AMITIAE - Wednesday 19 December 2012
Cassandra - Wednesday Review - The Week in Full Swing
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:So much utter rubbish being written about Apple. Rumours, doom, astrology; but not much in the way of facts. Cheap iPhone: another unsubstantiated rumour. Wall Street analysts: the push back. The iPhone Lobster case: so bad taste it is wonderful. Apple doesn't get a Samsung ban; Samsung doesn't get a retrial. Instagram owns your pics and you have no rights: we are the product. Three wise men of Gotham, went to sea in a sieve: or was that a leaky old Samsung? Raspberry Pi app store. If the Mayans were right, goodbye.
Apple StuffAn early Wednesday heads-up from Josh Lowensohn tells me that there is an update to iOS with the 6.0.2 release reported to be fixing wifi issues. He has a screen shot, but when I tried the Software Update section of my iPhone it indicated that 6.0.1 was the latest version. I will check again later: maybe I have to wait for the Thai technicians to have their first coffee and cigarette. Or it may be just for specific devices like the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.
A great example came my way on Tuesday with a headline from the Register that told us of gloom, despondency and disaster in the Chinese market. I blinked and downloaded this to see if I had missed anything. Anna Leach (one of the Register's Retina display girls -- they thought it was only for pretty flowers) article headline suggests that Apple somehow had a weakness in China, but does note that 2 million sales of the iPhone 5 in 3 days is not that bad. Not bad? What other manufacturer is reporting such figures?
Apparently, because the penetration in China did not match that of Europe or the US, this means that Apple is somehow failing and that people are going for other handset makers' products. Of course they are: few of the population there have the sort of buying power that people in the west do, so most will be limited (because of their disposable income -- more on this in a moment) to the lower end of the market. If you want this drivel, find the link yourself.
If people just thought for a moment before writing such ridiculous stuff, we might be spared an awful lot of rubbish. Thailand is a wealthier country than China, with a much smaller population of course, and the average income is in the region of 8,500 baht I saw this week, or 23,500 baht per household: about $750. And in the rural areas, it is much lower. With those figures, few are going to be able to become owners of the iPhone, so outside of the west, sales figures are expected to be lower. Indeed, 2 million may well be better than expected. And yet, Leach shows this herself in the text, but still manages to make a case against success for Apple.
She is just one of many writers these days that rush into print with nothing much original to say. A lot of the sources I see are merely rehashed (poorly rehashed) reports from other sources who themselves may not be original. Lord, save us from the hit-whores.
Also bringing the share prices down was the sure knowledge from the analysts that there had been cuts in the supply chain, which would lead to fewer iPhones, hence lower sales. Well actually that is not quite right (now that the shares have been marked down -- some people are going to make a lot of money of course) as Philip Elmer-DeWitt is reporting on Fortune that one careful observer has gone over the figures and notes that while December figures were a bit lower, the previous months were pretty healthy so there should be no cause for alarm. Or for making analytical errors.
That weak demand is based on the low turnout for the iPhone in China -- one or two people at the stores, when Apple had changed the ordering methods because of scalpers and public order problems. If there were two million sold, I don't think that was to the 2 guys outside the Beijing store; but this is what they base their thinking on and Pendola is right to call them out. My source for that item was MacDaily News.
Rocco Pendola follows that article up with another saying that the analysts should be ashamed of themselves and even suggesting that "The SEC needs to step in and review how Wall Street analyst hacks do their jobs". The anger comes through here.
So let me add to those points about the sales in China and the analysis of Wall Street. Joel Mathis on MacWorld also makes the same points that Rocco Pendola does. If this is so obvious to them, why can't (or won't) Wall Street see it: other interests methinks.
Using the same information -- the same facts and statistics -- Chris Foresman reports on Ars Technica that the iPhone 5 launch was a new weekend record for China; and the phone is not available yet through China Mobile. Dara Kerr too: "a sales record is set"
So Chris Foresman is enthusiastic over record sales of 2 million, Anna Leach makes snide comments about Apple being weak, while the analysts are looking in the wrong direction and see only doom (or profits when the shares do rise). As Lance Whitney writes, fading or rebounding, pick your analyst. He looks at some of the ways in which sales and prospects are being reported and interpreted at present. Chris Rawson on TUAW goes further and has a roundup of some of the analysts pet worries right now, also making the point that some of the bloggers make too much of the rumours. He redefines (rightly I think) analysts as "astrologers". Perhaps there is some alchemy mixed in there too. Note particularly the comment on the iPhone 5S that was due in June with all manner of bells and whistles: "His proof? Trick question, because he doesn't have any".
Half and HalfMore news on the Samsung v Apple patents trial in California. Josh Lowensohn reports that the judge is not going to allow a ban on Samsung products, despite patent infringement. However, Samsung did not get the retrial it wanted. Steven Musil also reports on this.
Kate adds that, like Microsoft, this area is another where Android is winning.
There was more on the Samsung hole in an item by Steven Musil who tells us it lies "in Exynos 4, the ARM-based system-on-chip typically found in Samsung smartphones and tablets. . . " The "exploit. . . bypasses the system permissions, allowing any app to extract data from the device's RAM or inject malicious code into the kernel." It WHAT? Lots of happy Samsung users this week, I bet.
And people moan about the Apple walled garden approach?
Their tech man, Rory Cellan-Jones, who has never convinced me he knows that much about what goes on these days, writes on the BBC site about the way the developers there were required to produce versions of the iPlayer for different platforms. He explains, with the help of another tech man, why the BBC had so many problems putting out the Android version. And how much quicker it was to develop for the iPhone.
Other MattersI am so glad I never used this, but Instagram, bride of Facebook, now says it has the right to sell your photos, Declan McCullagh reports. No notification. No payment. No way to opt out. I suggest either not using the service any more (as some have already indicated they are doing) or an ugly watermark.
Even Mark Zuckerberg's sister weighed in, Donna Tam reports, with a Like on a posting that was marked as "Instagram's suicide note." And in another comment, Nathan Bransford writes that this move by Instagram, which is being objected to by many, many users, is a reminder that We are the product for sale. There is an update in this item too, on the way that the founder is to address some of the problems. This is another confirmation that the Internet as a conduit is not to be treated lightly.
And for those interested, Allyson Kazmucha on iMore has a way to download all your photos from Instagram and delete your account.
It is clear from this, and the way news is distributed so fast, that the internet and social networking have changed the ways in which people pass their information around: local gossip on a grand scale. As an interesting example of how companies and even governments can be embarrassed so easily is a situation that developed in Bharain this week when the well-know NYTimes columnist Nick Kristof arrived there, hoping to write about human rights abuses, but was not allowed to enter. So he set about Tweeting live from the airport. Sree Sreenivasan has some of the Tweets, and in some Kristof put links to abuses that he knew about. See, now far more people know.
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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