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The Case for Global Blacklisting

The theft of mobile phones is a growing problem fuel by the insatiable demand for premium model second-hand smartphones, particularly in developing countries.  There are no clear statistics recently, but reports indicate there are between 3 and 5 million phones reported stolen every year – if you include the number of stolen devices not reported, the true number is suggested to be in the region of 10 million.

 

Every phone has at least one unique identifying hardware number called the IMEI which transmits every time the mobile phone interacts with a cellphone network. This is not dissimilar to a unique engine number on a car.

 

If your mobile phone is stolen or lost the IMEI number can be reported and the phone is more than likely blocked in your respective country from working on all of the local mobile networks. However, the blacklisting of hardware is not shared between countries and consequently, the phone can be used with impunity in another country.   If you activate security software on your android or iPhone that allows you to brick the device remotely. This then renders the phone useless, a paperweight, that is the ideal situation however very few people actually “brick” their phones or activate this option as part of the initial setup.

 

What you may not know is that all the major brands of phones “ping” your online activity to their manufacturers constantly. It is therefore possible for all mobile phones to be bricked anytime by their creator. This is done by remotely transmitting an instruction in code to the device no matter where in the world the phone is connected to the internet – exactly what Samsung did after the “battery gate” saga of their recalled Galaxy Note 7.

 

Consumers should demand from mobile phone manufacturers that they have the absolute right to switch off their phone or brick their phone remotely globally in the event the device is stolen.  Naturally, there needs to be a clear verification process with some proof of ownership or there would be havoc.

 

Then watch phone thefts collapse, insurance prices drop, the only remaining reason to steal a phone would be for the chop shops to salvage a few valuable parts but that is a very limited market.  Mobile networks benefit massively from unsubsidized stolen phones on their networks so this movement must be driven at manufacturer level by consumer activism.

 

 

Cellucity the leading suppliers of insurance replacement devices to the insurance industry. Our dedicated insurance replacement division has long-standing relationships with most of the big insurance houses in South Africa, including the likes of; Vodacom Insurance, Santam, Old Mutual Insure, Discovery Insure, Bryte and many more.
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Failure to launch?

Exclusive invitations “By innovation only”, have gone out for Apple’s next phone launch on the 10th of September which will herald in the announcement of a variety of new devices from Cupertino. When you think back to the days of long lines of excited customers waiting patiently, some even camping out, the night before, to get their hands on the latest technical marvel delivered by Apple. You can only think, “were we mad?”.

The tech landscape is ever-evolving and, in the past when there were massive leaps forward in technology at each phone launch, you almost didn’t want to, couldn’t afford to be left behind. How would your social life cope, when you didn’t have access to the latest apps or all-important Instagram filters, and AI camera’s to smooth your “selfie” face into doll-like perfection?

 

Today we have such good mid-tier phones with such exceptional camera’s and processing power onboard that the iconic, premium devices are no longer the pinnacles of desire they once were. The race to become the most desired smartphone manufacturer was originally a two-horse race with Samsung ever chasing Apple for the top spot, and in the past 2 years, Huawei has made a serious play to tease for the title making this little threesome a very exclusive party indeed.

 

But is this crown still worth fighting for?

 

Apple has lagged behind in Camera tech so much so that many mid-tier Android devices provide a much better photography experience for a fraction of the price. Samsung, in an attempt to create the same “iPhone” premium allure, has set their flagship models at a similar price point to Apple’s. Many customers are happy to shop down and get more value for money. Huawei has followed the same example, although you will find their premium devices are still a little more accessible.

 

The challenge in 2019 is really to decide is it worth it to upgrade? With Huawei being caught in the US vs China trade war, the launch of their Mate 30 looks more and more in doubt as without access to Google’s Android it won’t even feature on the race card. Samsung with its recent Note 10 launch is seeing some really healthy sales as the fanboys, and previous Note users replace ageing devices, and with Huawei’s Mate 30 potential “non-starter” will most likely see Samsung gaining some more new customers in the premium Android sector.

