165 posts • joined Thursday 31st May 2007 09:54 GMT
Wrong way round
The Nook devices look perfectly fine, and are priced competitively - the problem is that their ebook ecosystem isn't one that anyone uses. Who checks out the reviews of a book on Barnes & Noble?
Amazon has - for the moment - the ebook lock-in, so unless the Nooks became magically enabled to work with WhisperSync etc. there's little chance that anyone will buy them apart from misguided Grannies thinking they'll make nice pressies for the little ones.
Change is unsettling
But iOS 7, for all it's small inconsistencies, is a much better OS than iOS 6.
One of the best changes is one that has been most criticised: the folders only holding 9 apps on each "page" of the folder, even on the iPad. Screams of rage or laughter from the usual suspects. However, having used it for a while, I realise that Apple was right - it makes more sense:
1. I can see all the icons for the apps on the first "page" in the folder icon on the main springboard screen, so I already can see where the app I'm wanting to use will be when the folder opens. As it's opening, my finger is starting to move to where it needs to be to tap the app - the whole process is much faster.
2. Although I have loads of different apps, in each category there are only a few I use at all regularly - most are just the 'nice to have around' ones. So the 9-app limit isn't really a limitation at all - it's a form of prioritisation, which means I can put far more apps into a single category (Photography, say) with the ones I most want to use much more easily distinguishable than if they were competing with 20 other icons.
3. The square 9-app grid is orientation-independent, so the muscle memory for tapping certain apps stays consistent.
The net result is that I now fit far more apps into far fewer folders, but can access the apps I need far more easily and quickly. If you'd asked me what I wanted before iOS 7, I would have said bigger folders - just goes to show that the customer doesn't always know best.
Selling 75% more of the more expensive phones than they expected - epic fail?
I don't think your maths works the same way as it does on this planet.
Apple iWork shift may have been clumsy, but it's the right direction...
Where Microsoft have - ironically - inflicted FUD on themselves, Apple have made it very clear: there's just one version of iWork now. It may have slightly more controls on the desktop version, but anything written on any device will work on any other device, in the same way.
From this base they can add features where they make sense, but seeing as the iPad has done pretty well for years without Office they really don't need to add too many bells and whistles.
What Microsoft, I think, has never appreciated is that most people don't actually LIKE Office. They just had to have it, because everyone else had it. Now they don't.
Bait and switch...
What could have been a vaguely interesting speculation on Ahrendts' career prospects at Apple became a reiteration of the same tired old tropes about Apple.
"No innovation since Steve Jobs." Have you seen the new Mac Pro?
"The "cheap" 5C failed to take off." The only people who have ever positioned the 5C that way are journalists who persist in using their brilliant business brains to demand that Apple do things the way everyone else does. The 5C is - as Tim Cook has explicitly stated - Apple's mid-range iPhone, and they are delighted if the more expensive 5S sells better. Can you imagine if it had gone the other way? The headlines would then read "Apple's profit margins endangered by more successful mid-range device!"...
"It feels like Apple hasn't moved on." Apple does those famous paradigm shifts very, very rarely - because they are very, very hard to do. They don't happen on demand, but when the hockey puck strays just far enough from the expected path for a company as brave as Apple to skate towards somewhere new. Otherwise, Apple have always been iterators - they bet on a long-term device and improve it incrementally, year on year. What were the great innovations in the iPhone's life cycle? Adding 3G? Improving the screen? I can remember when adding cut and paste was seen as a big deal.
Tim Cook isn't a visionary, but that's not what Apple mostly needs right now - they need someone who can keep an incredibly lean production process on track. There are enough people in Apple who have got Apple's DNA in their guts (mixed with a bit of Steve Jobs'), and Tim Cook's job is to make sure that Apple is brave enough to keep betting the farm on their instincts. Will Ahrendts add enough to that process? This article sure as heck didn't really attempt to find out.
El Reg, the Straw Man of tech journalism...
Really - you're setting up contentious arguments as fact (All That Matters Is Market Share, for example) and then drawing resounding conclusions from that.
There are any number of reasons why market share in these sorts of markets is not the be all and end all - user experience being one of the major ones. Suppose loads of people buy cheap 'n' nasty Argos tablets for £79 this Christmas - who are they (or more likely, the unfortunate recipients) going to blame when they find the experience of using them to be equally nasty? I suspect that "You should have bought me an iPad" will be the most common response.
I'd suggest you look at the number of people who switch from Apple to Android tablets vs the number who go from Android to Apple. That will tell you where the future profits lie.
Have you seen the new micro USB 3.0 cable?
This is what happens when you try to mash everything in to one outdated "standard".
See also (of course) XKCD: http://xkcd.com/927/
Re: No need for revolution
You do realise that it happened the other way around, don't you?
Re: Where Next?
Plus upgrading to a 5 series from a 4S means changing all the charging connectors you have dotted around your house, work and car... It will have to happen eventually, but at the moment all the people in my house can charge their devices on one 30 pin cable...
Lazy, thoughtless article...
I just love how lazy writers demand that Apple do something new, just to give them something to write about.
Apple innovates in the new product lines it comes out with - the iPhone, the iPad, the iMac, the MacBook Air, Apple TV, etc., etc. After that it iterates, as it should.
There don't need to be huge innovations to the iPhone - just incremental improvements that add up to a better experience at each iteration. You can still use the original iPhone 1 in much the same way as you do the 5S - however, each new version has a tick-tock of improvements to the form factor or the processor, with camera improvements and added sensors/chips as the technology allows.
Also missed out in these rants is that the operating system is always improving and iterating as well, and the hardware and software are designed to work together.
Yes, at some stage it will make sense to have an even bigger screen size iPhone, and new technology like the fingerprint sensor (which works in an utterly different way to the older versions) will be brought in when it's mature enough. If only we could say the same about the writer...
One unified brand...
Unfortunately, in the mobile world, they chose the wrong brand out of two.
Nokia - as many commentators have noted - has huge respect around the world for its phone hardware. Robust, well-designed, works for years, great signal and sound quality.
Microsoft - no respect in the mobile world at all.
Yet MS are junking the Nokia brand. And for those who say they can use "Lumia" - that has virtually no recognition around the world either, apart from being mistaken for Panasonic's Lumix.
One more thing to turn off in the cinema...
£34 million? Seems pretty trivial write off on a project of this scale - not a patch on the billions wasted on the NHS IT project.
No-one has mentioned the ads yet...
For they will be coming, as the dog returneth to its own vomit...
Does 3 count as a plethora?
I don't remember SJ going bonkers over the iPod Shuffle, iPod Mini and iPod range. Doesn't seem in any way comparable to Samsung's Spray'n'Pray approach to have an iPhone (4"), an iPhone Grande (5"), then an iPad Mini, iPad and iPad Grande.
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.
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