Steve Jobs: Apple succession planning policy

Monday, 21 February, 2011

Steve Jobs is a visionary in the computer industry and Apple has continued to be an innovative company under Steve’s leadership. But Steve is seriously ill. And many people have rightfully criticized Apple’s secrecy and CEO succession planning. I think Apple board of directors is irresponsible (even it may be legal) to Apple’s shareholders and stakeholders for it to remind secretive about Steve’s health condition and Apple’s CEO succession plan.

Excerpt from MarketWatch “Apple to face CEO question at annual meeting – Fund wants more transparency on succession plan in Jobs’ absence“,

Apple has faced similar questions in the past. Jobs skipped the annual meeting two years ago, when he was in the midst of a six-month leave of absence for a then-unspecified health condition. It was later learned that he underwent a liver transplant in that period.

Five years before that, Jobs had surgery to treat pancreatic cancer. He took off a month in mid-2004 to recuperate.

Last month, Jobs told Apple employees that he would be taking another leave of absence “so I can focus on my health” but he withheld specifics of his condition. As in times past, chief operating officer Tim Cook was handed the reins during Jobs’ absence.

Resolution on the ballot

What’s different today is a shareholder group has formally demanded that Apple provide more details about its CEO succession planning. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple App store peddles stolen Chinese books?

Tuesday, 4 January, 2011

Anyone can submit apps for Apple’s approval in order to be available for sell at Apple App store. Now, I am curious what legal responsibility Apple has in ensuring the sellers actually have the proper rights? In particular, I wonder how does Apple ensure proper copyrights for foreign languages books?

I wonder if Apple simply asks all apps sellers to sign legal documents claiming they have proper legal and copyrights to sell whatever they try to sell and indemnify Apple in the process?

Apple App store peddles stolen Chinese books?

Apple App store peddles stolen Chinese books? (Ni Kuang 倪匡作品全集(简繁体712部))Apple App store peddles stolen Chinese books? (Yi Shu 亦舒小说集200+部(簡繁體))

Ni Kuang (倪匡) and Yi Shu (亦舒) are two famous Chinese authors in Hong Kong and many of their books are still in print and available for sell in bookstores. So it came to me as a big shock and surprise to see a collection of 712 (yes, seven hundred and twelve) of Ni’s books (倪匡作品全集(简繁体712部)) and a 200+ collection of Yi’s books (亦舒小说集200+部(簡繁體)) available for sell for only US$2.99 and $1.99 respectively!!!

Wow, $2.99 for 712 books and $1.99 for 200+ books, what a deal if it is legit?! From what I can gather, Yi’s books collection has been available for purchase at least since a Oct 30, 2010 update. And Ni’s books collection has been available for purchase since Dec 30, 2010.

Both ebook collections are being sold by a seller name “Jingang Chen”. I don’t know if this “Jingang Chen” person has the proper legal rights to sell the books collections or not, I do hope Ni’s and Yi’s authorized publishers can check and confirm if these two book apps are indeed legit.

Hate to see anyone selling stolen copyrighted materials so internationally and so easily.


Robert Louis Stevenson 160th Birthday – Treasure Island FlyingWord iPad app

Friday, 12 November, 2010

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 1

Thanks to Google, we learned that today is the 160th birthday of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Well, as it happened, a few days ago, I posted my FlyingWord Treasure Island iPad app review and my interview with Joe Weber FlyingWord CEO about their Treasure Island iPad app. Check them out.

Nov 15 Update: Here is a link to the Treasure Island app on iTune.


iPad app review: FlyingWord’s “Treasure Island”

Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 1

The following is a review of the pre-release version of FlyingWord Treasure Island iPad app. And I will post my video interview with Joe Weber, CEO and co-founder of FlyingWord, later.

