Top Ring

Archive | What’s hot …

iPhone 5 feature slap!

Apple vs AndroidAs smartphones become more and more all singing and all dancing … consumers are chasing features and then experiencing “feature slap”…

Apple claims the high road for design, innovation, best of breed engineering, ease of use,  user experience, and expects to garner the absolute best of the smartphone profit margins.

Their products “just work”. . . or do they?

The new iPhone 5S coupled with iOS7 is trying to raise the bar for smartphone technology – finger print scanner, location favorites, A7 64 bit processor, M7 motion co-processor, the new iSight Camera, and a complete refresh of iOS.

Feature slap is when consumers buy something with the expectation that it works only to find out their early adaption of new piece of technology does not quite work as promised.

Some iPhone 5 feature slaps … and a definite hit …

Hit …

iPhone 5S Camera Dual FlashCamera and dual flash

Apple got this one right.

While not winning the mega pixel war the new iPhone 5S clearly takes good pictures – period.  Why?

Mega pixels are not the whole story.

Digital images are not just about the number of mega pixels, they are about light, how you capture it, how you process it, and how you present the final image.

The iPhone 5S deals with light – not mega pixels.  The iSight Camera features:

  • A wider aperture (f2.2) this lets in more light,
  • A bigger sensor which captures more of the light let in,
  • A new dual flash allows for better image color tones (one is white the other is amber),
  • A new ISP (Image Signal Processor) designed by Apple, this allows for faster image processing, focus, and provides a “burst mode”,
  • In burst mode new software algorithms work to analyze the sequence of shots and actually offers the best one,
  • A new version of image stabilization takes 4 pictures (instead of just 1) and then evaluates each image to select the best elements (eyes open or closed?  face blurred or sharp …) the end result is a new combined image featuring the best elements of the burst shots – sharp, clear, and best of all it really does work.

Miss … iOS 7 / iPhone 5 feature slaps

iphone 5S fingerprintFinger Print Scanner

Early reports are stating – it works great when you start but after? An initial poster in the Apple Support Touch ID thread tells about his problems and a visit to the Genius at Apple.

  • “For phase one, start by putting the meat of the finger being registered on the button for the first picture taken.
  • Then put the finger back down and before it hits the button, roll it up on the left edge, at about a 45 degree angle, then put it on the button,
  • Then repeat by rolling up the right edge at a 45 degree angle,
  • Then tip up the front of the finger and place it down (not too angled up),
  • Then start the 4 step cycle again until the iPhone tells you it is now ready for you to adjust your grip. At this point, put your finger down at the angle you will attempt to unlock the phone. Then move it a little here and there on the button, until it says you have success.
  • I have had 20 straight successes, and counting. My wife has tried it and has had about a 95% success rate.

Apples new partner the NSA?As this wasn’t enough Top Information Post, a right wing satire site, posted on the 25th of September that “Apple admits, iPhone 5S Fingerprint Database to be shared with NSA” … huh???

For more color there are two satire posts on the National Report site:  Apple iOS 7 update gives law enforcement unlimited access to user’s personal data and Apple iPhone 5S fingerprint database to be shared with NSA,

Tongue and cheek?  Ok we got you going.  On the 27th the Guardian published “No Apple hasn’t said it will share a fingerprint database with the NSA”.   Enough said?  Look at Apple’s new location services, “learning your favorite locations” and serving us ads Google style.

The question does come up … what are we actually sharing with Apple about ourselves and why.

iPhone 5 iPhone 5S compass

iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S side by side showing different compass readings

Motion Sensor

Gizmodo doesn’t put to fine of a point on their current evaluation:

The iPhone 5S motion sensors are totally screwed up! 

  • The level read out is between 2 and 3 degrees off in the iPhone 5S, perfect in the iPhone 5 – not something you want to use for your favorite DIY project,
  • The Gyroscope and compass appear to be out, the compass by as much as 10 degrees, in the case of the photo … do the math .. you don’t want to use an iPhone 5S compass to find your way home unless your looking for a novel excuse for your wife as to why you are late.

The fact that the problem does not show up in an iPhone 5 seems to indicate that it is a factory calibration problem.

iPhone 5 / iOS 7 Wallpaper

iOS 7 Wallpaper container dimensions

Parallax and zoom

Apple loves the new zoom and parallax function, the question is do you? Believe who you want but the Apple Support Forum is filled with users complaining of motion sickness.  Fox News spoke to Dr George Kikano from Ohio who stated:  “There’s some validity to this for people who are susceptible to motion sickness”.  Again, not everybody is complaining, Apple is a big target and the internet pundits do just love to pile in.

