eXtensions - Sunday 28 April 2019


Cassandra - Weekend Review: Up and Down Predictions and Other Comments

By Graham K. Rogers


With Apple's Q2 2019 figures released this week, Wall Street seems a little confused. Some analysts predict higher share prices others are less confident. With iPhone sales it is worse: low sales and high sales both being reported.

With the Q2 2019 financial report from Apple in a couple of days (30 April) Wall Street is showing the strain now that Apple will not release iPhone sales figures: they have to do some real analysis, and most aren't up to it. For every article I read that tells me iPhone sales are in the dumps, there is another that reports increasing sales.

So some analysts are telling investors to buy, with high predictions for future share prices, while others wring their hands and predict the worst. Well, no one has used the "doom" word this time, but the range of predictions is wider than normal. Take your pick: Tim Apple and Luca Finance will tell us all this week.

Earlier this week it was rumored that some more photo management capabilities might be added to iOS, or just the iPad Pro. Specific ideas concerned the import of images from external media. I can already import photos directly from the camera, using a cable; and I have been able to import from SD cards for quite some time. What is also needed is the ability to export to external media, and not just using wireless options.

When I work on the Mac, I can save all the RAW photos on SSD (archive) and keep only the best in Photos and iCloud. If I want to use an image deleted from iCloud, I have the SSD version and can copy that across. This flexibility is unavailable when I use the iPad Pro.

iPad Pro

I was working with iOS Photos on my iPad Pro this week, preparing for an article I intend to write in a couple of weeks about using a specific film type on my cameras. I tried to mark some images for later reference, by adding keywords, but this is not possible at all, although I am able to search for any keywords that I had added to images on the Mac. Fortunately the images I wanted had already been marked, but there will be a time in the future when I import RAW photos directly to the iPad and that important organizing feature will not be available to me.

Also on my list of iOS Photos features that are missing are a proper White Balance tool, and Sharpen. I have other apps that have these features, but these are such basics (in my opinion) that everyone ought to have access to them. Whether they use them, is another matter.

One of my often used apps on the Mac is Luminar 3 which was just updated to version 3.1. I also have Tonailty Pro which mainly has filters for black and white. Both of these work as extensions from within Photos, along with a number of other applications, vastly expanding the value of that core Apple product as so much can be done from within Photos.

Waterlogue output

On Monday next (6 May) Waterlogue for the Mac is slated for release and it looks as if this may have a few more features than its iOS sibling. I have used that for about 5 years and love its basic simplicity (at least on the outside) as its underlying operation is clearly quite sophisticated.

I looked at some comments on the unfortunate Samsung Fold earlier this week. While there is a lot to be criticized about the company's approach and execution of this product (and others) to be fair, I did find a couple of articles that were not totally negative, and an examination by iFixit that explains some of the problems. If iFixit can find these shortcomings, why didn't Samsung do that before the product was released: haste and lack of real-world testing perhaps.

And then iFixit withdrew its review. It had acquired the device from an unnamed source (clearly not Samsung) and when they were asked to remove the review by Samsung, they complied, in part because of where the phone had come from and to protect that source. But this has not gone down well in all quarters. They were right to point out the problems - which Samsung should have found before the media release - but whether they should have taken down the review is up for debate. For sure, the Fold, if it is ever released, will have been considerably revised, but does that justify removal of the lesson that was on display?

In an attempt at being objective, Dieter Bohn (The Verge) opens with the display problems then examines the rest of the device, presuming that Samsung will fix the issues and there will be a working phone, although I would expect that consumer confidence has been sapped so much that this will be something of an uphill task for Samsung.

If it is re-released, I would anticipate a revised pricing structure (down of course). What Bohn does write early on in the second part of the review is, "head to a store and play around with it because it is legitimately a marvelous thing to play with." For a product that has seen some derision, that is quite a comment, although the rest of the review does not completely endorse the Fold, especially at that price.

As I looked through several reviews it became apparent that Samsung could have had a winner here as so many writers made positive comments on the device, with only one not having a defective display: great product; just can't use it. Shot themselves in the corporate foot in a big way.

Apple also has problems from its devices from time to time, and my own N-key problem on the MacBook Pro, along with a display that will eventually die, are examples, but at least these are problems that occur over time and not before the product's release. This week Mike Wuerthele (AppleInsider) reports on a recall of some 3-pin plugs and connectors (2003-10) that may break and cause a shock. I will have to look in my cupboards and drawers as I have certainly had a couple of these in the past.

At the other extreme is a story of an Apple Watch found some 6 months after the owner dropped it in the sea. Roger Fingas (AppleInsider) reports that this was found 3 miles from where it was lost by the owner while surfing. Apart from a haze on the display, the watch still works, far exceeding Apple's specifications.

Nikon D850

The owner of a Nikon D850 (the same DSLR I have) was not so lucky, when he was hit by a wave in Sri Lanka. The D850 is quite rugged. I have dropped mine a couple of times and use it in the heat and humidity here with no apparent problems. Zoltan Acs (PetaPixel) has his camera serviced regularly (I should try that) and has used it in the rain: Nikon advertises it, with a video saying it "wouldn't let a single drop of water in, even after a long time in the rain."

The problem was not just water, it was salt; and as he was not able to take it to an agent for service for quite a while, there was much corrosion inside, to the extent that it was unrepairable. When he questioned this (I would too) Nikon Service Point Netherlands sent photographs. These are with the article: if it were my camera, I would weep.

Hasselblad 500C/M

By way of a change, this week a review of three older-style bellows cameras I had written was put out on the Emulsive website, which I had found a useful resource for my interests in film. The site has a philosophy of putting the output of guest writers online, so I submitted an item on the Agfa Record III, the Voigtländer Perkeo and the Agfa Isolette. These were new territory for me as I am used to Hasselblad cameras, but they are also medium format which I prefer. I am unsure if I prefer the Voigtländer which fits in my pocket, or the Record III with its 6x9 format.

Bellows cameras
Three bellows cameras - Agfa Record III, the Voigtländer Perkeo and the Agfa Isolette

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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