Tag Archives: Apple

Hacked Off: Does the iPhone 6 Foreshadow a Post-Snowden Consumer Electronics Universe?

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One of the more interesting stories that we at Mediolana have been poring over in recent days has been the revelation that the iPhone 6 – a device which has so far made headlines mostly for its purportedly malleable case – is causing concern at the highest level of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (‘FBI’). This is because the ninth iteration of Apple’s iconic mobile handset is also its most secure: the phone’s encryption of emails, photographs and contacts is so comprehensive that Apple will not be able to hand over anything particularly substantive to a law enforcement or intelligence agency in the event of an investigation.

Whether Apple’s claims about the impracticability of trying to crack the iPhone 6’s encryption prove to be correct or not, James B. Comey – a distinguished alumnus of the University of Chicago’s law school and the director of the FBI – is clearly concerned enough to be making pronouncements about the dangers of companies manufacturing and marketing electronic devices that ‘allow people to hold themselves above the law’. Comey may have a point, but after some consideration, we believe that there are at least three even more salient issues that have arisen from this perhaps unexpected iPhone 6 USP:

  1. The Value of Privacy. The iPhone 6 signals that there is an economic value to privacy: consumers will be willing to pay more (or at least allocate their disposable income in a different way) on the basis of whether their data will remain just that. Moreover, in large markets whose jurisdictions are wary of US espionage – think Angela Merkel – the ability of American companies to do business in those countries may depend on their meeting certain encryption standards.
  2. Competing on Security. Google has already announced that the forthcoming version of its own mobile operating system, Android, will have encryption as the default setting. With companies seeking to outdo each other on the impenetrability of their offerings, the conflict between the requirements of consumers and the level of access desired by national or international agencies is likely to intensify in the future.
  3. Trust. With ever-more private and sensitive data being stored on mobile devices, perceived breaches of trust could have significant economic consequences – as well as impacting brand equity. In the notoriously volatile smart devices market, today’s ubiquitous phone is tomorrow’s museum piece – and security may be a key determinant of which manufacturer is next to end up in the bankruptcy courts.

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Adding Environmental Bite: Apple ‘Goes Greener than Green’ for #EarthDay!

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So Long, Sony: How the Demise of the Vaio Could Been Avoided

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 15.32.54In today’s iPad-happy landscape, where Apple enjoys full-spectrum cultural dominance of popular computing and where the number one consumer ambition is to slump on a sofa with a Designed in California, Made in China touchscreen device, it seems almost unthinkable that as recently as the early 2000s Apple was nothing more than a cult brand, and that the popular representation of computer nirvana was the Sony Vaio. The news that the Vaio range – long synonymous with quality engineering and great design – is going to be hived off to Japanese private equity group Japan Industrial Partners for around £300m, a tiny fraction of Apple’s US$170bn revenues for 2013 alone, has probably (and poignantly) passed most former Vaio users by.

So what went wrong for Sony’s flagship laptop brand? After some contemplation, our Creative Director & CSO thinks that Vaio could have run toe-to-toe with (and perhaps even beaten) Mac if the struggling Tokyo-headquartered corporation had gone into the middle of the last decade armed with three tactical stratagems:

1. Synergise with the PS2. Quite incredibly given the shared origins of the two devices, Sony did not even attempt to give the Vaio any kind of gaming edge using technology from the PlayStation 2. This omission became even more glaringly obvious with the release of the Sony PSP at the end of 2004: this portable console, essentially a mobile version of the PS2, proved that fitting out Vaios with advanced entertainment capabilities at precisely the time when most laptops were highly deficient in this regard was not merely possible, but eminently doable.

2. Own the OS. With Windows’ unique ‘blue screen’ feature starting to wear thin by the mid-2000s, the time was ripe for Sony to break with convention and fit its PCs with its own OS and multi-format-compatible applications suite. It didn’t have to look far to do this: as users of the PSP will testify, the XrossMediaBar was and still is an attractive, intuitive and memorable operating system which is as robust and reliable as anything dreamt up in Cupertino. LiveArea shows that Sony still has the midas touch in this regard – but do they possess the vision?

3. Drop the Price. With computing power breaking all records and processing capacity prices collapsing, Vaio remained a premium brand – but without the quality to justify the eye-watering price tags. When you can get a machine which works as opposed to one running Windows, functionality wins out over sentiment and familiarity for all but the certain user groups who are prisoners of Microsoft. Most of the rest will run like refugees to the Apple Store.

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Game & Watch, 2.0: Samsung Unveils Smartwatch!

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Late Night Maintenance: Here We Come to Save the Day!

Running a busy(ish) company is no easy task in this 24-7-52 world, and our CSO is all too familiar with working hours that many would flinch at (though perhaps not excessively). When, then, does the infrastructural maintenance – tasks such as cleaning an Apple Mighty Mouse scrollwheel, for example – get accomplished? Late at night, dear reader; really late!

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Smash and Fab: Cracked Mobile Telephone Screens ‘Ultimate Fashion Statement’!

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Korea Team Thinking: Samsung Rockets into World Innovation Top Ten!

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