* Posts by sleepy

500 posts • joined 12 Mar 2007

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HomeKit is where the dearth is – no one wants Apple's IoT tech

sleepy

I'd like a remote door lock for many reasons. But it appears they don't work adequately for many use cases.(eg someone doesn't shut the door properly). I have some Philips Hue lights. They simply popped up individually in Homekit with no action by me. They aren't Homekit compatible, but I presume the zigbee hub which connects to the network is compatible.

The internet of things does have a place, and Homekit will too.

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Is Tesla telling us the truth over autopilot spat?

sleepy

Re: i think most people

You can't enable the Tesla autopilot without first explicitly acknowledging that it is driver assistance beta software, and that it must be constantly supervised. And you can't engage it subsequently without keeping hands on the wheel. The enforcement of hands on wheel may be a bit lax, but the car will not stay in autopilot without hands on the wheel.

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Apple says banks can't touch iPhone NFC without harming security

sleepy

I like Applepay. The fee Apple takes is typically less than one tenth of the total fees for the transaction. The high security of the process means the transaction limit can be much higher, and that the fraud rate is substantially reduced. I suspect Apple's fee (it's 0.15% in the US) is less than the savings on fraud compared to other processing methods. Apple does not know to whom the payment is made, or for what, or the amount. The retailer does not see the card number, name, expiry etc. What Apple provides is: security, anonymity, convenience (especially with the watch), and no £30 cap (once you persuade the retailer that their system has probably been updated for the new secure protocol by now - I rarely encounter a £30 limit, although I frequently encounter staff telling me I can't use Applepay over £30. I just have to say "There's a system update, and it might work now. Why don't we try it and see?"). The issuing bank, the merchant's bank and Visa/MC are not cut out of the process. The reason why nearly all the banks are using Applepay is because it's a good deal for them: brings in more customers and turnover, cuts fraud.

Apple have chosen the path of selling a complete device which works in a particular way (including mail, web, payments) rather than being open ended. And they charge a substantial premium for it. For the time being their track record on security and privacy for the end user is pretty good. I see no merit in declaring Apple's position to be immoral and anti-consumer when the consumer has the option to buy alternatives, with frequently lower price and better performing individual features (speech control, camera or whatever).

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Three to chop off £3bn of its network in bid to woo EU over O2 merger

sleepy

Carriers bad, regulator good

It's the mandated competition between carriers that let Apple keep control of the customer relationship with iPhone, by doing a deal with an exclusive carrier. That carrier might win with Apple, but couldn't lose. Once the door was opened by Apple, all the android phone's slipped in behind, and the power of the carriers to tax services was gone. Hurrah for regulators and clever Apple.

Last year Three's "All you can eat data" became "All you can eat data, so long as it's not tethering", which caused a massive price hike for me. And I hate the way they use meaningless phrases like "all you can eat". In fact I hate all the carriers generally. You can open an account online, or in store, but you can't close it online or in store; you have to do it over the phone. "that's all done for you then", but then it turns out it hasn't been done at all, and you end up paying for another six months before finally getting the account closed.

But I love my original Virgin £0 a month contract, which is still running. Just pay for outgoing calls. Except there aren't any. T mobile signed a silly MVNO contract with Virgin to split call charges but pay Virgin marketing support monthly per subscriber, and it keeps on giving. Of course Virgin stuffed themselves full of little old ladies at £0 a month who never make a call. And me. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/01/30/tmobile_and_virgin_settle_longrunning/

There's another round of carrier-squeezing waiting to happen when we start buying service through Apple or Google, and are dynamically switched among available carriers based on instantaneous price and availability. Since the marginal cost of bandwidth is near zero, there could be some drama. Only a monopoly supplier would be able to charge enough to cover capital investment.

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Apple Fools: Times the House of Jobs went horribly awry

sleepy

No apps on the first iPhone

Commentators seem ridiculously naive about the statements of Steve Jobs and other spokespersons. Take for example the screen size of both the iPhone and the first iPad. Apple for a long time acted as though they were the "correct" size and other sizes were silly. It was just a pretense, of course. It directed competitors aside to easy pickings at other sizes. This accelerated the growth the smartphone and tablet markets without making much profit or competing head to head, and it enabled IOS app writers to perfect their UI's. (Samsung's position was more complicated)

"No third party apps" on the original iphone has been projected as a "mistake" both inside and outside Apple. But both at the time, and in retrospect, security was by far and away the most important thing for Apple to nail down for a permanently network attached iPhone. That's why the only official way to program it was Javascript. This recruited for Apple an army of unpaid hackers to find the security flaws and thus "jailbreak". I think this hacking was deliberately encouraged. Apple used old versions of open source software with known exploits to expedite the jailbreaking cat and mouse game. When the app store finally came, IOS was a secure place to make a lot of money selling apps for a dollar or two, making IOS the platform of choice for developers, despite the greater number of Android devices.

