What White iPhone 4?; Microsoft Devalues the Kin; SF's SAR Flap

By eWEEK Labs  |  Posted 2010-11-30 Print this article Print

What White iPhone 4?
At the iPhone 4's launch during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2010 in June, CEO Steve Jobs promised customers a version of the iPhone 4 in white, but so far, it has proven to be too challenging to manufacture them for public use. After being touted for months on the Apple online store as being available at various dates in the future, the company in October officially pushed back availability of the white iPhone 4 to spring 2011. Given that the company's release schedule for the iPhone has seen new models become available in late June, that doesn't leave much wiggle room between the delivery of the white iPhone 4 and the presumed release of the iPhone 5.

Meanwhile, reports have surfaced of the white iPhone 4 being issued for use by Apple staff, and of bootlegged white iPhones being sold in Chinese stores at prices far beyond the phone's stated retail price. The Apple Website has only fleeting references to the white iPhone 4, reminding us of careless airbrush artists in the Soviet Union who would leave traces of their rendering of yesterday's heroes as today's unpersons.

-P. J. Connolly

Microsoft Devalues the Kin
"Hi. Welcome to Verizon, can I interest you in our latest smartphone called the Kin? It's from Microsoft and is designed to help you stay in touch and share with all your contacts on the go, no matter how you communicate with them."

"Nah, I had a Windows Mobile phone for work last year and I hated it."

"This isn't based in Windows Mobile. Microsoft built something new for the Kin."

"Oh, this is Windows Phone? I thought that wasn't out until later this year."

"No, this isn't Windows Phone either. This is something new from Microsoft, designed to help you stay in touch and share with all your contacts on the go, no matter how you communicate with them."

"So it will do Web, calendar, instant messaging, exchange integration, all that stuff too?"

"Let me check." Rep goes away; then comes back. "Uh, there is not any IM or calendar at this time. I'm sure they'll get that worked out soon though."

"Um, then it's cheaper, right? Since it can't do everything that the Droid or a BlackBerry can do, the service plan will cost less each month, right?"

"It leverages the same attractive and affordable data pricing structures as our other smartphones."

"Uh ... I think I'll pass."

"Well then, can I interest you in our latest feature phone from Microsoft? It's called the Kin, and it is designed to help you stay in touch and share with all your contacts on the go, no matter how you communicate with them."

-Andrew Garcia

San Francisco's SAR Flap
In June, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill proposing to require cell phone merchants to display the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for each phone model sold within city limits, a value derived from FCC-mandated radiation emission testing conducted before the phone's release. The theory was that customers should have easy access to this information, and that making such information public could force hardware makers to try harder to engineer products that score better on the test.

Chalk one up for informed decision making, right? Maybe not.

Soon thereafter, the CTIA, an organization that represents the wireless communications industry, sued the city, stating that all phones sold in the United States meet FCC-mandated emissions strictures (RF emissions of 1.6 Watts per kilogram or less). According to the CTIA, disseminating such comparative information gives the impression that the FCC guidelines aren't good enough and will also impart the notion that lower scores equal safer devices. Besides, all that information is in the manual, if the consumer cares to look.

Then the CTIA petulantly took its ball and went home, immediately announcing that is would move its annual Enterprise and Applications conference from San Francisco to San Diego, starting in 2011.

The best part of the whole saga was, however, when CTIA Vice President of Public Affairs John Walls issued a statement that said, "The FCC has determined that all wireless phones legally sold in the United States are 'safe'," a carefully designed piece of word craft that gives the impression that "safe" may not actually equal safety.

-Andrew Garcia 


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