AMITIAE - Wednesday 21 December 2011

Cassandra - Wednesday review: The Week in Full Swing

apple and chopsticks



Opening Gambit:

Xmas malware for some, but there may be an iPhone 4S in my stocking. Apple patent successes and failures; sales failures and successes (it depends on who you read, where they borrowed the ideas from and how many hits they want to garner). Sale of Anobit finalised. Apple and the 7" tablet that some are convinced about (I think this is not going to happen). RIM on the edge: now valued less than Apple's App Store. Google in antitrust enquiry on search. SingTel have LTE up and running.

Apple Stuff

It may be the season to be jolly and all that -- not that this year there is much to be gleeful about in these parts -- but it is also the season for phishing and other scams, although these seem to be an all year problem. Of course, right now these have a flavour of Xmas as if that were the way to catch everyone out: I am sure it works in some cases. I put this online on Tuesday, but here are two of the most recent for Mac users:

  • Topher Kessler on CNET outlines a scam that purports to come from Apple Christmas Awards and dangles the idea that the recipient is A Winner, always sure to grasp the attention of some of us. However the email is not from Apple and the document attached (an attachment?) is a Microsoft Word document. [Some people have no imagination.] A free iPhone 4S is the lucky winner's prize.

  • A phishing attempt that is aimed specifically at users of Mobile Me is outlined on MacNN where there is a template of the communication sent to those users who have been targeted. It warns users of the DGTFX virus in the MobileMe folders and threatens deactivation with the usual request to send in confirming details for the account with all the usual address, username and password information.

As a note on that second item, if you put "DGTFX virus" into a Google search window, there are multiple entries, most of which include the words, "phishing", "fake" or "scam." This was earlier used in similar phishing mails to Yahoo! email users.

I later had one of my own that purported to be from the Better Business Bureau with an address of Arlingon, VA., who said they had a complaint from one of my customers. I wish I had one customer. The link to the COMPLAINT REPORT (all in upper-case characters) actually went to which is a site hosted on Internet Services, Inc. in Houston TX.

We did have some mention of Tiernan Ray on Monday who was after a dividend from Apple citing a report from some analyst. The ante has been upped a little from a plea, to a rumour (you know how these things go . . .). Ksenia Galouchko on Bloomberg is citing another analyst who suggests that Apple will issue a dividend next year -- the adjective is "significant". Ksenia Galouchko adds to the unsupported claim by Howard Ward of Gamco by citing examples of other companies who held on to their cash who lost an average of 15% in 2011. Hey, wait a moment, everyone on NASDAQ lost this year, except Apple. All these analysts appear on the same page, but this was similar to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al when they all came out with the "Don't want the smoking gun to turn out to be a mushroom cloud" comment which gave some doubt as to its spontaneity. But then, this is old Europe thinking.

I love the way contradictions appear when it comes to dealing with Apple. On the one hand, with the usual glee that issues when Apple has a perceived loss, Jon Russell on The Next Web has the headline, "First the court, now Samsung beating Apple in Australia's mobile market", omitting other court decisions from elsewhere in the world, and focussing on two countries with a total population of just under 27 million. On the other hand, in the UK, where the population is reported to be some 62,218,761, so perhaps a larger market, we read on Electronista that 25% of all smartphone sales there are of the iPhone 4S. Of course that first figure is sales of all handsets, when the second is of only the smartphone subset. And Electronista adds that combined with all other iPhone models (3Gs, iPhone 4) Apple's phones were 37% of the smartphone figure. That wasn't on The Next Web, although they did have the earth shattering news that the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner was Tweeting live. A little later AppleInsider had a tamer headline on the Australian story and also made reference to the original IDC source.

Apple did have a patent success last week although the scope was limited and could be circumvented by Google with a change to how HTC uses Android, if I understand the information supplied by Florian Mueller on Foss Patents who opines that the patent litigation will become more effective. Among other sources who carried this, Nick Wingfield on the NYTimes has a fair summary and refers to the Mueller article.

We later read in an item by Thomas Ricker on the Verge that Apple has now extended its litigation against Samsung to include tablet computer cases

Nothing to do with Apple of course, but this will probably not stop some sources making the link between a problem and Cupertino. Steven Musil tells us that a factory under construction in China that is expected to be used to make Apple products, suffered an explosion earlier in the week, injuring several people. Electronista later report (undramatically) that there are similarities being drawn to an incident at Foxconn earlier and this may be due to the aluminum dust generated when iPads are made: still hardly Apple's fault.

As I thought, it only took a few hours before the headline was turned into "Apple Blast At Pegatron Plant Under Investigation By Chinese Officials" on the Huffington Post raw RSS feed, when on their site the headline was "Pegatron Explosion Under Investigation By Chinese Officials": a human brain in there somewhere.

As a small end-note, we read in an item by Sam Oliver on AppleInsider that the finalised figure for Apple's purchase of Anobit, the flash memory company in Israel was around $400m to $500m. Chump change really. Much better using it this way and having spare than giving it to shareholders and losing the cushion.

I heard a whisper from someone who fixes these things for me, that there may be a new iPhone or two heading my way later today (Wednesday). That will mean I can have a day or so setting it up and finding out, while on Sunday morning there will be whoops of joy in my house. I also have to come up with enough cash, of course.

