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  • Review: Arlo Ultra is a 4K HomeKit-ready smart home camera with endless features

    Review from actual user: 0 out of 5.

    • App is slow and finding useful footage is an exercise in your time and patience. You will have to rewatch the footage at 1x, since skipping doesn't work
    • The cloud service is slow, you'll be waiting for your videos to load every single time.
    • The App maker seems to be unaware of the app-switching bar on iOS, you're just as likely to switch apps as you attempt to scrub footage.
    • The web version of the viewer still runs on flash (seriously) and will not work unless always on the latest version.
    • The detection features are absolutely crud, you'll likely get 3 seconds after the action has begun, a break and then the perpetrator moving away. (Even when on the highest sensitivity with the longest recording options available.)
    • The camera will randomly drop out, I've got 4 it's a game of which one is offline today.
    • Battery life is crap unless you directly connect to AC, in which case the device will randomly reject the AC charger - and it's no longer approved for outdoor use (because it's not water tight and will rust the contacts - This applies to the prior pro models.)
    • The solar panel battery charger is expensive garbage, you'll still be changing batteries regularly unless you live in the Sahara.

    Absolutely DO NOT BUY.

  • France shames Apple for not sacrificing user privacy for COVID-19 app

    Considering how much money France has sought from technology companies with relation to user privacy, I would not be surprised if this request is never granted. 

    It’s stupid to design an app that won’t work on the OS until the OS makes special and compromising allowances for it to run. (All while disregarding the better option being provided by the vendor.)

    Edit: I should add: A global response should not involve custom apps from each country.
    Europe is highly connected, France alone borders 8 countries, and has direct trains to each and the UK, plus flights to a great many more. The idea that individuals passing through each region will need to download a custom app is utterly absurd, and arrogant to the reality of how the virus spread from country to country.
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  • Tile bemoans Apple AirTags launch, raises antitrust concerns

    Tile is such an odd entry into this discourse. Their entire argument seems to be that Apple shouldn't be able to enter a market because they develop the operating system. (Raising the question about every other software and hardware product Apple have.)

    I mean, wouldn't Apple entering the market be *good* for competition. Especially if any company can also make a comparable device under the FindMy framework?

    I think the real issue here is that a lot of people have tried Tile and found it doesn't live up to their advertising, like a lot of BT trackers, they seem to fail at staying connected.

    Also Tile didn't pioneer the field, they weren't even close to being the first. In fact the LE specification for Bluetooth had already earmarked this as a potential use case.
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  • Not every Mac Pro is assembled in Texas

    Talking about the current US administration is irrelevant.

    Tim Cook announced in 2012 Apple's intention to focus additional investment in the USA, at the time that was a $100M contribution, since then there has been an ongoing trend of increasing investment in US production and US-based suppliers. The release of the 2013 mac pro indicates that Apple's investment plans started earlier before the 2012 announcement.

    The narrative that Apple would close their US operations is utterly garbage talk. More inane is the idea that the current administration were somehow keeping them open.
    First it would be a reversal of a multi-year strategy, it would be throwing away investment capital for no reason, it would reduce Apple's ability to deal with change (such as the surprise approach to China undertaken by the current administration), and reduce Apple's ability to manufacture over a period where their computer sales have been increasing. That narrative also relies on the idea that China has unlimited production capacity, they don't - rather the most prudent approach would be for Apple to further diversify their supply chain (SURPRISE, this is what they've been doing for several years now and at significant cost mind you.)
  • Lawsuit claims Apple 'perpetuates' iTunes gift card scams

    There’s quite a few problems with this case:
    - the fault isn’t with Apple, but the concept of payment with gift cards. (Apple is irrelevant as the scam can use any gift card, a bounced cheque, empty prepay Visa card or anything that falsely holds value.)
    - the second is the transference of police or legal powers to Apple. Apple aren’t the government. Fraud must be reported to the police, and from there action taken. Apple can’t oversee or validate the transactions of consenting 3rd parties. 
    - Commerce is based on buyer beware principles, from 2nd hand Apple hardware that doesn’t boot to illegitimate gift cards. There is no reasonable expectation for Apple to track and police the 3rd party resale of their products. 
    - Asking for such accomodations open a reverse scam: where fraudulent sellers merely cancel the cards *after* the sale is made. After all, the seller would have the original receipt from Apple.
    - Finally, individual responsibility and accountability must come into fair balance with what is being requested of Apple. This is what is meant by “life isn’t fair”, if someone scams another, it’s because the victim for their own fault did not make adequate protections(whether through escrow, insurance or vigilance), there isn’t a “fairness fairy” to come and make it all right again.