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sleepy

The $150M rescue by Gates

Although the $150M got the publicity, it wasn't actually that important. The most important thing for Apple was a public commitment from Microsoft to support Office for Mac into the future. Without it, buying a new Mac looked a flakey proposition at the time. For Microsoft there was a big payoff too: if Apple could survive against the PC, then Windows couldn't be proved to be a monopoly. MS needed Apple to survive to keep the government off their backs. Yes, Office for Mac was profitable, but not as profitable as letting Apple die, if they could be sure of not being broken up by the government. This was obvious at the time, but for some reason, not to journalists.

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Dead Steve Jobs is still a crook – and Apple must cough up $450m for over-pricing ebooks

sleepy

It's the difference between the publisher selling the book to the punter (at a fixed price) and paying Apple, Amazon etc a percentage commission as agents, and the publisher selling the book to Apple or Amazon, who then sell it on at whatever price they like. Amazon likes to make a loss on ebooks while it doesn't have a monopoly.

We've seen Ocado caught out by a similar situation between Morrisons and Amazon. Simply by reversing the supplier customer relationship, the intent of an exclusive contract between Ocado and Morrisons has been defeated. Ocado and its lawyers were commercially naive.

Ever since fixed retail prices were outlawed, the procedure for fixing them has been to supply product to intermediaries at near zero discount to suggested retail price, but allow appointed retailers to invoice back for the "marketing support" that they provide. Those who advertise discounts find they aren't asked to provide marketing support any more.

All of these work by partially reversing the supplier/customer relationship for some part of a sale transaction.

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TalkTalk deactivates hundreds of email accounts after legacy spam scare

sleepy

Obviously, your email address is long lived unless you kill it. So you don't want it tied to an isp you might change, or who might disappear. You need to get your own domain and hook up your email to wherever is convenient. It is possible to send and receive via gmail servers using an email address in a domain you own, and no-one need know your gmail address. You can change your email arrangements or your isp without affecting your public email address. And you can give web sites individual throwaway email addresses, which helps with spam handling.

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UK drivers left idling as Tesla rolls out Autopilot in US

sleepy

Tesla smart cruise control is already a pleasure in stop-start traffic. It will be even better with lane following. Its observation of position and speed of other vehicles is already significantly more accurate than human.

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XcodeGhost-infected apps open gates to malware hijacking

sleepy

Maybe I'm naive, but . . .

Although this whole episode is a BAD THING, the hackers seemed to have got access to precious little, and this man therefore seems to be in the middle of more or less nothing. And the provenance of the 4000 app claim has not been established.

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XCodeGhost iOS infection toll rises from 39 to a WHOPPING 4,000 apps

sleepy

It's the devs who've been used to vault the garden wall

This is malware on devs' OS X build machines. It gives the hackers access to whatever the devs had access to. If you let the app see your location, then the hackers could potentially see it too. The worst anyone's been able to think of is that a user might have copied and pasted a password, and the app (and therefore the hackers) would be able to see the password on the clipboard (but wouldn't actually know it was a password until they tried it).

Why do people use duckduckgo instead of Google? It is always possible for apps to be creepy. Any dev can write the same creepy hackery into his app himself. Downloading any app is to that extent an act of trust. Apple can reasonably claim that their security measures have not been compromised on this occasion. These devs unwittingly made their apps creepy. It's the devs who have been compromised, and proved themselves untrustworthy. Having downloaded from an untrusted source, they should never have bypassed checking the signing of the Xcode package. But they did.

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iOS 9 security blooper lets you BYPASS PINs, eye up photos, contacts

sleepy

Re: Shameful

Similar with IOS. (when it's working correctly!) You only get to use the camera when locked if the owner has enabled it, and when using the camera while locked, you only get to review the pictures you just took, not any already on the device.