For a rational view see the Guardian’s article “Why iOS7 is making some users sick”.  Reactions to screen based systems are not new.  At this time you can’t turn it all off, only parallax, zooming and sliding are features that for now are embeded.

As Apple is a company concerned about accessibility (and has actually done a lot in this area) look for a heightened awareness from our friends at Apple and a fix in the not to distant future.

For a good post on how to deal with parallax and wall paper under iOS 7 see Oh my pizza.

See the container sizes in the article to see how to correctly make wall paper for iOS7.

Battery drain

Again the issue is uneven with some users saying “Great improved” others saying “Power Hungry – Awful”.  New new iOS 7 “features” use power.  If your having issues with your battery here’s where some of the battery drain is located:

  • Background application refresh, all those free and paid for applications are trying to verify and update their versions, to turn this off:
    • Settings > General > Background App Refresh. You can turn it off entirely, or turn it off for select apps.
    • You can also switch off background app updates by going to Settings > iTunes & App Store and scrolling down to the Automatic Downloads section and toggling Updates to off.
  • Disable Parallax
    • Settings > General > Accessibility – Reduce Motion
  • Switch off location services
    • Settings > Privacy > Location Services – Eliminate auto-brightness
  • Auto-Brightness
    • Settings>Wallpapers & Brightness – Off
  • AirDrop – great feature for sharing but it does not always have to be on
    • Control Center – Turn off AirDrop
  • Bluetooth and WiFi
    • Select one or both but these services are using up your battery always looking for devices to connect to.  Use the Control Center to easily turn these features off when you are not looking for a device to connect to.
  • Frequent Locations – your iPhone (and Apple!) wants to learn about you and “help” you (by serving location information and potentially Apple ads).  This service eats battery life and some people feel it is an invasion of their privacy.
    • Settings > Privacy > Location Services – all the way at the bottom System Services, there you can select Location Based iAds (Ads from Apple based on your Frequent Locations!) and Frequent Locations.
  • Don’t use moving backgrounds
    • Change your iPhone’s wall paper to a static image or one of your own photo’s
    • Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness (see Oh my pizza for how to generate static wallpaper (even if you use your own image) and how to deal with the challenges.

One of the best reviews of iPhone / iOS 7 issues and what to do is from Digital Trends follow the link for their review.

Another excellent review can be found on News Com AU “Really simple fixes for your iOS7 problems

iPhone 5C – iPhone 5S sales

Apple vs Android

The march of iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S sales launch countries continues across the globe


Apple’s iPhone march around the world continues with an additional 35 countries launching  iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S sales on the 25th of October.  16 more countries will launch on the 1st of November.

Everyone is comparing sales – previous iPhone against the new iPhones.

Different launch business models, different number of launch countries and sequence.

We are comparing the sale of bananas against the sale of cherries to draw conclusions about the future sales of apples.  It just doesn’t work.

The only thing that is currently being proved is Apple knows how to manage, market and effect unit sales figures to their advantage.

The iPhone 5 launch countries as of the 1st of November – 47

iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S launch countries as of the 1st of November – 62

While both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C / iPhone 5S launch country totals should closely match by year end (roughly 100 countries) country sequence and number of carriers selling the iPhones has a very real impact on the reported sales figures.

iPhone 5 country launch countries 

  • September 21 – first availability – 9 countries
  • September 28 – additional 22 countries – total 31 countries
  • November 30 – 16 additional countries – total 48 countries
  • December 07 – 1 additional country – total 48 countries
  • December 14 – 33 additional countries – total 81 countries
  • December 21 – 20 additional countries – total 101 countries

iPhone 5C iPhone 5S launch countries

On September 10th

  • September 10 – first availability – 11 countries including China

On October 25th 35 countries – total 46 countries

  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, French West Indies, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Island, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Thailand.

On November 1st 16 countries – total 62 countries

  • Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, Colombia, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.

Unit sales freefall?iPhone unit sales freefall

Securities analysts are cutting their September – December iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S sales estimates by some rather dramatic numbers.  If you want to try to follow some of the speculation Business Insider is reporting revised unit sales estimates from Ming-Chi Kuo here.

