back to article 2016 in mobile: Visit a components mall in China... 30 min later, you're a manufacturer

One trend overshadowed all others in 2015: there's tons and tons of everything. You probably know why. China has piles of cash, which means huge capital splurges in all directions. Which has caused a global glut of stuff. Steel, aluminium, rubber ... and consumer electronics. China might not exactly be dumping smartphones, but …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wearables come with inconvenience? How does being able to use Apple Pay on my watch inconvenience me compared to pulling a card out of a wallet, sticking it a machine, typing my pin in, pulling the card out, putting it back in my wallet? How does glancing at an email or SMS on my watch inconvenience me compared to having to pull my phone out of my pocket, then put it back in again? Putting my watch on to charge just before going to be takes a few seconds, not an inconvenience.

    As for banks providing a wearable to reduce fraud, do you work for Barclays (we won't support Apple Pay, but how about you pay us and we give you a little NFC sticker or band) or something? That is completely ridiculous. They would just hook into the features provided by the leading wearables, most likely iOS and Android.

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      "Wearables come with inconvenience?"

      Dunno - most people seeing my watch and thinking I am a complete wanker who paid £150 of Cupertino idiot tax on it seems a bit inconvenient.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Indeed. I've used smart watches since the original Pebble came out, which may only be a couple of years, but all the same. I actually bought the Pebble Time, hated it, and went and bought an Apple Watch instead.

        Yes, it is still hampered by its software, and people looking at me as though I am an idiot. But very useful for paying for things!

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "Yes, it is still hampered by its software, and people looking at me as though I am an idiot. But very useful for paying for things!"

          Damned by faint praise? That sounds like a very expensive way of saving a few seconds per purchase. Especially if part of the cost is "people looking at me as though I am an idiot" :-)

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          But very useful for paying for things!

          Wow, I can see how that would save me several valuable seconds a week. That is appealing!

          And, of course, anything that makes it easier to buy stuff - well, sign me up. It's so difficult to waste money now, I almost never manage to work up the effort. If technology could only synergize my laziness and thriftlessness...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Price was mentioned as being a problem along with inconvenience. Therefore the author makes a distinction between the two. Thanks for playing.

    2. Richard Jones 1
      Flame

      Wearables come with inconvenience?

      Well they need constant recharging or they do nothing.

      They cost a fortune while doing little if anything of value or real use.

      My credit card has none of these 'advantages'

      Wearables do not support one touch, one word telephone calling or single touch call answering.

      They might have shed loads of other stuff that flattens the battery faster than anyone would really want.

      I do NOT want to read e-mail on a 1 inch square face while I am busy doing something useful. If I need to read an SMS I would like to be able to see it and reply to it in a considered manner. Since SMS can only be used for non time critical trivia it can wait until I have time to read and think about the contents. Remember SMS is a store and forward system, (as is e-mail) what you get now, might have set off hours ago so cannot possibly be a 'urgent matter'. If it was urgent at the time the sender was foolish or ignorant so why do I need to rush a reply?

      To date SMART phones have been a cypher for something that does nothing of what I want, the wearables are the same but on some form of steroids.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

        My watch would last 2 days without a recharge. That isn't exactly constant is it. As mentioned charging while I'm asleep isn't inconvenient at all.

        Cost a fortune, the article distinguished between inconvenience and price by mentioning both as an issue.

        Apple Watch does support one touch call answering. My phone does not support one touch calling or one word telephone calling (That I'm aware of). Siri takes two words on both watch and phone: "Call Richard". Calling via touch would take a minimum of two.

        The wearable is so you can glance and see if you need to bother replying straight away, or could just be a simple message that doesn't need responding to, i.e. "Be there soon". They also allow quick one tap responses. Apple example again. "Pizza or Indian" can be responded to by tapping "Pizza" or "Indian". If you are busy doing something useful just ignore it, the same as you would without the wearable.

        While you are correct about SMS and time critical that is not how people use it. The general expectation is it gets received straight away, and 99% of the time this is what happens. Replace SMS with iMessage / WhatsApp / Hangouts if you want to remove your argument.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

          "As mentioned charging while I'm asleep isn't inconvenient at all."

          Well, yes, actually it is. It's yet another step to be added to all the other little things that keep needing to be plugged in, checked, charged etc every night. Each item on it's own is not "inconvenient", but it all accumulates. Like most people, I don't take my watch off every night and put it back on again every morning. So that's two extra tasks to be carried out, morning and evening, which if I forget, means a dead watch or no watch.

          It's like all those useless company-wide emails. It's "only" a few seconds inconvenience for you as far as each sender is concerned, but they soon mount up to 10-15 minutes per day for every single employee to deal with which can add up to a significant cost to the company.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

            So John Brown knows that no-one takes their watch off at night?

            No. Thought not.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

              "So John Brown knows that no-one takes their watch off at night?

              No. Thought not."

              Reading comprehension, 0/10 Quote " Like most people..."

              1. Ivan Headache

                Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

                Liike Most people - completly unverifiable

                Making things up 10/10

                1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                  Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

                  Ah well. There are watches (or after marked coin-shaped devices that sit under your traditional watch) that don't try to do too much, but they aren't as widely reported as the power-hungry Apple and Android Wear efforts.

                  I would find great utility in being able to 'page' my phone from my watch. This function wouldn't even require a screen. Citizen and Casio make such watches, and the batteries last for over a year.

                  Deaf users benefit from having vibrating watch for phone notifications. Speaking of deaf users, some have had their light-bulbs connected to their doorbells for years.

                  Watches might have a role in solving a problem of out times - that of remembering multiple passwords.

                  The objects we take out of our house - bank cards and keys - effectively have the same function as each other; i.e identifying themselves to a piece of hardware, be it an ATM or a door lock.

                  1. Vic
                    Joke

                    Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

                    Speaking of deaf users, some have had their light-bulbs connected to their doorbells for years.

                    I saw a documentary on that a while back - Tomorrow's World or somesuch...

                    Vic.

              2. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

                No one or almost no one. Pretty much the same claim in this context.

                So at least 9/10 for comprehension - in this context.

        2. Richard Jones 1
          Happy

          Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

          Well my phone lives under layers of clothing at this time of year, so it is super convenient to pull it out and wave it round, having first undressed or not?

          The credit card has yet to have its battery charged and access is far faster than undressing. As for single touch, one word calling, I have that now with my 'dumb' phone and its hands free earpiece so the handset needs no hand holding.

          You have confirmed what I knew SMS is used where it should NOT be used.

          Too many times have I been called, (one touch answer with the earpiece) only to be asked why I have not replied to an SMS I have not received.

          As for touch, I gave away the touch phones I was given as they were useless with their demand for full attention and two handed fumbling.

          The issue of Pizza or Indian could only ever come from someone who knew nothing about me. It would thus need no answer

          I guess it is all a question of style, lifestyle that is.

          For me communications methods are tools for life, not a faux way of life

          1. Charles Manning

            re:Wearables come with inconvenience?

            "Well my phone lives under layers of clothing at this time of year"

            It's not a sex toy. Put it in your pocket.

