AMITIAE - Saturday 25 April 2015
Cassandra: Weekend Review - Siam Motivations, Apple Watch and Destructive Reporting
By Graham K. Rogers
Apple Watch - Image from Apple
This reduction in marketing contact had begun even when I was writing the old Database columns, as Apple wanted iStudio to take responsibility for this. Looks like they are doing a great job. If it were not for dubious rumours and wire articles in the Thai press, Apple would have little publicity generated within the Land of Smiles.
Hong Kong, on the other hand, is still a shining star. It is a major Asian crossroads and its proximity to real China makes it a strategic gateway. Former Apple Director for Product Marketing, South Asia, Tony Li, who left the company (I am told) rather than move to Beijing and then joined HTC for a brief while, noted on Facebook that his Apple Watch had arrived. I am sure he is not alone in Hong Kong, but most of the news reports have been coming from the USA. However, there was an AFP report on the relatively quiet launches that occurred in Tokyo, Hong Kong, China and Australia
I looked at the options, but then came news that the iStudio in Siam Discovery was to close. As the one across the road in Siam Square had already seen crowds buying the stock-clearance bargains, I wondered about a demo MacPro at a sensible price. When I put this to one of the iStudio staff I know, it was suggested this was not going to happen. They were concentrating on iPads and other consumer devices. I guess the MacPro would find a home elsewhere.
Siam Center on a Quieter Day
In the end, I decided on a Mac mini. Because I wanted to change some of the specifications, I ordered it online. With the education discount, the 16 GB RAM and the 256 GB SSD in the 2.6GHz version cost me 35,000 baht plus some small change.
Changing those components means it will not be delivered for a few days. The online store has a delay of up to a week, although this is reduced now, but the iStudio stores advise a wait of around 3 weeks for such special orders, which is disadvantageous for them. I wrote about the decision and the ordering for next Wednesday's article in the Bangkok Post: the Life supplement.
Stop me if you have heard this, but that was a real lesson for me. In 2007, I was lucky enough to have one in my hands the day after Steve Jobs made the initial announcement. I was with a group of media persons from Asia and we were allowed around 15 minutes to see, to ask, and (in the case of the young lady from Pakistan) to squeal.
In the months that followed, before the first iPhones were delivered to customers, I had to read so much speculative clap-trap online and in print, by self-elected experts who had not seen the iPhone and were (in many cases) repeating bullet points from Apple competitors. They are still at it.
In my outline notes for this Weekend Comment, I marked this part, "Apple Watch, tests and stupidity." For all the good points about a device that I have not yet seen or handled, there are plenty of commentators who prefer not to give Apple the benefit of the doubt. Indeed some begin with the premise that Apple is always wrong and take it from there. I note that later, when the speculation they pulled out of the air has proven to be wrong, they never have the balls to retract or apologise.
Many of the sites that produce fabulous headlines (trying somehow to make sure Apple is one of the words used) depend on advertising for income; and that depends on hits. I am fortunate that I do not have to rely on this and my modest efforts come out of my own pocket: but don't let me stop you clicking on the Google Ads, or even advertising yourself.
The images also show the 3.8 V, 0.78 Wh lithium-ion battery in the 38mm watch and they comment on the expected battery life. For early users trying it out, the life initially is going to be unrealistic: new toy syndrome. It will be a few days before some sensible figures begin to appear.
Not unexpectedly, iFixit comment on the problems they had removing the S1 which suggests that the idea of swapping out the internals is next to impossible. Repairability is likely to be low and they give it a fair 5 out of 10. As ever, their care and attention to detail, along with the great selection of photographs, is most welcome.
I am also looking forward to the longer report from AnandTech when we are sure to hear more details about the insides. Ryan Smith was able to have some time with the Apple Watch a few weeks back and the report is worth reading.
One of the ideas iFixit touched on was the water resistance of the Apple Watch, which has a rating of IPX7, which AppleInsider suggests is ok for washing hands, but not for swimming. However, a video on YouTube by FoneFox shows that this may be better than was first thought.
Still with no failure, they took the watch swimming, but the only problem was the slow screen response - it is a capacitative touch screen - but it was fine again out of the water. They ended up with keeping the watch under water for about 15 minutes without problem. Later they are going to smash the Watch with a hammer. That might do the trick.
She ups the ante with a cheese-grater. In a practical situation, there might be one or two scrapes on an abrasive surface but undeterred the CNET reporter scrapes away, then bashes the watch screen with a couple of other kitchen gadgets, but still cannot find a scratch on the surface. Let's try some more. . . Nope, nothing wrong.
The test on the strap with coloured foods including wine, maple syrup, soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, peanut butter and Nutella, which were then rinsed off had the potential for some sense of the realistic. The quantities here were just excessive; but, No, still OK.
Then she boiled the watch. After taking it out, the watch restarted and there was a high temperature warning. Why would anyone be surprised by this? I bet she would not put her hand in the water.
Next was a drop test, but again, this was falsified as the strap was removed for many of the drops and the several stamps of the feet did not match her comment that, it can "definitely handle a fall". It can apparently handle deliberate and excessive force along with some awful acting, but she did finally finish it off by dropping a 7 pound skillet on the watch face.
This was not testing, but hit-hunting.
Also reporting on the arrival of the Apple Watch in customers' hands was Electronista who looked not only at the UPS shipping information that had begun to appear, but at the Watch App Store, which is not shown here of course, although a number of apps I have are being updated to show that they are ready for the Watch
There were lots of people lining up before the 10am start and that was matched by slow-moving cars (probably rubber-necking). teddy was the first buyer to emerge and there are photographs of him showing the box. He did not drop the device like the first iPhone 6 customer in Australia last 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. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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