AMITIAE - Monday 24 March 2014
Cassandra: Monday Review - Tim Cook Must Go Again and Again; Same old new Product Rumours Recycled; News and Comments
By Graham K. Rogers
This week Apple is in trouble again over taxes as the iTunes store in the UK has not been collecting the VAT that most sales in the UK have levied: a whopping 20%. It has not been included in the price because of offshore accounting and the use of some of the rules that allowed this. So no one has done anything wrong.
Several sites reported this new tack by H.M. Government and while the earlier let-out for digital purchases is to end, so Apple must charge its customers 20% instead of the previous 3% AppleInsider reports. This move should bring in a figure of around £494 million which is a fraction of the cost of the two aircraft carriers being built for the shrunken British Empire which initially cost £6.2 billion, then had another £2.6 billion over-run. Looks like the politicians would do better getting a hold of that rather than penalising its digital citizens.
And as a late note, Ben Lovejoy on 9 to 5 Mac reports that Pegatron - Apple's main supplier for the iPhone 5c - has posted a 22% rise in earnings.
There was mention in that AppleInsider article of sloppy reporting by Wall Street Journal which is one of those outlets that seems to seek out the dark side of Apple. And if they cannot find it, perhaps invent it. A former (loosely) writer for WSJ was Yukari Iwatani Kane whose Haunted Empire was released not so long ago. I pre-ordered a copy partly because of the teasers in WSJ and the idea that this was a book with a post hoc ergo propter hoc thesis.
I should have been warned by the review by Charles Arthur ("great title, shame about the contents") and by a number of others, such as Rene Richie ("It's the book about Apple after Steve Jobs that's the real horror story") and Yoni Heisler in TUAW ("An unflattering and misguided look at the Tim Cook era").
One of the best reviews is from Farhad Manjoo on Bits (NYTimes Blogs): "it mainly proves that Apple under Mr. Cook is operating just like Apple under Mr. Jobs."
The problem is cherry-picking some of the quotes that prove what you want it to say, but leaving out the other stuff that might give a different side of the picture. I have read the first 5 chapters but do not really want to go further as this is turgid: poor journalistic levels bordering on high school, ladling it on. I guess I will not be able to get my money back.
He is not as bad, however, as Trip Chowdry who has hardly had a good word to say about Apple ever. He also thinks that Cook should go and in one of his recent dream themes suggested that Apple has only 60 days left. . . . This is such a rich vein for humour and derision that a search for "Trip Chowdry+Apple has only 60 days" brings up a wealth of dismissive commentary. Dismissive of Trip Chowdry, that is.
This is a sort of demand that Apple must, must, must release an iWatch in less than 2 months, but anyone who claims to watch (no pun intended) Apple will know that it does not dance to the beat of Trip Chowdry's drum. Or anyone else's for that matter. Apple does what it wants to do, when it feels the time is right.
As a note, it sort of diminished the strength of the demands of Pendola, Chowdry, Kane and others when Fortune ranked Tim Cook as one of its 50 great leaders. He was 33rd, Cody Lee reports on iDownLoad.
Note here also that the AppleTV that many over at Wall Street (and global equities) said must be coming, is still just a gleam only in the analysts' eyes. Perhaps the best comment on the Trip trip, is from Shaun McGill on Lost in Mobile.
Wait and see: that 18 March date that many suggested would see an alignment of stars with a release of iOS 7.1 and OS X 10.9.2 came and went with no hardware announcements from Apple. Again.
However, the Apple + TV idea warmed up at the beginning of this week when lots of sites began reporting a possible Comcast-Apple tie-up: a possible streaming TV service. Electronista tells us that talks are only in early stages, but that did not stop everyone who thinks they are experts on Apple expressing opinions. This always reminds me of that ghastly Lord Archer who was posturing on TV at Princess Diana's funeral about what she would have done, what she would have liked and what she would have felt. As if he knew. . . .
Comcast? It is all about content.
Note that automated battery production has been used by Apple at least since the intro of the last 17" MacBook Pro (and that is long gone). Also reporting on the battery story is Benjamin Mayo at 9 to 5 Mac.
A note on Mayo: he is a fairly recent arrival and quite young, but he writes a lot of good sense. According to his bio, he develops app for iOS, writes news, reviews and other items and also studies economics at university.
Last week there was an interesting video doing the rounds of Jimmy Fallon with Billy Joel. Using an iPad app to make some background, the pair did a duet. Considering that this was live and unrehearsed, it was quite well done. Neil Hughes on AppleInsider has a link to the video and an explanation of how the iPad was set up to make this performance.
In a related article on the Guardian, Sarah Harrison writes of her experiences as a journalist and her links to Wikleaks and Snowden. This has made her a sort of persona non grata as she is perceived as a threat to the government, although surely the government is a threat to free speech. Very chilling stuff.
On that note, this week's Life column in the Bangkok Post examines writing tools on the Mac and despairs that most people think that Microsoft's Word is all you need. It is not meant to be an anti-Redmond column, but my annoyance may seep through.
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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