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* Posts by ThomH

1998 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says

ThomH
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Re: I suspect Google will fail (@AC)

You think it's unlikely that any launch by Google will end up being noisy regardless of Google's intentions... because they have really big market share?

Oh, and apparently the majority of voters agree with you.

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ThomH
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I suspect Google will fail

"Google is planning to steal some of the thunder from Apple's October 16 event by quietly unveiling a new tablet running the next generation of its Android OS the day before"

Emphasis added; unveiling the day before Apple is not going to be quiet, no matter how modest.

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Ada Lovelace Day: Meet the 6 women who gave you the 'computer'

ThomH
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Re: Gender parity == hogwash. @pericat

I think the issue is more the principle espoused by Johnson with regard to a different kind of affirmative action:

You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe you have been completely fair...

If institutional barriers have existed then specific action can help to overcome inertia provided by social barriers. An example social barrier: a person is much more likely to succeed if they have a good mentor and mentors are much more likely to pick mentees that reminds them of themselves.

As to where and for how long such extrinsic forces should be applied? That's where mistakes are made. But I don't see anything wrong with the principle.

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Son of Hudl: Tesco flogs new Atom-powered 8.3-inch Android tablet

ThomH
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Re: Stock Android (almost)

With the glut of cheap very-similar tablets, I'd rate stock, Google Services enabled Android as one of the most important features.

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Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe

ThomH
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Re: Real design changes @SpecialGray, the topic generally

Most Androids don't have SD slots now either; I don't think it's only about upsell. Those pesky Microsoft patents appear also to be a concern...

... which is also presumably why even the Lumia 630-level of Windows Phone still has expandable memory. They also have removable batteries and are exceedingly cheap. So if anybody really prioritises those things, there's the device for you.

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U2? 81 million Apple iThing-strokers know a place where the Beats have no shame

ThomH
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Re: Ignore Apple; get better for less (@Kristian)

Some quick price comparisons, of some of my current favourite albums:

First Love by Emmy the Great: iTunes, £4.49; Qobuz €9.99 (about 75% more expensive)

Gulag Orkestar by Beirut: iTunes, £7.99; Qobuz €11.99 (about 18% more expensive)

Anna Calvi's eponymous album: iTunes £5.99; Qobuz €7.99 (about 5% more expensive)

The Stone Roses' eponymous album: iTunes £6.99; Qobuz €12.99 (about 46% more expensive)

In my opinion, 5% is easily worth it for lossless. 18% is borderline. 75% is grossly disproportionate. But then I thought, maybe I just have atypical taste? Or benefitted from checking out generally older albums? So I checked the current top 5. Per Radio 1 that is currently George Ezra, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Jamie T and Barbra Streisand. In all cases I picked the regular versions of albums rather than deluxe; for Qobuz I stuck with the CD-quality prices though often better-than-CD was available.

Combined iTunes price for all five: £40.95. Combined Qobuz price: €69.72 (about 33% more expensive).

Is 33% worth it for lossless? I think a lot of people would say so. But it's not better for less, it's better for a little more.

(aside: personally I'm a big fan of roughtrade.com)

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ThomH
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Then just use the storefront. Music is DRM free and comes in a standard, well-supported file format. So when you're shopping around, you can factor in iTunes as an option regardless of whether you've bought any hardware from Apple. A truly price-conscious customer would check all the options.

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ThomH
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Why on earth do you think 70% is reduced income? Production, distribution and storage (i.e. the shop's rent, electricity, etc) that need to be paid for if you buy a CD on the high street.

According to the BBC those three things add up to £2.72 of an £8 CD — see http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23840744

So from a physical CD sale, the bit equivalent to that for which Apple charges 30% adds up to... 34%.

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Brace yourself for a 12-inch Apple maxiPAD – probably... maybe... ish

ThomH
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It sounds more like they'd be pitching at the Asus Transformer type of thing. You know, from the completely unsubstantiated rumour.