          2. Pompous Git Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

            The issue of Pizza or Indian could only ever come from someone who knew nothing about me.

            What's the difference between a pizza and an Indian? Pizzas don't telephone you to tell you your Windows computer is borked and you need to log in to a certain web page...

        3. Vic

          Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

          My watch would last 2 days without a recharge

          Mine does about 5 years...

          Vic.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

            But has no heart rate monitor, no maps / navigation, no support for email, messaging, no support for notifications from any app on your phone, no activity monitoring, no calendar integration for events and reminders, no support for apps etc. etc. It is like saying your paper and pencil work without electricity. True, but a totally pointless statement.

            1. Vic

              Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

              But has no heart rate monitor, no maps / navigation, no support for email, messaging, no support for notifications from any app on your phone, no activity monitoring, no calendar integration for events and reminders, no support for apps etc.

              That's how I want it. My watch is there to do one job and do it well. It does...

              Vic.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

                That's how I want it. My watch is there to do one job and do it well. It does...

                Mine too! And my heart rate monitor doesn't come with maps, navigation, email and shit either. It gets used once a day and I manually transfer the data into a spreadsheet [1] for my doctor's edification.

                [1] LibreOffice Calc. Yes, I know I should be using SAS, but WTF, it's only my vital statistics...

            2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

              Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

              'But has no heart rate monitor, no maps / navigation, no support for email, messaging, no support for notifications from any app on your phone, no activity monitoring'

              In the nicest possible way, I don't want that, because it makes you look like a complete anorak - and given that I'm not exactly fashionable and fettle a lot of geeky tech, that really is one large anorak. They're as nerdy as the game watch I had when I was ten, and I'm not ten any more.

              The only way a smart watch will ever become successful is if it looks exactly like a proper fashion watch, constantly displays the time, has a multi week battery life, and performs a useful function that many people require. I'm not convinced such a function exists, given that a smart phone can be placed in your pocket.

              Speaking personally, I might go for a high end running watch at some point, but those are never fashionable, as their design necessitates shock resistance, waterproofing, a backlight, and being strapped to a sweaty wrist. So, in that case I'm always going to have two watches.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

                The trouble with these discussions is that for some reason people start to assume that their own personal requirements and preferences will apply to everyone else. If you don't see a need for a watch that allows you to glance at notifications to see if they are worth following up and want to know their phone is calling without the need for annoying ringtones, then fine, you don't need to buy one. That doesn't make the product wrong, or anyone wrong for using one.

                I personally don't get the game of golf at all. For me it looks like the biggest waste of time possible, but plenty seem to enjoy it, and I don't feel the need to keep telling everyone what I think of it.

                If Pebble as an unknown startup can raise $10 million on Kickstarter and quickly sell over a million units (as of December 2014) then there is demand for a their formula of 1 week battery life, sunlight readable, waterproof, cross platform, cheap wearables.

                There's something about smartwatches that make people want to demonstrate their impressive coolness in web forums by talking them down. Virtue signallers. I think those people are over compensating.

          2. Down not across Silver badge

            Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

            Mine does about 5 years...

            I have no clue as to when the rechargeable battery in my EcoDrive will die. Having said that, curse the newfangled LED lighting as office lighting no helps maintain charge. During this time of year when it is dark when you go to work and dark when you leave that doesn't leave much options for charging with the great fusion reactor in the sky.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

              Yeah, me too for the Eco drive watch, didn't know about the LED thing though.

              My Kinetic watch is 8 years old and hasn't held its charge for much over 24hrs for several years. But at £70 for a service ( supposedly annually ) it's cheaper to let it slowly grind to a halt. Anyway, since they never warned me that the storage cell stops working after a few years, their "never need to change the battery" thing turns out to be a bit weasely.

        4. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

          My watch would last 2 days without a recharge.

          My watch batteries last 5 years before they need replacing. But then I only use my watch for telling the time and date. I don't need wearable computers to tell me I'm unfit and suffering from heart failure; I already know that!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

        I think the situation between Europe and the US is very different. In the US even basic chip-and-pin is slow to be introduced. In Europe the smart credit/debit card works for all kinds of NFC stuff - from the Co-op to the London Underground - and will before long work for train tickets too. The benefit of Apple Pay is much harder to see, especially with precharge NFC cards meaning that you don't have to expose your main bank card in insecure locations like some restaurants.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

          Apple Pay doesn't expose your bank card details either. Apple Pay also isn't limited to £30 like a precharge NFC card would be.

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

          NFC cards can be scanned while the cards are in you pocket/wallet/handbag and your details nicked.

          Systems like Apple Pay/Google Pay eliminate this risk.

          I've got my banks to send me non NFC cards. I may use a payment system like Apple/Google pay in the future.

          While the bad guys can knick your details just by standing close to you, why would you use NFC cards at all?

          I do have an Oyster Card (got free travel earlier today) but the amount anyone can nick is limited.

          NFC is a risk not worth taking IMHO.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

            If you are that worried - and don't forget that there is bank-guaranteed protection on UK NFC cards - there are RFID-proof wallets you can buy, to go with your tinfoil hat.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

              there are RFID-proof wallets you can buy, to go with your tinfoil hat.

              Personally, I always wear fully earthed silver mesh underwear. You can't be too careful these days...

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

            EMV NFC cards have the same protection as chip-and-pin cards - no fancy fingerprint recognition, sure, just a PIN, but still all one could do is maybe to get a small payment below the limit (and you can still use on of the many NFC shielding wallets/bags available, if you're really worried). The "no auth limit" is a trade-off between ease of use and protection - and would impact any technology used. Moreover a proprietary payment system by a single company, even one like Apple, has less chances to become widely used, compared to others - especially in less lazy countries where chip-and-pin cards have been available for several years already - and doesn't require to buy an expensive device to be used.

            And at least cards doesn't need a battery and work even if your devices are depleted - in bad days it can happen...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

              What proprietary payment system? Apple Pay is EMV NFC. Android Pay is EMV NFC. Entering a pin with the card would be inconvenient and defeat the usefulness of contactless, tapping a button on my wrist is far easier. So I ask once again. How is the wearable in this instance an inconvenience compared to the alternative? The no limit is not due to Apple Pay itself, but the fact that the NFC payment was authorised by a device. You have ease of use AND protection.

            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

              And at least cards doesn't need a battery and work even if your devices are depleted - in bad days it can happen...

              Haven't you dudes ever heard of cash?

              1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

                Cash is less common these days, and you need a card to take the cash out.. I've no idea at the prevalence of cards vs cash in the US, in the UK there's still a lot of cash in use, but pop into mainland Europe (certainly Germany, the Scandinavian countries, and Iceland) and cards rule. Yes, you can pay in cash, but it's not the norm.

        3. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

          And how many payments you really do every day, and with which frequency? While I can check the time several times every day, there are days I do not pay anything. You can't use NFC for online purchases yet. There are a few places where pay-by-bonk makes sense (I used it first several years ago when Swatch made watches that could store ski tracks passes or the like), but you can do the same with your contactless card or NFC enabled phone (which usually you take at hand, but some people having to rummage inside their bags to find it...)

