MacOS KenDensed: Killing Off Unlimited Data & Big iPhone Rumors

It's Ken Ray!Foxconn waffles on its Apple television confirmation, Apple calls out Samsung for destroying evidence, investors are talking about a bigger iPhone, and cell carrier unlimited data plans are another step closer to the grave. This week may not have been all happy stories, but Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray is man enough to take all of them on.

Foxconn, Apple Television Factory
Did Foxconn’s CEO unofficially confirm the hotly anticipated Apple Television last week? Since I wasn’t there, I don’t know. Plus I don’t speak Mandarin, which I assume Gou speaks. So even if I had been there… yeah…

There’s a report out, though, that says Foxconn CEO Terry Gou did confirm the Apple television, but a report on the report wonders whether that’s actually the case.

The English Language China Daily had the report saying:

Gou said Foxconn is making preparations for iTV, Apple Inc’s rumored upcoming high-definition television, although development or manufacturing has yet to begin. iTV reportedly features an aluminum construction, Siri, and FaceTime video calling. Foxconn’s recent 50-50 joint venture factory with Sharp in Japan is one of the preparations made for the new device, Gou added.

Sounds fairly straight forward, though Wired, which ran the report on the report I mentioned a moment ago, is not ready to call this confirmed.

“It’s important to note,” notes Wired, “that the China Daily report mentions Gou’s iTV statement in a scant three sentences. The English-language newspaper based in Beijing didn’t report Gou’s words in a direct quote (let alone in Chinese), and it’s possible that whatever Gou said was lost in translation.”

Basically, they don’t think Gou is thoughtless enough to out Apple’s secret before Apple does. Then again, Gou was thoughtless enough to refer to his workers as “animals,” so really, who can say?

Wired says, “It seems like an unlikely slip of the tongue,” going on to say, “Our guess is that Foxconn is merely prepping for a possible, potential future product, and is speculating and getting ready for its release — just like the rest of us.”

And then Foxconn backtracked and said, “Any reports that Foxconn confirmed that it is preparing to produce a specific product for any customer are not accurate,” but never denied that Gou said what China Daily says he said. So that’s not not exactly a denial that he made the comments, but it doesn’t confirm anything, either.

Apple’s Samsung Smackdown
Apple has filed a new motion against Samsung in the states as part of the countdown to showdown in a San Jose court this summer. The Mac Observer cites a report from Network World that has Apple accusing Samsung of withholding or destroying evidence that was ordered turned over in the ongoing suit between the tech giants.

And, Apple says, Samsung has done this before. They cite an investigation in South Korea where the Korea Fair Trade Commission (or KFTC) said Samsung security kept KFTC officers out of an office while documents were destroyed, emails were deleted, and computers were replaced.

But apparently not all of the emails. One that survived the purge, and turned up in the KFTC investigation, was an email sent last year to a Samsung VP allegedly discussing the deletion of files regarding “Korean roadmap iPhone countermeasures,” among other things.

Apple subpoenaed that email, and Samsung failed to produce it. Can’t say I blame ‘em except — assuming there’s a record of it elsewhere — it does kind of support Apple’s “Samsung hides or destroys evidence” argument.

Having asked and not received, Apple has asked Judge Lucy Koh “to penalize Samsung by issuing ‘spoiliation inference’ instructions to the jury…” if she does that, she could tell the jury that:

  • Samsung had a duty to preserve relevant evidence, failed to do so, and acted in bad faith in failing to meet its legal duty.
  • The jury may infer that documents Samsung failed to produce would have been advantageous to Apple’s position.
  • If the jury finds Samsung liable for infringement, they may presume that the infringement was “intentional, willful, (and) without regard to Apple’s rights…”

all of which could help Apple and hurt Samsung.

TMO says, “Samsung has dismissed Apple’s charges as baseless, and the firm has also asked for an extension for when it must respond to Apple’s motion for spoiliation inference instructions…” which honestly scares me because I believe Judge Koh is mere moments from kicking this case into 2013.

Believe… fear… it’s one of the two.

iPhone: Size Matters
Two big, traditional, news sources are out with a story about iPhones with larger screens. Then again another big, traditional, news source said earlier this week that ESPN said something it didn’t so, as always, treat everything as iffy until you hear it from Apple directly.

And even that can sometimes be iffy now that I think about it. But I digress.

