The Blind Pursuit Of Thinness


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.





iPhone 6 Plus: Bend Test


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.





VIZIO P-Series



VIZIO: The P-Series 4K UHD LCD TVs from VIZIO sport a lot of fancy-sounding features:

Prices (US$, a penny less than):

Nice.





iPhone 6: Camera Review by Lisa Bettany


Lisa Bettany:

Even though they share the same 8-megapixel CMOS sensor and five-element f/2.2 lens, after a few days of shooting with the iPhone 6, I can say that it is better than the iPhone 5S. With Apple’s new Focus pixels sensor feature and advancements made in noise reduction algorithms and local tone mapping, I do see significant improvements to low light and details in shadowed areas.

Looking forward to Bettany’s iPhone 6 Plus camera review.





iPhone 6 Plus: Most Durable 5-Inch Plus Phone




Nathan Olivarez-Giles, The Wall Street Journal:

Having put the new iPhones through its gauntlet of durability tests this weekend, SquareTrade found that the iPhone 6 holds up impressively well in drops, spills and slips — despite the fact that the new, thinner iPhones are tougher to hold onto given their smooth edges and bigger screens.

The iPhone 6 Plus fared well, too, managing to beat out Samsung’s Galaxy S5 as “the most durable phone with a screen larger than five inches.” This comes as a surprise, and not only because the Galaxy S5 is known for its waterproofing, but also because hundreds have already taken to Twitter to gripe that an iPhone 6 purchase means a case purchase, too.

If I were to purchase an iPhone 6 or a 6 Plus I would definitely get a case. For two reasons: one is the ugly toyish-looking antenna bands, and the other is for insurance, just in case I have it in my pants and sit on it. It would not be a leather case or a thin plastic case; it would be one of those foam-polycarbonate-metal-constructed rugged cases. John Gruber on the iPhone 6 Plus getting bent:

I cannot believe that this “bent iPhone 6 Plus” thing is becoming a thing. [...] If you feel pressure like this on your iPhone 6 in your pocket, you need looser pants. And if you put your phone in your back pocket and sit on it, I’m not sure what to tell you.

I think it unreasonable to assume no one will ever sit down with an iPhone 6 Plus in her front or back pocket. We all make mistakes, but this kind of ‘mistake’ should not lead to a bent phone. You are wearing the wrong type of pants? I think the more accurate assessment would be: Apple needs to make the iPhone 6 Plus more resilient to being bent inside pockets.

In the meantime perhaps the UnderTech Undercover Woman’s Concealment Short Shorts (takes you to Amazon.com) can be modified to carry an iPhone 6 Plus.





iOS: In-App Browsers Can Keylog


Craig Hockenberry:

How many apps on your iPhone or iPad have a built-in browser?

Would it surprise you to know that every one of those apps could eavesdrop on your typing? Even when it’s in a secure login screen with a password field?

[...]

You should never enter any private information while you’re using an app that’s not Safari.

An in-app browser is a great tool for quickly viewing web content, especially for things like links in Twitterrific’s timeline. But if you should always open a link in Safari if you have any concern that your information might be collected. Safari is the only app on iOS that comes with Apple’s guarantee of security.





iPhone 6 & 6 Plus: iOS 8.0.1


The Verge: Apple released iOS 8.0.1 today for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Do not update. Why?

If you already updated, iMore has a fix.

A few cracks I have noticed recently: iPhone 6 Plus supply far short of demand (supply chain management fail, forecasting fail, or marketing ramming its schedule down the throats of SCM folks at Apple), iPhone 6 Plus getting bent out of shape (external design folks flexing its muscle over structural integrity engineers), and a botched patch (iOS software folks simply failing to test thoroughly).





BlackBerry Passport: Review by The Verge


Dan Seifert, The Verge:

The Passport’s awkward dimensions are to accommodate its square display. It’s a high-resolution, 4.5-inch, 1,440 x 1,440 pixel IPS LCD with a dense 453PPI. It looks great: viewing angles are tremendous, colors are accurate, and pixels are invisible to my eyes. BlackBerry designed this display for reading and you can see a lot of stuff on it.

It’s a very purpose-built screen for doing business-y things like reviewing spreadsheets and slide presentations. But that makes it not very good at many of the other things that we use our smartphones for today. It’s much easier to navigate a spreadsheet or browse a webpage with the Passport, but reading my Twitter feed requires a lot of scrolling, and videos have annoying black bars eating up half of the display above and below the content.

BlackBerry is targeting hardcore business folks with the Passport. The name Passport is superb, and gets an A+ in marketing (unlike the Moto 360, which I gave an F). The name Passport makes me think of business people who travel a lot. And as the review pointed out the Passport features the same height and width as a real passport. That is smart. Having a smartphone the same size as another important tool provides familiarity. I am certain someone will design a case that perfectly fits both a passport and the Passport. How convenient would that be for the target audience who will have both with them most of the time anyway.

The square display is unusual, but it is purpose driven: it lets the business person read, review spreadsheets and presentations. Companies do not want their workers to waste time, using up expensive data, on company-issued devices watching videos on YouTube. Black bars on 16:9 videos? These ladies and gentlemen probably do not care; they will be watching movies on the large displays in their business class cabins.

I do not think BlackBerry with its Passport smartphone is targeting regular iPhone and Android folks; the company is laser focused on business people who want to get stuff done. And for that purpose the Passport seems supremely capable. Now, if only BlackBerry would realize the world of business requires the ability to communicate — as in type — in multiple languages…





Vlad Savov: My Reviews Are Biased


Image source: Behance

The definition of the word ‘biased’ according to the dictionary app on my Mac:

unfairly prejudiced for or against someone or something

Vlad Savov:

As exciting and fun as my work often is, however, it can also prove dispiriting and exasperating when I’m accused of being biased. Of course I’m biased, that’s the whole point. We all have preferences and partialities that accrue over our lifetimes and become embedded in our judgment of anything new.

I do not think you want to be biased, because being biased means you are unfair and prejudiced. And just to be certain we are talking about the same thing, according to the same dictionary, prejudice is defined as:

preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

Being biased, unfair, prejudiced… all are things we do not want to be. I believe Savov does not want to be characterized as being those things either. Savov made an error: incorrectly thinking being biased is the same thing as having a preference. We all have preferences, but we are not all biased.





Pre Apple Watch


via John Gruber. Jon Bell:

After years of disappointments, the Moto 360 looks like a breath of fresh air. It‘s not that it’s good, per se, but it has the notable distinction of being less bad than the things we’ve seen before.

So while it still has bad battery life, and they can’t manage to render the UI in a real circle, we’ve seen worse. As a result, the Verge gave it an 83, almost the same score as the 85 they gave the state-of-the-art Mac Pro. Ok, noted.

The UI cannot be rendered in a real circle because the display is not a real circle. A product Motorola named Moto 360 — 360 because Motorola wanted the world to know the display is a circle — is in reality only 270 degrees a circle. Motorola gets an F for marketing. I too was ooh’ing at the Moto 360, up until I realized the display was only a partial circle.

What if in an alternate world Apple came out with the iWatch 360, and had the same non-circular 270-degree display? It would have been the beginning of the end for Apple.





   



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