Smart 4K/UHD TVs Could Stop Apple TV Growth Cold


Page 2 – News Debris For The Week Of July 10th
AI Privacy vs. Performance

We’ve heard this tune before. For a personal AI to work well, it has to know a lot about you and place it all into proper context. However, our personal devices don’t have the processing power to work at the highest level, so the processing has to be done on a remote supercomputer. This invokes privacy concerns. For example, that server data has to be maintained to continue constructing a knowledge base. It can probably be investigated, mined, hacked or even accessed with a lawful warrant.

Apple's Siri is a strong contender
Can Siri, handcuffed by privacy concerns, keep up?

Apple has taken a strong stand on personal privacy. Tim Cook has punctuated Apple’s philosophy several times by emphasizing that his company doesn’t really have an interest in your personal affairs, habits, purchases, and inclinations. By putting limits on what Siri can do, Apple is fulfilling that promise. But will that cause Apple to fall behind the more intrusive, all-encompassing competition? For an analysis, see this essay by Tom Simonite at Wired : “Apple’s Privacy Pledge Complicates Its Ai Push.

This is an interesting case where focusing on “the best” may not be a great competitive position. We’ll have to wait and see how well Apple persuades its customers.

More Debris

What killed the Windows Phone? Was it Microsoft’s ineptness? Was it Apple? Writing for The Verge, Dieter Bohn constructs the case that it was Android that killed Windows Phone.

Not long ago, facial recognition was the stuff of fictional police stories on TV. However, today, it’s very real. Leaks suggest that Apple will be using facial recognition to replace (or augment) Touch ID. This story at ars technica by David Kravets shows it put to good use in law enforcement.

Consider that Nevada authorities have announced that biometrics was behind the arrest of a violent criminal who escaped from prison 25 years ago. It’s another in a string of arrests in which biometrics essentially paved the way for a bad guy’s capture.

See: “Biometrics catches violent fugitive 25 years on the run.” The kinds of technologies come in four stages. 1) Science Fiction popularization 2) Research news, 3) Frequent, routine use that also makes news, and 4) Unintended social complexities and consequences. Right now, we’re in stage #3.

Another AI-based technology that’s now in Phase 3 is Microsoft’s new iOS app, “Seeing AI…” From The Verge:

Microsoft: Seeing AI.

…a smartphone app that uses computer vision to describe the world for the visually impaired. With the app downloaded, the users can point their phone’s camera at a person and it’ll say who they are and how they’re feeling. They can also point it at a product and it’ll tell them what it is. All of this is done using artificial intelligence that runs locally on their phone.

See: “Microsoft’s new iPhone app narrates the world for blind people.” I haven’t had a chance to try this out yet. If you do, tell me what you think.

By now you know that if you get an email from what seems to be your bank, asking you to either login or click on an attachment, that’s a phishing scam. The onslaught continues, and while you may be educated about such attempts, it’s always to good to monitor the state-of-the-art and stay on top of things: “Watch out for this money stealing macOS malware which mimics your online bank.

How well a new iPhone does each September depends on several things. But one of the factors is the history of adoption (recent models) and how strongly the customers feels about upgrading to a new iPhone. This lag used to be a two year cycle when iPhones were changing fast and were mostly subsidized. Today, it’s drifting into the three year mark. And so, it’s helpful to see what the market penetration was three years ago. That would be the iPhone 6. That model sold really well, according to this chart from Statista and Business Insider.

Offsetting that will be the jazz associated with the iPhone 8. And so, while the (mythical) iPhone 7s and 7s Plus might suffer a bit, sales could be fueled by the 10th anniversary iPhone 8. As BI concludes:

To be clear, Apple is going to sell hundreds of millions of iPhones. It’s the iPhone. Even if the average smartphone’s life is growing, many people just won’t stay with the same phone for four years straight. But Apple will have a little more pressure to deliver than usual, particularly in areas where its users aren’t as loyal.

