Don’t they look great? I might get one (no, really). They’re interesting... Let’s play Apple Pundit!
You might get one?! · Well, it’s like this: Since June, I actually haven’t had a smartphone; just an ancient account-free Nexus S that I use for voice, SMS, and occasional hot spots. I’m not starved for mobile Internet because my 16G Nexus 7 with celullar data has been a champ, makes me very happy every day, is a terrific world traveler, excels at email and Web and The Economist and Ingress and Twitter and G+ and Kindle and MLB.tv. I’ll probably replace it with one of the new ones because, well, have you held one?
So I guess I must need a handset, only I haven’t been able to get any of the nifty ones. Samsung is still in my penalty box for their egregious GS4 launch. Nobody seems to want to sell me an unlocked HTC One or Moto X in Canada.
My first choice would probably be the X because I love the stylin’ and I don’t actually need a high-end phone, the N7 is my workhorse.
And here’s the thing; the Identity group at Google where I work puts a lot of investment into authentication/authorization on iOS, which is not nearly as good as it should be. Hm... wonder if I can expense one?
Now, it will be a cold fucking day in hell before I write software on a plantation where you have to get Massa’s permission to share your work. But writing Android sample apps and server back-end stuff is burning most of my coding bandwidth these days anyhow.
Anyhow, so I played closer attention to the announcement than I usually do. And there was a lot of interesting stuff.
Looks · The 5s is a titanic upthrust of restrained good taste; you couldn’t possibly listen to the Clash on it. Which is to say boring. I guess it’s a little snazzier when wrapped in dead animal skin but still.
The 5c on the other hand; pink & black is pure rock&roll and yellow/black screams “killer bee”. Love ’em.
Touch ID · This kind of thing is my day job; I salute Apple for running a mammoth-scale identity-tech experiment. It might work. There are things to worry about, but it might.
First thing is, if I’m authenticating myself with a password or YubiKey or whatever, and the whatever gets compromised, I can revoke it and replace it. But with biometrics... well, it’s a problem. On the other hand, perhaps the fingerprint sensor is so cosmically wonderful that you just never have to worry about things going off the rails.
And of course, there’s privacy paranoia. Yeah, I heard about how the prints are in a magic vault guarded by angels with flaming swords where nobody can ever ever see them. Uh-huh. It’s sort of a central dogma among Identigeeks and Securinerds that Mobile Devices Can’t Keep Secrets. I’ll be waiting to hear what the jailbreak hackers say after they’ve had a look. And so will the guys who write NSA’s FISA demands.
64bit bafflement · I’ve spent way more time at this particular coalface than most geeks. Apple claims that it’ll be X times faster and I can believe that, but don’t see the connection. I’m not gonna ramble on here about the trade-offs around memory bandwidth and object sizes and floating-point implementations; but I think most clued-in practitioners would agree with me that 64-bit is not necessarily faster.
On the other hand, when you really need more than 4G of RAM those extra bits start to smell nice. Now, I know about the ARM PLAE thingies that give you 40 bits of space, but in my experience address-extension tech has mostly been pretty stinky. And the M7 co-processor looks like a terrific idea.
But that’s not what’s puzzling me. I mean... it’s a phone! Who bloody cares how many bits wide the CPU buses are? “Desktop-class architecture”?! Excuse me, your marketing armwaving is going to spill my beer.
And the whole pitch feels totally un-Apple to me. Oh well, nobody doing marketing in Cupertino cares what I think.
$$$ · Damn,these are some expensive toys; I mean, for those of us who don’t do locked phones. $549 (entry-level 5c) to $849 (top-end 5s). Let me see, I can get a new unlocked HTC One on EBay for $500-ish. I guess most people leap cheerfully into some telco’s maw and get out of the store for $200-ish. I don’t like those economics though.
Anyhow, thanks to Apple for making my Tuesday a little more interesting.