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* Posts by ThomH

1936 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

PEAK APPLE: iPad market share hits the skids

ThomH
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Did you two read the same article as I did? The third paragraph says:

"... 'pads, including white box devices, grew 43 per cent to 51.7 million standalone products."

The overall tablet market is very healthy; the story is simply that Apple's shipments are down 14% and that in a quickly inflating market that has translated to a drop in market share of almost 20 points. So there's a bit of a changing of the guard going on, with various flavours of Android (ie, I'm counting Amazon's fork) in the ascendant.

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ThomH
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Re: Tweaking

I would imagine Samsung's impact on Apple is very limited compared to that of Asus/Google and Amazon.

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Lingering fingerprint fingering fingered in iOS 7 for NEW iPHONE

ThomH
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Re: Great until...

Depends how they implement it; the (in my personal experience, quite frequent) home button failures are to do with moving parts whereas a fingerprint scanner — at least the sort you usually see on laptops — doesn't have any moving parts. So I guess it depends on what's going to happen to the button overall.

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Google menaces Apple's 3-year-old toddler with its cheap stream tech

ThomH
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Re: Anyone here actually got Apple TV?

I don't think they're selling very well at all. The Apple third quarter results press release (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2013/07/23Apple-Reports-Third-Quarter-Results.html) says this:

The Company sold 31.2 million iPhones, a record for the June quarter, compared to 26 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold 14.6 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 17 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 3.8 million Macs, compared to 4 million in the year-ago quarter.

The Apple TV isn't mentioned anywhere in the press release summary; one can therefore assume it's not significant to the larger report.

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ThomH
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Re: WTF? Even as a MacBook Air user I presume the article was tongue in cheek.

... and as someone aware of OS/2 and exposed to the standard array of Acorn machines that filled UK schools in the late 80s through to the early 90s, I am amused to see Amiga owners moaning that they had pre-emptive multitasking a decade before 90% of the market given that they didn't have (i) built-in buttons, menus or any other widgets; (ii) protected memory; or (iii) any significant inter-app communications.

It was a diverse mix back then — no single system ticked every box.

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ThomH
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Re: DLNA

I think this is Google's attempt to sweep away DLNA and AirPlay in favour of building programmability into the receiver based on emerging web standards — assuming Google's "everything must be approved by us before deployment" stance is temporary that will remove the gatekeeper from the process while allowing parties with content to control development and deployment cycles.

Although a lot of TVs have very similar programmability built in, few of them are mutually compatible and most of them have an app store in the middle. If you're Amazon or whomever, you can't just write your mobile client and your web app and have the former instruct the TV to move to the latter.

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Pikmin to the rescue: Can Nintendo revamp revive Wii U fortunes?

ThomH
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I think Nintendo's problem is that its brand is perceived as amusement for normal people. That helped a lot when the only competition was Sony and Microsoft's ever better visualised games in which army men tell you to walk yo a certain place. Now though Nintendo is competing with Google and Apple, and the target Nintendo consumer no longer thinks games are worth £40.

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PEAK APPLE: 'iPhone sales STALL' at first sniff of fresh droid competition

ThomH
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Re: "[A]n 'astounding' number of smartphones hit the market this year (...)" (@An(other) Droid)

Ummm, the Macintosh was introduced and sold very quickly, then sold very slowly. Tommy Cooper died live on stage. The GCSEs were introduced. If just 1,900 voters had felt differently, Reagan would have been the first candidate to carry every single US state (though Nixon's reelection was more successful if you discount the electoral college). Frankie Goes to Hollywood were massive. Jet Set Willy was released.

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Apple patents touch display that KNOWS YOU by your fingers

ThomH
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Re: :-(

Since coming to the US I've been required to submit fingerprints: (i) in order to apply for a visa; (ii) every time I wish to enter the country; and (iii) in order to get a driving licence. The last one applies equally to US citizens, and is the general norm for official agencies.

To my native UK I've been required to submit fingerprints: never.

So I suspect Americans have already come to terms with giving their fingerprints away.

