Jailbreak

9 04 2014

Many people are talking about restrictions in Apple’s operating system iOS for their mobile devices.

They obviously miss the point that these restrictions are well-considered and part of Apple’s strategy of seamless usage and a perfect user experience within an ecosystem which is developed for serving people.

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What does ‘Jailbreaking’ mean?

iOS jailbreaking is the process of removing the limitations on Apple’s iOS devices through the use of software and hardware exploits; such devices include the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and second-generation Apple TV. Jailbreaking permits root access to the iOS operating system, allowing the download of additional applications, extensions, and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store.

Jailbreaking is a form of privilege escalation. The name refers to breaking the device out of its “jail”. Jailbroken devices can still use the App Store, iTunes, and other normal functions, such as making telephone calls. Many other built-in features are no longer available.
Restoring a device with iTunes or iCloud removes the jailbreak.

Jailbreaks (JB) are not supported by Apple, quite the contrary, Apple fights against it and people jailbreaking a device violate Apple’s iOS End-User License Agreement (EULA). JB can make your device less secure and you may loose the warranty. If people do not accept the original operating system with its limitations it might be better for them to move over to an other platform like Android. Additionally JB is illegitimate in some countries because DRM (Digital Rights Management) can be affected.

The main part of the agreement is

“2 c. You may not, and you agree not to or enable others to, copy (except as expressly permitted by this License), decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to derive the source code of, decrypt, modify, or create derivative works of the iOS Software or any services provided by the iOS Software or any part thereof (except as and only to the extent any foregoing restriction is prohibited by applicable law or by licensing terms governing use of open-source components that may be included with the iOS Software).”

Jailbreaking a device is a kind of ‘reverse engineering’.

Reverse Engineering
Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation. It often involves disassembling something and analyzing its components and workings in detail – for either purposes of maintenance or to support creation of a new device or program that does the same thing, without using or simply duplicating (without understanding) the original.
Jailbreaking is a kind of reverse engineering and users jailbreaking their iOS devices infringe Apple’s EULA which they already accepted when setting up the device.

Fair use seems to be safe ground for reverse engineers, almost always using it as a defense. However:

An EULA is a legally binding contract.

If a user agrees to terms which are in conflict with fair use, the user has effectively waved their rights to fair use.

Legal Aspects of Reverse Engineering

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act …

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was put into place in 1998 in order to make any service or device with purpose of undermining or removing DRM (Digital Rights Management) copyright infringement. The act forbids any service or device from being designed to circumvent, or even being marketed to circumvent any DRM.
There is, however, an exception in the DMCA stating that reverse engineering can be done under the purposes of inter-operability between software components. It states the following:

  • Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.
  • Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a)(2) and (b), a person may develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological measure, or to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure, in order to enable the identification and analysis under paragraph (1), or for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, if such means are necessary to achieve such interoperability, to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title.
  • The information acquired through the acts permitted under paragraph (1), and the means permitted under paragraph (2), may be made available to others if the person referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), as the case may be, provides such information or means solely for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title or violate applicable law other than this section.

    For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘interoperability’ means the ability of computer programs to exchange information, and of such programs mutually to use the information which has been exchanged.

Fair use does still apply. However, it is not fair use to gain unauthorized access to copyrighted work.

Further information …

Apple wants iOS to remain secure on the whole, and jailbreaking can threaten that. Apple identifies these concerns:

  • Security
    Jailbreaking removes the security layers on iOS devices.
  • Instability
    Jailbreaking causes an iPhone to behave erratically.
  • Shortened battery life
    Jailbreaking apps and services may not run correctly which may drain your battery.
  • Unreliable voice and data
  • Disruption of services
    Services such as Visual Voicemail, Weather and Stocks have been disrupted. iCloud, Exchange and Apple Push notification all suffer (according to Apple) on jailbroken devices.
  • Inability to update
    Because Apple frequently removes jailbroken software in its updates, many jailbroken phones do not update. This can result in running an out-of-date phone.

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Evad3r …

Shortly before Christmas 2013 some Jailbreak fans got an early gift of a Jailbreak for iOS 7.
See what McMurmor wrote about this “Christmas present“:

This allowed users of their new iPhone 5S/C, iPad mini Retina Display and iPad Air users unlock their device for tweaks outside Apple’s community.

However, after the crack was released, major controversy with Evad3rs grew with the Chinese store called Taig which also included mass amounts of pirated content, with no reason as to why Taig was included and not an official Cydia.

After a horrific response from the public, the Evad3r team worked frantically to remove Taig. They claim Taig installed themselves with their cracked version, and didn’t have permission nor source code. (How upon release, is still remaining as the big question.)

Yet, how would Taig be able to get their app store version in the Evad3r jailbreak so easy, still baffles users and has created a lot of disappointment towards to jailbreak community. The team touched on the mistake in multiple open letters, but the damage had already been done.

Apple has taken a silent approach aimed at the consumer who bothered to crack their device. Apple has internal software that can see not only how many times your device has been restored, what software version and even if your iOS device was jailbroken.

Once you jailbreak your device, you can kiss your warranty/Apple Care goodbye.

Jailbreaking is a direct violation of Apple’s intended use of the product, so they will treat it with the exact same respect as the person who has jailbroken the device has shown.

This means Apple will refuse all help that would be given to a non-jailbroken iOS user, but Apple’s forums will also refuse help on the matter.

What can be done with a jailbroken iPhone?

The main reason people jailbreak their phones is to run pirated (copied) software and install it without paying for the privilege. We’re not here to moralize: whether you pay for software is up to you. Although given the amount of free software on the app store, and the sheer hassle it is to jailbreak an iPhone, we do rather wonder why people bother.

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The other – perhaps more viable – area is to run apps and services that are not allowed by Apple. Jailbreaking installed a rival to the Apple Store called Cydia. This features apps in areas that Apple bans, such as pornography. But there are also apps that allow you to perform blocked tasks such as tethering; apps that have been removed from the store such as Sparrow. You can also change the default apps replacing Maps with Google Maps and the default keyboard with a version called Octopus. It’s perfect for tinkerers.

Cydia …

Wikipedia explains …

Cydia is a software application for iOS that enables a user to find and install software packages on jailbroken iOS Apple devices such as the iPhone. It also refers to digital distribution platform for software on iOS accessed through Cydia software. Some of the software packages available through Cydia are free, and some require purchasing.
Cydia is developed by Jay Freeman (also called “Saurik”) and his company, SaurikIT. The name “Cydia” is an allusion to the Codling Moth, with a scientific name of Cydia pomonella, which is the proverbial “worm in the apple.”

Cydia provides a graphical user interface to jailbroken users using Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) repositories to install software unavailable on the App Store. Cydia is based on APT, ported to iOS as part of Freeman’s Telesphoreo project.
Software packages are downloaded directly to an iOS device, to the same location as Apple’s pre-installed applications, the /Applications directory. Jailbroken devices can also still buy and download apps normally from the official App Store.
Cydia can be installed during the process of jailbreaking an iOS device. Some Jailbreaking tools (each of them supporting a specific set of devices and iOS versions) install Cydia automatically, while others provide a choice to the user.

Summary …

Jailbreaking an iOS device might be interesting for tech freaks but it’s definitely not useful and a customization of a device without limits is not what Apple intends with it’s strategy of seamless usage, focusing on essentials, and security. It’s a kind of error in motivation to jailbreak an Apple devices. It seems to be clear that it’s primarily not the meaningful usage but the demand of getting more control over a technical product which let people jailbreak their device. In my humble opinion they should better move over to an other platform like Android.

Enough reasons to not jailbreak an iOS device and instead focus on useful things which can be done with the original?

Jailbreakers cannot claim to be Apple fans. It’s a blatant ignorance of all the hard work of Apple’s software technicians which is expressed in this statement:

True simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity.
(Sir Jonathan Ive)

The internet era supports criminal activities and the main reason is that people mostly remain anonymous when violating clearly defined rules. Look at my blog posts and see what can be done with an original device to improve communication, knowledge, creativity, and personality. JB doesn’t pay. All you need is already implemented in Apple’s operating system and the many excellent apps supporting your daily tasks or your creativity. Changing a theme, a wallpaper, or downloading apps from more or less dubious companies might be funny but in whole it’s pointless.

Some tech nerds may forward many arguments to extract advantages from jailbreaking but they never will convince me. It ‘s simply a question of priority in regard to a meaningful usage of a mobile device.

Related links …

Apple’s Focusing

Apple’s Ecosystem

Security made by Apple

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





Ap(pl)es

1 04 2014

It’s easy to forget that people once marveled at the interactive tablets carried around by characters in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, or the touch screens in Spielberg’s Minority Report – dream futures that have become reality.
In 1983 Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stated that his ultimate ambition was

“to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes…”.

That vision would take him 27 years to realize.

With the release of the iPad mobile devices reached a new quality because of it’s screen size and the possibility to operate them just with the fingers and without any peripherals. They initiated a shift in paradigm of teaching and learning as well and from that time ‘people could hold the internet in their hands‘.

Historically the term first originated when Apple‘s founder Steve Jobs discussed the future of personal computing during an interview alongside Bill Gates at the fifth All Things Digital conference in 2007. At that time he described

“a category of devices that aren’t as general purpose, that are really more focused on specific functions, whether they’re phones or iPods or Zunes or what have you. And I think that category of devices is going to continue to be very innovative and we’re going to see lots of them,”

Jobs said.