***

Apple iPad app: “Treasure Island” by FlyingWord based on the classic Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Price: $7.99

Launch date: Nov 13, 2010

Promotional clip of FlyingWord’s Treasure Island

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Pros

- Lively and very engaging narration of the original full-length classic Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. (beautifully narrated for about 7 hours)

- Excellent music and sound effects at the right places.

- Historical original Treasure Island illustrations by N. C. Wyeth and Walter Paget.

- Nicely rendered 2D illustrations into “3D projections”, camera angle controllable by readers. [Note: the 3D here is not real Avatar 3D, but closer to what Ken Burns does with his "layers" of photos in a scene.]

- Some of the pages have objects for readers to play with. For sure to check out the cannon. (These objects have “physics engines” behind them to allow users to move them around.)

Cons

- The initial version of the app has a few bugs that I’ve reported to FlyingWord.

-The app has problems waking up from “sleep” or “auto-lock” modes. Narration fails to restart gracefully. In a few instances, waking up after sleep actually tripped the narration and it got stuck in repeating a word/sound.

- If the reader flip to a page where part of the text in the paragraph is in the previous page, the narration will read from the text in the previous page. This result can be very confusing for the readers as they may not know this is the “expected behaviour”. To me, readers may expect when flipping to a new page, the narration will match the text she/he reads on the page.

- Many of the objects are a bit too small and difficult to control.
+ e.g. in the breakfast scene (bottle is ok, but the egg, plate, and sword are difficult to manipulate)
+ in the scene with the apple barrel, the barrel can be easily moved but the apples are not controllable even though the readers will likely spend time to try to move it. It may be more enjoyable if the apples are made bigger and controllable by readers like the barrel.

- This one is technical. Currently, the space outside of the edges of the 2D to 3D projections are blank (set to black space). I think it will look nicer and gives a more immersive experience if the whole background are filled and readers won’t see black space around the edges of the original 2D frames.

Comments:

As discussed in the Pros section, the narration is lively and very engaging and I really love it. At the same time, the app may have been a bit ambitious in using the full-length original Treasure Island in its launch version. The good news is that an abridged free update will be released in a few weeks after the initial launch. To me, the abridged version with shorter audio (~1.5 hour long) and text will be a nicer fit for kids who will appreciate the physics engines games and 2D-to-3D effects more.

To write this review, I also found and checked out a LibriVox free audio book version of Treasure Island on the app store and it has the original text and the audio is reasonably good but definitely not as exciting/engaging as FlyingWord‘s version.

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 2

Coming Soon

FlyingWord‘s next book is ‘Twas the night before Christmas (tentative price: about $4.99).


John Sculley On Steve Jobs

Tuesday, 26 October, 2010

Interesting read, “John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript“.

[HT Andreas]


Blown away by Apple Chinook?

Friday, 1 October, 2010

Apple Chinook Grand opening, Sept 29, 2010

The Calgary Apple Chinook store opened its door two days ago on Wednesday, 29th Sept. My friend Garry (thanks for above the photo, Garry) was there bright and early at 8am to check out the new store and was one of the lucky ones to get the free Apple Chinook t-shirt. Apparently, the crowd at 8am wasn’t big as most people (~100) were lining up to buy iPhone 4 and some of the 1,000 free t-shirts were still available before 11am.

I went to Apple Chinook in the afternoon and it was buzzing. Was I blown away by the Apple Chinook store? Well, it looks nice and bright, but it is definitely no Apple New York. While the staff were pleasant and helpful but I felt some of the sales staff were not as technically knowledgeable as I had expected. What Apple Chinook will likely do is to add some serious challenge to nearby Apple resellers (e.g. London Drugs, Best Buy, Future Shop) or even other Apple stores in town. Time will tell.

Here out a video of the new store.

Apple Chinook Grand opening, Sept 29, 2010Apple Chinook Grand opening, Sept 29, 2010
Apple Chinook Grand opening, Sept 29, 2010

Oct 3 Update: This Calgary Herald article is worth reading “Customers in line at 3:30 a.m. for new Apple store, Chinook Centre expansion” (with photo). Here is an excerpt (emphasis added),

“People like Jonathan Shonicker, 22.