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'I don't recognise Amazon as a bullying workplace' says Bezos

sleepy

The use of the weasel phrase "I don't recognise Amazon as . . ." tells me that he knows perfectly well it's true. Otherwise he would directly deny allegations, with no fear of contrary evidence appearing.

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Tesla still burning cash: each car loses $4,000

sleepy

Elon Musk's approach is that this is a change that has to happen, and lithium batteries are good enough, so let's go ahead and do it, and the problems will be solved somehow. I approve. Even if he does go bust.

0-60 in 2.8 seconds is about half the price with Tesla compared to other luxury brands. So the pricing is not completely out of line.

It's not that electric cars aren't viable, the problem is a very well established incumbent. Imagine if all petrol stations were deleted overnight. Petrol cars would probably do worse than electric are currently doing.

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Oi. APPLE fanboi! You with the $10k and pocket on fire! Fancy a WATCH?

sleepy

Re: $10000 is unlikely

... but he apparently fooled the girl, which is what the watch was for.

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sleepy

$10000 is unlikely

Nevertheless, a high price serves a purpose. A gold designer watch declares "if you mate with me, there will be money for some fun, and for the child". Any other functionality is incidental.

The latest news is that Apple's 18 carat gold is not an alloy with other metals, but a composite with lightweight ceramic material. Still 18/24ths gold by weight, but only about 7/24ths by volume. See how Apple gives you less, but still gives you what you want?

The main purpose of the watch is to handle 95% of interactions without taking the iPhone out of your pocket/bag, and to register notifications instantly instead of next time you happen to look at your phone. It's the iPhone giving us back our lives at last.

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Apple v Ericsson: Yet ANOTHER patent war bubbles over

sleepy

re: does not compute

It can compute. The implication would be that Apple's product does not implement the full LTE standard. Apple desires to licence the patent in order to fully implement the standard.

Frequently, a licence is included with the relevant chip, negotiated by the chip maker. Because Apple has so much money, patent holders have been known to sell a royalty based chip licence, excluding use of the chip in Apple products, precisely in order to charge Apple more than other users. If the royalty is 1 cent on a $5 chip, the patent holder will likely ask for the "same rate", i.e. $1 on a $500 iPhone. With tens of thousands of patents needed for a smartphone, this isn't really viable. Meanwhile Apple's competitors get a licence for $0.01.

It's easy to see that there may be something for Apple and Ericsson to argue about.

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Brit iPad sellers feel the pain of VAT-free imports

sleepy

1. Sometimes a far east ebay seller will package in such a way as to make VAT and duty unlikely, and offer to reimburse any vat and duty levied. You have to send them the paperwork after you've been charged, and they reimburse. The fact that they're willing to indemnify against HMRC doing their job shows that HMRC don't usually do their job.

2. Dripping with integrity as I am, I did once try to pay the VAT and duty HMRC had failed to levy. They didn't want it.

3. A previous poster has said Apple has worldwide warranty. Not quite true. Worldwide for portable equipment, country of sale for non portable.

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Apple's DIRTY SECRET isn't that secret, or that dirty

sleepy

Re: If Apple really really cared about workers conditions...

Wikipedia (and elsewhere) re Foxconn suicides:

Although the number of workplace suicides at the company in 2010 was large in absolute terms, the rate is low when compared to the rest of China.[18] (However, the country has a high suicide rate with over 20 deaths per 100,000 persons.[21]) In 2010, the worst year for workplace suicides at Foxconn with a total of 14 deaths, the total employee count was a reported 930,000 people.[22]

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sleepy

Re: Reality Distortion Field

@Andy Roid

When did Apple say they they were better than me, or better than a competitor, or patronise me? I accept there's a lot of bullshit marketing, but they really say no more than "we try harder". And I don't think the fact that they don't like you jailbreaking your iPhone or installing malware is patronising. It's simply a differentiating feature; buy something else if you don't like it. You can still install malware on your Mac, or on your Android device.

Are you sure Apple don't lead by example? Where are the online supplier lists for Sony, HTC, HP or Dell, and where are the supplier audit reports? These are the very things that make it easy for lazy journalists to cobble together Apple centred programmes like Panorama's.

The Panorama programme could have been so much better if, having identified issues in Apple's supply chain, they looked at how those issues might best be resolved, instead of vaguely implying Apple could do better in some unspecified way.

Why didn't we see workers being punished or sacked for sleeping on the job? Because it's clearly part of the long hours culture to sleep on breaks, and they were being left in peace.

