eXtensions - Sunday 3 September 2017
Cassandra - Weekend Review: The Coming iPhone - Rumours, Siri, and Apple TV (Amended)
By Graham K. Rogers
Steve Jobs Auditorium - image courtesy of Apple
I think we may be able to provide an answer to the $1,000 iPhone that is a problem for some. They are here already and I have already had a couple. Prices are a bit different here and are quoted with VAT already added, so that $999 iPhone in the USA is bound to be over $1,000 once state (and perhaps, City) taxes are included. The average income of users is also lower here.
It is interesting to see how many students have iPhones (a lot have other devices too of course) and several of the current models are already over that symbolic $1000, but they still sell. By all accounts they sell very well too. The iPhone 7 Plus starts just under the magic price at 31,500 baht, with the 128GB version at 35,500 baht ($1,000 is about 33,000 baht) and the 256GB iPhone at 39,500 baht. Remember too, UK prices are even higher than here with the massive 20% VAT. So, Yes, they will sell.
The best of these was the iPhone 6s which not only had completely new insides, but the material for the case was changed to a totally different alloy (aluminium 7000). Even a cursory glance at the details of what was inside would have shown that "same, same" could not be the case. I expect that this will happen this time to a similar degree, although if some of the rumours are true, the claims of sameness will have to be tempered.
I expect that the facial recognition technology (if this rumor is true) will be questioned, partly because Samsung's recent solution was shown to be weak. Similar comparisons appeared when Apple's TouchID technology for fingerprint recognition was introduced, even though the solutions from Apple and Samsung were completely different.
If you think that walking about town with a bright red pair of Beats phones sitting on top of your head somehow makes these less visible, I suggest a glance in a mirror might correct that view. Or maybe it is just because there is an Apple logo stamped on the side. Note also that Apple was awarded 7 design patents for the AirPods recently.
That logo usually brings out the negative comments whenever possible, but not when similar problems occur with devices that are not from Apple. I took a local Twitter user to task on the lack of comment when one of these devices had a problem, when earlier he had been all over anything that hinted at the fallibility of Cupertino. After pressing him a number of times for a suitable reaction, he mercifully blocked me.
I am sure Apple will also be encouraged by the news that Siri won an Emmy last week, when the award for Technical/Engineering Achievement. Rene Ritchie (iMore) writes that "Siri on Apple TV is notable because it can handle multiple sequential languages, which is an incredibly tough problem to crack." It would be nice to try that: not available here. Apple does have a page that shows what is available (or not) on iOS round the world. Thailand does reasonably well on Maps and Keyboards, modestly with Siri, OK with CarPlay, fairly well with iTunes, but not TV (only 6 countries surprisingly), not at all well with Spotlight and not News, which is a great app if you have access.
AppleTV here is a real disappointment in comparison, not the least with the price as the device attracts extra duties in Thailand, before VAT, making it more expensive than in other places. With no Siri, no major news channels, few online movie sources and a weak selection of apps, it pales in comparison with what is available elsewhere. The only things that make it of value to me are the relatively diluted Netflix service, and iTunes music. Even that is poor in comparison with what is available in other countries (to be fair, I pay a lower fee) with far fewer artists (I know, copyright) and no video content from Apple Music, like Planet of the Apps or Carpool Karaoke.
Let me put that in context: I hate karaoke and although James Corden's concept is fun, I would be unlikely to watch it. But I am not everyone, and my point here is that those subscribing to Apple Music here don't even have access to these in-house productions. What chance is there for future output if Eddy Cue starts the ball rolling, for example with the new Jennifer Aniston show that both Apple and Netflix are bidding for (Chris Smith, BGR)?
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. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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