Tag Archives | Apple

Apple and The 4K Television

Most of the mac web ran stories yesterday based on the rumour coming out of Digitimes that Apple was planning on releasing a 4K UHD TV set either later this year or early next year. Needless to say this set the rumour mill into a tizzy. I don’t know whether this will be true or not, Apple may well release a 4K TV set, although I doubt it. Why? Apple generally doesn’t adopt technologies that aren’t mature, and 4K tv is far from mature. I know you’re probably thinking, but what about the iPad, iPhone etc? The innovations in the products might have been new, and the combination of technology might have been new, but they were all based on technologies Apple could mass market. You can’t mass market 4K. Not yet. So the way I see it, 4K tv will be like blu-ray as far as Apple is concerned. There just isn’t a big enough market for 4K yet Apple to go down that route. Sure I could be wrong, but based on Apple’s moves in the past, it really seems unlikely. 

The one thing I am sure of though is that people really should stop giving so much weight to Digitimes rumours. They’re constantly throwing Apple related tid-bits against the wall in the hope that some of them stick. I’m sure someone will be happy to point out the few occasions when they’ve been right, but you know the old phrase, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

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Unset iCloud as the Default Save Location

Good tip from Cult of mac for telling iCloud apps not to default to iCloud every time they open. This drives me mad sometimes, especially with Pixelmator and text edit. Good to know.

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iWatch rumours just a bluff ?

We have been privately musing that Apple’s iWatch might just be a head fake, a way to throw off the rivals (and even insiders at the company) and send them on a wild goose chase. Our theory is that we might see something else that is along the lines of a watch, is wearable on a wrist and is focused on health. Why? Because we think that is a bigger market, regardless of what techno-watch wearing friends of ours say.
Om Malick

I just had the exact same conversation with my brother the other day. Well, the “it’s just a ruse to throw off the competition part”. That would be so funny. But we’ve done this dance before. Every time there’s rumours of a new apple product. Only time will tell!

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The inevitable iWatch response

Speaking of the iWatch, this is funny. And so true.(via the Loop)

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Apple Drops Science as Core Market, Web Page Deleted

Interesting piece from the mac observer. It’s sad to see Apple continuing to abandon marketing itself to market segments that were previously important to the company. The same could be said to a lesser extent of the pro market (which I work in). It’s all very well to respond to criticism (which the hard core fans usually do) that Apple can do what they want, and that they owe customers nothing, but when you rely on the company’s products for your work, and there aren’t many viable alternatives that are anything like what Apple offers, then it’s frustrating to watch.

For some reason this topic always creates divisive arguments, but it’s hard to argue that Apple are increasingly marching a consumer step, while the high end market suffers.

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Apple responds to accusations of price gouging Australians

Apple responded to criticism of its pricing policies in Australia by basically blaming the record labels. Their accusation, which sounds fair enough to me, is that they base their prices on what the entertainment industry charges them in wholesale. A cursory look at physical media prices seem to indicate that this is probably true.

Microsoft and Adobe, who were called before the same Government panel, basically said “because we can”.

(via Electronista)

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Adobe’s Kevin Lynch to Join Apple as VP of Technology

Kevin Lynch has joined as VP of Technology, reporting to SVP Bob Mansfield
John Fortt via Twitter


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Samsung’s Disingenuous Bullshit

I’ll be perfectly honest: I don’t like Samsung, and I never have. It’s not just because of the recent spat with Apple either. I’ve not liked them for a lot longer than that, but it’s their marketing and pr department that has really got my goat up recently. They have zero scruples. Zero.

First there was their anti apple ads which made fun of Apple fans. Apart from being derogatory to the very customers they were trying to woo, Samsung’s stated goal is to become the next Apple, and here they are deriding the very thing they are trying to become. It would be fine if it was done as tongue in cheek, but it wasn’t, it was deliberately trying to create a distasteful stereotype of the loathsome hipster apple fan, which as I said earlier, is exactly the customer they are also trying to win over.

