Daniel Eran Dilger in San Francisco
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Watch out boring iPhone 5: an interesting new phone from Google & Intel!

Daniel Eran Dilger

After the collective media-yawn that greeted what will become the world’s largest consumer electronics launch ever, there’s a flash of new excitement at ZDNet for a phone that won’t sell worth a damn.
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Damn the facts

When you’re fair and balanced in your reporting, sometimes you have to buck against being carried away by popular sentiment or readily observable facts.

What you allow to pique your interest can’t always be newsworthy or actually interesting. Sometimes you have to feign excitement over the mundane to keep things from getting boring.

Such as when you see Microsoft’s latest unimaginative efforts to compete with the iPod, and feel that burning itch with a tingle that tells you that this time, the Zune isn’t going be a PlaysForSure disaster. It’s not even going to compete with PFS, it’s going straight for Apple’s jugular!

Or when you know deep down that Android Honeycomb 3.0 is what people want, not some dumb iPad that can’t even unlock itself when you look into the camera. And that Xoom name has such a familiar ring to it.

ZDNet is now leading us to drink at an “interesting” new waterhole. It’s the Motorola RAZRi, which plainly put, is a contractual obligation Google took on when it bent over backward to get Intel to join the Android party, just because.

Android doesn’t need a new chip architecture, but who cares! The more the merrier in Fragglementation Rock, unless you’re a Chinese distro of Android that threatens to do what I predicted Amazon’s Kindle Fire would do to Android a year ago.

In that case, no means no! You pledged to uphold our version of Android as your lord and savior, so stop associating with those Chinese pagans.

And really, why wouldn’t Google want Intel and its failed mobile chip business under the big tent of Android? What’s the worst that could happen: poor battery life, industry trailing technology and new impediments to software updates given the complexities of yet another chip architecture? Android has dealt with all those things before.

People who buy Android phones don’t expect software updates or battery life anyway, and developers don’t expect an easy path to sustainable profits either. They’re in it for the long term ideological struggle.

Now consider the upside: Intel’s “new” Atom architecture (new to being used by anyone, that is) gives Google critical x86 compatibility, just in case Google needs to port Android to… Windows, apparently.

Now just for a moment I’m going to get serious.

Fearing that my deep layers of sarcasm may be lost on new readers, let me take a breather to state what’s actually happening here in simple terms:

Intel has ruled the PC industry since 1982. Around 1989, Apple joined with Acorn to develop the ARM architecture, which focused Acorn’s existing RISC chip on a highly efficient new design track needed to power mobile devices like the Newton Message Pad Apple then had in development.

Ten years of ignoring the mobile device market later, Intel realized that ARM had literally taken over the low power market for System on Chip components.

Intel has tried to shrink down its x86 chips to work in mobile devices, without much success. The only point in sharing any x86 compatibility with the 1982 IBM PC was to run Microsoft’s DOS and Windows. Apart from the huge economies of scale in the WinTel world, there has never been anything supporting x86 as a technology. It is a liability about as anachronistic and irrational as the QWERTY keyboard layout: an intentionally bad design.

In 2001, Apple began using ARM to power the new iPod. Five years later, Apple joined everyone else in delivering ARM-based smartphones. Then Intel got really worried when Apple looked at, then rejected its Atom mobile x86 chip in favor of a new ARM chip for the iPad.

Thanks to iPad, the economies of scale now dramatically favor ARM, and that slippery slope is just getting steeper as the PC market collapses and the fully emerged mobile market firmly grounds its non-Windows, non-Intel boot in the PC’s face.

Naturally, the most interesting new development in technology should be the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of ARM, such as: Who has invested the most to develop a custom ARM design, What will that new A6 architecture do, When did it become the market leader, Where else is there anything like it, Why isn’t anyone else talking about this, and How did this happen!?

The masses are tired of hearing about Apple

But ZDNet doesn’t have time for relevant, incisive journalism. Besides, say too much about what’s actually happening and readership begins to tire of all this news about how Apple has destroyed every competitor across the technology landscape. Snoozarama.

