Start up: the forcePhone, analysts cut Samsung Q2 forecasts, bogus Beats?, the jailbreak economy, and more


Like this (from a MacBook), but in a phone. Photo by LoKan Sardari on Flickr.

A selection of 9 links for you. Use them wisely. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Apple suppliers start making iPhones with Force Touch » Bloomberg Business

Tim Culpan:

Apple has started early production of new iPhone models with a feature called Force Touch, which senses how hard users are pressing down on a screen, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Its newest iPhones, in the same 4.7in and 5.5in versions as the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, will have a similar exterior design, the people said. Volume manufacturing is scheduled to ramp up as soon as next month, they said.

Apple is bringing Force Touch, first unveiled for the Apple Watch and the newest MacBook model, to the iPhone at least two years after it started working with suppliers to perfect the pressure-sensitive displays.

Totally makes sense; why do you think Apple has been making so much noise about this feature on its PCs?


China adds 20 million 4G users in May » Chinadaily.com.cn

Xinhua (the official Chinese news agency):

The number of 4G users in China continued to grow in May, with 20 million added during the period, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Thursday.

There are now 200 million 4G clients in China, as the country steps up investment in the telecom industry to expand broadband coverage. In total, there were 657 million mobile broadband users, including 3G and 4G users, at the end of May.

Even if it’s a some way off, China is still the biggest 4G provider in the world.


Taylor Swift may have triumphed, but Apple will still call the tune » The Guardian

I wrote about the whole Apple/Swift/streaming shenanigans:

Martin Goldschmidt, the founder and chief executive of independent record label Cooking Vinyl, whose artists include Marilyn Manson, Amanda Palmer, Billy Bragg and Groove Armada, says that Swift’s decision could certainly not have been because the video service pays better.

“YouTube has a revenue-sharing scheme from adverts, not per-stream, but compared to Apple or Spotify it pays one-tenth to one-twentieth as much per play,” he says. “People see music on YouTube as promotion – wrongly – and Spotify as the destination, the endgame. The reality is that YouTube is the biggest place for music consumption on the planet.

“The reason is that YouTube has colossal reach. We’re in the strange situation where 10m plays on Spotify is viewed as lost sales, while 10m plays on YouTube is a marketing success.”

It’s often overlooked that YouTube’s ad-supported streaming makes Spotify’s look like chicken feed.


Of Ma and malware: inside China’s iPhone jailbreaking industrial complex » Forbes

Great piece by Thomas Fox-Brewster:

Any hacker who can provide the full code for an untethered jailbreak, where the hack continues to work after the phone reboots, can expect a big pay check for their efforts. “Many experts agree the price for an untethered jailbreak is around $1 million,” says Nikias Bassen, aka Pimskeks, a lanky 33-year-old iOS hacker who is part of the evad3rs hacker collective. More often, sellers of iOS zero-day vulnerabilities – the previously-unknown and unpatched flaws required for jailbreaks – make thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars from Chinese firms, private buyers or governments, in particular three-letter agencies from the US.

Such big sums are on offer due to the explosion of the third-party app store industry in China. There are at least 362 million monthly active mobile app users in China, according to data provided by iResearch. Whilst smartphone owners in Western nations are content within the walled gardens of Apple and Google app stores for their games, media and work tools, the Chinese are fanatical about apps and want the broadest possible choice from non-Apple app stores. Jailbreaks, which do away with Apple’s chains and allow other markets on the device, are thus vital to meeting that demand.

Super-detailed piece, which also points to Alibaba’s involvement in this shady practice.


Google helps British criminals polish their image – but what about the innocent » The Register

Andrew Orlowski:

Just to make sure of Google knew its obligations, the Judges pointed out that information had to be “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” for an applicant to succeed. This would seem to rule out figures in public life wanting details related to their professional lives from succeeding in scrubbing them away … or serious criminals: under UK law, a conviction resulting in a sentence of more than four years is never “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. In serious criminal cases the public interest is unambiguous.

However, someone who has committed no major crime – or merely done something embarrassing – should usually be allowed to have it forgotten at some point rather than having the incident follow them around on the internet forever.

How do ordinary people who have done ordinary things, for whom the law was designed, fare? It’s difficult to say. No deletion requests have been sent to the ICO for the Courts to decide – Google has acted as judge and jury, voluntarily. Google says it has removed 39,000 links and declined to remove 66,000 in the UK. In many cases, academic Julia Powles explained to us, it’s an incidental character such as a witness who actually lodged lodged the request rather than the subject of the story. Requesters are understandably reluctant to attract publicity. Until an academic conducts a credible study.