Then there’s the ads for the Galaxy note. They are toting the stylus equipped note as “the New Way”. Presumably the message that they are trying to get across is that using a stylus with a smart phone is a newer and hipper invention than any of it’s competitors have come up with. Which of course is utter bullshit. It’s not a new way at all, its an old way. A way that every other company has moved beyond. But, I guess in emerging markets where the note is successful, people have never heard of Palm, and so they buy Samsung’s nonsense. But again it’s another attempt to use what another company has done to death and claim it as a Samsung “innovation”.

But the biggest insult to people’s intelligence has to be the current pre-launch campaign to drum up hype for the Galaxy IV. Samsung has been running teaser ads and have decided to have a big launch event and broadcast it live in Time Square. You know, the kind of thing their anti Apple ads seem to deride so much. So, here is Samsung now hyping it’s products the very same way that Apple does, the same way that they previously suggested was so distasteful and pathetic. And the media is lapping it up. I haven’t seen a single blog or news post calling Samsung on their hypocrisy.

In my opinion, this company has no soul. They will do and say anything to get to their goal, and don’t seem to give a damn about their customers, or their partners or any kind of ethical standards. A while ago one of their executives made a statement that they wanted to become the next Apple, and it seems they meant that literally. Forget about suing Samsung over patent abuse, Apple should sue them for attempted identity theft.

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Apple TV Updated with Bluetooth Keyboard Support and More…

Dropping along side the iOS 6.1 update, Apple has also released an update to the Apple TV, adding among other things, bluetooth keyboard support:

Here’s the list of what’s new from the software update information:

  • iTunes in the Cloud: Browse and play your purchased iTunes music directly from iCloud.
  • Bluetooth keyboard: Use your Apple Wireless Keyboard to control your Apple TV. See this article for more information.
  • AirPlay audio for videos: Send stereo audio from movies, TV shows, and other videos on Apple TV to AirPlay-enabled speakers and devices (including AirPort Express and other Apple TVs).
  • Stability and performance: Includes performance and stability improvements with the iTunes Store, AirPlay, Netflix, iTunes Match, and wired Ethernet connections.

I’m hopeful that this update might finally resolve the ethernet issues that have been plaguing my Apple TV for the last few versions.

9 to 5 Mac has an interesting list of recommendations for bluetooth keyboards to use with the Apple TV

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Apple Updates iOS to 6.1

iOS 6.1 has just been released. Here’s the details from Apple’s press release:

Apple® today updated iOS to version 6.1, adding LTE capabilities to 36 additional iPhone® carriers and 23 additional iPad® carriers around the world, so even more iPhone 5, iPad mini and iPad* with Retina® display users can experience ultrafast wireless performance** to browse, download and stream content at blazing fast speeds. To date, iOS users have uploaded over nine billion photos to Photo Stream, sent over 450 billion iMessages and received over four trillion notifications

The update also adds

  • Purchase movie tickets through Fandango using Siri (USA only)
  • iTunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud
  • New button to reset the Advertising Identifier

Available now from the software update option on your device or via iTunes

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The Guardian Reviews “jOBS”

In a nutshell…

“This is far from the bomb some would have envisaged, but neither is it the character illumination one would wish for.”

I’m actually looking forward to seeing this even if it is naff. I have always liked Kutcher, so it will be interesting to judge his portrayal.

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Apple puts eye into iDevices

Inspiring story from the Sydney Morning Herald about a blind iPhone user and how Apple devices help hip go about his normal routine

Apple puts eye into iDevices.

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Apple’s Manufacturing Problem

Apple has a big problem. It’s not the rise of Android, it’s not the recent management re-shuffle or that everything they do is deemed by pundits as something “Steve would never have done”. Apple’s problem is that its success has led, in my opinion, to a significant reduction in the quality control of its manufacturing.