“I’m here to get an iPhone 4,” said Shonicker, who was the first in line at the Apple store. “Because my phone sucks hard-core. Doesn’t do anything. I don’t care what it costs. It could cost anything I’ll pay it right now. I need a new phone.

Dylan Ostafie, 22, was also at the mall since 3:30 a.m. and first in line at the Apple store.

We randomly decided we wanted an iPhone. They’re sold out everywhere,” he said. “We figured we’d just beat everyone else.”

It is words like “I don’t care what it costs” and “We randomly decided we wanted an iPhone” that give Apple the power that it has over its customers/fans. And it is this kind of power that turns the opening of a “store” into “news”.

More news about the mall’s expansion from CBC “Chinook Centre expansion brings ‘global brands’“.


Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

Thursday, 19 August, 2010

Pedlar Lady - iPad App of the week for US & Canada (Aug 19, 2010)

I am excited to report the really cool Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross app is,

Apple iPad app of the week in US and Canada!

#1 on iTunes Canada Top Paid iPad Book Apps.

- #2 on U.S. iTunes store – top paid AND top grossing iPad books.

Check out my review of the Pedlar Lady iPad app. And my video interview with Matthew Talbot-Kelly, director and producer of the app, to talk about the app.

Congrats Matthew, really happy for you and your team!

Pedlar Lady - iPad App description

Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”


iPad app interview: Matthew Talbot-Kelly “Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010

Matthew Talbot-Kelly interviews (Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross iPad app & The Trembling Veil of Bones animation)

Aug 19, 2010 update: Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

***

It was a lot of fun chatting with Matthew Talbot-Kelly (imdb), director & producer of the Apple iPad app “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” (see app review here).

Matthew got the idea to develop an iPad app right after watching Steve Jobs first demoed the iPad online (in late Jan 2010). After watching Jobs’ demo, Matthew concluded Jobs “didn’t really have the killer app” for iPad and demoed uses were things people could already do with their computers. Soon after the Jobs’ demo, Matthew took one of his animation projects (one previously pitched as a short film) and pitched it again, but this time as an iPad app. And Matthew was able to quickly find an interested Vancouver investor. A note to creative people out there: sometimes your prior creative ideas/efforts can generate result in unexpected places at a later time, you never know if you keep your eyes open.

Pedlar Lady is a story based on an 800 years old poem and this story has many variants around the world. Matthew turned to his partner Jacqueline Rogers and asked her to write and transform the story into a story telling text that is playful, magical, dynamic and alive at the same time. The time it took to create the iPad app is hard to determine because it included a long process of research & development to figure out what are possible or not possible in the current iOS software development kit 4. There are more technical discussions in the video interview.

The animation artists involved int app development are experienced 3D or 2D animators, so animated objects are 3 dimensional and are in prospective. Take a look of the included promotional clip to see what the animations in the app looks like.

The creation of the Pedlar Lady was the beautiful result of an international effort with Matthew and his partner based in Gibson, BC and other collaborators working from Ireland, New Brunswick, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, South Africa, London, Mexico, Peru, Finland, etc.

The following are the videos of my interesting Skype video chat with Matthew. Enjoy.

Here is a promotional clip of “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” iPad app


Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Monday, 9 August, 2010

Cinematic iPad storytelling app review: “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross”

Aug 19, 2010 update: Pedlar Lady is Apple iPad App of the week for US & Canada

***
The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” is a beautifully designed cinematic iPad storytelling app published by Moving Tales. Make sure you check out the enclosed promotional clip of the Pedlar Lady app so you can see some samples of the beautifully rendered images/animations.

