Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Consumer

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  • Mark Thomas,

    I just don't get the fawning adulation over the iJobs

    ha ha. i'm a sceptic too. apple make beautiful products, but i'm wary of the hype. where's the FM radio? that's the second most useful thing on my nokia phone

    baaaaa

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Thom James,

    In the UK, a 16GB iPhone will set you back $450 on a plan that costs around $90 a month on an 18 month contract with unlimited data and wifi, or free on a $200ish a month plan with 3000 minutes.

    Fuck you Vodafone.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Re: Nat's characterisation of offsets: emissions trading is the same, except that in addition to being able to pay people to cart your turds away, you can also pay people not to shit in the first place (whether they will accept depends on whether they can make more money by shitting). At which stage, the metaphor breaks down, because while we all need to shit, we don't need to drive SUVs or produce our electricity by burning coal.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Actually, I believe the total cost of ownership of an Apple computer is less than the equivalent performing Windows based machine. If I weren't at work i'd do some research to back that up.

    Arguable. Certainly for Jo(e) Average home user it's very murky. For corporates with a dedicated IT infrastructure and associated support staff it's a bit more in Apple's favour. Because they (so far) don't get viruses constantly they're more robust and thus present a lower administration overhead. User training is required for Windows power users, no matter what the Cult members would have you believe. You can't just sit down in front of a Mac and be highly productive in Office, as an example, because it's so crazily different. To the point that it drives me spare. I'd rather login to a system with Office 2K3 over Terminal Services than try and figure out some of the crap that goes on with Office for Mac. Admittedly I don't use Office very much, so I don't have the familiarity born of day-by-day usage, but it's still wildly different to Office for Windows. OS X isn't Windows, and it's not Unix. So for users schooled in both it's a nasty in-between place to try and live. Maybe I'm just too difficult to please because I'm a deep geek not just a plebe user?

    Plus, once viruses for Macs start coming out in a big way that TCO will shoot up. AV software, mandatory updates, etc, all the greatest "features" of Windows will happen for OS X.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    FM radio in an mp3 player? What would be the point?

    When you're complaining about the cost of the iPhone please compare it to the cost of Blackberrys and high-range Nokia's because its not that much more expensive, and I would argue has more features - crappy camera or not.

    Its a great (but smallish) iPod, and has the potential to rival the PSP or DS for gaming. Plus if you use it in a wifi hotspot who cares about Vodafone's 3g data pricing?!?!

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    baaaaa

    I think you mean iBaaaaaa ;)

    18 month contract with unlimited data

    I would like to know just how "unlimited" that data actually is. Vodafone NZ used to have a data plan that was "unlimited", but the small print said that usage in excess of 1GB/month would be considered abuse of the network. That plan doesn't exist anymore, it's now the 1GB plan.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    My brother tells people who think apple computers are overpriced to go away and cost the bits. I get the impression this has rendered at least one less complain-y.

    Of course if you don't want the configuration they offer you might have a different perspective.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    FM radio bah! If mobile data was reasonably priced I could listen to bFM over IP. If we had nationwide 3G coverage I could listen to the B in Eketahuna.

    On the luxury good thing, the Cartier is functionally equivalent to a Swatch. A Ferrari is functionally equivalent (more or less) to an $80k Subaru.

    The iPhone price/cost ratio is not so out of line with these things. I reckon fair value (if they really cost USD200 to make) would be NZD600 for the device and NZD30 a month for the plan = NZD1300 per year.
    So something over 5k to be flash..

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    FM radio in an mp3 player? What would be the point?

    for listening to the radio while i walk to/from work. it's weird, but that's what i use my phone for the most (other than making calls!)

    of course, if you had plenty of data allowance, you could listen to web radio

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    That was NZD1300 over 2 years!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Thom James,

    18 month contract with unlimited data

    I would like to know just how "unlimited" that data actually is. Vodafone NZ used to have a data plan that was "unlimited", but the small print said that usage in excess of 1GB/month would be considered abuse of the network. That plan doesn't exist anymore, it's now the 1GB plan.

