Apple

The Weekly Round-Up: 11.06.10

Steve Jobs says "Get off the wi-fi"

It's been a good month for Apple fans. First the iPad finally made it to these shores and then Steve Jobs took the floor to unveil the iPhone 4.

Jobs appeared on stage this week to announce new shiny stuff to hundreds of whooping, over-excited reporters, bathed in the reality distortion field.

"We love you, Steve!" yelled one man enthusiastically. "Thanks, I think," replied the Apple chief coyly. (For more, click here).

The iPhone 4 is rather nice. The problem is, of course, that everyone knew it was nice as millions have already seen pretty much every angle of it after photos of one appeared on a gadget blog last month (see previous Round-Up coverage here.)

iPhone 4 is also not the most glamorous of names, in this age of HTC Desires and Legends. In fact, iPhone 4 sounds a little bit like a golf-themed phone to the Round-Up's ears, or perhaps the name of a particularly irony-soaked pop group.

But enough digressions - click here for some pictures of the new device.

'Where's the new stuff?' everyone wondered.

Admittedly, Jobs unveiled a few surprises. It has a gyroscope for game and augmented-reality app designers to take advantage of.

In addition, the metal frame surrounding the device and providing the structure for the phone also acts as an antenna, which is genuinely rather clever, but that was largely it. For example it does not hover obediently near your ear during a call offering additional witticisms to impress your friends, nor even turn water into Sauvignon Blanc.

Then there was the wi-fi problem. Jobs was forced to abandon one demo during the presentation due to interference problems with the numerous wireless networks and devices in the massive room.

At first, Jobs joked about it, suggesting the crowd could help him out by simply getting off the wi-fi.

The problem was probably caused by the scores of journalists live blogging the event and uploading images. The Round-Up couldn't help but feel guilty about contributing to Jobs' pain given it was following the event on three separate feeds.

"Steve just asked the room to 'Get off the wi-fi'," the journalists blogged, merrily uploading 10MB pictures of the Apple CEO's pained expression to illustrate their minute-by-minute real-time report.

By the time he got to the big 'one more thing' reveal he was clearly tetchy.

And what was the 'one more thing'? Video calls. Jobs called Apple senior designer Jony Ive and enjoyed a choppy video phone call with a couple of freezes.

At least Ive was happy and welcomed the brave new dawn for face-to-face mobile communications - cheerfully ignoring the dozens of models of video phones that have utterly failed to catch the public imagination in the last 10 years or so since 3G networks burst on the scene.



All this talk of much-hyped events and the pursuit of shiny prizes which inevitably ends in disappointment leads the Round-Up neatly onto the subject of the World Cup.

The biggest show on Earth kicks off this afternoon, no doubt with a ludicrously overblown ceremony followed by the traditional drab opening game.

Expect blanket coverage between now and the final on 11 July. On the bright side it will be likely to drown out publicity about Big Brother. Every cloud, eh?

PR types are delighted about the impending football festivities as it lets them apply a football theme to any kind of press release. Last week the Round-Up revealed that IT managers were breaking out in a cold sweat because of the extra burden on their networks.

And there's more woe this week, enough to make a grown network manager blubber like an English penalty taker.

The 2010 World Cup will be the first in the history of the tournament where every game will be streamed online live. According to one prediction from a survey of more than 1,000 IT managers, bandwidth use in Europe is expected to double during key match times.

Of course, if all those 1,000 IT managers were actually doing their jobs, rather than lounging around answering surveys all day long, they might be better prepared. Just a thought.

And if that's not enough, your prospects for viewing football matches over home broadband are as bleak as the silicon.com editor's chances of seeing a return on the pound he paid for the privilege of picking Japan out of the hat in the office sweepstake.

Thanks to fast broadband we can now watch the action at home, at work, or even in the garden. However, many viewers may be unaware they are at risk of breaching the download limit or fair usage policy administered by their broadband provider and landing themselves with speed throttling or a hefty fine.

Streaming just one match in high definition will use up about 2.4GB of bandwidth. With more than 50 games scheduled to be broadcast, football fans could easily breach the terms of their contract. Or even worse, leave them with no bandwidth left to watch the highlights.



"Pitifully unambitious."

Not just the wireless connection at the Apple keynote but also the previous government's 'vision' for a digital Britain according to the new coalition Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt.

Hunt said the coalition government would aim higher and make the UK's broadband the best in Europe.

How this miracle will be achieved is anybody's guess because despite his bullish claims of a brave new world of hyper-fast broadband Britain he offered no new funding for such networks.

Still, the prospect of the UK winning the world cup for broadband is a cheering thought.

The unfortunate reality is the UK is currently ranked a paltry 33rd in the world when it comes to broadband speeds, at least according to the OECD. So the UK leaping into the top spot is about as likely as New Zealand beating North Korea in the World Cup final.

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