          Thereby that's a feature for a wereable, but not a killer feature that does change your life.

      3. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

        "Since SMS can only be used for non time critical trivia"

        I beg to disagree - what you're talking about is called "email", although ever since it tends to pop up instantly on your Android phone as soon as you receive it, even that is closer to SMS now.

        I use SMS whenever I only have a single question or piece of information I urgently want to pass on (or if the person I called isn't picking up and there's something I want them to know as soon as they get their hands on the phone again or get back under coverage). I'm fine with a reply within 24 hours to an email, but I expect an immediate reply to an SMS, and since I never send one without delivery confirmation (it's just a persistent setting) I'll know within seconds if the other party doesn't receive it immediately, and I can take alternative action. Oh, and as a bonus - it even works in wine cellars that don't quite get a 3G signal (so no data) but have 2G still working...

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

          No, SMS are exactly like emails - they're an asynchronous communication media. Whoever sends me an SMS and expects a synchronous reply he or she is out of luck - I check them whenever I think it's time to check them. My rule is if you've something urgent, call me - if the call is unanswered I'll call back. Moreover in most places when I could need to be displayed an SMS without reaching the phone - i.e. a car, there are built-in devices even easier to use than a wristwatch.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Wearables come with inconvenience?

            No, SMS are exactly like emails - they're an asynchronous communication media.

            All attempts at communicating with me bar coming to my home are asynchronous these days. 90% or more of landline calls are to sell me shit I don't want, so all such calls are filtered by the telephone answering machine. My mobile phone doesn't work inside my Faraday cage of a house and I couldn't be bothered to take it with me everywhere I go around the farm.

    3. Charles Manning

      The limit of value

      Twatches and glasses are just the end of the line in terms of where the technology can go.

      Like most technologies it can be taken too far - beyond the point where it makes sense.

      An analogy might be small motorcycles. Sure, making smaller motor cycles has value up to a point, but those tiny clown bikes have no useful purpose.

      The same goes for IoT. Extending internet into the home has value, but allowing it to grow triffid style into light bulbs and fridges adds no more value.

      1. Mellipop

        Re: The limit of value

        Possibly not in domestic environments, but adding intelligence about the electrical usage or failure in commercial or industrial environments can save a lot of money.

        In the limit, the Internet of Things will mean us animals won't need to carry around computers. Anyway, we'll be fighting them.

  2. djstardust

    Honor 7

    My son has had one since his birthday in October. I'm really trying hard to find fault with it and I can't. For £210 (with the promotion) it's exceedingly good value. It was down as far as £175 on Amazon last week which is insane.

    The screen is excellent, call and audio quality are very good and the fingerprint sensor actually works. The "extra" button is far handier than people might think. My only issue is with the camera, but it's not £400 worse than the S6. It also has a second sim slot or SD slot which is where Samsung really messed up this year.

    He has a £7.50 a month contract with Tesco which gives 750mb data with family perks as my wife is on the same deal.

    His school is full of 13year olds with iphone 6s (most with smashed screens of course) and I really think parents must be insane to spend upwards of £50 a month for a teenager.

    The tide is changing and both the big 4 operators and major manufacturers need to get far smarter.

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Honor 7

      "For £210 (with the promotion) it's exceedingly good value. It was down as far as £175 on Amazon last week which is insane"

      Looking for an upgrade from a Moto G the Honor 7 tempted me several times but in the end not as much as £225 for an LG G4 from Vodafone and £2.50 to ebay for an unlock.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    China has piles of cash, which means huge capital splurges in all directions. Which has caused a global glut of stuff. Steel, aluminium, rubber ... and consumer electronics.

    We are not off to an auspicious start:

    China has piles of cash

    No. China prints piles of cash. Not the same. China also has lots of Federal Reserve Notes, realistically called "paper with pretty pictures" (or else promises by the unborn US generation to pay things back eventually if one extends leftist thinking that we just 'owe it to ourselves')

    China has pulled in the concrete and steel so far like no-one else

    That particular bubble of malinvestments is now deflating and built-up overcapacity is showing itself.

    This is what causes a global glut of steel and other stuff for constructions.

    Inb4 "MUH INDUSTRIAL JOBS"

    Wearables are perhaps the most obvious symptom of overproduction, because they remain a solution looking for a problem.

    "Overproduction" does not exist as such, unless you have a company or a whole sector that wants to commit suicide quickly. Malinvestments due to easy cash, which is then sold by politicians and "economists" as "getting out of the recession" but is just another way to burn down the house while you smoke grass to keep calm, is, however, what we are looking at here.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Right now you can exchange T-bills for cash, in the currency of your choice, so right now China does have piles of cash.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      And China has piles of debt too.

      When it goes all goes boom (or rather, bust) they'll feel the shockwave at the other side of the Hyades cluster.

  4. graeme leggett

    "ignited the PC revolution"

    I missed that one. When was Apple claiming that?

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

      >I missed that one. When was Apple claiming that?

      Before you were born. ;)

      In the good old days when computers were interesting and when "pc" didn't mean Intel.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

        Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II, and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is now recommitted to its original mission to bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.

        Apple Press release 1997

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

          Thanks.

          So after I was born but before we got a ZX81.

        2. Schultz

          Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

          Guys, it's an Advertisement Blurb. you are not supposed to take that stuff seriously, even if it's from the last century / millennium (pick one)

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

            Schultz, you are obviously outside Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field :-)

      2. Steven Roper

        Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

        I don't know about America, but Apple certainly did NOT "ignite the computer revolution" here in Australia, and according to the contacts my coding crew had throughout Europe in the 80s, they didn't do much in Europe either.

        The company that "ignited the computer revolution" in Australia and much of Europe was Commodore, first with the C64 and later with the Amiga. In the UK it was Sinclair with the ZX Spectrum, but even that didn't see a lot of action against the C64 on the Continent - or Down Under.

        There were many brands of computers in the late 70s and early 80s - besides Commodore's VIC-20, C64, C128 and Amiga series, there were Tandy TRS-80s (or Trash-80s as we called them!) Amstrad CPC, Dick Smith Wizard, Microbee, Honeywell, Texas Instruments TI99/4A, BBC Micro, Dragon and Acorn as well as the Apple II, which was really just another one in the crowd. None were compatible with any other, and none had particular market dominance.

        Here in Australia the BBC Micro became cemented in schools in the early 80s, although its comparatively high price put it out of reach of most households. The Apple was simply too expensive for most households or even schools, although I did see a few in the local uni alongside the Commodore PETs in the physics department.

        But it was the C64 that took home computing by storm. Affordable, widely available, powerful and with a massive software base, it had blown all of its competitors away by the mid-80s. Even after the Amiga and Atari ST ushered in the 16-bit era, the venerable C64 was to keep a place in the home computer market for nearly another decade before giving way to the Windows 95/Intel boom.

        Apple were, and up until the release of the iPad and iPhone had always been, a niche market. They had the graphic design and typesetting industry sewn up, but wielded little influence outside of that arena. It was the iPad and iPhone that brought them into the mainstream; prior to that, they were definitely a minority platform, and while they may have been among the first to bring out a home computer, they certainly did not have the reach to claim they "ignited the computer revolution!"

