The phrase that the future appears as spots illustrates the changes in the world around us that are insignificant at first glance. A seller of laces stands at the station and advertises his goods, a loud voice briskly describes the advantages and cheapness of the goods. The sound is pouring from a wireless speaker, the recording was made in some kind of studio, the quality is good. Half of those walking along Nevsky Prospect have buried themselves in their phones, the stream is divided into two parts, some passers-by hurry and maneuver between those who are walking leisurely and studying the screens of their devices. Like two civilizations, some have business here and now, the latter are in a hurry on business.
One of my favorite museums in Russia is Erarta on Vasilievsky Island. Previously, with a subscription, you could walk on a card or you had to give your last name, now we have added face recognition. You don’t need absolutely nothing but personal presence. Conveniently? Certainly. And there are dozens of such examples, I listed only what came to mind. Many things become so commonplace that it seems that everything was so from time immemorial. At the MFC, my grandmother swears that she has to wait ten minutes, and earlier everything was instant. I am sure that she still remembers the times of the USSR, when it was necessary to spend several days on the same thing. Everything has changed, and we are part of these changes, whether we like it or not. The number of technologies that surround us has grown by orders of magnitude, but good things are invisible and simply perform their functions, you do not need to study thick instructions to understand how and what works. Perhaps I’ll start this issue with this story, let’s go!
- Robot vacuum cleaner and smart home – dolce vita element
- IPhone 12 shortage – a funny and instructive story of contract manufacturing
- Notes to the review of the iPhone 12/12 Pro – what I learned during use
- The land emptied without you – the closure of the shops of “Svyaznoy”
Robot vacuum cleaner and smart home – dolce vita element
A huge number of my acquaintances, friends, friends carefully read what is published on the site, but comment at the moments when what is written is in tune with their thoughts. I was incredibly surprised that the topic of robotic vacuum cleaners is so hot, it causes serious controversy. Not so long ago I had such a robot, this is attempt number two, and an attempt that took place in every sense, the device took root in a matter of days.
Someone will consider it a toy, someone will say that it is a basic necessity. In my perception, a robot vacuum cleaner stands on about the same step as cordless vacuum cleaners, toasters, microwave ovens – you don’t need to buy, but it is more convenient and easier to do certain things with them. I call all such devices dolce vita elements, you can easily do without them, but it is more pleasant to live with them. So it is with a robot vacuum cleaner, which daily removes dust, purifies the air and requires minimal care (you can refuse wet cleaning, then nothing needs to be done at all). And there are a huge number of such dolce vita elements in our world. Do you need wireless headphones enough to give up wired ones? By and large, no, their advantage is in compactness, convenience, but not in sound quality. But it is this very convenience that makes TWS headphones popular. So it once happened with remote controls, there was the Internet in those years, and I’m sure many people would say that the remotes were created for lazy people who can’t tear themselves away from the couch, and it’s easy for them to reach the TV set and change the channel. Or someone would argue that switching channels is completely nonsense, since there is only one channel worth watching, and no one needs the rest. Today for us the remote control has become a familiar and basic thing, no one will be surprised by this.
Do you know what I can say about the example of a robot vacuum cleaner? Speakers with a voice assistant turn into a basic thing for a modern home, they act as a gateway to a smart home, when you can control certain devices, and the same vacuum cleaner, without getting into your smartphone. Sit in the kitchen and see that something was waking up in the corner: “Turn on the vacuum cleaner, kitchen, cleaning”. You can put it differently, in simple language, but the assistant will still highlight the main thing and understand what exactly you wanted to do. The association with the remote control in this case lies on the surface, and look through the discussions, nothing has changed in them – an unnecessary thing, for lazy people, it’s easy for me to get to the vacuum cleaner and clean it (as an option, to a mop or broom). But gradually there are more and more such services – turn on the light, close the curtains, set the alarm. Use scenarios can be multiplied indefinitely. The future appears in pieces, not everywhere and evenly. The same smart home was advertised for many years, but somehow everything did not work out, there were enough difficulties in setting up, the cost was high. Today, a smart home has quietly come to many, has become a familiar thing. And the same Alice in Russia is de facto uncontested in this aspect. The competitors, created by former Yandex employees at MTS, Mail.ru, lag behind Alice, since this is a replica of this system, but created later. The lack of solutions from Google is surprising, and the release of Alexa has been constantly postponed. Ultimately, the surge in sales of smart speakers with Alice was a reflection of the fact that many users found the voice interface more convenient than controlling a smart home through an application on a smartphone. And this is exactly how it is. You don’t need to look for a smartphone at home, just say a few words for the magic to happen.
