AMITIAE - Monday 4 January 2016
Cassandra: Monday Review - New Year Comments and CES Thoughts: Interesting Announcements and Samsung's Version of the Froaster
By Graham K. Rogers
According to a Twitter posting from Ben Bajarin this morning, there are more iPhones in China than other brands, although it is possible that a large number of those were not actually sold in China, but arrived by other means.
And with all the many problems everyone keeps insisting that Apple has in China, Ben Lovejoy on 9to5 Mac reports that "The company is currently opening one Apple Store a month, with #27 in November, #28 in December and now #29 set to open this Saturday in Shenyang." We are still waiting for #1 to open in Bangkok, which still relies on the franchise system and a few select distributors.
With the Dow and Nasdaq (-2.65%) both down, Apple stock has followed others and is down some 2.4%. Happy new year? . . .
Some of those attending MacWorld would also be off to Las Vegas for CES which starts this week. There are always a few interesting announcements, for example NVidia start the official ball rolling with a presentation later today (6pm there) and we can also expect hundreds of other products and a few concepts. We will also suffer several breathless articles from those hoping they have found the new Apple-killer. CNET (Lindsey Turrentine) has an overview: a sort of pre-guide on what to expect.
A look at the expanded CES comes form Matt Burns on TechCrunch who outlines some of what might be expected. There are a couple of nice things like the OLED panel from LG (Devindra Hardawar, Engadget), but a couple of crazies too, like Samsung's fridge with a screen: just adding tech to tech does not always produce the most desirable result. They must have thought Tim Cook's "Froaster" comment was for real. Steve Dent on Engadget has the details.
Acer has made several announcements, including a new notebook computer with 802.11ad (current Apple devices have 802.11ac), and this is a world's first (Aaron Souppouris, Engadget). This new IEEE standard is also known as WiGig and is a short-distance WiFi standard that supports speeds of up to 4.6Gbps. With no other devices and no routers, this sort of stands alone, but I am sure it will not be long before others embrace this faster technology.
The company has also added a semi-rugged $180 Chromebook model (TUAW); Liquid Jade Primo, Windows 10 Mobile phone (AnandTech); $99 Iconia One 8 tablet (AnandTech); the Aspire Switch 12 which is a convertible Windows laptop with USB Type-C (TUAW); and to go with that (perhaps), the world's first USB Type-C display (TUAW)
One item on the iPhone 7 from Joe Rossignol on MacRumors, suggests that the device may have a larger 256GB option and bigger battery (both sensible) and confirms [my italics] that there will still be the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens. This also mentions the headphone jack, which has featured in several reports.
Amongst all the speculation, there is the occasional idea that carries some weight. One concept that has popped up several times in the last few months is the idea that Apple will kill the headphone jack. The diameter of this restricted the design of the MacBook that was released a few months ago: you need the port and that has a specific diameter, so everything devolves to that.
Writing on Business Insider, Alex Heath comments on the idea that the jack (and its port) are ripe for replacement, but that one of the downsides of Apple doing this would be the negative feedback. Every time a new port or design is brought out, many object to paying for the new technology. However, sound-buds come with the iPhone, and within a few weeks someone always comes out with a suitable connector: actually, a quick look on Google suggests these are already available.
Such a move to make better use of the Lighning port makes a lot of sense to me: the port is unused most of the time and is quite capable of handling the signal required. Indeed, as Heath points out, more than capable and could also handle the hi-res audio that Apple is expected to introduce later this year.
There are already several sources pre-criticising the move.
Forbes thinks Apple will buy Tesla (Aaron Task), and another article I saw on Forbes (Don Reisinger) listed companies that Apple could buy. With the cash hoard, Apple could buy a lot; but probably won't, just picking up certain ones with valuable technology.
I have remarked before how Redmond is moving more and more to producing apps for smartphones (it is a software company after all) and that embracing rather than denying is in its interests. Nadella is aware of this and the way that services - giving a flow of income - are also far better for the long-term health of Microsoft, making the device, per se of lesser importance.
I will go along with that in part, but the best results are when device and software are sympatico, something that is in my mind right now with trying to set up a Seagate WiFi hard disk for my Macs and iOS devices. Part 1 will be in the Bangkok Post this Wednesday. I am not a happy user right now.
Many of the users switched to Adobe Premiere Pro although I do know that Associated Press has all their producers still using Final Cut, even if the Macs are overdue an update. In the meantime, Apple has been adding features back into Final Cut. This week, we read that Marques Brownlee (or MKBHD) - a professional user of YouTube with more than 3,000,000 subscribers has switched from the Adobe suite to Final Cut Pro. Jeff Benjamin on iDownload Blog has the details, but one of the main reasons is that "Final Cut Pro X results in quicker turnaround time." My source for this was MacDaily News.
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. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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