 

Apple and its new phones face the problem, of that once having established a price premium for their devices, it is very difficult to compete with the ever more popular mid-tier Android devices. So whilst we are seeing sales slowing down on Apple, their best move would be to be far more aggressive in its “R” version and start with re-setting its entry price point for a “premium mid-tier” device. Or alternatively, in the emerging markets like ours, get very aggressive with CPO (certified pre-owned) models of iPhone X and iPhone XR

 

For their flagships, rumoured to be the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11, pricing is likely to remain unchanged versus the XS and XS Max. I don’t think we will see a mad rush for the new 2019 iPhone range but, hopefully, we will see a more strategic price play from Apple.

 

Cupertino has hedged its bets on making its software and services more widely available and has entered into the banking space recently; they just need to ensure they don’t lose sight of the fact the most popular entry point into the iOS ecosystem and subscription to its various services begins with the purchase of an iPhone.

 

Is Apples solid ecosystem, its protection of user privacy and data enough to continue its dominance as the perceived premium benchmark setter?

 

Written By: Chris Henschel – Trend setter by day, socialite by night and Cellucity GM in his free time.

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Have they gone too far?

It seems the days of the excitement and high expectation over the next mobile launch is well and truly over.

When I started in the industry in the mid 90’s, we had perhaps three or four launches to attend a year. Every launch cycle offered innovations and great leaps forward in tech. We started with brick phones and monochromatic screens, moved to the tiniest phones with colour and changed from numeric keypads to full qwerty keyboards and now to full touch.

I can still remember the excitement of holding that curved Nokia 8110, the tiny Ericsson 788, seeing the colour screen on the Siemens S10 and showing off my Nokia 9110 Communicator with its full keyboard, the Samsung D500 slider… the list could go on and on!

This excitement carried over to the revolution heralded by the Apple iPhone, and it appeared this excitement curve trajectory would continue unabated.

Alas, it appears in the last two years, the mobile magic has gone.

I had no desire to upgrade my iPhone 7 when the iPhone X launched, partly because it always has better to wait for Apple to iron out any kinks in their “S” version but mainly because the price differential between new and old had become somewhat glaring.

In my wait for the next Apple launch, I have been using a Huawei P20 Pro and, after five months, I haven’t had a reason to move back. That was of course until the lead up to the Apple announcement on the 12th of September. Ohhhh I thought, perhaps the new model is going to be awesome, maybe we could fall in love again…

After the announcement, I was left feeling even more disappointed. The price of the new iPhone is sky high and, I feel not much has been offered to enhance my user experience. I find myself thinking… has Apple gone a step too far this time?

Apple and Samsung have been chasing the title of world’s best smartphone for the past ten years, with Apple always commanding a premium for its devices. Samsung, in hot pursuit, began increasing the prices of its iconic top-end phones to try and mirror the exclusiveness of the Apple brand.

In November IHS Markit estimated it cost around $370.25 to make the iPhone X which retailed at $999, that’s a massive $628.75 in profit per device. Understandably for most manufacturers, you spend a lot on R&D and then advertising and marketing, but a 170% markup is astronomical.

Much of the R&D tech is licensed or on-sold to other manufacturers. For example, Samsung is the biggest supplier of screen components for electronics. Sony provides camera tech to many manufacturers. Through technology licensing, R&D costs are recovered and often become profit centres. Face recognition and fingerprint tech were initially introduced exclusively on premium devices, but they were quickly adopted in mid-tier devices. The economies of scale made the tech cheaper for everyone.

Now, Samsung and, more recently, Apple have announced their new iconic premium devices, both starting at $999 and with little in the way of advances over their predecessors. I once again question the sustainability of launching a premium device annually with little more than a few tweaks.

My MacBook Pro has lasted me five years, and my iPad is pushing its 3rd year of use. With Mac and iPad offering a pleasing level of performance for an extended duration, they were shrewd buys. I don’t mind paying a premium for this longevity.

With that said, has the need for the latest iPhone quietly died and been replaced with a more sombre approach to affordability and lifetime usage. I predict it has. Perhaps the mobile industry needs to rethink its obsession with launching a flagship phone every year to try and push more profits and focus instead on sustainability.

