Going forward, USB 3.1 Gen 1 (transfer speeds up to 5Gb/s), which used to be USB 3.0 prior to a separate rebranding, will be called USB 3.2 Gen 1, while USB 3.1 Gen 2 (transfer speeds up to 10Gb/s) will now be known as USB 3.2 Gen 2.
What used to be considered USB 3.2 will now be USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 because if offers twice the throughput speeds of USB 3.1 Gen 2, now USB 3.2 Gen 2. If that sounds confusing to you, you’re not alone. Tom’s Hardware made this handy chart that shows the new branding scheme compared to the older branding.
If the swap between USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 to USB 3.2 wasn’t confusing enough, each of these specifications also has a marketing term. The new USB 3.2 Gen 1 with transfer speeds up to 5Gb/s is SuperSpeed USB, while USB 3.2 Gen 2 with transfer speeds up to 10Gb/s is known as SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps. The USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 specification with transfer speeds up to 20Gb/s is known as SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps.
This is just crazy:
USB 3.1 Gen 1 (now USB 3.0 & SuperSpeed USB)
USB 3.1 Gen 2 (now USB 3.1 & SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps)
USB 3.2 (still USB 3.2 & SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps)
The USB-C connector on my MacBook Pro supports 40Gbps through Thunderbolt 3 and 10Gbps through USB 3.11. I had to dig through the tech specs to work that out. It’s absolutely user hostile.
FedEx: The U.S. delivery giant slashed its profit forecast in late December – just three months after raising it. While FedEx Corp.’s woes weren’t limited to China, the company cited trade tensions, especially between the U.S. and China, among its troubles.
Starbucks: But last month, Starbucks Corp. said sales growth in China could be as low as 1 percent in the long term. That’s slower than the 3 percent to 4 percent growth seen for the U.S. and the rest of the world. It’s not clear how much China’s economy or trade tensions are to blame – or if China is just losing its taste for caffeine.
Tiffany’s: China’s economic woes are more of a headache for the jeweller outside the country than inside. In November, Tiffany & Co. reported weaker-than-expected sales and highlighted a “clear pattern” of Chinese shoppers cutting back on spending when they’re overseas.
Daimler: The German maker of Mercedes cars was among the first global brands to blame escalating trade tensions when it warned in June that retaliatory tariffs in China on car imports from the U.S. would hit sales on the mainland.
Today we are revising our guidance for Apple’s fiscal 2019 first quarter, which ended on December 29. We now expect the following:
Revenue of approximately $84 billion
Gross margin of approximately 38 percent
Operating expenses of approximately $8.7 billion
Other income/(expense) of approximately $550 million
Tax rate of approximately 16.5 percent before discrete items
Lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China, accounts for all of our revenue shortfall to our guidance and for much more than our entire year-over-year revenue decline. In fact, categories outside of iPhone (Services, Mac, iPad, Wearables/Home/Accessories) combined to grow almost 19 percent year-over-year.
The revenue shortfall is $5bn – $9bn less than the $89bn – $93bn guidance provided around 60 days ago. The iPhone makes up nearly 2/3 of Apple’s revenue, so this is a striking miss for their most important product.
Other factors that contribute to the anticipated miss:
While Greater China and other emerging markets accounted for the vast majority of the year-over-year iPhone revenue decline, in some developed markets, iPhone upgrades also were not as strong as we thought they would be. While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements.
Other emerging markets: Hello, India 🇮🇳. A market where growth hasn’t so much stalled as it hasn’t started. iPhone’s high pricing remains a problem in a market where the majority of smartphones are sold for less than $250.
iPhone upgrades: I’m not convinced the iPhone Xs and Xs Max high prices contributed significantly to a smaller number of upgrades. More likely is that the iPhone X is good enough for the vast majority of users to keep it for one more year.
Since Sony decided to allow cross-platform play for Fortnite, I’ve found myself playing more and more on Xbox One X. I find the overall Fortnite experience on the Xbox One X to be the best available.
However, there’s a huge problem: there are no Asia or South-East Asia servers for Xbox players. None! This means that auto-matchmaking will sometimes connect to Oceania servers (Sydney) or NA-West (Northern California). When you’re connecting from Singapore this results in high pings ranging from 150ms to 250ms. Sometimes it’s just playable; sometimes it’s clearly unplayable.
Two things make this all the more irritating. First: if you play Fortnite on PS4, Switch, iOS or Mac/PC, then an Asia server is available, with exceptionally low pings. Second: there was a very brief period over Christmas where Xbox had an Asia server and it was superb, but then it disappeared.
