eXtensions - Sunday 18 August 2019
Cassandra - Weekend Review: iPhones, Apple Watch, plus iOS and OS X Clones; US-China Trade Dispute and Weaponized Debt; Identification in a Heartbeat
By Graham K. Rogers
Note that one of the devices - unlikely to come here because of the watered-down Siri we have in Thailand - is the HomePod: this goes on sale in Japan and Taiwan this week (Juli Clover, MacRumors). Also seen in code is information that suggests the next Apple Watch could include Titanium and Ceramic models.
Despite a number of sites almost demanding that Apple produce a folding iPhone (or face the inevitable doom), user response was not as supportive: a sort of collective, meh. . . After seeing the results from the Samsung débacle and efforts from Huawei, who are not having a good time of it lately, it is no wonder that Apple is not rushing into this questionable sub-genre. And in timely fashion it was reported by Tim Hardwick (MacRumors) that the Mate X is delayed again with a new release set (but not in concrete, I bet) for November.
Those of us in Thailand will probably not see the new iPhone until mid-October, as this is lower down Apple's priority list and in any case it needs to be examined by the authorities here. Juli Clover examined the probable dates for the new devices to be in customer's hands, estimating this as 20 September, so speculates that iOS 13 will be out on 18th. I have not seen too much written about this, but I am not looking forward to the new version as there are expected to be several changes to files and the way iCloud works. I am also disturbed by what I have seen of the new Photos app on iOS 13 as I wrote last Wednesday. I did try early beta versions of Catalina, but had to withdraw from that program.
Editing in Photos on Mojave
The firm's tools enable users to create a virtual iOS device in the cloud. Customers first select a device to copy - support includes iPads and current iPhone XR, XS and XS Max models - then are asked to download a particular iOS build directly from Apple's servers. Corellium's platform subsequently displays a "fully functioning" replica device.
In a note I saw about this, someone mentioned Psystar and the Mac. This was a Florida company that produced PCs with a fully-operating version of OS X installed. If anyone has read the Terms & Conditions, this would appear to have doomed the project from the outset. Nonetheless, MacWorld bought one in 2008 and James Galbraith checked it out. Of course Apple sued and of course Apple won, though it was not plain sailing. With a judgement awarding Apple $2.7 million and all the usual cease and desist stuff in 2009, Psystar took it to the Supreme Court and finally lost in 2012.
The original intent was to help identifying friendly combatants (our guys), but if this is enhanced, it could be used to identify anyone. This has all the potential in the wrong hands to be something like Terminator or Robocop. Of course these are fiction (the heart identifying program is not) but so many ideas from books and movies in the past are parts of our reality now; and military research often comes down to the civilian commercial and security areas.
Jules Wang (Android Police) reports that "The Department of Commerce has announced a 90-day reprieve to an import ban against Chinese manufacturer Huawei". The article outlines the relief that is to be granted, at least on a temporary basis, and mentions how something similar also happened to ZTE a few years back. Right at the end is perhaps the most obvious reasons for this relaxation, "One source said that Presidents Trump and Xi are expected to discuss Huawei as part of a trade negotiation phone conference this weekend. A decision on a license extension may follow."
I have mentioned in recent output how China plays a long game as opposed to the knee-jerk negotiation methods that the USA is currently trying, and on Sunday I saw in a tweet a possible reason for China's lack of strong rhetoric as the USA has been going through the threats and tariffs. Karol Koshek writes,
Beijing will invoke in full force the 'nuclear option' of selling all or a significant part of its US$1.4 trillion holding of US Treasury Bills, with a major chunk of the paper due to be sold in September
We also note the comments from Denmark that Greenland is not for sale.
As much as I think the rich (and the companies) should pay their fair share, the reason Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple can do this is because the lawmakers have created tax legislation that provides loopholes large enough to drive a horse and cart through. Be honest, when we (as individuals) file our taxes each year - those of use who do file taxes - we make full use of allowances to reduce the bill; and companies do the same, but on a larger scale.
Apple was one company however, that was unable to escape the wrath of the EU who billed Cupertino some €13 billion ($14.5 b) as Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and her investigators found that Apple had an illegal tax deal with Ireland: a sweetener that allowed even lower taxes to be paid. Patently Apple reports that the Commission sourly added that "Apple's structure in Ireland did not have any factual or economic justification" which Apple disagrees with, as does the Irish government.
The Irish and Apple are appealing to the EU courts. It should be noted that other companies and countries have also filed appeals against the Versteger regime with Belgium already winning against "an order to recoup about 800 million euros from 35 companies, including Anheuser-Busch."
Tamron 35mm f/1.4 lens
Although only one or two manufacturers are still producing cameras for film, there is a thriving used market and the number of film types (and manufacturers) is showing a healthy increase too as young people (as well as some of us older types) rediscover the joys (and frustrations) of film photography. Although I have several cameras, my most often used are the Hasselblad 500c/m (I currently have 2 of these), an Agfa Record III (bellows camera) and a Bronica ESTR. These all use 120 medium format film with output of 6x6, 6x9 and 645 respectively and I prefer Black & White.
Although I use Ilford film mainly, although have experimented with a number of different types, including some new films. This year was the inaugural "World Cup" for film with more than 90 entries. Kosmo Film report on the elimination and the last 8, including its own Kosmo Foto Pan 100, which I am currently using. In reverse order these are:
There is much more detail about each of these with the Kosmo article and in the links on that page. I have had some good results with the Kosmo film which only arrived recently in the 120 format. I have also tried the three Ilford films in the top 8, although prefer the FP4 of these, with my own preferences being for the PanF (ISO 50) and the Ilford SFX (ISO 200).
Output from Hasselblad using Ilford HP5 Plus (left) and Kosmo Foto Mono 100 Film
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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