Podcast #270

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative (1): Another new MacBook Pro; plus iPhone 4.0 imminent in Thailand; with other news and comments

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computer This week the iPhone 4 is to be released in Thailand with DTAC holding a press conference on Wednesday at 10am and True a midnight party starting late Thursday. And its good to be back on the i7 MacBook Pro. That arrived just over a week ago and at that time I was still working on the 13" version.

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative (1): Another new MacBook Pro

My problems with the 15" MBP may actually be over, but these are not over for loads more people and that thread on the forums I am following is now up to 72 pages, with more dissatisfied people still joining. This one machine should not be doing so much damage to Apple's reputation, but so many are upset that, if there is no response, this might follow antennagate.

The iPhone 4 was reported to be coming on sale this week in Thailand with posters shown last Thursday afternoon of a midnight event at Siam Paragon organised by True late Thursday, and later we heard about a DTAC press event on 22 September (the day of this podcast). At the weekend the date on the True posters was covered up but it is not known if this was a delay or something to do with the demonstrations round Rachaprasong on Sunday. I will add more to the podcast if more becomes available. I mentioned last week, for example, iMovie and as I speculated, this week (15 September actually) it appeared in the App store for Thailand.

Bangkok There was some information concerning the country on Monday evening via MacNN, although I don't know where they got the information. As well as Thailand on 24th there are rollouts in Israel and Turkey, plus a rumour of a Malaysia release on 23rd, with the Philippines following up on 26th. That article mentioned that 200,000 iPhones have been pre-ordered here, but only 45,00 to 60,000 are expected to be available. I wish you (and me) luck.

To add to that, of the 200,000 ordered in Taiwan, it is estimated that only 25% will be filled by the end of the year. I guess Mahboonkrong gets a reprieve. We also heard from Simon Dingle on Fin24 on Tuesday morning that South Africa also gets the iPhone this week.

Perhaps as an omen, or an indication of how unimportant the Thai market is to Apple, on Monday a press release told us that the iPhone 4 was to be released in China later in the month. Apart from the local carriers, there has been almost nothing from Apple. I did see on Richard Barrow's site a link to some images of a bloggers event that True held this week and there were indications that they are offering lower prices and a special deal for the iPhone plus iPad. What iPad? Actually, the site had bad links to the pics but they were shown on the newsfeed. A quick message and Richard revised that.

Late News

As I was about to upload the files, I was sent the following unconfirmed (and unofficial) information concerning iPhone 4 pricing here (7% VAT included):
  • iPhone 4 16G with data plan - 22,095.50 baht
  • iPhone 4 32G with data plan - 25,573 baht
  • iPhone 4 16G with no data plan - 23,807.50 baht
  • iPhone 4 16G with no data plan - 27,820 baht

These prices seem to be a little lower than the 3Gs that the iPhone 4 supersedes. Well done Richard for keeping an eye on this.

I was in the Apple office last Thursday returning the Mac mini. It was almost empty, with just the admin ladies there. All the bosses were out. I guess this might have been something to do either with the iPhone release, although I saw nothing to indicate this in the office, where the ladies gave me an iPod t-shirt. Of course, later that day, I saw on Facebook that iStudio had held a release event for the new iPod touch. I have asked these guys, but they never invite me to anything, so I will have to get my information second-hand. And if they won't support me, then this cuts both ways.

Phil Schiller made an announcement last week that Apple is releasing a beta version of its AirPrint wireless printing for iPad™, iPhone® and iPod touch® to members of Apple’s iOS developer program, and that AirPrint will be included in the free iOS 4.2 software update in November. AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks and can print text, photos and graphics to them wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need to install drivers or download software. We are also told that HP’s existing and upcoming ePrint enabled printers will be the first to support printing direct from iOS devices. I already have a couple of these print apps, including one that works with HP printers. Not that I have managed to get these to work on my setup: no printer here any more; while at work the wifi and printer setup does not allow these to function properly. We have a couple of wifi routers and the printers are on one, I am on the other, while the main office printer, a Sanyo, has no drivers for the Mac.