Why are smart home sales gaining momentum? The answer should be sought in a simple thing: anyone who has seen how it works, or tried it in someone else’s house, instantly gets the idea to do something similar in his place. Word of mouth began to work, and the story is gaining momentum, the pandemic also helped here, when people spent a lot of time in isolation, engaged in their housing. Everything here is no longer as expensive as it once was, there are many correct and simple solutions. Hence the popularity and growth of the entire category. This means that after some time, these dolce vita elements, and this is exactly them, will become an inevitable standard. I can hardly imagine life without such elements, since getting used to them occurs almost instantly. The path of progress is such that we cannot avoid this, and very soon most people will begin to use such things on a daily basis. Obvious? Not everyone, so I wanted to talk about it once again.
IPhone 12 shortage – a funny and instructive story of contract manufacturing
In Russia, sales of the iPhone 12 of all variants are gaining momentum, although if you compare year to year, then everything is sadder than ever. The company could not bring new accessories, simply did not cope with their production, there are no new MagSafe chargers, a limited number of branded cases, and further down the list. But the saddest thing is not even that, the key European market, and Russia is exactly that in terms of sales for Apple, did not receive the iPhone 12/12 Pro in noticeable quantities. By the start of sales, about 12 thousand devices were imported into the country, which were sold in a few days (the speed of sale is not space, in previous years such a volume was scattered on the first day). The company’s pricing policy is such that it did not find a response from our buyer. Many loyal Apple users were upset about the lack of a charger in the kit, in retail stores they tell curious stories, how at the last moment customers abandoned the new iPhone when the package bundle became clear. I think that many people perceived the cost of one hundred thousand rubles or more for the iPhone 12 Pro and the lack of banal charging as rudeness. There is no huge excitement, as well as the scouring of crowds of people in search of new iPhones, another stage in the development of Apple has passed, the product has ceased to be desirable for any money.
But back to the small volume of iPhone 12 shipments to the Russian market. I have heard many explanations for this, for every taste. The course changed, so they didn’t want to supply, because soon the prices would change (someone claims that Apple has already changed the purchase prices and they are higher! It’s hard to believe, but the craziness that reigns inside Apple can push such steps). Someone talks about the insane deficit in other countries, and therefore Russia did not receive its volume. I have a completely different explanation of what is happening, it is quite curious and shows the situation in a slightly different way.
This week there was a Bloomberg publication that spread widely around the world, describing the shortage of components for the iPhone 12, associated with the rush demand for devices. In particular, the statement is made that the LiDAR from the iPad goes to the production of the iPhone 12 Pro, and the power management chips are ordered in a hurry, since there are simply not enough of them. The word “excitement” in different publications sounds constantly and creates the right mood. The article can be found here.
Each manufacturer plans the production and sales cycle in advance, while the required amount of components is purchased under its own forecast. For Apple, the purchase of components in large quantities is an opportunity to save on their cost, for example, the company negotiates the purchase of tens of millions of displays from Samsung and therefore receives the minimum cost for specific screen models. When buying in smaller volumes, this is impossible, the price will be higher. On the other hand, non-fulfillment of the order results in penalties, and for two years in a row in the spring, Apple pays forfeit to Samsung. This year, the forfeit amounted to almost a billion dollars, which perfectly characterizes the amount that Apple was unable to redeem and missed its own planning. Since the situation was repeated, something needed to be changed inside Apple, Tim Cook was initially involved in the supply chain in the company and understands this line of business well. It was possible to leave everything as it is and continue living the old fashioned way, but then it was necessary to provide for the costs of paying for components that are not needed. At the beginning of 2020, the situation with the pandemic added uncertainty, demand could vary in a wide range, and for the first time in many years, Apple’s management refused to give forecasts of sales for future quarters. A typical solution in today’s market, many companies do the same.
Add to this the failure of retail markets around the world, the need to compensate for lost income (services were unable to do this). And inside Apple they came up with a scheme of how to implement most of their tasks at once, show profit growth, reduce their costs, the solution is simple and rather uncomplicated.
