September 17, 2023

Snippet: iPhone Pricing and Inflation ☇

Nick Heer:

I thought this analysis by Wally Nowinski, of PerfectRec, was intriguing, but perhaps not completely convincing. Nowinski says the most recent batch of iPhones are, with the exception of the Pro Max, the “most affordable” iPhones since the product’s launch, when adjusting for inflation, and has the figures to prove it. The data is sound. The point of this is what I did not find as compelling.

For a start, it is purportedly a price comparison of unlocked iPhone models in the United States, which immediately makes it less relevant to me. But it is worth noting that Apple did not sell unlocked iPhones in the U.S. until the iPhone 4 in June 2011 — just before the launch of the iPhone 4S — and that the original iPhone was $499 but only worked with AT&T when it came out.

This is an interesting write-up, as the iPhones have generally stayed about the same price for a long time (with minor fluctuations of $50 and new models adding to the variety). While even $800 is a lot of money to be spending every year for a device, the average person isn’t and these will be good for a few years (my 12 mini is pushing 3, and could go for another year or two easily, save for a battery replacement). In a time when it feels like everyone is raising prices astronomically because “times are hard” and “inflation,” it’s sort of nice that Apple’s iPhone pricing has been fairly consistent.

Fascinatingly enough, the original iMac sold for $1299 in 1998. Twenty-five years later, it’s still the same price.

September 15, 2023

Snippet: The iPhone Mini’s Long Goodbye is Complete — But It’s Not All Bad News ☇

Allison Johnson for The Verge:

The departure of the iPhone Mini was a drawn-out affair that started last year. Apple announced the iPhone 14 series with no successor to the 13 Mini. But the Mini stuck around through most of 2023 with the rest of the 13 series, and it was available new from Apple right up until Tuesday’s iPhone 15 announcement. Without a Mini in the 15 series — no surprise there — and the 13 Mini dropping from Apple’s retail lineup, the small iPhone is now really, truly gone. […]

But have you ever thought to yourself, “Oh no, I forgot my phone,” and then experienced pure joy as you realized that, no, you did not forget your phone — it’s just so small that you couldn’t feel its weight in your pocket or bag. That happens to me over and over when I switch from a big phone back to my iPhone 13 Mini, and it is a thrill.

As a 12 mini user for the past three years, I’ve really enjoyed the size and capabilities of the device with one exception—the battery was just okay to begin with and over time the wear was evident (the replacement battery I got is already starting to show its age, too). Some of this is probably due to being the first iPhone with 5G and that being a battery hog, while also the need for a much smaller battery. The 13 mini rectified some of that and part of me wonders if I should’ve upgraded in 2021. Nonetheless, from a usability standpoint, the minis were delightful and never felt like a weird, bad scale-down of iOS, unlike some of the weirdness of the 6 Plus through 8 Plus models in the past.

Snippet: France Not Happy with iPhone 12 ☇

Elizabeth Pineau and Tassilo Hummel for Reuters:

Apple pledged on Friday to update software on iPhone 12s in France to settle a dispute over radiation levels, but concerns in other European countries signalled it may have to take similar action elsewhere.

France this week suspended sales of iPhone 12 handsets after tests which it said found breaches of radiation exposure limits.

Apple contested the findings, saying the iPhone 12 was certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with global standards, but said on Friday it would issue a software update to accommodate the testing methods used in France.

Apple disputes the watchdog’s conclusions, saying the iPhone 12 was certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with global radiation standards. […]

“We will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators. We look forward to iPhone 12 continuing to be available in France,” Apple said in a statement.

“This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern,” it said.

While I’m all for holding companies accountable if they don’t follow regulatory guidelines, it feels weird that this is an issue now for France. The iPhone 12 has been on the market for almost three years and has just been discontinued. There are certainly concerns with existing devices, especially as the 12 is still a very capable device. Based on the story, it also seems that most other countries are not concerned, so I wonder how much of it is France posturing against Big Tech?

September 6, 2023

Snippet: It’s Official: Cars Are the Worst Product Category We Have Ever Reviewed for Privacy ☇

Jen Caltrider, Misha Rykov and Zoë MacDonald for Mozilla Foundation’s Privacy Not Included (via Dan Gillmor):

Car makers have been bragging about their cars being “computers on wheels” for years to promote their advanced features. However, the conversation about what driving a computer means for its occupants’ privacy hasn’t really caught up. While we worried that our doorbells and watches that connect to the internet might be spying on us, car brands quietly entered the data business by turning their vehicles into powerful data-gobbling machines. Machines that, because of their all those brag-worthy bells and whistles, have an unmatched power to watch, listen, and collect information about what you do and where you go in your car. […]

Nissan earned its second-to-last spot for collecting some of the creepiest categories of data we have ever seen. It’s worth reading the review in full, but you should know it includes your “sexual activity.” Not to be out done, Kia also mentions they can collect information about your “sex life” in their privacy policy. Oh, and six car companies say they can collect your “genetic information” or “genetic characteristics.” Yes, reading car privacy policies is a scary endeavor.

Not to pick on just Nissan and Kia, but all of the brands are creepy and disgusting in their own way and we sort of just allowed it to happen because “your car has an app now!” Although I assumed it was for data-mining, but GM dumping CarPlay makes way more sense now, as that may be the last little corner that a connected car would not have insight into.

August 29, 2023

Snippet: Welcome to Ollie’s Arcade ☇

The Iconfactory’s Ged Maheux:

Relive fond memories of your favorite classic arcade or electronic handheld games with Ollie’s Arcade – a fun collection of retro-styled mini games that are challenging and simple to play.

All of us here at the Iconfactory love the classic video games we played in our youth. Many hours were spent in front of titles like Asteroids, Moon Patrol, and Battlezone, as well as cherished handheld electronic games like Mattel Football, Simon, and Merlin. Ollie’s Arcade recaptures a little bit of this magic and gives players a chance to turn their iPhone or iPad into a retro gaming experience.

Two of the games in Ollie’s Arcade, Ollie Soars and Tranquility Touchdown – started life as simple Easter eggs in Twitterrific. They’ve been polished and improved and we’ve added an all-new game that’s our take on the classic Snake. All of Ollie’s mini-games are easy to learn and designed to be accessible for everyone. You can even play with your favorite game controller or via wireless keyboard.

I’m glad to see Ollie has a new home—the app is a free download and Ollie Soars is included, while Snake and Tranquillity Touchdown are a one-time $1.99 in-app purchase each.