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UPGRADE your CHILDREN with KANO: All you need in one box

ThomH
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I think it's (i) to provide an entry point; and, therefore, (ii) to broaden appeal. Nothing you learn in primary or secondary school is a particularly thorough treatment of the subject — you're supposed to discover your talent and carry it through to the rest of your life (via university, if appropriate).

You're obviously at the top end of talent; so the objective is to provide something that is suitable for a whole-class environment so that people like you who might otherwise not be introduced to programming at all can head off and discover the in-depth stuff.

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ThomH
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Re: I thought this was going to come with

Maybe what you want is the FUZE — http://www.fuze.co.uk ? El Reg has reviewed it; it's a large metal keyboard cast that the Pi fixes into with ports accessible round the back and a breadboard on top that's connected to the GPIO.

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Apple bats away yet another WiLAN patent sueball

ThomH
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Re: Why bother?

Judges decide issues of law, juries decide issues of fact. So e.g. if the law states that someone must do A, B, C to achieve crime Q but the prosecution presents only evidence of A and B — failing even to mention C — then the judge should decide that the jury cannot find a verdict on crime Q. Specifically what happens is that the judge phrases the questions the jury must answer. If the jury answers different questions then that has no effect.

Like if they came back and said "the defendant is not guilty... because Ted did it!"; if Ted weren't a defendant then that wouldn't mean he'd been found guilty of the crime.

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Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?

ThomH
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It's the British government that overrules the British courts

British legislation tells the British courts that if Strasbourg has said something then it should be taken account of, as far as possible. British law also says that if British legislation explicitly contracts anything said by Strasbourg or contained within the ECHR then the court must follow the British legislation.

Apologies to the Daily Mail contingent.

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Reg hands portable Sinclair ZX Spectrum to lucky compo winner

ThomH
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If El Reg has only 2000 regular readers then we needn't worry about it doing anything sinister any time soon. Or indeed continuing to do much of anything.

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BENDY iPhone 6, you say? Pah, warp claims are bent out of shape: Consumer Reports

ThomH
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The Consumer Reports verdict was "We expect that any of these phones should stand up to typical use". That was after laboratory tests, carried out by qualified professionals, for a long-established organisation that would have no business if it were believed to offer unreliable reports to consumers.

I'm confident the random commenters and bloggers of the internet will somehow have greater insight than the professionals.

And, yes, it also found the Samsung twice as able to stand up to atypical usage.

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ThomH
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Re: Headline should read "Note 3 Twice as Strong as iPhone 6"

It's a shame they didn't test any regularly-sized Samusungs; they're probably even more sturdy.

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ThomH
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Re: Laboratory Street

Consumer Reports is a thoroughly trusted organisatiom with an 80-year history. There's zero evidence of corruption here.

If you're the sort of person that jumped to that conclusion then here are some more facts that may rock your world: man really did land on the moon, the Earth is round, Obama was born in Hawaii.

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ThomH
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Re: Blogger Fraud, even? @Bob

What does the one thing have to do with the other?

The Slate article appears to be about some idiot who badly faked a video of bending the thing with his own hands. But that was following the initial reports — of it bending of its own volition during the course of a wedding, etc — so is itself a complete side issue to the bendability of the thing.

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Bendgate backlash: Apple claims warped iPhone 6 Plus damage is 'extremely rare'

ThomH
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Re: OK, it's very rare (@captain veg)

The HTC One is also made of aluminium, so that's not a "yes, but" between Apple and HTC.

So, honestly, the story is probably threefold:

* Apple not learning from its competitors;

* Apple sacrificing rigidity for thinness (as in, objectively, per Consumer Reports, the 6 and 6+ are much less rigid than the 5s);

* Apple acting in such a way that people apply different standards to it.

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ThomH
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Re: OK, it's very rare (@petur)

Surely the issue is the range? Even amongst well-regard handsets, Apple is not an outlier.

I still think this is much more a case of the hype not matching the reality (i.e. it's just another handset, with each individual attribute being located within the spectrum of its competitors) and people enjoying any opportunity to take Apple down a peg or two for being so arrogant, than it is of some sort of recall-worthy defect.