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Apple MacBook Air 11-inch 2013: Netbook with next-gen tech

ThomH
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Re: Leading the pack (@Mark Broadhurst)

I think this may be what is happening:

When the MaBook has better battery life, people who want better battery life buy it. They say they like it because it has better battery life.

When the MacBook is lighter, people who want a lighter laptop buy it. They say it is better because it is lighter.

When people imagine there's some sort of pro-Apple cheer leading squad conspiracy, their mind just assumes that any pro-Apple comment must have an ulterior motive.

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Acer silences Thunderbolt

ThomH
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Re: back in the day

Per CNET, Apple wanted $1/port circa 1999. Licensing is now handled by everyone's other favourite, the MPEG LA, seemingly for more like $0.25/device but I can't find any confirmation of when it was handed over and therefore when prices became more reasonable.

AnandTech reports that there's no per-port fee for Thunderbolt so it looks like the cost is just whatever the actual chips cost from Intel.

So a fairly obvious prediction: Thunderbolt will take off if and when Intel incorporates it with whatever other silicon so that they're offering it for free if you buy whatever the modern equivalent of a centrino is.

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Apple needs help: iWatch, 'Retina' iPad mini delayed until 2014?

ThomH
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Re: A6 probably, not A5X or A6X

No, I stand corrected. Based on a component costing over at Tech Insights, the key physical components in an iPhone 5 are:

• the A6 processor; probably fabricated by TSMC or Samsung;

• RAM from Elpida;

• antenna switch and wifi/bluetooth wireless chips from Murata (incorporating a Broadcom component);

• a Triquint power amplifier;

• an Avago chip for LTE/UMTS/CDMA;

• four separate parts from Skyworks for power amplification;

• a Dialog Semiconductor power manager;

• a Cirrus Logic audio codec;

• accelerometer and gyroscope from STMicroelectronics;

• further Broadcom components for the touchpad controller;

• Qualcomm chips for further LTE stuff, DC-HSPA+, EV-DO, GSM, CDMA, etc and power management thereof;

• a Texas Instruments touchscreen controller;

• SanDisk flash; and

• an RF Micro Devices antenna.

How many of those companies are suing Apple or is Apple suing?

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ThomH
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Re: A6 probably, not A5X or A6X

"Most of the technology" was supplied by FingerWorks, ARM and PowerVR.

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Microsoft's next device could be a Surface Watch

ThomH
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Do people really want a smart watch?

I'm aware of the precedent — people completely failed to sell any tablet computers for more than a decade before that market really opened up — but the Sony smart watches are mature, inexpensive at around $100, and they work with Android phones so they do email alerts, Twitter, Facebook, whatever else your phone does. Yet nobody is buying them.

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Google brings Blink-powered Chrome to Windows and Mac OS X

ThomH
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Re: Did you mean..

KHTML: began 1998

WebKit: forked from KHTML, 2002

Blink: forked from WebKit, 2012, more cleanly to incorporate patches accumulated since 2008

I make that four years before Apple, six further years before Google, four years since Google. That'll do for dividing credit, surely?

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Chromebooks now the fastest-growing segment of PC market

ThomH
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Re: Better than windows 8 for a laptop?

As mentioned above, it's unclear what proportion of the market the sub-$300 bracket accounts for and therefore not technically clear that Chrome is gaining traction. It could easily be that there were basically no sub-$300 laptops and now there are some, but most of those on offer run Chrome.

That being said, if you couple this with the statistic that more than 90% of laptops costing more than $1,000 sold are Macs it does start to look like Microsoft may be about to suffer a bit of a pincer movement.

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Nokia tears wrapper off Lumia 1020 monster imaging mobe

ThomH
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Fantastic work on slimming it down

Based on the unwieldy 808 I expected the phone to fall uncomfortably between two stools — lacking both the convenience of any other phone and the image quality of a full camera*. It seems they've resolved the first issue. Good work, Nokia.

(*) having been asked to cite sources on my previous assertion, here's one: http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Mobiles/Column-right/Mobile-rating — "However, the PureView’s small exposure troubles in high contrast images, and its very slight color casting and color shading flaws in outdoor settings illustrate that the smartphone is not perfect – cellphone and tablet cameras still have a lot to accomplish to meet the quality of the best DSCs."