The general trend seems to be the iPhone 5S is selling, the iPhone 5C is being discounted.

Overall iPhone unit sales will remain “strong” with the iPhone 4S picking up the slack by being offered “free” when purchased with a carrier contract.

There will be some indication of overall iPhone sales when Apple reports earnings on the 28th of October, but Apple does not break out unit sales by model number.

Further spice for year end Apple revenue – iPad 5 launch

Apple now plans to launch two new iPads on the 22nd of October.

Following the iPhone 5 launch model of 2 versions at the same time the iPad mini 2 is expected to contain modest upgrades (display and processor) while the new iPad 5 is expected to cover the feature bases and show dramatic changes.

The launch should further spice up Apple sales figures for the xmas season.



iPhone 5S iPhone 5C … sales record

iPhone sales

iPhone 5S iPhone 5C

iPhone 5S iPhone 5C

Apple proves they still know what it takes to generate a sales record



iPhone 5S iPhone 5C sales record over 9 million new iPhones were sold during first weekend

iPhone sales

iPhone Sales Figures

The iPhone 5 released last year broke sales records by selling 5 million phones on the first weekend breaking the previous iPhone 4S sales record of 4 million phones.

Apple did not break down the sales figures released on Monday but they did seem surprised by the volume of iPhone 5S sales.

iPhone Pundits have estimated that the iPhone 5S has outsold the iPhone 5C three and a half to one.

The lions share of the uptake has been in the United States followed by Japan (iPhone 5S) and Europe.  Early estimates are saying the iPhone 5S sold 7.5 million and the iPhone 5C 1.5 million.

As the sales model has changed (2 models at once and a change of the model / pricing strategy mix) the 1st weekend sales figures are not really comparable.  Nor do the first weekend’s sales indicate long term demand.  Some notes:  The iPhone 5 was released to 9 markets at the launch (not including China), the iPhone 5S – iPhone 5C was release to 11 markets (including China).

Another way to look at the iPhone 5S – iPhone 5C sales record:  the iPhone 5 sold 5 million units without China, when China was launched 2 million iPhone 5’s were sold the first weekend.  If the launch figures are looked at this way the iPhone 5 sold 7 million units in the first weekend launch.  The iPhone 5S appears to have sold between 7 and 7.5 million units with China in the initial launch market.

Initial analysis indicates most of the iPhones this weekend were in the US market and the China market contributed very little to the overall sales volume.

Business Insider’s Gene Munster also brings up the point of “channel fill” stating that significant numbers of the 9 million units sold are phone’s sold to partners for stock and not actual consumer sales.  Munster states that as many as 3.5 million iPhones were sold to partners and do not represent new iPhone sales as measured by customer activations.

Marketing hype?  Yes, and Apple has not lost the marketing group or know how when it comes to hype.  Apple is stating 9 million unit sold and then letting the Google pundits and blogs follow up by comparing Apples to Oranges and then state it’s a record.

As always statistics are in the eye of the beholder.  

I doubt Guinness would accept the calculation it’s a new record.

Based on Munster’s surface analysis 4 million iPhone 5S and 1.5 million iPhone 5C’s were sold and activated by customers – the rest is “channel fill” – stock.  The coming weeks will begin to color in the unit sales story.

A simple measure of this analysis is:  iPhone 5C – currently in stock at the Apple Store, iPhone 5S nope.  To see Munster’s explanation of this go to:  Munster’s video on Bloomberg.

Conclusion – iPhone 5 against the iPhone 5S – about the same, maybe even less, with a worry that China sales are very low compared to the iPhone 5 launch in China.

Some comparisons:

  • Galaxy S4 – 10 million units in 30 days
  • HTC One – 5 million units 30 days
  • Nokia Lumina (the whole range) 3 months 7.4 million units and since 2011 18 million units total,
  • BlackBerry – 3.7 million units in the last 90 days

In another interesting comparison by the Yankee Group “only 9% of Apple owners plan to switch brands in their next purchase while 24% of Android owners plan to switch”.  In the same data published 18% of Android users plan to buy an iPhone when they make their next SmartPhone purchase.  Interestingly Samsung owers are even worse with 56% stating that they would not buy another Samsung.  Short term? Apple’s certainly not dead.  While the company may have lost some edge in design and innovation they do still know how to retain customer loyalty, profit margins, and marketing image.