Of course, I can't wait to play with Siri. There was an interesting item on iPodNN that told us about how Yamaha (the music people, not the motorbike company) had set up Siri with wifi and a MIDI interface to play a piano. There is a link in the article to a video clip of this.

Half and Half

I was a bit surprised to see the following item from Jahn Martellaro on the MacObserver, and I think he has it wrong, but for the right reasons (indulge me). He argues that Apple is being forced (his word) into making a 7" tablet computer because the success of the Amazon Fire thing has shown a perceived hole in the market. I do not think that for one moment: they are selling well, perhaps as it is the lead up to the Xmas and new Year season, and because some are almost desperate to have a cheaper version of a tablet in what is seen as a successful format. Apple made the tablet work when others before (and after of course) had produced some dismal failures; but the Fire is not the winning game that so many want. Martellaro states the reasons for the Fire's success but they are, at the same time, precise reasons why the Fire is not a competitor and why Apple would not be "forced" into a hasty product decision. Apple has faced several markets that it chooses not to enter (Martellaro himself mentions low-end PCs) and it has always managed to focus: that is what Apple's lesson is.

As if to hammer this home, Dr. Raymond M. Soneira on Display Mate has a serious and lengthy review comparing the iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Fire and his second sentence alone is worth absorbing: "But as we have seen many times before, most new Tablets are poorly thought out contenders that just wash away with the next wave." In the checks, the Nook came out quite well, particularly in the area of display, while the iPad was a leader in more overall categories, but the Fire came in a "decidedly last place finish. . ." although (like the curate's egg?) was good in parts.

RIM has been having a rough time of late with the delays to the company-saving phone, the mega-losses, and the theft of a truckload of PlayBooks in Indiana, not to mention the disaster of the PlayBook itself. Who on earth decided that it could only access email if you were using a BackBerry phone too: surely not a Steve Jobs? The value of the company has plummeted and the twin-CEOs now pay themselves a dollar each (symbolically what Jobs was paid). We read in an item by Katie Marsal on AppleInsider that the value of RIM has now been shown to be less than Apple's app store: a comparatively small part of that operation.

We have been looking at the way Al Franken has been after Carrier IQ of late, and now we read on Electronista that other Senators, Herb Kohl and Mike Lee (a Democrat and a Republican), are looking into anti-trust matters with the way Google dominates search: the desktop are being examined, but also mobile phones where Android gives it a significant advantage.

Google also let slip (surely not an accident) that they would have a tablet of the highest quality in 6 months, which in my reckoning is about 2 years late. Electronista tells us that Eric Schmidt was interviewed by Corriere Della Sera -- an Italian newspaper -- and Electronista speculates that this could be another Nexus running a later version of Android.

Not so lucky this week is Kodak who are waiting for a decision on patent disputes they have with Apple and RIM, but now have to wait until next September instead of the end of this year, Electronista report. The delay may prove fatal as the once great photography company is bleeding despite a full portfolio of tech patents. Chapter 11 may be a way out.

Other Matters

We mentioned earlier that over at Redmond the head of the Windows program, Andy Lees was canned, benched, moved (depending on the source). Woody from Phuket is a bit more blunt on InfoWorld: he was sacked. Woody has some interesting background to the musical chairs at Microsoft and is all for the consolidation that Lees' replacement, Steve Sinofsky, should bring.

I don't know why I saved this link, but I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time: over at Endgadget, Tim Stevens has a review of the Galaxy Nexus. Mind you, I am not sure if he is sure if it is good or no so good as there seem to be some of what I think of as basics, missing. Ah, now I remember. It was this:

It's well known that LTE can put a real hurting on phone longevity and that appears to be the case here as well, our Nexus struggling to hold on to a charge in day-to-day use with all antennas firing. We've as of yet had very limited time with the thing, but in our 24 hours of intensive testing we had to reach for the charger multiple times.

OK, they were testing . . . but several times? . . . We remember that Apple turned down Flash and maybe this is also a reason that LTE is not on the iPhone just yet. This would go back to the early 1990s when people would carry about a chunky phone and a couple of spare batteries.

Local Items

Smoking gun? Or at least smouldering money bands. We are told by the Nation covering a long-running story that started with a burglary with lots of cash taken from the house of an official responsible for some major contracts, that there are clear links from the cash in the house to companies who won certain bids for the mass transit projects going up in Bangkok.

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) is reporting that it is launching its Broadband on Mobile Prestige 75 service: a commercial inception of its LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile broadband service for S$69.90 a month.

The press release tells us that the service offers theoretical download speeds of 75Mbps, although users may expect between 3.4Mbps and 12Mbps for 80% of the time in the areas of coverage. Speeds are cited as being more than 3 times faster than the current 3G services. Latency -- time delay experienced in a system -- is also improved.

Full details of the service and the areas covered by LTE are provided in the online information page

Late News

A report this morning on Foss Patents tells us that Microsoft has won an interim judgement in its case against Motorola. This is stage 1 and there are many patents to go. Florian Mueller has details of the judgement and the patent infringed.



Made on Mac

For further information, e-mail to

information Tag information Tag

Back to eXtensions
Back to Home Page