Didi analysis

Yesterday news broke that Apple was making a $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing, the Chinese competitor to Uber. Unlike some other pundits, I like to sit on the news for a while in order to let my thoughts gel before putting my hands to the keyboard.

After thinking about it for a while, my first conclusion is “Wow! That’s a lot of money!” If I had that much money I’d invest $1700 of it in a new iMac and put the other $999,998,300 into a diversified mutual fund. But Apple has more money than I do! So this is more like when I invest in a sandwich.

And I eat sandwiches for lunch.

The Reuters article says that this is…

…a move that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said would help the company better understand the critical Chinese market.

I’d think maybe you could buy a book or something for less than that. I dunno.

The tech giant’s rare investment gives it a stake in two burgeoning waves of technology – the sharing economy and car technology…

The sharing economy? What the hell is that? I don’t even with this.

Apple is trying to reinvigorate sales in China, where it has come under greater pressure from regulators, and Cook is traveling to the country this month.

He should see those terra cotta warriors. Amazing.

Cook said in an interview that he saw opportunities for Apple and Didi Chuxing to collaborate in the future.

Oh, wow! I assumed this was the end. This is interesting.

“After all the hints about the service business and what they would like to do in the future, it’s all starting to fit together,” he said.

Surveying a pile of jumbled up pieces from various different puzzles, the analyst gestured to it broadly and said “It’s all starting to come together.” Then he smiled awkwardly.

Didi Chuxing is a poster child for Chinese technology, a critical sector in Beijing’s goal to shift the economy toward higher-value services.

I keep reading that as “Did Chuxing” and expecting the sentence to end in a question. It never happens.

“There’s a lot of things we can work on together,” [Jean Liu, Didi’s president] said when asked whether Didi Chuxing would help Apple’s government relations in China.

This is probably significant in some way but I have no idea how.

Well, rest assured that we’ll be hearing more about this in the future as cars and China and investments play a very important roll in the sharing economy with the cloud and services and such.

Very interesting.

» ‘An iTunes bug, not Apple Music, may be to blame for disappearing music libraries’

A bug that causes people to lose stuff is pretty bad no matter what’s responsible for it. I never connected Apple Music to the library where I have all my ripped music and I thought I would be safe from this bug but maybe not.

iTunes seems like it’s continually making desperate pleas to be relieved from duty.

» Wut

This is some serious bullshit. If true. It’s a thing I read on the Internet, though, so I have no reason to doubt it.

Also, it does actually seem like it’d happen.

» Android’s encryption problem

Writing for PCWorld, Jonathan Keane looks at the problems Google faces more fully securing Android. And if/when they do? They’ll be in the same boat Apple’s in.

» The Minecraft Generation – The New York Times

The New York Times on this “Minecraft” game the kids are playing.

It’ll never catch on.

iPhone SE review

Yes, I got an iPhone SE. I mean, after all my complaints about larger phones, I kind of had to or not show my face around the schoolyard.

That’s a joke.

I’m not allowed near the schoolyard.

Also a joke. I’ll get to the review eventually.

Eh, maybe now.

This phone feels like coming home again. The iPhone 6 and 6s were both terrific phones, but 4.7-inches was always uncomfortably large for me. I’ve endured all the “Donald Trump hands” jokes since declaring my intention to buy this phone and — guess what, jerkbags — I can reach the upper right app icon now without some software thing that only works half the time and you can’t. Besides, pretty sure Donald Trump is not using an iPhone anymore since he’s boycotting Apple.

I would list my turn-ons and turn-offs about this phone but there really aren’t any substantial turn-offs for me. Which is good because it’s a phone, not a sex object.

What is wrong with you, Ned? Gross.

Literally every drawback in feature set is mitigated by being one I don’t care about. The front-facing camera isn’t as good. Don’t care. There’s one fewer row of icons on the home screen. But all that meant for me was moving some apps I don’t use that much anyway to the second page. (To paraphrase Bill Gates, 24 apps should be enough for anyone.) It doesn’t have 3D Touch, which I kind of like. But neither does my iPad and switching back and forth was annoying. I’d rather both have it or both not. The Touch ID sensor is the slower, first generation one. Yeah, that just means it’s fast instead of insanely fast. The screen size is smaller. That’s what I wanted.

The phone has the usual high-quality Apple fit and finish and is exactly the same size and shape as my favorite iPhone, the iPhone 5s, except it’s faster and has more stuff. The SE also looks like an iPhone at the top of its design game. The power button is on the top where it “should” be. The back is two-tone instead of having the lines that the 6 and 6s models have which I hate even though they look exactly like those on a Star Trek PADD. Battery life so far has been better than that on my iPhone 6s. Three hours into the day this morning with normal use checking Twitter and email I noticed it was at 99 percent.

In fact, the only reservation I have about this phone is business-related.

I purchased the 64 GB model (Space Gray) and paid for it outright. Why? Because Apple’s commitment to making this a perpetual product in the lineup is uncertain. I wanted to make sure I could resell it at any time without being tied to a payment plan. The iPhone SE is not available for purchase on Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, which is a tipoff that this phone is not going to get upgraded every March. (You can get it on a regular installment plan without the upgrade option.)

Like John Gruber, I definitely don’t expect a new iPhone SE in the fall and am dubious about one arriving next March. I am hopeful there might be one in the fall of 2017, or maybe March of 2018, but who knows? If I had my way, Apple would ship an updated SE a year from now or maybe move it to the fall cycle. If this size only gets updated every two years, I’m not sure what I’ll do. (My son and wife are on the upgrade plan, so we’ll have new phones in the house for me to write about.) If it never gets updated, well, I’ll eventually be back on a 4.7-inch phone.

I understand that a lot of people prefer larger phones, but this is the right size phone for me (and many others). Period. I wish it were a size that Apple would commit to.

» The Rebound #78: Dump Truck Full of Phones

Dan, Lex and I provide our hot takes on Apple’s announcement piping fresh from our mouths.

» iPhone SE fits in iPhone 5 and 5s cases

Evil Apple trying to make a buck by forcing people to… wait.

I’ve taken a liking to leather cases since I last owned this form factor so I’ll be buying a new case anyway, but it’s nice to know my plastic shell cases from two years ago will fit in a pinch.

» iPhone SE

Say hello to my new phone.

» Microsoft’s ‘erotic schoolgirl’ party

Who the hell approved that idea? It’s since been denounced by Xbox chief Phil Spencer.

Microsoft is clearly in the throes of doing some soul-searching on the sexism in Xbox games. Having picked a naked woman as the persona for its voice software hasn’t quite helped, but I guess at least they’re trying to now makes some changes.