No they developed it, then contributed it for standardisation. Apple devices were also the first to implement it.
1046 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Jan 2011
The irony is Apple initiated USB-C development and are last to adopt it for their phones. They lead the development of USB-C at the time the EU started calling for all phones to standardise on USB. This whole standardising on one port initiative has been bubbling away for years now. Apple were clearly worried they would be forced to implement a sub-standard connector type and, having thought through the logistical implications, understood they would need to be consistent across their customer base worldwide, so IMO, initiated the USB-C development. One of their key requirements (which is actually quite right) is that the connector can be inserted either way up. Small edge cases, like when you are falling asleep and remember you need to plug in and scramble for the cord with your eyes half open, are actually, because of the annoyance factor, disproportionately important in human factors terms. One thing that can be said for Apple is that they understand this. Lightening, as non standard as it is, is even better in this regard, because you can more easily insert the plug blind to the exact location of the port, so USB-C has always been a slight step down in that regard (but only in that regard).
Of course Apple make a lot of money from the matched charging accessories, but I think they may have moved to USB-C about the time they launched it on the Mac because the whole ecosystem became a bit of a pain. I think the main inhibitor, money aside, was that the EU threat occurred just after they had already forced their customers to complete an expensive transition to using the lightening port. They were still getting a lot of bad press over that and customers were still annoyed. Changing again so soon would have been a problem. If the timing had been better I suspect they would have gone for USB-C across the whole ecosystem from the outset.
Partially I think the initiative was designed to stall the EU - it was a concrete example of Apple’s claim mandating connectors stifles innovation. By initiating a “better” standard and leading it’s adoption by the industry, legislators were given pause to consider if it would have been right to “pick a winner” from the older designs. It succeeded in doing that I think. Partially also it provided a back up uptight for if Apple did have its hand forced - and it did that also. But until now, it’s hand hasn’t been forced, so they stuck with lightening and minting the money from own brand and licensed lightening accessories.
Re: EU doesn't legislate for taxes
Yep, agreed. What annoys me is how people become politically tribal over this stuff, when we should all be able to agree, the politicians were taking shortcuts. Instead of regulating properly, and admitting they don’t yet have have the power, and then making the hard yards by getting it agreed in a new treaty, they instead cynically try to twist existing legislation and competition law leaving the distinct impression they don’t care for their own rules and procedure and will do anything for posturing and as little possible to do it the right way whenever there is any sign “doing it the right way” equates to hard political work.
Apple fires warning shot at Facebook and Google on privacy, pledges fight against 'data-industrial complex'
Seems like as good a place as any to say this. I was using WhatsApp a couple of months back, messaging my neighbour. WhatsApp claims end to end encryption. Anyway, while typing a message, it was suddenly like someone was using remote control software typing on my screen for me. Each word as it appeared was repeated, and it was only semi grammatical. I took screenshots of the messages.
So there are only two explanations for this.
1. My iPhone has been compromised and some third party has installed software that has broken the app sandbox and did this.
2. (Much more likely in my opinion) WhatsApp are lying out their brown asterisks and the service is not end to end encrypted as they claim it is.
One of the messages read (don’t ask me, these are simply the words as they appeared on the screen like someone was typing)
“3 I I am so so sorry sorry to hear hear from from you I was thinking weqrqqeeqqeeqeqqeq”
The message meant nothing to my neighbour and bore no relation to anything we had been talking about. It seems odd only some of the words are repeated, but that is as it appeared.
Anyone else noticed that the top countries for broadband speeds are well-known tax havens? No? Just us then?
Agreed. But even with the methodology you suggest, it is probably still misleading.
People don’t know their own broadband speed and believe what they are told. “Broadband Speed” is a term that has a very wide range of interpretation. I am absolutely clear that my broadband from Zen is better than my neighbours and friends broadband from providers advertising a higher headline rate. In fact the headline advertised speed is in so many ways one of the figures of lesser importance.
Additionally, average speed does not necessarily reflect opportunity and choice. If broadband is slow in the UK because there are providers like Talk-Talk providing service to people like my dear Mum was, when she was alive, who was perfectly happy if she could make the odd FaceTime call, then that actually is sufficient. Talk-Talk would annoy me beyond belief but she could have gone to Zen if she wanted to. She didn’t.
I’m not saying the choice is as good as it should be for all of the UK, but it is another factor to be considered. I don’t know if or how the survey accounted for this, because as you say, the methodology isn’t clear on the basis of this article.
China has brought this on itself. Wherever and whenever the CCP has disliked an app or way of doing things, they have either banned it, or have ensured key parts of the data operation have been moved to China.
