Only Second Hand From Now On

Well, it’s not because of the price exactly.

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We as a society are fortunately at the point now where the computing performance of the iPhone is so good that it can replace or forgo entire traditional computers for enough people. It’s plenty enough to drive all our applications and games. What are these modern incarnations of personal computing forgetting to do for us?

Last year In 2018 I bought an iPhone Xr, it came with the fastest processor Apple currently made for iOS and the Xr is equal to the much higher priced Xs Max in day to day use.

It is perfect for what I need it for, and even though it doesn’t come with a second camera lens, I still have my iPhone 7 plus which isn’t that different from the 8+ or the Xs series. The iPhone 7 Plus is also already three years old so the iPhone Xr can clearly last just as long (with battery replacements ;-)). And whatever I can buy second hand after the Xr is going to be an improvement by default of making technological progress.

There is already a huge grey market for Apple iPhones so my idea isn’t original, other people are buying second hand already. I could have bought the 8+ this year but didn’t because I wanted the larger screen. The Xr seemed to have enough advantages over both what it replaced (the 8+) and what was released with it (Xs and XS Max). The Xr purchase has now become my stake in the ground where I had always desired to have at least one new phone every other generation. Now there is no real need, me still using the iPhone 7+ is proof of this and it’s time to enjoy life in the grey market.

I’m not buying second hand to save money per se, I’m not buying second hand to protest against Apple’s prices either. I’m going second hand because as mentioned are good enough so why pay all them dollars anymore for brand new and why pay for the extras that come with the iPhone that are essentially creating more waste.

Waste? You mean the manuals and the power adapter?

Yes, I’m talking about the barebones crap that comes in the box, the same set of manuals that barely anyone reads, the stickers you have to justify sticking somewhere (I’ve ran out of ideas to place mine) and the power adapter stays in the box. I don’t need all that stuff anymore and Apple won’t just sell me an actual naked iPhone like the grey market will. It’s to overlook the packaging when you’re only buying one iPhone, but the scale at which Apple operate today shouldn’t be overlooked when the run off from the in the box accessories isn’t going to be fully utilised

Apple sold 200 million iPhones in 2018*. Did everybody read the manual again? Are you using the weak 5 watt adapter? I didn’t, I have multiple USB cables, external batteries, and USB ports on my computer and my power sockets. Everything other than the phone is surplus to requirement. I can’t be the only one?

Apple could address this problem if they wanted to.

  1. Don’t put the adapters in the box and lower the price enough to simply reflect there is less.

  2. Don’t put the adapters in the box but offer them for free in Apple Stores to anybody who purchases an iPhone if they ask for one.

  3. Remove them entirely and gouge customers further by offering for sale only the Qi charging solutions and power solutions that already exist in the accessories section.

  4. Leave it solely to the 3rd parties to cater to this problem.

Anker the third-party solution for charging iPhones either with external batteries or with specific wall warts is on the recordas saying they would like to build the power solutions for Apple so Apple can put less in the box.

And in the latest episode of the Talkshow, John Gruber and Joanna Stern they were discussing the ideas behind what will Apple do in the future with regards to putting adapters in the box.

Their conversation implied that Apple will continue shipping power adapters in the box regardless.

Now I’m not sure Apple would split up the contents of the iPhone box to another company or have such a basic power adapter as freebie or made into a must have accessory purchase. Then again, the MacBook Pro doesn’t come with the extra length cable either because Apple either wanted to nickel and dime you from what came in that particular box or they are actually being environmentally friendly. I’ll let you decide.

But both conclusions however could easily justify their behaviour towards reducing the waste that comes with selling millions of iPhones.

Putting all the manuals and power adapters in the box is wholly unnecessary now in my opinion, and it creates huge amounts of e-waste simply because of the scale which Apple operates at. Everybody basically has a multitude of means with which to charge their iphones.

And as I get more into zero waste, I’m thinking more and more about how to lessen my impact on this planet while at the same time not necessarily giving up the things that I need with which to operate on this planet. This post reflects one of those ideas. If enough people do the same, Apple might change their practices.

I thought I’d share this idea and I’m looking forward to what I’m going to buy at a cheaper price point that’s going to be better than my phone today while lowering my environmental impact.

*But the phone market shipped 1.5 billion chargers.




"Look Wendy I Can Fly"!

It was the iPhone's 10th birthday this month. It's astonishing it's been ten years since it was originally unveiled! Time has flown by. Ten years seems like a good way to think back to the state of my 'personal computing' from 2007.

I had a Mac laptop, as I do now, the tiny for its time 12" PowerBook connected to some monitor, a Nintendo DS Lite and some Nokia phone I don't care fondly enough for (it had WAP). I also had home wifi.

In 2007 wherever I went, the PowerBook went with me, and I travelled to where there was WiFi. It seems brutal for a workflow and unbelievable that that was how I operated casually in the computing world only ten years.

I want to sing a little praise in this blog post for the iPhone's most useful feature as I put my new website design through its paces. That is the always on connection to an LTE network and the Personal Hotspot function.

We use to 'dial into' the Internet, today it's ever present. Always on Internet is something we generally take for granted now. Anybody born into the world today won't even think about the Internet, just like children in the 80s readily accepted television. I do remember being astonished when my parents mentioned their lives before microwaves and televisions. 