Within Apple, spending on the iPhone and the purchase of components for it is the maximum. The company must keep a large stock of components in order to continuously manufacture the devices. In the absence of their own factories, this task falls on partners, the same Foxconn. The diagram looks very simple. Apple buys out key components and delivers them to Foxconn’s warehouses. Some of the components can be purchased by Foxconn itself, they are quality tested, and both the supplier and Foxconn are responsible for their quality. But all this is happening with Apple money.
Is it possible to make a maneuver in which you temporarily do not purchase a number of components in order to demonstrate the best financial performance on paper? Certainly. But this cannot last forever, since you need to resume purchasing components at some point and reach the usual production volume. But for short-term tasks at the quarter level, this trick can give you about $ 5-6 billion plus (less cost, more profit). This is exactly what Apple did, reducing the volume of components to a minimum. At the same time, there was an increase in the cost of components, but the short-term benefit is higher, the loss is only in the long term.
What is described in Bloomberg perfectly illustrates the described maneuver, Apple has reduced the purchase of components, not only for the iPhone 12, but also for older models. Having solved its short-term task, the company returns to its usual rhythm and therefore buys old models as well. In the media there was information about the production in the fourth quarter of 20 million iPhone 11, Xr and a number of other models from previous seasons. This is linked to the shortage of the iPhone 12 and the impossibility of its production, but in fact this is not at all the case. We see the consequences of the maneuver in which the company received a win over a short distance, was able to comb its financial statements. Therefore, this quarter, production of both new and old iPhones will grow, with Apple purchasing components in large quantities.
The focus has proven its applicability in practice, and it is possible that something similar will happen next year. Then it will become more or less repeatable history. But from the point of view of production, it is bad, since the cost of devices grows, planning suffers. The lack of power control microcircuits is just such a problem: they were bought by other companies, but for Apple they simply did not remain, since the company did not pay for them in advance, did not reserve the required amount. These are the risks that existed in this scheme, and they are implemented in practice. Looking at the Russian market, it can be argued that Apple’s share is slipping a little, the company lost September (last year, new items were already on the market), and in October-November the quantity of goods is minimal.
The last thing I would like to say is the story of Apple accessories. They are also produced with company money, but when there is no payment for materials, then there are no accessories themselves. In the end, the failed iPhone 12 launch without a line of accessories in many countries is the economy on the little things, but they are the ones that destroy the image of the premium product, the luxury phone that has been tried to nurture for many years. Now Apple is not up to it, they are using every opportunity to show that they can hold out until the popularity of the iPhone returns. As for me, this is a utopia.
Notes to the review of the iPhone 12/12 Pro – what I learned during use
In our Telegram channel, I publish notes about how I test the iPhone 12 Pro (the usual 12th is exactly the same), which sometimes causes serious emotional distress for those who read this. After all, Apple, iOS and, accordingly, the iPhone are devoid of any problems, the system works like a clock, and any mistake should be a marriage and nothing else. Believe me, this is very funny, because if you look at the number of deliberate jambs embedded in iOS to show it to its best, suspicion creeps in as to whom Apple is keeping its users. The latter, however, hold me as such, because they believe that I can’t figure out anything on iOS and I’m doing everything wrong. Let’s take a look at the simple things, namely the battery life of the iPhone 12 Pro. On average, my device works for one day, and it often sits down for lunch, when it is a working day, calls and so on. The screen works for about 4 hours. You can view the operating time in the “Settings”, “Screen time” section (it shows plus or minus exactly, but not always, but for the day), as well as in the “Battery” section (it shows there for the last 24 hours, not even from the last charge , the logic is to hide the real time of work, shifting the time). I had to look at the “Battery” section at about 12 am to take screenshots in a day (do not charge the device, pull until the last).
Now the drum roll, proof that Apple has the best and brightest engineers on the planet, they were able to break the calculator (it was very funny then), now they were able to invent the time seal. See how in the “Battery” section for the selected hour of operation, the screen time for the application is displayed, it contains two hours! That is, our usual earthly hour in the iPhone 12 turns into two hours of work. It is very cute.
One commentator was seriously upset by this, he argued that this could not be and I was to blame for this! This problem was not an isolated one, it was found in a number of applications. Deception here always goes in favor of Apple, from here there are people who firmly believe that in mixed mode their iPhone gives out 8-10 hours of screen time. Nobody thinks about the reality of the data that is displayed in the system. And here is the screen time, which shows something completely different.