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ThomH
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Re: OK, it's very rare

Per Consumer Reports — see e.g. http://www.examiner.com/article/consumer-reports-says-iphone-6-and-iphone-6-plus-are-not-very-bendable — the iPhone 6 is in fact no more bendable than the competition.

From worst to best:

HTC One (70 pounds to deform, 90 pounds to separate);

iPhone 6 (70 pounds to deform, 100 to separate);

iPhone 6+ (90 pounds to deform, 110 to separate),

LG G3 (130 pounds both to deform and to separate);

iPhone 5s (130 to deform, 150 to separate);

Galaxy Note 3 (150 pounds both to deform and to separate).

So Apple has remained strictly within industry bounds, never producing either the most robust or the most deformable phone. Maybe the issue is more that it's jumped from being equal with the high end of the table on one measure to being equal with the low end on another?

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

ThomH
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Re: Zip file recursive frustration

The Finder can handle zip files perfectly. It can't handle .cpgz — compressed Unix CPIO archive file — well at all, but stupidly believes that it can.

Top OS X tip: grab The Unarchiver. From the App Store or elsewhere.

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ThomH
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Re: "Everything between sample points is lost" (@the spectacularly refined chap)

I think he means to make the distinction between the time domain and the frequency domain. Assuming perfect instantaneous sampling then everything in between samples in the time domain is lost. But, frequency wise, there's no new information between samples to miss.

I guess it depends on what you define the totality of the information to be. If you want to record all frequencies up to 20Khz then if you have regular samples at 40Khz, nothing is lost. If your low-pass filter is insufficient then aliasing may even add things that weren't there originally...

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Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR

ThomH
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I saw my first out-on-the-street user today. But I live in San Francisco, so almost a week is actually a surprisingly long delay. I've seen Google Glasses and Segways, after all. You know, while I'm not jealously eyeing up those making their escape back into mainstream society.

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ThomH
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Re: Maids a milking

Seems to me like Apple's problems are outnumbering Microsoft's right now. Microsoft have just gone in an undesirable direction; Apple appear to have had trouble getting a fully-working piece of software out the door to meet their hardware deadlines.

Heads should roll, but don't ask me in which department. Was it an unrealistic deadline or was the realistic deadline simply handled poorly? So heads probably won't roll.

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AVOID the Apple Watch. Buy a drone or robot instead, techies told

ThomH
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Re: and I believe...

Just being wrong (at least) once before does not establish that pundits are always wrong.

There are similarly pundits who declared that the G4 Cube would change the computer marketplace, that the Apple TV would kill the Roku stone dead and that Android would never have more than 10% of the market. Some of those same pundits also said the iPad would be the first really successful tablet.

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ThomH
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Re: For Christmas I would ...

Although that is true of me, if there's no third option then I'm also happy to skip Christmas this year.

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Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM

ThomH
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Re: Android ZX Spectrum emulator (@Mr C Hill)

The relevant Android APIs are sufficiently low level that Marvin works excellently with a vanilla bluetooth keyboard.

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Game pirates 'donate' compute power to Bitcoin miners

ThomH
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That's deadly!

Or possibly harmless, mostly harmless, poor, average, above average, competent, dangerous or elite.

(though I assume the logo's just a lift by the hacking group if the games affected are only those listed)

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Apple iPhone 6: Looking good, slim. AW... your battery died

ThomH
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@Tom Chiverton 1

Because your American bank account still doesn't even give you a card with a chip in it, let alone one with NFC? I don't know why the American banks have ignored the technology until now but many of the retailers have got the terminals. If Apple really are getting 0.015% per transaction then it sounds like an easy, essentially free way to generate revenue for them.

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Germany strikes again over Amazon warehouse pay

ThomH
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Re: The 'Jack Boot' is on the other foot now! (@Ivan 4)

"Right-wing politics are political positions or activities that view some forms of social hierarchy or social inequality as either inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically justifying this position on the basis of natural law or tradition."

