APPLE IPHONE 7: People caught out by headphone jack drilling hoax video

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London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via SIMON ROBB and Metro

Technology company Apple recently launched the latest iteration of its best selling and fashionable iPhone series. However many Apple fans have been left frustrated as the iPhone 7 comes with one less feature, a headphone jack. While Apple have been encouraging consumers to spend a bit extra to purchase their equally new music accessory, the wireless Airpods, some users, not keen on splashing out on little white things for their ears, have resorted to drilling holes into their handsets thanks to a hoax video doing the rounds, with disastrous consequences.

YouTube star TechRax, whose channel shows him exposing iPhones to all kinds of mishaps, including getting them run over by a train, and soaking them in liquid nitrogen, put out a video showing him drilling a hole into a iPhone. While clearly intended as a joke, some viewers have taken TechRax’s tips a bit too much to heart, leaving a trail of ruined expensive phones in their wake.

 

 

The short tutorial, entitled “Secret Hack To Get Headphone Jack on the iPhone 7”, shows the producer clamping down an iPhone in a vice before applying a drill to the top of the device. Once the new ‘jack’ is in place, TechRax removes the phone, puts in some headphones and plays music, which comes loud and clear from the speakers. Despite this obvious flaw, people have been reportedly copying TechRax, assuming that there is a hidden jack buried deep within the iPhone.

Several comments below the video were from people who tried it out for themselves, only to find their handsets have stopped functioning. Ste Richards wrote I’ve just done this but there is no sound coming from the headphones. I used an exact 3.5mm drill bit but the connector doesn’t sit flush in the hole for some reason. The phone doesn’t even detect the headphones are in.” ImperioMagno complained Thanks bro, I destroy my iPhone 7, 700 dollars at trash, thanks (sic)”. Commenter ‘lol atu’ wrote Dude are you serious?! I just paid $800 dollars for this thing and now it turns on but the screen just had a few dots on it. I think my phone’s dead! **** my mom’s going to be so p****d! I hope insurance covers this”. Several commenters were so angry at being tricked that they hurled insults at TechRax and told him they hoped his channel is taken off YouTube.

For anyone reading this who is vexed at having a jack-less iPhone, please refrain from drilling holes in it. There is no hidden jack and your warranty will be voided.

SOURCES:
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf
“You should NOT drill a hole in your iPhone 7 to make a headphone jack” – Simon Robb, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (24 September 2016) http://metro.co.uk/2016/09/24/you-should-not-drill-a-hole-in-your-iphone-7-to-make-a-headphone-jack-6150353/
“Secret Hack To Get Headphone Jack on the iPhone 7” – TechRax, YouTube GB (17 September 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tqH-Un9SFU
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Apple iPhone 7, Pro, SE?” – Martin Hajek, Flickr (17 March 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/nepaltibet2005/25842583096
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XIAOMI MI NOTE: New phablet to take on iPhone 6 Plus

Xiaomi, the Chinese phone manufacturer who have had runaway success in the Asian mobile phone and tablet markets, has launched a new larger-sized model which it is touting as its biggest challenge to the Apple iPhone yet. The device, known as Mi Note, is the latest to join the ever-growing list of ‘phablets’ to hit the market, as consumers move away from wanting to spend big funds to purchase separate phones and tablets and look towards gadgets that combine the best of both worlds.

The Mi Note comes at a good time for Xiaomi, who have recently been declared the world’s most valuable start-up, according to technology news site TechCrunch. The company’s new-found bravery in its launch to break the hegemony of Apple Inc. comes as it enjoys runaway success in the rapidly developing and emerging markets of the Gulf, India and east Asia. The company plans to become the world’s premier manufacturer of smartphones in the next decade, knocking Apple off the top spot. It is now China’s largest, and the world’s third largest, smartphone giant.