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BT earmarks super-speedy 300Mbit/s broadband for 50 exchanges

ThomH
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Re: Great, but will BT prioritise those areas that need this?

I own a flat in London, Zone 2. BT still isn't able to supply fibre-to-the-cabinet to it. I therefore do not advocate that just moving to the south east will make you important in their eyes.

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Sleek Nokia Lumia details EXPOSED ahead of Thursday's disrobing

ThomH
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Re: I'm still unclear who the target audience is

"What's the correct phone shape? A 5.5" Galaxy Note?"

Candybars seem to be the preferred shape. Candybars with bits poking out not so much.

"Says who?"

DPReview, DxOMark, pretty much all the objective reviews. It's the best camera-in-a-phone on the market by a healthy margin but it was found lacking compared to the modern compact cameras. It's a small sensor and a tiny lens. Nokia can't beat physics.

"First you're saying it's not as good, now you're saying it is better but no one cares - which is it?"

You failed to comprehend the point I attempted to make. It's worse than a dedicated camera. It's better than other cameraphones. But it's less convenient than other cameraphones, and the lesson of MP3s is that convenience trumps quality.

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ThomH
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Re: Optics...

But! They've paid all that money to be able to print 'Carl Zeiss' on their lenses! So that makes them better, right?

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ThomH
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Re: Lens Resolution

You don't gain large files; the large number of megapixels are processed to produce an ordinary resolution output. So what the device primarily gains over an ordinary 5MP sensor is colour resolution, for better post processing.

I guess it's easier to make photocells more sensitive (as is necessary to make them smaller because they'll receive less light) than to give them a greater overall range?

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ThomH
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I'm still unclear who the target audience is

So it's not really conveniently shaped as a phone and its photos aren't as good as a real camera? I can't help feeling this is like producing an MP3 player that can output 400Khz audio or something like that — yes, most people could tell the difference in a blind test but, no, nobody is sufficiently bothered about it to put up with the inconvenience.

So I guess it's just supposed to help attach better-than-usual photography to the Nokia brand and not actually to sell?

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Samsung Galaxy S3 explodes, turns young woman into 'burnt pig'

ThomH
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Re: And THIS is why you bu an iPhone.

This is a risk with all lithium-ion batteries; Apple uses the same chemistry as everyone else.

Assuming external chargers are available then technically this is a reason to pick the Samsung over the Apple — the S3 (and indeed the S4) both have removable batteries so you could keep the phone next to your bed in case of emergencies on one battery while your other charges in some other part of the house. Charging tends to heat batteries so therefore is an occasion when the risk of combustion very slightly increases.

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Apple creeps up on Android in US smartphone sales

ThomH
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Re: So who was it (@JEDDIDAH)

What are you talking about? Apple is clearly taking over... all of BlackBerry's former marketshare.

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BBC abandons 3D TV, cites 'disappointing' results

ThomH
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Re: It was "stereoscopic", not "3D".

"Um, unless you have a number of cameras arranged spherically around a given point of interest capturing the subject simultaneously, the image captured - whether using a lightfield camera or not - will always be from the point of view of the camera."

An ideal light field camera captures every ray of light hitting a surface as direction + colour. An ideal screen would reproduce those rays. So the hypothetical reproduced image is the same as looking through a window at the original scene.

I don't know about you, but I would consider the view through my window to be 3d, even though it doesn't project anything into my room and I can't move it.

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ThomH
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Re: It was "stereoscopic", not "3D".

Lightfield displays* have been invented for true 3d images, they're just beyond realistic mass-market manufacture and there's no content whatsoever.

* if implemented in an artificially ideal capacity they would capture every ray of light that hits a plane — recorded as colour plus direction — and reproduce those later. So it's the rays of light that are reproduced, not a projection (or two projections) of them; you're free to focus for yourself, to tilt your head however you want, etc. They're achieved that with an array of micro-lenses in front of an image plane, so at each point that would be a single pixel on a traditional screen is a lens and which of the inner pixels you see depends on the angle between your eye and the lens. But that means multiplying up the panel resolution by a very large number and then producing and aligning the microlenses with sufficient quality.

