Reference Library – Mobile Phones – HTC
Searching for a mobile phone signal can be a frustrating necessity for most people, but for this woman it all became a bit too much. Sat on a camping chair, Diane Cartwright padlocked herself to the door of a mobile phone shop for several hours in a desperate attempt to get her phone working. The business owner placed a chain around the door of her local EE store on Wednesday in an attempt to convince bosses to give her a working phone or release her from her contract.
Waving a placard saying: EE: Please release me, let me go and peaceful protest Ms Cartwright sat in the shop doorway from 2pm to 5.30pm. Police were called to the scene but took no action over what was deemed a civil matter .
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Mrs Cartwright, who is in her 50s, relies on her mobile phone to run her dog-grooming company called Porthma DOG in Porthmadog with husband Edmund. She claims her phone only receives an intermittent signal, meaning her company was potentially losing hundreds of pounds from customers in missed calls, the Daily Post reported2
Mrs Cartwright said: We have lost 700 – 1,000 worth of business. We don t want the stress. People were trying to call us and it was saying out of service.
She says that, despite numerous calls to EE, the problem has not been resolved.
Hywel Trewyn Diane Cartwright padlocked herself to the EE shop in Bangor
She wanted to cancel her contract with EE and had demanded they give her a PAC code so she could keep the number but move it to another mobile company. Mrs Cartwright from Mynytho, Gwynedd, said: I can t afford another week without my phone working. All I need is the PAC code. They don t want you to leave. This is the second time the Cartwrights have had problems with mobile phone coverage.
Two years ago, their home was hit by a lightning strike which knocked out their mobile phone, broadband and landline supplied by EE. Mr Cartwright claims he spent 45 hours on the phone trying to sort their problems out. Then, it took six months and the intervention of their MP to get their problems and refund sorted. At the shop in the Deiniol Shopping Centre at Bangor Mrs Cartwright said: We don t owe them any money. I went to the shop at Bangor and I was assured that they would sort it out. I am at the end of my tether and sick to death of it.
The Daily Post said they had approached EE for comment.
Last year, MacRumorscovered1 the potential reasoning for Apple’s rumored return to having a single partner for Apple A-series chip production with the A10 after having both Samsung and TSMC produce versions of the Apple A9.
Since then, TSMC confirmed in conference call comments2 that its chip packaging changes have led to improvements of 20 percent in both speed and packaging thickness and 10 percent in thermal performance. This has a number of implications for future device performance and future foundry partner selection for Apple. First, it is helpful to understand why InFO-WLP (Integrated Fan-Out Wafer-Level Packing) is such an important development for Apple’s mobile processors. Typically, chips as large as CPUs or mobile SoCs have been attached via “flip-chip” methods which attach an array of inputs and outputs to a package substrate via solder bumps, ultimately enabling it to be attached to a printed circuit board (PCB) for device integration. From the start, this is a compromise, as it would be preferable to attach a silicon die directly to the PCB to minimize height and reduce the lengths of interconnects between components. A number of technical limits in areas such as interconnect pitch, board produceability, and damage due to board warpage typically prevent this direct attachment. The above problem had previously been circumvented for smaller I/O count components with a similar concept3 called Fan-In Wafer-Level Packing, where smaller dies are allowed to route their inputs and outputs in an area roughly the same area as the die. TSMC is just one of many companies beginning to enable this concept for larger I/O count devices in such a way that allows high volume, acceptable yields, and an acceptable cost.
Slide from 2014 TSMC presentation on InFO-WLP advancements
With this method, the traditional substrate becomes unnecessary, as a silicon wafer serves that purpose with one or more logic dies included. The reduced height of this method and a thinner redistribution layer (RDL) for remapping pins of the die to the PCB means that all interconnects are shorter, which directly enables lower power and better thermal performance. The transistors driving the outputs on this device now drive less metal length, meaning they can save power.
Saving power also means performing better thermally, but a more direct connection to the PCB means there is simply less thermal resistance to the PCB, which can pull heat away from the device.
The promised performance improvements are certainly significant. A 20 percent improvement in performance is roughly equivalent to the improvement expected between successive foundry nodes (e.g. the change from 14 nm to 10 nm). With both TSMC and Samsung only offering refined versions of their 16 nm and 14 nm FinFET processes, this means that total performance gains could be in line with the same improvement seen from the A8 to the A9 chip, but driven by packaging improvements rather than a new process. Of course, every generation can’t enjoy this same improvement, but increased power efficiency is critical for mobile devices to be allowed to hit higher peak limits for short durations. In the keynote for the iPhone 64 family of devices, Apple went into detail about how it made a significant effort to ensure the A8 processor did not throttle itself as the A7 had. This was and is an industry-wide problem as mobile SoC makers have raced to provide the highest performing chips. By taking advantage of new packaging from TSMC, Apple gets more relief in this metric, and freedom to go to a higher power dissipation mode for short periods.