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It wasn’t the first tablet computer by any means, and the iPad faced significant criticism when it was first announced – most pointedly the accusation that it was trying to fulfill a demand that didn’t exist. But the iPad surprised everyone, instantly spawning a market for a new form of computer that made the internet touchable and found its way into the hands of 170-million customers in its first three-and-a-half years.

There are some quite astonishing engineering feats behind the iPad. The iPad Air (launched in 2013), for example, weighs twenty times less than an Apple Mac from ten years ago, but packs four times the memory and four times the processing power. The glass that covers the screen is manufactured via a process which makes it harder than sapphire, and is coated with an invisible oil-repellant to reduce fingerprint staining.

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But most incredible of all is the fact that Jobs succeeded in coming up with a portable – and connected – computer that even orangutans in the Smithsonian National Zoo have worked out how to use, forever altering the future of digital media in the process.

A tablet …

When Steve Jobs ended years of speculation in 2010 by announcing the iPad tablet device, he helped launch a new era in computer hardware. Though tablet PCs have been around for years, the iPad was the first device to use the form factor successfully in the consumer market.

So what exactly is a tablet?

At its most basic level, a tablet PC is a mobile computing device that’s larger than a smartphone or personal digital assistant. In general, if the computing device uses an on-screen interface it’s a tablet.
To confuse matters, some manufacturers produce hybrid devices that are part tablet, part laptop computer. The device might come with an attached keyboard — the screen swivels or folds down to cover the keyboard and voila, you have a tablet!

In 2010, Lenovo introduced a prototype device called the IdeaPad U1 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev. At first glance, it looked like a normal laptop computer. But if you detached the screen from the base, the laptop converted to a tablet computer with its own, independent operating system. Lenovo rebranded the device, naming it the Lenovo LePad and launching it in China in 2011.

The touch screen …

Thousands of scientists, their researches and inventions, the ongoing miniaturization, and improvements in sensor technology made a smartphone and a tablet ready for use.

All tablets have a touch screen interface and an operating system capable of running small programs and interpreting gestures. Further sensors are used to automatically change the orientation from portrait to landscape mode.

Summarized, it was the touch screen first introduced with the iPhone in 2007 and it’s multi-touch capable operating system iOS which made the iPad to a device capable to replace computers for an increasing number of people.

The development of the Touch Screen Technology started in the 1960s although there are many results of basic scientific researches in physics starting hundreds of years earlier.

1960s

Historians consider the first touch screen to be a capacitive touch screen invented by E.A. Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK, around 1965 – 1967. The inventor published a full description of touch screen technology for air traffic control in an article published in 1968.

1970s

In 1971, a “touch sensor” was developed by Doctor Sam Hurst (founder of Elographics) while he was an instructor at the University of Kentucky. This sensor called the “Elograph” was patented by The University of Kentucky Research Foundation. The “Elograph” was not transparent like modern touch screens, however, it was a significant milestone in touch screen technology. The Elograph was selected by Industrial Research as one of the 100 Most Significant New Technical Products of the Year 1973.
In 1974, the first true touch screen incorporating a transparent surface came on the scene developed by Sam Hurst and Elographics. In 1977, Elographics developed and patented a resistive touch screen technology, the most popular touch screen technology in use today.

In 1977, Siemens Corporation financed an effort by Elographics to produce the first curved glass touch sensor interface, which became the first device to have the name “touch screen” attached to it. On February 24, 1994, the company officially changed its name from Elographics to Elo TouchSystems.

1980s

In 1983, the computer manufacturing company, Hewlett-Packard introduced the HP-150, a home computer with touch screen technology. The HP-150 had a built in grid of infrared beams across the front of the monitor which detected finger movements. However, the infrared sensors would collect dust and require frequent cleanings.

1990s

The nineties introduced smart phones and handhelds with touch screen technology. In 1993, Apple released the Newton PDA, equipped with handwriting recognition; and IBM released the first smart phone called Simon, which featured a calendar, note pad, and fax function, and a touch screen interface that allowed users to dial phone numbers. In 1996, Palm entered the PDA market and advanced touch screen technology with its Pilot series.

2000s

In 2002, Microsoft introduced the Windows XP Tablet edition and started its entry into touch technology.

Note
Until today I use a Siemens T4010 Convertible running on the XP Tablet edition with a stylus and an incredible weight of 2.5 kg.
It just works, but it works more like a heater if you place it on your lap and because it’s running XP you have to take care of it’s health with an antibiotic therapy each week.

However, you could say that the increase in the popularity of touch screen smart phones defined the 2000s. In 2001 Mitsubishi launched the DiamondTouch (a human interface device that has the capability of allowing multiple people to interact simultaneously while identifying which person is touching where).

Various companies expanded upon these inventions in the beginning of the twenty-first century. The company Fingerworks developed various multi-touch technologies between 1999 and 2005, including Touchstream keyboards and the iGesture Pad. Several studies of this technology were published in the early 2000s by Alan Hedge, professor of human factors and ergonomics at Cornell University. Apple acquired Fingerworks and its multi-touch technology in 2005. In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone still seen as the king of smartphones with nothing but touch screen technology follwed by the iPad in 2010.

There are basically three components used in touch screen technology …

  • 1 The touch sensor is a panel with a touch responsive surface. Systems are built based on different types of sensors: resistive (most common), surface acoustic wave, and capacitive (most smart phones). However, in general sensors have an electrical current running through them and touching the screen causes a voltage change. The voltage change signals the location of the finger.
  • 2 The controller, is the hardware that converts the voltage changes on the sensor into signals the device can receive.
  • 3 Software tells the device what’s happening on the sensor and the information coming from the controller. Who is touching what and where; and allows the operating system and apps to react accordingly.
    To improve the features multi-touch was introduced to recognize the presence of two or more points of contact with the surface. This plural-point awareness is used to implement advanced functionality such as pinch to zoom.

Summary …

The iPad is in the line of disruptive innovations. It seems to become a tool supporting all areas of life, household, education, science, health, communication, etc. It’s for primates but still not for apes who grant preferences to other activities.

Related links …

Sensitiveness

The Post PC era

iPad attends meetings

iPad @ Universities

Troubleshooting touchscreen response

Thanks for stopping by.





Going Apple

16 03 2014

Apple has become a unique company in the last decades. Although of completely different industrial sectors it can be compared with the German company Porsche. Both companies are focused on a few products with the highest possible build quality and all their products simply do what they are intended for without bells and whistles well-known from Asian manufacturers. They just work over many years resp. decades.

Each new product iteration brings remarkable value.

Steve Jobs and Ferdinand Porsche are well-known for their restless efforts to find something new. After many throwbacks both visionaries became successful business men and both founded brands admired all over the world.

Steve with his iPhone and Ferdinand with his sports car 911 created a new market and both products were continuously updated until today. Both initiated a shift in paradigm regarding mobility, Steve with the iPhone and the iPad and Ferdinand with the Volkswagen.

Ferdinand Porsche (1875 – 1951)
was an automotive engineer and honorary Doctor of Engineering. He is best known for creating the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle (Lohner-Porsche), the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, as well as the first of many Porsche automobiles. Porsche designed the 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen, which was the first race car with mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.

Steven Paul Jobs (1955 – 2011)
was an American entrepreneur, marketer, and inventor, who was the co-founder (along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne), chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he is widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies”.

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Bryan Appleyard, UK, wrote in his blog

Consider this …
Apple makes very few products – Cook once said its entire range could fit on a tabletop – and they are more expensive than the competition. So how has it become one of the biggest companies in the world? It has done so through the power of mystique, aspiration and industrial design; through, in short, the narcissistic, brutally competitive aesthetic obsessiveness of Steve Jobs. Apple continues to be formidably profitable – its stores, for example, have the highest sales per square foot of a retail outlet in the world. Yet Apple is not a viable business model: it is, like Jobs, an unrepeatable corporate freak show. Can it possibly be, post-Jobs, a freak show that runs and runs? The reviews are not yet in but doubt is priced into the shares.

Given the number of full-time Apple watchers in the world, you’d think that somebody would know – but nobody does, not even, thanks to the company’s internal as well as external secrecy, most of its employees. Products are developed in closed-off rooms entered only by those who need to know. The one small peephole in this wall of silence used to be patent applications, which are public documents. Apple’s used to be scanned for what would come next but now the company patents everything, even abandoned ideas, so there is no knowing which are the real possibilities.

However, when the watchers converge on a forecast, it tends to have at least a grain of truth. Currently, they say, an iPhone with a much larger, curved screen and pressuresensitive touch controls is on the way. But that simply augments the current product. Two possible and entirely new products could restart the company’s sigmoidal curve. “I’m pretty confident that they have at least two more technologies,” says Leander Kahney, editor of the Cult of Mac blog and author of a new book about Jony Ive.