Locally, with the iPhone 4 imminent, the 3G soap opera still drags on with CAT lawsuits intending to protect the so-called public interest being seen as doing nothing but protect their own, with harsh comments from several commentators over the last few days. The Supreme Court will rule on Thursday, but it is probable that they will confirm that the NBC is not qualified to organise the auction; and both the NBC and the government should have known this from the start. The committee that needs to be formed to do the job is still several months away, somewhere over the rainbow as the legislation to create it is tied up in the Senate we hear. More thrilling episodes to come.

pinklao I was in Central Pinklao on Tuesday to pay a bill and get some bread, when I saw that the iStudio there had a sign up about the iPhone 4, with a paper attached: Pre-registration. I paid the bill and returned to be told by one of the staff, coming soon. When I tapped the poster and the pre-registration sign, he told me it was for DTAC. Well, fine, I said. He took me to another far more positive person, who apologised for his English, and we got along fine. I entered my details in an online page that I am sure I completed the English version of at the weekend.

When complete, he was keen for me to change the DTAC SIM card to a mini-SIM, which I knew would be needed by the iPhone 4, so that was done fairly quickly; and once that was done, there was an SMS from DTAC saying they had my name; and THAT was followed by an email advertisement later in the afternoon. Later, I also had an email reminding users that the iPhone 4 needed the new microsim card and there was a link to a list of places this could be done. There are lots, and in several locations upcountry too.

The ad ended with, "see you soon". I hope so.

There have been lots of rumours in the past week concerning an app or perhaps a service that Apple is developing: a digital news-stand. I guess after the success of iTunes and recently iBooks, iNews (or whatever) is a fairly obvious move. And for the newspapers in the US (and many other places) the only way to go is up from their current state. NewsCorp, whose boss, Rupert Murdoch has been a supporter of the iPad from the word Go, is said to be thinking about it, as are Condé Nast and Hearst.

The iPhone and iPad and others devices are bringing in new ways to handle information and other data. We are aware of books, magazines and newspapers, as well as other traditional forms of communication like video and sound. I mentioned briefly last week a new app I bought which was an interactive book from Stephen Fry who is more of a Mac fanatic than me. I reviewed that and put the information on my website -- sadly in 2-dimensional text and images -- but was surprised by the few hits this had during the week. Maybe I need to advertise this sort of thing more.

And of course, if you want to advertise or otherwise support the output here, please contact me.

An app to make a
surprise return to the App Store was the previously banned Google Voice: GV Mobile+. This may be part of Apple's softer stance on technologies used in certain apps, as well as a softening to avert some of the criticism it has been suffering lately. Not of course that local users can have this: unavailable in the Thai store.

frog We know some are fans of the Kindle, and someone I know has a Sony reader which is, ummm, interesting. We heard from Matt Tinsley at TUAW about a new ad from Amazon with a comparison of working in sunlight with the iPad and the Kindle. I must admit, I was in strong sun with the iPhone this week and couldn't see a thing until I got under some trees. The ad does a fair job of convincing Tinsley and I can quite see how, but the chuckle at the end overdid things: should have stopped when they were winning.

Oh, and again that rumour of the smaller iPad rears its little head, this time on Geek Sugar.

I have mentioned the singing birds in the past when I am recording the podcast, but this time (being the rainy season) you may be able to hear the courting frogs.

The update to iOS4.2 for the iPad is not a rumour and there are some solid advantages coming to the device and also the iPhone. Rene Ritchie walks us through several of these in a lengthy article in TiPb that made me quite excited in anticipation of what these devices will be doing in only a couple of months.

dtac sim Things locally with the rundown to the iPhone 4 release are starting to heat up. Richard Burrows mentioned online his express mail invite to the True event, adding that there is some confusion. There is a seminar at 2pm and people are not sure if that is a must before the 10pm party, and then on past midnight. Way past my bedtime of course: not even a new iPhone is that important.

