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Report: FBI Got Apple to Roll Over on iCloud Encryption
January 23, 2020
Apple shelved plans to give iPhone users control over encrypted backups stored on the company's iCloud service over concerns raised by the FBI and internal sources, according to a report. The company made the decision to retain control over iCloud encryption around two years ago, but it came to light just recently. The plan would have removed Apple's ability to decrypt users' backups.
Apple, DoJ Grapple Over Cracking Terrorist's iPhones
January 15, 2020
Apple and the U.S. Justice Department are at it again. This time it's over cracking a brace of iPhones owned by the Saudi Air Force cadet who killed three sailors in a shooting spree last month at the naval air station in Pensacola, Florida. At a news conference on the findings of an investigation into the incident, U.S. Attorney General William Barr called out Apple for refusing to help the FBI.
2010 - 2019: Product of the Decade
December 30, 2019
As we get to the end of December, I typically pick my product of the year, but this is also the end of the decade, so I'll go back and look at the prior products of the year, name my pick for this year, and then pick my product of the decade. 2010 was an easy choice as the iPad came out and scared the hell out of the entire PC market. Its release made the whole "PC is Dead" thing real.
A Secret Strategy That Could Be Apple's Fatal Self-Inflicted Blow
December 9, 2019
Both Intel and a bunch of professors connected to Apple and the FTC came out in support of the Judge Koh verdict against Qualcomm, even though it had been shown that the foundational evidence was manufactured contrary to the wishes of the DoJ, DoD and other major government agencies. That was well after Qualcomm was identified as a critical part of the U.S. defense against Huawei's 5G dominance.
Demystifying 5G - It's Real and It's Here
November 26, 2019
Every decade the wireless industry transitions to a new cellular technology, and every generation there are doubts about it. This continues with 5G. I have heard from consumers and even people within the industry that there is "no need for 5G," "5G is only for businesses," "5G won't be available until 2025," "mmWave is only for fixed wireless access," and "radiation from mmWave is harmful."
Samsung's Support for Linux on DeX Fizzles
October 22, 2019
Samsung has called quits on its effort to provide a full Linux desktop platform for Android. In an email to beta testers last week, Samsung said it would not support its Linux on DeX beta program for future OS and device releases. Samsung's announcement coincides with Google's release of the Android 10 OS update and its rollout on Samsung phones. Neither company will provide Linux on DeX support.
Google Rolls Out Pixel 4 Phone, Pixelbook, Nest WiFi and Pixel Buds
October 16, 2019
A new flagship smartphone, a slick refresh of Pixelbook Go, some home gadget improvements and a revamp of its wireless earbuds highlighted Google's annual hardware event in New York City. The latest models of Google's flagship smartphone, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, base priced at $799 and $899 respectively, will have wider distribution, as they'll be available from all major U.S. carriers.
Ballmer's Vindication: Microsoft Launches 5 Apple-Killer Surface Products
October 7, 2019
One of the last major initiatives former CEO Steve Ballmer launched before he left Microsoft was its Surface effort. It was designed to address the concern that the iPod would take over the PC world. During the Surface launch last week, it wasn't hard to see that Ballmer was right conceptually. It just took Satya Nadella to execute, showcasing that Ballmer didn't have a strategic problem.
New Surface Line Makes the Earth Move for Microsoft Fans
October 3, 2019
Microsoft has launched a slew of new devices designed to reshape the world: the Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Pro X, Surface Earbuds, and the upcoming Surface Neo and Surface Duo. "The next decade will be about creation, and amplifying what we can do as humans," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft Surface 2019 in New York City.
Xiaomi Unveils Mi 9 Pro 5G and Wraparound-Screen Mi MIX Alpha
September 25, 2019
Xiaomi has introduced a refresh of the Mi 9 Pro with support for 5G and a groundbreaking smartphone with a wraparound display. The Mi 9 Pro 5G, with a base price equivalent to $520, works with 5G offerings of China's three main carriers -- China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom -- and supports speeds from 1.78 Gbps to 2.02 Gbps, or four times the speed of typical 4G services.
iPhone 11: To Upgrade or Not, That's the Question
September 18, 2019
Early reviews on the new iPhone models are appearing, and for owners of older versions of Apple's flagship mobile, an upgrade may be in order. Reviewers had plenty of praise for Apple's more expensive iPhone models -- the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. However, it was the baseline iPhone 11 that came out the clear winner in the kudos game. The iPhone 11 is the lowest-priced of the three new models.