They now can’t complain when other countries treat them the same way.
And self censorship has become a massive problem. No joint production films critical of China, ever, receive Chinese release or money. And every Chinese film has a moral in it about the individual submitting to the state or learning why it is better not to ever act against authority.
This move by Dropbox will reduce users' files to tiers: Rarely, regularly accessed data now kept separate
Re: They probably
When they started trying to manage my photo’s for me with a checkbox that has to be unticked, I knew they were heading in the wrong direction. Then on the Mac client, they started inexplicably reading all files in the filing system, even those outside of the folders you chose to sync. As soon as they did that I deleted the client from my system and my files from their server.
Re: Dumb questoin.....
"There is nothing un-FRAND about a percentage licensing model."
Well the question in dispute is a percentage of what? Let's make an extreme example to illustrate the point.
If I build and sell houses off plan, and install hardwired 4G Data based connectivity in those houses, I wouldn't expect Qualcomm to say that because the houses are sold with 4G capability they can apply their percentage as against the total selling price of the house. Smartphone handsets, as everyone knows these days, are so much more than phones. They include camera's, advanced speaker tech, advanced 3D graphics technology, accelerometers. If the data comms unit were removable it would be clear the percentage due to Qualcom is a percentage of the price of the data comms subsystem. But currently Qualcom is claiming a percentage of the total value of the handset.
IMO this is too much and they are free-riding on the business of others. The whole point of FRAND standards is so a company cannot act alone as a monopolistic gatekeeper that can blackmail other vendors into paying extortionate fees. A company that owns essential tech *can* choose not to join the FRAND club and go it alone if they wish, but then they do not get protection afforded to members of the FRAND club and may reasonably be hit by patent infringement claims by other members of the FRAND club. Apple claim that by wanting to apply their percentage to all of the handset value and also remain a member of the FRAND club, Qualcom are acting as a monopolistic gatekeeper. Apple have been withholding what they think is the difference between the amount due to Qualcomm based on pricing the data comms subsystem alone the total handset based value Qualcomm have been claiming.
I suspect Apple's "base" system they are using to calculate the fees due to Qualcomm is probably too low, and the amount Qualcomm have been claiming is too high. The fair price is probably somewhere in between the two amounts. Because so much of the value of Qualcomm comes from licensing, they are desperately clinging to the "whole handset" model.
Yes, I very much have the impression this entire case was fabricated because Meg Whitman was about to be sacked for destroying HP’s profitability. She had an awful Analyst call to navigate with massively missed targets and claimed there had been accounting irregularities with Autonomy which lead to all the targets being missed. The whole thing appeared a distraction tactic and she quite unashamedly tried to throw Lynch under a bus. Yet Lynch, it seems, had done nothing more than successfully window dressed his business for sale. That is not necessarily in any way illegal and it is the responsibility of HP’s auditors executing due diligence before the sale to present the true position of the business. HP claimed there were massive irregularities that were to be fully detailed at a later date. They then later failed to account for anything like the magnitude of their missed targets in relation to the Autonomy purchase. The whole case stinks of deliberate distraction. Having made the accusation it now seems Whitman has had to move forward with a weak case. If the case is lost I trust Whitman will be treated as the complete slimy a-hole pariah someone trying to blame others (not just blame - JAIL others) for their failures should be treated as.
If I remember rightly there are different revenue recognition standards in Europe versus the US, and Lynch’s autonomy adhered to the EU laws. As an EU business it is of course entirely correct that they should do so. The auditors job in doing due diligence is to highlight such factors and differences.
Reading this I now suspect the judge has already seen enough to have this figured out.
Re: Locked In
Zen are excellent. Head and shoulders above the rest as is reflected by the top spot they are awarded by Which. Which remember, are independently funded so have no particular axe to grind.
Being more than 10% clear at the top end is quite a feat given the rest are within a few percent of each other.
Utility Wharehouse 76%
John Lewis 70%
Post Office 61%
Talk Talk 50%
I switched to Zen after being on Virgin because, even though Virgin theoretically offered superior speed, I found the speed patchy and then one day precipitously got worse. Turned out after many long calls that their installers, being lazy, had patched a neighbours service in over the same cabinet to home cable connection as mine with a simple splitter when it should have been separate. If the neighbour had done that without my permission it would have been theft.
Then to add insult to injury, one day when I phoned to change away, they offered me a lower cost package “with exact same day rates” But afterwards the data rate had dropped by 20Mbps and there was more aggressive bandwidth shaping. Overall, too much lying and too many service outages.