Just after the email from DTAC, I had another from Nine Inch Nails, the group who have that iPhone app and are keen to use this and other media to push themselves forward: savvy groups and entertainment companies know that more money is to be made from merchandise and touring and an informed fan base. The tour itinerary they include in the email (how's that for information) tells me that Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore are included. As part of the tour promotion, NIN were offering a free download of a 5-track EP. And no root kit of course.

We have been aware of Faces in iPhoto for a while, and in Aperture from the version 3 release, so it was a bit of a surprise to see that Apple has bought Polar Rose, a Swedish company that specialises in face-recognition software. Apple has confirmed the purchase, but there is no information as to why it was made, but we may surmise that there is some technology, or perhaps some personnel that Apple wants.

I am often critical of the Register, mainly because of its "hit Apple come what may" attitude, which I feel reduces the good reporting by bad motivation. Time to redress the balance, if only slightly. Late last week I read a useful review on the Register of a working trip by Tony Smith who left the computer at home and attended the Intel Developer Forum with only an iPad. He is not the first to try this and like the others found that it was fairly good, but unsurprisingly, was not up to some tasks, while it could do with some help to complete others, particularly in the area of photo editing. We might ridicule this by pointing out that this is not the point of the iPad, but that was the point of the review and he has a good try to do his job. He felt he was held back by that lack of complete photo-editing software, as well as more cursor control, which was helped by the keyboard he took along. I also thought it a bit odd that the hotel he stayed in only had Ethernet, which did not help. Even if there is plenty of free wifi access in San Francisco, I always found that I could work far better in the hotel room.

The iPad is a possibility, perhaps in an emergency situation, for example if the notebook computer breaks, but for real work, a real computer is best. i still want an iPad of my own.

BKK But read the fine print from your carrier. Caleb Cox tells us that O2 in the UK seems to have done a nasty trick and has told their customers that as from next month they can only download 2GB data for the same price as they now get 3G. It was a promotion, so O2 are not breaking any contracts. I wonder how many users will be moving to new contracts next year.

If you thought that was good, how about a $50 charge to enable something you have already bought? Seriously. Intel have shipped thousands of processors that are actually underpowered and are offering customers the chance to free up the missing power, which you already have but never knew. What a crock.

A school board in Canada with over 500 schools was ready to phase out Macs until they got feedback: heavy weight feedback. A quick about face and they have now reversed the decision and bought 3,200 new Macs.

As well as Nokia executives falling by the wayside or jumping ship, Nintendo is having a shift in its sales patterns and that has seen the loss of its executive VP of sales and marketing Cammie Dunaway. The article on iPodNN does not make it clear if she was pushed or jumped. And LG also is playing the same game with its CEO Nam Yong resigning after poor phone sales. Others may follow.

We have commented on falling netbook sales in recent weeks and that idea was highlighted by the comments of Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy, who said he had seen a significant drop in netbook sales since the arrival of the high-selling iPad. However a couple of days later, he walked that back a bit according to Erica Ogg on CNET. It was the 50% drop he was commenting on and instead of denying it, added that it was a "gross exaggeration". In other words, netbook sales are falling.

security On the other hand, Microsoft, fresh on the heels of their mock funeral, are full of confidence about their Kinect which we are told will "blow away" iPad sales. This is a camera accessory for the XBox so I don't quite see the link, even if they are successful with it. But what do I know?

And Nokia picked up a Palm exec this week, poaching Peter Skillman from HP to head up one of their divisions. At least for a while.

One of the possibilities I wondered about with my MacBook Pro problems of late was the freezing arrived not long after the rainy season: there is high humidity here a lot of the time, so could this have triggered something. This came to mind as a friend had problems with the home button of his iPhone 3G and when he took it to True, there was a brief examination and the lady said, Water. My friend denied this utterly but there was the red-stained evidence [the sensor].

We now read that the liquid immersion detector on the Mac is being renamed the Liquid Contact Indicator and this may be pointing to a less rigid approach. Joe Aimonetti who worked for Apple at one time discusses the change and the implications, particularly mentioning those climates which have high humidity.