Apple iPad app:  “The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross

Price: US$ 4.99

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Pros:

* Beautifully and cinematically 3D rendered moving images that go along well with an engaging story. Matthew Talbot-Kelly, producer and director of the iPad app, is also a very experienced animator and you can totally tell from the stunning animations. Even the “cover” of the story app contains a 3D fly through to the Pedlar Lady’s house. (see clip)

* Beautifully recorded sound effects and narration.

* Users can also select the Spanish text and Spanish narration option. And the Spanish narration also sounds great. Potentially a great tool to teach children Spanish.

* The narration can be turned off so the story can be read by a parent or grandparent out loud with the sound effects playing in the background.

Cons:

I subtracted 0.5 star for the following:

* At the moment, the app doesn’t have interactive elements. Some of the pages (e.g. one page has many bottles hanging on the tree) are perfect candidates for adding interactive elements for user to touch/move and make sound or interact. (According to Moving Tales, this combination is technically not possible yet.)

* As part of this review, I discovered and reported a bug that stops the animations. Restarting the app may fix the problem, and rebooting the iPad should fix it. I’ve reported the conditions that can trigger this bug to Matthew, he has promised a bug fix and possibly some additional enhancements in the next update. (see my Skype video interview with Matthew).

[latest update from Matthew: a bug fixed version (v 1.01) was submitted to the app store last week, they are now waiting for Apple to approve it.]

[Aug 16, 2010 Update: version v 1.01 has been approved by Apple. The above identified bug has been fixed. Added new sound effects. Improved application stability.]

Recommendation:

Highly recommended. Great experience for much less than the price of almost all children books. Moving Tales, a Gibson BC based Canadian company, has done a wonderful job in creating a Cinematic iPad storytelling app for all to enjoy. Of local interest, the iPad app programming for the Pedlar Lady is done by a Calgary based programmer.

The official site of Moving Tales says it well, “How does Moving Tales bring stories to life?

  • sophisticated 3D animation on every page
  • original music, voice over and sound effects
  • animate the text using the iPad’s accelerometer
  • Cover Flow-like navigation
  • page swipe or tap for page turning
  • auto page turning option
  • sound effects only sound option
  • compelling narrative
  • randomly selected alternate views and extras to ensure no two viewings alike
  • sophisticated and dynamic typographic layout
  • evocative poetic language
  • Spanish option—choose to hear and display the story in Spanish as well as English”

An Apple iPad dilemma

Wednesday, 4 August, 2010

After resisting for a few months, I finally went out to buy an Apple iPad last Friday despite my stated reservations about Apple. A friend and I both originally had reservations about missing features in the iPad (e.g. not having two cameras) but we both ended up buying it. Another friend actually bought 3 fully loaded iPads (32G & 3G) one for each member of her family and later her dad received another as a gift so there are four iPads!

My excuses for buying an iPad are that I really want to try out many of the apps, and trying to discover its business potentials (may be even creating an app or two) and also review some iPad apps.

Stay tune for my first iPad app review.


Samsung Free Galaxy S gambit v. iPhone 4 – Time to go global?

Sunday, 25 July, 2010

Yes, Guardian has confirmed that Samsung UK started giving out Free Galaxy S phone last Wednesday (July 21) to someone who had a smartphone dilemma (deciding between iPhone 4, Samsung, htc). Will (the above “someone”) even joked about getting famous for getting the free Galaxy S. So far, Will still loves the phone. Another user, Tiffany complained about iPhone 4 dropping calls, and she also received a Galaxy S (and posted a picture) and joked about her celebrity status.

The “calculated” vs “authentic” dilemma

Quoting Guardian, (emphasis added)

“You get the picture, right? Less a “cross section of customers reporting iPhone reception problems,” more of a cherry-picked bunch of digital influencers.”

Using traditional thinking, Samsung UK calculated the cost & benefit, and then picked the “digital influencers” to send the free phones. But reporters are smart, and they can easily identify/cherry-pick “digital influencers” thus making the exercise seem much more “calculated” and less authentic.

