Apple Watch hands-on: the wristwatch just caught up to the 21st century

ABlogtoWatch wrote about the Apple Watch.

The reaction to the Apple Watch among the watch community has been interesting, but not unexpected. In further discussion of how smartwatches will effect the watch industry I asked the question of how screwed the watch industry is because of the Apple Watch here. Aside from denying it “watch status,” they have referred to it as everything from ugly to useless. Once again, this is a sentiment often associated with items that may compete with one’s passion or interests, or when an item or company enters a new space. Skepticism is the norm in such instances and whereas traditional watch lovers have more-or-less ignored most smartwatches to this point, they have given the Apple Watch a huge amount of attention – even if has been both bad and good attention.

Given that the Apple Watch is so highly inspired by traditional watches, I think the reaction to it by the watch lover community is worth noting, though it should be understood for what it is by anyone who views it from the outside. I don’t think anyone in the watch lover community likes or dislikes smartwatches anymore than anyone else, but they are a lot more highly invested in what they are wearing on their wrist already. Apple’s watch, as well as the best that become available from its competitors in the future (mostly will likely run Android Wear), threaten to force a lot of people to potentially make a decision about what is on their wrist. Will people opt for classic design, tradition, style, and collectibility, or will they opt for functionality, connectivity, and convenience in a much more modern package? A lot of watch people at some point soon will face what I call the “Luddite’s dilemma…” stick with what you know and love, or brave the promises of the future, with all its uncertainties and learning curves.

Apple Watch’s real purpose

Kyle Baxter wrote about the Apple Watch.

That is the reason we find ourselves, when we receive a message and pull out our phones to respond, often descending into a muscle memory check of our other iMessages, emails and Twitter stream. We pull out our phone for one purpose, like responding to a message or checking our schedule, and end up spending several mindless minutes (or, if I am honest, more than “several minutes”) checking in on whatever it is. We find ourselves doing this even when we shouldn’t. We do it while seeing friends and family, while out to dinner with them, while at home with family when we should be spending time with them or doing other things.

What Apple Watch can do to overcome this:

But what force taps and the digital crown will not do is make the Watch’s small screen as large as a phone’s. You can’t type out a reply to a message or email. You can’t browse the web for something. You can’t dig through a few months of your email to find a certain one. You can’t mindlessly swipe through Twitter (well, you could, but it’s going to be pretty difficult). That, though, is an advantage the Watch has over the phone. Because it is inherently limited, it also has to be laser-focused on a single purpose, and while using it, you are limited to accomplishing something. It’s a lot harder to lose yourself in a 1.5″ screen than it is in a 4+ inch screen.

That’s going to be one of the Watch’s primary purposes for existing: allowing us to do many of the things we do on our phones right now, but in a way that’s limited and, thus, less distracting. If you’re out to dinner and receive a message (and haven’t turned on Do Not Disturb), you’re going to be a lot less likely to spend a couple minutes on a reply, and then Instagram, if you’re checking and responding it to it on the Watch. It just doesn’t work that way.

Faster horses

Álvaro Serrano wrote about the Henry Ford’s quote and how it applies to Apple.

If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse.

The main lesson behind Ford’s words is that, if you aim to create a revolution, you must be willing to part with the existing preconceptions that are holding your competitors back. Only then will you be able to take a meaningful leap forward. That will surely attract some criticism in the beginning, but once the product manages to stand on its own, people will see it for what it really is.

In retrospect, Apple products are often seen as revolutionary, but only after they’ve gained a foothold in the market and more importantly, in our collective consciousness. Only then, people start seeing them for the revolutionary devices they always were. At the time of their announcement, though, they tend to face strong criticism from people that don’t really understand them. Apple products are usually not terribly concerned with conforming to the status quo and in fact, more often than not they’re actively trying to disrupt it. And that drives some people nuts.

It happened with the iPod:

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

It happened with the iPhone.

That is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine.

It also happened with the iPad.

It’s just a big iPod touch.

The Apple Watch, of course, is no different:

Apple Watch is ugly and boring (and Steve Jobs would have agreed).

The real reason PayPal isn’t an Apple Pay preferred partner

Bank Innovation reported on why PayPal isn’t an Apple Pay preferred partner.

But while these talks were going on, PayPal went ahead and partnered with Samsung on the Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner, a move that was reportedly forced onto PayPal by eBay CEO John Donahoe. PayPal’s now-former president David Marcus was purportedly categorically against the Samsung deal, knowing that it would jeopardize PayPal’s relationship with Apple. Donahoe won the day, however.

Apple was said to be absolutely furious that PayPal did the deal with Samsung, which led Apple to cut PayPal out of the Apple Pay process entirely. (One source said: “Apple kicked them out of the door.”) This dust up with Apple was a big reason that David Marcus ended up leaving PayPal for Facebook.

Huge loss for PayPal.

US law enforcement seeks to halt Apple-Google encryption of mobile data

Bloomberg reported on US law enforcement officials seeking to halt smartphone encryption.

