Over at Apple things are changing to give the company even more power, profit, and exclusive control over it’s customers than ever before.
The good news is that Apple has been charged and found guilty of misleading Australian consumers who purchased Apple’s advertised “iPad with WiFi + 4G” only to find it’s not compatible with the 4G networks in Australia.
This resulted in a $2.25million fine + $300,000.00 in costs for Apple, a fine that seems light given the gross disregard for Australian consumer laws that Apple showed by selling a product that cannot deliver on it’s advertised specifications.
Indeed a small price to pay to purchase Australian tablet buyers without investing in efforts to make the hardware work with the country’s ISPs.
Protecting you from yourself :
Apple also made headlines by patenting an anti-surveillance technology that endeavours to mask a user’s on-line activity with fake information.
In a nutshell the service would hide your real activities behind a wall of fake information. If you ‘like’ a Mars Bar™ then your clone would like a brand of chocolate bar that directly competes with your choices. In essence it’s like an electro-acoustic muffler that covers your on-line activity with white-noise.
There is some implication that Apple has a technique to confuse actions of the clone with your actions, but I’d have to see that in action to honestly discuss it.
At the end of the day this means that instead of Apple and ‘others’ knowing about your interests/habits, only Apple will have accurate information, and they can claim that all other ‘targeted advertisers’ are second to them in accurately promoting to someone’s interests.
To me, this reinforces that Apple customers are the sole property of Apple, including their information.
Apple has some great changes coming for loyal consumers. They are spending the time to remove the excellent Google Maps application, which is a free service, and replacing it with Tom Tom maps, which they likely had to purchase/invest in.
It’s also rumoured that the next update to Apple’s Siri app will focus on data from Apple partners like Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes, and OpenTable, instead of Google.
This was a brave move to protect Apple from Google’s growing competition in hardware markets. If Apple doesn’t limit Google growth with every effort they can muster, Apple consumers will start to see why so many people are switching to Android.
From a SEO perspective, the fact that Apple, and it’s users are getting away from Google is worth noting. When I am optimizing a site, I’m doing it for the good of the site/company, not my preferences in search engines.
So if I had a client who sold flower arrangements or something that is very likely to be searched for with Siri, I’d seriously be considering the competition and rankings over on Yelp as part of their external ranking strategy for coming months.
Spending your money for you…
These changes from free services to paid options won’t cost consumers too much more, at least not compared to the new 19pin iPhone interface that Apple is switching to starting with the iPhone 5.
You heard that correctly, all those accessories you have purchased over the years with iPad/iPhone connections are all going to be junk. Not to fret however, Apple’s authorized partners will sell you all new devices, and are already working on a new line of must-have add-ons featuring the new connectors.
This way, all the cheap knock-off adapters/accessories that aren’t making Apple any money are going to be worthless and Apple will be climbing back into your pockets to kick those imposters out.
And thus the walls of the garden appear to be growing, taller, thicker, and electrified on both sides.
Speaking of Power & Charging…
In more promising news the process of pulling solar power from infrared light is closer to ‘practical application’ with recent progress in the field of carbon nanotube research over at MIT.
If you look at a typical solar panel, exploring the reaction between light energy -> power conversion, you’ll note that infrared (non-visible) light energy is largely wasted.
This is especially troublesome when you realize that ~40% of the sun’s light energy that reaches our planet surface is actually in the infrared spectrum and isn’t being converted to electricity by traditional solar panel technology.
Plus this new research is pointing to a compatible technology that can be added to existing installations vs. replacing existing solar panel installations.
Here’s the relevant section from the original article:
The carbon-based cell is most effective at capturing sunlight in the near-infrared region.
Because the material is transparent to visible light, such cells could be overlaid on conventional solar cells, creating a tandem device that could harness most of the energy of sunlight.
The carbon cells will need refining, Strano and his colleagues say: So far, the early proof-of-concept devices have an energy-conversion efficiency of only about 0.1 percent.
So while the recent announcement is exciting, and very promising, we won’t see the results for some time to come due to efficiency/cost issues which need to be resolved first.
The real news is that folks worried about investing in current solar tech need not worry as much about the future if the next improvements are going to be complimentary to existing solutions.