I have been a huge Apple fan since I first started buying computers well over ten years ago. Every computer I’ve ever owned has been a Mac. I’ve owned every iPhone, every iPod and every iPad. So, while this post will get the inevitable barrage of “you’re being paid by Microsoft/Google/Samsung” to write this, believe me I don’t want to be writing this. It’s not easy for me to say what I have to say, but someone needs to. Ever since Apple started manufacturing in China their quality control has been steadily slipping. And as Apple products become more and more cutting edge, its designs are not being done justice by Apple’s manufacturing partners.

Over the last two years almost every Apple product I’ve owned has had some problem, either big or small. You could argue that I’ve been unlucky, and that may be true, but statistically speaking, the chances of continuing to get defective products time after time without there being some underlying issue is pretty unlikely. I’m not the only one either. The pinnacle of this trend for me has been the iPad 3. I’ve written previously about my issues with trying to get an iPad 3 with an acceptable screen. After three replacements I’ve given up. But there are dozens of threads across various forums with people having the same problems. Some have had their iPad replaced up to 8 and 9 times before either getting a good one or giving up. I can’t help but think that this widely reported issue was at least part of the reason for the rapid roll out of the iPad 4. So far there hasn’t been the same issues reported with the iPad 4, but it’s only been out for a short time so we’ll see.

The MacBook Pro with retina display has had image persistence issues with the screen widely reported by users on various forums. There was one thread on Apple’s own discussion site that ran for several hundred pages. I initially dismissed this as people not understanding LCD screen technology but then my Retina MacBook pro started developing its own problems.

I recently bought two iPad Mini’s. One for my wife and one for myself. Luckily for me, mine is fine but the backlight on my wife’s is badly mottled. It looks like a big hand print across the screen. It’s not bothering her, but I don’t think it is acceptable.

I know there are lots of people out there with no issues with their devices. I’m not trying to say that every Apple product is defective. I know some think that because they haven’t had an issue personally, I’m just making it up, or am just a troll, or just out to “get” Apple. Of course if you think that, nothing I can say will convince you otherwise. People who know me know that I have been one of apple’s biggest supporters. But it’s got to the stage now where I’m reluctant to buy a new Apple product because it feels like you’re rolling a dice and trying to score snake eyes just to get one that doesn’t have some sort of issue. I’m not the only one who thinks this either. There are lots of people out there in a similar situation who have made similar observations.

As I said earlier, not all of these are big problems. Many issues may appear minor to the average consumer. The typical teen or soccer mom might not care about an uneven backlight or ghosting on a display, but that doesn’t mean the problems don’t exist or should be allowed to continue. The variation in quality might be within some arbitrary tolerance set by Foxconn or one of the other partners, but the result is that beautifully designed Apple products are coming off the assembly line with a wide variation in quality that doesn’t belong in such a high-priced and high-end product.

Look, I get it, Apple is pushing the envelope, and I love the design of Apple’s products. I love that they’re cutting edge. I don’t think anyone can touch them for their innovation and continuing desire to push technology forward. But Apple’s designs are advanced technology with highly complicated engineering and this type of bleeding edge product is traditionally built with precision hand crafted engineering. But Apple through its partners are mass producing these designs by the cheapest available (and some would say questionable) labour. Something has to give somewhere. The more demand for Apple products the bigger this problem is going to get.

Some will argue that it’s a cost issue, that the only choice is to manufacture in China, but this isn’t the case either. Tim Cook even said himself that the issue wasn’t cost, but the lack of skilled labour. Either way if the trend continues, High end users will be put off buying Apple products.

Apple is in danger of making the same mistakes Sony made. Sony used to make superb, high-grade precisely engineered and manufactured products, and they too moved manufacturing (from Japan) to China, and now a large percentage of their products are not particularly well made. Of course Sony has had lots of other issues too, but I know many Sony fans who long for the days when Sony made high quality precision engineered products, and not the plastic crap they churn out now. So, it is with some sense of optimism that I read about Apple considering moving manufacturing back to the USA.