It’s like trying to teach teenagers about math and science. Booooooring! What they really want to hear is Justin Bieber’s latest song and how to get a buzz from huffing household chemicals. You have to give the people what they want, especially when you’re a journalist, or a teacher. It’s called supply and demand.

And so while Apple’s new custom ARM processors signal a new era where both Intel and Microsoft fail to matter at all, what ZDNet finds most interesting is an old smartphone that arbitrarily runs a 2GHz Intel processor from Intel, which will be sold in a few markets next to an identical model (but with 4G) running a Qualcomm chip. Because people love choices like, “4G or 2GHz?”

Exciting and interesting!!!

And what’s not to love about this phone. First of all, the name: RAZR. Brings to mind Motorola’s former relevance, without actually reminding us that Motorola’s lost reputation was originally based upon a non-smartphone clamshell communicator running a non-Intel chip.

But RAZRi is a modern phone, running the latest Android 4.0 ICS from… oh wait, last October. So it’s like iOS 5.

Also missing from the phone is support for 4G LTE, which Apple just added to iPhone 5. The difference here is that a) Apple added it 2012, while Motorola’s new phone lacks it in 2012 and b) Motorola has made 4G LTE a primary differentiating feature of its phones since early last year.

Motorola launching a new phone without 4G is like Apple launching a new iPhone without Siri or FaceTime, deep in WTF territory. And the new RAZRi can’t support 4G LTE for the same reason the iPhone 5 can: it relies upon that less sophisticated Intel architecture rather than a modern Qualcomm baseband. The price of progress!

So ZDNet was maybe blowing a slight amount of hot air in referring to this new dog as begin a “top end handset” and “at the high end of the smartphone world.”

In fact, it was egregiously lying. This phone exists for no reason other than to suggest, contrary to fact, that Intel’s Atom is relevant in the mobile SoC market. It’s about as ridiculous as Microsoft putting Windows Phone on a Nokia handset just to make it look like it has any remaining standing in the mobile industry.

Now to be fair, I’m not just ridiculing the RAZRi for being less featured than its peers. Apple’s original iPhone similarly shipped without 3G or GPS or MMS or tethering or a camera capable of video capture. And even the latest iPhone 5 trades off some features, such as support for SVDO for talking while using data on Verizon, due to engineering constraints.

The problem with RAZRi isn’t that it lacks features, but that it lacks any reason for existing. While Apple was originally an underdog in the mobile business, it brought to market a completely new experience that compensated for its wireless, camera and other deficiencies. On the new RAZRi, Intel’s only contribution is a deficiency.

Imagine Apple producing a new “iPad-i” fitted with an Intel Atom chip, just to give it a hotter, larger, less efficient brain with a different architecture that kills its potential to transverse LTE networks. All you could positively spout about it would be its faster 2GHz clock (albeit not its actual speed, because the Intel chip is only clocked faster; it doesn’t actually execute code more rapidly).

It would deserve all the mocking it got.

ZDNet has no contempt for the RAZRi however. Instead, it has invented a convoluted explanation as to why Google is only launching the new Motorola handset in Europe. Obviously, it’s because it has no chance at selling in the US because it lacks 4G. The iPhone 4S could, but this is no iPhone; it’s a variant of an existing Motoroal 4G phone (RAZR M), without the 4G and an Intel chip instead.

But according to ZDNet, Google isn’t just dumping the RAZRi in non-LTE markets as a favor (contractual obligation) to Intel’s voicing of support for Android, but rather because Google, as Motorola’s new owner, “has more global reach than Motorola currently enjoys, and Google may just be looking to try new tactics.”

What horseshit.

Right, Google is so international and worldly while Motorola hasn’t ever been outside of Libertyville, Illinois. But wait, didn’t Motorola once own global analog phone handsets? And didn’t the company once sell tons of Linux phones in China before Google even conceived the idea of rebranding Linux as Android?

