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Comment Hype versus trust (Score 2) 432

Detractors tend to attribute Apples success to "hype," yet there are numerous products that have been heavily promoted and yet failed to sell. Consider Microsoft's "Surface" tablet/netbooks. Remember the ads with music and the acrobatic demonstrations of its clever (and brightly colored) keyboard covers. Brilliant ad, on a par with Apple's best. Yet the Surface tanked (Round two now coming up).

So what is it about Apple? At this point, it's not so much about the hype as about the brand. Most people who use Apple's products appreciate the attention that Apple gives to designing the user experience. It's subtle things like how fast Apple's phones and tablets respond to touch. Apple has built a reputation of only making premium products--no cheap, shoddily built stuff just to build market share. Other companies tend to have some good models and some not-so-good models. You buy Apple, and you know that you are getting a quality product that has been carefully tuned to optimize the user experience. You can trust Apple not to push specs at the expense of battery life, for example. So a lot of people probably ordered a new iPhone just because their old phone was two years old and out of contract, and based upon their previous experience with the company, and they trusted Apple to have something good. And judging from the early reviews, it appears that Apple has delivered once again.

Comment Re:Unfortunately ... (Score 1) 432

Actually, there is no evidence of a trend of losing users. Apple's sales have increased with every iteration of the iPhone. Apple has lost marketshare to Samsung, which is something quite different--it means that Samsung is gaining users even faster than Apple is. But a lot of those phones are low-margin budget phones, sold to people who likely use few of their features, and, more importantly from Apple's perspective, don't buy much in the way of apps, music, books, or video for their phones. With the introduction of the 5c, Apple made its clearest declaration to date that it is not interested in the bottom end of the smartphone market

Comment Re:Feeble minds. (Score 1) 432

The iPhone 5 was competitive at introduction with the fastest phones available (a bit faster on some measures, a bit slower on others). There are some respects in which it is still faster; it's touchscreen response latency is still better than all phones except the iPhone 5s.

But no phone remains the fastest for the full two years of a typical contract...

Comment Re:The problem with selling 5C units is (Score 1) 432

On contract, the cheapest 5c is half the price of the cheapest 5s (or other new generation phones), and while other phones have surpassed it in some respects, it still delivers the full Apple iOS experience. In fact, a recent study found that the iPhone 5 has half the touch screen delay (which is probably the main factor determining the perception of touchphone responsiveness) of the Samsung Galaxy S4 (in fact, even the two-year old iPhone 4s, available free with a contract, beats the Galaxy S4).

Comment Re:Sorry - Apple is still dying. (Score 4, Interesting) 432

Probably the same kind of people who buy Macs, even though Dell computers do the same thing for a fraction of the cost
Or the people who buy a Mercedes Benz, even though a Hyundai does the same thing for a fraction of the cost.

Of course, while all of these products do generally the same thing, the user experience can be quite different for people who notice this sort of thing.
For example, Apple is very concerned about conveying a touch experience that creates the illusion that the user is interacting directly with elements of the display, so Apple puts a lot of effort into minimizing the lag between touch input and response. For example, the previous generation, the iPhone 5, has half the latency of the fastest Android device. And the iPhone 5s is benchmarking twice as fast as the iPhone 5 for some functions.

For some people, this sort of thing makes a big difference. They may not be able to put their finger on it, but they know that Apple's devices are more enjoyable to use than other devices that do the "same thing," just as a Mercedes is more enjoyable to drive than a Hyundai.

But while you'll spend a great deal more for a Mercedes, you can buy the iPhone 5s at nearly the same price as top-of-the-line competitors. This Apple's big achievement with the iPhone, and Apple continues to reap these huge sales numbers year after year--the ability to deliver a premium quality product at a price that is competitive with the knock-offs.

Comment Re:You're missing the point. (Score 1) 481

Yes, I currently don't use a passcode at all, because it is too inconvenient. So I'm not particularly concerned with whether the fingerprint sensor can be broken by somebody who has managed to get hold of my fingerprint and go through the rather elaborate process described--it's still going to be better than no security at all.

