149 posts • joined Thursday 31st May 2007 09:54 GMT
Simon Russell Beale
One of our finest - and least known on telly - actors. Can do funny, can do clever. You heard it here first.
Yes, Samsung has shipped loads and loads of phones. But who is making the lion's share of the profits in the mobile industry, let alone the smartphone one? Yup, still Apple.
Apple has never focused on market share, despite every pundit in the world urging them to. They have little interest in competing with the commoditised cheap and cheerful market. But they sure like the profits in the premium market.
Outside of the US, Yahoo is pretty much irrelevant - so anything more than a few localised services would be a massive step backwards for Apple.
Re: There's no need for press regulation per se
Hang on - are you saying that Richard Littlejohn is not allowed to express his opinion? Because it might cause someone distress? I'm not sure you've got the hang of this "principle of free speech" business.
Anything is better than a suite of old PCs...
My kid's primary school has a suite of very old PCs that are basically only used for Scratch, web searching, and learning how to use (God help us) PowerPoint and Word.
According to my daughter, it takes about 15 minutes just for all the class to get logged in, and even then about a quarter of the machines just won't be working, so kids have to double up. These things are slow, and yet still require some serious IT support which costs the school much-needed cash.
Given that most kids over 10 these days seem to have either iPod Touchs or smartphones - and definitely will have more computing power accessible at home than the entire school suite - having IT as its own separate world is bonkers. Like it or not, the future is one of augmented memory and networking - and technology like tablets work far better than clunky PCs.
Why no mention of Fraser Speirs?
Check him out - as the only educator in the UK (that I'm aware of) actually working with tablets on a fundamental basis, he is worth listening to because he can talk from real world experience...
Gosh, it can't be because he actually uses iPads, can it? Surely El Reg wouldn't be so bigoted...?
It's a mature market now.
A nicer screen (but what is the point of higher than perceptible resolution?), a faster processor (nice, but again not exactly a quantum leap), loads of rather gimmicky new features that will be mostly ignored after the first five minutes...
This doesn't mean the S4 is boring, just that smartphones are maturing and that's what happens - there are diminishing returns. Expect the iPhone 5S to be greeted with the same chorus of "where's the next big thing?"...
The problem is multiple PIN numbers
I have three credit/debit cards that require PIN numbers (most people I know have more). It seems insecure to use the same number for all of them, so I have three different 4-digit numbers to not only remember, but also to allocate.
So I did what probably everyone else does: I put them in my phone's Contacts carefully disguised as innocent phone numbers for the appropriate banks (just focusing on the last four digits). I ended up realising that this wasn't going to fool a halfway intelligent thief, so now I just put it in 1Password on my phone.
There isn't any single solution to this, of course. However, the sooner there is a tex/email notification of money withdrawal/spending on a card the better. Shops should like it because they can send email receipts thus getting the customer's email address, while customers will appreciate getting an email receipt (like in Apple stores) rather than a useless bit of paper.
More bloody link bait
I know I shouldn't, but what on earth was the gratuitous dig at Apple about?
"Mind out, Apple" implies that Apple is under threat from this development - when in fact Apple has been one of the cheerleaders of the idea. "Well done, Apple" are obviously words that The Reg is these days unable to type...
Using Android reminds me why I stick with the iPhone...
This is not a flame - this is my experience. Although I use a Mac at work, I'm not an Apple apostle - my work keeps me in contact with many new phones - pre-release - to produce documentation for them. Let me tell you about the latest one.
It is a mid-range Android phone, 4.5" screen, running Jelly Bean. There is no Home button, so whenever the screen powers down you have to reach up and click the power button on the top of the phone to start it up again - I very quickly set the power off time to Never.
Important icons are scattered all over the place, with no consistency. In the Phone app, switching between the Phone section and the Contacts section is done at the top of the screen (hard to reach one handed), with the Options icon at the bottom. In other (native) apps (like Messaging) the Options icon is up at the top right.
When browsing, the bar that slides down to actually allow you to switch tabs etc is maddeningly inconsistent as far as the way of triggering it is concerned - sometimes it comes down, sometimes it doesn't. Same with gestures - you just don't know if something's going to work or not.
Now, this may be due to pre-release bugs, but I've been through enough Android phones to feel that it's not. It's certainly better than previous Android versions in many cases, but the overall experience for someone who's used an iPhone is TO ME, decidedly sub par.
This is just my opinion, obviously.
But are they using them?
Go to www.netmarketshare.com and look at the US marketshare for the various mobile browsers - iOS has over 62%, Android 21%.
So, despite Android's trumpeting how many more Android phones there are than iPhones, it can only get 21% of the share of actual usage (and remember, that's where Google gets its money). Does it really make sense that Android tablets are 27% (and surely Kindle Fire's would count as Android in the stats, too)? Seems a bit fishy to me...
