AMITIAE - Friday 11 December 2015
Cassandra: Friday Review - A Priori Apple is Failing Again
By Graham K. Rogers
Coincidentally, the products include a Lightning to SD Card Reader, and a Lightning to Camera adapter. More controversial is the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case in White or Charcoal Gray. The links here are for the US store: with the local setup, it may be better to use the search feature. These come up quickly enough.
It certainly appears to be practical and the iFixit teardown confirms that this contains a battery of 7.13 Whr (1877 mAh at 3.8 V) capacity, which "more than doubles your iPhone 6s (6.55 Whr) capacity." They gave it 2 out of 10 for repairability: the battery might be replaceable, but the damage might be too much. Their opening comments describe it as "ugly" which is not something we usually hear about Apple products.
He claims that "To charge the Pencil, you must insert it into the Lightning connector on the bottom of the tablet in a way that makes it clear any sudden shift would all but certainly snap the stylus in two, or at least severely damage its tail end." What utter drivel.
If he had been paying attention, he might have seen the adapter in the box, which allows the Pencil to be charged with a normal USB to Lightning cable: flat on a table, no risk, no breakages, unless you charge it on the floor and step on it, of course. There is a grey circle on the adapter to indicate which is the right end for the cable. Connecting the Pencil to the iPad Pro via its Lightning port is for emergency charging (and of course you can do a full charge this way), with a 15 second connection providing 30 minutes of charge.
The design compromises, as they are being called, are odd in the light of the smooth designs we have been used to from Apple, but as for proving that Apple has lost its mojo, Jony Ive is on sabbatical, or Tim Cook must go, these are drops in the ocean.
This was not the only source that bemoans Apple's design failures with Zach Epstein on BGR citing not only the new case but the differences between old and new Airport routers as proof that Apple has lost it. I have both: the flat one which collected dust in those grooves and the new taller one with the better antenna placement, which sits nicely beneath a table giving me 802.11ac wifi throughout the apartment. No fail there. I mean, I loved the Apple Cube.
Epstein also cites the Apple Pencil connector and omits the adapter as the main charging method. Note the URL of that BGR article, titled "When did Apple products get so... ugly?". It ends with "battery-design-wtf/" which some might consider an unnecessary and distasteful, subliminal editorial comment.
Affinity Photo which had been updated on Wednesday was named best OS X app. I had been running this since the beta versions last summer and was always impressed. Now however, Serif Studios have added six Affinity Photo extensions for Apple's Photos, expanding the usability of that app several times.
Under Nadella it is noticeable how many more apps there are for iOS from Microsoft and this is making Microsoft's services (e.g. Office) available on iOS devices, which some people think is the best of both worlds. Mark Hibben on Seeking Alpha explains the strategy and why Ballmer is wrong again.
The strategy at Microsoft has changed to reflect the reality that the desktop is no longer king, and therefore cash cows like Windows and Office cannot be relied on to give Redmond rich pickings like before. They have to boldly go and seek new platforms or solutions.
The evolution of mobile devices has blurred the lines and while some can still only think in terms of desktop computers with rotating hard disks for storage, others have embraced mobile computing in its various forms, including smaller capacity SSD drives and cloud storage. Some are quite capable of working only on mobile devices, with only minimal use of PCs. I looked at this idea earlier this month when writing about the iPad Pro.
MacBook: All Colors - Image thanks to Apple
The MacBook Air was introduced in 2008, and then we had the iPad. We now have the MacBook, which seems almost the same as the MacBook Air, but is not. The iPad mini, the larger iPhone 6s Plus and now the iPad Pro. Instead of having to make do with a device that fits within Steve Jobs' four quadrants, we now have options for a range of devices from which we can select the right one for the tasks we need to carry out.
iPad Pro in iStudio, Bangkok
Schiller, in fact, has a grand philosophical theory of the Apple product line that puts all products on a continuum. Ideally, you should be using the smallest possible gadget to do as much as possible before going to the next largest gizmo in line.
Schiller goes on to explain that each device, from the Apple Watch up to the iMac has its own set of tasks, so the user chooses the right one for the job that needs doing.
That Levy article starts with a look at the design lab and there is a small section on that Magic Mouse 2 and the way the team examined it and rethought part of the design, not because of the charger port but because it didn't sound right. If they are concerned enough about the sound, the placement of the port was debated and it is there for a reason, whether The Verge or BGR like it or not.
Whatever the figures, Blair is able to produce a set that proves Apple is failing and that the Surface, Microsoft, Samsung or Blackberry is either taking the markets by storm or poised to do so. The most recent item from him I have seen is on the iPad Pro which is "is a long way short of" the Surface range; and iOS "is of little value to professional users in the enterprise space", so the Wintel alliance will push Apple to the sidelines. I wonder if he noticed that Microsoft and Adobe executives were demonstrating products at the iPad Pro announcement?
Blair insists that "The device is expensive, under-powered and pales in comparison to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 which will remain the tablet of choice for serious users." In a useless example of sleight of hand, he produces a table comparing the A9 processor with Samsung devices, when the iPad Pro has a considerably more powerful A9X. But what do we expect?
He actually has quite a fan club with his never-praise-Apple-at-any-cost columns. Commentators call him out on his technical errors and some use his negatives as a sure sign it is time to buy Apple stock. Several comments came from professionals, including writers in the tech and financial fields, including a strong dismissal by Robert X. Cringely: "There's plenty to criticize about Apple, but this particular criticism - and especially the platform comparison and its conclusions - makes no sense."
Only by pushing the staff (not literally) did I find they were talking about the older connectors. These are still shown on Apple's pages. They had no idea when the new ones would be coming. I don't actually think (deer in headlights look) anyone there knew that there was a new version.
At home, I decided to order online. Not so easy these days as there is no dual-language capability for customers. I needed to have the main (US) site open as well, so I could compare details and links. When I made the purchase, my details were already available but certain address data needed to be entered using button with Thai place names. Fortunately I know where I work and that was done fairly easily, then I had to do it again for some reason.
Many local customers are not happy with this lack of English. I know Apple is aware and they are "thinking about it". I hope a decision is made soon as Xmas and New Year sales start soon.
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. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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