by Jin S. Kim
Judith Newman, The New York Times:
She is also wonderful for someone who doesn’t pick up on social cues: Siri’s responses are not entirely predictable, but they are predictably kind — even when Gus is brusque. I heard him talking to Siri about music, and Siri offered some suggestions. “I don’t like that kind of music,” Gus snapped. Siri replied, “You’re certainly entitled to your opinion.” Siri’s politeness reminded Gus what he owed Siri. “Thank you for that music, though,” Gus said. Siri replied, “You don’t need to thank me.” “Oh, yes,” Gus added emphatically, “I do.”
This is a beautiful story about her 13-year-old autistic son’s relationship with Siri.
Logan Whiteside, CNN:
“But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy,” Cook said on Apple’s newly updated privacy website.
Schmidt fired back against Cook, saying Google works extremely hard to protect its users’ information from other companies, the government, and hackers. He also noted customers have the option to change their settings and share less.
“Someone didn’t brief him correctly on Google’s policies,” Schmidt said. “It’s unfortunate for him.”
Google, of course, needs to work incredibly hard to protect its users’ information because the company has an enormous amount of sensitive user information to protect. And Google customers cannot change settings so we share nothing with Google, just less. Apple, on the other hand, is not in the business of collecting user information. Cook was explaining that Apple and Google have different business models. Schmidt responded by explaining Google works hard to protect customer information the company collects.
Schmidt’s response reminds me of an old Chinese saying: 東問西答, which literally means ask east, answer west. Figuratively it means, “What?!?”
Forbes: There were ups: iPhone 6 & 6 Plus sales, and iOS 8 penetration. And downs:
One more down. I wrote in iOS 8: iPhone 4s:
Yesterday I updated my iPhone 4s to iOS 8, and yes there is a negative impact to performance. Not surprising. But what is surprising is that my iPhone 4s is more than usable.
The iPhone 4s with iOS 8 is usable, yes. But the performance impact is significant enough that perhaps sticking with iOS 7 might be a good idea for those of us who do not need or want the iOS 8 bells and whistles. If you have an iPhone 4s in all likelihood you are not someone who is into the latest and greatest tech stuff. The security feature where the passcode encrypts the data on your iPhones is in my opinion one of the most important in iOS 8. If that is important to you, I would recommend upgrading to the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s is quite a bit more affordable than the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and runs iOS 8 without any performance hits at all.
Consumer Reports: At what force do smartphones deform? Here are the answers (in pounds):
In his interview with Charlie Rose, Tim Cook boasted, “It’s never been about just making a larger phone… it’s been about making a better phone in every single way.” I realize heads of companies exaggerate, bend the truth a little, in the name of marketing. I also realize I am being a bit picky, but the Consumer Reports bend test shows the iPhone 5 — I assume the iPhone 5s will have similar results — can withstand up to almost twice as much force than the iPhone 6 before it deforms. I do not think anyone would consider that better.
Read The Blind Pursuit Of Thinness for more of my thoughts on why it was a mistake to make the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus so thin.
Vlad Savov, The Verge:
The contraction to a 4.7-inch screen size is a total boon for the Galaxy Alpha’s usability, but its display isn’t all good news. I’m not worried about the 720p resolution, which is perfectly adequate at this size. The viewing angles are also not a problem, as you’d expect from an AMOLED display, plus the Galaxy Alpha is among the most readable phones I’ve used outdoors. It outdoes both the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact in those performance measurements, but it collapses when it comes to color accuracy. That old familiar blue-green tinge that was the bane of earlier AMOLED displays has returned, and even though the Alpha’s screen uses the same Diamond Pentile subpixel arrangement as on its more senior Galaxy Note and Galaxy S brethren, it’s noticeably worse. The background of the Twitter Android app is supposed to be white instead of baby blue, right?
[...] Samsung offers a variety of screen color modes, but none of them neutralize the bluish shift in tone. It’s not an absolute tragedy, and it’s something I didn’t immediately notice in my first time using the Galaxy Alpha, but this kind of improper color reproduction starts to wear on you over time. Particularly if there’s someone nearby with a true high-quality display on their phone. It’s disappointing to see Samsung trip up on the display front, which is at least as important, if not more, as the physical design of the handset.
Weird; perhaps a different team was responsible for this particular OLED display used in the Galaxy Alpha? The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was just awarded the best smartphone display by Raymond Soneira.
The Sydney Morning Herald: The Senate in Australia voted 44 to 12 on September 25 and passed the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill. Here are some factoids:
ASIO, which stands for Australian Security Intelligence Organization, needs only a single warrant to access an unlimited number of computers on a computer network. Unfortunate for Australians as well as for anyone in the world “computer network” is not defined, and could very well mean the entire Internet.