Where are these fuming fanbois, eh?
They're certainly not flooding the Macintosh Achinaea Forum in Ars Technica - which is where the reasonably knowledgeable Apple folk congregate. I'm pretty sure if there was a really widespread issue it would have been mentioned there.
So is there a real, intrinsic, problem? Or is it just the law of large numbers throwing out the tiny fraction of the millions of new iPhone 5 owners who do have some discrete manufacturing issue (and add those who just don't know how to set up a WiFi network)?
Innovation doesn't mean new gimmicks...
I remember the phone industry before the iPhone - there was a huge amount of innovation, almost all of it utterly pointless. Remember the Nokia circular keypad? The only goal is to make things work better - if that means subtle improvements to something that already works, then that's what you do.
The problem is Windows.
People don't want Windows on their phone.
They don't think of Metro as being Windows, and the more MS tries to drag it back to being a Windows phone, the more baggage (both emotional and code-complexity) it will accumulate.
People - mostly - don't LIKE Windows. They don't necessarily hate it, but it doesn't inspire much affection in the general populace. Why saddle the 'new broom' products and OS with this association? Especially the utterly perplexing "Windows RT" for tablets...
Apple, for all its faults does at least know when and how to kill its own babies. MS could learn a lesson or two there - but it may well be Nokia who ends up paying for it.
Re. Voland's right hand's comment "Apple effectively killed the 3rd party power adapter market for the Macs a few years back." Bollocks. Since the power adapters are basically a USB cable and a power brick with a USB port, you can pick them up for peanuts in any mobile shack. Once you have a Lightning cable, I'm sure the same will apply (heck, you can just use the same power brick, although it may take a bit longer to charge).
The Lightning/30 Pin adapters are a rip-off, though - and I'm sure that black-market ones will be available a few weeks after they get their hands on the real thing.
Total Cost of Ownership...
Look at the total cost of owning any smartphone over 2 years, and the vast bulk of the cost is network fees (this assumes you use your smartphone for more than just texting, ie. lot of data use as well as calls).
Look also at resale cost when you upgrade to your next phone.
iPhone looks pretty good overall.
There are so many hypotheticals in this "analysis" that - as usual - it is utterly meaningless.
Yes, MS may subsidise the price - like Amazon and Google already do with their tablets. But, unlike those two, MS doesn't have much in the way of content or services to recoup profits from (they're going to have to bundle Office anyway).
Yes, Surface may disrupt Ultrabooks - but they're just a marketing attempt by Intel anyway, which doesn't look wildly successful at the moment anyway...
This is yet another bit of random speculation dressed up as analysis, enlightening nothing.
Though it's true that current TVs are crap
As far as the UI is concerned - LCDs have made the picture quality pretty similar (except for the cheap ones).
The main problem is the incredibly slow response time when trying to do anything - press a button on the remote and then have a little wait to see if it's going to do something - nope, press the button again and - whoops - the first press finally registers and the seconds press buggers up what you were doing...
However, the difficulty is that more and more people are going through a set-top box to get their content (Freeview or SKY or cable), and that adds its own layer of UI hell. Unless Apple is seriously expecting people to move all their viewing over to iTunes/AppleTV - at the expense of lots of missing content - I cannot see this working.
Methinks he doth protest too much...
This couldn't possibly be an attempt to boost his AV business, could it?
Frankly, as a Mac user I have utterly given up using AV software - in practice it causes far more problems (slowing down machines, causing incompatibilities) than it is ever likely to solve. In all my 25 years of MAc computing I have never had a major virus, and only a couple of times had any malware at all. Unlike my ex, who was often reduced to tears by the logjam of viruses and (mostly) AV warnings that popped up all the time on her Windows machine.
That said, Apple is extremely slow at responding to genuine problems - but to assert that Apple's inaccurately-labelled Walled Garden* approach makes it less secure than the "install what the heck you like" approach of Android is disingenuous to say the least.
* It's a pretty rubbish walled garden that is open to the internet, surely?
Amazon /= Android
Amazon's Fire uses a forked version of Android, as the author bloody well should know. So the idea that Android's openness is unifying is downright wrong - it's actually potentially its Achilles Heel (from Google's point of view).
Never, ever forget that Google is not a benevolent servant of mankind, but an advertising company, selling data about everyone who uses it. They are not "open" about that data, which is why even their faithful partners Samsung keep alternative OSs going...
Nice - but still fugly compared to similar iPad apps
Have a look at Flipboard or Zite on the iPad, and then at Currents - there really is no comparison.
Currents has some nice features - the translation one, certainly - but in terms of polish and attention to detail it is merely workmanlike to me.
