Apple typically sources components from more than one vendor when possible. Sometimes these components result in some performance variation between devices. For example, we had slight differences in CPU performance between Samsung and TSMC chips. We also had differences in storage performance and LCDs properties.
With the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple is sourcing its LTE modem from Qualcomm and Inte,l and it appears there may be some advantages for Qualcomm iPhones. GSM-only devices (AT&T/T-Mobile) utilize an Intel modem and GSM/CDMA (Verizon/Sprint) utilize the Qualcomm modem.
Cellular Insights (via MacRumors):
Both iPhone 7 Plus variants perform similarly in ideal conditions. At -96dBm the Intel variant needed to have Transport Block Size adjusted as BLER well exceeded the 2% threshold. At -105dBm the gap widened to 20%, and at -108dBm to a whopping 75%. As a result of such a huge performance delta between the Intel and Qualcomm powered devices, we purchased another A1784 (AT&T) iPhone 7 Plus, in order to eliminate any possibility of a faulty device. The end result was virtually identical. [...]
At -121dBm, the Intel variant performed more in line with its Qualcomm counterpart. Overall, the average performance delta between the two is in the 30% range in favor of the Qualcomm
Basically it seems the problem is limited to conditions with weaker signals. Even then, it I'm not sure it's that big of a deal. The tests show antenna attenuation with lab conditions, which is interesting, but doesn't necessarily correspond directly to real-world performance. And that's not to say the Intel modem is slow on its own.
So, seems just another tiny detail for people who like to fret over things.
In-App Purchase: Using Apple Pay to buy a $1 million Aston Martin
A 1964 Aston Martin DB5 was recently purchased at auction for over $1 million. The online auction was held with Coys of Kensington, which, using its auction app, accepts Apple Pay as a means of payment.
The rare 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that had gone through a full restoration including an engine rebuild, suspension and gearbox overhaul followed by 20-years in dry storage was sold Vero for a price of £825,000 (~ $1,013,000). The car was a highly-sought after right hand drive silver birch model which had a red leather interior trip (similar to the one on James Bond's movie car).
IBM announces MobileFirst app for K-12 Students, Teachers
The app, IBM Watson Element for Educators, enables a new level of engagement for teachers by providing a holistic view of each student at their fingertips, including data on interests, accomplishments, academic performance, attendance, behaviors and learning activities. As a result, teachers are empowered with data-driven insights to help them address individual needs that can potentially lead to better outcomes throughout student's K-12 learning experiences.
This is the latest collaboration between IBM's enterprise information systems and Apple's expertise in design and leveraging its iOS ecosystem.
Schools have various levels of information systems, but aligning individual needs with interventions, then tracking those efforts, is a challenge. This new product seems to offer up some solutions.
PBS Tesla special available online
Recently dubbed the "patron saint of geeks," Nikola Tesla has had electric cars, rock bands, a unit of measurement, a minor planet and a lunar crater named after him. His exhilarating sense of the future has inspired renewed interest in the man, as his once scoffed-at vision of a world connected by wireless technology has become a reality.
The full episode and bonus material is available at PBS's website.
Virgin America shoe for charity has WiFi, TV
Virgin America designed a one-of-a-kind athletic shoe for a charity auction. The shoe was designed for Soles4Souls that's committed to fighting poverty.
The shoe comes equipped with a mini TV, WiFi hotspot, LED mood lighting, a rechargeable battery, and USB connectivity. The shoe is constructed of Italian leather with an stainless steel airplane seat bucket for laces.
It's currently at the $100,000 mark on Ebay.
Apple partnering with builders for HomeKit
Unlike Google and Amazon, however, Apple isn't hawking hardware meant to connect the home. Instead, the HomeKit app could increase the value of its iOS ecosystem -- and make it tougher for users to switch to Android phones and tablets.
"We want to bring home automation to the mainstream," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of product marketing. "The best place to start is at the beginning, when a house is just being created."
A connected demo house described in the article added about $30,000 to the its price tag. So, going all in will set you back a bit. And then there are the inevitable bugs. And then potential security issues. We enjoy Wemo a lot and have it do practical things, plus it fun messing with the kids. So, I get the draw, but some times you just want stuff to work.
Comcast sued for tacking on fees
Inspired by the banking sector, this misleading practice has now become commonplace in the broadband and cable industry. Whether it's CenturyLink's $2 per month "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" or Fairpoint's $3 per month "Broadband Cost Recovery Fee," these fees are utterly nonsensical, and inarguably false advertising.
And while the FCC can't be bothered to take aim at such misleading business practices, Federal class action lawsuit filed this week in California is trying to hold Comcast accountable for the practice. Plaintiffs from seven states -- including New Jersey, Illinois, California, Washington, Colorado, Florida and Ohio -- have sued Comcast alleging consumer fraud, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and breach of contract.
I also have a shady "regional sports fee" on my bill. Reportedly, this broadcaster fee has risen 333-percent in some markets since instituted three years ago.
Tests suggest 32 GB iPhone 7/7+ slower than 128, 256 GB models
Lew Hilsenteger has a demonstration suggesting that the while the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus finally ditched the 16 GB iPhone, the base model may be lacking in some speed. The write speed on the 256 GB iPhone is about 8-9x faster than the 32 GB.
Some of this could be due to just capacity differences since generally larger capacity drives are faster. It could also simply be the 32 GB model has a less expensive and thus lower performing component.
Is the performance with $100 to upgrade? Unlikely, but still something to consider.
Report: Apple planning dynamic keyboards for laptops
The Wall Street Journal:
Apple Inc. has teamed up with an Australian startup to turn the standard QWERTY keyboard into a blank slate.
The new keyboards will be a standard feature on MacBook laptops, and will be able to display any alphabet, along with an unlimited number of special commands and emojis, people familiar with the plans said.
The report claims this may be in store for 2018, so it's a ways off. The idea seems basically the keys will have programmable displays. The same keyboard could show multiple languages and be configured for special keys.
This could be cool feature, but practical too. For example, like you can get those little sticker sets specific for application shortcuts, here the keyboard could be configured to display these shortcuts when needed. The other big thing could be common commands, such as controlling iTunes, and special characters like emojis.
Macs expected at Apple October 27th event
After launching new iPhones and Apple Watches last month, the Cupertino, California-based technology company is turning its attention to its oldest product category. It currently plans to announce the Mac updates at an event on Oct. 27, according to people familiar with the matter.
Rumors are a major update to the MacBook Pro, updated iMac, and refreshed MacBook Air.