“This is a very bad idea,” said Cathy Lanier, chief of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, in an interview. Smartphone communication is “going to be the preferred method of the pedophile and the criminal. We are going to lose a lot of investigative opportunities.”

There are many other forms of data available for the police even if they are locked out of accessing your mobile phones. And if they really want to, they could brute force and the passcodes. Before making such a fuss about encryption, they should make do something about NSA surveillance, something they seem to be dragging their feet to deal with.

Compromise needed on smartphone encryption?

Washington Post wrote about the need for a compromise on smartphone encryption.

How to resolve this? A police “back door” for all smartphones is undesirable — a back door can and will be exploited by bad guys, too. However, with all their wizardry, perhaps Apple and Google could invent a kind of secure golden key they would retain and use only when a court has approved a search warrant. Ultimately, Congress could act and force the issue, but we’d rather see it resolved in law enforcement collaboration with the manufacturers and in a way that protects all three of the forces at work: technology, privacy and rule of law.

Whoever wrote this piece probably doesn’t grasp cryptography. And believes that chaos will reign if smartphones are encrypted.

The assumption that smartphone makers should provide a back door is flawed. If the police has a warrant to search the house, who should be responsible to unlock the house: the house owner or the company that built the house? Should builders leave a secret door, opened only with a golden key, in every house they construct? Or should the owner be the one who locks the house and chooses whether to open it to the police?

Staggering iPhone 6 reservation numbers defies critics

9to5 Mac reported on the large reservation orders in China for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Yesterday, Chinese iPhone 6 reservations were stated as 2 million in six hours, a rather stunning statistic. Today, an update from the Chinese media press Tencent now says that reservations have topped 4 million. If all these reservations convert into orders, China alone may beat out the iPhone 6’s launch numbers, which — at the time — were considered to be impressive.

As John Gruber pointed out, these figures defies critics who sees only doom and gloom for Apple in China.

“Stocks of the iPhone 6 are way too high right now,” said one wholesaler of smuggled iPhones in Beijing’s northwestern tech hub Zhongguancun.

The smugglers’ experience represents the new reality for Apple in China.

Four years ago, the iPhone 4 was a status symbol, with the black market booming before the product was officially introduced. Today, the iPhone is simply one option among many, as local companies like Xiaomi and Meizu Technology rival Apple in terms of coolness while charging less than half the price.

And the number keeps going up.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 delivers poor graphics performance

Apple Insider reported on the Samsung Galaxy note 4 being outperformed by the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus despite haveing more cores and RAM.

Samsung’s own even-higher resolution Note 4 (or equally high resolution Galaxy S5 flagship) both turn in benchmarks far lower than Apple’s new 6 Plus—and less than half that of last year’s iPhone 5s. In terms of fps, the latest benchmarks show that Samsung’s new Exynos-powered Note 4 drops down to 10.5 fps—almost half that of iPhone 6 Plus— in the same test.

Looking at the fairly decent, low level theoretical scores of the GPUs Samsung uses (combined with much higher clock rates and more RAM), it appears that the company’s devotion to extremely high resolution numbers is a spec list checkmark (rather than a real feature that benefits users) and is a primary contributing reason for poor real life scores in rendering 3D OpenGL scenes.

In other words, the chips Samsung is choosing to use could theoretically match Apple’s latest iPhones if they were not also driving tons of additional pixels that contribute little to no benefit to users. Think of it as a reasonably powerful engine installed into a monster truck with massive wheels it can barely turn.

Unfortunately, there will always be people who blindly chase specs.

Apple Pay: an in-depth look

TUAW wrote about Apple Pay.

Remember that merchants in an Apple Pay transaction never have access to user credit card information and, as a result, users never have to worry about their information being compromised in a security breach. Further, security at the device level is effectively impenetrable as tokens, along with the encrypted keys responsible for the cryptogram, are all securely stored in the Secure Element.

And as an extra security precaution, iPhone owners will have the ability to unlink or temporarily suspend a token connected to a stolen device, thereby rendering Apple Pay inoperable until the device is retrieved.

So while the Apple Pay user experience has been set up to be impressively simple, there are a myriad of complex safety measures at work behind the scenes to help ensure that sensitive user data remains free from prying eyes. The use of token-based payments is something the banks have been pushing for and something the credit card networks are similarly excited for.

I have come across ill-informed people trying to scare others about how insecure Apple Pay is, and some have no idea how Apple Pay works and simply claim it isn’t safe because they think it isn’t. It pays to find out more before passing judgement.

Microsoft sues Samsung for $6.9 million

Recode reported on Microsoft’s lawsuit against Samsung’s breach of contract.

Microsoft’s lawsuit against Samsung was unsealed on Friday, revealing that the software maker believes it is owed $6.9 million in unpaid interest from last year.

Of course, Samsung would not intentionally avoid paying.

A lot is at stake in the case, as is made clear by the details unsealed Friday. Microsoft notes in the suit that Samsung paid it $1 billion last year under the patent agreement.

We already know that Microsoft earns a lot from Android patents.