Re: Thin blue line
Don't forget all the accounts were previously analysed by HP's auditors as part of a due diligence process. It's fine to offer inducements to make sales as long as the costs of doing so are entered properly somewhere legally acceptable. Now, being clever about where you enter that cost, such that others might not immediately realise it is related to sale x, is called painting yourself in the best possible light rather than fraud. HP only launched a complaint about Autonomy "fraudulent" accounting, when Meg Whitman had to go before Wall Street analysts with completely declining revenues and missed targets way beyond what could be explained by the figures they gave in relation to the Autonomy purchase. It seemed to me she would have been sacked there and then but she suddenly pointed at Mike Lynch and shouted "Squirrel!".
I'm sure Lynch has been "guilty" of painting a piece of crap gold. But if you haven't anywhere said it is solid gold, and that the centre isn't crap, you haven't necessarily done anything illegal. In fact, your shareholders are likely to think you have just been a good salesman. Caveat Emptor and all that.
Anyway, this will all be looked at in detail by the judges and I'm happy to accept they will have a better view of this than us here and their judgement is far more likely to be the right call than mine. It will be interesting to see the outcome.
"Erm, no. The point is that assuming the worst-plausible situation, battery replacement doesn't even come close to explaining the actual revenue numbers."
So it's good that Tim Cook didn't actually claim battery replacement explains all the discrepancy. He indicated it was a contributory factor; which it was. Cook said the bulk of the revenue decrease was China and that globally excluding China, revenues were up. Plus Andrew has divided out the quarters accounting for lost revenue evenly, when the reality is the reported on Christmas quarter has a much higher percentage of unit shipments. So there's that also. Someone should rework the figures taking this into account.
While the reasoning in this story may be a bit crap, Andrew has missed what I think is the more significant implication. Tim Cook, by pushing battery replacements as a reason for lost revenue, has effectively confirmed Apple know battery degradation is a big contributor to their bottom line through encouraging upgrades. I don't happen to believe Apple were deliberately trying to force upgrades with their battery management code so much as do what they said, manage sudden shutdowns, (I say this because as an iOS developer I was tricking the arc of this functionality and it was indeed implemented as a reaction to complaints about shutdowns in cold weather - this is a real performance degradation problem for pretty much all battery technology) but this goes a long way to justify that argument. At minimum now increased upgrade rates were a demonstrably known result and at minimum a "happy" side effect. By the measure Cook tried to assuage the analysts he also demonstrated battery degradation has been making a clearly measurable impact on Apple's bottom line - not a good message for the customer.
So actually Reg, as you usually like to criticise Apple, you should actually have been arguing the other way - yes it did indeed have a big effect!
Re: Again, why bother
@Roland6. I think you will find the issue is that the manufacturing is taking place in China. So it wouldn't be so much a break-in as, "oh shit, this guy in mirror shades working for my government who still make people disappear without trial has asked me if we can modify the motherboard, but hasn't smiled once as he asked"
Also the fact that there is a security researcher - Joe Fitzpatrick - who talked to Bloomberg journalists over many meetings/calls about speculative "this is how it is theoretically possible to do this" scenarios, and then was surprised to find the article in question claimed *exactly* the scenarios he described had been executed by the Chinese. Fitzpatrick said, given he is not working at State level with State level resources, and his speculations were his own personal pet hobbyist theories as to how it could be done (when there are many alternative possibilities) he was very surprised to find it claimed it had been done by the Chinese exactly how he had described. In other words it very much appears his speculative theoretical scenarios were lifted by the Bloomberg Journalists and published as fact.
All in all Bloomberg's failure to retract this story leaves a sizeable stain on their integrity.
Apple boss demands Bloomberg Super Micro U-turn, Russian troll charged, NSA hands out cash, and more
Bloomberg isn't standing firm and backing everything they reported. They have been rather sneaky in their non denial denial of what is increasingly looking like rather dodgy reporting. They said:
"Seventeen individual sources, including government officials and insiders at the companies, confirmed the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks. We also published three companies’ full statements, as well as a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources."
But note how carefully this is worded. As John Gruber of Daring Fireball has pointed out, notably they are being careful not to say Cook is wrong, or that their story is true. And the Buzzfeed story goes on to note no one in the security community has been able to verify anything in Bloomberg’s story and no other news source has backed it up (tip of the hat also to Gruber)
Additionally in an early Daring Fireball report, Gruber quotes a transcript of the Risky Business podcast when Joe Fitzpatrick, a security researcher contacted by Bloomberg said the following:
FITZPATRICK: But what really struck me is that like all the details that were even remotely technical, seemed like they had been lifted from from the conversations I had about theoretically how hardware implants work and how the devices I was making to show off at Black Hat two years ago worked.