Remind me, what did the genocidal cabal that first seized Germany — based on organised perversion of the constitution from a footing of just 18% of the vote in the one genuinely democratic election they took part in — and then seized Poland, Austria, etc, think about Jews, Gypsies, gays, etc?

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ThomH
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Re: The 'Jack Boot' is on the other foot now!

The Germans ended up bankrupt and with millions dead, their country split in two and half of them living under communism for the next half century because of a right-wing dictatorship. That's quite a lot of pain already, wouldn't you say?

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Apple pours a cup of JavaScript for its Automator robot

ThomH
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Re: OS X is already a fully scriptable OS @sabroni

There's already a scripting language, imaginatively titled AppleScript, which first appeared at the start of the '90s. Then there's the Automator, from the mid-'00s and which this article mentions, which provides a graphical way of wiring applications together. I would imagine the latter is more commonly used than the former nowadays but it's just a code generator underneath.

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ThomH
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It's a sensible development

OS X is already a fully scriptable OS and JavaScriptCore has elevated Apple's JavaScript implementation to a system-level framework. Joining the dots probably took all of five minutes.

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

ThomH
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Re: I used to think he was a tosser

I was unaware until now that he is as talented a technologist as he is a musician.

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Register journo battles Sydney iPHONE queue, FONDLES BIG 'UN

ThomH
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Re: iOS 8 impression

I have iOS 5 on my iPad 1. It introduced some severe hesitation, which was never corrected.

... but at least you can try an alternative keyboard? It's unlikely to help but you never know.

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iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!

ThomH
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@Kristian Walsh

The iPhone 6 received 4 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours. The 5 received 2 million in the same period. Per the first statistics I could find on Google, 91 million units of the iPhone 5 were sold in total (it's a convenient handset to check because it lasted exactly a year on the market, is no longer sold, and rubs iOS 8 quite well).

I'd therefore suggest that your 300,000–600,000 new WebGL users estimate is, ummmm, let's say a little conservative.

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ThomH
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Re: So WebGL

It's non-proprietary and doesn't require a licence for any sort of deployment.

It's also a completely different product. WebGL is a thin hardware abstraction. Think of it like assembly language. You directly control the primitives to be drawn and the function applied to determine the colour of each pixel of each primitive.

Unity is a game-engine. Think of it more like the combination of C# and the Windows Presentation Foundation. You describe a number of objects within a scene and their properties. So it's a much higher-level thing that technically constrains you to certain semantics but which is designed to be broad enough for a huge proportion of use cases. It will be using WebGL to render.

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ThomH
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That's nothing like why VRML failed

VRML was a declarative scene description. So it failed for the same reasons that all of the scene graphs around then — Direct3d retained mode, RAVE, etc — also failed. Developers don't want that. It makes it incredibly difficult to produce an efficient rendering because you can't apply domain-specific algorithms. So you can't do Doom because there's no way to provide a BSP tree or write special-case linear-along-spans polygon fillers. You can't do Descent because there's no way to walk a portal tree. You can't do most racing games because you can't reduce visibility and clipping of extra-track detail to a one-dimensional problem. Etc, etc.

Scene graphs are in better shape now just as you wouldn't think twice about using a compiler: they're better at management (thanks in part to dynamic tools like the occlusion query reducing some of the need for ahead-of-time calculation) and, anyway, the processing budget is so huge that optimising for project creation time is smarter. This was definitely not the case in 1994.

Arguing that VRMLs issues were overwhelmingly on the business side is disingenuous. Think of almost any significant 3d program from the mid-'90s. VRML is a bad fit for the program you're thinking of.

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ThomH
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Re: A sabotaged WebGL !

Where "iOS memory problems that limit any sensible multi tasking" means "iOS will evict software that is in the background if software that is in the foreground needs the resources". It also has no relation whatsoever to what you're otherwise discussing: that if you write for WebGL rather than native on the same iOS device then you potentially have access to fewer extensions and lower numbers of varyings, uniforms, etc.