Motorola didn’t need Google to take it on a field trip to Europe. Intel needed Google’s Motorola unit to launch a phone with an Atom chip in it to suggest to other OEMs that they too could bring Atom-based Android smartphones to market without much effort, and no party involved gave a damn about where the phone might be dumped on the market because everyone involved knew it wouldn’t sell anyway.

So when you say this RAZRi launch is interesting and the iPhone 5 is boring, it really clarifies how completely delusional — or simply dishonest — you have become.

19 comments

1 Raymond { 09.18.12 at 3:57 pm }

So how does this affect app compatibility? I’d assume that apps written for the Dalvik VM are fine, but what about apps that use the Native SDK. I doubt Motorola has implemented a Rosetta style emulation layer.

[I've heard Intel say that "5%" of apps might have problems, but maybe they're including all the wallpapers and ringtones in the full number. I can't imagine that much more than 5% of Google Play apps use any sort of Native APIs, but those apps are also probably the more valuable subset of the Android app library. - Dan]

2 jmfree { 09.18.12 at 4:13 pm }

As a long-term, dedicated, but decidedly former Windows user (and an Android phone customer who suffered through two successive models over a year and a half) all of this reminds me what a clusterfoozle of tech dreck we seem to be emerging from.

I suspect there may be a future that most just won’t see as they steer while looking into the rear view mirror. I am thinking particularly of ZDNet, with its roots in PC Magazine and the happy tinkerer culture of the early personal computer era.

Author Tim Wu argues very persuasively in “The Master Switch” how every emerging technology — even telephony and radio — was first adopted (and more or less controlled) by enthusiastic hobbyists, then gradually became Big Business. Nothing could be more true of computing devices, which now include phones (largely due to a bolt of insight at Apple that they should be computers in your pocket).

So, we have ZDNet still lauding every techie development, no matter how insignificant, and a large swath of the consumer culture still lingering in a hobbyist daydream. Spend all weekend rooting and tweaking your phone? Sure, what could be more important? If you don’t really have the time, you can read about it.

There’s nothing really wrong with this. All the great stuff got started in garages by hobbyist hackers and tweakers, lord knows.

But what we actually have instead is a commentariat and huge technology companies still anchored in a value system that has only a minority appeal. I mean, most people don’t build radio sets anymore. (Do most people even listen to the radio?)

In this way, I see the Wintel duopoly as a kind of hell that Andy Grove and colleagues must be beginning to have some regrets about by now. It used to be interesting when RCA came out with a special tube that reduced interference by thirty percent, and it used to be interesting that a new Intel chip clocked at god knows whatever, and you actually HAD to mess with the Windows registry to turn off stuff that just plain sucked.

Your post reminds me of how so much of the industry can seem trapped in a kind of nostalgia for an era that is quickly passing. And Apple is proving over and over that it has. I think this helps explain a lot of the hostility toward Apple from Android fans who get angry defending its supposedly “open” architecture that you can supposedly hack.

The days are long gone when, as hundreds did, you could operate a radio station at will that covered only your neighborhood. Sure, you can still build radios and fool around. But you’ll never be a player all by your little self.

That kind of realization is overdue for way too many people in our latest and greatest tech revolution.

It is indeed sad, but true. But I’ve recovered a lot of otherwise lost weekends, I can tell you that.

And I’ve stopped listening to the fake Siren call that’s supposed to make me feel like a cutting-edge hackeroo because I own a device that doesn’t actually work.

3 The Mad Hatter { 09.18.12 at 5:17 pm }

Nothing could be more true of computing devices, which now include phones (largely due to a bolt of insight at Apple that they should be computers in your pocket).

Actually it was Palm who first produced a phone that was also a computer. Unfortunately they messed up, and died.

I wonder how much Intel paid Motorola to get this turkey launched?

Wayne

4 string { 09.19.12 at 3:58 am }

Sadly more landfill on it’s way, and they castigate Apple for this.