God knows how Piper Jaffray make their money, because so far they have been - like most so-called analysts - utterly useless at accurately predicting what Apple will or will not do.
My bold, high-value prediction: at some stage in 2012 Apple will release a new iPhone, which will be called "The New iPhone", and will be better in lots of ways than the one before it. The blogosphere will shriek that it isn't as innovative as they predicted it should be, and marks the End of Apple. Lots of people will buy it.
Teach thinking, not facts.
Gradgrind was wrong: facts can now be summoned from the vasty deeps of the interweb without us having to store them permanently in our heads.
Indeed, the whole business of learning a specialised set of facts was just part of the barrier to entry that the Professions instigated. As the Professions become less and less relevant, so the emerging careers require less pure retaining of facts and more ability to reshape and rethink ways of doing things. This doesn't mean that no knowledge is required - in many ways more knowledge, of more things, is needed. However, introducing children to tools which can fundamentally reshape the stuff they experience digitally can only be a good idea.
More link bait...
Ooh - so brave, so counter-cultural: "I am going to speak an unspeakable truth."
Except so much of it isn't true. I, too, cleared put loads of apps and content when upgrading to the new iPad, expecting the larger photos and apps would take up way more room. And guess what? Yes, you lose a bit of space, but it's minimal (about 1gb). Hardly the apocalypse.
And then there's the dismissal of the obvious advantages of the new display in order to moan that his crappy workflow will have to be adapted. Boo hoo.
As always with these sorts of mock-contentious articles, the question should always be asked: "What would YOU have done"? What iPad was he expecting, which would have satisfied him? There wasn't one - he just wanted to write an article to counter all the "new iPad is a success" pieces, as so many other saddoes have done.
Yay to the aspect ratio point
Android screens are a different aspect ratio, which makes them longer and thinner in portrait position. Therefore a 4" diagonal Android phone will have a smaller screen real estate than a 4" iPhone.
Apples and oranges.
What will they think of to complain about next?
Already Consumer Reports is backing off from its apocalyptic "burning iPad" claims. How nice to know that the next storm in a teacup has already been manufactured.
Out of the 3 million devices that were sold just last weekend (the total now must be significantly higher than that) statistics would expect there to be quite a few that aren't performing correctly. Now if Apple refused to exchange those for working ones, or claimed that massively reduced WiFi performance was "within normal parameters", then I would accept that there was a story.
For the record, mine works just fine on WiFi, and doesn't get even noticeably warm.
"Crushed by reality"??
You are assuming that Gartner's anal-ysis (ie. numbers pulled out of their ass) has anything to do with reality. The reality is that people aren't particularly fond of sitting in front of a PC, especially one running Windows, and the fact that they can increasingly avoid doing so via their phone or iPad is a blessed relief.
Latency/slowness is a big problem, methinks
Even when linked up to ethernet, the lack of responsiveness is a big part of making people feel out of control. It gets a bit like using WAP sometimes - terrified of clicking on the wrong button, because you know you'll be stuck for ages waiting for the page to appear before you can press the Back button again.
"It just shows that branding is key"?
Er... only in the sense that producing a demonstratively better user experience - and then showing it to people in adverts - is key.
Who in heck keeps their phones in the shirt pocket?
A recipe for disaster when going to the loo, methinks. Real men keep their phones in their trouser pockets, where larger sizes can be uncomfortable (and misleading).
But I have no problem with the iPhone going a tad bigger - just don't think it's going to make a heck of a lot of difference: I can get a similar increase by holding my iPhone 16 inches away from my eyes rather than 18".
2% of the sale price?
Well, Android phones already pay 5% to Microsoft, so it may just be that this is the rate that Samsung negotiated. Seems unlikely, somehow.
Yes, it's expensive - but you get a lot back when you sell it.
32Gb iPhone 4S = £319 + £36 per month (Vodafone) for a one year contract. 32Gb iPhone 4 sold for £320. Previous SIM-only Vodafone monthly bill was £20, with no WiFi hotspots. Also, the warranty had expired. So cost of upgrading = £180 over the year, plus WiFi hotspots and a warranty.
For that I get much faster web access (it may be a combination of the A5 processor and the new antenna, but it makes a huge difference when out of WiFi range), a far better camera (though I miss the slightly wider angle of the 4) and Siri - which is amazing for a few things (being read and dictating text messages in the car, doing a quick response to emails, and - a small thing, but incredibly useful - making reminders, calendar events and setting alarms).
Samsung doth protest too much, methinks...
The standards-based patents HAVE to be accessible under FRAND, and Samsung knows that. They can go to court about exactly how much Apple needs to pay, but they can't use their patents as a basis for banning a mobile phone until that process has been exhausted.
