eXtensions - Wednesday 14 April 2021
Wednesday Comment: Apple Event; Rumors and Delays; Online Viewing Developments
By Graham K. Rogers
The new display is currently be earmarked only for the larger 12.9 inch display of devices, which would mean the 11 inch iPad Pro - my desired replacement - may not be affected. We will have to see when Apple makes an announcement not when Bloomberg or other sources decide. To balance things out, several sites are reporting that in the first three months or 2021, Mac sales were more than twice (115%) what they had been in the same period the year before. Most of those sales I expect would have been M series Macs. Apple currently has just over 15% of the US market for PCs.
M1 Mac mini ports - Apple online store screenshot
Online Viewing DevelopmentsOther rumors widely reported suggest that an AppleTV replacement that is in development may combine features from HomePod and have a camera for video conferencing. I inwardly groaned. With the exception of long-time favorite, Singapore, this region is not well served by Apple for this type of device. It may be because of the languages in the region meaning that Siri is not available (Apple Fitness + too), but most of those in the Apple-buying category have fairly good English and seem to manage quite well with other companies' products that only work with English.
No Siri here, is not entirely true as I use it on the iPhone, iPad and Macs; it is just the high end services, like AppleTV and Home Pod (not available except in the grey market - Mahboonkrong). I decided not to wait for the Home Pod and ended up with a Bang & Olufsen Beolit 20 speaker that has simple controls and an iPhone app. The app was updated this week with a specific reference to Thai text.
Bang & Olufsun - Beolit 20
As a quick comparison, the basic MacBook Air is $999 in the USA (plus taxes). That is about 30,500 baht (depending on the bank and rate). With VAT, that is 32,635 baht. Here, the same device is available for 32,900 baht, which is quite close. The AppleTV 4K with 32GB storage is $179, which is just under 5,500 baht. With VAT that is 5885 baht. In the Apple online store here, the same device is 7,084 baht. 1500 more and Siri does not work.
The slippery Apple TV remote
With those meetings that run late into the night, I can easily watch the next day. The satellite service scheduled repeats 2 or 3 days after the event, often at a time that was not convenient, and on more than one occasion, these repeats were cancelled with no explanation. The subscription allows access using apps on iOS devices (and iPads) as well as AppleTV. On the Mac I can use a browser. There is a similar subscription service for Formula One, but with the contract still held by the satellite company (which uses a StarTV feed - great commentary from Brundle and Croft) that service is not available here.
Apple TV+ has added to my viewing and other services like HBO are also available here (I tried that but ended up cancelling the subscription). The service from Apple still lacks content, but that is improving, while not all that is offered suits me. I doubt if I will be viewing the upcoming Lisey's Story, by Stephen King; but a Louis Armstrong documentary is a possibility, as well as a documentary series: Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson (Mike Peterson, AppleInsider). There is also a bilingual comedy in the pipeline, "Acapulco" (Mike Peterson, AppleInsider).
Tom Hanks in Greyhound - Image courtesy of Apple
One slight difference between AppleTV+ and Netflix is that all of the (limited) shows available in the USA are also available here, while on Netflix, availability is only about 10% (or less). Oddly, however, some shows are available here before they arrive on Netflix in the USA. That is almost certainly for copyright reasons, which may also be why there is a comparative lack of content here. The mix is also different and I have been able to enjoy programming (and movies) from several countries that I would never have seen on traditional television.
Series from North Europe have been particularly enjoyable, with drama from Germany (Rain, Perfume, Dark) high on my list. Barbarians was a highlight as the natives spoke German (of course) while the Romans used Latin. I had not experienced this since Fellini's Satyricon. As a demonstration that Germans not only have some super young actors (Rain, Dark) there is also a superb sense of humor in How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast), something which us Brits have a hard time accepting. There have also been several enjoyable series out of Scandinavia, France, Spain and other countries, although with all of these I have to watch carefully so that I don't miss any of the subtitles.
It is possible that the second half may never be made, depending on so many factors, including financing and availability of cast members. That fate hit the first version of Lord of the Rings. Not the highly successful 3-movie version by Peter Jackson, but an animated Lord of the Rings. I had not read it at that time: I did that in my 1st year at university, instead of Renaissance literature I was supposed to be working on. It was clear it was an unfinished work, and was disappointing for that reason, but almost hit the mark.
Jackson's movie did remove some of the book's content, although it was faithful to the overall work. Fingers crossed that Villeneuve's movie is completed. It is unlikely to be on Netflix as HBO has the rights, but if it appears on iTunes Movies, I will buy that the day it is released, like I did with Tenet.
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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