Bryan Appleyard was educated at Bolton School and King’s College, Cambridge, graduating with a degree in English. He was Financial News Editor and Deputy Arts Editor at The Times from 1976 to 1984. Subsequently he became a freelance journalist and author. He is a three-time Feature Writer of the Year award winner and has been commended four times in the British Press Awards.

or see what Apple’s engineer Mark Zimmer wrote about the iPhone

Yes, this is one of the biggest vehicles for change because it raised the bar on handheld social media, on internet in your pocket, and on the spread of digital photography. The ability to make a difference was propagated with the iPhone and the devices that copied it. Did Steve Jobs know he was starting this kind of change? He knew it was transformative. And he built ecosystems like iTunes, the App store, and the iBookstore to make it all work. Without the App Store, we’d all still be in the dark ages of social media. The mobile revolution is here to stay.
Holding the first iPhone was like holding a bit of the future in your hands. It was that far ahead of the pack. Its amazing glass keyboard was met with skepticism from analysts at first, but the public was quick to decide it was just fine for them. A phone that was just a huge glass screen was more than an innovation. It was a revolution.
[…]
Each new iPhone iteration brings remarkable value. Better telephony (3G quickly became 4G and that quickly became LTE), better sensors (accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer, gyrometer, etc.), and better camera, lenses, flashes, and BSI sensors. Bluetooth connectivity makes it work in our cars. Siri makes it work by voice command. Each new feature is so well-integrated that it just feels like it’s been there all along. Now that I have used my iPhone 5S for awhile, I feel like the fingerprint sensor is part of what an iPhone means, now.
This all-in-one device has led to unprecedented spread of pictures. It and its (ahem, copycat) devices supporting Google‘s Android and more recently Microsoft‘s Windows Phone 8 have enabled social media to become ever more present, and influential, in our world.
Thanks to Storm Williams who posted this statement in his blog
Apple Engineer Mark Zimmer Writes About The iPhone And Its Effect

My decision …

You want to purchase a device which supports the usual tasks done by the majority of smartphone or tablet users?

Well, visit a shop and just buy one made by Samsung, HTC, Sony, or any other company.

But if you want more than just an intelligent assembling of standard electronic components you should buy artwork designed in California, more precisely in Cupertino.

Why?

Here are my reasons when I decided to move from a 30$ Nokia telephone and a Siemens Convertible to an Apple iPhone and an iPad.

  • 1
    The devices simply support me when blogging, creating mind maps for myself or the company, and accessing synced content on either the iPhone or the iPad by just switching iCloud to ON.
  • 2
    I’m no longer bound to a work desk and my brain is no longer plugged into a computer. Whether there is an idea in a coffee shop, on the sofa, or in the office, it immediately is moved into the device without booting it.

You might say that all the mentioned tasks can also be done with any other mobile device. Right, but …

  • 3
    After decades of configuring computers, updating virus scnners, installing Microsoft patches, watching blue screens, endless reading of knowledge base articles about failing drivers I got tired to see the machines stealing valuable time of my life. I needed a period of reflection without taking care of all the technical little helpers. They should support me when doing essential things and not spoil my enjoyment of being creative.
  • 4
    Slightly different from Neill Armstrong my upgrade from a 3GS to a 4S was a “One small step for mankind, one giant leap for me”. I don’t need a new device every year because my tasks basically don’t change. But it helps to see improvements in doing things even more user-friendly than before.
    The same strategy can be found when looking on an other admired company, Porsche. Perpetual improvements on their 911 flagship made the company to one of the most valuable brands in the world. No bells, no whistles, no new eye catchers every year but a product with constantly growing value and suitability for daily use. Engineers took care of the many details to achieve success.
  • 5
    I alteady bought the first available computer in Germany, it was a Sharp MZ 80K, driven by a Zilog Z80 processor with cassettes as the main storage. It was a device with advanced product quality and that’s what I again found with Apple devices. They are solid, feel valuable, and look like pieces of artwork.
  • 6
    In contrast to all the other companies in the fiercely competitive mobile market, Apple is cult, like Ferrari or Porsche. The whole world talks about the company and it’s importance comes up every day when users owning other devices again just talk about one topic: Apple, positive or negative.

    There is a company-DNA and blood flows through the prominent veins of responsible employees. They are VIPs on stage, we know their names, parts of their biography and philosophy. We can feel their intention when using one of their valuable devices. There is a well-considered ecosystem.

    There is a company which reminds us if one of the top influencers of our times with a role function for all of us dies. I’m talking about Neson Mandela.

    There is a company strongly supporting the educational sector and a company which initiated a shift in paradigm of learning, teaching and mobility.

    Imagine these three concentric circles:

    the innermost labeled “Why
    the middle labeled “How
    and the outermost labeled “What.”

    and Apple’s official video about the company’s intention where “simple phrases with elegant visuals describe the thoughts and emotions that go into creating each Apple product”.

    The first thing we ask is what do we want people to feel?
    delight, surprise, love, connection

    Then we begin to craft around our intention.
    There are a thousand no’s for every yes.

    All employees of a company know what they do, and some know how they do it, but most of them don’t know why they do it. Apple’s competitors lead with messages about what they sell, but their leaders do not communicate why they do what they do.
    Apple’s why message is that “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.” Apple challenges the status quo is by making beautifully-designed, reliable products. So Apple can then say, “We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

    People don’t buy what you do but why you do it. Almost from the beginning, with Jobs and Wozniak, Apple told you why it developed the Apple II – to create a more affordable computer. When Jobs introduced the Mac, he said he believed that computers were too boxy, unexciting, and difficult to use. If you watch the famous 1984 Apple Super Bowl ad you’ll quickly realize Apple believed it was breaking the mundane tyranny of the boring PC and creating the next computer for the Everyman. It had new graphical user interface, mouse drawing software, and was fun to use. He invited customers to follow him away from the stodgy old PC and into the new world of computing.
    Jobs started attracting new converts. Sure, most business stayed with the PC, but those who believed in Jobs’ vision followed him. He often uses the term “I believe” in his speeches at product launches as he preaches things like, “I believe people want products that are easy to use, and always work.” Every chance he gets, he shares his vision – the why that drives him and Apple forward.

    Watch Apple’s iPad ads closely. Unlike HP’s TouchPad ads that glorify stars, Apple’s simply show you what you can do with its products.

    People follow leaders or buy products they believe in. Apple knows that the vast majority (including me) is not necessarily interested in tweaking products for more personal customizations or they want to get rid of an ongoing personalization which, after some times, often leads back to the original state.

    It takes some time to internalize that using a device is more valuable than configuring it.

    The iPad ads convince you that it is elegant, easy to use, and will meet your needs as is.
    People are not only buying Apple products because they are great, but because they are also buying into Apple’s vision of why. They believe in the same vision and want the benefits that this vision gives them.
    I suspect Apple will continue to gain even more converts who also believe, like Steve Jobs, that tech products should make their digital lives richer. They relate to what the products do for them and are willing to follow Apple since they have adopted its vision for themselves.

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It’s #4, #5, and #6 that let me buy Apple devices. Admired leaders, a unique strategy not driven by market shares, and a consistent ecosystem makes the difference. I don’t like bloodless companies just looking on market share, stealing ideas, and claiming to be innovatove without being so. Market shares have never been indicators for quality, innovation, or usefulness.

Summary …

Similar strategies, skills, attitudes paired with obsession
=
Rainmakers with similar success and importance

Related links …

Steve Jobs

Ferdinand Porsche

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Designed by Apple in California

Apple’s Ecosystem

Apple’s Customer Relationships

Apple’s Intangible Assets

Apple, a unique company

Thanks for dropping by.





About statistics

4 03 2014

The fiercely competitive market of mobile devices is already mentioned in Apple’s Financial Reports. What we see everywhere are reams and reams of charts mainly about the two fighting companies Apple and Samsung and their operating systems iOS and Android. Most often neither the sources of the presented numbers are named nor are they explained. That’s very poor journalism and often just intended to get attention that means, to increase clicks on websites.

Statements like

“Apple’s brand is just overwhelming here,” said Eiji Mori, a Tokyo-based analyst at BCN Inc. “It’s not about specifications. It’s not about rationale. It’s about owning an iPhone.”

always incite useless platform wars when published in social media. Users of Apple devices always get nothing but scorn and derision if Androids read those lines.
Everybody is entitled to make his decision up to his requirements but also must be able to retrieve reliable data about companies when it comes to any financial engagement.

Introduction …

As the leading industrial nation the USA developed rules for financial reports which are basically overtaken by other countries (even Germany, the country which is well-known for it’s very special and complex legislation nobody really understands). The responsible commission in the USA is the SEC (U.S. Security and Exchange Commission).

The laws and rules that govern the securities industry not only in the United States but also in all other industrialized countries derive from a simple and straightforward concept:

All investors, whether large institutions or private individuals, should have access to certain basic facts about an investment prior to buying it, and so long as they hold it.

To achieve this, the SEC requires public companies to disclose meaningful financial and other information to the public. This provides a common pool of knowledge for all investors to use to judge for themselves whether to buy, sell, or hold a particular security. Only through the steady flow of timely, comprehensive, and accurate information can people make sound investment decisions.

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For example, domestic issuers (other than small business issuers) must submit

  • Annual Reports on Form 10-K
  • Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q
  • Current Reports on Form 8-K

for a number of specified events and must comply with a variety of other disclosure requirements.

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SEC filings have to be segmented by Parts and Items. Items are predefined subtopics and must contain detailed information following the principle of clarity and comparability. The relevant items are:

Number Content
Item 1 Business
Item 1A Risk Factors
Item 2 Properties
Item 3 Legal Proceedings
Item 4 Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders
Item 5 Market for Registrant’s Common Equity and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 6 Selected Financial Data
Item 7 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8 Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9 Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A Controls and Procedures

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The SEC sets the rules, companies have to provide a well-functioning internal control system to generate testable data which then are validated or rejected by accounting firms or single auditors.

The facts …

The SEC …

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an agency of the United States federal government. It holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, the nation’s stock and options exchanges, and other things, including the electronic securities markets in the United States.

