Last Active
  • New York passes functionally toothless Right to Repair bill

    charlesn said:
    "New York passes functionally toothless Right to Repair bill"

    The one minor problem with this headline is that the article which follows completely fails to make the case that the new law is "functionally toothless," and I read it quite closely to try and understand the rationale. The main (only?) complaint seems to be that the bill fails to force companies to sell individual components that may be part of a larger assembly, so a company like Apple could continue selling an entire motherboard "part," instead of selling individual chips on the board.

    That's an unfortunate misinterpretation.  Assembly doesn't mean "board".  Approximately nobody asked for the right to do repairs of individual components on a PCB.  It would be nice, but it isn't particularly practical in most circumstances.  Having schematics where replacement of commodity components on boards is possible would be a good idea, and I wouldn't mind the law requiring that, but the reality is that some chips are manufactured for a specific manufacturer, in exactly the quantities required by that manufacturer, and it would be rather comical to try to force Apple to manufacture a bunch of A15 chips or whatever just in case somebody wanted to replace the CPU without replacing the motherboard.  Exactly nobody will even ask.

    The problem with weakening the bill to allow "assemblies", i.e. parts that are combined together not through soldering/manufacturing processes, but rather through physically plugging things together, screwing them together, using adhesives, etc., is that the bill allows companies like Apple to continue abusively requiring people to buy an entire assembly containing the display fastened to the glass and fingerprint reader and home button for a hundred bucks, rather than requiring them to allow you to heat the glass so that the glue becomes soft, then peel and replace the front glass for a dollar and a half.  It allows them to continue requiring you to buy a new top case with a keyboard and battery attached rather than allowing you to buy just the battery for a fraction of the cost.  And so on.  That is the abuse that this bill was intended to prevent, and it sounds to me like the New York bill no longer does so in any meaningful way, which makes it darn near worthless.

    I would love to see the stats on how many people are actually using Apple's Self Repair service as well as how many of them screwed up devices by tackling a repair for which they didn't have the skills to perform successfully. 

    The number of people replacing their own laptop batteries with third-party batteries rather than buying Apple's overpriced top case is considerable.  The number of people using Apple's self-repair service is probably much smaller, because they massively overcharge for parts so that people will say, "Why bother replacing [part] for $[x] when I can get a whole new phone for $[x * k]?" and then buy a new machine.  First-party repair parts have always been overpriced from most manufacturers, which is why nearly all self-repair happens by buying parts cannibalized from old machines.

    As long as companies are not allowed to use technical measures to prevent consumers from using parts cannibalized from old machines, that will likely continue to be the case.  Whether this bill still protects against that abuse is unclear, depending on how you interpret the changes that protect the company's right to not allow consumers to break security features, and whether that's interpreted to be limited to real security features, such as iCloud-based locking of stolen devices, or interpreted more broadly to include "security" features like pairing of the fingerprint reader with the CPU.

  • Romeo Saber USB-C battery pack capable of providing 87W charging power to 15-inch MacBook ...

    fastasleep said:
    So the article is wrong about getting 87W over USB-C, but you can get it from the “inefficient” AC outlet. 
    Nope.  You'll never be able to produce 87W of output power from a power supply if the inverter only provides 90W on its input.  The conversion would have to be 97% efficient, which is exceptionally unlikely.

    Apple's 87W supply is specified at 1.5A input at 100–240V, so a 120VAC inverter hardware would need to be able to provide at least 180W inrush current briefly, or else you'll blow fuses every time you plug it in.

    Similarly, I suspect it probably draws around 100–110 Watts during worst-case normal operation at 87W.  Either way, I'm sure it's way over 90.  Thus, to use this with Apple's power supply, you would have to either use their 60W AC power supply or use a cable with a lower wattage rating (to force the power supply into 60 W mode).  Either way, you'll be getting 60W, not 87W.

  • Chinese company advertises new Lightning-to-headphone adapters ahead of Apple's 'iPhone 7'

    mac_128 said:
    jonl said:
    What an awful future. Those things have batteries and have to be charged, which sucks for anyone who wants to keep using their current headphones. In addition, how many people who would upgrade from the supplied earpods would consider buying expensive Lightning headphones that work only with iOS devices? Want to use them with other equipment that uses the standard port, including your Mac, or a real stereo? You need a different kind of adapter that requires power. What an awful future.
    No they don't. They don't need to use any more power via the Lightning bus than the built in DAC and amp currently uses.

    and wrong again about buying expensive headphones that only work with iOS devices. If you've been in the market for any headphones, you'd know they all mostly have removable cords now. Demand will not only reduce the price of digital headphones, but combo digital/analogue ports will allow one set of headphones to be used with any device a customer wants with the appropriate cable. 
    First, it does take more power, because the iOS device still has an amplifier and a DAC to drive the internal telephone speaker and the internal speakerphone speaker.  Therefore, you don't save any power by removing the headphone jack at all.  You just add the power consumption of the external device.

    Second, although what you say about removable cords is true only for large Bluetooth headphones.  It isn't true for any of the cheap analog headphones, and more importantly, it isn't true for earbuds, which make up the majority of headphone sales.  The cost of adding digital electronics to earbuds would increase their cost pretty dramatically from an average of $10 per set to probably about $30, without providing any actual benefit for customers.  That sure sounds like "expensive headphones that only work with iOS devices" to me.