Current mobile SoC packages use PoP (package-on-package) techniques which connect the memory dies to the main processor with tiny wires, which is thermally inefficient and not ideal for performance. By using wafer-level packaging, these drawbacks can be reduced for the main memory, while also increasing the number of connections and data that can be moved in a given time.
In the long run, this move will likely be a cost-saver for Apple as it removes the package substrate. However, the co-design of device die and device package explains why multiple partners are not technically feasible for an effort such as this. Companies like TSMC have also labored for years to make this a reality, with the benefits long being understood. At this point, there is no denying Apple’s technical acumen and bandwidth in chip design. The company has developed multiple chips for market in extremely aggressive timeframes with fully custom designs that rival those of Intel for performance per watt. Apple beat its competitors to market for a 64-bit ARM design by over a year, and designed two custom A9 dies in the time that its competitors designed one.
Given Apple’s focus on pushing the performance of its silicon, and TSMC’s packaging advancements, it makes sense that TSMC has been able to gain sole possession of Apple’s chip orders for at least this generation.
Looking forward, the InFO-WLP packaging technique marks a significant development not only for TSMC and Apple, but the semiconductor industry as a whole.
After my iPhone my most used Apple device is probably my Apple TV. I ve been a fan of the Apple TV since I bought my first one the third-generation Apple TV back in 2012. Since then it s become a device which I use throughout the day. It s on 90% of the time I m in the living room as I ve slowly gone away from broadcast television to watch on demand service like Netflix and other movies and television shows from the iTunes store.
Needless to say, when Apple unveiled the brand new Apple TV back in September I was incredibly excited. With its brand new OS, called tvOS, the Apple TV looked to be set to rightfully take its place alongside Apple s staple iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad.
Since it launched Apple s developers have created over 5000 applications for the Apple TV store. That is a hugely impressive number when you consider the new Apple TV isn t all that old, coming out just a few months ago. During Apple s 2016 Town Hall meeting Apple confirmed a bunch of new features, such as Siri for the App Store, so you can search with your voice for what you want, as well as things like Folders which can now be placed on the home screen.
Apple has plenty of competition in 2016 s market as well in the form of Google s Chromecast 2, Amazon s range of Fire TV devices and Roku s myriad of options.
The space is pretty well supplied but each solution tends to try and do something specific; Google s does its Casting thing, while Apple TV is ALL about AirPlay and only really works with other Apple products like iPhones, iPads and Macs.
This means you NEED an Apple TV if you want to connect all of your iPhones, iPads and iMacs inside your home. It isn t essential, obviously, but it is A LOT cheaper than buying an expensive, web-connected HDTV and it brings plenty of utility with it as well as tons of dedicated applications now that Apple has opened up the Apple TV platform to developers. Like most Apple products, the emphasis on Apple TV is simplicity: you connect it to your HDTV and your home WiFi network and you re away. AirPlay works with the click of a button on iPhone, iPad and Mac and allows you to stream music, film and pictures around your home, between devices. As we move through 2016, Apple will almost certainly expand Apple TV s features-set with software updates that ll make it even more useful. HomeKit is one area where it could really come along in leaps and bounds.
Now that I ve been using the new Apple TV for almost a week, I ve decided it’s time to finally give it a super-fan s honest review. What s good? What s bad? Here are my thoughts
2015 Apple TV review: Specs and Design
Okay, before I get to deconstructing the new Apple TV, first a rundown of its specs:
Output: HDMI 1.4
Processor: Apple dual-core A8 chip
RAM: 2 GB
Storage: 32GB or 64GB
Max. Output Video Resolution: 1080p
Dimensions: 98(L) x 98(W) x 33(H) mm
Weight: 425 g
Connectivity: 10/100BASE ‘T Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi ‘Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Other ports: IR receiver, USB-C (service only)
Power: Built-in universal 6 W power supply
I m not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about its design. I mean, it s a black box that sits below your television that you re probably never going to pick up again. If you re interested to see how its design compares to the old Apple TV design, check out my Verses article here1.
I will touch on a few things about the specs, however. First, it s got a dual-core A8 chip inside that s the same chip found in the iPhone 6.