What's Wrong With Apple?
September 16, 2019
Apple held its huge product announcement event last week, and what once had people besides themselves with excitement has become a near pointless program of copied features and missed expectations. It is a shame to watch -- much like it was when Apple fired Steve Jobs. It appears that the firm has forgotten what Steve did to turn Apple into a unique company.
Apple Debuts Triple-Cam iPhone, New iPad, and Aggressively Priced Game and TV Services
September 11, 2019
Apple raised the curtain on its latest iPhone models, introduced a new iPad, refreshed its watch, and announced pricing for its subscription game and premium TV services at an event in Cupertino, California. The highlight of the presentation was the new iPhone lineup: the iPhone 11, the 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 comes in six colors -- black, green, yellow, purple, red and white.
Samsung May Have New Foldable Phone in Wings
September 4, 2019
Samsung's first-generation foldable phone isn't expected until later this month, but reports of a second-generation device to be released in early 2020 already have started appearing online. The next-generation model is rumored to be a luxury phone that folds into a square. Already dubbed the "Galaxy Fold 2" in some reports -- it will have a clamshell design.
Verizon Steps Up Fight Against Rampant Robocalls
August 29, 2019
Verizon, the No. 1 mobile carrier in the United States, this week introduced a free version of its robocall-blocking app, which will be standard on all new Android devices. The company further announced that it will auto-enroll eligible Android users to its Call Filter service and block what are seen as "high-risk" calls. This includes calls from numbers that have been reported as fraudulent.
Apple, Tesla, IBM: Only One Has Gotten the 'Unique' Model Right
August 26, 2019
I'm struck by the way Apple and Tesla are executing a model very similar to IBM's. While IBM has evolved to put the customer at the center always, Apple and Tesla are nuanced in that respect, much like IBM was in the past. I worked at IBM when it imploded in the early 1990s, so I can speak to what is in Apple and Tesla's future unless they learn the easy way what IBM learned the hard way.
Will Consumers Balk at 5G Phone Prices?
August 23, 2019
Consumers could suffer from sticker shock when it comes time to buy a 5G-enabled phone, suggests a new report from IHS Markit, based on a poll conducted in the U.S. Although consumers expect to pay more money for 5G smartphones, the prices may exceed their expectations dramatically, with some devices selling for as much as 29 times more than what the average buyer might anticipate.
Samsung Announces Monster 108MP Smartphone Sensor
August 13, 2019
Samsung and Xiaomi have announced a new sensor for smartphone cameras comparable to those used in high-end DSLR shutterboxes. The new Isocell Bright HMX packs 108 megapixels on a three-quarter-inch sensor, similar to the sensors found in digital cameras that use interchangeable lenses. The new sensor could "enable smartphones to capture images that rival DSLR cameras," said analyst Charles King.
Galaxy Note10 Sharpens Samsung's Mobile Experience Vision
August 8, 2019
Samsung announced new devices and a deepening of its relationship with Microsoft at Samsung Unpacked, which showcased innovative new mobile experiences that work seamlessly and continuously anywhere and anywhen. "The line between work and play has pretty much disappeared, and that means we need technology that can seamlessly flow between the two," said Samsung exec Drew Blackard.
Apple to Jump on 5G Bandwagon in 2020
July 30, 2019
Apple's 2019 crop of iPhones haven't been released yet but there's already talk about its 2020 plans, largely because that will be the first year the company's mobile lineup will support 5G. Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst known for his accurate predictions, believes all three iPhones introduced in 2020 will support 5G. Kuo gave three reasons for Apple's decision.