Much like the car market, most supercars can go 0-100 in under five seconds. If you can afford it, you buy the brand that appeals to you the most – be it a Porsche, Lamborghini or a Ferrari. For those of us that can’t, you can still buy a car for way, way, way less and still be a happy robot racer.

With basic usage and functionality remaining almost on a par, consumers will seek a solid middle ground. So, this year I won’t be getting a new iPhone XS or the Samsung Note 9. But, I will consider upgrading my MacBook Pro or my iPad – at least that’s a sensible long-term buy.

By Chris Henchel

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Upgrade or UpCycle?

With phones becoming ludicrously expensive and mobile technology seeming to have plateaued in terms of feature sets, is it really worthwhile upgrading to the latest flagship model?

If we take a look at the car market in the early 90’s, it was all about whom could go the fastest from 0-100. By the 2000’s most sports cars where doing sub 5 sec runs and by the 2010, you could get more than a few hot hatches doing sub 7 second runs.

So as technology starts to become more accessible, the middle and entry level tiers start catching up in performance. You then start questioning the price to performance ratio of say buying a Ford Focus RS (4.7 secs 0 to 100 kmh) for R699 900 against buying a Porsche 718 Cayman for R920 000 to go slower at 5.1 secs, but having a perceived quicker flashier car.

 

The vast majority of us use our phones for the “bare” basics – give me a good camera, whatsapp, a decent battery life and an easy enough user interface and I am happy. The days of having the latest phone and proudly displaying it on the coffee shop table to elicit ohhhh’s and ahhh’s from your friends are long over. Today, most of the phones look pretty much androgynous and few deliver little in the way of a revolutionary experience.

When you start paying upwards of R15 000 for a phone you have to start questioning your behaviour. The latest Samsung Note8 is going to set you back R17 899 and the latest iPhone X costing $999 before taxes and duties you will be looking at around R15- 17K.
What can you get for R15K in todays tech space?

A new cool camera? Nikon Coolpix B700 @ R6499
A smartwatch / fitness tracker? Tom Tom Spark 3 @ R1899
A new LED TV? 50″ Hisense UHD LED TV @ R6999
A new decent smart phone? Huawei P10 Lite @ R4999

Justifying a phone over 15K becomes increasingly difficult! But us humans are a funny old species, and having the latest trinkets and desirables is pretty hard grained into some of us. For those such afflicted, we crave the newest, fastest and flashiest gadgets on the planet, all to ensure that we stay ahead of the pack. For an increasingly online, social media driven world our mobile is our gateway to our interwoven digital and physical existence and if we going to have a gateway, it better be damn magical.

So do you succumb to the iPhone 8, wait out for the iPhone X (its referred to as the “ten”) or keep on trudging along with your 7, or even your faithful old iPhone 6? That my friends is the question indeed.
If you have a 7, I wouldn’t bother with the 8, hell even if you have the 6S theirs not much incentive to go rush out and get the 8. My bet is waiting out for the Ten, at least the tech has been enhanced and the new camera features and animoji only work with the new Ten hardware.

Then of course if you throw the price in the mix, paying an extra R3 – R5K cash (roughly R175 a more per month on contract) for the Ten is hard to justify if you are replacing an iPhone 5 or an old 6. The new “old” 8 becomes an option but even more so would be the iPhone 7 which is certain to drop in price.

Best of all, if you have an old iPhone 5/6/7 which is still in great working order but the battery is getting a little tired, the folks from Apple Doctor can “UpCycle” your old faithful with a new battery and make her as good as new. An “UpCycle” costs as little as R289 fully installed – Upgrade or #UpCycle?

cellucity.co.za

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Apple Doctor

Crash, bang, smash, sigh! Your eyes are shut tight, every little wrinkle pronounced. You hold your breath and slowly pry one eye open to look down at the inevitable. I don’t know why we do this, we already know when we open our eyes what we are going to see. The screen of our pride and joy, shattered. Admit it, you (like myself) have followed this script above at some point – probably more than once.
Continue reading Apple Doctor

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Apple introduces iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus, the best, most advanced iPhone ever

San Francisco — Yesterday Apple introduced iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the best, most advanced iPhone ever, packed with unique innovations that improve all the ways iPhone is used every day. The new iPhone features new advanced camera systems that take pictures like never before, more power and performance with the best battery life ever in an iPhone, immersive stereo speakers, wide color system from camera to display, two new beautiful finishes, and is the first water and dust resistant iPhone. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in more than 25 countries beginning Friday, September 16.

“iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus dramatically improve every aspect of the iPhone experience, reaching a new level of innovation and precision to make this the best iPhone we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The completely redesigned cameras shoot incredible photos and videos day or night, the A10 Fusion chip is the most powerful chip on any smartphone while delivering the best battery life ever in an iPhone, and an entirely new stereo speaker system provides twice the sound, all within the first water and dust resistant iPhone.”

New Advanced Camera Systems

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus take the world’s most popular camera and make it even better with entirely new camera systems. The 12-megapixel camera includes optical image stabilization on both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and 6-element lens enable brighter, more detailed photos and videos, and a wide color capture allows for more vibrant colors with more detail. iPhone 7 Plus features the same 12-megapixel wide angle camera as iPhone 7 and adds a 12-megapixel telephoto camera that together offer optical zoom at two times and up to 10 times digital zoom for photos.

 

Coming later this year, the dual 12-megapixel cameras also enable a new depth-of-field effect, using both cameras on iPhone 7 Plus to capture images, while sophisticated technology including Machine Learning separates the background from the foreground to achieve amazing portraits once possible only with DSLR cameras.

Additional Camera Advancements Include:

  • New Apple-designed Image Signal Processor, which processes over 100 billion operations on a single photo in as little as 25 milliseconds, resulting in incredible photos and videos;
  • New 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with wide color capture, advanced pixel technology and auto image stabilization for even better selfies; and
  • New Quad-LED True Tone flash that is 50 percent brighter than iPhone 6s including an innovative sensor that detects the flickering in lights and compensates for it in videos and photos.

 

More Performance & Battery Life

The new custom-designed Apple A10 Fusion chip features a new architecture that powers these innovations, making it the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone, while also getting more time between charges with the longest battery life ever in an iPhone. The A10 Fusion’s CPU now has four cores, seamlessly integrating two high-performance cores that run up to two times faster than iPhone 6, and two high-efficiency cores that are capable of running at just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores. Graphics performance is also more powerful, running up to three times faster than iPhone 6 at as little as half the power, enabling a new level of gaming and professional apps.

Both phones include support for up to 25 LTE bands, for the best worldwide roaming in the industry, and LTE Advanced for three times faster data rates than iPhone 6 at up to 450 Mbps.1 For customers in Japan, iPhone will now support the leading FeliCa contactless technology, bringing the ability to use credit and prepaid cards, including on iD and QuicPay domestic networks, and Suica, Japan’s dominant transit card issued by JR East, the world’s largest transit operator.

 

An Amazing Audio Experience

New stereo speakers offer amazing and immersive sound that is two times louder than iPhone 6s, offering increased dynamic range of sound and a higher quality speakerphone. The new iPhone comes with EarPods with Lightning connector to deliver incredible sound, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter that allows customers to use old headphones and accessories.

 

New AirPods, Apple’s innovative new wireless headphones, weave simplicity and technology together to reinvent the wireless experience making headphones easy to use. Featuring the new Apple W1 chip, AirPods have extremely efficient wireless communication for a better connection, improved sound and industry-leading battery life. AirPods harness the power of Siri, allowing you to access your favorite personal assistant with just a double tap.

Design That Makes a Splash

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come in a gorgeous design in silver, gold and rose gold finishes and introduce two all-new black finishes, a beautiful black finish that has an anodized matte appearance, and an innovative jet black finish that has a deep, high-gloss look. The new jet black finish is accomplished through an innovative nine-step process of anodization and polish for a uniform, glossy finish. An entirely re engineered enclosure results in a water resistant iPhone offering protection like never before against spills, splashes and dust.

