Category: Mobile apps

Apple forced to defend stupid headphone decision

Man uses an ear trumpetFruity tax dodger Apple might have been surprised by the backlash that its move to replace headphone jacks has caused.

For those who came in late, Apple’s iPhone 7 phone came without a standard headphone jack.  Instead it had a Bluetooth connection which wirelesses sends its signal to wireless headphone buds.

The reason was that Apple could make its phone a little thinner and it would force all its Apple fanboys to buy new headphones.

Of course Apple is not spinning it that way.  During the iPhone 7’s launch it said Apple said was being “courageous”.  We understand that it is courageous giving people a phone which has limited reasons for anyone to upgrade but saddling it with functionality that no one wants. Courageous is one word “stupid” is another.

Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller claimed that the 3.5mm port, on the other hand, has to go because the company can’t justify the continued use of an “ancient” single-use port.

However, the wireless approach comes with some limits. For a start you will need to recharge the buggers which you don’t with the “ancient” technology.  We have grave doubts that the sound quality will be as good because it relies on a wireless connection going into lower quality headphone receivers.

Needless to say Apple’s spin is not going down that well.

As the normally pro-Apple rag the Verge said: “I was not ready for the revenge of the fucking Bluetooth headset… Don’t kill a good thing if you don’t have a better one waiting, Apple. That’s all I ask.”

Apple press worries about Chinese iPhone 7 response

big-trouble-in-little-chinaFruity tax dodger Apple expects the Internet to be alive at the moment talking about its coming iPhone 7 release.  It is a sign that its marketing has generated enthusiasm.  However, in key markets like China the discussion is the same as a Trappist monastery after a laryngitis outbreak.

The iPhone 7 is basically just the iPhone 6 with a better chip and terrible Bluetooth wireless sound system. While the Tame Apple Press enthuses about the phone, most people who know about technology feel that there is not much to offer.

The Chinese market is also discerning and less influenced by Apple’s marketing than Jobs’ Mob would like. This time, observers are looking for mention if the iPhone 7 and finding tumbleweed instead.

Posts on China’s popular Sina Weibo microblogging site show the iPhone 6, which took China by storm in 2014 with its new, larger screen, attracted around 15 times more comments in the month before launch than this year’s model.

Apple’s Greater China sales dropped by a third in April-June, albeit after more than doubling a year earlier, and revenue was down by more than a quarter to $8.8 billion – around a fifth of its total sales. Its 7.8 percent market share ranked fifth in China, trailing local vendors Huawei, OPPO and Vivo, which together accounted for 47 percent.

Apple also saw its value added services such as ibooks and movies closed in China after Beijing imposed strict curbs in March on online publishing.

Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based director at China Market Research Group, who described current consumer interest in China as “muted”.

Strategy Analytics claims that iPhone shipments in China will decline 20 percent in the second half of this year to 21 million from a year ago.

Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston said that Apple was struggling with consumer ‘iPhone fatigue’ in China, while competition from Huawei, Oppo and others remains fierce,” said.

Concerns that Apple has hit “peak iPhone” have harmed the firm’s shares this year, with the stock price up just 2.35 percent.


Google grows a new Fuchsia operating system

stalin-googleGoogle appears to be working on another operating system which is different from its Android flavour.

The code, which can be found in the Git repository, is dubbed Fuchsia OS, and it may be meant for mobile phones, computers, and other devices and is completely new.

The description in the repository says “Pick + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System), and those colours do not represent either Android or Chrome OS.

Travis Geiselbrech, who worked on NewOS, BeOS, Danger, Palm’s webOS and iOS, and Brian Swetland, who also worked on BeOS and Android, are all understood to be involved in this project.

Powered by the Magenta and LK kernel. The LK kernal might mean that the OS might be used for embedded applications, but Magenta targets modern phones and modern personal computers with fast processors, non-trivial amounts of RAM with arbitrary peripherals doing open-ended computation.

Google is saying nothing for now and since Fuchsia OS is early in development it is unlikely we will discover what Google is up to for years.

Nice Trump is an Apple fanboy, the nasty one uses Android

trumpuckerSomeone with too much time on his hands has discovered that the spilt (sic) personality in Donald Trump’s tweets are directly linked to the type of phone he uses.

When Trump wishes the Olympic team good luck, he’s tweeting from his iPhone. When he’s insulting a rival, he’s usually tweeting from an Android.

Trump has been seen in public with a Samsung Galaxy, and no one has seen him with an iPhone. The suggestion is that the iPhone tweets are being sent by someone else who is a little more reasonable.