The Lytro camera does this in reverse, which is why its photos can be refocussed after the fact and also why they're so low resolution compared to the output of ordinary 2d sensors.

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Samsung isn't alone: HTC profits take a huge dive

ThomH
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On the contrary, it confirms that playground name calling isn't always well received. Especially when you have to shoehorn in the topic.

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INVASION of the UNDEAD ANDROIDS: Hackers can pwn 'nearly all' devices

ThomH
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Re: I sense...

What? American keyboards?

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Douglas Engelbart, PC pioneer and creator of the mouse, dies at 88

ThomH
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Re: Revisionism must be challenged

Apple invented drag and drop, pull-down menus and lots of other things we consider now fundamental but it did so only after paying Xerox for access to its work and in an environment where the fundamentals had already been established by Engelbart and others.

So the revisionists that claim that Apple invented the GUI, mouse, etc, are way off the mark but since they tend to end up in arguments with [lower-order] revisionists on the anti-Apple side it's not worth holding your breath for a balanced view to emerge.

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What's the most secure desktop operating system?

ThomH
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Re: ZX80

I got 90% of the way towards hacking it but then a heavy breeze wobbled the RAM pack and I lost everything.

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Prince of Persia: Baggy trousers and curvy swords

ThomH
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Re: Don't forget the C64 fan version

Pfff... in the Sam Coupe world they managed to get their fan version completed and released commercially back in 1992. By pausing the Amiga version frame-by-frame and hand copying the graphics, if memory serves.

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Bjarne Again: Hallelujah for C++

ThomH
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Re: The usual non-USA cost bias.

But it's currently selling for a third below its usual price on Amazon US and only 12% below its usual price on Amazon UK.

The US price is ordinarily $75, which is £47.98 at today's exchange rate. The normal UK price is £47.99. Once you add some tax, it ordinarily costs more in the US.

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Surprise! Intel smartphone trounces ARM in power trials

ThomH
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The competition is embeddable cores. Samsung, Apple, et al pick the ARM core, the GPU and everything else, lay out the silicon (or let a computer do it) and hit print. It's very mix and match. As a result, competition is healthier than it has been in years. ARM is likely to persevere both on momentum and because you don't have to go begging cap in hand any time you want a custom fabrication.

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Girls, beer and C++: How to choose the right Comp-Sci degree for you

ThomH
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Re: Experience always varies!

I'm no particular fan of Forth for practical use but I can't recommend the Thinking Forth book strongly enough — it transcends the language it was written for, teaching fantastic lessons about structure and development cycles.

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NSA: 'Dozens of attacks' prevented by snooping

ThomH
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Then surely the NSA could justify tying everyone up in their homes all day?

My feeling is that doing so would substantially decrease the crime rate?

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Ex-Palm CEO Rubinstein wishes HP sale never happened

ThomH
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Re: Numbers Game

It was $1bn in cash and Facebook stock. So you can cut more than a third off probably a large chunk of that.

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Cold, dead hands of Steve Jobs slip from iPhones: The Cult of Ive is upon us

ThomH
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Re: copying Googles mistakes?

I heard they kicked off the flat icon craze at Xerox PARC by having only two colours.

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ThomH
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Umm, except that iPhone sales are up 40% year-on-year. It has decreasing marketshare in a rapidly growing market, not really allowing us to conclude anything much about the individuals.

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ThomH
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Re: Re:iPhone keyboard (@thesykes)

At least in iOS 1–6, you just long press the letter and a popup shows the options. Slide your finger to the one you want and release. Options for the long press on a are aàáâäæãåā. The copyright symbol seems to be available only on the emoji keyboard as far as I can see, @ is accessible on the symbols page and I failed to find a superscript but that doesn't mean it isn't in there. I'd have been unlikely to guess that § is paired with & for example.