The new iPhone features the brightest, most colorful Retina HD display ever in an iPhone, now with a wide color gamut for cinema-standard colors, greater color saturation and the best color management in the smartphone industry. An all-new, advanced, solid-state Home button on iPhone 7 is designed to be durable and responsive, and working in tandem with the new Taptic Engine, provides more precise and customizable tactile feedback.

Featuring iOS 10, the Biggest iOS Release Ever

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come with iOS 10, the biggest release ever of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. iOS 10 introduces a huge update to Messages that delivers more expressive and animated ways to message friends and family, the ability for Siri to do more by working with apps, new ways to interact with apps and even more places to use 3D Touch, beautifully redesigned Maps, Photos, Apple Music and News apps, and the Home app, delivering a simple and secure way to manage home automation products in one place. iOS 10 also opens up incredible opportunities for developers with Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages APIs, allowing customers to do more than ever with the apps they love to use.

Video | Apple – iPhone 7 video

Video | Apple – Introducing earpods

Video | Apple Watch Series 2

Video | Apple’s big launch in 107 seconds

Source: Apple

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iPhone 7 Announcement

Hype is building around the imminent unveiling of the next iPhone, and this is what our friends over at CNET had to say:

“Apple has made it official: something’s happening on September 7 — and it’s most likely the debut of the iPhone 7 (and the Apple Watch 2). As was rumored for the past few weeks, the company will indeed be hosting an event on the first Wednesday in September; we now know it’s scheduled for 10 a.m. PT and going down at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. This puts us on track for a likely retail release on September 16 or 23.

Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect from Apple at that September 7 event. As a reminder, these range from official reports from anonymous sources to flat-out rumors and educated guesses:

  • New 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone models, presumably called the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively.
  • Very similar physical designs to the existing iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. (A radically redesigned iPhone with no home button is said to be coming in 2017.)
  • A larger, improved camera on the iPhone 7, plus a dual-camera system exclusive to the larger the iPhone 7 Plus.
  • No headphone jack on both new phones.
  • A pressure sensitive home button, using technology similar to that found on the 3D Touch screen.
  • Storage capacities ranging from 32GB to 256GB.
  • A faster A10 processor.
  • Running iOS 10 at launch.
  • An initial release date (in some countries) of September 16 or September 23.
  • Other possibilities include: A water-resistant design, improved stereo speakers and more battery capacity.
  • Of course, Apple could always drop a bombshell that no one saw coming. We’ll know soon enough.”

For the full article go to: cnet.com

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The Apple Repair Specialists – The Doctor is in!

We have partnered with a great company called Apple Doctor, a specialist repairer of mobile Apple devices, namely iPhones, iPads and iPods. They have a national footprint of on-site repair facilities and collection and drop-off points, including many of our Cellucity stores. Apple Doctor specialist engineers do all repairs at their repair facilities, and over 90% of repairs are completed within 24 hours.

It’s frustrating having a faulty device, and Apple Doctor’s mission is to get you back to where you want to be as soon as humanly possible. To do this, their focus is on proper diagnosis of the problem, a speedy repair that does not compromise quality, and then getting your device back to you in the most efficient way possible. These pillars of quality and speed are what sets them apart.

Apple Doctor has over 10 years experience in the repair of devices in the telecoms and electronic media industries.

Repairs are guaranteed (parts and labour) for a period of three months from date of collection, except for when there was identified liquid damage, in which case the repair will be guaranteed for one month.

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Do you want a little iPhone SE

Earlier this week, Apple revealed that it had put new guts inside an old body, and finally made a suitable phone for people with tiny baby hands. If that includes you, time to use those adorable little fingers to click here to place a pre-order.

Orders will start shipping on March 31st, the same day that Apple’s phones land in stores. Yes, you could go stand in line like some kind of barbarian, but let’s be real: this is the 21st century, and you shouldn’t have to leave your house to order your new pocket computer.

The question of whether or not you should upgrade (or downgrade!) is much more fraught. The guts are perfectly adequate, although the SE is sporting a slower TouchID sensor than the 6S, and is lacking 3D Touch. But hey, if you can’t reach the other side of your current phone’s screen, none of that really matters.

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