Qualcomm Gives Speed Boost to New Mobile Gaming Platform
July 16, 2019
Qualcomm Technologies aims to push the speed limits of mobile gaming with the added features in its Snapdragon Mobile Platform. The Snapdragon 855 Plus Mobile Platform, its newest processor, performs graphics functions 15 percent faster. It will show up in new devices later this year. Snapdragon 855 Plus is an update to the flagship Snapdragon 855, released earlier this year.
Anticipating the Merger of Apple and Oracle
July 8, 2019
After reading about the departure of Jony Ive, I'm trying to wrap my head around Apple without a design focus. Now this isn't as hard as you might think, given the last truly successful Apple product came out around a decade ago and was called the "iPad." It is also somewhat ironic that Apple just effectively relaunched the iPod, the product that Steve Jobs rode to Apple's massive success.
China-US Trade Tension Is Causing Irreparable Damage to High-Tech
June 12, 2019
While trade disputes between countries are nothing new and seldom are remembered, the ongoing one between China and the United States may change the course of the electronics industry going forward. In the beginning of the dispute proposed tariffs excluded electronics for the most part. The U.S. even modified some initial proposals to avoid impacting Apple and other U.S. tech companies.
Qualcomm and Huawei: Now Things Are Just Getting Weird
May 27, 2019
Qualcomm just lost its seemingly no-lose case against the FTC, largely because it seems the judge was only physically in the room during the trial. The ruling makes it look like she and I observed very different trials. In addition, the U.S. apparently declared war against Huawei, which actually could benefit Huawei. The result of both efforts effectively could be to give the 5G market to China.
ARM Joins Firms Shunning Huawei's Business
May 23, 2019
British mobile device software design firm ARM has ordered its staff to stop working with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, in compliance with a ban issued by President Trump. Under an executive order he signed last week, foreign companies and individuals are prohibited from buying United States technology and services without first obtaining special approval from the U.S. government.
US Mobile: Another Bait-and-Switch Disappointment
May 16, 2019
I just dumped US Mobile after less than four months, setting a new speed record for hitting my tolerance-for-b.s. ceiling. I'd had high hopes for this relatively new mobile virtual network operator, but it turns out I chose poorly. Switching wireless service providers is one of those things I don't relish doing, but every few years I find that I'm in a one-way relationship with my carrier.
Review Roundup: Pixel 3a Wins Kudos for Cameras, Battery Life, Assistant
May 9, 2019
Google's Pixel 3a smartphone, launched at Google's 2019 I/O developer conference, has wowed reviewers with the quality of its photos and other features, as well as its low price. "I like the direction Google is taking with the 3a," said Ramon Llamas, research director at IDC. "While it removes some of the features and functionalities of its cousins, it still retains the key ones."
Google Showcases AI, Preaches Privacy at I/O Keynote
May 8, 2019
Google showed off its chops in AI and ML, renewed its commitment to giving users greater control over their data, and introduced a new economically priced smartphone during a keynote presentation at its annual I/O conference. "They were there to hammer home the point that when it comes to AI, they are ahead of their peers," said Paul Erickson, a senior analyst at IHS Markit.
Red Flag Flying Over Flagship Phones
May 1, 2019
These could be the worst of times for high-end flagship smartphones. Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Alphabet shareholders that his company's flagship phones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, released last fall, had encountered some "year over year headwinds." Samsung acknowledged that Galaxy S10 sales were being cannibalized by its lower-priced models. Meanwhile, Apple saw iPhone sales plummet.
Consumers Balk at Premium Smartphone Prices
April 26, 2019
Only a fraction of consumers are willing to pay $1,500 or more for a flagship Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphone, suggests an informal ECT News Network survey conducted from April 15 to 22. Fewer than 2 percent of those who took part said they'd be willing to paying such a premium for a handset. New smartphones arrive with almost disturbing regularity.
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How do you feel about government regulation of the U.S. tech industry?
Big tech companies are abusing their monopoly power and must be reined in.
Stronger regulations to protect consumer data definitely are needed.
Regulations stifle innovation and should be kept to the barest minimum.
Over-regulation could give China and other nations an unfair advantage.
Outdated antitrust laws should be updated prior to serious regulatory efforts.
Tech companies should regulate themselves to avoid government intervention.
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