A year ago it was exactly the same thing, I recorded a video about it, showed, as they say, the problem head-on. But nothing has changed. According to Apple, talking on the phone (when the screen is off) is also the time when the display is on, so the Phone application is included in the appropriate section. Which is at least strange, because the screen is off.
This weekend, I amused myself by using my iPhone as little as possible, but collecting statistics on how the screen is activated when notifications arrive and night mode is not turned on. During the day, notifications are displayed on the screen, the display lights up for a few seconds, then goes out. Here, too, enterprising guys from Apple cheated, as if they were operators who round up Internet traffic in their favor. During the day, the work of notifications gained 50 minutes of screen time. Even if you accept that each notification will activate the screen for 5 seconds, you get 600 notifications. This, of course, was not the case. As well as when the phone is facing down, there are no notifications. Strange story, isn’t it?
Apparently, the installation of small batteries forced Apple to come up with such artless ways to show off and prove in practice that the devices work for a long time. And this is a story that did not begin today, this has been going on for several years.
Want more fun about running time and energy saving? Go to the branded Apple TV + app, where you can watch movies and TV shows. I decided to watch some TV show here, read that it had appeared, and launching the application, I realized that the picture on the screen had turned into a strange thing. The great screen suddenly went dull, colors turned to mush (no HDR or Dolby Vision). I thought it was a film problem, I experimented with other pictures, the result is the same. I took out the Galaxy S20, the difference in the picture is just striking, the photo does not convey.
You display the picture from the iPhone on the TV screen, and everything is fine. You return to your phone, and it is impossible to look, as if in front of you is a cheap Chinese man worth up to 10 thousand rubles. And then it dawned on me that this is a problem of saving energy, because the company needs to prove that the device can play video for a long time. But since the battery is dead, this cannot be done, and this is such an innovation. I am amazed at the quality of the picture provided by Apple in the proprietary application, dull, blurry. And this is on the most expensive smartphones on the planet. The problem also applies to previous iPhones, here savings are manifested everywhere, since the batteries are the same in all devices.
I really hope that this week I will complete the review of the first device, but I can first note that I have not had such an empty smartphone for a long time, besides, many basic things do not work as they should in it. But be patient before the review, I will not share all the finds, but there are enough of them.
The land emptied without you – the closure of the shops of “Svyaznoy”
I noticed in Moscow that many Svyaznoy stores are closing, yesterday there were showcases, and fuit, they are not. On Mayakovskaya, there is a complete phantasmagoria, the coffee bar remains, but the store is no longer there.
While I was visiting St. Petersburg, I walked through the familiar retail outlets, and the Svyaznoy also disappeared there. I will not disseminate conclusions from personal observations to the entire retail network, but from different cities they report that Svyaznoy is greatly reduced. The last player, more or less independent of the operators (formally independent), is losing ground. To some extent, we can say that the era is leaving, but there is nothing wrong with that, there are other players, other channels for buying equipment. In this crisis, those players survive who really assess their strengths and the market itself, do not engage in hate speech. And here we can assume a lot and different things, but the main thing is that the process of closing outlets has begun, and it also concerns operator retail. The market simply does not need so many cell phone stores (I have been singing this song for almost five years, but the operators have stoically burned money to maintain huge retail networks).
In the years when the market was growing wildly, few people took into account the costs, the main thing was to capture a share, prevent competitors from becoming more than you. Hence the completely insane rental rates that have inflated this market. A year ago, there were increasing coefficients for cell phone stores, the same area was rented for them, as a rule, at a higher price. In this pandemic crisis, everything changed, rates fell by at least 50%, and there are no people willing to fill the space. That improved the situation for everyone, without exception, the profitability of the business increased (before that, rent took almost everything). In my opinion, before our very eyes, a process of market recovery has begun, and relations between its players have improved. The road is very long, but it can already be argued that the periods of throwing money are coming to an end.
For buyers, this has another dimension, the optimization of retail chains will sooner or later lead to setting real prices for all goods, without any discounts in order to achieve market share. The struggle for market share is transformed into a desire to make money and make a profit, albeit to the detriment of sales and their volume. The shift in consciousness can be called tectonic, this is a paradigm shift, it is possible that we will find a new era in the retail market.
PS Have a good working week, more sunny days for walking. Good luck in the affairs of both workers and households.
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