Dear Singapore govt, please remember the stragglers in the tech revolution

E27 wrote a piece about the seed of the tech revolution.

They are going to ask what the hell a “QR code” is, to which either a customer and or store owner will painstakingly but patiently (good luck finding that) guide them through the steps of downloading the app, linking up their bank accounts, hope to God the phone doesn’t malfunction.

That is the crux of the problem. Are there stragglers in China too? It’s a definite yes. The big difference is how willing people are to help one another in China. Strangers will gladly show you how to operate the apps, not to mention trained staff. They even help others to utilise the apps to make use of vouchers or claim promotions through Alipay or WeChat Pay.

It is not the speed of change. It is how people adapt to change.

‘Arena of Valor’ for iOS

Tools and Toys wrote about ‘Arena of Valor’ for iOS.

After giving it a few hours of play, I can see why AoV was so popular overseas. It’s basically a mobile repackaging of League of Legends — which makes sense, since Tencent owns the company behind that game — meaning that online players select from an almost absurd number of heroes and then face off in a 5v5 format on a three-“lane” battlefield, each team attempting to destroy the other’s turrets and base.

It is not just because it’s a mobile version of LoL, the game is a success in China because gameplay is so simple that the game has such a high penetration among all age groups and has a strong female gamer base. It’s not surprising that 9 out of 10 people you randomly approach would have the game on their phone.

It is very common to walk into cafes or restaurants and see groups of friends teaming up.

Apple faces lawsuits and lukewarm sales forecasts as year comes to a close

E27 published a click-bait post about Apple facing lawsuits and lukewarm sales forecasts as year comes to a close.

The iPhone X may have just been released to much fanfare and adulation, but Apple is already cutting down on production orders in January next year, amid falling demand.

Yon wrote that Apple is cutting down production orders because of falling demand. How does he come to this conclusion?

Several analysts interviewed by Bloomberg have cut their iPhone X shipment projections by five to 10 million. New York-based research firm JL Warren Capital said that the iPhone X’s “high price point and lack of interesting innovations” were to blame for the lukewarm reception.

His claim is based on analysts reviewing their shipment projects, not an actual Apple announcement or even a figure based on the production order. So the analysts are in charge of making Apple’s production orders.

How does he know that reception for the iPhone X has been lukewarm? Because the analysts changed their minds?

The Bloomberg report also stated that Apple has adjusted its sales forecast to 30 million in the first quarter of 2018, down from 50 million. Its sole manufacturing partner for iPhone X, Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, has also ceased recruiting new workers.

Yon refers to the Bloomberg report, saying that Apple has adjusted its sales forecast. But read the Bloomberg article and you’ll realise that it is a claim reported by a Taiwanese newspaper, not an official Apple adjustment.

As for the recruitment of new workers, if you are familiar with the Chinese industry you’ll know that it is extremely hard to hire at this time of the year. Most people are not keen to start a new job so close to Chinese New Year.

They would stay on the current job until the Chinese New Year holidays. It is not strange for a factory to stop hiring if they don’t foresee staff leaving. They have no vacancies to fill.

In China, there has been less social media chatter about iPhone X compared to its predecessors, according to a Reuters report. On Weibo, there were only 4.97 million posts on iPhone compared to iPhone 6’s six million posts.

Does this point to a lack of interest in the iPhone X? Or does this instead point to the shift away from Weibo as a social media platform?

Most people I know are active on WeChat rather than Weibo. WeChat Moments are private posts visible only to your friends. Hence the lack of analysis of social media chatter about iPhone X on WeChat. Likewise for QQ or Qzone, the other social media platform used by most people.

I have followed the growth of E27 as a news portal with great interest because it writes a lot about news in the region.

However, this post has really disappointed me with its ignorance and a lack of effort to research the points covered. Instead, we get a post that throws in click-baiting title and phrases to grab page views.

Low instant noodle sales points to the economic rise of rural China

Business Insider reported that low instant noodle sales points to the economic rise of rural China.

  • China is selling 8 billion fewer packets of instant noodles than it was in 2013.
  • Fewer local migrants from rural China are moving to cities, which is affecting sales.
  • Instead, workers are staying in rural areas of China where annual incomes are rising at a faster rate than in cities.