Some ideas of how Samsung should proceed on this “campaign” (my current thinking only):

1) I think Samsung should seize on the attention it is getting and turn this UK originated marketing gambit into potentially a global initiative provided the Galaxy S phone is as good as Samsung wants people to think. (note: If the Galaxy S turns out to have various problems of its own, then picking a fight with iPhone 4 is probably a very bad idea.)

2) Assuming 20 Galaxy S phones are handed out in each country (4 phones a week, for 5 weeks, the phones retails at $599 in Canada), I just can’t imagine spending less than $12,000 in Canada to get people to consider the Galaxy S as a first Android challenger to the iPhone 4. The free phones offer sends a strong message to potential users, “we are as good as the iPhone 4″.

3) Again, Galaxy S has to be a really good phone (I don’t know if it is any good) or this gambit will surely come back and bite Samsung.

(Disclosure: I’ve asked to have a Galaxy S phone. :)

July 26 update: Cool, looks like the Samsung Canadian team has heard me. Now, will or I get a Galaxy S? :)

Other news

“Samsung’s dilemma: How to attack its customer (Apple)” – ‘According to iSuppli, Samsung makes three of the most expensive and important parts of the iPhone 4, The processor, the SDRAM and Flash storage’, CNN

Samsung gives free Galaxy S to iPhone whiners“, cNet also confirmed Samsung is not offering the promotion in the United States. I think this is a mistake.

Galaxy Phones From Samsung are Worthy iPhone Rivals“, WSJ’s Walter S. Mossberg

Samsung prepared Galaxy full-line up to compete with Apple“, cNet

Samsung offers free phones to frustrated iPhone users“, Wired

Galaxy S Demo

By the way, check out the following Galaxy S Demo. The Swype technology seems quite neat but I have to try it to see for myself, unfortunately the demo gave a terribly unclear demo of the technology.

July 26th update: Interestingly, the @SamsungMobileCA team has reached out to me. I have written a new blog entry “Samsung Mobile Canada Galaxy S marketing campaign/gambit“.


Is Steve Jobs dishonest with iPhone 4′s dropped call rate?

Monday, 19 July, 2010

I loved Apple, so it pains me to write this post, removed Apple from my list of admired companies/lovemarks and now ask “Is Steve Jobs dishonest with iPhone 4′s dropped call rate?

Looking at the Slate.com article “Here’s Your Free Case, Jerk – Apple’s condescending iPhone 4 press conference“,

“While Jobs did admit this fact in his press conference, he mangled the stats to make the iPhone 4′s dropped call increase look minor. “The iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 than the 3GS,” he said. As Jobs sees it, that’s not a big rise in dropped calls. Yet that’s not an obvious conclusion. Last year, an AT&T spokesman told me that AT&T’s average iPhone dropped-call rate is 1 percent—in other words, the old iPhone dropped one call out of 100. If the iPhone 4 drops nearly one additional call out of 100, that could be close to a 2 percent dropped-call rate—or double the dropped-call rate of the old iPhone. That sounds a lot more serious, doesn’t it?”

You see, I had some doubt when Mr. Jobs said, “iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 than the 3GS” and wondered in my mind, what was the call drop rate before? If the Slate reporter Farhad Manjoo is correct with the stats of the old AT&T average iPhone dropped-call rate, then while Mr. Jobs might not have legally told a barefaced lie, unfortunately, the way Mr. Jobs presented the stats would qualify as dishonest.

Mr. Manjoo concluded (emphasis added),

I just wish Jobs could have handled this mini-crisis in a classier way. His data clearly show that the new iPhone is dropping more calls than the old one. He could have admitted a problem, offered a fix, and said, “We’re sorry for any trouble we caused you.” Instead, he sounded wounded and paranoid, as if we were all being ungrateful for not recognizing Apple’s contributions to the world. “We love our users so much we’ve built 300 Apple retail stores for them,” he claimed at one point. Wow, thanks, Steve—all this time, I thought you built those stores just to sell stuff! [...]