5 jmfree { 09.19.12 at 6:44 am }

Fret not too much. It appears the consumer press (as opposed to the self-styled hobbyist press) gets it.

Of all papers, the extremely popular U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail has issued its verdict: “Simply the best smartphone ever made.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205040/iPhone-5-review-Simply-best-smartphone-made.html

6 The Mad Hatter { 09.19.12 at 8:03 am }

@jmfree,

Thanks for the Daily Mail link.

Wayne

7 jmfree { 09.19.12 at 7:32 pm }

I just downloaded iOS 6 to my iPhone 4S. (Hey, it’s free.)

And I immediately discovered the little bundle of joy in there called Maps. So I took it out for a spin, literally, with turn-by-turn directions.

I had been using the $50 TomTom iPhone app before this, Google Maps on the iPhone, and way before that Google Maps on my Droid.

Maps is a goddamn joy to use, compared to it all. The UI is beautiful: clear, informative, easy. As the Daily Mail so aptly said (but in a bigger sense), it’s “streets ahead” of the rest. And I’m a delighted customer.

As you drive, the image of your route and surroundings are truly “at a glance”, with a very pleasing 3D look to the drawn map. Buildings to your right and left appear as very translucent forms, and natural landscape appears clearly, all making it effortless to see where you are and where you’re going.

As to where you should go, it counts down by fractions of a mile, then by feet for you to make your next turn. It seems to be accurate down to about 10 or 15 feet.

It displays only the minimal amount of information you need to orient yourself and know what you’re doing. Just the right number of helpful cues pop up as you need them. I’ve never seen a better display for navigation anywhere. TomTom (and every other satnav device) just look like incomprehensible 1980s cartoons by comparison. I think Apple has thoroughly beaten all of them (including Google Maps) hands-down on the aesthetics and enjoyment.

AND it took me the best way to my destination, and the best way back home (the routes I usually have to patiently explain to cab drivers, who are supposed to know better).

When I parked and got out, I looked up a favorite restaurant name and discovered a new location right nearby. I used the walking navigation option to get there. Maps does offer a public transit option, and right now this leads you to a list of public transit apps, many free also. (Integration? Naaah, say the Googlers – never gonna happen!)

While having my meal, I played with the different views. Switching to satellite view anywhere, and then tapping the 3D button, gives a nice 3D-ish view. But the downtown Boston area gets a spectacular “flying” 3D treatment that is a blast. If you don’t want satellite (or the flying view), it’s actually very nice to turn on 3D for the drawn maps too.

One thing I immediately notice (and totally subjective): when zooming in or out in satellite view in particular, Maps fills in MUCH faster than Google Maps ever did on any phone I’ve used. The smoothness and performance of Maps on the 4S is great!

If I search for “coffee shop” or “hair salon” (or apparently anything else), all those businesses pop up right away on the map, and I can tap for turn-by-turn directions.

Here’s the almost hilarious part: after I upgraded to iOS 6, the Maps icon had REPLACED my Google Maps icon. Google Maps was nowhere to be found! When I first opened Maps, it even picked up where I last was in Google Maps — my last search, and recent search history was all right there! I thought I was still in Google Maps for a minute. Bye-bye Google Maps, I guess is that message, eh?

I can imagine muffled screams coming from Larry Page’s office right now. If there aren’t, it’s probably only because he doesn’t understand yet what just happened.

I’ve used it twice, and I already totally love this app for its beauty and simplicity. No going back.

(Wait…Did I mention that it’s FREE? Oh, I did.)

8 kdaeseok { 09.20.12 at 10:02 am }

Is Apple Map actually good in US? I’ve tested it here (in the UK) and it’s utter rubbish. Not the UI not the navigations but the actual map data is really sub-standard with lots of roads missing. And people seem to agree. At least in the UK and in Korea.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/9555177/Apple-criticised-over-new-iPhone-Maps-app.html
I think it’s understandable for now, but it should be updated pretty soon.