The regulatory agency was created during the Great Depression that followed the Crash of 1929. The main reason for the creation of the SEC was to regulate the stock market of 1940, the SarbanesñOxley Act of 2002, and the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act of 2006.
The enforcement authority given by Congress allows the SEC to bring civil enforcement actions against individuals or companies alleged to have committed accounting fraud, provided false information, or engaged in insider trading or other violations of the securities law. The SEC also works with criminal law enforcement agencies to prosecute individuals and companies alike for offenses which include a criminal violation.
To achieve its mandate, the SEC enforces the statutory requirement that public companies submit quarterly and annual reports, as well as other periodic reports. In addition to annual financial reports, company executives must provide a narrative account, called the “management discussion and analysis” (MD&A), that outlines the previous year of operations and explains how the company fared in that time period. MD&A will usually also touch on the upcoming year, outlining future goals and approaches to new projects. In an attempt to level the playing field for all investors, the SEC maintains an online database called EDGAR (the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system) online from which investors can access this and other information filed with the agency.

The audit firms …

Reports of companies are audited by accounting firms. Auditors receive a special training in universities and later on in the audit firms and it takes up to 10 years before they are qualified to do their job.

The Big Four are the four largest international professional services networks, offering audit, assurance, tax, consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance, and legal services. They handle the vast majority of audits for publicly traded companies as well as many private companies, creating an oligopoly in auditing large companies. It is reported that the Big Four audit 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, and 96% of the companies in the FTSE 250, an index of the leading mid-cap listing companies.

Note
FTSE Group is a global leader in indexing and analytical solutions. FTSE calculates thousands of unique indices that measure and benchmark markets and asset classes in more than 80 countries around the world.

FTSE indices are used extensively by market participants worldwide for investment analysis, performance measurement, asset allocation and portfolio hedging. Many leading pension funds, asset managers, ETF providers and investment banks work with FTSE to benchmark their investment performance and use FTSE’s indices to create world-class ETFs, index tracking funds, structured products and index derivatives. FTSE also provides many exchanges around the world with their domestic indices.
A core set of universal principles guides FTSE’s index design and management: FTSE’s transparent rules-based methodology is overseen by independent committees of leading market participants, focused on applying the highest industry standards in index design and governance. The foundation of FTSE’s global, regional, country and sector indices is the FTSE Global Equity Index Series, which includes the flagship FTSE All-World Index.
FTSE is well known for index innovation and customer partnerships as it seeks to continually enhance the breadth, depth and reach of its offering.
FTSE is wholly owned by London Stock Exchange Group.

The Big Four firms are shown below, with their latest publicly available data.

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Ernst + Young has audited Apple Inc. and it’s internal control over financial reporting as of September 28, 2013, based on criteria established in Internal Control and Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. Apple Inc. and it’s management (Tim Cook, CEO, and Peter Oppenheimer, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer) is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting included in the accompanying Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. It’s in the resonsibility of Ernst & Young to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on their audit.

Apple’s report 2013 …

Apple filed it’s 10-K Form about the fiscal year ending on September 28, 2013 on October 30, 2013. It can be downloaded here:

AAPL Fiscal Year 2013, 10-K Form

Some details …

  • Part I Item 1 Business

    Business Strategy
    The Company is committed to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software and services. The Company’s business strategy leverages its unique ability to design and develop its own operating systems, hardware, application software, and services to provide its customers new products and solutions with superior ease-of-use, seamless integration, and innovative design. The Company believes continual investment in research and development, marketing and advertising is critical to the development and sale of innovative products and technologies. As part of its strategy, the Company continues to expand its platform for the discovery and delivery of third-party digital content and applications through the iTunes Store. As part of the iTunes Store, the Company’s App Store and iBooks Store allow customers to discover and download applications and books through either a Mac or Windows-based computer or through “iOS devices,” namely iPhone, iPad and iPod touch ® . The Company’s Mac App Store allows customers to easily discover, download and install Mac applications. The Company also supports a community for the development of third-party software and hardware products and digital content that complement the Company’s offerings. The Company believes a high-quality buying experience with knowledgeable salespersons who can convey the value of the Company’s products and services greatly enhances its ability to attract and retain customers. Therefore, the Company’s strategy also includes enhancing and expanding its own retail and online stores and its third-party distribution network to effectively reach more customers and provide them with a high-quality sales and post-sales support experience.

    Competition
    The markets for the Company’s products and services are highly competitive and the Company is confronted by aggressive competition in all areas of its business. These markets are characterized by frequent product introductions and rapid technological advances that have substantially increased the capabilities and use of mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and other digital electronic devices. The Company’s competitors who sell mobile devices and personal computers based on other operating systems have aggressively cut prices and lowered their product margins to gain or maintain market share. The Company’s financial condition and operating results can be adversely affected by these and other industry-wide downward pressures on gross margins. Principal competitive factors important to the Company include price, product features, relative price/performance, product quality and reliability, design innovation, a strong third-party software and peripherals ecosystem, marketing and distribution capability, service and support, and corporate reputation.
    The Company is focused on expanding its market opportunities related to personal computers and mobile communication and media devices. These markets are highly competitive and include many large, well-funded and experienced participants. The Company expects competition in these markets to intensify significantly as competitors attempt to imitate some of the features of the Company’s products and applications within their own products or, alternatively, collaborate with each other to offer solutions that are more competitive than those they currently offer. These markets are characterized by aggressive pricing practices, frequent product introductions, evolving design approaches and technologies, rapid adoption of technological and product advancements by competitors, and price sensitivity on the part of consumers and businesses.
    The Company’s digital content services have faced significant competition from other companies promoting their own digital music and content products and services, including those offering free peer-to-peer music and video services.
    The Company’s future financial condition and operating results depend on the Company’s ability to continue to develop and offer new innovative products and services in each of the markets in which it competes. The Company believes it offers superior innovation and integration of the entire solution including the hardware (iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iPod), software (iOS, OS X and iTunes), online services, and distribution of digital content and applications (iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store and Mac App Store). Some of the Company’s current and potential competitors have substantial resources and may be able to provide such products and services at little or no profit or even at a loss to compete with the Company’s offerings.

  • Part II Item 6

    Selected Financial Data

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  • Sales Data

    by region and by product

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  • Research
    shows the operating expenses with a significant growth in research (doubled, compared to 2011).

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Summary …

Reading all the numbers shows a company which is unique in the world.
All other world-wide operating concerns are far away of being as powerful as Apple. A reason might be that Apple is not involved in the junk market with its fiercely price fight. But there are some other risks described in the annual report under Item 1A.

Reports of competitors registered at the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) can easily be retrieved from their websites or from the SEC website. Extracting relevant stats from SEC filings is the only way to get reliable numbers.

Related links …

About the facts …

Apple SEC Filings

Samsung SEC Filings

About the reasons of success …

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Apple’s Ecosystem

Designed by Apple in California

Apple’s Customer Relationships

Apple’s Focusing

Apple’s Supplier Responsibility

Thanks for stopping by.





Apple’s Supplier Responsibility

4 02 2014

Infringements of human rights are seen all over the world, not only in Third-World countries. The history shows us that they are mainly economically based.
Children are the weak parts of our society and adults often share the common (borrowed) opinion that they are under no obligation to explain their decisions to young people (although they should do it). Another reason causing children to work hard is the fight for survival of their family.

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Child labour
refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organisations. Legislations across the world prohibit child labour.
Child labour was employed to varying extents through most of history. Before 1940, numerous children aged 5–14 worked in Europe, the United States and various colonies of European powers. These children worked in agriculture, home-based assembly operations, factories, mining and in services such as newsies. With the rise of household income, availability of schools and passage of child labour laws, the incidence rates of child labour fell.
In developing countries, with high poverty and poor schooling opportunities, child labour is still prevalent. In 2010, sub-saharan Africa had the highest incidence rates of child labour, with several African nations witnessing over 50 percent of children aged 5–14 working. Worldwide agriculture is the largest employer of child labour. Vast majority of child labour is found in rural settings and informal urban economy; children are predominantly employed by their parents, rather than factories. The incidence of child labour in the world decreased from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003 (World Bank).

The companies …

Although children are primarily employed by their parents many companies in the Ready Made Garment (RMG) provoked child labor especially in Bangladesh.

Regarding child labor in the non-industrial sector problems have to be solved by Administrations. It needs International Organizations, engaged journalists to bring those cases to the public.

In the 90s US senator Tom Harkin proposed the Child Labor Deterrence Act. It prohibits the importation of products that have been produced by child labor, and includes civil and criminal penalties for violators.

Other acts on other countries, the massive critique on companies (like H+M with it’s production of RMG in Bangladesh) by engaged journalists led to a rethink.

Products which are manufactured or mined in whole or in part by children would have resulted in the loss of lucrative American contracts. Its impact on Bangladesh’s economy would have been significant as the export-oriented RMG industry represents most of the country’s exports.

Sad to say that the main motivation to solve the problem again is/was not humanity but economics. In the majority of cases companies only react to avoid severe impacts on their sales.

One of the reasons for writing this article was the following headline

Apple iPhone factory workers imprisoned in virtual slavery
Source by Rik Myslewski, 7th November 2013

What a misleading, dishonest headline, meant for attracting clicks. Not only is this not an Apple factory (it’s a Flextronics factory, who has Apple as well as dozens of others as clients, and which produces a single internal component for the iPhone), Apple already dropped this factory from their supply chain last year, precisely because they found out about these violations. Sensational stories that distort the facts and avoid addressing the root of the problem.