The Mi Note, which bears a strong resemblance to the Samsung Galaxy Note as well as its newer iPhone rivals, was launched at a special press conference in the PRC capital, Beijing this past Thursday. At the launch event for the Mi Note , which retails at 3,299 yuan ($530, £350) for the largest 64 gigabyte model, and its more advanced sibling the Mi Note Pro, the Xiaomi chief executive officer and co-founder Lei Jun was said to have been very keen to play off the iPhone 6 Plus and his new product together, making frequent comparisons and references between the two in his speech. He claimed that the Mi Note devices were lighter and thinner than the latest reincarnation of the iPhone, all the while bearing a larger screen. Jun also took a swipe at the iPhone’s back-facing camera, criticising its jutting out from the main body of the iPhone, while the Mi Note has a flattened back camera incorporated into the body of the Mi Note, so no annoying obtrusion.

(c) thebudcloud.com

A selection of products manufactured by Xiaomi, China’s largest smartphone manufacturer. The company has recently released its lightest phablet yet, the Mi Note.

The Mi Note was not just better than the iPhone merely for having a flat camera lens; CEO Jun told the gathered media at the launch event. He also claimed the new front camera boasted 13 megapixels and came with image stabilisation which will put an end to shaky and blurred snaps.

The Mi Note also comes with a 5.7-inch screen, with a Snapdragon 801 2.5 GHz processor under the bonnet, alongside 3 GB RAM. As for the Mi Note Pro, that comes with a more powerful 64-bit, 8-core Snapdragon 810 processor, and a whopping 4 gigabytes RAM. The device includes 64 GB of storage and costs 3,299 yuan ($535, £350), while the cheapest 16 GB model will retail in at 2,299 yuan ($370, £244) — Xiaomi says support LTE-CAT will give users lightning fast 450Mbps download speeds. The Mi Note Pro is the most expensive phone that Xiaomi has ever sold, and its best on paper too, in TechCrunch’s opinion.

The phone has a revolutionary new ‘curved’ screen. While LG  have already burst into the market with ‘flexible screens’, and Samsung have recently released a version of its Galaxy Note phablet with a screen that stretches over the side of the devices and offers virtual buttons, the Xiaomi recipe goes for aesthetics, giving the Mi Note sleek curves and a more natural design.

Xiaomi has gone in for slimmer phablets, treading a path well worn by its rivals. The Mi Note has a thickness of only 6.95mm, tipping the scales at 161 grams, making it incredibly lightweight compared with the iPhone or many other phablets, which have been criticised for being clunky and demanding on users’ pockets. Finally, Jun mentioned the Mi Note’s battery life; the best of its products yet, with a 3,000 mAh battery manufactured by Korean electronics firm LG. Xiaomi also produce its own range of portable chargers, although it is not known if the company will be producing chargers for the Mi Note in particular. The phone can also support multiple SIM types, such as micro-SIM, which is very rare in the phone world.

The Mi Note will be available in China from 27 January. There are no currently scheduled release dates for markets abroad as of yet.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“Xiaomi Launches Mi Note Phablet To Fight The iPhone 6 Plus” – Jon Russell, TechCrunch/AOL Inc. (15 January 2015) http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/15/mi-note/
IMAGE CREDITS:
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“Buy Xiaomi Mi3 & Redmi 1S Easily – Best Android Phone 2014” – Abhay Nagpal, thebudcloud.com (29 August 2014) http://www.thebudcloud.com/buy-xiaomi-mi3-redmi-1s-best-android-phone/

STREET-AND-SKY SCENERY: Photo ‘exhibition’ by Anjali – an HEM special

Vijay Shah (editor)

with Anjali Shah (photographer)

A few months ago, my youngest sister Anjali received an iPhone as a gift. One of the things iPhones are renowned for is their impressive photographic capabilities, considering the phone’s camera is far smaller and more pressed for space compared to the usage specificity and technological prowess of specially made cameras from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Minolta etc.

The iPhone, one of the most successful exports of the House of Apple, Inc. boasts a 8 megapixel camera and has become a weapon of choice for ‘pocket photographers’ who don’t want to be burdened by expensive and clunky camera equipment, and its numerous and easy settings have also made it hot property for the casual amateur or semi-professional shutterbug.