GRAY: So I guess what you are saying here is, the report, I mean all of the technical details of the report, you’d covered that ground with that reporter.
FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I had conversations about all the technical details and various contexts. But there are a lot of filters that happen, you know? When I explain hardware things even to software people, I don’t expect people to get it the first time and I don’t expect people to be able to describe it accurately all the time. So there is definitely a lot of telephone exchange happening
GRAY: OK but why did that make you feel uneasy? Could it be the case that you know that the technical things you told him lined up perfectly with the technical things that some of these 17 of the anonymous sources told him?
FITZPATRICK: You know, I’m just Joe. I do this stuff solo. I am building hardware implants for phones to show off at conferences. I’m not a pro at building hardware implants. I don’t work for any nation or any state building and shipping these as products. I feel like I have a good grasp at what’s possible and what’s available and how to do it just from my practice. But it was surprising to me that in a scenario where I would describe these things and then he would go and confirm these and 100 percent of what I described was confirmed by sources.
GRAY: And that’s what he was telling you through this process?
FITZPATRICK: That’s what I read in the article.
GRAY: OK, right. You find that a bit strange? That every single thing you seem to tell him, or a large proportion of what you told him, was then confirmed by his other sources.
FITZPATRICK: Yeah, basically. Either I have excellent foresight or something else is going on.
All in all it very much seems like a Bloomberg reporting has got somewhat carried away with a possibility and reported it as fact. I even wonder if the reporter was mistaking these stories as a hinted reality. e.g. did the reporter get carried away and think Fitzpatrick was speaking hypothetically to present the truth without breaking confidence or legal non disclosure, when in fact Fitzpatrick was only speaking hypothetically?
It seems a distinct possibility to me that the reporter added 2 + 2 and calculated the result is 5. Certainly the denials are very direct and Cook is prepared to put his integrity on the line. If for SEC rules alone, his statement is highly significant. When execs of a public company have something to hide, they usually avoid talking about it so as to avoid all possibility legal blowback and word is Cook is one of the more trustworthy of the major tech CEOs.
Of course the Register illustrate again why they are disliked by Apple. Apple already announced hard blocking of third party tracking and also enhanced tech for thwarting digital browser fingerprinting (have Mozilla announced the same) for Safari in WWDC2018. It is currently available in public beta and will be going live in all likelihood in early Sept. Mozilla are following this lead.
Re: It was actually the 3D scanners
They were 3D scanner constrained, but the price point and multi phone strategy was driven by the OLED display. The 3D scanner production was ramped up quickly. Not so the OLED display and they had known for a long time there was excessive risk a second supplier would not be available. LG, were struggling to make the cut with quality and yield issues and it was known for a long time previously that they were unlikely to make it. Samsung had been producing displays at the required quality for some time though - but Apple was not intending to give all the business to Samsung - plus Samsung knew LG wouldn’t make it so had assigned a disproportionately high price tag for the part. There was no way of ramping up the volume because of the sophistication of the production of each OLED display part and essentially at that point Samsung were the only supplier who could meet spec.
These reports of iPhone X sales dropping off. Apple is likely ambivalent about that. I’m not sure if LG are even ready this year. Their two supplier strategy for components has failed for the display because it has become a premium part, could not be pushed to being a commodity through supplier competition, and only Samsung have been able to make them. Hence Apple now investing in their own OLED production facilities. Like with chip production, they see now see an advantage in owning that part of the supply chain because the issue won’t be going away any time soon.
The iPhone X pricing strategy was due to Apple finding themselves in a corner with regard to the introduction of new technology. Since they sell more handsets of any given single model than any other vendor, it has become harder for them to introduce new technology because they have to do so at greater scale than anyone else. Samsung May sell more handsets over all but they have many separate models and each sells in lower volume.
With the iPhone X, Apple were oled display supply constrained. The logical solution for them was then to use price to regulate demand. Overall it worked out pretty well for them in terms of profit. However, despite what people think, they probably don’t want to be at quite such a high price point as they have been at for the iPhone X. They actually have a preferred philosophy of keeping a relatively small number of models. Steve Jobs liked what Andy Warhol said about coke and wanted people to think of the iPhone the same way:
“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too. A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”
Re: Roj blake
“this is just cheap shite by a press weaned on capitalism.”
We are all weaned on Capitalism and benefit from it hugely.
1. You can only have as much Socialism as your Capitalism can afford.
2. Capitalism isn’t, despite how some on the left speak about it, a political system or philosophy. It is a default state. For all the leftist definitions trying to make it sound like a big bad boondoggle Captialism is nothing more and nothing less than the freedom for buyers and sellers to agree a price at a market, where what is being sold can also involve financial instruments. It is what you get when you are free to do business with others. It is part and parcel of what you get when you are free full stop. Yes some activities need to be regulated, but if you want to overthrow Capitalism you want to overthrow a fundamental human freedom we all enjoy.