ASIO, with that single warrant, can manipulate data on target computers anyway it wishes.
ASIO can disrupt target computers, and use any computer to access target computers. That means ASIO can use your computer to get to a target computer.
I am guessing the NSA will be quite happy with the results.
What is the worst case scenario for torturing an iPhone 6 Plus? Josh Lowensohn, The Verge:
There’s a test for when people sit on a soft surface, when the iPhone is sat on, as well as what Apple considers the “worst-case scenario,” which is when it goes into the rear pocket of skinny jeans and sits on a hard surface – at an angle.
And that is what some of us do. Accidents happen, and it is a normal part of life. If you have bent your iPhone 6 Plus Phil Schiller recommends you go to the Genius Bar.
Igor Bobic and Ryan J. Reilly, The Huffington Post:
“I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is beyond the law,” Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters in Washington. “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”
Last week Apple announced your passcode in iOS 8 encrypts data on your iOS device, and Apple has no way to comply to government requests for personal data on your iOS device. I do not want to make blanket statements about the FBI — the FBI employs a couple of my friends — but it seems Comey believes making it difficult to gain access to personal information on your mobile device is somehow above the law. I am not aware of any laws that make it illegal to encrypt your personal data on your phone.
The only way to access personal data on an iOS device is to acquire the iOS device and figure out the passcode on it. That figuring out the passcode part is what the FBI needs to work on. Fortunately for the FBI as more and more people use their fingerprints as passcodes, it will not be too difficult to unlock TouchID-locked iOS devices. Most suspects are fingerprinted, right? Of course shrewd villains will turn off their iOS devices, which will require the passcode to be typed in upon reboot.
I do not envy the difficult job of protecting the United States and her citizens from threats.
Vlad Savov, The Verge:
This would all be quite innocuous if thinness was just an extra layer of custard smothered atop your technology cake, but it all too often comes at a price. Small batteries and compromised cameras are the first victims of the desire for a thinner phone. Or, if the camera doesn’t stink, it’s because it actually protrudes out from the phone’s body, as you’ll find in Samsung’s 6.7mm Galaxy Alpha and Apple’s new iPhones, both hovering at just around 7mm. I’ll let you in on a carefully guarded secret: there’s no real difference between 7mm and 10mm, let alone between 6.7mm and 6.9mm. If only Samsung and Apple could have let their belts out a little, we could now be looking at devices with more cohesive, bulge-free designs and potentially more generous batteries to boot. And let’s face it, an iPhone 6 Plus that was a little thicker on aluminum might not have had to deal with the present controversy about how bendy it is.
I have said this a couple of times before regarding the camera lens bulge on the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and I will say it again: Apple made the wrong design choice. The iPhone 5s was thin enough. I understand the iPhone 6 Plus might need to be a bit thinner since the it has a considerably larger mass than the iPhone 5s, but not so thin as to require the camera lens to bulge out.
There is no front and back symmetry. The verbiage on Apple.com and product showcase videos hail the seamless integration between display and the chassis. It seems there was a lot of work that went into that. But what happened to the back? This design choice reminds me of cars with decent fronts but with ugly backs. A particular generation of the Toyota Camry comes to mind: decent front, absolute ugliness in the back. Whoever made the decision to make the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus thinner to the point of having the camera lens bulge out of their seamless unibody needs to rethink priorities. Thin is good, but thin causing lenses to bulge out is not. The camera lens bulge on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is bad design.
A thicker chassis would have made the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus more rigid. If thin was the most important priority, Apple should have developed a stronger less-maleable aluminum alloy to compensate for the thinner design.
With a thicker body, an all-day battery could have been. Can you imagine toward the end of the day not having to worry about charging your iPhone? Can you imagine not having those moments when you are wondering if your iPhone will last through an after work dinner gathering? How about those moments when you are thinking whether or not you should ask the waitress where the nearest power outlet is? Today, in 2014, there are many more important things to people who depend on their smartphones all day long than it being a few tenths of a millimeter thinner. Battery life is one of them.
Let me spell it out for you Apple design people: we do not want or need an iPhone to be thinner. We do not need it to be lighter either. We do not want the camera lens to bulge out. We do not want our iPhones to bend when we accidentally sit with the iPhone in our pant pockets. Here are some things we do want:
Work on these things. You guys have two years to make the iPhone 7 better than the iPhone 6. And just in case, for good measure: you do not need to make it thinner.
Using a four-point bend fixture one hundred pounds of force was applied to the center of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, and the iPhone 5s. How much did they bend? Here are the results:
Conclusion? The Galaxy Note 3 is made of plastic, so it bent more, but rebounded to its original shape. The iPhone 6 Plus, because it is made of aluminum, did not rebound and stayed bent. And is more prone to bending than the iPhone 5s.