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

          Steven, one computer not on your list that was popular in Australia in its day was the Exidy Sorceror. It was the first computer I ever used though I never owned one. My first computer was a Tandy 200 clamshell laptop.

          Also worth noting that Apple Macs were very popular for music production, not just DTP.

          1. Steven Roper

            Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

            @Pompous Git - Oh yes, I do remember the Sorceror; your mention of it brought back a memory of seeing an advert on TV for it. My first computer was a Sinclair ZX-81 (with 1K of RAM, 544 bytes available for user memory!) which I got for my 16th birthday. Needless to say, I got upgraded the following Christmas to a VIC-20.

            @JeffyPooh - yep, they sure do go back. Although there was none of the open hostility displayed by today's warring fanboi crowds; back then it was more just a friendly rivalry. Incidentally the C64 used the 6510, not the 6502 - that was the VIC-20 that used the earlier processor. :)

            @AC re: Dick Smith Wizard: It might have been spelt "Wizzard" actually, it was so long ago I can't be sure. It was a pretty basic system that only briefly saw the light of day before being overshadowed by the likes of Sinclair, Tandy and Commodore.

        2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

          Steven Roper mentioned: "...Tandy TRS-80s (or Trash-80s as we called them!)..."

          "...Commodore..." (or 'Commode Odor' as we called them!).

          Fan-boi wars go way back. ;-)

          But the 6809 CoCo was way better than the rubbish 6502 C64. No question. Not even close.

          ;-)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

          @Steven Roper - when I googled 'dick smith wizard' I got the organic equivalent of the Apple Pencil, not the primitive computer I was expecting.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

            It's well worth googling "adams late night live dick smith" for a fine podacst (mp3 25 MB) in which he is interviewed by Philip Adams.

            "Dick Smith, entrepreneur, philanthropist, businessman, aviator, sceptic and car radio installer."

        4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: "ignited the PC revolution"

          I don't know about America, but Apple certainly did NOT "ignite the computer revolution" here in Australia

          I suspect the basis for the claim, such as there is one, is that Apple is generally credited as the first to get a completely-assembled microcomputer (that was ready to go out of the box) to the market. The first Apple ][ machines went on sale in July 1977, while the first TRS-80 Model I systems shipped in September and Commodore PETs in October.

          The PET was actually announced earlier, at CES in January '77, versus WCCF in April for the Apple and August for the TRS-80.

          Obviously, those are pretty minor differences, and kit machines - notably the MITS Altair and other S-100 systems - had been around for a couple of years by that point, and the Apple I had been in existence for a year. (The Apple I came as a fully-populated motherboard, but the purchaser had to build a case and provide the power supply and other components, so it wasn't an OOTB system.)

  5. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    The title is no longer required

    I, for one, am holding out for the Galaxy S7, which I will be buying outright for the first time, thus eliminating the last piece of Sony from my life. I will get the cheapest SIM only deal and that will be me off the contract treadmill forever. There is no longer a need to upgrade a phone every two years, this one is gonna be a keeper. Can't fucking wait.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: The title is no longer required

      I always say that, but then niggly little problems start occurring with the hardware (camera failing or paint flaking off on HTC's, phone randomly rebooting on the Nexus 6 I have now) and I tell myself the next phone I get will be the last on contract just to get rid of those problems. Of course I open myself up for a fresh set of problems that no one wants to know about on warranty unless you provide a diary of evidence and a ritual dance. Mobile phones are becoming like washing machines, built in obsolescence and not worth getting repaired if something major goes wrong. Mobile manufacturers have lost touch with what quality really means.

      1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

        Re: The title is no longer required

        My Xperia Z1 was a mistake right from the start, even the screen looks terrible compared to my old Galaxy S2. I also must be the only person who prefers Touchwiz over stock Android. An OS update a few months back has only made everything worse. I will never own another Sony product again, that much is true for sure.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The title is no longer required

      I, for one, am holding out for the Galaxy S7.... this one is gonna be a keeper

      Chances are it will have a sealed battery, and given Samsung's expensive and mediocre after-market support, you'll be faced with a choice of expensive (and outsourced) OEM service, or relying on a market stall trader to pull apart your £500 "keeper" after a couple of years. Twice, if you keep it for more than four years.

      With no likely real world performance advantage over even last year's S5, why not get one of those now on contract for £17 a month and a decent package, and then go sim free after the two years? Or for another four quid a month for a current model, an LG G4?

      1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

        Re: The title is no longer required

        I repair phones in my spare time to make some pocket money, so I can fix it myself if need be.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The title is no longer required

      You can get something about as good with none of the bloated software for half the price.

      Now Samsungs have no replaceable battery and no SD card there's no point.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The title is no longer required

        My unlocked PAYG Doro 610 cost me £14.95 a few years ago. Only used for SMS and unavoidable calls when away from home. Easy grip clamshell protects the screen - big keys, loud sound, replaceable battery. The FM radio is an unnecessary feature.

        Last year my godson gave me a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday. Nice idea - but it has been idle most of the year as the e-books are often as expensive as their paper versions.

        He was showing off his Fitbit this Christmas - wanted to buy one for me. It can't measure either of my most life-critical factors - blood pressure and blood glucose. My resting pulse rate is good - and my bladder overrides any need for an alarm geared to REM sleep.

        What has come as a pleasant development is the Far East proliferation of apparently reliable electronics modules - sometimes at barely more than the cost of postage. A 150mhz DSO from a UK retailer for £200. That seems cheaper than my Heathkit 20mhz oscilloscope - which had to be assembled from discrete components over Christmas in 1968.

        Any teenage electronic hobbyist now has wonderful opportunities that do not even require a soldering iron. Cheap components, cheap modules that do previously exotic tasks - and cheap microprocessor units more powerful than my Apple II in 1978 (£1700 at the time). It should be generating future UK electrical, electronic, and computer careers - but is it?

        Another godson found it difficult to get a job with his degree in Theoretical Physics. So he went into a career as a Java programmer. It now transpires that he is advancing himself in his company's business - investment fund management. Apparently to stay a computer techie keeping the company's IT afloat meant hard work for much poorer financial returns.

        1. Justin Clift

          Re: The title is no longer required

          A 150mhz DSO from a UK retailer for £200.

          Which DSO is that? I've started looking around for my first DSO, so some real world recommendations would be useful. :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The title is no longer required

            "Which DSO is that?"

            Sorry to raise your hopes. It was a special offer from Rapid Electronics early in 2015. At first I thought it was UK stock clearance - but the order was fulfilled with a 4 month delivery time.

            They had several similar "UNI-T" brand DSO models from 20mhz to 200mhz - all but the 200mhz one being on the special offer that was £199 (excl vat) - so about £240 total. For my electronics hobby work the 150mhz one has proved very useful.

            They now sell "Voltcraft" and "GW Instek" branded ones which look very similar - but at somewhat higher prices. The "GW Instek" all seem have colour screens.

            http://www.rapidonline.com/Search?query=dso&filterSearchScope=1

            1. Justin Clift

              Re: The title is no longer required

              They now sell "Voltcraft" and "GW Instek" branded ones ...

