GSM but also frequencies limit movement. I have an iPhone 4 which works fine on AT&T but until recently it wasn't possible to get 3G on T-Mobile. For an old 4 or earlier it may still not be possible and certainly not with the level of coverage that AT&T has. I travel a lot and everywhere I go outside the US I can get a cheap SIM and data plan to run for a month which works with my phone, but in the US it is a chore to find a good deal - I usually manage to find something (expensive but not compared with roaming charges which are something else) but the fact I can't just walk into any old phone shop and buy a SIM for my perfectly good smartphone is vexing. Worse is the issue of coverage since some carriers literally have none in certain areas so although I got my phone onto AT&Ts network last trip, I was in Nebraska for a week and literally had no coverage most of the time. Nothing, not even 2G. 3G was completely missing and 2G only worked in my hotel room. Everywhere else I had no service. Verizon coverage was fine but my phone is GSM and won't work on Verizon. So yes, the US has significant problems which distort the market and don't exist elsewhere.
When you had to have windows and all the software and tools were on windows them they were unassailable. With multiple strong platforms, that monoculture is dying away and that's the real danger for Windows. Sites will continue to use it, but they won't have to so MS will have to compete on merit against alternatives that really can do the job. Sure, the office setting is probably still their strongest area but outside of that, what USP do they have? Oddly enough, Netscape presaged this day 20 years back and MS were scared enough to put all their customers at risk by bolting their own browser into Wndows and making it the defacto standard and cutting everyone else out to protect their monopoly. Windows 8 is just the same play but this time they don't have the dominance in the markets they're trying to shove their product into and everyone wants to have access to their data from all devices so that means the tools chosen can't just be windows tools. Since much of what MS does is so deeply tied to having windows all the way, sites look elsewhere. They need to play nice and be more open, and there are some signs of this but it may take them a long time to become a good citizen and the days of windows everywhere are definitely over.
I've used slider phones, and others with physical keyboards like Nokia and Blackberry. I type faster on my iPhone than on any of those with physical buttons which would be a step backwards. Bigger screens and longer battery life would help but we're in solid evolution territory now. Expecting massive changes in smartphone design seems unrealistic given how well they now work. I've not even bothered to move from my iPhone 4 because the screen, apps and battery life all fit my needs.
I have mod points but what the hell - this is bull. Everyone knew IE wasn't even following the standards of the day. The problem was that MS was busy tying IE and Windows together to migrate one monopoly into another and worse, IIS was serving deliberately broken HTML to make IE appear faster since MS had control of both ends of the equation.
IE was the standard on Windows, and it was even available in Mac and Solaris although those didn't really use the same code base or rendering engine so to say IE was the standard is disingenuous at best because IE on Windows wasn't even compatible with IE on Mac which actually had far better CSS support. Also, lets not forget that before Firefox, there was Mozilla which was the result of Netscape open sourcing Netscape 5 which was in development in the late 90s. Since they pulled a lot of commercial code out of it, the early builds were pretty badly broken but that was all we had on Linux and the web was a mess mainly because of Active X, rather than HTML. And that is where it really comes down to it, you can work around problems with HTML in different browsers, but Active X was an MS only technology developed specifically to do an end run around Java Applets. Both AX and Java Applets were a terrible idea.
Let's look at 2002 or so when IE6 was king of the hill. MS had IE for Mac still but the Solaris port was long gone. Apple looked at Mozilla's Gecko and KDE's KHTML and chose the latter to build a new browser around and they forked it to produce webkit but contributed the changes back as required by the license. In 2003 Safari appeared with OS X Panther and MS threw a shit fit and took their ball home declaring it impossible for them to develop IE on Mac when Apple clearly had info about the platform that would make Safari better (hint MS, only you did that) so the long slow decline of IE started as Apple pushed Webkit forward towards HTML5 standards, Mozilla stripped all the crap (email and news client) and released Firefox and eventually webkit found its way into other browsers, and then dominated tablets. In the end, it is tablets and phones that have proven the undoing of IE because while Firefox and Chrome have done well on Windows, IE is still quite popular, but really people are using desktops less and less and phones and tablets more and more so sites have to work with those and this means the same sites also work well with webkit and gecko based browsers so the thing that kept MS on top is gone.
