Archive for the 'apple' Category

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

About the iPhone slowdown issue

When their hand was forced by hard evidence, Apple admitted what many people had suspected: they deliberately slow down older phones, in as little as a year.

Their apology letter is a masterpiece of copywriting. But let’s have a closer look, shall we?

A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

It’s true that batteries lose capacity over time and use. But it doesn’t so easily follow unexpected shutdowns are the result of this fact of physics. In particular, competing phones seem to avoid this problem.

They glibly follow this two paragraphs later with:

It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable.

Cute. Apple doesn’t get off the hook so easily. Know what else goes without saying?

They have full, unrelenting, absolute control over every detailed aspect of the design of their products. They alone are responsible for the bizarre obsession with making phones thinner at the expense of everything else. They alone chose the size, composition, and performance parameters of the batteries they use by the millions. They designed the power handling circuitry, specifying its behavior under load. They alone control every scrap of power handling circuitry on the mainboard all the way down to the CPU. They alone tested their designs in as many varied circumstances as their imaginations could provide.

It goes without saying that lithium batteries are consumable components—ones they’ve deliberately made non-user-serviceable, in some cases gluing them into the inner chassis so thoroughly that they’re nearly impossible to remove. Speaking from experience here.

So in that context, no, I don’t buy the polished arguments about how this was done for my benefit. They’re definitely optimizing for something, but long-term customer experience ain’t it. -m

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Five iOS keyboard tips you probably didn’t know

Check out these tips. The article talks about iPad, but they work on iPhone too, even an old 3G.

One one hand, it shows the intense amount of careful thought Apple puts into the user experience. But on the other hand, it highlights the discovery problem. I know people who have been using iOS since before it was called iOS, and still didn’t know about these. How do you put these kinds of finishing touches into a product and make sure the target audience can find out about them? -m

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Kindle for Mac scores low on usability

Here’s my first experience with Amazon’s new Kindle client for Mac: After digging up my password and logging in, I was presented with a bunch of books. I picked the last one I’d been reading. It downloaded slowly, without a progress bar, then dumped me on some page in the middle. Apparently my farthest-read location, but I honestly don’t remember.

A cute little graphic on the screen said I could use my scroll wheel. I’m on a laptop, so I tried the two-finger drag–the equivalent gesture sans mouse… and flipped some dozens of pages in half a second. Now, hopelessly lost I searched for a ‘back’ button to no avail.  Perversely, there is a prominent ‘back’ button, but disabled. Mocking me.

This feels rushed. I wonder what could be pushing Amazon to release something so unfinished? -m

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

iPhone battery life after carrier update

A few days ago, a carrier update arrived for my iPhone. Since then, my battery life has suffered a significant decline. Anyone else seen this? -m

Friday, July 18th, 2008

The iPhone lines go on and on…

At least at the Burlingame Apple Store. Lines wrapped all the way around the corner and to the back. They were turning folks away within 20 minutes of opening Friday. Some had been there since 7 am.

No iPhone for me. Yet. -m

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Yahoo! Mobile: outgunned and outflanked

According to Ars Technica, Google captured 61% of mobile search market share in the first four months of 2008. Yahoo! came in at a distant 18%, so pretty much reflecting desktop search market share. This is due, of course, to Google being the default provider on the iPhone, and the iPhone being the biggest bulk of mobile internet usage.

So Jerry (or whoever is on deck as CEO), you should probably look into this mobile thing and see what’s up with leadership there and whether anything is salvageable… -m

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Apple Mobile Me? (But watch out for falling SCO)

Rumor is that the .Mac service is being renamed to “Mobile Me”. Great, in it’s present state, it’s always been the kind of thing that’s completely useless to me, even aside from the annoying name.

But watch out: everyone’s favorite gang of bankrupt litigious weasels, the SCO group, in a desperate effort to prove they they have a broader business plan than making up claims about owning open source software, already have a mobile-related product called “Me, Inc.“. On the plus side, these guys are so deep into their bankruptcy proceedings that they probably don’t have the mettle to go up against Apple at this point. But neither do they have much to lose for trying… -m

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

OK, I have to ask…

Does the MacBook Air make a good ebook reader? -m

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Mac quick tip

I discovered this by accident, but my life has been measurably better since.

You probably already know that you can switch apps quickly with Cmd+tab. But if you reach your pinky up a bit more and hit Cmd+~ you can rotate through the windows of the current app. This turns out to be most useful when, say, your email compose window gets behind the main email client window.

What is the equivalent keystroke on Linux? -m

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Amazon’s most valuable IP

Or, why the Kindle cost $399 at launch.

What is Amazon’s most valuable IP?

How about a list of registered users who are guaranteed as willing to pay a premium price for a nifty gadget (I mean “service”) along with the exclusive privilege of buying more things from Amazon? Somewhere in Amazon’s database land, alongside all the details and purchasing history they already have for each customer, there’s a single bit called something like owns_kindle. Those bearing this mark are the ur-early-adopters, the loyalists, the customers with a vary large net future value. The marketers dream. Opt-in isn’t even an issue–what Kindle owner won’t be interested in special offers and exclusive deals for their special device? Where else are they going to go?

That one bit alone is probably worth another $400, making it the most valuable IP in terms of dollars-per-byte that Amazon holds. Even if they do a drastic price cut soon (and such price cuts will at some point be inevitable to sustain the market), even if they refund half of the difference to the early adopters, they will come away with super-sized smiles. -m

P.S. s/Kindle/iPhone/ and s/Amazon/Apple/ and this entire post still holds.

P.P.S. There is a pretty good play Apple could make here around an ebook reader. Tie it to the same wireless service plan that the iPhone uses, make books available through the iTunes store (including tons of Gutenberg/public domain content/creative commons for free), and put it on a very slick designed piece of hardware. But even in this case, it will initially sell for a premium price for the reasons above. Game on!

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Will Leopard run OK on an 800Mhz G4?

I see from the system requirements that Leopard requires an “866” Mhz processor. Is this a hard limit, or just an advisory? My first Mac–the one I wrote the book on–is a lowly 800 Mhz. box. Is it worth trying to upgrade it? -m

Friday, June 29th, 2007

no iPhone

No iPhone for me. No waiting in insane lines. No paying $600 to beta test first-gen hardware. And definitely no signing up for two years under the AT&T regime. Now when does the 2nd gen iPhone come out…? -m