The only thing that I can see is a direct result of Apple's business model, is the stress created by keeping the products secret, then shipping ten million the day after the first public demo. Of course this creates huge stress on hiring, working hours etc.

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UK air traffic bods deny they 'skimped' on IT investment after server mega-fail

sleepy

...which reminds me of an ancient joke, which might help the politicians understand

Lady boarding an ancient DC3 of tin pot airlines to stewardess:

"This plane seems awfully old. Is it safe?"

reply:

"Madam, how do you think it got so old?"

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Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama

sleepy

Easy target

Apple's an easy and lazy target, because they do make some effort to be transparent. Full lists of suppliers on their web site, published standards and summaries of audits etc. But Dell, Lenovo, Sony, Asustek and others are a larger proportion of Pegatron's output. But it has to be said that Apple's business model (10 million of a new model delivered to end users within a couple of weeks of the unveiling) places tremendous strain on suppliers during the first few weeks of production. At least the workers were being allowed to sleep!

Now give a moment's thought to the people in the supply chain for your christmas lights, and all the other disposable crud you buy with tin in it.

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Speaking in Tech: Android 5.0 Lollipop is a TRAIN WRECK

sleepy

Don't worry, it doesn't matter

99.9% of users aren't using it:

http://t.co/0ega1kMb9V

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Dead Steve Jobs to give iPod MP3 evidence from beyond the grave

sleepy

It all worked out in the end didn't it?

You can rip CD's; you can buy music and copy it where you like; you can play it on any player or phone you like. You can convert it to any format you like (with iTunes if you want). How ever much you may hate them, it's Apple that made all that happen against the fervent desires of the music business, backed by the Microsoft monopoly. It's not surprising Apple's market cap has grown a hundred fold since 2003.

And now, we've finally realised we don't want to own music anyway.

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sleepy

Re: You seem to have forgotten

No, it was Apple's dominance of distribution in the face of incompetent competitors that forced the music biz to give Amazon DRM-free distribution rights more than a year before Apple. Of course Apple had a most favoured nation clause entitling them to the same deal, but the music biz failed to honour that for more than a year. You don't get far by suing your business partners, so Apple kept quiet.But you can be sure Apple was on the point of litigation when the music biz finally conceded their legal obligation. By then Amazon was established.

If Real had gone to court and won the right to hack Fairplay, we'd have DRM to this day. So blocking the Harmony hack turned out overwhelmingly favourable to the consumer.

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sleepy

Sun Tzu has it covered

To understand what went on, you must drop your emotional attachment to theories that suit your preconceptions. Steve Jobs was ruthlessly logical in his decisions, and he got us to where we are now. It is Apple's actions that gave Amazon the right to sell DRM free, because the music biz ended up playing that card to prevent Apple controlling the market. The stage on which Apple fights on the consumer's behalf is at the midpoint between consumer and incumbent, and that's how they change the world. They become the new incumbent because they force what users want when the incumbent won't offer it.

Everyone knew we had to move off CD's. But the music biz was terrified of losing control to rampant copying. If Apple ever put a step wrong, they were a big target for the music biz to sue. To sell music files, the music biz demanded copy protection that couldn't be defeated, even though every copy protection scheme had always ended up defeated.

Job's first, brilliant, audacious step was the "Rip, Mix, Burn" campaign that went with offering CD/RW in the iMac. Apple, supported by artists, advertised that it was definitely legal to rip CD's, and definitely legal to write the music to a new CD, provided it was new "mix", and iTunes made it easy to do. If you could do it with iTunes, it was legal. The music biz hated it, but it was Steve Jobs and Apple that stood up for the consumer, and interposed themselves as target for any litigation the music biz might attempt. Thank you Apple for a brilliant, and successful opening move.

When it came to selling music files, the music biz demanded DRM. How come Apple was able to offer acceptable DRM, when Microsoft et al didn't, and didn't even seem to know they didn't, even though any punter could have told you?

Others, like Microsoft Playsforsure, only offered rental of music, and restricted too rigidly where it could be played. (when you "bought" Playsofrsure music, it still had to be refreshed by a touch from the central servers every month, even though there was no further fee). After a month, your music player would stop playing a playsforsure file unless it was refreshed with another sync. When Microsoft eventually shut down Playsforsure, they told everyone to burn all their music to CD (thank you Apple), or they would lose it.

