Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Apple Announcement Day - Fall 2018

I won't bore you with predictions.  There are way too many sites that have a better line on the details and leaks coming from our little Cupertino based company.  I won't speculate on the offerings.

What I will do is editorialize on the death of the sub-$1000 smartphone.  While the iPhone has only been around for about 10 years, the cost of that device has gone up exponentially.  Long gone are the days of subsidized phone plans that made a foray into the smart world economically better than today's market.

You are left with two options - maybe a third:

  1. purchase the phone outright - I did this last year - cost $1200 dollars for the 256 GB iPhone X not including the tax and time spent waiting in line to get it
  2. purchase through an installment plan through cellular provider - not a bad offering, but all it does is spread the same payments out over 12 or 24 months - you will still pay the full retail cost of the phone, just in bite-sized chunks every month
  3. buy a used, older model phone (for a tech guy like me - not an option)
This year will not be any different.  I swore that last year, that the iPhone X would be one of my last smartphones from Apple - given the exorbitant pricing.  The iPhone X costs Apple about $400 to make, but sells for a minimum of $1000.  That is a $600 margin.

Here is a breakdown of the model, costs to manufacture (at the time) and retail cost (at the time) of every iPhone base model:


MODEL DATE BUILD COST RETAIL COST
iPhone Jun-2007 $220 $499
iPhone 3G Jul-2008 $174 $199
iPhone 3GS Jun-2009 $179 $199
iPhone 4 Jun-2010 $187 $199
iPhone 4S Oct-2011 $188 $199
iPhone 5 Sep-2012 $194 $199
iPhone 5C Sep-2013 $173 $99
iPhone 5S Sep-2013 $198 $199
iPhone 6 Sep-2014 $211 $199
iPhone 6+ Sep-2014 ? $299
iPhone 6S Sep-2015 $211 $649
iPhone 6S+ Sep-2015 $236 $749
iPhone SE Mar-2016 $160 $399
iPhone 7 Sep-2016 $224 $649
iPhone 7+ Sep-2016 $277 $769
iPhone 8 Sep-2017 $247 $699
iPhone 8+ Sep-2017 $295 $799
iPhone X Sep-2017 $370 $999
iPhone Xs Sep-2018 ? $999
iPhone Xs Max Sep-2018 $370 $1099
iPhone Xr Sep-2018 $? $749
Take-aways from the above table (data grabbed from IHS over the years) is that Phone subsidies stopped around the iPhone 6/6S time frame.  This started in 2013 and moved through the carriers and by the time the iPhone 7 came around, the entire subsidized market had ended.

Also - The Xs, Xs MAX and Xr were announced today - I put their numbers there... but damn.   The era of sub $1000 smartphones is truly at an end.  There are a few great smaller companies out there making headway and doing some cool things for under $1000 - OnePlus is a great android option, but if you are in the Apple Universe and love that eco-system, you will continue to pony up.

The Apple Watch is a great example of that.

I had the 1 series - passed off to my 13 year old, now.  I have the 3 series with Cellular - paid $429 for that watch last year (Sept 2017).  Series 4 was announced today and the non-Cellular version starts out at $429 - with cellular now ponying up an extra Benjamin for the privilege of using the watch without my phone, which was a valued proposition at $429... but now it is $529!

Needless to say, to refresh my line-up for 2018... will set me back around $1800 or so.  WOW!

What point do I look at the value add and see what makes the best sense.  I think I will update the watch - because the EKG is worth the extra money.  But... the phone... I think I will wait to see the reviews on the camera and the other functions to see if the "S" is valued enough.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Find My Mac - needs to be better than it is

So, I work in I.T. and we constantly are dealing with stolen systems.  I started thinking to myself, why is FIND MY MAC (part of iCloud - Find My iPhone) not a good solution?

It turns out that the security built into the FIND MY IPHONE feature of iCloud that extends to hardware systems isn't as good because it can be circumvented.  Why can't the Macintosh platform contain the same security that our iPhones have.

According to a report by the New York City Police Department on the Thefts and Grand Larcenies involving Apple Devices (since the Activation Lock came into production), thefts have dropped by 19% and GL by 29%.  That is great.  It is working as reported and that report was from October 2014 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2014/09/18/iphone-6-default-kill-switc/).

In fact, CNET (http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/smartphone-thefts-drop-thanks-to-kill-feature/) more recently reported the following:

"The volume of stolen iPhones dropped by 25 percent in New York, by 40 percent in San Francisco and by 50 percent in London over the 12 months after Apple added an Activation Lock to its smartphones"   

So we see it is working great for the iOS platform.  Why isn't it on the Macintosh platform?  It has a FIND MY feature in the iCloud control panel.  But this can be easily bypassed by wiping the system.  

If we can track iPhones, iPads and iPods (Touches), then I say it is time to allow us the option of tracking our Mac's the same way.  While it won't stop a Mac from being wiped or used, it would never FORGET who it is bound too.  Why can't we simply keep that serial number to iCloud association going.

For instance - I have a Mac laptop, it gets stolen.  It was registered to me and bound to my iCloud account.  That system serial number is bound to me.  Now let's further state that this system gets wiped and re-installed with the latest OS.  What is one thing that every Mac does?  It checks for system updates periodically.  Why, at that point, can the check in process for system updates, not include a reference checkpoint to location for the iCloud account.  Furthermore, when someone adds an iCloud account to that Mac, why can't iCloud simply come back and say, "This Macintosh is registered to another account (b*@t*.biz)".

If this was a second hand sale, then, like an iPhone/iPad, it becomes the responsibility of the seller to remove the activation lock on the Mac and also the buyer to verify that the activation lock is clear before purchasing.

Problem solved.  Apple - I am available for hiring!  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Old Poems I dredged up from the internet

STARTUP (2001)

A flick of the switch,
and it pulses to life.

Fans whirling, drives spinning
Electricity Imbimbing.

This is the START & I await the happy computers greeting
will it start, will it stop, will it stall
...stall
...stall

Action, icons appear, bringing form
to microscopic 0's and 1's

So begins the magical dance as
my clicks and drags manipulate

and transform the 0's to 1's and
the 1's to 0's.

Form and function travel in
the ether contained from diode to diode.

Much to small to see,
but it's there. I smell it... I can taste it.

Have you tasted it lately?
You may have and not known it.

I cannot describe it; it changes so fast
... technology
... changes
... everything
...even us.


INSTALLATION (2001)

It comes in a shiny package,
all the cdroms are so bright.

GUARANTEED to make my computer run faster,
or so the marketing team writes.

I rip open the cellophane wrapping,
and I fly high as a kite.

As I extract from the box
a disc and manual, wrapped so tight.

I gleefully place the disc in my computer,
everything seems so right.

After a twenty minute install,
my excitement has reached its height.

I reboot the system,
but all that returns is a small green light.

Now frustrated and hysterical,
I prepare for a technical support fight.

All has not gone as planned and
all is definitely not right.

After three hours with tech support,
I send the software disc on a one-way flight.

As it sails across the room,
trying to escape my sight...

I reflect on the shiny package,
that has made this a hell-of-a-night!