              Thanks. :)

            2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: The title is no longer required

              AC "20mhz to 200mhz"

              MHz. Lowercase 'm' is milli, uppercase 'M' is mega. Hz is always uppercase H.

              Thank you.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The title is no longer required

            Different AC here...

            I recently bought a Siglent SDS1102CNL from eBay. Works well. Easy to use without having to refer to the manual all the time. Quite well built: plastic/abs casing of course, but fairly robust, no flex etc. Carry handle is ergonomic. Came very well packaged. No complaints at all really.

          3. Down not across Silver badge

            Re: The title is no longer required

            Which DSO is that? I've started looking around for my first DSO, so some real world recommendations would be useful. :)

            I bought Owon SDS-7102V (100MHz) a while back and it is quite brilliant (I liked the 10+10M full speed memory and interface for external VGA screen). There are other similar ones such as Hantek DSO5102B and Siglent SDS 1102.

            Threads like this might help you get an idea.

        2. DropBear Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: The title is no longer required

          "It should be generating future UK electrical, electronic, and computer careers - but is it?"

          There seems to be an expectation along the lines that if electronics / IT are a hundred times easier to get into then a while back, we should see a hundred times more people getting into them, which is just plain stupid. Sure, the stuff becomes _accessible_ to more people should they want to pursue the matter, but the point it they mostly don't care much for it - those who did were never really scared off by the "obstacles": for decades now, neither IT nor electronics has really been all that unreachable for anyone with actual interest in either. The top of the bell curve did what it took to get where they wanted to be - widening the limits only brings in the diminishing few who honestly couldn't pass the financial barrier before (it the barrier was intellectual, lowering it will bring little success to the newly admitted ones) and those who fancy seeing what all this "Arduino thing" is about but have a very marginal interest (if any) in the field - and a carrier requires much more than a passing interest...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The title is no longer required

            "(it the barrier was intellectual, lowering it will bring little success to the newly admitted ones)"

            The way people get into electronics tends to be "top down". In the 1960s it was often shortwave radio listening and then Amateur Radio that attracted youngsters. Neither parents nor teachers usually had much idea about the technology. Our school's Radio/Electronics Club teacher learned from the teenage members who had already spent several years developing their hobby. The advent of electric guitars was also a stimulus for some teenage boys to learn about electronics.

            Transistors offered a safe voltage - but still relatively expensive - access to building your own amplifiers and radios. The cat's-whisker radio was no longer the safe limit for youngsters. To buy commercially available units was often prohibitive for most people.

            Numerous war surplus shops provided some components - and then the likes of Henry's Radio made mail order popular. Large numbers of valve radios and TVs were also being scrapped as people started to be able to afford newer models.

            In Amateur Radio there was the dismissive term "appliance operators". They were people who never built anything - even though they had passed the theory examination. They were only interested in using ready-made equipment - often at eye-watering prices.

            For a later generation it was robots like "Robot Wars" that were the driving force to understand electronics.

            It is probably always the application that attracts people first. Then they might want to understand the technology. Finally they may want to understand the underlying science. They can be a success at any of those levels if they have a motive.

        3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: The title is no longer required

          An AC "...as the e-books are often as expensive as their paper versions."

          Isn't that the truth.

          Best way to buy books is on-line Used book marketplaces. At least in 'Used - Like New' or 'Used - Very Good' condition, and never ex-Library. Lovely books for well under $10 delivered. Many are on offer for $0.01 plus S&H, or about US$5 delivered. I get several per month this way, for petty cash. Selection is vast, any topic you like, Check the reviews to avoid badly-written 'dogs'.

          eBooks for $20+? Not likely...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The title is no longer required

      J.R. Hartley insanely wrote: "...holding out for the Galaxy S7....this one is gonna be a keeper."

      "keeper"? Utterly daft. Not because of your choice of phone, but that you actually seem to believe that any smartphone can be a 'keeper'. You'll be lucky if you can stretch it to even five years. And the final 12 months of that will be a horrid experience.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The title is no longer required

          You stupid cunt.

          Is that a generic "you" referring to all those who responded to your sub-thread, or did you intend that to be more selective?

          Sometimes it helps to be more specific.

          1. Vic

            Re: The title is no longer required

            You stupid cunt.

            Is that a generic "you" referring to all those who responded to your sub-thread, or did you intend that to be more selective?

            Point of order, Mr. Ledswinger, SIr, that would have been "you stupid cunts".

            He is a published author, y'know...

            Vic.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The title is no longer required

              Point of order, Mr. Ledswinger, SIr, that would have been "you stupid cunts".

              That's true. But until our fly-fishing friend comes clean, the odour of doubt clouds the matter of which of us is the singular cunt? And as written, of course, it could even be self referential, in the manner of somebody saying "silly fool!" when they do something daft.

              Mr Hartley! Your audience request clarity!

              1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

                Re: The title is no longer required

                I was referring to the AC wot called me insane.

                1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                  Re: The title is no longer required

                  If you buy the phone outright, you are covered by the Sales of Good Act, so you won't be messed around by your carrier if it goes wrong.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge
    FAIL

    I do like the photo of the Apple Mouse

    You need to recharge it via USB cable only you plug it in at an angle which makes it impossible to use, making it worse than a wired mouse.

    Jony Ive dropped the ball there, didn't he? Again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I do like the photo of the Apple Mouse

      Jony Ive dropped the ball there, didn't he? Again.

      I'll wager he's still doing better than you and me put together. Not so bad for a lad from Chingford who graduated from Newcastle Poly.

      Being British we denigrate him for being successful. But he'll never know, living with the high rollers on the West Coast of the US. Lucky bastard.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: I do like the photo of the Apple Mouse

        > Being British we denigrate him for being successful

        I'm American, and I denigrate him for putting out shite where the design is more important than the function, as per the mouse mentioned above.

        He's "successful" since he makes a shedload of money, but I've got no respect for him.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: I do like the photo of the Apple Mouse

          Function is a large part of design, they are not separate realms. It's a misconception so common that Dieter Rams prefers 'Form Engineer'.

          I'm not sure why the USB port is underneath the Apple mouse, as opposed to on the 'nose' as it is on my Logitech wireless rodent. That said, the battery lasts so long I very seldom bother having the mouse plugged in whilst I am using it. This particular issue with the Apple mouse might be even less significant if the battery lasts for months on a single charge, as many mice do.

          It doesn't matter to a user if a good idea is borrowed or stolen. Apple nabbed the iPod's scroll wheel from a Bang and Olufsen telephone, which made the iPod quicker to use than the otherwise superior iRiver H320 PMP. And who knows, maybe B&O themselves were 'inspired' by the jog wheel on a Sony analogue video-editing workstation? It really doesn't matter.

          Apple have made some missteps, but there are enough examples of when they have included features that make life easier for the user.

  7. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    I think I'm tired of smartphones

    Didn't Dr Johnson have something to say on that?

    1. John Bailey

      Re: I think I'm tired of smartphones

      "Turn your head and cough".

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I think I'm tired of smartphones

        Thank god for rounded corners !