Fair points but I would say that a bigger factor is the increasing awareness of proper nutrition and diet. People here are very health conscious and particular about the food they eat. Between ordering food delivery and grabbing an instant noodles, the former is deemed a healthier choice.

Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled

Quartz reported that Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers—even when location services are disabled—and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

Quartz observed the data collection occur and contacted Google, which confirmed the practice.

The cell tower addresses have been included in information sent to the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android phones for the past 11 months, according to a Google spokesperson. They were never used or stored, the spokesperson said, and the company is now taking steps to end the practice after being contacted by Quartz. By the end of November, the company said, Android phones will no longer send cell-tower location data to Google, at least as part of this particular service, which consumers cannot disable.

When Apple collected location data locally on the phone, there was a big outcry by the media over it. Let’s see what’s the response regarding Google collecting the data.

It’s time to admit Apple Watch is a success

Rene Ritchie wrote about the unfair treatment of Apple Watch by the tech community.

One of the hits on Apple Watch is that Apple doesn’t break out numbers for the product the way they do for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Many companies provide no numbers on any products, Amazon being a prime example. Yet that hasn’t prevented the very same tech community from pushing a very different narrative around Echo.

Double standards when it comes to Apple.

Yet, the narrative around Apple Watch was so lost that when Google delayed Android Wear 2, vendors like Motorola/Lenovo exited the market, and Pebble sold itself off, hot takes tripped over each other claiming the “smartwatch market” might be dead.

This is similar to the tablet market.

It could be that there is no real “Smartwatch market”, just an Apple Watch market. Much like there’s no real “tablet market”, just an iPad market. Since it’s such a new product category and most of the existing products are still bound to phones, it could also simply be too soon to tell.

Perhaps there isn’t a smartwatch market and Apple is now firmly in the watch market.

A Loose Theory on the Continuing Cooling of iPad Sales

John Gruber wrote a loose theory on the continuing cooling of iPad sales.

The peak years (2013 and 2014) were inflated because it was an untapped market. Steve Jobs was right, there was room for a new device in between a phone and a laptop, and the iPad was and remains an excellent product in that space. But people don’t need to keep buying new iPads. I think the replacement cycle is clearly much more like that of laptops than that of phones. This was not obvious to me at the time, but it seems obvious now.

People use iPhones and iPads differently and the replacement cycle is only starting to emerge after being confounded by the demand after it was released.

Apple’s Q1 2017 Results

John Gruber commented on Apple’s Q1 2017 Results.

Year-over-year unit sale changes, from Apple’s data summary:

  • iPhone up to 78.3 million from 74.8 million.
  • iPad down to 13.1 million from 16.1 million.
  • Mac up slightly, to 5.4 million from 5.3 million.
  • “Services” are up significantly, percentage-wise, to $7.2 billion in revenue, from $6.1 billion a year ago.

iPhone, Mac, and services are strong. iPad sales aren’t a disaster, but continue to slide. The year-over-year revenue numbers are telling (Q1 2017 / Q1 2016, in billions):

  • iPhone: $54.4 / $51.6
  • iPad: $5.5 / $7.1
  • Mac: $7.2 / $6.7
  • Services: $7.2 / 6.1

A year ago, iPad revenue was greater than that from Mac and services. Now, iPad has fallen behind both.

Record quarters revenue.

Xiaomi Stops Disclosing Phone Sales Figures

John Gruber wrote about Xiaomi ceasing disclosure of phone sales figures.

Which companies other than Apple still release their phone sales numbers? Samsung stopped way back in 2011, and as far as I can tell, never started again.

How to avoid criticism of slowing or poor sales? Don’t reveal your sales numbers.

Using the Apple Watch overnight

John Gruber commented on using the Apple Watch overnight.

I think sleep tracking is an inevitable feature for Apple Watch. I’ve been wearing a Series 2 to sleep lately, and I wake up with between 55-65 percent battery remaining. I can usually get to a full charge — or close enough, like say 98 percent — just by charging it while I shower and get dressed. In my use, Series 2 does not need to charge overnight. So it might as well track my sleeping.

I’m using a Series 1 and it goes through the day draining about 80%. From experience, I can fully recharge the watch within an hour and a half. This means it is possible to wear the watch overnight as long as I can find a time slot to allow the watch to recharge before I sleep.