It s also got 2GB of RAM the same amount found in the iPhone 6s. Combined, this internal power is more than enough to run any apps or games available for the new Apple TV. I ll talk more about the quality of the games available for the Apple TV later, but know that even graphic-intensive games like Asphalt 8 run blazingly fast on the Apple TV.
It s also worth noting that there are two models of the Apple TV to choose from 32GB and 64GB. I opted for the 64GB version because I like getting enough storage. If you plan on downloading a lot of apps, specifically, games, then I recommend going for the 64GB model. If you re mainly just going to be streaming video content, then the 32GB model is more than enough.
2015 Apple TV review: Siri Remote
So in all the marketing literature the new Siri Remote gets the lion s share of attention. It s a completely revamped remote from the previous one and, as you can guess from the name, features Siri integration. How it works is the remote has a dedicated Siri button. Press it and hold it and then speak your query and then release the button so Siri knows you re ready for her to answer your question or carry out your command.
The best features of the Siri Apple TV integration, for me, is for launching apps and videos.
No matter where you are in tvOS, you can say things like Launch Alto’s Adventure and Siri will open the game immediately. For this alone, Siri on the Apple TV is the best launcher out of any OS I ve ever tried.
You can also say things like Play Episode 2 of Season 1 of Flash and that episode of the Flash TV series will begin playing (if you ve bought it). And if you don’t know what you want to watch, you can even ask Siri things like What should I watch tonight? and she ll display a list of the top rated movies available.
Siri also has some nice tricks just beyond launching apps and videos. You can ask Siri about the weather and she ll display a weather forecast. You can ask Siri the price of any stock and she ll show you its chart. Sames goes for sport scores. Siri is also useful for search, which I ll talk more about later one. I ll just finish up here by saying that Apple has made Siri very useful, accurate, and quick on the new Apple TV.
But besides Siri, the new Siri Remote is also a physical remote.
It s got both buttons and a touchpad. The touchpad is obviously new here too and it works exceedingly well. There s about a five minute learning curve, but after that it becomes second nature using it and you don t even need to look at the touchpad as you navigate around the interface of your Apple TV.
A final thing about the remote and this is awesome is that it allows you to control your TV s volume too. There are dedicated volume buttons on the remote and pressing them controls your TV s volume, meaning you no longer need to use two remotes when using the Apple TV. It s such a small feature but it really compliments the user experience. And somehow the remote just pairs with your television without you needing to make your TV learn that Siri Remote can control its volume.
2015 Apple TV review: tvOS and Search
The new Apple TV uses a brand new OS. It s a cross between the old Apple TV OS and iOS. By that I mean, it looks very similar to the old Apple TV OS, except with a new skin on top. But underneath it’s now more like iOS: it allows you to download and install new apps and games, has its own App Store, and has, as stated, Siri integration.
But there s not much of a learning curve, because it uses the familiar grid layout of the old Apple TV OS.
Watching video is pretty much the same as it was on the old Apple TV, with some cool Siri upgrades however. For example, if you are watching a movie and you missed something an actor just said, you can ask Siri What did he say? and the movie will rewind to the start of the dialogue so you can hear it again and even closed caption boxes will momentarily appear. This is in no doubt cool, but also kind of feels like a gimmick better suited for advertisements about the Apple TV. I don t see many people using this feature regularly.
Now where I have real issues with tvOS is in the search department a major feature Apple has touted. Yes, you can search via Siri, which is really cool. You can say things like Show me Brad Pitt movies and Siri will return a list of results on screen. Then you can whittle down that list by saying Only the good ones and Siri will eliminate any Brad Pitt movies with low ratings. That is exceptionally cool.
It s even cooler when you consider that tvOS has universal search. That s right: those searches just won t show you results from the iTunes Store, but from any install apps on your Apple TV. That means you ll see Brad Pitt movies from iTunes, but also the ones that are available on Netflix and other apps like HBO GO.
So what s the problem? The way the search results are displayed. They appear at a bar at the bottom of the screen and just by glancing at them you can t see what app they are from you need to click on them to see which app you can view them in. By default I think the iTunes Store results always appear first and since iTunes pretty much has EVERY movie on the planet, that means you re kind of always getting pushed into the iTunes Store to pay for movies that could be already free to view in other apps, like Netflix.
tvOS has another problem related to search. Yes, you can search for things by typing in their name in a Search app, but the interface is poorly thought out. The keyboard appears in one long row from A to Z instead of being broken down into a more manageable three rows stacked on top of each other (or a QWERTY layout). This means to spell titles you have to do a lot of swiping with the trackpad.