Comment Re:What is the point of 64 bit? (Score 1) 773

Samsung is also moving to 64 bit on their phones.

So do you really believe that both companies are going to all of this effort and expense is just for the sake of marketing hype, or is it just possible that the two companies with the most experience with smartphone development know more than you do about the advantages of 64 bit architecture for this type of device?

Comment Re:What is the point of 64 bit? (Score 1) 773

Nobody did market "cores", as in a small number of parts of a GPU.
Here's one example
Here's another.
Here's another
Sure seem to be a lot of nobody's around.

What about a fallacy. Just because they doubled the performance doesn't mean that it's because of 64 bit. It's more likely a better architecture and increased clock speed.

It's more likely the whole combination of features. Apple has gotten very good at optimizing performance for mobile devices by cleverly matching the capabilities of their chips to their software. I doubt if going to 64 bit is solely responsible for the increased performance, but I also doubt if it's irrelevant. A doubling of effective performance is a big change for going from one generation to the next of a chip. Apple certainly didn't double clock speed--that would be too expensive in terms of battery usage.

I think that the notion that 64-bit offers little per formance improvement aside from a larger address space comes from people who are more familiar with PCs, which have loads of RAM to play with. But RAM is power-hungry, so cell phones are RAM-constrained. As a result, cell phones are constantly shuffling data back and forth between RAM and Flash memory, and it needs to do this very fast, because users are impatient with lag in a mobile device. And moving data is one place where wider registers yields a big benefit.

Comment Re:What is the point of 64 bit? (Score 1) 773

Yes, we all know that Apple, like other for-profit companies, is in business to make money. Different companies have different strategies to do that. Apple clearly believes that making premium-quality products will bring them more money. So far, it's been working.

If you've never heard anybody touting the number of cores in their GPU, you haven't been paying attention to marketing of graphics cards. Because graphics calculations are highly parallelizable, and because the parallelizing can be handled by the OS, without requiring extra effort from app developers, GPU performance particularly benefits from a multi-core architecture.

Apple's phones have always exhibited performance that is competitive or better at the time of introduction, and the user experience is always very snappy, with lag nearly absent. Historically, Apple's reports of speed increase over previous generations have proved pretty accurate when people got around to benchmarking them, so it is likely that will prove true once again. A doubling of speed is a quite respectable performance increase over a year. So maybe Apple was not mistaken in thinking that the 64 bit architecture offers real advantages given the design of their phones and iOS. But it required substantial extra investment on Apple's part, because Apple's developer package had to be revised to create 64 bit apps, so that app developers would be able rapidly update their apps to take advantage of the new architecture. If Apple just wanted bragging rights, more processor cores would have been much cheaper.

Comment Re:Security people will actually use (Score 1) 773

You miss the point. This is not for people who are "security conscious." No matter how reliable and secure the fingerprint sensor turns out to be, it is axiomatic that adding a second way of unlocking your phone in addition to the PIN cannot possibly make it more secure than PIN alone. And who is going to trust the fingerprint method without a PIN?

This is for the people who currently aren't using a PIN at all, because it's too inconvenient.

Comment Re:What is the point of 64 bit? (Score 1) 773

With Apple's buying power, they could have any cpu they wanted. If they've chosen this one, it's because they think it has distinct performance advantages for the way their products are used. If anything, Apple has avoided playing the features game, sticking with a dual-core architecture rather than the sexy-sounding quad core. And the general experience of Apple devices is that they are very snappy.

Comment Re:What is the point of 64 bit? (Score 1) 773

It's pretty unlikely that Apple would go to the expense of transitioning to a 64 bit architecture unless it gave them a meaningful performance benefit. Smartphones have relatively small RAM, yet they are expected to respond to user commands nearly instantaneously. It is clear that iOS devices are constantly moving data around to economize on memory space. And moving data around certainly benefits from wider registers.

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