    Had a good hunt around the O2 site Matthew, unlimited wifi at 9,500 hotspots, though no further details on data caps. Either way, it's a more attractive package than Vodafone's.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    FM radio in an mp3 player? What would be the point?

    You'd have to ask every other MP3 player maker, I guess, coz Apple's the anomaly. I use the radio in my Creative Zen every so often.

    When you're complaining about the cost of the iPhone please compare it to the cost of Blackberrys and high-range Nokia's because its not that much more expensive, and I would argue has more features - crappy camera or not.

    So it has gestures, and works with iTunes. What other features? MMS? Nope. Java-based apps? Nope. Web standards like Flash? Nope. Video calling? Nope. It's pretty, and it's from Apple. Those are its "best" features over the competition. Yes it's at a comparable price to the N95 (and has twice the storage) but it's got a much crappier camera and other than gestures the N95 offers all the features and then some. Oh, and the N95 doesn't do iTunes, but it does to WMA which the iPhone doesn't.

    The only thing the iPhone really has going for it at the top of the price range is its 16GB capacity. Which is good, because you can't add memory cards. Still can't change the battery yourself, either.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Ballantyne,

    OS X isn't Windows, and it's not Unix.

    Yes it is Unix. In the Utilities folder you will find an application called Terminal.

    Plus, once viruses for Macs start coming out in a big way that TCO will shoot up.

    I've been waiting for viruses for Macs to start coming out in a big way since 1984. There was a flutter in the early 90s and then they went away again.

    The camera in the iPhone isn't too bad considering -- I've taken some sharp pictures with it. But all camera phones are shit really; Mind you, I'm spoiled -- I picked up a Kodak DCS 14n on eBay that uses proper Nikon lenses and takes 14 Megapixel pictures. That's not shit.

    The iPhone is beautiful, and beautifully made. And the applications -- I downloaded NetNewsWire and it's fantastic. And there are dozens -- soon hundreds, then thousands -- more to come. Another gravy train is leaving the station and once again I'm not on board...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Re: I/S' shit* comment.

    The problem with ETS (as structured) is that someone can make money with ceasing to shit in our backyard and take that money as part of an investment in an offshore shithole. We essentially pay them to make more shit in a faraway place and pretend that it is not happening.

    The analogy breaks down because shit tends to stay where it was shat. What is needed is to imagine shitting occurs by bending over, touching our toes and firing feaces into the stratosphere - it does not matter that it is happening a long way off, we are all going to be coated unless we figure out how to "shit" less.

    * as analogies go I am not sold on this one, but it sure is visual.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    On the luxury good thing, the Cartier is functionally equivalent to a Swatch. A Ferrari is functionally equivalent (more or less) to an $80k Subaru.

    But they're priced like luxury goods, and compete with luxury goods. The iPhone isn't. It's priced like a business-oriented smart phone, and cannot compete with them on many features. No MMS is just a total head-scratcher. My five-year-old Nokia 6230 does MMS. It's not like it's something new. The Ferrari will do everything that Subaru does (except, probably, cope with being rallied :P), and it'll do it with Italian style, leather interior, and a V10 or V12 burbling away to drown out the noises of the proles around you. The iPhone doesn't do everything the competition does and then some. It's the Ferrari at the 'ru price, but it's missing the gear knob (still got the stick, but nothing atop it) and the leather steering wheel, oh and you can only drive it in forwards, no reverse gear. It's nearly there, but not.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • scottatron,

    As someone who's been using mobile data for 5 years or so now, I just can't get over how little the average cost has changed.

    I'm still paying the exact same amount for 1gb of data as I was paying two years ago, whereas my fixed line data costs/allowance have significantly improved.

    Considering the mobile industry has been waiting for that 'killer app' to get their mainstream customers using mobile data in volumes, I would have hoped that Vodafone might have taken this opportunity with the iPhone to really make it affordable to do so.

    It feels strange to say this, but I'm quite looking forward to Telecom getting their GSM network underway and seeing what kind of improved competition this could bring.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Slevin,

    My real world experience for Macs is that they remain useful working machines for much longer than the equivalent PC. Every Mac I've ever owned I have given away on replacement, given away to someone who makes good use of it, sometimes for years.