I don’t particularly follow Opra Winfrey, but there is something she once said that has always stuck in my mind. She said the biggest lesson she wishes she had learned at a younger age is; when someone tells you who they are, believe them!
What’s this got to do with Corbyn? Well McDonnell his right hand man has frequently called for the overthrow of capitalism. Not regulation. Overthrow. He has even said as much in a BBC interview. Properly understood, that is a call to take away our basic freedoms and replace them with centralised control. The only way to do it is to take one big step into totalitarianism. Seamus Milne is a published apologist for Stalinism and Jeremy Corbyn has cosied up with Sin Fein IMO learning how to run a political wing of a militant movement and he assiduously applies their play book (always diverting to generalities when asked about specific atrocities by those he supports “I condemn all violence” but never condemning the acts of the militias he supports while always condemning the acts of those he doesn’t).
These people are telling us who they are and too many of us are living too cosily to believe them. Many simply aren’t taking on board what they are quite openly telling us. Anyone who votes for these people is a fool. The Labour Party of Nye Bevan is no more.
Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash
“This sort of political engineering makes me sick.”
Makes me sick too. But I expect every person commenting on here, including the oh so principled hand wringers, and me, if offered a slice of profit of iPhone sales in China would say “Thank you very much” and pocket the money, and would suddenly find responsibility rests with the Chinese government rather than a business trying to get on and fulfill the purchase wishes of customers who are only addressable by doing what the Chinese government demands.
Of course, irrespective of what people think about the repair policy, Apple are completely right about third party hardware being a security risk. Yes even swapping out a screen. To ensure security you need to be able to authenticate every hardware component and disable any that have not from a known to be secure source. This is a clear case of consumer law conflicting with sound security principles.
There are a lot of very uninformed comments on here regarding Apple. There is little to no equivalence between Apple and Google when it comes to privacy. Apple have very clearly set out their stall and ensure privacy as far as it is possible to do so. So iMessage, FaceTime etc end-to-end encrypted on the end devices. Apple have no idea of the content. All photo tagging, face recognition, composition of "my year in review" photo montages etc. done again, on the user's device (using amongst other things the 3D graphics processors comparatively massive parallel compute power - for a phone at least). Apple themselves have no records of messages or calls that is unencrypted or accessible by them. Other machine learning (like is used for tagging emails containing content that might be relevant to other apps like Calendar or Contacts) is all implemented using differential privacy. Safari browser blocking the tracking capability of social media "like" buttons, blocking ad tracking and "genericising" the device hardware signature so hardware fingerprinting technologies as currently used by advertising firms cannot be used. iCloud documents for Pages, Numbers, Keynote, all end to end encrypted and only unlocked on the device. Same, importantly, for iCloud backups. Preferences and listening habits for music and recommendations again are all implemented using differential privacy. If you don't know what that is, look it up and you will see it is inimitable to Google's business model.
Apple Pay: Apple have assiduously avoided deals with retailers and no personal details are available to the retailer. From the retailers perspective it provides no more data about the customer than does cash. Our banks who are supposed to protecting our financial data aren't doing this and are falling over themselves attempting to downgrade Apple pay and promote their own payments solutions which do furnish such data. They are even now disabling USB after 1 minute standby to block hardware passcode bypass technologies used by the government and law enforcement agencies. GDPR: they have jumped all in, and seized the opportunity it presents to underline the difference between their approach and Google's. Their GDPR web pages and the forensic detail they provide their customers about all personal data they do have stored, goes way beyond what their competitors are offering.