9 daryl4d { 09.20.12 at 12:57 pm }

“jmfree { 09.19.12 at 7:32 pm }
I just downloaded iOS 6 to my iPhone 4S. (Hey, it’s free.)
And I immediately discovered the little bundle of joy in there called Maps…..”

Just curious, does the iphone “Maps” provide offline navigation? Or do you need to draw cellular data while using the app? I’m from Canada and often travel to the US for short periods of time, I don’t yet have an iPhone but when I do travel I usually wing it (shut off cellphone but use wi-fi) rather than getting an international plan. I was considering getting the $49. Garmin app in anticipation of getting the iPhone 5 as they claimed it worked without the cellular radios turned on. If Maps works the same way (the data can be downloaded beforehand on wi-fi) then I can’t see a reason for getting the Garmin app.

On a somewhat unrelated topic, I had a friend who bought his kid a iPhone 4S, they went to the US for 3 days and the kid continued to use the phone (he didn’t think of getting an international plan)…. When he returned to Canada he was presented with a $2400. cellphone bill …
Ouch.

10 jmfree { 09.20.12 at 1:34 pm }

daryl4d:

The truthful answer is “What I don’t know about iPhones could fill a blog”. Your question is best left to Daniel’s analysis.

But I think you are describing, for example, what the TomTom iPhone app does that neither Maps or Google Maps can do. So we’re out of luck if we can’t connect to cellular data as we go. (Maybe this is another advantage of the iPhone 5 exchangeable SIM?)

But I think you are bringing up the last big advantage the dedicated satnav device companies have, except they want $ from you for their extra map territories.

I hope DED revisits the Maps topic again soon, especially considering the amount of amateur press being generated over missing or incorrect map data — it’s a VERY pouty crowd out there. One guy in Australia even goes on and on about how, when you search for a city, Maps (gasp!) doesn’t drop the pin into the exact geographic center of the city’s borders! Many screen shots to prove it! Oy.

Condolences to the friend. About 15 years ago, back when little two-person companies still ran local cellular towers and had to feed their kids, I once made a two-minute phone call to someone else about 900 yards away and it cost me $13.

11 jmfree { 09.20.12 at 1:55 pm }

kdaeseok:

To be clear I did not mean to diss your point. The U.K. data may very well be unusable, for all I know.

But, as you point out, I can imagine it getting better quickly. I think the hardest work has already been accomplished (especially UI) and the rest is cleanup.

I recall using turn-by-turn with Google Maps on my second Droid not so many years ago, and it inexplicably ceasing to speak to me on a pretty regular basis, causing more than one missed exit. I’m not at all sure Google Maps V1 would have survived anything like a side-by-side comparison with Maps V1.

So: Apple, do get on it, please.

12 daryl4d { 09.20.12 at 5:45 pm }

when I first read the initial iPhone reports I was somewhat dismayed by the “boring” reviews so I decided to watch the keynote firsthand and I was impressed…. but I still have mixed feeling towards the iPhone 5… I think they could have had everyone yelling “revolutionary” with a few simple tweeks…

