eXtensions - Wednesday 3 January 2018
eXtensions: The Wednesday File (38) - Band-Wagon Litigation and a Mea Culpa: Apple Battered and Slightly Bruised
By Graham K. Rogers
But first some other useful ideas. . .Since I have been using iCloud with iOS devices and Photos, it has often annoyed me that there is such a delay when the images are transferred: all the way to the cloud (wherever the servers we use here are) and then all the way back down to a device sitting perhaps a meter away. Surely, I wrote on more than one occasion, it would be better if there were a system to allow a direct transfer. Now there is.
Although this particular feature was not obvious, the article by Charlie Sorrell (Cult of Mac), "High Sierra 'Content Caching' turns your Mac into a local iCloud server", discusses how to avoid multiple downloads when it is update time. The article also makes it clear that this is a feature that works with iCloud files, including photos. The feature is activated in Sharing Preferences and is a new checkbox at the bottom of the list. When this is on, both Mac and iOS content is saved locally and this will save a lot of time.
I had a look at the Alsoft pages and at the top is a link - "Click here to learn about DiskWarrior 5.0 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra & APFS". On that page is clearly says that AFPS disks will not appear, which had been my experience, and mentioned that users will see a warning about an extension. It also makes it clear that DW will not currently work with AFPS disks, but that they are working on this, although there have been (understandable) delays. All you have to do is look at the developer website before rattling off an indignant email.
Batteries and Related ItemsOn the opening day of the year there were 15 suits against Apple for what really is a piddling little problem that has been made worse by Apple's poor PR on the matter. Having dropped the ball here, Cupertino has been making strides to improve the situation, as ever more litigation is being launched.
While it was not a surprise for the technical press to understand the situation, there was support from Wall Street, who I had expected to see this as another reason to wring hands and revise forecasts downwards. I follow reports on Seeking Alpha and some of the usual Apple hawks have been surprisingly positive. Paulo Santos for example (The Apple Throttling Scandal, Explained), who admits in his well-researched article that he expected some of his comments to be taken as negative in light of earlier items, included some useful technical information about how batteries deteriorate (unavoidable) and what Apple did. He does not think that, even if the liability were between $1-9 billion, this would matter much as this is less than 1% of the company value.
Santos also adds that Apple
Australian lawyers are preparing a class action lawsuit which is expected to be "the largest-ever class action filed in Australia" with an estimated 5 million Australians affected (Patently Apple). That's a lot of iPhones, and bears thinking about when some of the press down under keeps telling us how Apple is not selling anything.
I wrote about local retail conditions a few days ago and mentioned I had bought a new Apple Watch band. Separately I tweeted a couple of pictures of the band. I read a reply a day later: "I have stopped buying anything #apple product [sic] after they admitted slowing down older model #iphone"
In the whole context of the battery problem which has been ongoing a couple of weeks now, I saw this as another bandwagon comment and replied, "About a week? And how many Apple products did you not buy or is this just a chance to jump on a bandwagon and show how clever you think you are? What a f****** dope."
And anyway, what has a watch strap got to do with an iPhone?
Apple Leather Watch Band in Canary Yellow
So when Apple puts out a fix, that has now become a cause celebre for some lawyers who want to become famous.
The opening section of Apple's press release, which includes the brief sentence, "We apologize", reads as follows:
We've been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There's been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we're making.
The rest of the press release has several paragraphs explaining,
In that final section there is a comment that an update in the new year will have "new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance".
Others have suggested that it might also be in Apple's interests to provide an option which I guess would be reduced power or poor battery life. I also rolled my eyes when someone wrote that the apology should have been signed by Tim Cook rather just being released as an Apple message to customers.
Some may also remember that certain of Samsung's phones only appeared to have higher performance when they were running benchmarking applications (AnandTech). LG, HTC and others were also doing this. Outrage? Nah.
The South Korean company seems to have a press that does not see its phone problems in the same light as they see Apple. Odd also that one of the law cases (see above) is in Korea, where the regulatory authorities have made several efforts to slow Apple, including a raid on the office, an attempt to stop imports of the iPhone 8, even before it was released, and an intent by parliament to change the laws relating to overseas-based tech firms such as Apple (Patently Apple). This is a country in which the head of Samsung is fighting a jail term for corruption, remember.
Apple's competitors are not always honest in the ways they work, and as well as the head of Samsung in South Korea, Luke Dormehl (Cult of Mac) reports that the China sales head of Huawei Technologies' smartphone division has been arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes. Cult of Mac, despite its name, is not always pro-Apple and it is interesting that Dormehl ends his article with the words, "And yet, despite this corruption among two of its biggest rivals, it's Apple who get painted as the bad guys in some corners of the press."
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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