AMITIAE - Monday 3 December 2012
Cassandra - Monday Review: It will soon be Friday
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:Tim Cook interviewed by NBC. Apple and Alpha and Intel. The release of the new iMac produces several articles and photos. Apple and changes in technology: no innovation remember. Apple iPhone delivered in Thailand with yellow screen and loose home button. Input on the updated iTunes. Register hack compares iPhone prices in US and UK but forgets to mention VAT included. Microsoft buys fewer components for Surface. Analyst suggests the Redmond death spiral is in play: Ballmer to become a golf expert. Cyber-security in Thailand: or not. 3G in Thailand: or not; again.
Apple StuffA lot of sites had information about a TV interview that Tim Cook is giving to NBC which is due to air 6 December. As part of the interview process, we are told by Jake Smith on 9to5 Mac that Tim Cook went with Brian Williams to the Apple store at Grand Central Station where they were photographed while filming.
Right now, despite the gearing up to make chips for Apple in Taiwan, there is not the capacity that Apple needs. The idea is then that Intel will make the A series for the iPhone, but that Intel (I stick at this) will make processors for the iPad. For me, the very point about use of the Alpha is that no one else can have the features designed in by Apple, but with an Intel solution, all the world and his dog can have the same.
One of the articles appearing had a look inside and it is quite impressive. Steven Sande on TUAW has information on what we might see and the photographs to go with it. Also looking inside is iFixit and an article by Mikey Campbell on AppleInsider introduces this and the point that the repair site gives it low marks for poor repairability: we said things were moving that way and this should not be a surprise at all. I had not noticed this point from iFixit in that article, but Brooke Crothers points out that their report indicates that some iMacs show a new label: "Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in USA" which is not what we usually see (. . . assembled in China). Mind you, that would keep some politicians off Apple's back.
Another article from AppleInsider, this time with photos of the box, who comment that the unusual shape -- wider at the bottom than the top -- must play havoc with stacking. Some of the best pics of the inside of the new iMac are in an item by Lee Hutchinson on Ars Technica who shows a device without the Fusion Drive.
I suggested that he should register a complaint early with Apple as there ought to be consideration of a replacement. Then he told me that the Home button was loose as well. It has to go back. Other models of the iPhone 5 I have seen do not have these problems, which is all the more reason why he should get a new one.
I had been considering buying the iPhone 5 via the online store myself and have had a number of good experiences there (as well as some delayed deliveries), but I see the price is now the same as for buying at a real store, so that might be an avenue I will think about now. Yellow screens and loose buttons: not good enough.
On the same theme, Josh Lowensohn has an article on 7 features that were killed with the update to iTunes. Nothing I will particularly miss in that list, but some might. On TidBits, Jeff Carlson has a look at the different way in which iTunes 11 works and, as I noticed, it is a bit like working on an iPad although it is not completely straight forward right now and there do seem to be some things I cannot find. This is a useful run through of this new version of a central application.
In the latest version of OS X there is no X11 Windows system but for those who want (or need) to run this, William Pearson on OS X Daily has an alternative: the Apple-supported XQuartz. He has details of what it is and where to download it. I had not noticed this was gone as one of the applications that used it on my computer, GIMP, has been updated and is now OS X friendly.
Note that in the Thai online store, the VAT and other charges are shown beneath the price for the product, like the UK where it shows beneath the 32 GB iPhone 5, "includes VAT of approx £100", which is not that hard to find. The US site also shows the cost of iPhones with plans (e.g. AT&T), while the UK site only shows the unlocked phone as does the Thai store. Plans from True, AIS and DTAC show lower initial prices. Want the article? Find it yourself.
Half and HalfThis week's star patent troll, Arendi S.A.R.L. may have hit the mother lode as there is a claim that it has a patent for everything and they have already won against Dell and Microsoft, Patently Apple tells us. Now they are after Apple.
The foreman of the jury apparently had a dispute with Seagate, later taken over by Samsung, so the Samsung lawyers suggest that, of course, he would be biased and he did not tell anyone about his tech knowledge. On these grounds, as well as others, they want a retrial. However, under questioning, Apple's lawyers say that they had zero knowledge that the foreman had been involved in a law suit. But, MacDaily News wonders, did Samsung?
Other MattersWhen I read that Facebook which is already overloaded with features that I am not sure everyone wants to use, was going to bring in (bring on?) photo-syncing I was a bit shocked. At least with the Apple solution to this, clunky as it can be if the connections are not perfect, there is a limit to the people who can view what images the devices produce, and it is also now mercifully easy to delete if someone puts online a photograph that would be best not made public. Can Facebook guarantee that: once a pic is out there, it is out there. Leanna Lofte on iMore has a look at this new Facebook feature which, she reports, is set to private by default when it becomes live.
This all leads in perfectly to an analysis of Redmond and its falling position by Jay Yarrow on Business Insider who last year laid out the nightmare scenario, but concluded it was not going to happen. Now he thinks they were wrong and the nightmare scenario is actually starting to take hold. In a series of slides Yarrow explains how Microsoft's business is beginning to fall apart. Needless to say the iPad figures prominently, but also mentioned is the collapse of Redmond's former cash cows, like Windows (with the Windows 8 weaknesses) and Office as that suite becomes less relevant.
I have written a lot of late concerning the way some so-called analysts have put Apple down in terms of negative reporting on almost everything which had the effect of pushing the share price down: then when it is low, the "buy" command goes out. That cuts both ways and a number of sites commented on an article by Charles Sizemore who claims that Microsoft will crush Apple and Google (eventually). Kate MacKenzie of PixoBebo is one of those commenting on this and, like the others, she points out that Sizemore is "stuck holding a lot of Microsoft's flatlined stock" so naturally he would want the share price to rise. And then on Apple, Sizemore concludes that the company is damned because "Apple has no durable long term advantages to keep customers loyal". Kate begins with, "Say what" and the rest of the article lays into him for this myopia (at best).
Local ItemsWe have often worried about security here and we are apparently not alone as Ellyne Phneah on Ziff-Davies examines the state of cybersecurity: Thailand in crisis, is the conclusion.
That story I wanted to reload was on The Nation website, titled, Thais wear poor English as badge of honour. Ain't that the truth. Poor internet too. And 3G.
There is also more on the questionable deal involving CAT, Hutch and True in the Bangkok Post Business Section. Slapped wrists for CAT?
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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