Bill Gates on China

The Financial Times interviewed Bill Gates. The article is a good read, including two interesting responses regarding China.

On the rise of China:

I get just a hint of his politics, however, when we discuss the speed and energy with which China is developing and I suggest that some might find it all a bit scary. The word sets Gates off: “If all you care about is the US or the UK’s relative strength in the world, then it’s particularly scary,” he says laughing sarcastically. “In the US case, 1945 was our relative peak.” Since then, as he points out, other countries from Europe to Asia have rebuilt and become more prosperous, but, says Gates, “I guess I’m just not enough of a nationalist to see it all in negative terms.” On the contrary, Gates is excited by the things that a richer China could bring to the world. “I think it’s good that Chinese scientists are working on cancer drugs, because if my kid got cancer, I wouldn’t look at the label that says ‘made in China’. And, hopefully, we’ll get them working on some of these vaccines and also on energy.”

On China’s impact on the environment:

But Gates is also worried about the environment, so I ask him if the rapid industrialisation of China is a recipe for environmental disaster. Again, his impulse is to look to technology for a solution: “Short of going to war over this issue, the best way would be to find innovative forms of energy generation”. He is excited by solar and nuclear energy, and mocks those who complain about rising Chinese energy use — “I mean, these Chinese are actually using as much energy per capita as the average in the world today, how dare they! How did that happen? The US uses four times the average and the Brits double. But now these Chinese are trying to use the average.”

U.S. appeals court revives antitrust lawsuit against Apple

Reuters reported on U.S. appeals court reviving antitrust lawsuit against Apple.

But if the challenge ultimately succeeds, “the obvious solution is to compel Apple to let people shop for applications wherever they want, which would open the market and help lower prices,” Mark C. Rifkin, an attorney with Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz representing the group of iPhone users, told Reuters in an interview. “The other alternative is for Apple to pay people damages for the higher than competitive prices they’ve had to pay historically because Apple has utilized its monopoly.”

Because $0.99 is too expensive a price to pay for protection against malware and bad apps.

AirPods Have Captured One Quarter of Wireless Headphone Spending Since Launching

MacRumors reported on AirPods capturing one quarter of wireless headphone spending since launching.

In the U.S. last month, an estimated 75% of revenue from headphones sold online came from wireless models, up from 50% in December 2015, according to Slice Intelligence. Apple’s new AirPods led the way, capturing an estimated 26% share of online revenue in the wireless headphone market since launching on December 13.

AirPods stole the top spot from Beats, which took an estimated 15.4% of online revenue in the wireless headphone market, down from 24.1% between the start of 2015 and December 13. Given it owns Beats, Apple appears to have actually taken nearly 40% of online revenue in the market since launching AirPods.

Other than hardcore audiophiles, most users would find wireless headphones a more convenient option. With EarPods so commonly used, the trend would favour a shift to increasing AirPods adoption as users switch to wireless headphones.

Android’s Emoji Problem

Emojipedia wrote about Android’s Emoji Problem.

The Google design team had a head start over Apple in terms of emoji adoption.

Unicode 9 support was first added to Android 7.0 in August, followed by genders and professions which arrived with 7.1 in October 2016. This was some timely updating from Google, especially compared to previous years.

By contrast, iOS didn’t include any new emoji updates until iOS 10 in September. The rest of the new emojis came months later in iOS 10.2 in December 2016.

However, real world usage shows that Android is lagging behind Apple.

Just 4% of Android users are using any variation of 7.x Nougat (released in August-September 2016), resulting in 96 out of 100 Android users not seeing the latest emojis.

In contrast, 84% of iOS users who visited Emojipedia are on iOS 10.

Google’s own statistics on Android version share show worse results with under 1% using Android 7.0 Nougat.

As a result, apps are taking matters into their own hands to make emojis work on Android.

Snapchat, Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and Slack all use emoji-replacement images on Android; in a trend started by Twitter with Twemoji which was released when the most popular browser on Windows (Chrome) didn’t include emoji support.

WhatsApp and Telegram even use Apple’s own emoji images on Android, and makes a custom keyboard to display them

Apple on track to hit $1 trillion in total revenue from iOS by the middle of this year

9to5Mac reported on Apple being on track to hit $1 trillion in total revenue from iOS by the middle of this year.

Last year, some analysts made the unlikely claim that Alphabet or Amazon might beat Apple to be the first trillion-dollar company. Asymco’s Horace Dediu, however, is out today with a new report predicting that Apple will cross the $1 trillion mark this year in terms of revenue generated by iOS, pushing it closer to a $1 trillion market cap.

Icing on the tenth anniversary birthday cake.

Apple sued over fatal ‘FaceTime crash’

BBC News reported on Apple being sued over fatal ‘FaceTime crash’.

The lawsuit alleges that the firm should have introduced a feature that disabled use of the video-chat application while driving.

Does that mean drink-driving offenders should blame the alcohol breweries?

The difference between Google Assistant and Siri

BirchTree reported on the difference between Google Assistant and Siri.

The tech narrative is that Siri sucks and Google Assistant is the second coming. I have been using Siri for years, and have been going 100% in on Android over the last few weeks and have given Google Assistant a solid effort. My experience has been a little different than the popular narrative.

I haven’t tried Google Assistant but Siri is so far good enough for my daily usage.

Apple pulled the New York Times app in China

ReCode reported on Apple pulling the New York Times app in China.

“For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Apple said in a statement. “As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China.”

The New York Times already has its website blocked by Chinese sensors, but a redesigned iOS app allowed customers to bypass the firewall. The New York Times said in its article on the issue that the app will continue to work for those that have it, but that new users will have to find a way to get the app from another country’s App Store (which typically requires having a foreign credit card).

You can’t blame Apple for abiding by local laws. Locals who want access to such information would know how to bypass the firewall. NYT didn’t have to stick it’s head in.

What I learned about my iPhone after switching to the Google Pixel

Khoi Vinh wrote about what he learned about my iPhone after switching to the Google Pixel.

I also discovered something interesting about Google’s much vaunted strength in services: sometimes it’s no better than Apple’s. As an iTunes Match user, I’ve long bemoaned Apple’s inability to make automatic syncing of my music library between devices truly seamless and glitch free. It’s gotten better over the years, but it’s still prone to oddball errors and quirks which, in the past, always made me wish that Google was powering the service instead.

When I got the Pixel I figured I could use Google Play Music syncing for the same purpose—to get the contents of my music library to the Pixel. To my surprise, Google does an even poorer job than Apple. Among the problems I encountered: albums show up in multiple parts; tracks are missing; corrected meta information doesn’t get synced etc. To be fair, Google Play Music syncing is still mostly usable; it just failed to live up to my expectations for Google’s services prowess.

The grass is greener on the other side for some, that is, until they’ve crossed over.

What Super Mario Run would look like as a free to play game

Pocket Gamer on what Super Mario Run would look like as a free to play game.

“Why can’t it be free?” you ask a random passerby on the street. “Pokemon GO was free, so why isn’t Mario?” you scream, while angrily jabbing your finger at a Starbucks employee.

Many don’t realise free games aren’t exactly free.