First the darkside…
I’ve never owned an iPhone, my experience with iOS is limited to my iPad 2 and 3rd gen iPod Touch. Five months ago I decided that rather than get the iPhone 4S, I would wait for the iPhone 5 (or Windows phone 8 if I didn’t like the new iPhone) so in the meantime I upgraded my old samsung feature phone to an unlocked C2000 Andriod 2.3 chinese KIRF for under $200. . :) Although it had nice specs (4″screen, 8MP camera, 500mb ram, dual sims) it ended up being a piece of garbage, which I only use to make phone calls and text (and it even does that poorly). Just to be fair though, it may not be the operating system, it may have more to do with shoddy hardware that Google has no control over….I mean my iPod3 blows it away with it’s buttery smoothness . As a sidenote, Google recently mentioned they activated 500 million android devices… I wonder how many of these are KIRFs like this one that will find their way to the bottom of people’s desk drawers. Anyways, I didn’t particularly like the form factor of this unit and was hoping the new iPhone would resemble my 3rd gen iPod touch at least in size and weight as it fits perfectly in my pocket and hand… all they would have to do is stretch the screen from 3.5″ to 4″ by reducing the bezel. As it stands, although the iPhone 5 is slighly thinner in depth/width (.9 mm/ 3.2mm less) and slightly lighter (3 grams less), it is quite a bit taller (13.8 mm more) than my Ipod3 so the tall/skinny description given in most reviews seem accurate. Although I’m trying to defer judgement until I try one in my hands, I do prefer the shorter/wider form factor for the same reason Apple didn’t put 16:9 ratio screen on the iPad… it looks and feels better in the hand aka my iPad Touch3. The missed opportunity here was stretchng the screen as much as possible and eliminating the bezel almost completely… for ex. with my iPod Touch3 form factor you could probably tweek a 4.3 screen out of it.

I feel another missed opportunity is the LTE chip… isn’t there a master chip from Qualcomm that provides all LTE frequencies/HSPA/etc on one chip and would eliminate the need for 3 different versions of iPhone 5? Someone commented that what would be the value of buying an unlocked iPhone 5 if you couldn’t move it around to another carrier? And what’s the deal with the Verizon version that won’t do simultaneous voice and data (no checking the net while talking)? I’m in Manitoba, Canada (that’s a central province in case you were wondering) Here we have Bell, Telus and Rogers doing the new iPhone so they will get the At&t version (GSM/HSPA/LTE) so if I buy it and go to the US I have to use At&t (at least I get simultaneous talk/surf)… but I still feel it’s about choice, so the master chip could have put Apple in the revolutionary status, making it a true world phone.

On a completely separate rant, the incumbant cellphone provider in my province, “MTS”, has the most customers and best coverage and best plans (unlimited data for around $50.)… they are upgrading from a CDMA /HSPA network to LTE, and they also have access to the iPhone 5, (as they did to iPhone 4 & 4S) but guess what.?.. visual voicemail does not work on their network!! That’s right, unbelievable. Come on, I love that feature, it is one of the reasons I want to upgrade to the iPhone, this feature is 5 years old… Apple if you’re reading this you have to go in and kick their butts. This is unacceptable. To me, iPhone stands for a uniform experience… how could they let that happen?

Ok, so the other missed feature that is not neccesarily a dealbreaker on the iPhone5 that would be nice to have is the wireless charging. Sure when it came out with the PalmPre it made it abit thicker, but we are now in the 2-3rd generation with this stuff so I don’t believe it would make the phone that much thicker or heavier. And of course the Palm had cool features with this, such as automatically putting the phone into speaker mode when placed on the charging pad, syncing your data, etc. I have an Xlink… I have it linked to my landline and my cellphone thru bluetooth, so when I enter my home my cellphone automatically links to it and all my calls are routed to my landline (including call display)… it’s great because my cell stays in one place and I have 5 cordless extentions around my home so I never have to search for my cell and one of the cordless phones are always nearby. Now you could argue a million reasons why I don’t need such a convenience but I love it. And by extention, I envisioned the new iPhone having wireless charging so that I could just drop it on a “pad” and never have to fiddle with a cord or dock. Eveything wireless and smooth. Again, maybe it’s just me but I like convenience.

Also, I don’t understand why iOS6 doesn’t support wi-fi direct or bluetooth printing. That’s right, I’m the guy who wrote several posts awhile back trying to get my iPad to work with a bluetooth PocketJet Printer… (a 1 lb printer we want to deploy with our sales staff, paired with a tablet) The verdict on this is that it was impossible to get it to work in any configuration on apple devices so we have to go the Windows8 tablet route. And although I need this to work primarily on a tablet, it would be nice to have this function on the iPhone 5 as well to integrate it into our business and allow a uniform experience… I mean it would probably be just adding a few lines of code to make this work. I also was unable to get my iPad to work with 4 other printers that are part of our network even when using apps like PrintCentral (2 of the printers are new) …so I am assuming that it won’t work with the iPhone 5 either….. this is one reason that might sway me to the Windows8 phone camp cause their phones do support printing on most printers (including bluetooth and wi-fi direct).