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Magpie Apple plunders the competition for cosmetics, as egos run wild

ThomH
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Re: "Ripping off" is a subjective matter

The Metro interface was so named because it was modelled after the design language of mass public transit systems, specifically including the King County Metro that serves Redmond and Seattle amongst others. So it's a little disingenuous to give credit to any of these computer company upstarts.

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ThomH
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Re: That Symbian 2010 look

I trust a site called AllAboutSymbian to be as objective about iOS vs Symbian as, say, AppleInsider.

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ThomH
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Re: Copying (@Charlie Clark)

Creative Labs (hierarchical menus versus the iPod), then Nokia (swiping on a touch screen versus the iPhone), then Apple, Apple, Apple, Apple.

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Tim Cook: Android version fragmentation is 'terrible for developers'

ThomH
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Re: 5 screens sizes

The iPad Mini has the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the big iPad (and similar to that of most sizes of paper). Though that does still differ from the 16:9 of the latest iPhone and the 3:2 of the previous ones.

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ThomH
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Re: RIght...

I think he just meant that the average amount of time an iPhone user uses his or her device for is 50% greater than that an Android owner does.

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Apple at WWDC: Sleek new iOS, death of the big cats, pint-sized Mac Pro

ThomH
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Re: It's not when they came out, it's when they stopped selling them.

*cough* the final version of iOS available for the iPad 1 is 5, not 6.

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The toy of tech: The Mattel Aquarius 30 years on

ThomH
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Re: What?

The Sinclair ZX81 and Spectrum were amongst those using ULAs — a bit like write-once FPGAs you bought off the shelf, a custom step imprinted your logic and then they were delivered. So they were custom in all reasonable senses. Acorn used the same method to shrink the BBC into the Electron.

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Apple unveils hints of Monday's new-product announcements

ThomH
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Re: does anyone even care what Apple do these days?

That's because Google fixed the maps. There's actually quite a lot of precedent for OSs shipping with applications that many feel are better implemented by third parties: TextEdit, MS Paint, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc, etc.

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MYSTERY Nokia image-mangling mobe spotted in public

ThomH
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But surely that still allows it to be too big?

You cannot fit an SLR into a smartphone. So you're going to have to accept lesser image quality. In that case why is something bulbous preferable? A lot of people would argue that it just falls between two stools — it's not compact enough to fit well with a mobile phone and it's not large enough to do all that much better than what does fit in other mobile phones. So it's too large for anything people want in a phone.

It's the same sort of logic that allows people to conclude that e.g. a 6" screen is too large for a mobile phone.

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Study: US iPhone owners tend to be rich, educated, white

ThomH
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I think the vendors are quite open about the fashion side

Samsung are probably most explicit with their adverts full of 'haha, these people are sheep' (ie, thoughtlessly following the prevailing fashion) or 'of course they use an iPhone, they're old' (as old is the antithesis of fashionable per advertisers), but that's only because they explicitly want to put the negative association onto the competitor. Apple's adverts are just as much about fashion — the iPhone is sleek and modern — but less explicitly because it doesn't work if you just stand up and plainly claim to be fashionable.

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Firefox OS: Go away fanbois, fandroids - you wouldn't understand

ThomH
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Re: And in the east too. (@AC)

The Kantar figures you're citing are for the USA only — see http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/News/news-articles/While-Android-Leads-iOS-and-Windows-Are-Growing-At-A-Faster-Pace — and show Android ticking up a little year-on-year, iOS ticking down a little and Windows Phone eating BlackBerry's share.

Gartner run the figures worldwide and, taking smartphones in isolation, report a 69.7% share for Android and a 20.9% share for Apple. If you include all phones then Apple's share drops to 7.5% so I guess the Android number would fall proportionally (source: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2335616 ).

Possibly also of interest, Apple's absolute sales figures are up by almost 50% year-on-year totalling an increase of 40m and Samsung's are up more than 20% but that's about 70m. Nokia managed to lose a bit more than 20% of its custom during 2012, RIM about 33%.

So duopoly is questionable but it's obvious that both iOS and Android are relevant and neither is going anywhere any time soon. Can you confidently say the same about the other platforms?

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