Mike Elgan

About the Author Mike Elgan


Smartphones are driving us to distraction. Here’s help.

Ho-hum. Another year, another crop of amazing smartphones.

The latest advancements come from Apple and Google. The new iPhone 8 line and iPhone X phones, as well as Google’s new Pixel phones, are blistering fast, offer near-DSLR-quality cameras and perform a growing range of cool stunts, such as supporting augmented reality.

If you were to ask the public if they want all this power and ability, they’d probably respond, “Well, yes! Absolutely!”

But if you were to ask them if the newest phones solve any problems people have with their lives, the answer would be, “Well, no. Absolutely not!”

In fact, smartphones are making our biggest problems worse.

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We need virtual assistants that talk to each other

Everybody talks about (and often to) the Big Four virtual assistants — Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant. But many other companies are working on virtual assistants, too.

Huawei is working on a virtual assistant for the Chinese market.

Samsung offers Bixby on its Galaxy S8 or S8+ smartphones.

Voice recognition giant Nuance offers an enterprise ready virtual assistant called Nina, which specializes in knowing the limits of A.I. and kicking queries over to a team of human assistants when necessary. Nuance this month announced a Nina “skill” on Amazon’s Alexa platform.

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Yes, Apple is building a car

The experts say Apple’s self-driving car project is canceled, delayed or converted into a software play. They’ll also tell you that cars are a weird business for Apple to be in.

The experts have it all wrong.

Apple is going pedal-to-the-metal on building a car and for good reason. Here’s why.

Talk about titans

Steve Jobs wanted Apple to make an “iCar.”

The late Apple founder and CEO wanted more than that, according to J. Crew CEO and chairman Mickey Drexler, who served on the Apple board from 1999 to 2015. Jobs wanted Apple to reinvent the automobile industry.

The idea of an Apple car was considered crazy talk — until word leaked about a secret Apple initiative called “Project Titan,” which reportedly involved more than 1,000 engineers.

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