AMITIAE - Friday 23 March 2012
Cassandra - Friday Review - The Weekend Arrives
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:Mother Jones hit-whoring for the second time in a month. That 5" iPhone screen rumour again. Haptic technology: touch screen output. Heat from the iPad: depends on who is doing the testing, how they do it and what they want to say. RIM to develop apps for the iPad. Apple tried to negotiate with Samsung and were rebuffed. New Commodore Amiga computer: price drops $500 overnight. SingTel loses 500 staff who are immediately snapped up by Huawei: oh? . . . CAT and TOT rolling in clover for the next few years.
Apple StuffI am going to call out Mother Jones Magazine again for hit-whoring on Apple for the second time in a month. On 24 February in the Cassandra column I noted that a headline on an article about a rare earths processing plant soon to open in northern Malaysia's Kuantan read "Radioactive Fallout from iPhones and Flat-Screen TVs?" but the iPhone was not mentioned once in the story. This week, Andy Kroll on Mother Jones had a good article on Wallmart's attempts at sustainability programs that are linked to the many factories in China they used. The headline, again: "Are Walmart's Chinese Factories As Bad As Apple's?" Again the question mark in the title; and again not a single mention of Apple within the article body. The article itself was really well researched and a good if lengthy read, but it failed totally to link the title with Apple and the only conclusion I will draw is that this is a feeble attempt to gain hits from people who might otherwise not bother: I mean, Wallmart is hardly sexy. This is a shame. I regard the hard work done by Mother Jones as valuable and normally well-researched. The work reaches a far higher level than quotidian journalism and if there is something in the title, it should be covered within the body of the text, otherwise it is just bait and not worthy.
There is a rather good point to the use of iPads for aircraft use and several airlines have taken to the device as a way to reduce unnecessary weight, with the USAF also joining the party with some 18,000 iPads for their crews. Now we read in an item by Kelly Hodgkins on TUAW that one of the Middle-East airlines, ETIHAD is using the device to supplement training courses for Airbus A340 aircraft engineers. All that information on that little device: what a good idea, eh?
Although I was not that keen on the iPhoto app for the iPhone (I guess it makes a lot more sense on the iPad), a lot of people like it and sales have passed the 1 million mark according to iPodNN. Not bad for a couple of weeks.
A report I saw Friday morning (linked from MacDaily News) on Reuters suggests that RIM are looking for a software developer. OK. Ah, but this is a software developer who can writes apps for the iPad. Oh? It would be nice to finally see the Messenger available for us iOS users.
AppleInsider has a report about how the WIFI story is taking shape, particularly in the forums. There were also reception problems with other iOS devices in the past. OS X Daily has some suggestions for tackling this although it might be that Apple releases an update as they did in the past.
But it is the heat that has the headlines buzzing. Some say it is bad, others say not so bad, while I haven't a clue. RixStep who also may not have a clue and were really quite cross, are relying on anecdotal evidence (like I do) and conclude that it is all an Apple conspiracy and that Tim Cook is paying John Gruber to tell fibs. We carried the Gruber story on Wednesday which noted that percentage figures change depending on whether Fahrenheit or Celsius were used in comparisons.
Not good enough and Rixtep have a couple of items from the forums, which if true (and we have no reason to doubt) suggest a serious problem. For some. I do not hold with the fanboi comment of Rixstep as an excuse: it either is or it isn't and a Tweet from Andy Ihnatko told us that because of the reports, he tried for a long time -- playing a graphics intensive game -- and noticed "warmth". Might this be a case, like the wifi differences, that some units do have a problem and some do not? If so, Apple should replace the defective units and investigate. Rixstep is correct in writing that "The iPad is a handheld device. It's meant to be held. If it's too hot to hold then one has a design flaw and one goes back to the drawing boards to fix it. Period."
One of the sites that Rixtep might consider as fanboi, iMore has a report from Rene Ritchie who unscientifically tested out his iPad and ran several apps and videos over the course of 40 minutes, he writes "the temperate did rise from a cold start of 30 deg C (86 deg F) to a high of 35 deg C (95 deg F), at most it was warm to the touch along the left edge." He also tried the iPhone which showed the same temperature and the MacBook Pro with a Flash video (guaranteed to get the fans at full speed). That hit higher temperatures. But no one is reporting on hot notebook computers. Not fashionable enough I guess.
Another article on the heat question by Josh Ong on AppleInsider looked at a test by Repair Labs on the A5X processor which found temperatures up to 36 degrees C as opposed to the 27 degrees of the older A5. This was on an iPad that had been opened up. An interesting point was that they "speculated that a difference in materials between the A5 and the A5X may be a contributing factor, as the A5 is believed to be ceramic, while the A5X is 'obviously metallic.'" External tests were unable to produce the high temperatures that Consumer Reports found. Hmmm, they were the same guys who found that antenna problem on the iPhone 4, weren't they? However, Josh Ong does tell us that Consumer Reports did not claim the device would burn: that was done by other sources afterwards.
A report by DisplayMate Technologies -- we mentioned this on Wednesday -- tells users that "the thermographic portraits circulating the web "overblown" and says the extra heat is the natural consequence of increased power". The report on Electronista also carries a lot of wise words from DisplayMate boss Ray Soneira.
I rest my case.
Half and halfA report on The Verge by Matt Macari claims that Apple had approached Samsung four times in 2010 in an effort to avoid litigation and attempt to come to some for of agreement over patents, even if Steve Jobs was willing to go Thermonuclear.
Other MattersSony Corporation announced the development of the industry's highest picture quality "IPELA ENGINE", capable of the first 130dB wide dynamic range in full HD quality at 30 frames/second, which dramatically enhances image visibility. Clear images can be created in low-light conditions through detection and removal of noise within a single frame, in addition to the reduction of noise in the consecutive frames.
Local itemsA bit of a shuffle took place in Singapore recently as reported by Natalie Apostolou on The Register, but it left me with a mega-question in my mind and a nasty taste in the mouth. We are told that SingTel axed 500 staff, but then these same workers were immediately offered positions with Huawei Technologies will use the staff to operate and maintain SingTel's copper-based voice and data network infrastructure for an initial period of five years. This has all the feeling of a fix in much the same way that the news that CAT and TOT in Thailand were to be gifted bandwidth for the next few years, when they have hardly demonstrated any form of competence with modern telecommunications in the last couple of decades has also left a lot of people feeling uncomfortable.
Late CommentRemember, the iPad is released today in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. And then? . . .
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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