For assessing the problems I think you can comply with these theses:

  • 1 Nearly all globally acting companies make use of cheap labor.
  • 2 The manufacturers themselves are primarily responsible for enforcement of human rights.
    Countries, their legislation and their authorities, ate under obligation to avoid infringements of generally accepted human rights.
  • 3 There is not enough good-paying work in a world where everything gets automated and demand languishes.
    This leads to a situation that even children already have to support their parents for fighting against poverty.
  • 4 If prices would be adjusted to fair wages of labor we would have a world-wide crisis and crowds of people in third-world countries would loose their jobs.
  • 5 Economic exploitation happens primarily in authoritative countries where people have no chance to claim their rights.

Apple …

Let’s have a look on Apple and the relation to it’s foreign suppliers.
Like in all other sectors of the industry Apple also is bound to foreign suppliers by contract. The company undertook many steps and is taking towards all issues regarding infringements of human rights (unlike other tech companies).

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Magnified parts of the map …

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Apple’s report of 2013 lists 200 suppliers with 398 companies located in 30 countries. The numbers do not include further locations of a company in one country.

Ending excessive work hours
Ending the industrywide practice of excessive overtime is a top priority for Apple. Our Supplier Code of Conduct limits work weeks to 60 hours except in unusual circumstances, and all overtime must be voluntary. Unfortunately, work weeks in excess of 60 hours have historically been standard rather than exceptional, and little has changed for many years in our industry. In the past, we tried different ways to fix the problem, but we weren’t seeing results. So in 2011, we took a more basic approach: We tracked work hours weekly at a handful of suppliers, and when we found excessive hours, we were able to address the problems quickly with the supplier.

In 2012, we expanded that program and tracked work hours weekly for over 1 million employees, publishing the data every month. As a result of this effort, our suppliers have achieved an average of 92 percent compliance across all work weeks, and the average hours worked per week was under 50.

Addressing underage labor
Our approach to underage labor is clear: We don’t tolerate it, and we’re working to eradicate it from our industry. When we discover suppliers with underage workers or find out about historical cases – where workers had either left or reached legal working age by the time of the audit – we demand immediate corrective action as part of our Underage Labor Remediation Program. Suppliers must return underage workers to school and finance their education at a school chosen by the family. In addition, the children must continue to receive income matching what they received when they were employed. We also follow up regularly to ensure that the children remain in school and that the suppliers continue to uphold their financial commitment.

In 2012, we found no cases of underage labor at any of our final assembly suppliers. While we are encouraged by these results, we will continue regular audits and go deeper into our supply chain to ensure that there are no underage workers at any Apple supplier. Many suppliers tell us that we are the only company performing these audits, so when we do find and correct problems, the impact goes far beyond our own suppliers.

Tools for responsible hiring
Last year marked the third year of our Prevention of Underage Labor training program, an initiative to help suppliers identify and prevent underage labor. We conducted training for 84 suppliers that were chosen because their facilities are located in provinces at high risk for underage labor. The training outlines methods and provides tools for implementing and sustaining effective age verification processes. It also specifies the steps suppliers must follow if underage labor is found during an audit.

An independent auditor checks identification and other documents to verify the age and status of workers at a facility in Shanghai. Suppliers are required to maintain all relevant documentation and to produce it during audits.
New in 2012, we provided a guidebook to help with identifying legal IDs and assessing recruitment practices of third-party labor agents. We also added a layer of support beyond the classroom. After the training, suppliers now assess their internal and external risks and create action plans to revise policies for preventing underage labor. Then we follow up to review their new systems. For suppliers that need additional help, industry consultants provide onsite support in implementing action plans and improving management practices.

In addition, we give at-risk suppliers the names of labor agents that have been associated with the recruitment of underage workers. We also offer guidance on working with other agents, including ensuring that the agent has appropriate licenses and permits, conducting regular audits of the agent’s recruitment practices, and reporting violations to Apple and the local government.

Excessive recruitment fees and bonded labor
Third-party labor agencies help many suppliers recruit contract workers from other countries. The agencies often use multiple subagencies, which in turn do business through smaller local agencies in the workers’ home countries. Workers are often required to pay fees to each of these agencies to gain employment. And many find that they have taken on huge debt even before they start the work. As a result, they must hand over a high proportion of their wages to recruiters to pay this debt, and they have to remain at the job until the debt is paid. We consider this a form of bonded labor, and it is strictly prohibited by our Supplier Code of Conduct.

“Apple’s approach to addressing the enormous vulnerability faced by migrant workers makes it one of the leading companies tackling this issue. Critically, the company has extended its efforts to a root cause of the problem, namely abusive recruitment practices in workers’ home countries. The result is tangible, financial benefit to migrant workers.”nDan Viederman, CEO, Verité

When we find violations, suppliers must reimburse excessive recruitment fees – anything higher than the equivalent of one month’s net wages – for any eligible contract worker found working on Apple projects. Knowing that factories in certain countries are more likely to employ foreign contract labor, we target these factories for bonded labor audits, and we help them modify their management systems and practices to comply with our standards. Apple is the only company in the electronics industry to mandate these reimbursements, and our suppliers have reimbursed a total of US$13.1 million to contract workers since 2008, including US$6.4 million in 2012.

Sourcing conflict-free materials
Apple is committed to using conflict-free minerals, and we’ve joined the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, a joint initiative among governments, companies, and civil society to support supply chain solutions to conflict minerals challenges in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As one of the first electronics companies to map its supply chain for conflict minerals, we actively survey suppliers to confirm their smelter sources. As of December 2012, we have identified 211 smelters and refiners from which our suppliers source tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold.

Apple suppliers are using conflict-free sources of tantalum, are certifying their tantalum smelters, or are transitioning their sourcing to already certified tantalum smelters.

Conclusions …

What we can see is that Apple built an appropriate infrastructure for keeping generally accepted human rights.
This is just the first step every company had to initiate, not only if manufacturing is outsourced but also if suppliers are local companies and obviously in the company itself as well.

We all know that guidelines are only one side of the coin. The other side is called control. If you have ever been in an Asian country (where Apple’s most important suppliers are located) you would know that controlling guidelines is extremely hard. Differences in cultures, language difficulties, and corruption make it nearly impossible to ensure compliance with all these guidelines. I know what I’m talking about because my 2nd residence is Thailand.

Anyway, here are the highlights of Apple’s Supplier Responsibility 2013 Report

We conducted 393 audits at all levels of our supply chain – a 72 percent increase over 2011 — covering facilities where more than 1.5 million workers make Apple products. This total includes 55 focused environmental audits and 40 specialized process safety assessments to evaluate suppliers’ operations and business practices. In addition, we conducted 27 targeted bonded labor audits to protect workers from excessive recruitment fees.

Taking on the industrywide problem of excessive work hours, we achieved an average of 92 percent compliance with a maximum 60-hour work week. We are now tracking more than 1 million workers weekly and publishing the results monthly on our website.

In 2012, Apple became the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA). At our request, the FLA conducted the largest-scale independent audit in its history, covering an estimated 178,000 workers at our largest final assembly supplier, Foxconn. The FLA’s independent findings and progress reports have been published on its website.

We extended our worker empowerment training programs to more workers and more managers. In 2012, 1.3 million workers and managers received Apple-designed training about local laws, their rights as workers, occupational health and safety, and Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct. That’s nearly double the number of workers trained by this program since 2008.

We increased our investment in our Supplier Employee Education and Development program — which offers workers the opportunity to study business, computer skills, languages, and other subjects at no charge — expanding from four facilities to nine. More than 200,000 workers have now participated in the program.

Continuing our efforts to protect the rights of workers who move from their home country to work in our suppliers’ factories, we required suppliers to reimburse US$6.4 million in excess foreign contract worker fees in 2012. That brings the total repaid to workers to US$13.1 million since 2008.

The FLA …

Many large companies are members of the Fair Labor Association (FLA). Activities of the FLA are targeted to audits of the company’s suppliers, mainly located in foreign countries. Reports are published on the FLA website.

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Members of the FLA are e.g. Apple (as the first technology company), adidas, asics, Fruit of the Loom, H+M, Nestle, Nike, Puma, S.Oliver, etc. Apple’s main competitor Samsung is not an affiliate of the FLA. The list shows that most of yhe members are companies active in the garment industry.

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The FLA regularly reports about audits (announced and unannounced) and everyone can download the reports in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Excel file format.
Apple’s membership in the FLA shows the companies efforts to take care of the environment in which it’s products are manufactured.

Wages …

Up to this point it can be excluded that Apple’s suppliers are not involved in supporting child labor, excessive hiring methods, or unacceptable working conditions although some other reports stated this whereby sources cannot be reliably assessed.

The international community clearly considers . The following international conventions and declarations recognize the need for workers to receive a living wage

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948), American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man (Organization of American States, 1948), European Charter (Council of Europe, 1961), United Nations International Covenant on Economic and Social Cultural Rights (1966) and American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Additional Protocol (Organization of American States, 1988). According to Article 23 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity.

An important reason why living wage is not more widely applied is that there is neither a generally accepted definition of what a living wage is, nor is there a generally agreed methodology on how to measure a living wage. Partly because of this, many companies do not attempt to pay their workers a living wage and many governments do not seriously consider worker needs when they set legal minimum wages.