    I have an eight year old PowerBook acting as a music server at home - and I can still take it to meetings or on trips - and the last system upgrade (2007) was the first that it wasn't compatible with.

    In fact, every Mac OS upgrade has run faster on the same hardware which I don't think you can say about Windows.

    My 2.5 year old iMac is going to my sister and niece at Christmas and I can see them using it for years.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Web standards like Flash?

    Flash isn't a web standard. I think that MobileSafari or whatever it is called is actually quite good on standards, but I could be wrong.

    You're playing feature check-lists, and that's why you're misunderstanding the appeal of Apple products. The ideal is not to do everything, it's to do the right thing.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Thom James,

    and a V10 or V12 burbling away

    Ooh, going to have to be a total bore & pedant and point out you'd never hear a V10 burbling away in a Ferrari unless you're in an old F1 car.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Slevin,

    As someone who's been using mobile data for 5 years or so now, I just can't get over how little the average cost has changed.

    How much did Vodafone pay for Spectrum in the 3G auction? I'm hazy on the specifics but I suspect shitloads.

    And they were anticipating selling people phones that would do video calling (a service no one was likely to use) but real-world, high bandwidth internet usage was not in their thinking.

    So I suspect they don't really have the capacity yet to allow that many new high demand users. And they've only had about three months since the unilateral announcement from Vodafone parent that the paradigm shift was coming.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    OS X isn't Windows, and it's not Unix.

    Yes it is Unix. In the Utilities folder you will find an application called Terminal.

    I'm a Linux Systems Administrator, so I'm quite familiar with Terminal. Thanks. What I meant by "It's not Unix" (yes, I know about the Open Group certification, too) is that it doesn't behave, and cannot be made to behave, like an X system. You can't do sloppy focus, or copy-on-select, or middle-click-pastes, or any of the stuff that I love about *nix and miss horribly on other platforms.

    Don't get me started on having to reboot for updates, either. They took FreeBSD and slapped all the worst aspects of Windows on top!

    I've been waiting for viruses for Macs to start coming out in a big way since 1984. There was a flutter in the early 90s and then they went away again.

    They'll come. There's a trojan doing the rounds at the moment, apparently. As Macs increase in popularity it becomes more useful to find ways to violate them. Macs are certainly no more secure than Windows, as witnessed by the number and severity of the vulnerability announcements. That means there are ways to exploit them, and now all it needs is people with the resources and inclination to make it so. The Russian underworld surely has both, so I think that this time the threat won't just go away quietly like it has in the past.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    You're playing feature check-lists, and that's why you're misunderstanding the appeal of Apple products. The ideal is not to do everything, it's to do the right thing.

    Of course I'm playing feature check-lists. I've already said I don't follow the Cult of the iJobs, so the Apple mystique gains no brownie points from me. I expect a device to do everything that something of a similar price will do, whether that's a heater, a phone, or a car. I am a consumer goods-manufacturer's worst nightmare, because I don't sway easily on branding or bling.

    Also, how is not supporting MMS "the right thing"? Seriously, it's a long-established standard that you can get in nearly every other phone on the market. I'll accept that a decent camera could be tricky to shoehorn into such a crowded casing, but MMS is just code on the flash disk. Not much code, either, given the constraints of phones when it was first introduced.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Ooh, going to have to be a total bore & pedant and point out you'd never hear a V10 burbling away in a Ferrari unless you're in an old F1 car.

    OK, my bad. I'm much more familiar with Lamborghini's line-up than Ferrari's. A V8 or a V12, then. Happy?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Thom James,

    OK, my bad. I'm much more familiar with Lamborghini's line-up than Ferrari's. A V8 or a V12, then. Happy?

    Very :)

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I've already said I don't follow the Cult of the iJobs, so the Apple mystique gains no brownie points from me

    It helps when you argue against the other person, not Artie MacStrawman.

    Apple has never been strong on the number of features per se, rather being strong on implementing the right features properly, especially with respect to the UI. That's not iJobs cultism, that's basic knowledge of the existence of things like the HIG and Bruce Togazinni's work.

    Of course the iPhone isn't perfect. I don't personally think it's worth the money to me, but people who do aren't all cultists.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

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