eXtensions - Saturday 11 May 2019
Cassandra - Weekend Review: Fool me Once
By Graham K. Rogers
If this is just to stroke a failed businessman's ego, this is not doing the USA any good at all. David Frum on The Atlantic in an article well-worth taking the time to read has a critical look at these negotiating methods and they seem to be just bluster.
The world is absorbing the lesson that Wall Street learned in the 1980s. Trump has only one negotiating move: Take an aggressive position, try to deceive others and maybe yourself about your own strength, issue threats you cannot fulfill, and then retreat amid losses if the bluff is called.
The Chinese will not respond well to that sort of approach. This is also especially risky when some senior members of the government are pushing aggression and potential conflicts in several continents. As one person wrote of Bolton this week, he never saw a war he didn't like.
Symbolic sculpture - BACC Bangkok
Others are seeing the risks to Apple. Katy Huberty at Morgan Stanley, for example, is predicting a possible fall in the Earnings per Share (EPS) of about 23% or $3 in the next financial year in the worst case scenario (Brandy Betz, Seeking Alpha). While I am not in any such position to estimate figures, it would seem that under the current scenario, there could be problems.
However, as I mentioned early in the week, the 25% tariff level was a figure that had been put forward a while back as a trigger for Apple to consider moving some of its operations out of mainland China. This could affect the thousands of Chinese employed to make Apple products. Foxconn has assembly plants in Taiwan (where it is based) moving some operations could work in the short term, as well as moving other operations to India and countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, where Delta Electronics was an Apple supplier for several years and has several factories. There is also the Foxconn vaporware factory in Wisconsin: they have the land, they have the permissions and the President loves it, but thus far the plot is untouched.
That might take care of the manufacturing side of the tariffs problem, but the other half of the equation is sales. If China retaliates and imposes additional levies on American products - of which Apple is a rather visible icon - the losses to Apple could be considerable.
Owing to a decision by the planning authority to continue the appeal in the interest of future objections, even though Apple was no longer interested, the Supreme Court in Dublin allowed the appeal. As Apple still has the land, that is just a plum waiting to drop. I note also that Apple is now the largest company in Ireland and is shown in the Irish Times Top 1000 at Number 1 (Google is 2nd). Apple leapt 10 places to the top and this is mainly due to the way it handles taxes there.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai tilted at Apple with his idea that Privacy is being sold as a luxury (Ben Lovejoy, 9to5 Mac). This is a bit rich coming from Google's leaky sieve. I am not convinced by his comments about not selling user information: the whole infrastructure is aimed at maximising the data available. Then there are the allegations about Google Play apps that may not be as safe as they should be. Many have criticised Apple's walled garden, but the alternative is not as clean as users deserve and that walled garden is a better bet for some.
Also commenting on the words from the Google CEO, Mike Wuerthele and Malcolm Owen (AppleInsider) suggest that despite Sundar Pichai's fine words, there is much to done to convince the world (and me for that matter) that it is truly concerned about privacy. Wuerthele and Owen point out that for all the comment about trust from millions of users (most of whom, may not be aware how their data is hoovered up), "Google uses this data to make gobs of money, and Pichai just skims over that" and the "targeted ads . . . are absolutely a use of consumer data without permission."
I use the Apple system because it is more secure and while accepting I pay more for most products, such as the $1,000 iPhone X, at least they usually work better than Android products for twice the price. My only gripe on pricing is that in some countries, like where I am, the product is the same price (when taxes are factored in) as they are in Apple's favored 18, but the services and features are often crippled.
It was revealed that the LG Ultrafine 5G display is no longer available in the USA (Juli Clover, MacRumors). I am not sure if this adds to the rumours about development of a new display to go with the long-promised Mac Pro, but this type if display should be in the Apple lineup for those real Pro users (who could also use a real MacPro)
While we are on expensive Apple gear, I have mentioned my sticking "N" key on the MacBook Pro and my dithering about going to an Apple agent or even the only Genius Bar in Thailand in IconSiam. For some reason, as soon as I started thinking about this, the problem seems to have been cured. That indicates that in all probability there was some detritus under the key and it has now moved.
It seems now that the case is not as clearcut as he first claimed. Tim Cushing (TechDirt) has done some digging and lined up a number of facts that might put his case in doubt, and certainly the potential jackpot he was after. It seems that Apple does not use the type of technology he claimed identified him: it is just plain old CCTV.
The real thief may have found the lost permit (which is not a photoID) and used that, with Ousmane Bah's name. With the permit and the name, the face of the real thief was cross-referenced (same face of course) and that information passed on to the police who made an arrest: Ousmane Bah, not the real thief. Apple and the police acted in good faith, with real information, and could not know that the ID had been stolen at the time. So no facial recognition, no thief, and in all probability no $1 billion.
A few months ago there were some rumors about the breaking up of iTunes and removing some of its functions. This week, a number of sources, including Guilherme Rambo on 9to5 Mac have written about a new Music app for macOS 10.15 that is based on iTunes and not iOS. It had been thought that this would be part of the Marzipan development strategy, but this is not so according to sources who would know. The new app is expected to focus just on music rather than the iTunes current mish-mash and like the iOS app, will be called Music.
Now wouldn't it be something if the next iPhone also had USB-C?
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)
For further information, e-mail to
Back to Home Page