I’m hopeful that the Asia server for Xbox players will return soon.
Today, I released the first major update to Singapore Transit since it hit v2.0.
Since that release, I’ve solicited feedback on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. Two major requests have surfaced:
Siri integration for a specific service at a specific stop
v2.1 deals with the latter. You can now add a Siri Shortcut to request arrival information for a particular service at a selected bus stop.1
In addition, since v2.02, I’ve renamed the app from SG Transit to Singapore Transit. It makes it easier for non-Singapore residents to find on the App Store and, I’m pleased to announce, it ties in nicely with my next project, London Transit (coming 2019).
At the end of August, I started rewriting SG Transit with the following goals:
Apple Watch Support
As I progressed, the following goals were added:
Additional LTA Data Mall API Functionality
All of this is now available in v2.0.0, which was released today.
SG Transit now uses Core Data instead of parsing large amounts of JSON each time the app is launched. This has improved performance of nearby bus stops, bus arrivals, and bus routes.
SG Transit integrates deeply with Siri. You can add any bus stop to Siri, using your own voice command, ask Siri for the latest arrivals at that stop, and the results will be presented by Siri without opening the app.
Similarly, if you regularly check a bus stop at a particular time of day, Siri will learn about this behaviour and surface this as a suggestion to you via the lock screen.
Apple Watch Support
SG Transit Mini — SG Transit’s little brother — supports bus arrivals either using nearby stops or favourite stops. More features will come in future releases.
MRT & LRT service alerts and traffic alerts are delivered to the app as rich notifications. Simply pull down on the notification to see details like traffic incident locations.
Traffic notifications are configured by type (e.g. Heavy Traffic) and time (e.g. Afternoon 12:00 - 17:59).
The look-and-feel of the app (and icon) is completely new. It’s minimalist. but at the same time shows more information. For example, in v1 you could only see the the wheelchair, load, and bus type of the next bus, but in v2 you can see this information for the next three arrivals.
The tab bar has also seen some small changes with the introduction of haptics, animations, and, well, the removal of text.
Finally, you may have noticed from the screenshots above that the app has a brand new typeface: Hermes Maia.
Additional LTA Data Mall API Functionality
v2 introduces a brand new traffic tab. This includes traffic incidents, traffic cameras, and car park availability.
Bonus - Ad Removal
Ads have been removed from SG Transit. Instead, I intend to support development through in-app purchases. The first of these is cosmetic: the Alternative Icon Pack.
The recently released Chrome 69 inexplicably hides “trivial” subdomains, e.g. “www”. It’s such an ill conceived change that it will likely confuse end users. For example, https://citibank.com.sg and https://www.citibank.com.sg are not the same website, though in the address bar they look the same.
The Attorneys General of the Five Eyes1 have a released a statement entitled Statement of Principles on Access to Evidence and Encryption. The outstanding sentence:
The Governments of the Five Eyes encourage information and communications technology service providers to voluntarily establish lawful access solutions to their products and services that they create or operate in our countries. Governments should not favor a particular technology; instead, providers may create customized solutions, tailored to their individual system architectures that are capable of meeting lawful access requirements.
In other words, the Governments of the Five Eyes are encouraging big technology companies to create backdoors of their choosing to weaken the encryption in their products in order to establish a lawful access solution.
This will not work. Bad actors, which the statement fails to mention, will work overtime to exploit such a solution. That, in turn, will put all sorts of data — from financial to communications — at risk.
Which is beginning to sound more like a magician’s guild. ↩︎
Apple today removed Group FaceTime from the latest iOS 12 and macOS Mojave betas, which were released this morning, and has instead decided to release the feature at a later date.
One of the key features of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, Group FaceTime is designed to allow up to 32 people to chat together at one time via FaceTime audio or FaceTime video.
In release notes for both macOS Mojave and iOS 12, Apple says the feature has been removed from the initial releases of macOS Mojave and iOS 12 and “will ship in a future software update later this fall.”
It’s disappointing that Group FaceTime will miss the 12.0 cut, but if the feature isn’t ready then it should, quite rightly, be held back. That said, looking back at the iOS 11 announcement at WWDC 2017, Apple Pay Cash, Messages in iCloud, and AirPlay 2 were also pulled from the retail release and shipped later. Perhaps it’s time we treat WWDC announcements as feature sets that will be made available throughout the lifecycle of a major iOS release, rather than with the initial retail release of the software.