and even Apple TV. And, if I were Google or Microsoft, perhaps I too would be playing down the impact of Siri since they know full well that it is not just a threat to their product platforms, but to their core businesses of search as well. In fact, they should be quaking in their boots since Apple is taking aim at their cash cow search businesses with their technology and could very well impact their fortunes dramatically in the future. In the run up to the iPhone 4S’s unveiling, everyone believed the natural language voice recognition feature would be called Assistant. Apple Assistant. Voice Assistant. iPhone Assistant. When we learnt that they had decided to keep the Siri name, a known brand to a small set of U.S. users …

State of the Singapore iPhone 4S launch

As at noon, Sunday the 23rd of October: SingTel – No news on pre-orders with 5 days to go, but they’ve started taking names, at least. I suspect they will have a small window for pre-orders tomorrow or Tuesday, which will sell out within 2 hours. StarHub – Publicly announced there would be no pre-orders, but has approached select subscribers via SMS to pre-order via a secret site. Other customers are learning about it, and are pissed. Poor move, in my opinion. M1 – Midnight launch event and prices announced ahead of competitors. Will have online orders on the 28th with home delivery after the 30th. BUT ALL IPHONE PLANS NO LONGER HAVE FREE INCOMING CALLS. That last bit is just astounding to me. Subscribers will have to sign up for a free incoming plan and bolt-on an expensive data sub on top of it. I understand why they’re doing it — the aggressive price wars from a few years back hurt all 3 telcos — but blinking first puts them at a major disadvantage. …

Tiny Fry’s electronics concept store, Singapore

I don’t think this electronics store is affiliated with that Fry’s, but I like the fast food/supermarket theme they’ve got going with refrigerators as storage shelves for iPads and MacBooks on the inside. The signboard outside shows featured products (everything with a screen is shown displaying a burger) with a superscript type treatment that makes $400 look like $4.00. Clever. They seem to have iPhone/iPad cases that the usual Apple authorized retailers here don’t carry, as well as things that are outright impossible to find outside of Singapore’s Sim Lim black market: Kindles, Nooks, current-gen Apple TVs, etc. Location: Level 1, Millennia Walk.

Nudged

It’s been a long day. I heard the news about Steve Jobs from Facebook and Twitter while I was still in bed in the morning. I didn’t think it’d be this soon; like John Gruber, I kept believing he’d pull through again. Not shocked, not depressed, but deeply moved by the enormity of what had been lost. I said to someone that future generations capable of mapping time and parallel dimensions might look at their charts and see how the course of our world changed at this moment. Things are different now, for us all, than they might have been if he lived to be 90. I don’t know anyone who could doubt that. At lunch, I bought the iPod classic I’ve been thinking about for the past week. Silver, not black. Closest to the original. I remember getting an iPod with my first Mac, an iBook, and loving it passionately as an extension of that computing experience, one that I was thrilled to take out with me each day. The music player and laptop …

Maison Ikkoku cafe, Singapore

Spent my afternoon off at a new cafe in the Kampong Glam/Arab Street area. It takes a whole lot of inspiration from Japanese culture, by which I mean they had a Japanese barista champion instruct their team; the second-floor menswear boutique is 80% independent Japanese labels; the decor is minimalist, eclectic, intimate, and well-worn all at the same time, just like any self-respecting Japanese hideyhole’s should — it only lacks the sonic environment of one, substituting a bordering-on-hip soundtrack of singer-songwriter tunes and Bristolian trip-hop for what would normally be a mix of guileless cool jazz cuts and barely-audible breakbeats. From vinyl. The coffee, anyway, was fantastic, and alongside cupcakes, savory pork buns, and other snacks, they offer a variation of the Spam musubi. No seaweed wrapped around the body, no soy sauce and rice wine seasoning fried into the Spam (only a small sachet of Japanese soy sauce accompanying the clingfilm-wrapped slab on a plate… don’t use it), but the use of furikake in the shortgrain rice is a nice touch. Like I said, …