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: I think I'm tired of smartphones

      Sure! How about:

      Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses; whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings.

      Um, no, that doesn't work. Maybe:

      Books that you may carry to the fire, and hold readily in your hand, are the most useful after all.

      No, wait. OK, how about:

      Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.

      Argh. I'm sure there's one here.

      No man is much pleased with a companion, who does not increase, in some respect, his fondness for himself.

      yes but that might not apply to technological compan...

      Many things difficult to design prove easy to performance.

      Did you get that from Jony, Sam?

      New things are made familiar, and familiar things are made new.

      Sure, but...

      Men always take the best they can get.

      Right. Looks like Johnson was a fan of fancy smartphones after all. Sorry. Oh, hey, wait a minute:

      To convince any man against his will is hard, but to please him against his will is justly pronounced by Dryden to be above the reach of human abilities.

      Take that, tech vendors!

  8. anttix

    Honor 7?

    This is the third Reg article that's mentioned the Honor 7 in glowing terms. Sponsorship? Or you lot just really like the phone? I bought one, didn't like it, then sold it and bought a Nexus 5x instead.

    As for data plans, I'm on T Mobile (not EE, so 'only' 3G) PAYG. £20 for 6 months unlimited data...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Honor 7? - This is the third Reg article that's mentioned the Honor 7 in glowing terms.

      The article led me to read up on it. It certainly looks like Huawei could eventually scare the excrement out of a certain fruity company if they are prepared to invest in European infrastructure for efficient servicing and support.

      It depends how anti-Far Eastern you are, I guess. That sentiment in the US I am sure goes some way to keep Apple on top over there, but without a big native company in Europe we can afford to be vendor neutral. And with our own beloved towel folding historian running the economy and asking Chinese companies to walk right in on his towels with their muddy feet, Huawei may have a built in advantage in the UK.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Honor 7? - This is the third Reg article that's mentioned the Honor 7 in glowing terms.

        Hmm USA loyalty to home products didn't stay with the car industry. It's like it's all Toyota (et al) over there these days

    2. moiety

      Re: Honor 7?

      All by Andrew Orlowski. Could be a fat envelope involved or could be that he just really likes the fingerprint sensor. Fingerprint sensor aside, it seems to be similar spec to the Wileyfox (bigger battery though, and a programmable extra button).

      Now my curmudgeonly instincts would tend to go for the Wileyfox...£50 cheaper and running Cyanogenmod, so the extra control really appeals to me. But then I'm not really a heavy phone user, so it's quite possible that the sensor and extra button would appeal a lot more if I spent more time away from the laptop. Horses for courses, I suppose.

      One thing I don't know is if Huwei (who make the Honor 7) open sources their drivers so you can put Cyanogenmod on it. That would make all the difference for me.

  9. quattroprorocked

    Wiley fox

    Bought one because my Galaxy2 was on the way out.

    Great. It's a phone, it makes calls, it does txt, it has google maps, internet and my email/calender. And a keyboard big enough for my fingers to do emails. Short ones, if I absolutely have to.

    130 all in I think.

    Pay more than 200 for a phone? Why? Really, just why?

  10. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    And the winner may be...

    The Microsoft Lumia 550 and Band would seem to in the sweet-spot of price/performance (£99 SIM free and £170 respectively) for bang up-to-date phone and leading fitness-orientated wearable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the winner may be...

      JJ Carter observed "...Microsoft Lumia 550 and Band ...sweet-spot..."

      Let me guess. You own a Microsoft Lumia 550 and Band?

      LOL

  11. frank ly

    Andrew !

    Since you moderate every comment, here's a correction:

    "... it doesn't look like the (?) of design, either."

    Whatever word you had in mind, it must have been too horrible to type.

    A well presented analysis, thank you.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Andrew !

      "... it doesn't look like the (?) of design, either."

      acme?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Andrew !

        "Rude alert! An electrical fire has knocked out my voice recognition unicycle! Many Wurlitzers are missing from my database. Abandon shop! This is not a daffodil."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...in half an hour you're a phone manufacturer..."

    It's been like that for decades, long before mobile phones.

    About 30 years ago, I wandered around Taipei, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou for several months. It was common to pass industrial display booths of local consumer electronics manufacturers, displaying electronics gear with (literally) "YOUR BRAND HERE" stenciled on the front panel. The spec sheets on offer described the number of units that would fit on a pallet, or fill a shipping container.

    All that one had to do was choose a brand name, and make sure that they spelled it correctly. Imagine a container load of VCRs arriving, emblazoned with the brand name 'PORALOID'.

    Oops.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: "...in half an hour you're a phone manufacturer..."

      Imagine a container load of VCRs arriving, emblazoned with the brand name 'PORALOID'.

      Until I replaced it with a USB3 hub, my USB2 was a "4 Prot Hub".

      1. captain veg

        Re: "...in half an hour you're a phone manufacturer..."

        As a penniless student, I bought some cheapo motorbike gloves that bore the inscription "geniune leacher". Just next to "made in Pakistan".

        -A.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: "...in half an hour you're a phone manufacturer..."

          It's like when, on a package tour trip I was taken to an outlet that sold designer fakes. (In the EU and not too many years ago!).

          I bought a shirt with the name of some designer that was unknown in the UK at the time.

          It just tickled me to have a fake that no one had ever heard of.

  13. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Maturing Markets

    The problem indirectly highlighted is that most device markets are reasonably mature with most new kit being sold to replace older kit. Depending on the specific device, sales are slowing or are flat. Along with the slowing sales comes tighter margins as the market becomes more price competitive.

    So, why wearables? To some extent is because it can be done and another is an attempt to find a mass device market that ready to explode. The first part means that device capability is improving across the board and it will show up in other devices with time. But replacing a 2 or 3 year device may not be justified because of some relatively minor performance improvement. However, the wearalbe market is wide open, people do not have any. Now is there any real mass demand for wearables such as iWatch is the real issue. Others it is a niche market at best.

  14. Rainer

    Nobody will build a store/service network like Apple

    Especially not Far-Eastern companies.

    So, you'll always have to hand in the phone and hope it will actually arrive back.

    Apple does repairs, too - but they also do walk-in full exchanges.

    Of course, the (largest) iPhone 6S Plus is about five times more expensive than I would actually be comfortable to spend - there's no denying about that.

    But at least, I'm the customer and not the product.

    Apple doesn't use my data other than for themselves.

    That said, the Watch has never appealed to me. First, I've already got a watch. Then, it doesn't look rugged enough for my sports (mountain-biking). And apart from the hr-monitor, it doesn't have any other features I would actually use (I don't read any of my main email-accounts on my phone, I pay almost always in cash, I don't receive a ton of notifications (deactivated most of them) and because I still own an iPhone 4S, I can remove the phone from my pocket and hold it with one hand when somebody calls...).

    But the iPhone's value is still superior to me:

    - single vendor for hardware and software

    - walk-in support

    - OS updates with no hassle, long support cycle

    - hardware seems quite durable

    - very secure (once you active Find My iPhone and give it an access-code, it's basically a brick to any thief)

    - vendor has made a commitment to my privacy

    If there was an option (in the form of a subscription) with Google so they would not track your behavior, mine your data and sell your information, place adds all over your screen etc - I would consider that.