I’m sure the loyal fans will be lining up to trash this blog post, and claim that I’m just imagining things, that Apple is perfect in every way and that it’s just because they’re making so many products, and it’s just a vocal few that have had issues. There is a time I would have been one of them, but this is a real problem for those who’ve had to return multiple products multiple times. We’re not imagining it, we’re not being too picky or being paid off by a competitor. We’re not stupid either. If you have never had an issue, then consider yourself lucky, but don’t automatically assume that those of us who have are lying/imagining/making it up. Even if it is only a small percentage of users who get defective products, the sheer scale of Apple’s production runs means that even a small percentage is still a huge number

I just hope that someone somewhere inside of Apple is taking the manufacturing of their products seriously. Or at the least accepts that a problem exists. At the end of the day, for all of Apple’s genius and vision, its biggest issue has always been that the people who work there believe their own mantra a little too much. They firmly believe that they do make the best products possible, and that belief can some times blind them to reality. Just because Apple is making profits hand over fist don’t mean its infallible, or that it never makes mistakes.

Apple makes high-end premium products, and it needs to find manufacturing partners that can work on the same level. Churning out millions of devices a month may be a great achievement, but that achievement has come at a cost. it’s time for Apple to take a serious look at the weakest link in its chain.

[I've disabled comments. If you want to discuss this take part in the discussion over on twitter]

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The Failure of the Daily Was Not a Failure of the Format but of the Content

With the high-profile failure of Rupert Murdoch’s grand experiment in iPad publishing, “the Daily”, people have been quick to jump on the “why it failed” band wagon. Needless to say some are laying he blame for the newspaper’s failure at the feet of the format. The fact that it was a digital only iPad publication is what doomed it is a common refrain. I don’t think that’s the case though. It think it’s much simpler than that. It failed because it wasn’t very good.

I subscribed to it for a while and I really wanted to like it. I wanted it to succeed, but in the end I cancelled my subscription. It wasn’t the technical problems with the app that annoyed me it was the content. It was really bad. The newspaper, if you could call it that didn’t really know what it was. On the one hand it wanted to be a hard edge newspaper, but then it was filled with tabloid like gossip columns and other such nonsense that would be more at home in an issue of hello than anywhere. But even that wasn’t the problem. It was the underlying tone of right-wing propaganda that finished it for me.

Now, I’m not trying to make this about politics or partisanship but if you look at it objectively, trying to shoehorn a subtle fox news like overtone in a newspaper for the traditionally left leaning minds of the typical iPad owner was never going to work. It’s not about politics, it’s about demographics, and the Daily was simply preaching to the wrong choir. Sure, it wasn’t as in your face as Fox, but it was there, and it was at times obvious and obnoxious.

Had Murdoch hired a staff of writers and editors who understood who they were writing for rather than try to shove its views down the throats of people who are particularly allergic to being told what to think, it might have had a chance. Selling thinly veiled disdain for the iPad generation to the iPad generation was never going to work.

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Please Stop with the “Steve would never have done that” Nonsense

I’m getting really sick of pundits using the “Steve would never…” excuse to reinforce their arguments as to why their views on Apple were right all along. First of all, judging by many of the points being put forward, most of these people had no idea what Steve was actually like or what he did and didn’t approve of. But it’s becoming so ridiculous now that pundits are just tacking the phrase onto any anti-apple piece they want to write as a way to justify it no matter what merit the argument actually has.

But the really disingenuous thing about this little trick is that many of the pundits who’ve used the “Steve would never….” meme weren’t exactly fans of Steve in the first place, and now suddenly they’re holding his views as sacrosanct and putting him up as some kind of idol to them when they despised the man when he was alive. So here’s the thing pundits, if you’re argument can’t stand on its own, don’t write it. Stop invoking the ideology of a man you never liked who can no longer refute your bullshit.

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