People knew way back what MS was doing, but managers and developers using MS tools didn't care and so they put out non-standard sites and now that is coming back to bite them. The question is, are we doing it all again with Webkit at the expense of Gecko? Shouldn't MS be claiming to be Webkit rather than Gecko?
"I agree that a TV should not fail after 2.5 years but Samsung's warranty on TVs is for 1 year, similar to all other manufacturers. Name me one TV manufacturer that would fix a 2.5 year old TV for free? You do realize that TVs are deliberately built to last 3 to 5 years? and that it has cost more to repair a TV than buying a new one for the last 10 years or more? and you blame Samsung because you gambled on the manufacturers warranty and lost?"
In New Zealand, we have a little law called "The Consumer Guarantees Act" which means that even if a manufacturer only puts a 1 year guarantee on a TV, it is expected to last a fair and reasonable time for a device costing upwards of $1000 and that means (in the eyes of the law) ten years. We've just had a washing machine and tumble drier from Electroux fail after six years and they tried every trick in the book to avoid fixing it (out of warranty, you'll need to pay for it and we might reimburse you some of the cost, even phoning me directly and hassling me) but I stuck to my guns and dealt with the vendor (you don't have to deal with the manufacturer, just the shop that sold you the device) and I waved the CGA under their nose (Harvey Norman aren't known for following the rules either so know your rights) and after much complaint from them, they complied with the law and fixed both free of charge.
Sure, the shops try everything to avoid following the law, but the law exists and you just have to keep reading the clause that says a device should last a reasonable amount of time. They have to fix it if it is a manufacturing or design fault regardless of the length of their warranty. In the case of my Samsung BD player, the CGA meant that after they tried and failed to fix the player I returned it with a letter stating that I rejected the player and my reasons (Samsung screwed the firmware and haven't fixed it) so the shop happily took the player back and swapped it for a Panasonic of equal value (Noel Leeming in this case, much better than Harvey Norman who I no longer shop from due to their repeated attempts to avoid their CGA duties)
Having bought a few pieces of Samsung gear myself, I'm not in the least surprised. It was a blu ray player that did it for me - they pushed out a firmware update that knocked the sound out of sync and then didn't release a fixed one. Ever as far as I know because I got sick of waiting months and not being able to watch a film so I returned the player, it was replaced with another of the same model which didn't have the audio sync problem until I tried to play a new BD and then it insisted I had to update the firmware and bang, sound was out of sync. I returned the player as unfixable and switched to a Panasonic which has been flawless and continues to get updates despite being four years old now. Samsung doesn't seem to care about their older gear, just the new shiny.
I've used Linux since 1994, and was on SunOS before that so I was very pleased when Mac OS X came out because I could stop using the shabby PC hardware to run Linux and go for an OS that would support all the hardware without fiddling. There were some things that Apple made difficult in the early days (X11, terminals, that sort of thing) but over time, they embraced the UNIX underpinnings and OS X became comfortable to use. I did recently (over the last two years) experiment with having a Windows 7 desktop at home and it has been an unmitigated disaster. Constant security updates, and the OS wines and moans at you. The hardware is powerful, but still Windows 7 struggles. The intrusive security software doesn't help and even with Cygwin installed, it still barely manages to meet my needs. I just switched back to a Mac at home with a little Mac mini running ML which zips along nicely despite actually being less powerful than the PC. Sure, many features in OS X are being pulled over from iOS and I don't like them either, but you can turn off the hiding scroll bars, just don't use the launch pad, and ignore full screen apps. Other than that, it pretty much feels like OS X and everything still works. Apple does respond to feedback (eventually) and I expect some of the horrors like the leather look calendar will be dropped in the next round but overall, it is still the best of the bunch. I have Ubuntu and CentOS running too by the way and if you just want to live in a terminal any of them will be good enough but you just can't beat the combination of Apple hardware (it really is much nicer than the shabby PCs out there unless you spend Apple money) and a fully supported UNIX environment.