    But I suspect it would be even more expensive in the end than owning an iPhone.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Nobody will build a store/service network like Apple

      Rainer described Apple as "...walk-in..."

      I'll have to call BS on that. Yes, for some people there's a near-by, convenient "walk-in" Apple store. But not for everyone. In North America (for example) there are entire states and provinces that do not have an Apple store. Millions would have to "fly-in", rent a car, drive downtown, park, and finally - half a day and $500+ in airfare later - yes, walk-in.

      I just don't think that you should get away with characterizing Apple as always being "walk-in" convenient. It's literally YMMV.

      The other issue is that Apple stores are fundamentally weird. There's no queue. There's no Take A Number concept. You just stand there being ignored, until you get bored. Then you're forced to do something attention-getting, perhaps scream or remove one's trousers or light a campfire, then you'll immediately have a staff member abseil down from their hiding place in the ceiling and offer to help. They're a very weird store.

      And replacement phone charging cords are still $20+. Which is simply immoral.

      1. Rainer

        Re: Nobody will build a store/service network like Apple

        I agree that it's not walk-in for everybody (I happen to work in walking-distance to one - before that opened, the next one was about 20km away and before that one opened, I'm not sure where the next one was, maybe 350km).

        But at least they have stores. With people.

        Having read the customer-service nightmares other people have when they send-in their phones and receive them unrepaired several times (or with a different defect, or it gets lost on the way or...) and the case dragging on for weeks... I'm sure these people would at some point actually take a flight somewhere just to yell at somebody...

        There's also an Authorized Reseller here in town (predating any "official" Apple store), who has his own repair-shop.

        For the record: I work in Zurich and the "main" Apple Store (there's another one in a mall a bit outside where I have never been since I moved here ten years ago) can sometimes be a mixture of a circus, a kindergarden and Dante's Hell - but the few times I went there to actually buy something or ask something, it didn't take too long before I could get the attention of a staff member.

        The "take a number" concept is nice (and used in Swiss post offices) - but it reminds me of German government agencies (and their mixed track-record when it comes to "Put the customer first").

        I assume, Apple doesn't want to even hint at the idea that its stores are akin to government agencies or that its customers are "just numbers".

        I'm sure there are a lot of people at Apple just brooding over the efficiency of the stores every single day...

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Nobody will build a store/service network like Apple

        > Apple stores are fundamentally weird

        And the people in them are assholes. I bought an iPad online and had some weird software issues with it, so I took the road trip to the "local" store about 45 miles away.

        After about 30 minutes, I finally got a nice little Indian girl to look at it and decide it's not something she can deal with. She (we) traipsed around to no fewer than 6 other Apple folk that pretty much told her to f*ck off (one in just about so many words)

        Finally we got one guy to deign to speak to us and he basically said "call Apple support" which I didn't do in the first place because it was a difficult problem to describe over the phone.

        I called Apple support and they were completely useless.

        Yeah, that's my Apple experience.

      3. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Nobody will build a store/service network like Apple

        They're a very weird store.

        Ain't that the truth. It took me years to purchase a Mac in Hobart. I'm still waiting on a quote for a Mac Quadra with a 16" monitor and sundry software from Management Technology*!

        *Local Apple monopoly at the time.

  15. DougS Silver badge

    Maybe smartwatches are just ahead of their time?

    It was about 20 years ago that Apple introduced the PDA with the Newton. There was a lot of hype and people could imagine it could be useful in certain circumstances, but it was a niche market, as were all the follow ons from Palm etc. Those improved upon the Newton but were still not something the average person could ever see themselves using. Apple did finally get the PDA right, with the release of the iPhone 3G and the dev environment and App Store that allowed easily creating and distributing useful apps for it. It isn't called a PDA anymore, but that "PDA" functionality is why we spend so much more time using a smartphone than the amount of time we actually use it as a phone.

    Apple didn't introduce the first smartwatch, there have been attempts for years even well before the recent hype cycle that started when Apple was rumored to be working on one. So is it a flop like pen computing, or early by years like the PDA turned out to be?

    Maybe when batteries can allow a watch to do useful things while running for weeks between charges - or better yet never need a charge if it could be made low power enough to charge via ambient light and other EM radiation. Maybe when it can listen to your heartbeat closely enough that it can warn you of an impending heart attack minutes before you notice the symptoms yourself. Maybe when it can "sniff" the gases exhaled from your skin and tell diabetics when they need insulin, tell hypoglycemics when they need food, and so forth.

    I wouldn't write it off yet, I just don't think technology has advanced to the point where it is useful enough that there's a mass market for it. It is where smartphones where in the early 2000s when only geeks and PHBs had them, until technology caught up and offered capabilities useful to the masses. Today only geeks and the fitness obsessed wear smartwatches / fitness bands. Now everyone has a smartphone, maybe in a decade everyone will have a smartwatch. We just need technology to catch up and make them useful to the masses.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Maybe smartwatches are just ahead of their time?

      Thanks!

      I had to scroll through a mountain of crap and ignorance to get to a post which nails this entire issue.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Maybe smartwatches are just ahead of their time?

      I'd rather have the heart attack than be seen wearing a smartwatch apple or not

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Maybe smartwatches are just ahead of their time?

      Quite spot on, but I have trouble understanding the hype around "watches", "chronographs" or whatever they call 19th century tech these days, to start off with ... I was given one 6 years ago, have worn the thing probably a week ... I happen to have a phone in my pocket I pull out like a cowboy a colt when I need info (internet, maps, time ...), no need to have some "fashion" accessory on my wrist.

      They started making bigger watches for the elderly and for some obscure reason I cannot understand, these watches "Made for the sight-impaired" sold in millions, you see them on wrists all over the nation ... I guess they attract the "sense-impaired" as well ...

      Seeing this, Apple & co thought that that would be a new market, since these cretins spend hundreds (severe cases even spend thousands) on an imprecise time-telling-device, why not get them one that displays internet time, have them pay a fortune, and laughing all the way to the bank, just like the Swiss.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Maybe smartwatches are just ahead of their time?

        The fashion at the moment is for large watches, 42mm or thereabouts. It might be that the people who can afford to buy a $1000+ tend to be older and thus might have weaker eyes,or it might just be that they want they expensive flashy item to be even more visible to others.

        Personally, I favour a smaller watch with a rotating bezel, allowing me to see 'at a glance' the time, and the bezel allows for a very quick 'note' of the time, so I remember when to return to the car park to avoid a ticket, or when when to return to the kitchen to avoid a burnt dinner. So quick, so easy, so free of fumbling into a pocket for a phone and unlocking it and summoning up the countdown timer and then entering the desired number of minutes.

        (Of course, if you still have an old Nokia, you can set a timer without needing to even look at the phone. Lets see now.... 'unlock star 5243 20'.... or was that to set the language to Norwegian, I forget. )

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Maybe smartwatches are just ahead of their time?