The Wall Street Journal hit with a story this week saying the next phone from Apple “is likely to have a larger display than its current models have.” Smart to use the word “likely.”

Nameless people said to be in the know say Apple is “ordering bigger screens from its Asian suppliers,” screens that measure “at least 4 inches diagonally … compared with 3.5 inches” that have graced iPhones since the first one.

The Journal says “Apple is facing intensified competition from Samsung Electronics,” which “recently unveiled a flagship smartphone with a 4.8-inch display, one of the largest smartphone screens available.”

Forgive me for editorializing, but that’s not why Apple would make an iPhone with a bigger screen. Though I can think of a reason or two why they would. I can also think of a reason or two why they wouldn’t. But we can get to all of that in a moment.

Reuters says it’s heard some of what the Journal has heard as well. The news agency is saying, basically, that the Cupertino-company is using 4-inch displays for the next iPhone, and that it’s already ordering the screens.

Both pieces also say that screen production is being handled by three companies: LG Display, Sharp, and Japan Display, a new company set up by a few manufacturers and the Japanese government.

So, if you’ll indulge me once more, a couple of reasons Apple might make a larger screen iPhone and a couple of reasons why it might not.

On the bigger side, a number of people expect the next iPhone to be 4G/LTE compatible. As it stands today, 4G requires more power than 3G, which means — if you want to keep the same battery life — the new phone would probably need a bigger battery than you could stuff inside a phone the size of today’s iPhone. Give it a bigger screen, though, and you’ve got more room to hide a battery… so maybe.

And there’s the whole HD video argument. A story I mentioned a week or two ago on Mac OS Ken said with a 4-inch screen, you’d only need 7-pixels of black on each end of the screen to display HD video properly, versus the 50 or so pixels of black that border HD on today’s 3.5-inch screen. So there’s a couple of reasons why “maybe.”

On the current size side, Clayton Morris just reviewed the Nokia Lumia 900. It has a 4-inch screen, and he wasn’t a huge fan of the screen because he couldn’t reach the whole screen with the thumb of one hand. Sometimes he had to hold the phone with one hand and poke at it with another, and that ended up being a turn-off.

So that’s one reason against a bigger screen iPhone. It seems another could be Apple not wanting to run the risk of further fragmenting the App Store ecosystem, but I’m not sure about that one. It’s just something that pops into my non-developer brain.

All of that said, what of the reports of bigger screens being purchased? I’ve got this one thought: could they be for a bigger iPod touch? Would be cool for game players, one of the biggest markets for the touch. Though, again, I’m not sure what that does to developers.

Right. Enough with the playing with the stories. Now back to them.

Unlimited Data’s Slow Death
Glimpse your future, AT&T customers, and weep.

iLounge says Verizon CFO Fran Shammo has made it official, customers with unlimited 3G-data plans will lose those unlimited plans when they make the jump to 4G/LTE devices. It goes the way of all grandfathers, I suppose.

AT&T has got to be so glad that Verizon made that announcement first.

But it turns out Verizon does not want to kill your grandfathered unlimited data plan, but it’s sure gonna be expensive to keep it if you wanna upgrade your phone.

TechCrunch has the company kind of backing off of that a day after the iLounge report saying people can keep their unlimited plans as long as they pay full price for their upgrade device.

So, let’s assume the next iPhone is a 4G phone, offered by carriers at the usual $199 with a two-year contract. Taking that deal wold mean saying goodbye to your unlimited data plan, though if you pay full price — likely upwards of $600 for the phone — you can keep your stinkin’ unlimited data. No mandatory contract extension, though, which is interesting.

You Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Jailbreak
And finally this week, how touchy is Apple about jailbreaking iOS devices? Apparently so touchy they don’t even like the word “jailbreak.” To slightly humorous ends.

iPodNN says, for a little while on Thursday the Cupertino-company was censoring the word “jailbreak” on the iTunes Store.

One example: The song “Jailbreak” by Thin Lizzy was showing up on album listings as capital-J, then a string of asterisks through to the last letter k. The same thing was happening to another song called “Jailbreak” by the band Gossip, and yet another by the band Sonic Syndicate.

All of that was over by mid-day Thursday leaving just one question: Why?

iPodNN says, “Although the issue may simply have been a mistake, Apple could also have been experimenting with the idea of discouraging references to jailbreaking iOS devices…” though I’m not sure what in the iTunes Store encourages jailbreaking iOS devices.

Well, except for Thin Lizzy.