Meanwhile, Apple's patents relate to stuff they actually, y'know, invented and designed. For all the "You started it, Apple, now how do you like them bananas?" comments, the fact remains that there are very few other companies defending patents for stuff they developed themselves.
Not trying to defend the patent system, but Apple are at least using the original principles behind it.
Er... where are the 10 phones that outshine the iPhone 4GS?
Not trying to be an Apple apologist, but that was a pretty crappy list. Quite a few of them aren't even vaguely iPhone competitors, and many are referred to in the list as being "underpowered" or "makes the text look blurry"...
Personally, I think that Apple could have done a lot more to temper the loony expectations of the media and tecchies, as the media reactions have been entirely predictable. Had - for no particularly good reason - Apple introduced exactly the same phone, but with more iPad 2-like tapered sides and somehow-different back, and called it the iPhone 5, then most of the pundits would have been pretty happy with that.
The fact that they followed the pattern of the 3GS, kept a perfectly good form factor (as they do in all their products when they get to it) - which means you don't need to buy new sets of accessories, docks, etc. - and produced a phone that won't alienate people who've bought the iPhone 4 recently (but will be a huge step up for the 3GS owners coming to the end of their 2-year contracts) seems to have been taken as a sign of weakness.
As more considered voices have been saying for a long time now, it's the ecosystem that matters, not the individual devices. In the past, handset makers didn't upgrade the SW on their existing products - they wanted you to buy a new device every year. Apple is happy for you to buy a new device every 2 years, and keeps updating it as they go along.
So why aren't Samsung suing everyone?
Is this teally good news?
If they really have patents that are intrinsic to the use of any mobile phone (which is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the fact that they are threatening the iPhone 5 before it even appears), then Windows 8 phones, LG phones, BlackBerrys and all others must be infringing the patents.
Are we going to end up with a vast circle-jerk where everyone pays royalties to everyone else (as in MS getting $15 for every Android phone), thus jacking up the cost for no benefit whatsoever?
I've seen absolutely nothing about how the W8 tablet behaves in portrait mode - which is how I generally use my iPad...
Having said that, W8 does look impressive - it already has plenty of fans*.
* Getting rid of all that excess heat from the CPU, ha ha ha. I'm sure it won't be an issue when it launches in a year's time. Almost certainly.
Yup - where's the need to upgrade?
I don't play high-resolution role-playing games or shot 'em ups. I don't do HD video editing or 3D modelling. On my 4-year old Mac Pro I have enough RAM to run quite a few programs at the same time, and I can run the latest versions of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator quit happily. Yes, it would be nice if it were a bit faster, but it's not an issue. Why should I upgrade?
The same apples to my iPhone 4 - I see no compelling reason to buy the iPhone 5 (let's see if Tim Cook can project enough of an RDF field to open my wallet). I could be tempted by a high-resolution screen iPad, but only if I can sell my old one for enough to make the final cost relatively trivial.
But the new MacBook Air... oh, that is very tempting... :)
Motorola is a dog.
Google has been dealing with Motorola on Android-related stuff way before the puchase idea, so they must have noticed that Moto is the worst cultural fit you could imagine. Process-bound to the point of paralysis, Moto is the antithesis of Google's instinctive, let's-wing-it culture.
"It's going to be run as a separate company," says Google. How's that going to work? Will Moto be able to run Windows Phone OS as well? Will they be able to make their own tweaks to Android (OK, given Blur, not such loss)? Will they get to keep the $3bn in cash they have in the cupboard?
Not holding my breath for this one to work.
Who the heck are they aiming this at?
Any Harry Potter fans already have all the books. Anyone who's not ready any of them is less likely to start reading them now, as the films series has ended. Even fans who like to re-read the books continually would have to be wealthy indeed to regard this as a tipping point towards a Sony reader.
Gotta love the argument that because Android tablets aren't selling, this will force their manufacturers to sell them at a loss - and suddenly they will become incredibly popular! Of course - Apple are doooomed! Let's all sell everything at a loss, and we'll all become rich.
Seriously, why does this Google shill get a column here? He might as well be saying "We welcome today's news, which demonstrates Googles commitment etc."...
Since I can't seem to upgrade from 1.6 to 2.1, this all feels rather pointless. I welcome our benign dictatorial iOS overlords...
Apple vs Android?
This "research" (it was conducted by Adobe, who have a vested interest in promoting web-based content) is hard to analyse without knowing what the breakdown of the mobile phone platforms used was.
If it was all iOS phones, then it might be useful - but if there were a lot of Android/Win7/WebOS/Symbian phones as well (lacking as many dedicated apps), then the web-based stuff may well get a greater boost. We're not even told how may are smartphones, for heck's sake.
Until we're told more, I tend to mistrust research like this. And so should El Reg.