Apple had negotiated a deal where you could play on five computers, and on unlimited iPods provided they synced to one of your five. And your music would play forever, without any further touch from a central server. Apple fairplay was the only DRM system that actually felt like owning the music. How did they pull that one off?

Apple only had the Mac which didn't have Windows, or even an X86 CPU, and an expensive iPod that only synced to a Mac, using a Firewire interface that wasn't on Wintel PC's. So Apple was making a deal for 2% of the market, for hardware that didn't even connect to a PC. And Apple controlled ALL the player devices, and could update every player firmware if Fairplay was ever hacked. Only if you didn't ever want any new music on your iPod could you avoid a compulsory fairplay/iTunes/firmware update. Apple delivered unbreakable DRM by controlling all the player devices in perpetuity. Even Microsoft couldn't offer that. Everyone else delivered unbreakable DRM by having all music automatically die within thirty days unless it was re-touched from central servers.

Apple didn't let the music biz restrict them legally to Mac and firewire. The music biz presumably figured: if this works on the Mac, we can stitch up asimilar structure for the other 98% of the market before Apple starts again with USB, Windows, and X86, and zero market share.

So it did work, enough people accepted Apple's DRM, even though you could still buy CD's and rip them to unprotected music on iTunes. Apple smoothly switched to USB, and put iTunes on Wintel. But the music biz failed miserably to copy the benefits of Fairplay in the Wintel market. That's why they gave Amazon and others DRM free rights which Apple didn't have. It was their last card to play. Apple had finally forced the music biz to do what they should have done in the beginning: trusted the punter with DRM free music.

Of course Apple's not stupid. After they'd done all the hard work, the music biz was giving competitors a better deal, putting Apple out of the business. Of course Apple had a "most favoured nation" clause: if you give someone else a better deal, you have to offer it to us. But the music business hung on to that differentiation for over a year before capitulating. I'm sure Apple was on the point of litigation when the music biz finally gave Apple the right to DRM free music. I believe Amazon was established as a viable alternative channel in that year.

So there you have it: it was Steve Jobs who forced the music biz to allow DRM free music files to be sold, and it was Steve Jobs who got the music biz to give Amazon that right more than a year before Apple itself got it. Before that time, if Apple allowed Real to hack Fairplay music onto iPods, Apple could lose the ability to change the implementation of Fairplay while preserving all a users owned music on an iPod. DRM requires tight control all the way from publisher to analogue-out in both audio and video. Apple couldn't possibly allow Real to break that chain, and if they have any sense, that's what Apple will say in court: the music biz demanded unbroken DRM so Apple required complete end to end control. Allowing the Harmony hack would break the control that Apple needed to meet contractual obligations for music distribution.

So now go read The Art of War (2.5K years old). It's a free download, and it's very short. It's business basics.

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Apple on the art of the deal: 'Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement'

sleepy

Just the usual brutal negotiations in a high value contract. I certainly wouldn't want to be an Apple supplier. Up front money came from Apple, so Apple wrote the contract. Despite the legal terms, Apple has, Mafia capo style, historically been supportive of suppliers who despite best efforts, are in breach. Apple has presumably lost more dollars than GTAT, and Apple will have greater difficulty in negotiating future supplier contracts. It's not as if Apple has obtained some benefit here. It's the usually hidden side of Apple's efforts to slow down the "fast followers" copying its product innovations: ensuring that copiers can't get volume supplies and can't get competitive pricing for the first couple of years.

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Apple's new iPADS have begun the WAR that will OVERTURN the NETWORK WORLD

sleepy

Apple (and every other manufacturer) can already carrier lock a phone. They already had technology to take away consumer choice. So the idea that a soft SIM will take away consumer choice because it can is not particularly useful. It's far more likely that carriers will be able to offer soft SIMs in exactly the same way they offer hard sims, and you can pick whichever you want.

The real significance of this is that Apple are now nearly in a position to buy airtime wholesale, in real time, potentially creating a monopsony with the power to end the carrier-consumer relationship. It's not that carriers couldn't continue to offer service, it's that they couldn't compete On price or coverage with an Apple multi carrier MVNO. How barren would our high streets be then?

But Apple are cleverer than that. They already only have to glance towards the cash pile as they say to a new industry "we'd like to work with you". So the soft SIM may well appear to make little difference to the consumer. But it does substantially alter the balance of power between Apple and carriers. It's not clear how Google could follow without becoming a manufacturer. It's already miserable enough being an Android licensee, and soft sims under Google control would just make it more miserable.

