#iphone

Craig Mod:

After two and a half years, the GF1 was replaced by the slightly improved Panasonic GX1, which I brought on the six-day Kumano Kodo hike in October. During the trip, I alternated between shooting with it and an iPhone 5. After importing the results into Lightroom, Adobe’s photo-development software, it was difficult to distinguish the GX1’s photos from the iPhone 5’s. (That’s not even the latest iPhone; Austin Mann’s superlative results make it clear that the iPhone 5S operates on an even higher level.) Of course, zooming in and poking around the photos revealed differences: the iPhone 5 doesn’t capture as much highlight detail as the GX1, or handle low light as well, or withstand intense editing, such as drastic changes in exposure. But it seems clear that in a couple of years, with an iPhone 6S in our pockets, it will be nearly impossible to justify taking a dedicated camera on trips like the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage.

I know a lot of people hate this reality. But it is going to be a reality.

Verizon Has A Funny Definition Of “Global”

Yesterday, as I landed in a foreign country, I did my normal routine: switched off airplane mode on my phone, waited for signal to kick in, repeat, repeat, repeat.1 Once I connected, in poured the push notifications, the first of which is usually a text from the foreign carrier I just connected to warning me that I’m roaming and threatening to take my first child for every MB of data used. Yesterday, the message was a little different.

It was actually a text message from my U.S. carrier, Verizon, notifying me to turn data services off or use WiFi to avoid data charges. I thought nothing of this since I had the global data plan already enabled on my phone. Next, in came the foreign carrier text telling me the current take-your-first-child rates: $20.48 per MB of data used. Not even one minute later (I checked the time stamps), a third message came in, this time from Verizon again, alerting me that I’ve “exceeded $50 in global data charges.”

Again, I didn’t think too much of this because I knew my global data plan was enabled. That plan allows you to pay $25 for each 100MB of data usage when traveling abroad — still a rip-off, yes, but a relative steal compared to the aforementioned take-your-first-child rates normally associated with international data roaming. Because I had been in another country a few weeks prior, I thought such a message might just be a residual warning from data usage on that trip.

Nope.

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Paul Thurrott:

By the end of this year, things are looking better, and much better in many countries. Worldwide, Windows Phone commanded 3.6 percent worldwide market share. Still a pittance, you say, and fair enough. But continued year over year growth of over 150 percent helped Windows Phone catapult ahead of Blackberry for good. Indeed, Windows Phone market share is over double that of Blackberry.

Congrats on that, I guess. Some might consider it like winning a race against someone with two broken legs — but, as the Dallas Cowboys have reminded us time and time again this year, a win is a win. 

But this:

And where iPhone commanded a bit under 21 percent market share in 2012, it was down to 12.5 percent in Q3 2013. The distance between Windows Phone and iPhone has been cut dramatically.

Now, Apple will see a temporary one-quarter bump in Q4 because of the iPhone 5S, as is the case each time it launches a new iPhone, and Apple of course performs overly-strongly in just the United States, its richest and home market. But the overall trends are clear: iPhone is sinking as Windows Phone is growing. And if these trends continue, Windows Phone has a chance of catching up to the iPhone in the coming years. This was a fantastical possibility just a year or two ago.

Yeah, I wouldn’t hold my breathe here. Much of what Thurrott touts are Windows Phone’s big gains on a percentage basis. But that’s obviously because they were starting from a position of almost zero. It’s much easier to grow at a near-infinite rate when you’re starting from nothing. (Unless, of course, you count Windows Mobile.)

Kyle Vanhemert spoke with Square’s VP of hardware, Jesse Dorogusker, about their new card reader:

The redesign also gave Dorogusker and company a chance to tweak the feel of the swipe itself, which is a crucial detail that makes the product itself feel trustworthy despite its tininess. By tweaking the design of the spring to which the magnetic read head was attached, the team was able to fine-tune the friction customers feel when swiping their card. At one point in development, they found that the level of contact they needed to successfully transfer data from a card resulted in a swipe that felt too loose. And when the swipe felt too loose, it felt like it wasn’t working, and would thus require another swipe. So they increased the friction above what was actually needed–an adjustment that was overkill from a technical point of view but resulted in a swipe that felt perfect to the hand.

Design is how it works…

Not surprisingly, Dorogusker came to Square from Apple, where he most recently led the development of the Lightning connector.

Such a good response from Brian Barrett to this nonsense the NYT published last week. My favorite part:

It’s annoying that your phone—or more specifically, your phone’s battery, because that seems to be the crux of Rampell’s argument—won’t make it much longer than three, four years tops. It’s also annoying that my car won’t last 300,000 miles. It’s annoying that my knees make a little popping sound when I stand up now. It’s annoying that nothing lasts forever.

Mark Glassman:

As a business unit, the iPad is huge. The device accounted for $31 billion in revenue in Apple’s most recent fiscal year. That’s more than the annual sales of 84 percent of members of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.

It’s easy to cast aside the iPad because the iPhone business is so much larger. But it’s also easy to forget that the iPhone business is one of the best and biggest businesses ever. Period. Bigger than all of Microsoft, for example. But the iPad, at any other company, would be the marquee product. And I’m sure we’ll hear more about that next week.

John Gruber:

When the iPhone 5C came out last month and was not “low cost”, many took it as a sign that Apple was somehow ignoring China. I would say it’s just the opposite: they’re skating to where the puck is heading, not where it is, and positioning their products to thrive as China’s upper class grows.

The most simple observation that as usual, most everyone overlooked.

Darrell Etherington seems to really like the Nintendo 2DS overall, but:

Does that mean they 2DS screens are great? No, and the low resolution relative to today’s modern smartphones and tablets is really beginning to show. Plus, that bottom touchscreen is still resistive, which means that even though it’s tempting to want to tap buttons with your fingers, especially in settings menus, you’ll still need to break out that stylus to get good, consistent results in terms of registering taps.

Both of those things sound inexcusable to me nearly seven years after the capacitive-touch iPhone was unveiled and well over three years since the first retina iPhone launched.