eXtensions - Wednesday 14 November 2018
eXtensions - The Wednesday File (81): End of a Long Road
By Graham K. Rogers
Recent NewsWall Street has been in full cry for the past few days when some downstream suppliers (Japan Display and Lumentum - the TrueDepth sensor provider) reported that they are not producing as many parts for Apple as they had anticipated. This has been extrapolated to suggest that iPhone sales will be down (we knew that already) and so Apple will fail. As a result the share price was adjusted downwards. This signals to me a move to take profits when the shares rise again, but Wall Street should be careful what it wishes for. As the Apple price went down, so other tech stocks were affected and the whole market followed with the Dow Jones Index losing over 1300 points (Friday and Monday). This was not entirely due to the Apple share price, but it did not help.
The price of Apple stock is still higher than it was six months ago at $194.17 as I write this, but lower than its high in early October of $232, when the valuation of Apple was above $1 trillion. If you look at the 2-year chart there is a steady rise from below $100 and of course the 10-year chart shows an even more impressive figure. When the iPhone was announced in 2007, the price hit $200, but since then there has been a 7 for 1 stock split, making the current price equivalent to $1400 at 2007 prices. Despite the constant sniping of Wall Street, Apple keeps rising and this week's drop should be erased shortly. As I write, it is reported that Mnuchin (Trump's Treasury Secretary) is expected to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He when he visits the USA the Dow Jones Index began to creep up again. How about that?
iPhone XR - Images courtesy of Apple
One of the features of the T2 chip is that it checks newly installed hardware for compatibility. This may make sure that Apple-certified parts only are used, but it also guards against the repair shops that use cheap parts from unauthorised manufacturers and then charge customers the full price, only to have the repaired device fail a few weeks later. If the part is not authorised, the T2 chip will not allow it to start. Andrew O'Hara (AppleInsider) explains this and has some details of third-party repairs that did work.
I do note that the renewal for my subscription has risen from around €99 to just under €120. The normal price is a little under €165 for a season. What this means now is a 4-race weekend as MotoE (electrical bikes) is added to the Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP classes. One of the advantages for me is that for some of the races which run here in the small hours, I can sleep and view them in full the next day.
My work here is doneThis is the last regular output in which I comment on tech, Apple and local connections, although I will continue with occasional output. I find that this weekly format restricts me and with the number of commentators writing about Apple-related ideas (good and bad) these days, I would prefer to focus my efforts on my own interests: Apple (of course), technology, and photography.
It is the latter that interests me more these days as I do this with a mix of cameras: film and digital. The results are also mixed. Editing, invariably on a Mac or an iPhone, enhances the output and is an important part of the process for me.
Apple at IconSiam - Image courtesy of IconSiam
It took me a while to try OS X and I did this on an office G4 PowerMac first. The new look took me by surprise and I quickly switched back to System 9 before I broke anything. A few days later, realising Apple was not going back to the older OS versions, I tried again and took to it like a duck to water. I began to write about OS X and was able to persuade the Bangkok Post to take the columns, although initially these were only once a fortnight. Eventually, I was offered hardware to review, although I had to collect the first device myself: a G5 PowerMac.
There were few retail outlets in Bangkok then. I remember one or two were distinctly unfriendly, but when the iStudio outlets began to appear, things began to change. As well as several in Bangkok now, the expansion in the provinces has also been encouraging.
While the retail operations expanded in Thailand, there was also some stagnation and I am often frustrated by the poor service and the lack of some important accessories. I do not think the new Apple store will solve that problem specifically, but training may do a lot to forge better relations with consumers. Early reports were not glowing, but this was on the opening weekend and staff looked as if they were somewhat overwhelmed in videos and photographs I saw online.
Apple at IconSiam - Image courtesy of IconSiam
I was not expecting an invitation from Apple as I no longer have a column in the Bangkok Post. With a shrinking circulation and poor online presence, they cut freelance contributions: the very thing that provides the newspaper's uniqueness. Actually, they cut me twice: first after some 20 plus years; and then calling me back about for a second run of 3 years. Late last week, I was able to watch a video of the store before it opened put together by Spin9. The video - in Thai - is here (now just under 25 minutes). Take the time to view it:
Apple Store, Union Square, San Francisco
Apple Store, Regent Street, London
I hope that this new presence may cause the current retail system - still under the influence of the old distributor system that has existed here since before I came to Thailand - towards some introspection. Like many retail outlets, there has been much complacency in some outlets and I am not wholly convinced that consumer interests are fully considered.
Pricing of Apple products is controlled, so this is not an issue: prices should be the same in every shop and on the Apple online store. Service and accessory availability are often lacking. As regards those extras, for example disks or cables - it breaks my heart each time I order these from online sources: they should be available in the stores. I hope that there may be change, but I will not hold my breath.
New Apple adapters
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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