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iPhone 6 shunned by fanbois in Apple's GREAT FAIL of CHINA

sleepy

@Andy - Apple don't channel stuff (at least not since the '90's). Apple are grand masters at supply chain / channel logistics. Inventory is evil whether it's upstream or downstream. They are, on the other hand, grand masters at getting big volume commitments out of carriers.

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Apple's iPhone bonk to 'Pay' app launches on Monday

sleepy

The token technology is not Apple specific, and others will offer similar payment systems. Whether they are as frictionless as Apple's with Touchid remains to be seen. Apple also remain as arms-length to the transaction as they can be, which pleases all the interested parties, unlike, for example, Google wallet. If the potential to more or less eliminate fraud is realised, there will be strong motivation for people to adopt it.

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'Apple Watch' sapphire glass maker files for bankruptcy protection

sleepy

It's unlikely that Apple didn't have a viable way to use sapphire if it spent half a billion on volume production. More likely there were problems in achieving volume production that prevented use in iPhone 6, and hence suspended the next prepayment from Apple. It may simply be that the watch has slipped, and GTAT hit a cashflow wall.

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You like jumping out of planes? Try the new GoPro 4. Short walks? There's a Hero instead

sleepy

Crop

Right now the most powerful reason for me to go 4k is that I can crop or scale and crop HD video out of the 4K frame. The type of thing stills photographers do all the time.

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Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed

sleepy

So that's why they bought Beats - to make digital headphones with end-to-end encryption like HDMI. If they do that I'll know that they can't survive without Steve Jobs after all. What did he say about DRM and "a world of hurt"?

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iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?

sleepy

Re: Uneducated toss.

Not true Cowyard, your post is fantasy. The premium price tag pays for a better product, and for Apple's enormous profits. If Apple were bribing the carriers with money, they wouldn't be making the profits. It's Samsung that spends $14Bn on marketing, including spiffs; when you buy a Samsung, you're directly bribing the channel. Apple does not pay the networks to keep them sweet; they deliver the subscribers who have the highest ARPU by far, because they make the products those subscribers want. The networks don't like it, but they have to offer iPhone, or they will lose their best subscribers to churn. And they have to push iPhone hard, because Apple won't let them have it unless they commit to high volumes calculated by Apple to stress them. Carriers would love not to need iPhone and have to be bribed to take it, but that's the exact opposite of the truth. The customer relationship belongs to Apple, and the networks need the customers.

Press jollies and fine dining would show up as marketing expense too, and Apple don't do it that way. Again, it is discipline in controlling the information disseminated that gets the media eating out of their hands, not "press jollies". That would be so last century.

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The END of the FONDLESLAB KINGS? Apple and Samsung have reason to FEAR

sleepy

The iPad, the android tablet and the windows tablet are not interchangeable. It is a mistake to think they are equals competing in an imagined god-given tablet market. Ipad will take a major share of the market now served by Windows PC's, but it will take ten more years. The last thing Apple wants is to allow competitors to attach themselves to the iPad market. The products will move apart, and iPad volumes and margins will be almost unaffected by competition.

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iFixit boss: Apple has 'done everything it can to put repair guys out of business'

sleepy

Component level repairs are a major source of unreliability whoever does them. My advice these days: if your digital device fails out of warranty, sell it for parts on eBay and replace with new. You'll get a remarkably high price, and a brand new gadget, with a new lifetime, and thanks to moore's law, a better spec.

15-20 years ago, Apple used to think they could make reliable component repairs to exchanged modules, whereas IBM didn't. The result was flakey repairs by Apple dealers, solid repairs by IBM dealers. Apple's current approach is fine by me, especially now that there are no moving parts apart from laptop keyboards.

So far as I can tell, hardware problems with current Apple products are almost entirely with third party batteries, chargers, memory, cables and connectors.

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Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

sleepy

The take-home here is that flatscreen TV audio is uniformly crap. Almost anything sounds better. You need separate speakers in some form. You can usually get an Airplay (and lots of other things) compatible AV amp for £200 or less. (I paid £169 for Pioneer 527, which also comes with a microphone to set up speaker delays, speaker and room acoustics matching). You don't actually need to spend much extra on speakers to get pretty good sound. The AV amp will switch among your DVD player, set top boxes, etc.