I'd have thought it was something to do with this being the first version of Apple's WebGL sandbox (WebGL having previously been available for iAds but not in the browser).

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Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets

ThomH
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Re: Zapp

Apple's contactless payment service also works direct from your current account rather than having to top up a third-party wallet. Assuming that contactless is contactless is contactless, I would think Apple's push will help Zapp. Once a vocal 10% or whatever it is now of phone owners can do something, such other latent demand as existed will be realised.

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ThomH
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Re: "operator-led NFC payments system"

You're not one of those crazy payment neutrality weirdos, are you? If we keep the networks out of this then who is going to block small firms and hinder new ideas?

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Sellouts! Fans snap up iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders to avoid store queues

ThomH
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Hang on... are you meaning to imply that things are more likely to be sold out if it's their launch day?

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iPhone 6: Advanced features? Pah! Nexus 4 had most of them in 2012

ThomH
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Re: NFC != payment system

On the iPhone that is handled via Bluetooth. You have to tap the recipient's name on your screen rather than touch your phone to the other, but for an application where you already have the phone out and are using the screen that's no big deal. Naturally Apple has wrapped it all in proprietary stuff, as AirDrop™, but it's there nevertheless.

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ThomH
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Re: nearly $1000

In Apple's defence, that's the top-of-the-range price and is much the same as everybody else's top-of-the-range price.

It's the fact that the bottom-of-the-range brand new unlocked price — for a 5c — is $450 that's more of an issue. Compare and contrast with the $180 Motorola G, or even the $350 Nexus 5.

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ThomH
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Re: NFC woes to come (@Piro)

The funny thing is, although the cards here don't even have chip and pin yet, the contactless terminals are widely deployed. I've no idea what they're expecting to talk to; I assume it's an international economies-of-scale thing that would have made it more expensive for American retailers to purchase the ones with NFC taken out again.

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BONEHEAD FANBOIS encamp outside Apple Stores

ThomH
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Re: I don't get why it's important to be first (@Truth4u)

Dark Side of the Moon spending 14 years in the US top 200 — in the era before downloads — is pretty impressive though, right?

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Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears

ThomH
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Re: So, for people like me that still get good use out of theirs

My reasonably historic car stereo can connect via USB to a 30-pin iPod, so as to allow navigation and playback of its collection via the controls built into the steering wheel. Anything modern isn't so useable with that particular hardware — sure, you could use Bluetooth to stream audio but then you're having to navigate on the device and push rather than on the car and pull.

So it's an affront to any reasonable person's desire to be free of vendor lock-in, essentially forcing me to buy an Apple-brand spinning platter rather than a cheaper USB thumb drive*, but I will probably grab an outgoing Classic.

* but not cheaper if I have to buy a new car stereo too.

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Why Apple had to craft a pocket-busting 5.5in Plus-sized iPhone 6 (thank LG, Samsung etc)

ThomH
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Re: It's all about the screen size

Unlike Google, Apple isn't attempting to displace Visa or Mastercard. Apple's system works analogously to something like OAuth: your existing Visa or Mastercard account vends a token that is stored in the phone. That token is communicated to the shop. The shop charges your Visa or Mastercard, via your normal bank.

I think Apple's probably going to be able to drag quite a few shops along through its marketing muscle. It'll be of the same benefit to the rest of us as its previous efforts in bringing unmetered billing via AT&T.

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5.5in iPhone 6, iWatch hypegasm: What will Apple reveal - BE the rumour

ThomH
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Re: "What will Apple reveal tomorrow" @a53

No assumption made; just responding to a comment that accused Apple of egregious pricing and margins with the actual numbers, to evidence that Apple's pricing and margins are the same as almost everybody else's (with some obiter praise for the real outlier: Google).

Also you might need to redress your assumptions about resale value. Too many people don't seem to know how to sever their iPhone from their iCloud account, with the effect that secondhand ones are now routinely, ummm, un-activatable. Just as if they were stolen. That's going to hit prices.

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