Tag Archives: tax

Tuesday Talk ~ iPhone X or ex iPhone?

(Image from Wired)

iPhone X … I guess I’ve made it pretty clear I think it’s too expensive. Even if the technology it encompasses is worth it, I’m not sure it’s worth paying that much to have that technology. On the bell curve of the law of diminishing returns, I find this is well over the hump, although who knows, if I actually had a play with one, instead of just reading about it, I might think different. (Apple used to come over here and show us such things; this seems to have been suspended or at least curtailed, these days. Having an expert show you how things worked made a huge difference to how tech journalists comprehended, and responded to, its gear.)

I remember back when the iPhone first came out, people were saying ‘that’s a ridiculous amount to pay for a phone’. At the time I sanguinely pointed out that the phone part was almost the least-used part of the device for me. It was a camera, a searcher, a maps provider, a recorder, an email and text communicator … I probably made and took one or two calls a week in those days.
Sure, iPhone X represents another leap forward, but it feels like a leap forward for the select few. Even though I earn good money these days, by my standards, it feels like a leap too far for me.
On the other hand, of course, you need real power to serve AI and VR properly in a convincing manner on a pocketable device. But iPhone 8 ticks these boxes.

However, I haven’t joined the ranks of the haters. Far from it. This group of, essentially, tech biggots likes to proclaim the sky is falling in every time Apple releases a new product. You know how it goes: just because they want something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
But I do feel really critical of Apple’s responses to tax complaints, as I have always made clear, and I feel increasingly critical of the glib Jony Ive, Apple’s rather amazing designer who likes to craft solid gold examples of Apple’s wares for oligarchs. For it looks like Apple is starting to create what appear to me to be Gucci-level geegaws for the ultra rich. We don’t all need or even want a Rolex – I just need a watch to tell me what time it is, actually.
And time is moving along. I feel Apple is skating ever closer to a critical tipping point –once the hoi poloi abandons Apple, a few ultra-rich and sanctimonious tax-avoiding a-holes like U2’s Bono (an Apple favourite, and also implicated in the Paradise Papers) won’t be buying enough Apple products to keep the company afloat.
Tim Cook’s responses that Apple hasn’t done anything ‘illegal’ doesn’t mean Apple hasn’t done anything clearly, and by most people’s standards, immoral.

Apple’s direction looks like it’s increasingly dictated by shareholders. An expensive product gives them higher profit margins.
Taking the vision from the visionaries and handing it to the greedy is a terrible idea, Apple.

Awards for Steve Jobs movie, rise of Apple Music, EU rules against Belgium re Apple, new cameras

Kate Winslet with her award (Image: The Guardian)
Kate Winslet with her award (Image: The Guardian)

Winslet and Sorkin pick up Golden Globes for Steve Jobs — While the Danny Boyle film Steve Jobs hasn’t exactly been a box-office smash, the movie has received critical acclaim since its first showing at the Telluride Film Festival in 2015. Last night, the movie was honoured with two Golden Globe awards.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin decided to show the life of Steve Jobs in three acts: three different product introductions. Sorkin won the Best Screenplay award. Kate Winslet, who played Joanna Hoffman in a highly-fictionalised role (she’s shown as being behind the scenes at all of the product introductions when she was not), won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

Apple Music has over 10 million subscribers — In Midia Research’s Predictions for 2016 report — as noted by Music Business Worldwide last month— music business analyst Mark Mulligan predicted that Apple Music will have nearly 8 million subscribers by year’s end with that number hitting 20 million in 2016.
He noted that Apple’s music service “went from zero to the No.2 streaming service in just months in mid-2015.” Twenty million subscribers still won’t catch Spotify, but will solidify Apple’s runner-up position.

EU ruling against Belgian corporate tax breaks may set precedent for decision on Apple — The European Commission on Monday ruled that Belgium broke state aid rules by offering tax breaks to a number of multinational corporations, 35 of which will have to repay $765 million. Belgium’s practices hurt competition by “putting smaller competitors who are not multinational on an unequal footing,” according to the Commission’s competition policy head, Margrethe Vestager.

The coolest camera gear at CES — This is a Macworld slideshow.