Writing in his bog David Robinson, who is a Data Scientist at Stack Overflow, found that the that the Android and iPhone tweets are clearly from different people, posting during different times of day and using hashtags, links, and retweets in distinct ways.

“What’s more, we can see that the Android tweets are angrier and more negative, while the iPhone tweets tend to be benign announcements and pictures,” he wrote.

Tweets from the iPhone were 38 times as likely to contain either a picture or a link. This also makes sense if the campaign iPhone used to write “announcement” tweets about events.

More “emotionally charged” words, like “badly”, “crazy”, “weak”, and “dumb”, were overwhelmingly more common on Android. This supports the original hypothesis that this is the “angrier” or more hyperbolic account and this is the bouffant buffoon typing in his own words.


Flash Memory Summit 2016 – Consolidation?

FMS2016_BannerAd_300x250The Flash Memory Summit 16 will be convening at the Santa Clara Convention Center over August 9 -11, 2016. Flash memory is now established as a key technology enabling new designs for many products in the consumer, computer and enterprise markets.

Storage Crossover

The industry is at a critical juncture where the total cost of ownership for flash based SSD’s achieved crossover with hard disk drive equivalents last September as the enterprise storage medium of choice.

The fact that the number of producers is limited has altered the landscape of consumption with some analysts indicating that serious shortages will exist for some time to come. An interesting, but mitigating fact is that most of the analysts are not technical – the ones that we’ve talked to that have a technical bent are not so sanguine about the availability mix. One item that stands in the road to profits is the need for this next generation storage device to not only retain data but do so interactively without losing bits. The unrecoverable bit boogie man is now staring the industry down. The ability to store immense amounts of “ready data” for execution now depends on the technologies ability to reliably retain data.

All Flash Array producers are now entering the “really big data storage array” market – the battle has dropped down to the cost of storage per dollar creating a whole new category of marketing lows. 3D Flash is now so dense that failure modes are now dependent upon being aware of “how and when” the bits were used during the entire lifetime of the device.

Cork, Ireland NVMdurance was the first to understand this phenomenon and is now firmly embedded in their first customer Altera (now Intel). Pure and Nimble Storage are offering their services for their AFAs – seems that leasing AFA memory is a probable in the future of solid state storage. We’re still left reading the indemnification clauses of their contracts.

Poison Pill

Micron Technology filed with the SEC a poison pill last Friday. The buzz is that the company is once again in play. The likely suitor is none other than Intel according to the lead rumor. We will be talking with Micron and Intel at FMS 16 and although they’ll not say anything about what’s going on we’ll at the very least get to look into their pupils while they’re telling us…,

Nintendo shares plummet because it can’t make Pokemon Go

Nintendo_former_headquarter_plate_KyotoNintendo’s share price crashed by 17 percent after investors worked out that the former maker of playing cards didn’t really  make Pokémon Go.

Since the game launched in mid-July, Nintendo’s share price has more than doubled but  Nintendo admitted it neither makes, nor owns, Pokémon Go and the fact was never hidden by any of the companies involved.

Pokémon Go “is developed and distributed by Niantic, Inc”, an independent company spun off from Google in August 2015. Both Google and Nintendo hold stakes in Niantic. It added that Nintendo owns 32% of the voting power within the Pokémon Company, which itself will receive “a licensing fee and compensation for collaboration in development and operations”.

Nintendo concluded, “the income reflected on the company’s consolidated business results is limited”. It will make more direct income from Pokémon Go Plus, a peripheral due to be released this summer which will allow partial interaction with the game without the need to turn on the phone, but that income too is already reflected in the company’s predictions for the 2016–17 financial year. So, in other words, Nintendo’s not getting rich from Pokémon Go .

Even if Nintendo doesn’t take much cash home from Pokémon Go, the game’s success could convince the company to put more efforts into its home-grown smartphone development. If it does, that could signal a longer-term reversal in the company’s fortunes than any one game could ever provide.


Apple creates its own reality TV show

444In a move designed to lower the standards of the world in a way that no-one would have thought possible, Apple is creating its own reality TV show.

The self-indulgent waste of broadcasting space is going to be called by the original, super cool, name “Planet of the Apps” and is about developers working to make apps for Jobs’ Mob.  Reality TV is usually a sign that broadcasters have run out of ideas and want to make super-cheap shows normally with actors pretending to be real people.

Apple has shown that it is going to actually use real people, which given that they are going to be developers should make them as telegenic as Michael Grove. It has launched an open casting call for developers and created a website where you can make a submission if you want to participate.

Apple has teamed up with Propagate, a new production company created by the guy behind “The Biggest Loser.”