The funny thing about ARM is that back in the late 80's and early 90's when the first ARM processors were being shipped, they were going out in desktop machines in the form of the Acorn Archimedes. These were astoundingly fast machines in their day, way quicker than any of the x86 boxes of that era. It took years for x86 to reach performance parity, let alone overtake the ARM chips at this time. I remember using an Acorn R540 workstation in 1991 that was running Acorn's UNIX implementation and this machine was capable of emulating an x86 in software and running Windows 3 just fine, as well as running Acorn's own OS. ARM may not be the powerhouse architecture now, but there is nothing about it that prevents it being so, just current implementations. ARM is a really nice design, very extensible and very RISC (Acorn RISC Machines == ARM in case you didn't know) so Intel may very well find itself in trouble this time around. The platforms that are all up and coming are on ARM now, and as demand for more power increases, the chip design can keep up. Its done it before and those ARM workstations were serious boxes. Heck, MS may even take another stab at Windows and do a full job this time but even if it doesn't, so what? Chromebooks, Linux, maybe even OS X at some point in the future, and Windows becomes a has-been. It is already around only 20% of machines that people access the internet from down from 95% back in 2005.
When I went to school, we were taught about how computers worked, how to do boolean algebra and other logic and we even touched on assembly language. This was in an O level computer science course back in 1982. We used BBC micros which were very powerful and open platforms and you had access to the advanced user guide which gave details of the chipset and registers so you could plug devices into the user port and drive stepper motors to build robots. When PCs replaced the BBC micros, computing in schools switched to teaching kids how to type up essays in Word and do a few bits and pieces in a spreadsheet because that is what computers were used for in the real world. Result, far fewer people got exposed to the internals of computers. MS can shut the hell up since they caused the problems. The best way to solve this is to get kids back onto computers like the Rasberry Pi or if they must have PCs, put Linux on and teach them more than just the bare essentials of office work.
" The theory of evolution isn't "a fact" but it is a general truth which is evolving and growing as our understanding grows."
You should complete this - the theory of evolution is just that, a theory in the scientific sense. It is a theory that has been tested many times and while refined, it has remained and is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, theories in modern science. One of the main things the theory of evolution does is explain how evolution works. Note that evolution itself is an observable fact and the theory is there to describe it and explain how it works. Evolution is in no way a theory, it is a fact. It is important to ensure people understand this. The creationists who want to stop discussion of evolution because "it is just a theory" are unable to provide an alternative theory of Evolution that fits the facts as observed. You cannot ignore evolution as it is all around us.
TL;DR - Evolution is an observed fact. The theory of evolution is our best explanation for how it works.
"But that's bigger than the iPad! Nothing can be different than what Apple does, that is the surest sign of failure. I mean, look what happend to 7" tablets. They did not succeed until Apple made one."
Apple made an 8" tablet, not 7". We've got a Nexus 7 in the office and it has a substantially smaller screen because it has a 16:9 aspect 7" screen whereas the iPad mini is a 4:3 aspect 8" screen.
'"And nothing of value was lost", said everyone at the Microsoft R&D center.'
I don't know, the loss of valuable prototype gear is pretty bad. Good job they can just go back to their prototyping organisation (colloquially known as 'Apple Inc') and get some more. Without these important devices, Microsoft wouldn't know what to do next with their production gear.
I have an iPad and a MacBook Air. The air has 7+ hours battery life in my experience and the iPad around 10. The combination is great since I always have a device with enough charge available and in the right form factor. Putting both into one box and dropping the battery life from a combined 17 hours to under 5 is a real step backwards. If I had to choose one I would go with the air because it isn't much bigger than a tablet and works well.
"if you are in the USA there are lots of apps that do transit on iOS."
I'm sure there are, but here in New Zealand they're pretty awful. Besides which, having Google Maps able to deal with any city is great even when I travel the US since it is all in one app. I've tried the Nokia HERE app but it's public transport directions are dire for me suggesting journeys that will take three buses instead of the one I know I can get and pushing the travel time out to 3 hours.
That said, software gets better over time and as I said, Google Maps wasn't great when it appeared and I believe Apple's Maps app just needs time to improve. As for in car navigation, I use the paid for (ad free) version of Nav Free which uses Google search for POI and address finding and that works really well most times, except in Alabama it would appear. I checked in Street View on Google itself and it really does put my friend's address two miles further down the road than it is. If I didn't have a photo of his house I would have had a hard time finding him at all.
I was a frequent user of MapQuest when Google Maps appeared and for a good while there were glitches with Google Maps just like Apple is experiencing so I stuck with MapQuest. Google Maps are only as good as they are now because of all the time invested but even now they get it wrong. I was visiting a friend in Alabama and Google put his street address two miles away from the actual location.
The major loss with Apple Maps is the lack of public transport directions and for that reason alone, Google Maps needs to return. Until then, my phone is staying on iOS 5.