(I'd also like to nit-pick a couple of posts, and point out that criteria is the plural of criterion. You should write "Sound quality is not the only criterion ...", or "Sound quality and price are not the only criteria...". Don't they teach ancient Greek in school any more?)

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Apple fanbois make it 'official', hook up with Internet of Fridges Things

sleepy

Re: The piece of home equipment I would like to control using my fondleslab

All in-range humans would be good. Plus an auto-freeze when they come into range, to give me time to formulate my evil plan...

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Google gearing up for 4K video frenzy at CES

sleepy

Re: What will the MPEG crime cartel do?

Google themselves are leading owner of software patents, on which their entire business is based. Google has done some wonderful things, but they operate double standards on patents. Unless Google will indemnify others from patent suits over VP9, they shouldn't press for it to be a standard; it will be a members-club setup just like mpeg.

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HTC: Shipping Android updates is harder than you think – here's why

sleepy

It's not because they want you to buy a news phone

When you sell a generic product, the customer is very likely to buy a different manufacturer's product next time. All updating Android does is to possibly delay a hardware upgrade sale; it doesn't get you the next hardware sale. Android updates only benefit the user, not the manufacturer.

Google is aware of this, hence the bundling of many updates into Google Play Services instead of Android updates.

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Google BLASTS BACK at Apple, Microsoft, Sony in Android patent WAR

sleepy

Google's expansion of its business beyond its original search basis has been largely based on stealing other people's intellectual property, protected from consequences by the slowness of legal process. So of course their use of patents is defensive; having stolen what they want, they won't initiate a legal battle over ownership, just fight dirty if the owner tries to do anything in court. Without patents of their own, Google's negotiating position was weak. They first tried to buy the Nortel patent pool for an excessive price so they could troll against those whose IP they had stolen. After an ad-hoc consortium of competitors (Rockstar) kept the pool out of Google's hands by paying an even more excessive price, Google bought Motorola for their cellphone patent pool instead, and has been using it (largely unsuccessfully) instead.

Google's protests are a joke. Rockstar isn't a troll; it's a purpose made vehicle for a group of existing companies to defend themselves from Google's desire to destroy the basis of their profitability.

Of course software patents are a dubious concept, so all of this action is literally a farce. And there is no moral high ground here, it's just a corporate power struggle.

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

sleepy

What about the mains side of the charger?

Shouldn't the EU be standardising the mains plug on the charger? That would be far more useful. The USB plug is already standardised. Yes we'd have to retire our uk homes, but think of the harmony that would follow.

Apple's lightning connector is clearly superior to micro USB in usability. It's actually Apple's first completely purpose designed dock connector for IOS devices; the old one was simply a transitional hodgepodge of disparate interfaces on the same connector: dual charging systems, FireWire, USB, video and audio. The lightning connector is also a key component in Apple's walled garden management of the third party accessory market, because it has to be licensed. Clearly, a lot of users value this approach, which gives a sort of uniform trustworthiness to accessories.

A variety of lightning adapters is available, and the same approach is used on the mac with Thunderbolt. For the EU to outlaw Apples product architecture and business model would be moronic. No-one has to buy an Apple product if they don't want to.

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Apple won't bag HUMUNGOUS 4G deal... 'cos China HATES plastic iPhone 5C – analyst

sleepy

This negotiation has been going on for years, and is effectively with the Chinese government. Apple's planned roll out of stores across China has been more or less suspended, presumably because of it. Apple is indirectly a major employer in China. Foxconn has just done a deal with Blackberry that can begin to change the power balance between Western brand and Chinese assembler, as happened with PC's. Apple has started building PCs in the USA again after 25 years or so. Robotics are changing the balance of costs between east and west. This negotiation is a reflection of bigger issues.

Apple's high prices and tight control of the user relationship made Verizon, Docomo and China Mobile stay away. But they steadily lost subscribers to smaller carriers with an iPhone deal. Verizon and Docomo have capitulated. Large though China Mobile is, Apple won't scrap their business model just to get a deal. And for China, January is the crucial date, not December, when product is needed, and Apple might have some spare capacity.

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Our irony meter exploded: Apple moans ebook price-fixing watchdog is too EXPENSIVE

sleepy

The weird thing is that books are all different. For each title, there is only one publisher, so there's no real possibility of competition driving the price down; there are no other suppliers. Fore books it's arguable that the author or publisher should set the end user price, and the distributor (Apple or Amazon) should charge the author/publisher a distribution fee. Apple likes this, because price is no longer a factor in the buying decision. Amazon doesn't like it, because they are establishing a monopoly by selling below cost.