The description of the show says: “Join us on the search for the next great app in a new original series. Those selected will have the chance to receive hands-on guidance from some of the most influential experts in the tech community, featured placement on the App Store, and funding from top-tier VCs.”

It is really weird that Apple thinks that people are going to want to watch this. If they do seriously think it then it shows how a brand of thinking which is so incestuous that even the Hapsburg dynasty would be impressed.

The winners potentially get mentorship from tech and entertainment “experts” and featured placement in the Apple App Store, and those chosen for the final round will get to “meet with top-tier VCs investing up to $10m over the course of the season.”

The show will shoot in Los Angeles and is aiming for release in 2017. Hopefully the world will have ended by then.

Millions of Xiaomi phones have bugs

bugMillions of Xiaomi phones are vulnerable to a “flaw’ that could allow an attacker to remotely install malware.

Although the flaw in the analytics package in Xiaomi’s custom-built Android-based operating system has been fixed, it could be a while before users install the patch.

Security researchers at IBM, who found the flaw, discovered a number of apps in the package that were vulnerable to a remote code execution flaw through a so-called “man-in-the-muddle” attack and allow an attacker to run arbitrary code at the system-level.

Xiaomi is advising users should update their devices as soon as possible. The flaws rely on a lack of encryption and code-checking and verification. The risk is that if the phone is already hacked the update could be theoretically modified in transit although the hackers would have to be rather quick.

Companies are getting more into trouble for software that they supply with their hardware.  Lenovo faced a scandle when some some its bloatware arrived with a particularly nasty security flaw. It did fix it and bundled off a patch, but the case highlighted the risks for suppliers in providing such software to users.

Microsoft gets into the payments racket

Microsoft campusSoftware king of the world Microsoft is getting into the mobile payments racket just as soon as it gets out a few phones with its mobile OS on board.

Microsoft has introduced an NFC payment feature for users of Windows 10 Mobile devices in the US through its Microsoft Wallet app. Vole claims the move comes “in response to feedback” from its customers and with support from both MasterCard and Visa.

It is up and running on Microsoft Insiders, a group of early adopter customers who volunteer to preview new features, and general availability of NFC payments is promised for later this summer.

Vole has got the Bank of America, BECU, Chase, First Tech, Fifth Third Bank, People’s United Bank, US Bank and Virginia Credit Union . The launch date for each bank will be “posted when available,” according to Microsoft.

“Microsoft Wallet is a cloud-based payment technology that will make mobile payments simple and more secure for Windows 10 Mobile devices, starting in the US with our Lumia 950, 950 XL and 650,” the company says. “With Microsoft Wallet, you simply tap your phone on a contactless payment terminal and your default credit or debit card is charged.

“Store as many credit and debit cards as you want in your Microsoft Wallet so it’s easy to make purchases with the card of your choice. Switching takes just a tap of your finger. When you tap to pay, Microsoft Wallet sends a single-use transaction number and an encrypted security code that won’t work for any other purchase, person or device. This, plus the device PIN you use to unlock your phone, makes paying with Microsoft Wallet more secure than using the actual card alone.”


Apple’s open OS is a security nightmare

Safe-with-Open-Door_Silver-Trading-Company_iStock_000016460757_ExtraSmallSome security experts who inspected Apple’s new version of iOS were surprised; it appears that the security geniuses at Jobs’ Mob had forgotten to encrypt the operating system.

Suddenly crucial pieces of the code destined to power millions of iPhones and iPads were laid bare for all to see making it a doddle to find security weaknesses in Apple’s flagship software.

The Tame Apple Press insists that is all deliberate and the secretive company may have adopted a bold new strategy intended to encourage more people to report bugs in its software.  However, the smart money is on the fact that this is a cock-up.

Apple has so far said it would strengthen security and privacy features and yet here it is showing an unencrypted version of the Kernel which controls how programs can use a device’s hardware and enforces security.

The Tame Apple press insists that does not mean that the security of iOS 10 is compromised. Butit makes finding flaws easier and reduces the complexity of reverse engineering considerably.

However on the plus side opening the iOS for anyone to examine could weaken the trade in holes  market by making it harder for certain groups to hoard knowledge of vulnerabilities and make the iOS more stable.

However for that to happen it would require such a psychological change in Apple that it is nearly impossible to consider. For a start, Apple would have to admit that there is a flaw and fix it straight away. Apple’s current policy when notified if there is a flaw is to ignore it until enough people complain and then issue a patch a few months later.

Apple does not offer “bug bounty” cash payments to people that disclose flaws they have found in its products, for example. So if you reverse engineer or find a hole in the iOS you would never take it to Apple, you would flog it to the government, or one of those dodgy security outfits which help them.