AMITIAE - Tuesday 10 September 2013

Cassandra: Apple Preparing to Brighten Our Day - With Liveblog Links (Updated)

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

In a few hours, Tim Cook and his team will be starting the event at Apple's Town Hall in Cupertino. With the size and location, the number attending is limited, but there will be plenty of news coming out in double-quick time. So far, I have only a small number of links to live blogs, but will update the list as and when more appear:

The banners have already gone up at Cupertino and use the same patterning as the invitations that were sent out last week. A couple of images (one with a beautiful blue sky) appear on the page of an item by Mark Gurman of 9to5 Mac.

Apple Event

Most commentators are sure (as I am) that the iPhone is to be announced and have been calling it the iPhone 5S for months. I am still waiting for Apple to confirm the name and the existence of a lower-price model that some suggest is the iPhone 5C. I think that is more likely to be a special version headed to China. Even Mashable agrees with me on that.

The amount of speculation about the event (and the iPhone) has been enough to write a fairly hefty book and I made some comments online last week with my own ideas, updating with some comments on what was expected for the iPhones last Sunday.

Macs, watches, AppleTV, iPhones, OS X, iOS 7 all have lesser or greater chances of being mentioned (watches and the TV probably much less) and a release for the iPhone is expected by 20 September, so those guys already lined up outside the New York store - why? - will probably only have one more week of camping to go.

Recent comments have come from a few so-called expert sources. I find that, more and more these days, it is safe to ignore these utterings as many are wrong, and in any case it does not matter. They may just be desperate for hits on the site.

A look at some of these comments comes from Poornima Gupta and Doris Frankel on Reuters with Brian Coello quoted as saying, "Apple is effectively only selling to half the Chinese market today", which is a bit better than comments on one business channel last night in which it was suggested that Apple had almost no sales in China: beware business TV channels. Also in the Reuters' article, Peter Misek - rarely positive on Apple, so safe to ignore - suggests that sales will be "lackluster". With four events in the next 24 hours (Cupertino, China, Berlin and Tokyo), Apple does not think so. The Reuters' article is more concerned with stock price than the event so has only relative value [My link for this was MacDaily News].

One comment that has been recycled a few times is from Gene Munster who has long been known as an analyst with an Apple flavour, although his questions about the AppleTV have become a bit passé these days. Ernie Varitimos on AppleInvestor may not have given the best headline for Munster's comments, who actually is quoted as saying, "The new 5S, as analysts expect the new phone to be called, will follow the usual drill - faster processor, improved camera and more storage". If that is "same old drill" I am all for that.

What many of these Apple experts (and a lot of Apple's would-be competitors) forget is the way the products work together and a particular hint was dropped at the World Wide Developers Conference in June when Phil ("Can't innovate, my ass") Schiller paused the introduction for the new Haswell-equipped MacBook Air computers and inserted the AirPort Extreme Router which had the latest IEEE 802.11ac wifi standard which really flies. The outline of the MacBook Pro (which should also be with us real soon) also showed that the new standard was to be available for that device. Older desktop computers like this did not have wifi and used Ethernet only.

With the recent write-off of almost $1 billion and the sell-by date on Ballmer finally becoming a reality, I was surprised to see Mary Jo Foley report that Microsoft is to release new Surface 2 tablets on 23 September. Trying to steal Apple's thunder? At least they are rumoured to have the Haswell processor.

Last week, Apple cloner, Samsung brought out a new tablet and a new phone. Although Josh Miller on CNET wrote, "Other advanced features include the latest, fastest flavour of Wi-Fi, 802.11 ac", we note that according to Samsung's information the Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes with 802.11 a/b/g/n but not 7802.11ac which is likely to be part of the backbone to Apple's strategy with devices in the home and easy synchronisation of data. Chris Smith on Android Authority also has the device as sporting 802.11ac, so clearly Samsung is wrong as must be Phone Arena.

A number of review sites failed to mention the WiFi specifications, so may be missing the significance of the ability of a device to make such larger and faster data transfers. Reports on the Galaxy Note 3 also indicate that this has the faster 802.11ac standard and I would have been surprised if it had not.

I would be surprised if any device that Apple announce this week does not have the faster, broader wifi as this is part of the key to new strategies that will become clearer as the next months (and products) appear and brighten everyone's year.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. 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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