What I’d prefer, since Jobs is asking, is a company that doesn’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s the “most revolutionary rain storm ever!” A free case is all well and good. Just lose the attitude, Steve. You screwed up. We know it. You know it. Just admit it.


Apple: removed from “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list

Monday, 19 July, 2010

Sadly, I am removing Apple from my “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list. I may still consider buying Apple products in the future but Apple is no longer on my “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list list and it is definitely not a Lovemark to me anymore.

***

Removing Apple from list of Admired companies/Lovemarks

Watching Apple’s actions in the recent months (including its app store approval “policies” (note: reversing that one wrong decision didn’t make the fundamental problem go away) and licensing terms “iPhone developer EULA turns programmers into serfs” and “All Your Apps Are Belong to Apple: The iPhone Developer Program License Agreement“), and the final straw of Steve Jobs’ iPhone 4 press conference last Friday (16, July, 2010), I have removed Apple from my list of admired companies (or Lovemarks).

***

July 25 update: An insightful piece from Guardian “If Apple wants to be a major player it needs to start behaving like one – The iPhone 4 debacle reveals how much Apple has to learn about life at the top”.


Apple iPhone 4 PR messages – How Steve Jobs turned a finger spot into a death grip

Monday, 19 July, 2010

Anyone interested in damage control or PR spinning should watch Steve Jobs’ press conference last Friday. Steve managed to turn an iPhone design flaw into something worthy of global attention and chances to plug Apple and iPhone 4. Too bad it didn’t work for me (Apple: removed from “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list).

Unfortunately, as this fortune reporter wrote in “How Steve Jobs turned a finger spot into a death grip” (emphasis added),

At the Apple (AAPL) press event on Friday, somehow, right in front of a crowd of journalists (depicted at the end of the Taiwanese video below), the ‘finger spot’ that cut signal somehow turned into a more universal ‘death grip’ which also cuts signal but in just about every mobile device ever made.

More stories:

* “Here’s Your Free Case, Jerk – Apple’s condescending iPhone 4 press conference“, Slate.com

* RIM to Apple: we don’t have your antenna problem – BlackBerry doesn’t need an insulating case, RIM notes, TorStar

* Handset world: Don’t speak for us, Steve Jobs, cNet

* RIM to Apple: Bull, cNet

* Official statement from RIM [via blogs.blackberry.com] (emphasis added),

“Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage.

One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”

- Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

* “iPhone rivals call out Steve Jobs“, LA Times

It is so unfortunate that Apple, instead of doing the right thing and admit to its design flaw and fix the problem, it tried to claim other cell phone manufactures have the same problem which is not true because they don’t have an easily accessible single point of failure (where users can easily touch and drop calls at some areas).

P.S. Here is a Fast Company article talking about Steve Jobs’ presentation techniques “Learn Steve Jobs’ Presentation Techniques From iPhone 4 Conference“.


Bad iPhone Top Ten – David Letterman

Thursday, 15 July, 2010

iPhone 4 duct taped - pix 1

iPhone 4 duct taped - pix 2

iPhone 4 is not even available in Calgary/Canada yet and it has reached comedian David Letterman’s Top Ten list as a joke (see video). Apple announced on Wednesday they will have a press conference on Friday to talk about the iPhone 4 and today even a US Senator has decided to tell Apple to offer a free antenna fix.

What hurt the most is probably the jokes and damage on Apple’s brand. No brands/lovemarks are invincible.


Apple iPhone 4 “Love” Letter?

Friday, 2 July, 2010

July 15 Updates: “It’s Time Apple Fixed the iPhone 4 Antenna Problem” Wired News
Apple Engineer Said to Tell Jobs IPhone Antenna Might Cut Calls” Bloomberg
***

Can this be from Apple, a brand people supposed to “Love”? [HT FP "Apple solution to iPhone signal problem fails to satisfy"] “”Apple likes to promote its products as “magical,” which might be a more accurate description than the company ever intended. The iPhone 4 is doing a very good job of making Apple’s once-sterling reputation disappear.””