This might be a challenge for Apple and other companies but it’s not part of their responsibility.

Summary …

About 79% (35% in China) of Apple’s suppliers are located in Asia but none in Africa which shows the highest percentage of child labor in the world.
Chinas administration is seen as authoritative but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the companies located in this country are infringing human rights. I don’t have any objective information about the 135 companies in China regarding fair wages and acceptable working hours. So one only can trust what Apple publishes in it’s reports (see related links). But what we can say is that even in Germany many people cannot earn their living although they are full-time workers.

Looking at the stats, nearly all Asian countries with Apple suppliers still have child labor in the agricultural sector but there is no evidence for child labor in the industrial sector like it’s still the case e.g. in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.

So Apple does a better job than many other companies.

Related links …

Apple Supplier List 2013

2nd Foxconn Verification Status Report, May 2013

Fair Labor Association

Minimum wages by country

Estimating a Living Wage, A Methodological Review

Thanks for stopping by.





Apple’s Focusing

27 01 2014

Focusing on a few products is characteristic for successful companies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that other companies following a different strategy are unsuccessful. But focusing on a few products, trying to bring features and services together in a unique environment, and developing new products which seamlessly fit into this environment is the strategy of the most valuable and innovative company in the world, it’s Apple.

Steve Jobs said …

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.
(WWDC 1997)

See this video with another famous quote about focus and simplicity (38 sec)

The actual offer of the company still follows this principle. The brands focus is on providing a superior customer experience by offering solutions from a single source.

  • Hardware
  • Operating systems
  • Software
  • Services
  • Stores

To be successful project to project over a long period, a company has to develop habits that instill a passion for quality in all corners of the organization. This can be achieved by following these rules:

  • 1 Set up clear expectations
    It’s the job of leaders to be clear about the company’s nonnegotiable core values. They are the riverbanks that help guide all employees as they refine and improve on performance and excellence.
  • 2 Collect and analyze data
    Collecting data is more common than ever, particularly with the advent of Web analytics. The metrics to be tracked go above and beyond either web or financial information as well as direct contact to customers.
  • 3 Invest in capacities
    A company stretched thin on resources will never be able to overdeliver, and quality depends somewhat on the ability to exceed expectations. An infrastructure has to be created that anticipates revenue.
  • 4 Celebrate victories
    When a company surveys customers on the quality of service, make sure that everyone, from the top down, knows of the results and receives recognition for the things that are going well.

This all builds the DNA of a successful company. CEOs and all employees in the headquarter as well as in stores must be integrated in the process of engagement.

The product line …

A product line up has to reflect the companies care values and the clearly defined targets. This is why Apple’s product line up is restricted to a handful number of hard- and software products targeted at a perfect user experience. If you look at the Apple Store there are many other products of sought out vendors available to give other companies the chance to participate in the companies success. That attracts others to at least boost the business. An outstanding example is the App Store with more than 1m apps (as of Jan 2014) and more than 200k registered app developers. They all breath life into Apple’s hardware offer. As you can see even Apple’s software offer is restricted to a handful products which just top the user experience off.

Here is a mind map showing the complete product line up of Apple.

20131103-110256.jpg

Please tap on these single images to see parts of the map.

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The ecosystem …

Analyzing all main products, extracting them, and re-organizing them we get the components of Apple’s ecosystem.

This concept covers

  • Customer relationships
    Apple Store
    Apple Care
    Genius Bar
  • Completeness
    iPhone and iPad for mobile computing
    Macs for professional tasks
    AirPort router for Internet connection
    Apple TV, iTunes, and Airplay for entertainment
  • Simplicity
    Focusing on essential features and seamless usage as the main target of the design philosophy.

There are two operating systems and specs of all hardware components are an integrated part of the development. Keeping hardware and software development together results in the highest possible performance and user experience. Success then is forced by an outstanding design.

Summary …

It’s not the junk market Apple is interested in. Steve Jobs, returning to Apple in 1996, defined the direction with a focus on an entire user experience. Tim Cook is following this strategy and there is no need to move into diversity because this business concept works perfect and competitors are on the way to copy this strategy. There is Samsung working on an own operating system, Microsoft with the XBox and it’s Surface computer, and Google with it’s mobile device Nexus. It’s the only way to stop fragmentation and increase the user experience.

Related links …

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Designed by Apple in California

Apple’s Ecosystem

Two Ecosystems

Thanks for surfing by.





The Treasury

11 01 2014

A treasury for Apple fans.
iTunes U is one of the built-in apps of Apple’s iOS devices which should get more attention.

About iTunes …

The iTunes Store, originally the iTunes Music Store, is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple Inc. It opened on April 28, 2003, and has been the biggest music vendor in the United States since April 2008, and the biggest music vendor in the world since February 2010. The store offers over 26 million songs, videos, e-books and apps for sale online. The iTunes Store’s revenues in the first quarter of 2011 totalled nearly US$1.4 billion; by February 6, 2013, the store had sold 25 billion songs worldwide.

About iTunes U …

On May 30, 2007, iTunes U was announced at the company’s headquarter in Cupertino. With iTunes U educational audio and video content as well as PDF files for students can be managed and distributed within a college or university and the broader internet. It has since been updated to include grade schools from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The member institutions are given their own iTunes U site that makes use of Apple’s iTunes Store infrastructure. The online service (via web interface) is free for those uploading or downloading material.

An advantage iTunes U has over traditional podcasting tools is that access to content can be restricted because of the use of the iTunes infrastructure End-to-End. Authentication is handled by the iTunes U member, who prompts a visitor for information (like an account and password specific to that institution) and then passes a token (indicating the access level for that visitor) on to the iTunes U website. An example might be a class podcast that can only be accessed by students enrolled in the class.

The company about iTunes U:

The iTunes U app gives you access to complete courses from leading universities and other schools plus the world’s largest digital catalog of free education content right on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

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Whether you’re majoring in molecular biology at a university, taking Spanish in high school, or just interested in European history, you now have a valuable tool to help you learn anytime, anywhere.

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iTunes U is a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC. Explore over 600,00 educational audio and video files, books, and other resources from top universities, museums and public media organizations from around the world (30 countries) on thousands of subjects from Algebra to Zoology. The relevance of iTunes U is validated by engagements of Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, The Open University, MoMA, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress. It’s the world’s largest catalog of free education content.

Features are

  • Free courses in a wide array of subjects
  • Take free courses created and taught by instructors from leading universities and other schools
  • See all assignments and updates from the instructor in one place, and check off assignments as you complete them
  • Take notes and highlight text in iBooks and see them consolidated for easy reviewing in the iTunes U app • Take course notes in class, or while playing audio or video lectures inside of iTunes U
  • Access course materials, including audio, video, books, documents & presentations, apps, and new iBooke textbooks for iPad
  • Share your favorite courses with friends using Twitter, Mail, and Messages

iTunes U provides information in the categories

  • Engineering
  • Health + Medicine
  • History
  • Language
  • Law + Politics
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology + Social Science
  • Religion + Spirituality
  • Science
  • Society
  • Teaching + Learning

by offering videos are textual information which can be saved in Apple’s built-in app iBooks for iOS.

The treasury …

Follow these steps to move into the treasury of mostly unknown information about the company, it’s products, and the people standing behind the Best Brand and the Most Innovative Company of the world in 2013. It’s worth the effort.

20131023-190235.jpg

How to use iTunes U …

See these images to learn how to use iTunes U when sharing content.

20131023-190248.jpg

20131023-190302.jpg

An example …

Vintage Mac Video by Frank Lowney

Getting a course manager …

For publishing courses on iTunes U you need an Apple ID and a web-based tool called iTunes U Course Manager. This tool is not available on Apple’s mobiles so you have to use a computer with Safari as the recommended browser.

20131023-190332.jpg

Further information …

How to access iTunes U Course Manager

Apple iTunes U Guidelines

The cons …

The offer of iTunes U is voluminous but after looking into lots of courses, the quality often could not convince me. I saw courses which were just videos of lectures without lecture notes provided. I also find courses with videos where a teacher just wrote something on a chalkboard.
To find out the right courses may last hours, days, or even weeks.

Related links …

Apple iTunes U

Apple’s app iTunes U

Harvard University, USA

Oxford University, UK

Thanks for your attention.
I’m glad to have you here on iNotes4You.





Apple’s Dictionary

30 12 2013

If you need help about a word iOS doesn’t let you alone and usually there is no need to quit the app, open a language app or Safari to look it up. This can be inconvenient because of the One-Window-Technique on mobiles.

iOS offers a feature called ‘Define’ which is available in the context menu if you mark a word by double-tapping on it.

20131018-131229.jpg

History …

Dictionary is an application developed by Apple as a part of OS X. The application provides definitions and synonyms from the New Oxford American Dictionary, 3rd Edition and Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, 2nd Edition. It a section called ‘Apple’ which includes Apple-related items.

Apple originally implemented a built-in dictionary in iBooks, which was launched as part of iOS 4. Then with the arrival of iOS 5, Apple upgraded it to be available system-wide. Ever since then, even after the arrival of iOS 6, it wasn’t updated. With iOS 7 management of multiple dictionaries was added.

Installation …

iOS comes without any dictionary if the operating system is installed on your device. So you first have to download it for the language of your choice. See the image above.

Usage …

Double tap on a word and select ‘Define’ from the context menu.
An explanation of the word is shown but only if you are lucky and it’s in the dictionary or you didn’t make a typo when it was written by yourself in a text editor or an E-Mail.