I was astonished with the introduction of the first iPhone (the way Steve Jobs presented the iPhone helped). That January keynote was one to remember if you were able to watch it live, I saw myself being able to use the future that I had seen on 'Star Trek' ten years prior. I could see it, but certainly not feel it like I do today! Wait for the kids who wonder what we did prior to the ubiquity of the Internet and the smartphone.

In 2007 I really couldn't envision a 2017 Jonathan.

I'm reminded at work almost every time I can access anything I want, specifically 'YouTube' when my 4-5 year old students get annoyed with the load times as they don't understand the nuance between the screen of a TV and a smartphone. I'm fine with the load times. SIDE NOTE: I'm beginning to see what a 'generational divide' is.

I'm reminded at home when I realise how easy it is to tether my laptop to my iPhone, along with an iPad, and a second backup iPhone. It's the utility of both the mobile connection and the phone combined. I have all four devices running and operating on my own wifi network generated by a device smaller than a video cassette! For others with the iPhone SE, a cassette tape! The wifi is also faster than the wifi I had ten years ago!*

My favourite reminder is to have fired up something like Periscope, Twitter, download some updates all simultaneously on my various devices. It's a little thing personal to me I know. I am just still able to marvel at this ability. Credit goes to the countless developers and engineers on both the network side and the device to make it happen. Everything complex and computer related is interwoven into the radio frequencies surrounding us. It's easy to forget the progress we've made and along with all the hidden difficulty.

We've all heard that story about the computing power of a smartphone today is more powerful than what we had when we went to the moon. It's true, but it isn't a metric we can personally measure the progress of and compare against. I'm sure you have your own story about how your life has changed in the last ten years since the iPhone was shown off. Share it in the comments if you want.

I think back ten years to scoff at what I could do then compared to today. Now I look forward to see what we will have over the next ten years.

*My apartment in HK is old, cable or some wired internet service with a wireless router is pointless so that is why everything is run off the mobile.

 

 

Live Streaming Workflows

I wasn't surprised when I saw that the newly released top end 9.7" iPad Pro is the same price as the top end iPhone 6s+. I'm just noodling here as I put more into live-streaming and create a device workflow around live-streaming to mitigate connectivity or image quality issues I might have. By considering either one of these screens as a secondary iOS device I want to:

  • shoot 4K footage and take decent pictures (alongside the live-streaming)
  • replace my home WiFi (old Chinese apartments are limited to 2mbps)
  • have a back up Internet device (a mobile hotspot device)

As mobile devices (can someone come up with a better name yet*) technology advances, my retro digital camera is proving itself to be a bit of a stuck in the mud. (Of course it is, it's retro!) Any new purchase would also need to replace my digital camera. 

The general utility of an iOS device isn't interested in being anchored down by cables and with work flows crossing over to a desktop computer before final upload. I'm adapting my work flow to not concern itself over Raw handling and image quality. I think the tradeoffs are there where I can say it's good enough now on a mobile device. 

Just for the record, the price of a replacement camera for my Fuji x100s is also roughly the same price as either of the two iOS devices. Amazing hey? Now which iOS device to buy?

The basic internal specs of both devices are the same with a few features leapfrogging the iPhone for the moment. A data plan is basically the same with both devices so we can ignore that. So it comes down to these basic things:

  • Battery life 
  • Portability 
  • Screen size (workflow dependent)

Battery Life

Hands down, the iPad wins and as a base station outside the house it's much better than the puny battery in the iPhone 6s+ to provide internet connectivity to say a laptop. I still hope Apple bring out a battery pack for this larger model. Periscoping hammers the battery and I've never benefitted from going from an iPhone5 to the iPhone6s+ when it comes to battery life. WINNER - iPad. 

Portability

Both devices are already super thin and this is truly a first world problem for the minimalist such as myself. But still, which one? I can easily hold two iPhones together, one streaming, one shooting 4K (some velcro will solve that). I wouldn't be drawing attention to myself too much with that set up. Now live stream with an iPad and iPhone combo, it's a bit more awkward. WINNER - iPhone. 

Screen Size

Do I want to edit my work on a 9" screen or a 5" screen? Do I want to multitask with the iPad or solo task on the iPhone? Don't forget this is a secondary device, so each device can operate independently of each other. But what is the benefit of the larger screen? WINNER - Unknown

But the iPhone 7 (Conclusion)

This basically means can I and should I wait with what I have already? What will the next generation phone bring, especially when it comes to image quality? The potential downside to waiting for an iPhone7 means I'm only six months away from another, better iPad! This throws up the issue of whether to buy now or buy for tomorrow. I would like to buy for tomorrow (with portability in mind), while the iPad does have the better battery, I do have power packs at my disposal, ready to fast charge both iPhones if I opt for that and in all honesty am I going to use both devices constantly? The screen size doesn't need to be an issue if I can multitask on two phones and of course, two iPhones are smaller than an iPad!   

* I like the German name for a mobile phone, 'handy', which they most certainly are.

UPDATE: I forgot Apple released this as well. It basically means I can plug in a USB microphone and charge both the iOS device and said microphone, not an issue for a fully charged iPad, but the iPhone itself has become a lot more flexible because of a $300HKD add-on for either my periscopes or podcasts.

UPDATE 2: No optical stabiliser on the iPad, you'd think with that bump that justified the newest protrusion to the iOS family, alas no. It's more likely I'll purchase a second iPhone.