Following is Apple’s letter Regarding iPhone 4. Looks like Apple didn’t learn much from the Intel Pentium FDIV bug lesson and still think they can PR the problem away. Apple’s recent behaviours are slowly damaging its status as a Lovemark in my mind.

July 2, 2010

Letter from Apple Regarding iPhone 4

Dear iPhone 4 Users,

Read the rest of this entry »


Solution to iPhone 4 reception/antenna problem: Learn Apple approved way to hold your phone!

Friday, 25 June, 2010

July 15 Updates: “It’s Time Apple Fixed the iPhone 4 Antenna Problem” Wired News
Apple Engineer Said to Tell Jobs IPhone Antenna Might Cut Calls” Bloomberg

***

iPhone 4 launched June 7th, 2010

July 3, 2010 Update: “Is Apple in Antenna Denial?

“On Friday Apple released a letter admitting the iPhone 4 has problems, but insisted they are due to a signal-strength formula that is “totally wrong” and not caused by the antenna design. Since then the news has saturated tech blogsApple support sites and message boards — and it seems like most people aren’t buying Apple’s explanation.”

July 2, 2010 Update: “Tests Confirm iPhone 4’s Antenna Flaws“, Wired Gadget Lab,

Many customers are complaining that the iPhone 4’s antenna loses the signal when you hold it a certain way. They’re not delusional: Independent tests lend credence to the issue.

A study led by AnandTech saw a major drop in signal strength when the iPhone 4 was “cupped tightly,” covering a sensitive area in the lower left corner. The iPhone 4’s external band is actually two antennas — one for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and the other for voice and data — and according to Anandtech, touching the point in the lower left, where the two antennas meet, causes attenuation.

***

Apple Steve Jobs has spoken and declared iPhone 4 reception/antenna problem as a “non-issue”. Reading following from Bloomberg “Apple Tells Users to Hold IPhone Differently to Fix Reception” is almost funny if it isn’t actually painfully stupid to see Apple’s problem. Why didn’t Toyota thought of telling their customers to drive their car or apply the brakes differently to “fix” their problems? Apple current respond reminded me of Intel’s Pentium floating point bug multiplied by a million times but Apple’s currently antenna design flaw can be experienced by any users anytime, any day, simply depending on how they hold their phones at that time.

Here is an excerpt from Bloomberg‘s “Apple Tells Users to Hold IPhone Differently to Fix Reception”,

“Apple Inc. responded to complaints about reception on its new iPhone by telling customers they should hold the device differently.

“Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas,” Apple said today in an e-mailed statement. “If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”

From CBC News “Apple blames iPhone signal loss on users“.

I found this clear demonstration of the iPhone 4 reception problem from this insightful analysis of the iPhone 4 antenna problem by Spencer Webb: “Apple iPhone 4 Antennas …“. [note: I think Spencer's statement "I already know how to do the Vulcan Antenna Grip on the iPhone, and I am wearing out my current model."  goes into the engineer solution and let Apple off the hook too easy for the millions of non-technical customers that should not be bothered with the "Vulcan Antenna Grip"! :) Think of the Toyota example again.] By the way, I am curious if the gap is put at the top and bottom of the phone, will the chance of this problem happening be greatly reduced?

Also see PCWorld “Apple Responds to iPhone 4 Antenna Problem“.

PCWorld also did its own tests of iPhone 4 signal and took the new phone for a spin in San Francisco alongside an iPhone 3GS. PCWorld was able to replicate the signal problems when covering the bottom left edge of the phone, something that did not occur when the phone was laid flat on a table with the antenna untouched.

These days, Apple is thinking so highly of itself that it thinks it can simply “fix” its design flaw by telling its customers to change the way they hold their phone or pay additional money to buy a cover to coverup the cosmetically beautifully but engineered poorly iPhone 4. Sad.