My final concern with apple is somewhat off topic but I was abit miffed that they didn’t expand the memory in the new iPod Touch to at least 128 GB which I would gladly be willing to pay more for. I do love the features of the new iPod but seriously, my 3rd gen has 64GB and it’s almost full…you can get an iPod classic with 160GB (I’ve seen them up to 240GB)… I need more memory….

OK, so now on the lighter side…
although I would like all the above features to work on the iPhone, none of them are complete dealbreakers. The direction I’m going is to have my cellphone more or less disappear into the background. In a funny way both Google and Microsoft are both headed in this direction… Google with their project glass and windows 8 phones with their live tiles and glaceable information. The way I want to make it happen now is by using the Jabra Stone2 bluetooth headset (the only headset on the market that doesn’t make you look like a dweeb AND it announces calls and allows you to answer with voice control) and the Pebble E-Paper Watch (the kickstarter watch that uses bluetooth 4 to display glanceable info from my cell and to control certain apps). So what I really need is a light phone that will support these technologies and dissappear in my pocket…. I know that iPhone supports both these devices and apparently it’s one of the lightest LTE phones on the market so all is not lost. My other choice, Nokia’s Lumia 920 is quite heavy (73 grams more) taller (6.5mm more), wider (12.2 mm more), and thicker (3.1 mm more) so I’m not sure how nice it will feel in the pocket. … and, oh yeah, it is not presently supported by the Pebble Watch people….

so there you have it.

13 daryl4d { 09.20.12 at 6:12 pm }

jmfree

I recently purchased a Garmin GPS with lifetime map updates (including speed camera warnings, etc) for $130. to take with me on trips… the only reason I am looking at the Garmin app is so I have one less thing to pack. I don’t want to pay for cell data on the go though, so if the Garmin app doesn’t use cell data, I can afford it’s $49. price tag. I called the Garmin hotline and the woman there said she believes the app only uses data if you want live traffic reports… but she wasn’t sure cause she was not familiar with the iPhone 5.

And although my friend is kicking himself (he could have got an international plan for less than $100.) he did argue with the phone company and had his bill reduced to $800. and in his case, lession learned.

14 thyl { 09.21.12 at 1:42 am }

Alright, this intel stuff is boring. So, let’s talk about the A6 you mentioned. Could it be that the real reason for Apple to develop its own CPU be the lightning connector? Could the lightning connector be the output of some kind of “southbridge” that happens to be a downsized Thunderbolt port? Designing their own chip would allow them developping a data path to which the ARM core and the GPU core both had equal access, right? Using one bidirectional channel instead of two would inly require 4 data lines.

15 Zamfield { 09.21.12 at 4:42 am }

Maybe I’m putting myself in the old fart category, but remember when Motorola CPUs used to compete with x86? 68040 anyone? I find it ironic that they are now forced to put an intel chip in a product “just because”. Good article

16 Maniac { 09.21.12 at 11:31 am }

Re: “Imagine Apple producing a new “iPad-i” fitted with an Intel Atom chip, just to give it a hotter, larger, less efficient brain…”

Microsoft is trying that. Surface Pro, with “perimeter venting.” What a fucking joke. Such a dead end.

17 addicted44 { 09.21.12 at 10:17 pm }

An interesting point that goes well with your article, I think. The last successful instruction set architecture that Intel has had was x86. They then had their huge Itanium failure. They sold their ARM chips division right before ARM got popular. Their 64 bit architecture lost out to AMD’s architecture, to the point where al Intel chips are based on the AMD 64 bit instruction set. Atom is way way behind ARM in mobile. So Intel has not been able to establish a platform in decades.