    While on the topic of buyer beware: don’t buy massively discounted itunes gift store cards from ebay.

    and just as a cherry on top: Apple don’t get “30%”, gift store cards are sold at discount through retail and those cards aren’t free to produce/ship. 
  • Spotify CEO charts path to profitability, challenging Apple Music in interview

    Spotify seem to see two Apple Incs.:

    • One is Apple Inc's as a smaller competitor that they trounce in the market with their larger subscriber base. They use this line when they want to describe how good they are.
    • The other is Apple Inc as a big scary competitor. They use this line when they want governments to give them an artificial advantage over Apple and other smaller players in this market.

    The reality is that despite the fanfare and huge user numbers there is a significant and growing viability problem to Spotify. It doesn't seem to be one that people care to talk about either because somewhere on wall street there is a daydream where Spotify can keep finding new users, or convert free users into full-fee paid users, or put the fees up on paid users without consequence.

    Spotify's own financial results show that their paid users pay only $4 per month on average – this is less than half their monthly asking price, and shows how Spotify are using their dominant position to gobble up the market (dare I say anticompetitive?). Additionally Apple aren't taking significant funds from Spotify as Apple has revealed only a small number of Spotify users subscribe through IAP, and of those that do, none pay more than 15% to Apple.

    So with the Spotify business running with heavy losses due to unsustainable discounting and a growing landscape of competitors offering more than just music - Spotify has a problem, a big fn problem.
    They don't have the resources, expertise or early-advantage to make them a player in other forms of media, and the growing number of competitors means they'll actually have to compete to acquire new users. Interestingly no big players are attempting to buy Spotify either - because they can do basic maths and aren't living the aforementioned 'daydream'.

    So what can Spotify do to fix all of the those heavily discounted premier tiers they have given out?
    • Ask governments for artificial limit smaller competitors (Apple Music, Amazon et. al.) in the market space, so they can continue to acquire the lion share of users.
    • Squeeze music labels and artists on their royalties:

  • KGI: iPhone 7 won't sell as well as the iPhone 6s

    No one will buy the 6s, it's too similar to the 6. No one will buy the 7, it's too similar to the 6s. And yet the most accurate sales guidance has always been from Apple's quarterly meetings... funny that.
  • Disney CEO Bob Iger to step down

    I don't see anything suspicious or surprising here - Last April during Disney's investor day presentations, Iger himself stated that he would step down from Disney once his contract expires in 2021 and that a succession plan was in the works. In times when he had extended his contract he had given the same reason as today: the Fox deal. Choosing now to cede after the Disney+ launch is an entirely logical time to hand over the reins.
  • US appeals court says public has right to sue Apple over App Store exclusivity

    The people who actually want this change:

    •  Crap developers who want to scrounge up as much data from your device as possible in exchange for a "service".
    •  Nefarious developers who make keyloggers, mic/camera wire-taps and data kidnappers.
    •  Grayware manufacturers/resellers
    •  Botnet providers

    People who don't want this change:
    •  All consumers interested in having a functional device.
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  • Germany launches antitrust investigation over App Tracking Transparency [u]

    There is a vocal minority that has been busy trying to frame app tracking transparency as a means for Apple to bolster ads inside the app store, and simultaneously implying that Apple uses data improperly to generate those ads.
    However Apple only produces ads based on what the user specifically searches for, via a typical keyword bidding system. Suggestions are similarly built without peeking on the user outside of the app, such as correlating data sources against the user.

    An important distinction here is that “tracking” ads are not based on what you did inside the app, but instead based on places you may have visited around the internet, your physical location over time, purchases made on entirely different platforms and even the content of your text messages. That is what Google and Facebook do to serve ads and it is done in a measurable way to watch the impact from an ad impression through to an eventual purchase.

    The “windfall” for apple is merely being the only provider of ads inside their own store front. All forms of direct (i.e non-creepy) advertising have seen improvements since the introduction of app tracking transparency.