Of course it's not all roses. The problem with doing so much on device is that the solutions are likely to continue, comparatively, to lag Google's solutions in terms of the efficacy of the machine learning results. Also, as the comments on here seem to so amply demonstrate, most people don't actually care that much as to actually check and compare what these company's actual policies are, so at the end of the day, unfortunately I don't think it's going to help Apple that they are taking such a strong line on privacy. People will continue to think "Siri is shit," and comparatively it will always be weaker, and too few will be thinking "but whew, at least my personal data is safe"
The need for the number 1 smartwatch brand also is fitness tracking, which it does exceptionally well. You can make and receive phone calls while out on a ride, which with AirPods is useful. The number of times this feature alone has helped me as i’ve approached my ride meeting point is to me plenty of proof of its’ usefulness. Also the Strava app (yes app) has become indispensable for me, with real time segment splits and live segment leader info. The heart rate monitor remains best in class with the most accurate reading of all smart watches and of course. The Zwift app (yes app), is also indispensable for me as I do my indoor smart trainer rides on Zwift and it has it has saved me the cost of a separate heart rate monitor. The watch also has every fitness instrument you require (GPS, altimeter, 4G useful for when there are route adjustments and another routmap wanted). Also, I find my other app (yes app) is useful, Overcast, my preferred podcast app, so it’s useful to be automatically in sync there. And with my iBooks app so I can switch to an Audiobook when I feel like it. Again the AirPods work well with it. So while it’s true apps are less useful on the watch than on the phone, it’s not at all true that they don’t come into the picture in a significant way. This gap which already exists between number one and number two, will only continue. Garmin have done well, but really their success is testament to the failure to initially focus on the right areas both Apple and Android wear made. Apple were quicker to address the real need and from the outset had the better hardware solutions though (which is testament to the value of Apple’s push into chip design - the have the smallest most efficient chips which is an obvious advantage for watches - having a slim wrist female friendly 38mm option has been a big marketing benefit). Well done to Garmin, but they are a distant second and I expect Android wear will overtake again at some point.
“Except that one hexagon of the leather (and the rubber beneath it) does belong to the UK”
Sorry to be pedantic, but the classic white football with black patches has about 30 pentagonal patches. So with the UK contributing 10% of the Galileo project funds, amounts to 3 patches. Actually look at the classic football and you will see that doesn’t quite represent the same stark mental image of insignificant isolation as your assertion suggests.
Re: Technically, the media is plural
@Geoffrey W. You, kind of, answered your own question in your second sentence, seemingly without noticing!
“Is there anything that implies the media is a single thing?”
Ratfox is, it seems, a grammar pedant while you, it seems, are not. I’ll leave it up to you two to decide which it is best to be.
I'm definitely firmly in the Apple user camp and I too like the keyboard mechanical action very much. But I have to say there are some glaring design failures. First the keys are too large, and because they are also flat it is difficult to orientate your fingers on them and maintain orientation. This is putting aesthetic design over practical design. Second the tolerance between with the metal case and each key is too high. So if debris goes in (which is bound to occur at some point over the lifetime of a keyboard), but it is very difficult to get it out again. All Apple's previous keyboards have a larger space between key and space. Thirdly the travel being so limited means any debris build up is going to cause a problem, so they have to either find a way to make it so the debris can't get in (with a membrane or something - I would have been sceptical about a membrane until using the iPad pro keyboard, which despite my reservations, feels superb) or they have to implement a system to make it easy for the user to remove and replace the keys if debris needs to be cleared. Lastly Sir Johnny changed the cursor key layout, presumably just so the keyboard has aesthetic balance. As a touch typist and a programmer, this is extremely frustrating. I don't know any touch typist who prefers the new arrangement. It leads to continual miskeying. Arrgh!
This keyboard is a real problem for Apple and they should issue a recall. I have used their kit for years. I love using Apple kit. But I now get a slight feeling of dread regarding using my MacBook Pro keyboard and I want to avoid it. I loved it when it was new, but I have a constant nagging doubt about the stuck keys issue. I had my keyboard replaced (under warranty) because the keys started to stick. Every now and then, instead of cmd+c copying my text, I would find the text I intended to copy replaced with the letter c. Really very annoying, even if it only happens once a day. Now I have no faith the issue won't start to recur once it is out of warranty. Not just the experience, but the thought of going to use my MacBook pro has become tainted with a kind of slight feeling of annoyance and I'm sure that will be true for many others experiencing this issue. Surely that is a very bad thing for Apple who justify their premium brand pricing with premium design.
Plus, though they were helpful in-store and replaced the keyboard, I found their test annoying. They checked for stuck keys by typing gently on the keys and dragging gently across the keys. But the whole point it is an intermittent issue (once debris in in there it tends to move about and they keys miss every now and then). After they saw some keys sticking, they did the drag test again and said key x, y and z were not sticking every time. But that entirely misses the point. Once a key goes past its activation point (e.g. clicks down), it should activate Every. Single. Time. without the need for any additional pressure. That is the minimum requirement of a keyboard. That is the whole point in having an actuation point where the key clicks down. Once it passes that point, you should never, ever, be worried or guessing if they key press has actually registered. Their test is clearly inadequate and seems designed to give them a counter point for the customer request for a replacement keyboard rather than as a real meaningful test.
Re: Apple fix it or people will move
Having just had the top cap (e.g. the entire keyboard and battery arrangement) of my MacBook Pro replaced because of this problem I have a few things to say about this issue.
