eXtensions - Thursday 29 December 2016
Cassandra: 2016 from Bangkok Suburbs (2) - Look back in Anguish
By Graham K. Rogers
Back in Bangkok I met with Dr Richard Milani of Ochner Health System who was speaking at the HIMSS AsiaPac16 Conference. Also there was Michelle Troseth, Chief Professional Practice Officer of Elsevier, who spoke to me about Modern Healthcare and the Nurse.
It was clear how important modern computer systems are to healthcare and Dr Milani sent me off on a quest when he told me about the usefulness of iOS devices used for monitoring. I tried a couple including the GMate Blood-Glucose System and the Withings Blood Pressure Monitoring Device. I did have a scare when the glucose levels were shown as higher than I would like, so a trip to the hospital showed that I was not diabetic, but with cholesterol I needed to cut down on cakes and cheese.
GMate Blood-Glucose System (left) and Withings Blood Pressure Monitoring Device
If Foxconn does move some operations to America, the factories will be robot-operated in the main (robots from Japan?) so there may be little change to employment figures by forcing Apple back.
This does have a sting in the tail as the Administration transition members are looking at a levy for products brought in from other countries, suggesting trade agreements will be ignored (can that really be so?). An initial figure of 5% was upped to 10% and the likelihood is that if there is such a charge - aimed at manufacture in China - there will be retaliation, although Alex Cho writing on Seeking Alpha thinks this is "overblown". I would tend to reserve judgement.
While Apple was Trump's whipping boy (as it is for so many), Dell, HP, Microsoft and several other companies would also be affected by such a move.
Soon after the updates to the operating systems, the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch 2 arrived here. The announcement of both devices unleashed a torrent of negative comment, although by the time deliveries began and users tried the Lightning-connected Earbuds, it was clear that the wailing and gnashing of teeth had been based on nothing. These were just as good as the analog earbuds and were supplied in the box just like normal.
The MacBook Pro criticisms had some substance, although not everything implied was so. They were late. It had been three years since any substantial update and my own 2013 MacBook Pro was showing its age, although not in performance. It still has a lot of life. Part of the delay was said to be Intel's slowness in developing Kaby Lake processors, so Microsoft also had to use the Skylake chips, although few thought that was worthy of criticism.
It is worrying that other Macs have not been updated although Tim Cook has offered soothing words once or twice. The popularity of the iMac and its value as a home, office and Pro device make it essential that this is updated early in the new year. Already the rumbles from friends as well as the usual critics are becoming louder and this puts pressure on Apple as a whole: no Macs, Apple doesn't love Macs any more, Tim Cook must go. That is the argument as daft as it looks in black and white.
This week there was another article suggesting that a change of CEO would be good, and this one, by Chris Dier-Scalise (Benzinga) reports on comments by Nicolas Chahine in a recording. They show just how little understanding he has of Apple when he suggests Jeff Bezos as replacement (as he had before). Amazon and Apple are worlds apart.
Just wait for the quarterly figures which I think should be announced around 24 January (my one and only prediction).
I am less worried about the Mac mini, but it also needs an urgent update. Maybe the update(s) will be so strong that this will take on the mantle of the new Pro machines, although it should also stay as a low range machine (bring your own mouse, keyboard and monitor) because that is where its main strength lies.
See also:Cassandra: 2016 from Bangkok Suburbs (1) - A Few Glances Back
Cassandra: 2016 from Bangkok Suburbs (3) - A Bemusing Year
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. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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