18 berult { 09.23.12 at 11:04 am }

… ‘all rights reserved’, prima ballerina SOC, …’read-between-the-lines’, taunting, no-miss connector, …no-mist, promiscuity pixels, …sound sounds for an hearsay, …maps spinning the wheels on a thoroughbred-in-the-rough axle… 

… “Move along folks…Apple has, particularly this year, …apart from pulling a square peg out of a round hole, nothing but the yawn of ‘post-evolution’ and  ’pre-revolution’ vernacular to say”…

berult

19 daryl4d { 10.08.12 at 11:55 am }

some interesting things have happened over the last few weeks. I came across a friend with an iPhone 3GS and noticed it was very similar in dimension to my iPod Touch3, although the iPhone was abit thicker and heavier. Then I came across my nephew who just bought the iPhone 5 and finally had a first hand feel for the device. Well,  it’s almost the same dimension as my cheap C2000 Andriod 2.3 Chinese kirf (the one I bought to get me thru my 5 month wait for the new iphone) Both have identical 4″ screens and are roughly the same size although the iPhone is lighter and thinner. The thing is, I handed my nephew my iPod Touch 3 and his iPhone 5 back and asked him which one is lighter… ” the iPod” he responded. Wrong, the iPhone 5 is almost 2 grams less, but he was right, the iPod felt lighter. What’s going on here? 

That’s when it occurred to me that Apple already created the perfect dimension for a phone when they designed the original iphone which is very similar to the iPhone 2, 3, 3GS, 4, 4S, iPod Touch 1-2-3… These devices feel good in the hand because of their length/width ratio and that’s why a heavier iPod Touch3 feels lighter than the iPhone 5. Check out this picture of the iPhone 5 and Lumia 920 
http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/25/iphone-5-lumia-920-image-stabilization-face-off/
The lumia looks like a brick and the iPhone looks like a TV remote. I read a review of the iPhone5 the other day that described it as the perfect phone and the reviewer even said “it’s shaped like a TV remote” as if it was a compliment.

So what am I getting at? I’m  starting to feel that Apple dropped the ball here and should have gone the route I suggested earier, to simply keep the same form factor as the iPod Touch3 and stretch the screen to 4″. It would have truly been the perfect phone. Cellphones are basically rectangles, and Apple already discovered the perfect size..something that feels both good in the hand and in the pocket..Now I know that I’m playing armchair engineer here and surely if Apple kept the same industrial design (with the band around phone) and just stretched the screen, then people would yelling that nothing has changed but the screen cause the current design is too close to the last. But I’m guessing that when they designed it they must have been thinking “gee, this band thing around the phone works well, better reception…let’s keep it, yet so the iPhone looks somewhat different let’s make it longer and thinner..people will love it”  

I’m sorry to be the one to stand up and say it isn’t better, especially if you slap a case on it, it ends up even longer. And I’m not a fan of the “ban” design around the phone, sorry.. I don’t like that look or feel. What they needed to do was keep the similar dimension of the iPodTouch3/previous iPhone versions, stretch the screen to 4″ and change the design back to the rounded back but now lighter and thinner with all the new features they brought into the iPhone5 (and throw in wireless charging which would have only added 1-2 grams to the unit).

 So what am I going to do? Well, I’m going to buy the Iphone 5, of course, but I’m going to do it in protest! I have no choice.. it has all the “features” I want (bigger screen, light, LTE, bluetooth4, and it will work with the upcoming Pebble E-Paper Watch I ordered).  My other choice, a Windows8 phone (either the Lumia920 or HTC 8X) does not have bluetooth4 nor will it work with the Pebble watch (I emailed Pebble and they responded “Unfortunately, there is no support planned for Windows Phone at the moment”) So I’ve decided to purchase an unlocked iPhone5, a PONG case and go on a month to month deal thru my local provider… and just pray that by this time next year Apple will finally get it right.

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