There does seem to be some validity to Apple's complaint that the way this has been done means the judge has set herself up as Apple's litigation adversary, with no possibility of legal representation for Apple, when the supervision should have been independent, with reports back to the judge open to Apple to inspect and respond to. That would leave the judge as impartial judge, with legal representation available to Apple.

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Apple's top bean counter: New spaceship HQ won't emit 'one atom of carbon'

sleepy
Paris Hilton

I think what he must be trying to say is that the operation of the building (as opposed to its contents) won't add to atmospheric co2. Even if what he actually said implies that no life form that enters the building can ever leave.

It would of course be GOOD for the environment if the building emitted megatons of carbon atoms, presumably converted from human emissions of CO2.

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Nokia's 41Mp Lumia 1020 'launches' in UK - but hoi polloi must wait

sleepy

Re: Megapixels are not everything

@Terry Barnes: Remembering that in the crazy digital photography world 2/3" (two thirds of an inch) denotes an 11mm sensor (diagonal): it's apparently the outside diameter a 1950's glass vidicon tube would need to be to contain a sensor of that size.

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Dell, the man, prevails in quest to wrest Dell, the company, from Wall Street

sleepy

I really thought mr Dell was aiming to be beaten by a better offer, and thus sell his remaining stock for a decent price. But apparently not. Dell was never a creative engineering company (apart, of course, from the financial engineering), and Michael Dell always shared an office with the CEO; it's been his show all along. The cash flow of recent years has been largely illusory; it's bought in like HP's: borrowed cash made to look like revenue by acquisitions shown on the balance sheet as goodwill etc.

I guess it's what he deserves, which is nice.

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Loads of mis-sold PPI, but WHO will claim? This man's paid to find out

sleepy

Re: How long the data is held.

It's called "running interference". Eventually the punter will give up, because it's not worth it. One reason to use one of those companies that do it for you. The good ones will have taken Halifax all the way to bailiffs at the head office wanting to distrain their goods, and Halifax will be paying up rather more readily. Having said that, the banks hate those companies and want to make life hell for them too. Another factor is the correct calculation of interest charges. If at any time since, you became overdrawn, but wouldn't have done if your account balance at the time had been correct, that's also a consequent loss they owe you, with 8% interest ever since. The difference between what they give you voluntarily, and what you can get by carefully analysing the financial consequences ever since the PPI can be huge. Very frequently they are unable to produce the document you originally signed, or they only scanned the signature page, so they have no basis in court to justify the money they took at all.

Of course no rational person ever signed up for PPI in the first place, so it's all academic.

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Dell nemesis Icahn offers Apple's Tim Cook slap-up grub in share buy bid

sleepy

Why?

I suppose the theory goes that if you buy AAPL, you value the company more highly than the cash. But a third of your cash is used to buy Apple's cash. So if Apple buys back shares with its cash, the remaining shareholders own a bigger share of the company for no more money. Most of the cash is offshore, where it can be used to buy entire factories, fabs etc for suppliers to operate risk-free but reserved for Apple. That cash repatriates in the form of non taxable depreciation. If it's repatriated as cash there's currently a big tax bill to pay. So by borrowing the money, the evil tax bill is deferred, but the shares are bought back, and the original cash is still available to change the world. The downside is the interest on the borrowing. But that's actually free, because the money buys back shares on which the company was paying a dividend, and the interest payments are also tax deductible where the divi's weren't.

So if the share price stays the same or goes up, it turns out to be a brilliant idea. But if it goes down, you've pissed away the company's cash for nothing (like Dell). Check yahoo finance for the net tangible assets compared to market cap on the balance sheets of Dell, HP, and Apple. Icahn wants to make Apple more like Dell. I'm not convinced.

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Apple files 'Bonk to Gift' near field communication patent application

sleepy

yet another

yet another patent of the bleedin' obvious.

No, it doesn't look like Apple are going to do this on their own devices, but they might do something rather similar using Bluetooth LE. So they patent the closest thing done with NFC to keep a wide "moat" round their "user experience".

I don't think Apple are obsessed with DRM on their own account; they just want be able to assure content owners that paid content is safe when distributed by Apple. So that they can actually offer paid content.

Ensuring that there can be a viable economy around content creation is, in my view, on the whole a good thing, which strengthens creators more than aggregators.

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