The problem is very real and extremely annoying. A reliably functioning keyboard is of course absolutely essential for getting work done.
For me the problem isn’t - for the most part - how the keyboard works as designed, when new, I personally mostly like it very much. The problem is how the design fails to retain reliability when confronted with common real world usage scenarios.
In fact I love the limited key movement and I think there are very good arguments limited movement with a good mechanical activation action, where the keys can take the weight of a rested finger without activating, but activate consistently when deliberate pressure is applied is best. If all keyboards were this way when we started to learn to type, I think there are very few people who would want to move to a less economical keyboard where more movement is required. In other words, I suspect, what people say they like has a very large component of what they are used to rather than being based on what is actually best.
The problem with the new keyboard is with the phrase “activate consistently.” When the machine is new, the activation is very and - for the limited travel - impressively precise and consistent. The problem is that when debris gets under the keys, the activation stops becoming consistent. It is absolutely essential with a keyboard that when a mechanical key passes the activation point, e.g. clicks down. Even if it is pushed past that point with the slightest of pressure, that the key activates EVERY SINGLE TIME. It is on that point where the new keyboards start to fail within a relatively short period of time (for me it was about 6 months). This problem has been made worse with they new keyboard because, for purely aesthetic reasons, there is an extremely tight tolerance between the plastic key and the surrounding metal laptop case, which means the key “well” becomes a debris trap. Once it has gone in, there is no easy way to get it back out again. This tight tolerance together with the limited travel is a major cause of the problem.
Secondly, though I love the mechanical action of the keys, the design fails in other ways.
1. The keys are too large. This is again, I think, for aesthetic reasons. But actually, contrary to common thinking, overly large keys are a problem. You can’t feel the edge of the keys easily enough, and lose a sense of if your hand is sitting in the right posisition on the keyboard. When keys had a concave surface this wasn’t an issue. Also, I’m typing this on the iPad Pro keyboard. It is much “cheaper” looking than the MacBook Pro keyboard. Yet the typing action is actually superb. I think I miss-key less on this than my MacBook Pro and the reason for this is precisely because the key caps size are smaller. Crucially the distance between the keys remains full size. People often complain about smaller keys, without taking this into account that actually they smaller size means “no looking” touch typing hand position can be more easily determined I can tell you, I can type faster and more consistently on the iPad Pro keyboard than on my new MacBook Pro keyboard even though the mechanical action of the keys on the latter is superior (having said that the non mechanical action of the keys on the rubber iPad keyboard is superb - far better than my brain thinks, based on looks alone, it has a right to be).
2. For aesthetic reasons the arrow keys are make so the left and right are the same size as the up and down key combined. I don’t know a single touch typing user who finds this arrangement easier to “touch type” with than the older arrangement. I find this very annoying and, worse, Apple, I am reminded of my annoyance at the design EVERY SINGLE TIME I MISSKEY.
The customer support at Apple was very good. The keys would only fail to register occasionally, but it would happen enough that it was extremely annoying. They didn’t try testing it and then arguing it wasn’t happening every time as I feared they might. The most common really annoying key combination failing being cmd+x leaving an actual x in my text instead of cutting the selection (so clearly the cmd key was failing to register if not pushed hard enough) would only fail about once a day, but even that is enough to be extremely, *extremely* annoying. They accepted that and replace the whole top case.
But the design problem remains, I have no faith the stuck keys issue will not return in another six months. For sure I will be extremely careful not to use the keyboard in a dirty invironment (for sure eating lunch by the laptop is now a no no). It’s far too much money to have spent on a premium product for it to have a non premium problem in the design like this.
Apple really need to work hard to sort this out. And yes there should be a recall. I don’t accept the design is limiting in a way that these problems can’t be overcome, even with the exact same form factor. Indeed, I think they have made improvements since the first generation version I purchased, so we will see if it lasts better.
It’s not third party access to the locking and unlocking I would be worried about. Always doing what they say on that score is the minimum requirement if they want the company to continue in business. Even one instance of “letting law enforcement in against the will of the owner” would see the business die in an instant. The things I would worry about are: 1. Is truly hack proof? Even if the security is considered very good, security is hard and we have seen too many instances of putatively competent security programmers (hardware and software) making catastrophic errors because there is some left-of-field vector/strategy they have unwittingly introduced or opened their code up to. 2. Camera. In conjunction with 1 are my comings and goings being monitored?
I installed a remotely accessible webcam in my appartment some time ago for when I was doing contract work in Germany. I ended up unplugging it after just a few days precisely because of the nagging unease the two points above raised.