I’m not much of an iPhone fan myself. In fact I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini which takes some pretty impressive snaps itself, but my sister is very much on the side of the techies in Cupertino. She was thrilled to bits to finally get her mobile after a lot of searching and loitering on online auctions. One of the most pleasing things I see as her older sibling about Anjali having this iPhone is that it has really opened up her passion and flair for photography. It is nice to see her asserting her talent and surprising me with her creativity. A chip off the old HEM block, no doubt.

(c) somegif.com

Lately, Anjali has used her phone’s filter and effects settings to produce a handful of shots of scenery while out and about in Seven Kings, a suburban area to the east of London. Influenced by the natural play of light and colour, these shots are simple, but captivating homages to the beauty of the sky at its most vivid. Taken over a period of around two months at different times of the day, Anjali’s ‘street and sky’ pictures capture a series of atmospheric moods and environments. Anju has kindly allowed me to reproduce some finetuned versions of her outdoors imagery, which save for a bit of standard auto-fixing using the imaging website piZap, are exactly as she envisioned and created them.

The ‘Street and Sky Scenery’ gallery contains seven photos. The album can be seen in greater detail on the HEM Flickr page.

IMAGE CREDITS:
Anjali Shah via Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/110818734@N02/
“Blue camera girl nail polish nikon gif” – Somegif via Google Images.

 

GIF MOMENT: Stick Texting

(c) Stick Texting via Lilith Moon

Today the Half-Eaten Mind brings you a special GIF image courtesy of Lilith Moon on Google +. The GIF was produced by StickTexting.com and shared by Lilith and Kamran V. Kleist. A person becomes annoyed at his friend’s over enthusiastic use of smileys and gets his revenge in spectacular stickman style. The Stick Texting iPhone app gives users fully animated stick figures for text and emails using your iPhone or iPad. The detailed and clear animations help you express yourself, your thoughts and your moods with a firm punch. The smileys won’t know what hit them. The animation was created by Alan Becker.

As soon as I saw this on my Google + feed, I couldn’t help but share this with you all. Personally I like smileys. They’re a fun way to express yourself with no words at all, and I find it amusing when someone I’m texting or messaging with lays a big fat smiley train all over the screen. I know some people say ‘three’s a crowd’ but a crowd of smileys does add flavour to the conversation. Let’s just hope they have taken self-defence classes for when a two-dimensional ninja shows up to cause some SMS carnage.

SOURCES & IMAGE CREDITS:
Lilith Moon on Google + LINK
Kamran v. Kleist on Google + LINK
STICK TEXTING Animated Texting App/Mitch Robiner LINK

WALLPAPER: Christmas 2013

Vijay Shah

To welcome in the Christmas festive season, I have produced the latest in the series of the Half-Eaten Mind’s wallpapers to mark major festivals. This time round we have created a picture uniquely for the blog at Christmas, thanks to my newly-learned skills at graphical design. The new wallpaper draws on a traditional British/US/northern European interpretation of Xmas celebration, with an emphasis on the darling of kids (and some adults) everywhere, Santa Claus, and of course, lots of snowflakes and a really cool Christmas tree. Here in London, the festive season has already kicked off, with co-workers in my office wandering in a daze of mince pies and mulled wine, wearing reindeer antlers, Santa hats and those ghastly Christmas jumpers that your grandma would balk at. There are beautiful and dazzling decorations set up by councils all over the city, and not surprisingly, we just had to get into the spirit.

(c) V. Shah/HalfEatenMind

Created online with photo-editing website piZap, the official Half-Eaten Mind wallpaper/commemorative image for Christmas 2013 was the result of just over an hour’s worth of preparation and editing. I started with one of the festive backgrounds piZap has released especially for the festival of goodwill and peace to all men (and women). They had an incredible choice but I wanted a background that was simple, wintry and suitable, because I did not want it to dominate the other visual elements which were going to be added in afterwards. I chose this blue snowy template, because it suits well how we see Christmas here in Great Britain. Cold, blustery, cloudy, windy and with snowflakes coming so fast at you, you may well wonder if they could slice off the pompom from your Santa hat your girlfriend pleaded with you to wear to her parent’s place.