20131018-131530.jpg

Memory …

If you download e.g. the New Oxford American Dictionary the size of the downloaded database is about 400 MB for all (14) supported languages. The dictionary is stored locally so that you don’t need an active internet connection to use it.

Pros and cons …

  • Within the dictionary you cannot use the COPY-Command.
  • A search history is not available.
  • In addition to the basic information the detailed screen shows also phrases and the origin of the selected word. The offer of phrases is quite poor.

20131018-133303.jpg

  • If further information is needed and the user taps on ‘Search Web’ Safari opens with the selected word as the search term. So there is only one way back to the app by using the Multitasking View.
    It would have been an easy task to integrate the browser into the Dictionary dialog.
  • There is no speech output if the feature is used for a foreign language.
    In my case it would be helpful because my native language is German but text is always written in English.
  • In many cases words can only be understood if there are enough example sentences which let users see how terms are used in the foreign language.
  • Dictionary doesn’t allow to set font sizes.

The only pro is the existence of this feature and that it can be used system-wide, that means, wherever you can mark a word the feature ‘Define’ is available.

Related topics …

Writing on an iOS device in the native or a foreign language is supported by several options available in Settings – General – Keyboard.

I myself installed 3 keyboards, English (for writing blogs), German (for writing E-Mails to Germans or German companies), and Emoji (for accessing symbols). Dependent on the actual keyboard (which can be changed within the keyboard by tapping on the globe) iOS checks spelling and displays ‘Define’ in that language which is defined by the keyboard.

20131018-132954.jpg

The image shows the system behavior of some settings related to writing text.

Summary …

‘Define’ is a useful feature but should be improved.

Thanks for dropping by.
If you find any typos iOS spelling failed.





Sensitiveness

27 12 2013

If you are a proud owner of an iPhone you have purchased a device which is in someway much more sensitive than any human being ever can be. And it’s not the incredible SIRI I’m talking about. iPhone’s sensors know all about your movements, your finger, the distance between your ear and the device, your actual location, and even the brightness of the environment.
Your iPhone forms a liaison with you but it’s an arranged marriage, it’s a childless marriage, it’s a miscegenation, and Apple hopes that it will not get a broken marriage. And if you are an Apple freak it’s even a same-sex marriage.

The sensors …

Kinetic sensors enable the iPod touch, iPad, or iPhone’s screen to automatically switch from landscape to portrait modes and back again based on whether you’re holding the phone up and down or sideways.
The iPhone 4, 4th gen iPod touch, and iPad 2 adds another sensor: a three-axis gyroscope. When combining the gyroscope with the accelerometer, this gives these devices six axes on which it can operate. This is designed to make them more sensitive, responsive, and powerful for gaming.

Accelerometer

The accelerometer sensor measures linear acceleration along three perpendicular axes, X, Y and Z. The following schematic drawing illustrates the classical single axis mechanical accelerometer which uses a moving mass and springs. The movement of the mass along the double sided arrow measures the acceleration along that axis.
All iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices are equipped with a modern accelerometer that can measure acceleration in three perpendicular axes. The measurement also includes the Earth’s gravity.
Modern accelerometers utilize MEMS technology in a tiny electronic package.

Notes

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) is the technology of very small devices; it merges at the nano-scale into nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and nanotechnology. MEMS are made up of components between 1 to 100 micrometers in size (i.e. 0.001 to 0.1 mm), and MEMS devices generally range in size from 20 micrometers (20 millionths of a meter) to a millimeter (i.e. 0.02 to 1.0 mm). They usually consist of a central unit that processes data (the microprocessor) and several components that interact with the surroundings such as micro sensors.

Acceleration is the rate at which the velocity of an object changes with time. Rotations are always accelerations because the direction of the velocity changes. If an object falls down because of gravity it’s an acceleration where the velocity increases but the direction remains the same.

20131015-140355.jpg

Gyroscope

The gyroscope sensor measures rotational velocity along the Roll, Pitch and Yaw axes. It depends on the property of rotating mass as illustrated in the following schematic drawing of the classical mechanical gyroscope.
Like the accelerometer, gyroscope sensors for mobile devices utilize MEMS technology and may include an accelerometer.

Magnetometer

The magnetometer detects the Earth’s magnetic field along three perpendicular axes. In addition to general rotational information, the magnetometer is crucial for detecting the orientation of the device relative to the Earth’s magnetic north. Electrical appliances that generate magnetic fields disturb the magnetometer.

Linear Acceleration

The linear acceleration sensor measures the acceleration effect of the device movement, excluding the effect of Earth’s gravity on the device. It is a part of the Device-Motion information computed by the iPhone operating system from the main sensors, particularly from the accelerometer and the gyroscope.

Gravity

The gravity sensor measures the Earth’s gravity effect on the device. When the device is placed on a flat surface facing up, all of Earth’s gravity appears on the -Z axis. Tilting the device “spreads” the gravity into the X and Y axes.
The gravity sensor is a part of the Device-Motion information computed by the iPhone Operating System from the main sensors, particularly from the accelerometer and the gyroscope.
Gravity is obtained when the linear acceleration data is subtracted from the raw readings of the accelerometer.

You can compare the gravity sensor and the accelerometer as follows. Hold the device face up and make “up and down” movements. The accelerometer’s raw readings will show Earth’s gravity plus variation on the Z axis due to the movement. The gravity sensor reading will show constant Earth gravity along the Z axis regardless of the movements.

Attitude

The Attitude (rotation) sensor provides the pitch, roll and yaw (azimuth) angles of the device relative to the normal horizon.

Pitch
rotation around the Y-axis (bottom-up)
Roll
rotation Round the X-axis (left-right)
Yaw
rotation around the Z-axis which is perpendicular to the touch screen

It is a part of the Device-Motion information computed by the iPhone Operating System from the main sensors, particularly the gyroscope.
Although the gyroscope provides precise measurements of the angular rates, calculating rotations only from the gyroscope are subject to a noticeable drift due to various inherent physical phenomena like gyro precession. The Device-Motion computation automatically uses measurements from the accelerometer to minimize the drift.

Other sensors …

Proximity

This sensor can determine how close the iPhone is to your face. This sensor is what helps the iPhone turn off its screen automatically whenever you hold the phone up to your ear. This is necessary to prevent accidental button clicks by the side of your head when talking. This sensor is only on the iPhone (since the other devices don’t need it).

Ambient Light

This sensor can determine how much light is available in the area surrounding the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and automatically adjust the brightness of the screen in order to conserve battery life.

Moisture

The devices also contains a sensor which isn’t related to the interface. The water sensor is a little red tab that appears in the dock connector when the phone has been submerged in water. It can also appear as a red dot in the headphone jack.

Water damage is a common problem with cell phones that can cause a significant drop in value, and can often void any warranties you may have. Most mobile phones, including the iPhone, have some sort of water damage indicator.

The 4S has indicators both in the headphone jack, and on the bottom of the dock-connector housing. The new iPhone 5 features one water damage indicator on the inside of the nano SIM card slot.

The best way to look at the indicator is by aiming a flashlight or lighted magnifying glass into the jack. If the iPhone has been submerged in liquid, or has liquid damage, this circular indicator would be triggered and colored red or pink. If the indicator has been triggered, the repair is most likely not covered by the warranty.

NOTE
What to do if your iPhone gets wet …

Immediately turn off the phone. Do not turn it back on, charge it, or connect it to a computer or other device.
Second, hand dry your phone as best you can with a soft cloth. Remove your SIM card and pat down any excess moisture and wipe out the headphone and charge ports.
Next, quickly place the phone in a bag of uncooked rice and let it sit for 48 hours in a dry place. You can also add silica packages to the rice to help the absorption process. The rice will absorb any moisture that remains in the phone.
After 48 hours have passed remove your phone, re-insert the SIM, and try turning it back on. With a little bit of luck you may have saved your iPhone from a watery fate.

Touch Screen

This is doubtlessly the most important sensor of your device. It should work fast, precise, and even if there are fat deposits.

The iPhone’s processor and operating system interpret the input from the touch screen. The capacitive material sends raw touch-location data to the iPhone’s processor. The processor uses software to interpret the raw data as commands and gestures.

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Here’s what happens:

In the nanosecond between the time you touch the iPhone’s screen and the display reacts, several calculations and signals are sent from the touch screen to the software.

  • 1 Signals travel from the touch screen to the processor as electrical impulses.
  • 2 The processor uses software to analyze the data and determine the features of each touch. This includes size, shape, and location of the affected area on the screen. If necessary, the processor arranges touches with similar features into groups. If you move your finger, the processor calculates the difference between the starting and ending point of your touch.
  • 3 The processor uses its gesture-interpretation software to determine which gesture you made. It combines your physical movement with information about which application you were using and what the application was doing when you touched the screen.
  • 4 The processor relays your instructions to the program in use. If necessary, it also sends commands to the iPhone’s screen (e.g. when pinch-to-zoom is registered) and other hardware components. If the raw data doesn’t match any applicable gestures or commands, the iPhone disregards it as an extraneous touch.

All these steps happen in a nanosecond and you see changes in the screen based on your input almost instantly. This process allows you to access and use all of the iPhone’s applications with your fingers.

The M7 motion processor …

With the release of the iPhone 5S Apple implemented an additional processor, the A7 motion processor.