Yet from the Telegraph and BBC lists, it’s clear that people convicted of serious crimes are getting their reputations cleaned – even if they didn’t request the original deletion. Surely that’s the opposite of what the law intended: Google is rewarding the guilty.


Uh-oh: Beats teardown apparently used Beats knockoffs » Core77

Rain Noe:

The prototype engineer who did the breakdown, Avery Louie, never mentions what model of Beats he tore down. But he refers to the price as $199, which is consistent with Beats’ Solo 2 headphones. However, the color scheme in Louie’s photos doesn’t match the Solo 2 offerings, indicating he used Beats’ discontinued Solo HD, which also retailed for $199. And here’s where it starts to unravel.

Louie found just two drivers, one per ear, in his teardown. But the Solo HD contains four drivers, two per ear. So it appears Louie’s been given a bogus pair.

Entirely possible – wander around Shenzhen and there are “Beats” headphones absolutely everywhere.


Between Kickstarter’s frauds and phenoms live long-delayed projects » Ars Technica

Casey Johnston:

Ethan Mollick, a professor in management at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, does some of the most quoted research on the business of crowdfunding. In a 2013 study, he found that 316 of the 471 successfully funded projects analyzed—all with estimated delivery dates of July 2012 or earlier—promised to deliver a physical product. Only three of those 471 projects had declared failure and offered refunds, while another 11 dropped off the map and stopped responding to their backers. Actual shameless fraud appeared rare.

“The concerns about the ability of projects to deliver, however, are supported,” Mollick wrote. Only 24.9% of the projects analyzed delivered on time, and 33% “had yet to deliver” at the time of analysis. The average delay measured 2.4 months. Projects that raise ten times their goal are half as likely to deliver on time.

Mollick also found a correlation between how much money a project raised and delays: projects that raised under $50,000 had a near-perfect delivery rate after eight months’ delay, while projects that raised more than $50,000 hovered around a 75 percent delivery rate eight months later. According to the New York Times Magazine, Mollick reported that since his 2012 evaluation, another 14 percent of projects had delivered either nothing or a subpar product.

Mollick takes the opposite stance. “I’m impressed so many things get delivered at all,” he told Ars.

Good to have some statistics on this.


The Samsung Galaxy S6 is the world’s fastest smartphone » Tom’s Guide

Sam Rutherford and Alex Cranz:

A fast phone shouldn’t just score well in benchmarks. It should deliver swift, everyday performance, too, whether it’s opening a large file, gaming without lag or firing up its camera faster than you can say “cheese.” We pitted six of the latest smartphones against each other in nine rounds of competition, and the Galaxy S6 blew away the field, finishing first in 6 out of 9 real-world tests and synthetic benchmarks.

The LG G4 is our runner-up, turning in the fastest camera-open time and storage benchmark score. The iPhone 6 finished third, tying for first in our real-world gaming test and second in our PDF load-time score. The biggest letdown was the Nexus 6, which finished fifth overall and dead last in opening our PDF, camera-open and gaming tests.

Turns out there’s barely any difference – could you tell the difference between a camera load time of 52.5 milliseconds v 61.5ms? OK, the Nexus 6 load time of 128ms is a lot more. But many of these are the sorts of “differences that don’t make much difference”.


Estimates of Samsung Electronics’ Q2 profits adjusted downward » BusinessKorea

Cho Jin-young:

Korea Investment & Securities adjusted its forecast downward from 7.717trn won (US$6.957bn) to 7.046trn won (US$6.352bn) on June 24, adding that the profits of every business unit but semiconductors are predicted to fall short of expectations.

[Other analysts cut their forecasts too.] According to financial information provider WISEfn, the average estimate fell from 7.4565trn won (US$6.7222bn) to 7.3488trn won (US$6.6244bn) between late March and early this month, and then to 7.2518trn won (US$6.5376bn) on June 24. As recently as a month ago, Hyundai Securities, IBK Investment & Securities, and HMC Investment & Securities used to expect that it profits would exceed 8trn won.

The drop in estimates can be attributed to sluggish smartphone sales. “It seems that the sales volume of the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge have been less than expected, due to a supply shortage and consumer preference for the iPhone 6,” Mirae Asset Securities explained. Nomura Securities recently lowered its Galaxy S6 shipment estimates for the second quarter by three million to 18m units.

18 million is still a lot.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s