Lily Allen who is a sort of personality in the UK, has an Apple computer but someone allegedly hacked into it last week, which tome immediately sounds like a weak password situation, but what do I know. Lily wants to know who and how so asked Apple, who politely declined to assist: imagine the implications from that if they did. So Allen sued and the MacDaily News has the outline and a link to the Sun from whence it came.

Needless to say, the Register was rooting for the British songstress on three counts: the case might reveal a previously unknown security flaw (seriously); and because she is eccentric and rich, so can sue Apple; and because they take an anti-Apple stance whenever they can, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

This week Apple released a Security Update, 2010-006 which is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. CNET tell us that this addresses a problem uncovered in the OS where a remote attacker could use a known username to access files in shared folders. They add that the update will just replace the AppleFileServer "CoreServices" application, along with its relevant Launch Daemon property list.

Bkk A restart is required.

Adobe managed to update Flash following that insecurity that was mentioned a week or so ago and that is now available we are told.

A lovely touché from Mel Martin at TUAW who does a rather tongue in cheek review of the Consumer Reports app for the iPhone with comments similar to those that Consumer Reports used when they reviewed the iPhone 4.

Just in case you get the wrong impression from some jaded sources, there are no viruses for the iPhone. If it is jailbroken there has been a worm, but Apple's so-called control that some rail against, ensures your safety.

And once again, PC industry customer satisfaction is dominated by Apple. Even with my hard disk problems this is not a surprise.

And to end: Apple shares hit an all-time high, and Adobe shares plummet.

Too Good to Miss?

There was speculation before the latest Mac notebook computers came out that one of the features would be USB 3, but it was not to be. CNET has noted that although the standard has been around for a while now, not many manufacturers have taken this up and wonders why especially as they report, the difference between USB 2 with its 480Mb/sec and 3 with 5Gb/Sec is significant. However, as I wrapped this up I read that Seagate have produced a 1.5TB drive with a USB3 connector and the cable is backwards-compatible with USB 2.

And after I uploaded the mp3 file to the server, I found an item on CNET in which Topher Kessler tells us about a USB 3.0 card that was announced some weeks ago. He is now able to confirm that this will work in the Mac Pro computers.

shopping Remember that stolen iPhone 4 that Gizmodo paid lots for? The police have been interviewing lots of people including Steve and Greg Sandoval reports they are close to finishing the investigation.

The BBC who are not my favourites do have one saving grace and that is the wildlife unit. When I was a kid I was fascinated by seeing footage of David Attenborough wading up to his waste in water in places like Borneo and making all sorts of discoveries. Another time they captured a Komodo dragon but forgot to make a floor for the trap so had to let it go. A few years ago we heard that the BBC bought a load of Macs for making their documentaries and they gave good arguments for the purchases.

Which brings me to this week and the odd discovery that in Bhutan are loads of tigers living way above the tree line where no one thought they could exist. Isn't nature weird. The BBC crew went there and heard the story so left dozens of cameras with motion sensors to record anything. The joy on the face of the man wielding the MacBook Pro as he downloads from the SD cards is something to behold. As indeed are the tigers and the Macs too.

Still on photography, the local news photographer, Natthawat Wongrat, has posted on his blog about the cameras he uses, Nikon, and why he returned to Nikon after being a Canon user for a long time. He also describes the Macs he uses.

The Nikon D7000S was announced last week. This does stills and video. While Nikon say it is not a replacement for the D90, that is no longer available in Thailand, so this is the obvious substitute. Rob Galbraith gives us a good run-down of the camera and its specs and tells us that the camera body will be sold for $1199.95 which converts to about 38,000 baht. If this does come to Bangkok shops, I would expect with taxes and the like it will be around 45,000 baht. I hope that is an over-estimate.

We also saw some footage and an article on the same camera by Chase Jarvis, whose Best Camera app was one of my purchases for the iPhone. He takes a really interesting practical approach and it is good to see this early example of what the camera can do in the hands of a professional: gives us all hope.



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