Still Apple is having a good day (today) and enjoying poking the tech space nay sayers in the eye … 

iOS 7 has now been updated on over 200 million devices – a busy weekend for Apple servers indeed.  As a note – iOS7 runs on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5’s, and on the iPad models iPad 2 and up.  See our next post on Apple’s grand strategy or making the best of what’s left … iOS 7 and fingerprints a look at why ….

Xiaomi MI3 Snapdragon announced September 5th

The Xiaomi MI3  Snapdragon …

prices start at $327 USD …

and No you can’t buy one outside of China …

Xiamoi MI3 Snapdragon

Xiamoi MI3 Snapdragon


The device, announced 5 days before the Apple iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S product launch, has some of the best hardware and technology available on the market.  Don’t count on the Xiaomi MI3 leaving the China market anytime soon.

The Xiamoi MI3 Snapdragon comes with different processors depending on which network provider you buy for.

The WCDMA and CDMA2000 version (China UniCom and China Telecom) come with a processor clocked at 2.3GZ on all four cores.

If you buy the China Mobile version you will have a NVIDIA Tegra 4 inside, the first SmartPhone with this processor.

All versions of the phone come with 2GB RAM and the newest model Snapdragon has a faster clock speed for the memory interface.

There is a 5 inch 1080 LCD by Lg and a 13 megapixel F2/2 rear camera by Sony.

Xiamoi MI3 ColorsThe frame comes in black, white, silver, pink, yellow, and blue and looks quite a bit like the Nokia Lumia (the new iPhone 5C shares this Nokia Lumia “look”).

Will we see more tweets from Nokia marketing stating that flattery is the best form of imitation?

The Xiaomi MI3 Snapdragon is only 8.1mm thick, yet has a huge non removable 3050mAh battery.

The phone runs a modified version of Android 4.1 and interfaces with Xiaomi’s infrastructure which  mimic’s Apples iTunes Store.  Where Apple clearly won’t sacrifice hardware profit Xiaomi cuts hardware margins razor thin.  Xiaomi believes that selling services is the way to profits, give away the phone but “charge ’em for service” is this the future?  If yes then Xiaomi’s business model just might give Apple a run for the money over time.  With the number and quality of the applications in the iTunes store and the “tried and true” Apple business model this might mean it’s sometime before the Xiaomi and other eastern hardware companies find traction in the west.

Yes NFC is there … but no fingerprint … which is more important?

Phones come in 16GB and 64GB models … for a price considerably less than the new iPhone 5C (about 1/2 in the China marketplace).

Pixels per inch are 441 per square inch – though Apple says after 326 “pixels per inch don’t matter” (the iPhone 5C has 326 pixels per inch).

Some missing features or tech specs:

  • Front camera is 2 megapixels
  • No Java support
  • Browser does not support flash
  • No compass – magnetometer
  • No proximity sensor
  • No accelerometer
  • No ambient light sensor
  • No gyroscope

Clearly some of these “features” were left out to reduce cost, and some are just not needed now in the China market.

Comparison Xiaomi – Galaxy Note 3 – Sony Xperia – LG G2

XiaoMi Mi3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Sony Xperia Z1


Display size

5 inch



5.2 inch

Resolution and ppi

1920 x 1080p / 441ppi

1920 x 1080p / 386ppi

1920 x 1080p / 441ppi

1920 x 1080 / 424ppi


2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 MSM8974E / 1.8GHz Tegra 4

2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 / 1.9GHz Exynos 5410

2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 MSM 8974

2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 MSM8974


Quad-core /


Quad-core / Octa-core




NVIDIA GeForce / Adreno 330

Adreno 330 / PowerVR SGX 544MP3

Adreno 330

Adreno 330






Internal memory





MicroSD expansion




Yes, up to 64GB

Operating system





OS version

4.2 Jelly Bean

4.3 Jelly Bean

4.2.2 Jelly Bean

4.2.2 Jelly Bean

Rear camera

13MP with dual  LED flash

13-megapixel with LED flash

20.7MP camera with LED flash

13MP with LED flash

Front camera




















Yes, 4.0

Yes, 4.0

Yes, 4.0



144 x 73.6 x 8.1 mm

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

144 x 74 x 8.5 mm

138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9mm











Read more on the comparison at Gizmo China