Mac sales and for school, zero day exploit, Finder alternative, Brussels Store, Australian bonds, tax

Mac laptops still rising in sales (image from Apple NZ).
Mac laptops still rising in sales (image from Apple NZ).

Mac laptop sales grow 27% year-over-year in the US consumer retail market — As measured by sales through the US consumer retail market, Mac laptop sales increased 27% year-to-date. Windows notebooks grew 3% during the first half of 2015, according to the NPD group. How to pick the best Mac for school
Whether you’re looking for the best value, ultimate portability, a powerful workhorse, or tablet-based productivity, Macworld suggests solutions.

Italian teen finds two zero-day vulnerabilities in Apple’s OS X
Yosemite — An Italian teenager has found two zero-day vulnerabilities in Apple’s OS X operating system that could be used to gain remote access to a computer. The exploit code works in OS X versions 10.9.5 through 10.10.5. It is fixed in OS X 10.11, the beta version of the next Apple OS nicknamed El Capitan.

Commander is a useful ‘Finder alternative’ for power users — Eltima describes its Commander One as a “Finder alternative.” However, Dennis Sellers describes it more as a handy Finder ‘enhancer’ that’s great for Mac OS X ‘power users’.)

First Belgian Apple Store could sprout in Brussels on September 19th — Apple’s first-ever Belgian store will reportedly open in Brussels on Saturday, September 19, potentially just in time for the release of new iPhones and a new Apple TV.

Apple prepping first Australian dollar-denominated bond offering – report — Apple will reportedly continue to diversify its corporate debt issuance strategy with a new bond denominated in Australian dollars, the company’s latest move to raise debt outside the United States in order to fund its growing capital return program. But … Apple might be ‘named and shamed’ in Australia for avoiding taxes. [Good.]

April Fools, tax, Force Touch, Dolby hire, game surge, world backup day, Nifty extra storage, environment

Lots of new Mac games appeared in March
Lots of new Mac games appeared in March

A quick April Fools’ product roundup — Some of the manufacturers and developers that Apple World Today works with have a good sense of humour, “so we thought we’d share some of their April Fools’ Day goodies.”
[My effort appeared on iStart, insisting Apple was going to patent the letter A.]

UK enacts new tax to cope with companies like Apple, Google diverting profits overseas — A new tax in the UK directly targets companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Google, which have been accused of shifting profits overseas to avoid paying taxes in countries where they nevertheless do business.

Inside Force Touch: Apple’s new ‘force click’ action opens up new possibilities for the Mac — The new Force Touch trackpad found on the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro and upcoming 12-inch MacBook features an entirely new method of input, activated by applying additional pressure to the trackpad. AppleInsider offers a closer look at how force click works, and what new possibilities it opens up for OS X.

Dolby VP Mike Rockwell Jumps Ship for Apple — Apple has yet another new executive on its payroll, and this time it’s Dolby executive vice president Mike Rockwell. He joined Apple in February as a hardware division executive.

A month of Mac gaming to savour — March’s selection of intriguing new releases serves as a testament to how strong Mac gaming has become. It’s a wide selection of experiences spanning a nice array of genres: city building, role-playing, strategy, simulation, action, puzzle, and more. And what’s especially great is that almost every game on this list launched at the same time as on other platforms—waiting for ports is much less of a concern on Mac these days.

Jeff’s Comprehensive Mac Backup Guide — Today is World Backup Day. “My data backup routine is made up of multiple strategies: on sight and off site; hourly and daily. Here’s how it all comes together.”

Nifty MacBook Air drive — Finally, you can add storage to your 13″ MacBook Air without an eye-sore drive tainting your Apple aesthetic. Nifty comes with 4GB of storage, but also lets you slip in your personal micro-SD card to add up to 128GB of space. It blends with your Mac’s colour, texture, and shape so seamlessly, you may just forget it’s there. [Hope it comes to NZ!]

Apple’s Lisa Jackson talks environmental regulations, global carbon footprint at WSJ conference — Apple’s head of environmental efforts, Lisa Jackson, addressed a variety of issues, including the company’s relationship with federal regulators and its global carbon footprint, in a new interview.