Regarding the timing, the Feds probably wanted to catch them with their guard down to gather any available evidence from the Backpage offices *before* they deal with it in preparation for the new legislation that will be coming in (assuming assuming such evidence exists - maybe it doesn’t). The Feds will probably then have the option to launch another investigation / case once the new legislation comes into force, but after they already have the evidence they may find.
Another example of Google moving away from any mention of Android. They have lost full control of what Android means in the market and so can no longer determine what the brand means to users, so now hardly ever mention the brand name. Check out their Pixel phone marketing. Virtually no mention of Android.
The thing, IMO this has a strong bearing on the Brexit argument. Democracy is a far more delicate flower than many in the West now appreciate (especially the young, who have been born further from the Cold War era).
I have been working in Germany the last two years. In 2017 have enacted IR35 equivalent legislation there in a very strong way. It is devastating for the independent contractor sector and is making business far less nimble as a result. Before that I worked in the Netherlands. The same is happening there. This has been happening all across Europe. Why? Because it is EU legislation. Legislation that effects thousands if not hundreds of thousands of self employed professionals in the UK and across the EU. Legislation that wasn't in any manifesto. That has been pushed through. Funny thing is all my German colleagues think is is German legislation, all my Dutch colleagues that it is Dutch, and in the UK for years we have been talking of IR35 as being UK legislation. It isn't. It's legislation we have had to pass to remain in line with EU legislation. A massive change to employment status that didn't appear in any party manifesto. This is a profoundly broken system.
The EU is essentially akin to the world's biggest Quango. They apply the words "democracy" and "democratic process" but as soon as you are voting for people who vote for other people who enact the legislation, you don't have democracy, you have an organisation that is no more democratic than FIFA. Where is the manifesto? Where is the person responsible I can vote out if I don't like what they are doing? Don't say "MEP" the EU has a divide and conquer structural solution to keeping the MEP's in check - it is the Council not the parliament that has the whip hand. I'm not saying our democracy is perfect, but it is one hell of a lot better than this.
Forget all the other arguments, this is why I voted for BREXIT. People are welcome to have other opinions. I just wish people would respect there are good intellectual arguments for it instead of taking this line that Brexiteers must be a bit thick. IMO this is a point of principle far more important than short to medium term economic prosperity.
Re: "deeply flawed."
Agreed. Though it should be noted in this case the researcher himself has acknowedged they are (at least partially) right, there is a flaw in how has interpreted survey data and has said he needs the weekend to rerun the figures.
IMO Uber’s new CEO should be given a bit of a chance as he appears to have far more of a conscience than the previous one. Afterall he has rotten foundations to underpin and replace and that will take some work.
Re: Can't say I'm sorry for the publishers.
@AC asking for evidence. Just google it. Estimates indicate about 61% of all Ad Spend on the Internet Goes to Google and Facebook. Google alone account for about 44% of spend. Google are pushing this because together with Facebook they are a duopoly and can see publishers are stuck in a kind of game theory scenario where individual rational choice is leading to a worse outcome for readers and the web as a whole. Helping reduce bad ad practices will lead to higher revenues. Their action will help in some way to stop publishers crossing over the line into adpocalypse where placing additional banner ads add decreasingly marginal revenue, but where the weight of ads is making the site quality decline (especially as the publisher has no direct control over ad quality, though they can control the quality of where the ads are placed on a site, but not unfortunately, the quality of the code some kinds of ad bring into the site).
I wouldn’t say Google are “helping” the publishers though. The analogy is with the supermarket chains where they say to farmers/producers ok, you need our business and you can only continue with us if you ensure higher quality for the part you control, but the price remains the same. It can be argued this “helps” the consumer and Google, but actually the whole system represents something of an economic trap for publishers. Online publishing is becoming an increasingly low margin business with the competitive choice between medium to low quality Google owned ad feeds or generally worse quality google competitor ad feeds. There are ad networks specialising in the luxury market that don’t fit this simplified model, but at a basic level I think I have presented the market reasonably fairly.
It is important for publishers to stay strong and avoid the ever present gravitational pull of adpocalypse. A bit like with finance/personal loans, the more you are feeling the squeeze, the worse the options become. The Register having found their niche are one of the better examples of how this can be done. John Gruber’s Daring Fireball is an even better example, but done at a smaller scale where the individual (lone publisher) gets much higher margins. But unfortunately these are outliers in a sea of counter-examples
Slight context change there, since this is a tech website and neither of those are technology jobs, though of course it does illustrate that office work is pretty physically undemanding. I would submit however, that if a carer in a geriatric ward is going to be using computing technology, in the future it will be increasingly likely to look more like an iPad than a desktop or laptop computer.