I then used piZap’s tricky, but very useful, cut-and-paste image tool, to bring in images sourced from the nets via a Creative Commons search, just so I don’t fall foul of any copyright holders. A DMCA notice is never a splendid Xmas prezzie. I found the cool groovy Santa from a website named “hd Wallpapers Arena”, a warehouse of funky festive images that would make excellent greetings cards. I liked that he was traditional in looks and attire, but he had that contemporary ‘thang’ going on. The reindeer have been left in the North Pole tundra, while Santa must have gone down to the West Coast and got his sleigh ‘pimped up’ by X-hibit and his merry men of car tune-ups.  As he jets through the night sky with a haul of presents for all the good boys and girls, Santa has ramped up the cool factor.

Also using the image tool I turned to one of the images I previously featured in an article on my Mum’s Christmas decorations. There was one picture that really caught my attention and that was the white tree my mother had set up in the living room, with all the lights on and the room darkened. The vivid colour scheme of a blue and white tree with a mind-numbing array of baubles, tinsel and lights of all kinds felt perfect. Just like the tree, HEM features a wide variety of stories and features. If we had a proper office, I would have carted off Mum’s tree in a wheelbarrow and stuck it right there in the middle of said office.

Going crazy from tiredness and armed with a paint and erase thingamibob, I soon began mercilessly chopping up yet another picture. The iPhone held by the snowman at the bottom of the picture comes from the DeviantArt site, which specialises in ‘deviant art’ produced by artists in all kinds of media. The image was sawn out of a pixellated wallpaper depicting the older iPhone model, and was created by a DeviantArt wallpaper designer and site member named ‘Martz90’. The wallpaper by this artist can be found in the image credits section below this article and there’s a version for both iPads and desktops. I chose an iPhone, not because I like iPhones. Well I do like them but I am a confident Android fanboy. This type of image was chosen because I wanted to reflect the importance of technology in relation to news, but in a subtle manner. As you may well be aware, news organisations (and small-time news bloggers such as myself) get a lot of input into our reader figures from people using smartphones and the like. This is my way of paying the compliment back.

I also intended to include a stack of newspapers, again on the news theme that makes this blog, but sadly I could not find a decent enough image from the CC search, so I dropped that idea. Tis’ a shame really, but at least the snowman won’t be saddled with a sore back and icicles from carrying a paper round delivery.

The snowman with the fashionable gadget and the open present box were images supplied by the piZap clip art gallery, under the topic ‘Holidays and Festive Occasions’. Of course, finally no HEM wallpaper would be complete without our now-more-official mascot Woodsy the owl, raining down from Santa’s turbo-charged sleigh to bring you hard-hitting news, great features and all manners of festive fun and goodwill.

(c) FourWallsOnly.com
(c) FourWallsOnly.com

I will be using this creation as the official wallpaper for both the blog’s background and for our Twitter feed at @halfeatenmind. The image is being hosted from and is visible on the HEM Flickr photostream, which you can find a link to at the header on the top of this page.

It is my sincerest hope that you like this wallpaper and you are more than welcome to comment, criticise or show me your own examples. Many thanks for reading, and the Half-Eaten Mind wishes you all a very Merry Christmas.

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IMAGE CREDITS:
piZap LINK
My own photography. You can view the article on Mum’s Christmas decorations at this LINK.
“Santa Sleigh” – hd Wallpapers Arena (26 October 2013) LINK
“Pixalated: iPhone 4 Wallpaper” – Martz90, deviantART LINK
“merry christmas and happy new year 2013 gif” – FourWallsOnly.com LINK

iPHONE TAX?!! – Why everyone is paying for iPhones – even non-owners

A report by technology news and commentary website The Register claims that it is not just owners of Apple’s iPhones who are paying huge sums of money for these highly-sought after gadgets. Those consumers who decide the ‘iHype’ is not for them and opt for other makes of smartphone such as Androids and Blackberry are paying for Apple’s products too. They are even paying for unsold iPhone 5Cs gathering dust in mobile network carriers’ warehouses, according to the Register’s special report published today.

Apple Inc. 1 Infinite Loop
Apple Inc. 1 Infinite Loop (Photo credit: JaviSoto)

 

In the United States, Apple has been accused of ‘cosying up’ to mobile network operators with firm handshakes and secret deals. As a result many smaller smartphone manufacturers are effectively being squeezed out of the market, according to information gathered from industry sources by The Register.