The M7 is an ARM Cortex-M3 part from NXP running at 180 MHz. The chip allows for low-power collection of motion data drawn from a Bosch Sensortec accelerometer, an STMicroelectronics gyroscope, and an AKM magnetometer.
After collecting information from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, the M7 performs some matrix math processing magic to produce an absolute orientation of the phone relative to the world. This data is then passed to the A7 in a neat package, probably in the form of three headings (roll, pitch, and yaw).

20131015-140435.jpg

Using the A7 main processor to monitor this sort of data would be mega-stress, so the M7 was introduced to maintain a constant, low-power watch over these sensors even if the device is asleep.

The M7 is accessible to applications through the Core Motion API in iOS 7, so it will, for example, allow fitness apps that track physical activity and access data from the M7 without constantly engaging the main A7 CPU. It will enable applications to be aware of what type of movement the user is experiencing, such as driving, walking, running or sleeping. Another application could be the ability to do indoor tracking and mapping.

All sensors …

This mind map shows you all sensors implemented in the new iPhone 5S.

20131015-140453.jpg

Feel free to download this mind map.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The app Sensor Kinetics …

Sensor Kinetics is an advanced viewer and monitor for all the sensors available in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device. Written by Dr. David Y. Feinstein, one of the pioneers in the use of accelerometers and gyroscopes within the modern smartphone, the app provides a comprehensive view of the total dynamics of the device’s sensors.

20131015-140408.jpg

Sensor Kinetics interacts with the six sensors relating to movement in your device: the Accelerometer, the Gyroscope, the Magnetometer, the Linear Acceleration Sensor, the Gravity Sensor and the Attitude Sensor.
When first activated, Sensor Kinetics: shows you which sensors are available on your device. The main screen captures data from all the sensors and employs graphical windows to illustrate the sensor’s operation.

Summary …

Keep in mind that all these incredible micro machines won’t help you if you have to explain your wife that you again forget her birthday. And don’t try to explain your own failure with a failure of one of the sensors of your iPhone. If she reads this blog she will call you a brazen-faced liar because Apple’s Reminder app doesn’t use any sensor (except you used the option ‘Remind me at a location’). It’s just your brain which was buggy.

Note
Some sensor descriptions are taken from the app Sensor Kintects.

Thanks for surfing by.





The Post PC era

21 12 2013

Apple offers a sophisticated ecosystem including computers.
Is it possible to just use the mobile devices with some added peripherals and kick off a computer?

Well, this question depends obviously on the requirements of each user. If you are a professionally working on software development you cannot kick off your computer because all these mobile devices don’t offer the ability of doing this specific task. But beside your job there are many tasks where it’s fine to use a device which supports many everyday tasks like mailing, connecting to social networks, and banking and additionally it let’s you pursue your hobbies.

Mobile devices …

With the release of the iPad mobile devices reached a new quality because of it’s screen size. They initiated a shift in paradigm of teaching and learning as well and from that time ‘people could hold the internet in their hands‘.

There’s been a lot of recent debate about whether or not we’ve entered the Post PC Era.

Historically the term first originated when Apple‘s founder Steve Jobs discussed the future of personal computing during an interview alongside Bill Gates at the fifth All Things Digital conference in 2007. At that time he described

“a category of devices that aren’t as general purpose, that are really more focused on specific functions, whether they’re phones or iPods or Zunes or what have you. And I think that category of devices is going to continue to be very innovative and we’re going to see lots of them,”

Jobs said.

Ever the visionary, Jobs understood the transformation from the computing experience of the past to a more adaptive and personal one of the future. Wikipedia describes a PC as follows,

A personal computer (PC) is a general-purpose computer, whose size, capabilities, and original sale price makes it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator. This contrasted with the batch processing or time-sharing models which allowed larger, more expensive minicomputer and mainframe systems to be used by many people, usually at the same time. Large data processing systems require a full-time staff to operate efficiently.

This definition of a PC or Personal Computer was first defined more than 40 years ago when computers were giant machines in a large room including a powerful air conditioner and their usage was limited to large corporations with well-trained staff.

The PC brought personal usage of computers to people like a washing machine or any other household appliance. It’s personal in that you could own one, but wasn’t particularly personal otherwise. It still remained a stationary device. The user had to sit in front of the device. The idea of mobility or portability spoke mostly to its form factor, or design, not to its usage.

Steve Jobs did a great job and explained the world that in the future the traditional PC would no longer have to be the center of ones digital life, and that mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones would be

more portable, more personal and dramatically easier to use than any PC has ever been.

This is what Steve Jobs announced on Jan 27, 2010, a device standing between a phone and a laptop.

The most fascinating part of Jobs vision of the future is that it seems that Post PC Era has actually brought us potentially the first truly personal computers, the tablets with a truly personal mobile CPU, a kind of wearable device to augment your life.

The benefits of Apple’s invention …

  • Mobility
  • Use it at a time you need it
  • Perfect UI (the user interface)
  • Seamless UX (the user experience)
  • Quietness
  • Size
  • No need of any peripherals

and later added innovative features

  • Syncing via iCloud
  • Sharpness of the display
  • 64-Bit processor
  • Drastically reduction of weight

When I go to the office it’s the way to work with hardware I work with since decades. The first IBM PC was released in 1981 and a bit later it got Windows and a mouse. Since that time there were basically no changes regarding this configuration, nothing what you would call innovative. The machine with its peripherals was just for doing the things you have to do. Did the machine ever motivate you to do new things which would have a strong impact on your life? Not for me because I never used a computer at home because even there a work desk would be needed followed by immobility.

20131010-065253.jpg

As to the immobility of a PC you have to have your ideas when sitting in front of your desk. But this often doesn’t work. There are ideas coming up just when you do not sit in the office. Even a notebook did not change this none-productive-environment basically.

But the iPad did.
It’s because a touchscreen is much nearer to human activities than any other device. What we do is mostly what we do with our hands. It’s our first approach to new things. Creating artworks, modeling new devices or writing down all the ideas leading to the E=m c c equation on a sheet of paper while walking through the room and reflecting our thoughts is almost always done by hand.

As to limited software capabilities you are forced to find out new ways to organize your work. And these new approaches of modern computing are often easier and more effective. So the machine motivates you to go alternative ways. That’s what we call creativity. And by the way a device must not support what is technically possible. The main CPU is still your brain and it cannot work more effective and creative of lots of hardware components are added.

What do you think?
Would this man have been even more creative with an iPad?

20131010-065812.jpg

Creativity has nothing to do with any activity in particular – with painting, poetry, dancing, singing or finding out E=m c c.
Anything can be creative – you bring that quality to the activity. Activity itself is neither creative nor uncreative. You can paint in an uncreative way and you can clean the floor in a creative way.

The iPad supports creativity by forcing you to do things with your hand. That’s what we learned as we grew up and that’s to what we come back using this kind of machine where a mouse is just eating cheese.

My opinion might look highly subjective and younger people growing up with these technical marvels cannot understand me. Then you should know that I grew up without any computer you could afford for private use.
My first PC was a Sharp MZ 80K (1978, based on a Zilog processor) followed by an IBM PC (1981) and everybody thought these machines are made for working while you first think of an iPad as a gadget. Just for fun.

Sometimes I boot the IBM PC still residing in our office (which, you won’t believe it, is still working!) and compare it with the iPad. If you had traced this long way you may understand me.

The great Albert EINSTEIN said …

Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

The iPad …

Technology geeks might be interested in an excellent video teardown of the iPad Air launched in 2013.

The iPad Air (20 min)

The configuration …

Here is my suggestion for a suitable configuration without a PC.

20131218-061730.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

This is a slightly modified version with some annotations and less details about the hardware.

20131218-062034.jpg

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Some details …

You will find articles here on iNotes4You about the following products.

iThoughts
Mind Mapping
improve personality and knowledge by visualized summarizations with the mind mapping technique
iThoughts for the iPad

Tap Forms
Database
collect information in one place by using a database which can be managed by non-technicians
zBase vs Tap Forms

FileBrowser
File Management
connect to cloud storages of any kind as well as computers within the same network, supports VPN access, WebDAV, well-known cloud providers
Apps for file management

TeamViewer
Remote Control
Seamlessly connect to any remote computer, control it, and transfer files
TeamViewer

Prizmo
Text recognition
transfer images into text by using a text recognition engine
Text Recognition

ByWord, PlainText
Simple editor
write down your ideas with a simple text editor where ever you are, with or without internet connection, and automatic syncing with Dropbox if an internet connection is available
Mystic signs of progress

Qrafter
QR-Code
read and create open and password secured QR-Codea
Mystic signs of progress

Summary …

The above mentioned configuration is suitable for replacing a computer and stats show that people are on the way to move into the post PC era.

Admittedly there are many special tasks where a computer is still required but with some creativity you are able to do many tasks with alternative techniques and learn about new techniques for organizing your life.

Nobody would use a 40t truck to buy a bottle of milk and nobody would try to transport 20 pupils to school with a Smart. So it’s no rigorous YES or NO to a PC or a tablet. Use the device it’s dedicated for at the right time and in the right place. And that’s definitely not a PC for brainstorming in a coffee shop and it’s not a tablet for doing the relevant tasks in the office.
Like in all other parts of our life we are targeted to use a device which fits best for a task. The only requirement we must be fulfilled is the ability of seamless data exchange between both, the PC and the tablet.

Related links …

iPad Attends Meetings

iPad @ Universities

iPad @ School

Apple Wireless Network

The iPad Air (20 min)

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.
Hope to see you again.








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