Finally, some serious fun. Disney has released Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with High Dynamic Range video and Dolby Atmos audio. OMG.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weekends.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I have a 4k Sony Smart TV powered by Android and a Sony Soundbar, and an Apple TV4. ONLY the Apple TV4 correctly wakes up the TV AND the Soundbar when its switched on, the Apple TV wakes up the other devices over HDMI. It just works. About 50% of the time, switching on the TV fails to power up the Soundbar over HDMI so the Soundbar control has to be accessible. So it just doesn’t work, as its supposed to. I have a Sony upscaling BluRay player and that doesn’t either… If only everyone could actually implement standards as… Read more »

Lee Dronick

My wife and I are (have been) very much enjoying the BBC or Canadian mystery shows

A Place to Call Home the series set in post WWII Australia.

I am also enjoying Will the new series about William Shakespeare.

Apple TV has TED talks

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

@geoduck: Agreed. My TV watching is primarily news-related, which is not about entertainment, however perverse, so much as it is about information. To the extent that I watch Netflix, it’s been to stream one of the many Star Trek series. Almost invariably when I try to watch a movie to which I don’t already have access, I never get passed the first few minutes before I turn it off. Time, like a mind, is a terrible thing to waste. @lee: Point taken. Perhaps I insufficiently balanced my aversion for the thoughtless, content-poor, pointless drivel that passes for entertainment, and for… Read more »

Lee Dronick

D’oh! I have been enjoying the series Genius on the National Geographic Channel

Lee Dronick

There is good stuff on TV, but a lot of fluff. I have been enjoying on the National Geographic, drama shows on PBS, cooking on the Travel Channel, and some other shows. As with every media you have to ignore the clickbait and find the treasures.


Wab95 I could not agree more about the quality of TV. I seldom turn ours on because I have no interest in most of it. At this point I don’t even think about turning it on any more. My wife has to remind me about Dr. Who or something else we want to watch. More often, she turns it on and I go elsewhere, or put on headphones. We have a Netflix account. My wife watches several hours a week on it. I think I’ve watched maybe two hours on Netflix in the last year. (Actually it’s become a running… Read more »

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: Whatever happens on the TV front, may the best solution win. I truly don’t care which does win, because, under the current set of offerings, sentience loses. Presently, most of what is offered on TV is mind-numbing tripe that one can only hope will one day (I won’t be here to see it, I’m sure) be supplanted with at least a greater prevalence of programming that, never mind intellectual and cultural enrichment, can entertain without ever lowering the bar on the least common and basest social denominator. Until that happens, entertainment consumers like myself will continue to navigate a… Read more »

John Kheit

Most smart tv UIs are terrible. My LG oled comes with web OS 3.0 and it’s pretty fantastic. I still use TiVo and Apple TV, however, Web is 3.0 is the first credible smart tv ui I’ve seen, and on the 2016 and newer lg oled tvs, the processor they use is finally fast enough that the experience is very fluid and good.


I will likely purchase a set top box this fall, after I see what Apple does with the next iteration of the Apple TV. I have been contemplating the purchase of a new TV. But I refuse to allow an Android TV into my home. While I understand that televisions are commodity devices and Apple did not really have a way to create a product that would make it in the market, it is really a shame. The privacy and security of Sony, Samsung and LG TVs scare me a great deal.


I’ve tried to help older people who had “smart TVs”, and the OS built into these things still has a long way to go before it can supplant the Apple TV/Chromecast/Roku add ons.

Mike Weasner

The drawback to facial recognition as the ONLY method of authenticating yourself to your phone/tablet is that the camera (or other facial sensing device has to be able to actually “see” your face. When I mount my iPhone on my telescope the phone won’t be able to see me due to the orientation of the device on the telescope and there wouldn’t be any light anyway (and I don’t want the flash/screen to light up!). And in the winter my face would be covered up anyway. Touch ID via Home button or screen needs to still be available.


One factor impacting adoption of the new iPhone model is the economy. I don’t want this to decay into a political discussion but there’s a lot of worry out there about what’s going to happen to the US economy in the next 6 months or year. My company just announced layoffs specifically because most of the companies we deal with are putting off equipment purchases. They are worried about what’s going to happen. Uncomfortable times are worrying. IT starts with CEOs and leeches down to the people on the floor and worried people spend less. So as good as the… Read more »