The sources claim that Apple and its network partners sign confidential contracts, which are iron-clad in Apple’s favour. The terms of the contracts include non-negotiable and strict purchase commitments requiring the network operator to buy a set number of handsets from the Cupertino-based technology company. The operator in turn must make a pre-determined number of sales of Apple’s handsets, even without being allowed a preview of the new models first. There are allegedly no return policies or even options for refunds, which means that if a released model does not succeed on the market, the carrier is left with handsets it cannot sell to customers nor return to Apple. The contracts are top-secret and not meant for public knowledge, yet the aftermath means higher bills for the public, whether or not they buy Apple’s products.

Operators who cannot make the contracted number of sales required by Apple are legally expected to pay for the difference out of their own coffers. It is also alleged that Apple will not allow rival phone manufacturers to exceed their own subsidies with the carrier, so even if the carrier cannot make the sales target, it has no way of recouping its losses by promoting a rival brand of handset to customers. The operator sinks into debt with no room to manoeuvre.

While many smaller mobile phone operators steering clear of the contracts and unable to capitalise on the popularity of the iPhone, even large and dominant carriers in the U.S., such as Verizon, are suffering the ill-effects. In turn, they are passing on the pain to customers through higher bills and more cold-calling and unwanted marketing. An industry analyst who warned Verizon that it was haemorrhaging money from its own contracts with Apple found that the operator had signed up for contracts expecting USD $23 billion total sales, but despite the recent launch of Apple’s latest 5C and 5S models, sales have been less than satisfactory. So far, $12-14 billion has been made by Verizon from its handset-only and phone-inclusive contract sales to the American public.

(c) John Karakatsanis/Flickr

Apple’s tough contracts are affecting the market beyond tipping the playing field against smaller U.S. carriers. Firstly mobile subscribers, even those who do not own any model of the iPhone, pay indirectly for the carrier’s stockpiles of unsold sets. This results in a form of ‘Apple Tax’ on mobile phone bills. On the industry side, other handset manufacturers are themselves unable to sell further supplies of their products to carriers trapped by the insurmountable demands of a weighty Apple contract, so they are starved of revenues. Even manufacturers like Samsung, whose handset sales are outstripping Apple’s in many countries, cannot squeeze past Apple’s tight grip on the American cellphone network market. This has been more noticeable in recent months as the latest iPhones have failed to stir customers’ passions.

Worryingly, other handset manufacturers are cottoning on to Apple’s game, and are trying out their own restrictive agreements. Samsung had rolled out carrier contracts for its Galaxy S4 which are said to be as nearly demanding as Apple’s. Unlike Apple’s limited range of handsets however, Samsung has more to pick from by carriers and they have more choice in what they promote to the consumer at the other end of the line.

As the Christmas sales pick up pace, mobile operators in the United States are feeling the pressure to capitalise on the festive footfall to reverse their lagging Apple targets. Ironically the contracts have not saved Apple’s 5C/5S range from failure to live up to the media hype sales wise, and the company has allegedly scaled back production. Apple’s heavy-handed manipulation of the market is bound to add to industry fears that Apple is abusing its dominant position in the phone market. As Apple’s Mac computers still play second string to Microsoft, the technological giant is more than prepared to turn the vice on both the supplier and the customer to make sure it stays on top. Customers are increasingly chafing against Apple’s omnipresent marketing hype and other handsets are challenging the iPhone’s dominance. Unless there is a serious change in Apple’s attitude towards its carrier partners, the contracts and their trickle-down effect on every consumer’s mobile bill may turn out to be the worms that will bring the rot to Apple’s core.

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SOURCES:
Half-Eaten Mind on Twitter LINK
The Register on Twitter LINK
“REVEALED: How YOU PAY extra for iPHONES – even if you DON’T HAVE ONE” –  Andrew Orlowski, The Register (29 November 2013) LINK
IMAGE CREDIT:
“iPhone 5C” – John Karakatsanis, Flickr (28 October 2013) LINK  <Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) LINK >>