****

Jun 30, 2010 Update:

- This Cnet article contains a purported steps “AppleCare representatives are being instructed on how to coach users about the proper way to handle the latest-generation smartphone”

- From ABC News “Trouble Ahead for Apple’s iPhone 4? – Law Firm Investigates Complaints, Petition Pushes Apple for Free Cases


iPhone 4 dilemma – iPhone 4 would have been great for WIND Mobile

Monday, 7 June, 2010

The iPhone 4 has just been announced (see coverage via engadget live blog) today and it looks stunning and packs some cool features. (I will write about WIND Mobile & iPhone 4 later in this post.) Love many of the cool features (e.g. the glass, steel bands as antennas, gyro), in particular, FaceTime (limited to Wi-Fi) and HD Video Recording & publishing. The dilemma to me is that both  FaceTime and HD Video, when they are used over the 3G network, will consume a ton of bandwidth. First, this can be really costly under fixed data plans. Apple has disabled the data hungry FaceTime over 3G and make it to work only Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi because I suspect heavy data usage can quickly degrade the carriers’ networks. Imagine a large number of users using their iPhones 4 to FaceTime at special events or tourists hot spots!

To me, it sucks that Apple has decided to make iPhone 4 NOT work for the AWS 1700 MHz frequency band, a band that is used by WIND Mobile in Canada (see tech spec). To me, iPhone 4 would have been great for WIND‘s “unlimited” data plan (if you exceed 5GB per month, they may reduce your speed if the network is congested) which I won’t have to worry about the data charges.

Check out this CBS News report,

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P.S. Now, is there any good reason why FaceTime should only work between iPhone 4s? Why not iPhone 4s and any Macs (or PCs)?

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June 8, 2010 Update: Jeff made a good case in “AT&T’s cynical act“,

“And now it’s AT&T that turns the clock back on. Tick. Just as mobile is about to explode with new devices and new uses for us all to be ubiquitously and constantly connected doing all kinds of new things and creating new value along the way, AT&T says it wants nothing to do with that explosion (because it would have to work harder and invest more to do better). So it makes a business strategy out of imprisoning Apple fanboys as long as it can and making them use its service less. Tock.

AT&T also tries to push us off its network both with its pricing and with the promise of wi-fi. Its press release even makes it sound like an AT&T service that we can use unlimited wi-fi in our home! Thank you, AT&T.

Let’s note that AT&T’s action in relation to the iPad is nothing short of bait-and-switch as it was sold as using the magic of unlimited data with plenty of data-rich applications and now the price of that gadget only soars if you actually use it as it was designed: to consume media constantly.

I would hope that Apple is chagrinned about the door to which it has delivered its customers. But Apple sniffed the shark when it picked AT&T, making Apple’s control more important than its customers’ service and value and its partner’s quality and ethic.

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Jun 11, 2010 Update: Interesting article with some scientific info “Does the iPhone 4 Really Have a “Retina Display”?”


The iAds are coming – Apple iPhone OS 4.0

Thursday, 8 April, 2010

iAd - Apple iPhone OS 4.0

Very good coverage of iPhone OS 4.0 from gdgt “Live iPhone OS 4.0 event coverage“.


EFF posts Apple’s Iphone SDK licence terms

Wednesday, 10 March, 2010

iPhone is a very important platform so it is very cool to have Apple’s developer programme license agreement posted for review, analysis, and discussion. OK, very cool for legal eagles/geeks. “EFF posts Apple’s Iphone SDK licence terms“,

How did the EFF get its hands on the licence agreement when developers have to sign in blood not to reveal any details? EFF spokesman Fred Von Lohmann wrote, “When we saw the NASA App for Iphone, we used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to ask NASA for a copy, so that the general public could see what rules controlled the technology they could use with their phones. NASA responded with the Rev. 3-17-09 version of the agreement.”


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