It s also baffling that though you can use the Siri Remote to perform voice searches and Siri understand me EXCELLENTLY every time you can t use the Siri Remote to dictate text. Yes, tvOS supports no dictation capabilities, even though iOS has supported it for a long time. I hope this will change in a future software update.
The final thing I want to say about tvOS is just to give it a shout out to its screensavers. The new aerial motion video screensavers are beautiful.
2015 Apple TV review: App Store
Yep, the new Apple TV has an App Store. It s a great feature, but the actual App Store app is one of the weakest areas of the new Apple TV. It feels rushed and poorly thought out. Discovery is a nightmare. Matter of fact, when the Apple TV first shipped, the App Store lacked Top Charts of any kind. It STILL lacks categories.
Thankfully, in the last day Apple has activated Top Charts, but with the lack of Categories it makes finding worthwhile apps hard particularly because text search is as frustrating in the App Store as it is in the rest of tvOS. And bafflingly, Siri can t be used to search the App Store either.
That being said, when I first logged into the App Store I navigated to the Purchased tab and was pleasantly surprised to find I already had bought over 30 Apple TV apps. These are iOS apps that had been upgraded with universal support to take advantage of the Apple TV, so it was like I was getting new version of these old iOS apps for nothing.
I mentioned that the App Store now at least shows Top Charts, but even navigating these lists are annoying. That s because they display the apps in a linear order in a row from left to right across your TV screen. You need to do a TON of swiping to see all 200 apps in each chart. Instead, Apple should make the Top Chats appear in a grid layout so you can see dozens of apps at a time.
The App Store is the weakest part of the new tvOS experience. It can be helped immensely by improved search and categories. It would also be helpful it the App Stores on iOS and Mac and PC let you know which apps were universal and would also work on the Apple TV.
2015 Apple TV review: Apps
The Apple TV is a new platform for developers, so it goes without saying that the amount and quality of apps will increase over time as developers get more familiar with the platform. Right now there aren t a lot of great apps on the Apple TV, but this can change very, very quickly.
The best apps (this doesn t include games) tend to be video content apps: Netflix, HBO Go, YouTube, Sky News, Aljazeera. These are more traditional channel apps.
Then there are content apps that do a great job melding video and other content together, like the Fidelity Investment app which shows live streaming video next to interactive charts and other news sources.
There s a lot of weather apps that are pretty useful and then there are apps from places like AirBnb, which are nice, but arguably not that useful. However, a majority of the apps are of the download, open once, delete quality. Yes, this will change, as time goes on. Remember, developers are still adjusting to the new platform.
2015 Apple TV review: Games
Games are another big feature of the Apple TV. Like apps, there s a few great ones, but most are just iOS ports that translate only OK to the big screen, and many just outright suck. The best of the best are games like Alto’s Adventure, which translate perfectly from iOS to the television screen. But then there are many games that were brought over from iOS just because they could be.
And one thing which is really hindering good gaming on the Apple TV is that Apple requires that all games must work with the Siri Remote. Even though the Apple TV supports gamepads, a game cannot dictate that a gamepad is a must.
This greatly limits the type and quality of games that developers can make for the Apple TV. One hopes that Apple reverses this decision soon.
2015 Apple TV review: Cost & Verdict
The new Apple TV is the best Apple TV Apple has ever made. It s also the best digital media player on the market. That being said, it s a brand new device that is negatively affected by some launch-day hiccups. The lack of Categories in the App Store makes app and game discovery difficult. Video search can also be greatly improved so it’s easier to see what apps the movies and television shows are located in. It would also be nice if you could limit search results to show only content that was watchable for free (instead of all the content available to buy on iTunes).
The Apple TV is also limited by the lack of quality apps and games at the moment. However, this will change quickly (probably by Christmas). As the weeks go on, more and more quality apps and games will be released these include apps like BBC iPlayer, which will be available on the Apple TV for the first time ever in the near future.
All that being said, I think the new Apple TV is a must have device if you are firmly entrenched in the iOS ecosystem.
It is a killer leisure device with a great remote control and a lot of potential in front of it.
All the drawbacks it has right now are currently software based, so they can all be addressed by free software updates in the future.
But there s little reason to wait for those updates if you are really into watching on demand content especially if you were a fan of the old Apple TV, which just looks positively outdated now.
Apple is onto something with the new Apple TV and I can t wait to see how it evolves over the coming weeks and months.
Both models are available now.