Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for January 26th, 2012

Recycled iPhone 5 Rumors Miss the Point

Sascha Segan, on the reheated iPhone 5 rumours:

Hey, did you hear the iPhone 5 is coming? And according to the latest rumors from 9to5Mac, it has a 4-inch screen and a new body design!

Repeat after me: Nothing to see here.

Good point. These rumours are almost exactly what we’ve been hearing since the middle of last year, which could mean a few things. On the one hand, you could argue that because these rumours are relatively constant, it’s been the iPhone 5 design all along. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, right?

On the other hand, though, these rumours are often lazy and lukewarm. Segan points out that the latest rumours also suggest that there isn’t a final design at this point, and that Apple is testing a number of contenders. Furthermore, he argues that all these hardware rumours really miss the point:

The success of the iPhone 4S also shows that Apple’s secret sauce isn’t hardware as much as software. […] What drew consumers to the 4S – and what will draw them to the iPhone 5 – is iOS, Apple’s apps, Apple’s cloud services and the spectacular third-party developer community that Apple has nurtured through the industry’s best app store.

That’s a great argument. Of course, software isn’t the entire story. Apple’s success in hardware has been about balancing available technology with their priorities and values. As long as they continue the balance and the precedent they have set, the iPhone 5 will have excellent hardware with an amazing software stack on top.

Please, Let Me Pay for That Movie

Kate Heartfield:

Why would the people who control the release of this show make pirating it so attractive for people in much of the world?

Heartfield gives two examples of things she tried to watch recently only to find that they aren’t available: the BBC series Sherlock, to which this quote pertains, and the Disney classic Cinderella. The former is restricted by geography, and the latter is unavailable due to the dickish “Disney Vault”.

But one can replace “this show” with “media” and the above quote would still be true. The difference in legal content that’s available online in the US versus Canada is enormous, despite much of it available in other forms here. For instance, Discovery streams nearly all of their shows via their web player, but not Mythbusters. It is, however, available on iTunes, but if you just want to catch up on an odd episode, purchasing it is not an attractive option.

The Human Cost is Built Into an iPad

Last week, an extensive report by the New York Times addressed the myriad of reasons why companies, including Apple, have moved labour overseas. This is the followup article, in which the human costs are addressed. It’s a fascinating and deeply moving read that illustrates the tension between Apple, their suppliers, and the people who assemble the products.

Cars Do Not Belong in Cities

Derek Edwards has a smart analysis of how absurd the use of cars is in an urban environment:

A standard American sedan can comfortably hold 4+ adults w/ luggage, can travel in excess of 100 miles per hour, and can travel 300+ miles at a time without stopping to refuel.  These are all great things if you are traveling long distances between cities.  If you are going by yourself to pickup your dry cleaning, then cars are insanely over-engineered for the task.  It’s like hammering in a nail with a diesel-powered pile driver.

Some may argue that many cities require a car due to the great distances one must travel to pick up dry cleaning. But that’s exactly the problem Edwards argues is a function of the car.