        Ahh but Hans 1, you see watches in the 19th century WERE something that you reached into a pocket, opened, looked at, closed, then replaced in the pocket - just like your smartphone. Only in the 20th century did a smart-arse think of putting a strap on it and tying it around their wrist, so they only had to glance at it, this new fangled "wearable" timepiece all but destroyed the pocket watch on a chain.

        But in the 19th century only the wealthy had a pocket watch. Everybody else had to look at the church tower.

        But fast forward to 21st century. What do I need a watch for? To tell me the time? Nope. From where I sit now there is the time showing on my screen, and on my desk landline phone. There's a radio controlled clock on the wall and if I look out of the window there is a public clock that also shows temperature.

        In my car there is a clock set OTA by RDS. At home I have a clock on my cooker, microwave, bedside table. The TV can show me the time.

        There are clocks showing me the time everywhere? So what do I need a watch for? Well, not to know what time it is. but if it could do something else useful..... like allow me to glance at information without having to get a phone out of my pocket, open the case, look at it, close the case, put it back, then it would be quite handy.

        1. IsJustabloke
          Meh

          Re: Maybe smartwatches are just ahead of their time?

          "So what do I need a watch for?"

          A friend of mine has a watch obsession... he's always showing me pictures of watches, "Isn't it pretty?!?! Such a pretty watch! " (they always look the same to me) telling me how this one is waterproof down to 250,mtrs!!!!! I always ask if he's taken up scuba diving.... "Look at this one!" he'll enthuse pilots use these... or this one! it costs several thousand pounds and will *never* lose value or time.

          I show him my fitbit and ask what those watches do that my fitbit doesn't?

          of course the real irony is that he is *never* on time for anything. ever.

          I really don't get the whole "shut yor mouf and look at my watch!" mentatlity

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Watches as fashion

            Obviously no one NEEDS a watch to tell the time anymore. No one needs a ring, a necklace, a tie, a tattoo, a piercing or any of the other unnecessary things people wear or do to their bodies that perform no function other than some form of self expression. A modern chrono watch is no different.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lol

    Sony hanging in there? They make the best smartphone money can buy, bar none.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Lol

      Arguably they do. However, they are not making enough money from their fine handsets. They have vowed to sat in the game though, despite making losses.

    2. andykb3

      Re: Lol

      In your opinion - and if they are losing money whilst charging what they do, imagine how much greater the losses will be when the prices are forced down

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally, cards all the way for me.

    I find it far cheaper, far more reliable and far more effective just to rely on my debit / credit cards.

    It takes me about four seconds to whip out a card and tap the point of payment device. I will never recoup on time saved for buying or paying in to some form of electronic payment device such as a watch or having a phone with that capability.

    My card doesn't need recharging, doesn't break if it drops on the floor, and when it has snapped, it hasn't made the slightest bit of difference because the chip is still undamaged. I've even cut my card down to a strip slightly wider than the chip and it still works just fine.

    If I do need to send someone money, I'll do it via Paypal with no fees for friends, or I'll use my banking app and it's done instantly at no charge.

    Personally, I'm still waiting for the day all currency is renamed to 'credits'.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Personally, cards all the way for me.

      Put your phone in a leather case, and then slip your bonk-to-pay card inside, behind the phone. Then you can make a great show of getting your phone out, and seemingly using it to bonk-pay. Nobody needs to know it's just a normal bank payment card slipped inside.

      For a final flourish, make up an image that looks like a payment screen on your phone,and draw in an account balance of £14,999,999.37. You can then show it to the people in the queue while commenting that you've just gone under £15 million.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shut down, turn off

    As I transition to retirement (from the IT profession) I am starting to plan the benefits of disengaging with software and technology.

    Not all of it mind; just the over-priced, life-stealing, minutiae-hungry, risk-generating software and technology.

    If you want me, I won't be online.

  20. Gasp!

    picture

    What a fabulous picture on page 2.

    A cone head in real life, a creepy alien stalker looking chap and possibly a human laughing at his rediculous eye wear!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think this article was written about me!

    Having stuck with Samsung for several generations (Galaxy S2, 3 & 5) due mainly to the removable battery, when they removed this USP (excluding LG, who I won't go near) I decided to go elsewhere - and got a OnePlus 2.

    The phrase "plenty good enough" is perfect for this phone - it's relatively cheap, has excellent battery life for a phone with a big screen, and the only omissions (NFC, wireless charging) are ones I don't care about. I cannot see me spending £600 on a new phone or signing up for a long expensive contract ever again (although I haven't had a phone contract for about 3 years anyway).

    I also just invested in a smartwatch (although spending £50 probably can't be called investing) - I bought a Pebble.

    It solves a specific issue I had (easy control of Spotify when on my commute without having to dig out my phone from my pocket/bag whilst struggling with all the crap I have to carry around with me). Very much a 1st world problem, but one that I found pretty irritating. I also kept missing calls when I didn't feel my phone vibrating, which it also solves.

    I was considering getting a more advanced smartwatch, like the Huawei or Samsung, but spending £200 for such a trivial problem would have been excessive. Plus I already have plenty of kit in my house that need charging every day or two - 2 mobiles (one work, one personal), a tablet, a fitbit, PS4 controllers. Plus all the stuff my other half and children have) - I simply couldn't be arsed to have another one, and with a 7 day battery life, the pebble is fine (and it is 7 days, I checked).

    The only thing I may want in a future smartwatch purchase is NFC (for me NFC is pointless in a phone, but I can see the benefit in a watch), but I'd prioritise battery life above this.

  22. andykb3

    Mobile phone market = TV market

    There used to me loads of TV manufacturers, but once TV technology became homogeneous their differentiation disappeared and so did their margin, so the market has now consolidated into a few major players (Samsung, Sony, LG plus I think Panasonic are still clinging on) plus a few value / own brand companies or white box re-branders.

    IMO, the likes of Sony and HTC in the mobile phone markets will go the way of Sharp, JVC and Toshiba in the TV market because they don't have any real way to separate themselves from the competition, and that competition is much bigger and more capable of squeezing their margins.

    I also think Apple were right to avoid jumping in to the TV manufacturing market (as opposed to the set-top box market) when it was already saturated.

    It comes to most markets. The inkjet printer market has already gone through this, with Lexmark, Kodak and Sharp exiting, as did Samsung (although they were only re-badging Kodak units, and only very briefly).

    It used to be that the Japanese manufacturers dominated most consumer electronics markets (think Panasonic, Toshiba, Sharp, Epson, Canon, Sony, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, JVC, Sanyo, TDK) but over recent years they have all been struggling in the face of poor exchange rates and ever-improving (in terms of both price and quality) competition from Korea and China, and I can't see them ever recapturing the dominance they once had (I spent 12 years working for Japanese manufacturers and saw their struggles from the inside. It wasn't pretty!)

  23. confused and dazed
    Stop

    Need to sort out privacy first

    I got a fitbit as a gift - within an hour I got an email praising my "work-out".

    If I "work out", I don't want some teenager in California sending me inane congratulatory badges

    it's in a drawer .....

  24. Zmodem

    no point going all the way to china when you can buy it all on ebay and get free post

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