it-sneak

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iPhone 6 superfans set up camp outside Apple stores

09 Sep 2014

Sneak loves a good old-fashioned smartphone launch but he'll never understand the crowds of fevered fans who camp outside Apple stores days in advance of the next iPhone. Do these people not have families, jobs, lives to lead?

The Telegraph reported that as of 6pm on Monday, two tents were erected outside Apple's Regent Street store. The iPhone Air/6/min/XL/selfie+, or whatever Apple will call it, is not expected to launch until 19 September.

Sneak can't help but wonder what these people do for food or hygiene, or what Apple thinks about having grotty-looking tents pitched outside its trendy flagship store. Perhaps Apple soaked the storefront with a scent that its fans/cultists find irresistible.

Personally Sneak avoids camping like he avoids Windows Vista. Ever since "the incident" with Mrs Sneak in the Lake District, he feels a little uneasy around fibreglass poles and polyester.

So it baffles Sneak how people could endure the crowds, pollution, noise and social stigma of camping outside a shop, no matter how shiny the devices are.

However, The Telegraph went on to describe how some people will sell their coveted spot in the queue to the highest bidder – also known as the people who've been out in the sun too long. Though Sneak can appreciate the bare-faced tenacity of such guerrilla entrepreneurialism.

Some spots net up to £1,500 for the cheeky campers. Sneak thinks that if you pay that much for a phone that costs around £500, then you have been staring at a picture of Steve Jobs for too long, and need shock therapy.

Other money-spinning moves that exploit Apple's cult-like following are the people who get paid to queue on the behalf of yet more people who lack the sense to accompany their money.

Sneak has to admit, though, he finds the idea of subcontracting the boring aspects of life very appealing – especially since his server-room assistant disappeared a few weeks ago. Sneak rarely thinks about Quentin these days, but he can't help notice an odd smell coming from that mass of Cat5 cables behind Server101.

Apple fan pays $300,000 for lunch with CEO Tim Cook

14 May 2014

Fancy lunch with Apple CEO Tim Cook to find out about the iPhone 6, the firm's plans for the long-rumoured iWatch or just what on earth he is doing considering paying $3bn for Beats? Well a spare £200,000 should be enough.

A recent auction for lunch with Cook held by charity site CharityBuzz has closed with the winning bidder stumping up $300,001 for the honour. Clearly small change to that Apple fan, who's not been named.

Cook is clearly a charity soul as he added the chance to be a guest of honour at the next major Apple event – perhaps the iPhone 6 unveiling - to help boost the bids, which is for his charity of choice, the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights.

Sneak is sure that such an amount is worth it. After all, Cook has been at Apple for years, learned from the master Steve Jobs, and has kept Apple ticking since taking over, so no doubt he can pass on a thing or two.

Really, though, for that much money Tim Cook should actually cook the meal as well, and provide transport costs for getting to the firm's headquarters, as this is not included in the lot, although the anonymous winning bidder can no doubt afford it.

While one Tim is basking in the clear demand that he enjoys from the public, Sneak couldn't help feeling a little sorry for another Tim - AOL chief Tim Armstrong.

So far the chance for lunch with him, and a tour of the HuffingtonPost Live studios and a taped interview, has had just one bid of $3,500, against an estimate of $25,000 from the organisers.

Don't worry, Tim, Sneak will stump up a bit to get the bids moving – you accept Bitcoin, right?

Goophone S5 offers half-price version of Samsung Galaxy S5

28 Feb 2014

The Galaxy S5 was finally unveiled to the world this week at Mobile World Congress. Being a lover of all things mobile, Sneak was very excited about the new features, such as the fingerprint scanner and a fast downloads tool, but was less enthralled with its premium price tag.

So for those of you who, like Sneak, don't fancy paying the price of £600 for a Galaxy S5, luckily there's now another option: the Goophone S5.

Less than two days after Samsung had its big unveiling for the Galaxy S5, copycat smartphone maker Goophone introduced its own strikingly similar model.

goophone-s5The Goophone S5 has the same perforated casing and design as Samsung's latest model, and features a 5in full HD 1920x1080 resolution screen, an octa-core 2GHz processor and 32GB of internal storage that's expandable.

Yes, you'll be making some compromises with the Goophone S5. It offers only 3G network support compared with the Galaxy S5's 4G capability; it has only a 13MP rear camera, rather than a 16MP camera with a fast autofocus speed of 0.3 seconds; and it's a bit behind with its Android 4.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system rather than the latest Android 4.4 KitKat release.

But then again, you will be saving 50 percent off the price of the Samsung Galaxy S5, with the Goophone S5 available for only $299.99. A bargain, even by Sneak's cheapskate standards.

Sadly the Goophone S5 is out of stock at present, but we'll be sure to check regularly and update you on availability. And in the meantime, why not treat yourself to the Goophone i5S for a mere $160, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone 5S and also comes in grey, black or gold.

Sneak has to admit to not being fully immersed in the Goophone ethos and wonders how it's flown under the radar of Apple, Samsung and others for so long. But we certainly like its marketing style, which has a distinct difference to the normal cloying language employed by rival smartphone vendors.

"The Next Big Thing Is Almost Here," the firm states on its Goophone S5 page. "Goophone has always been forward best smartphone. With new design, this new generation Goophone S5 you have never seen it. Goophone S5 is world's first smartphone powered 2GHz Mediatek MT6592 true octa-core processor, along with 2GB DDR3 RAM, bring better operating experience to us."

Take that, Apple marketing department.

iPhone users in hot (and cold) water after iOS 7 "waterproof" prank

24 Sep 2013

Sneak had to smirk today after reading the news that a whole load of iPhone owners had been duped into believing that Apple's iOS 7 mobile operating system made their phones waterproof.

The ad, posted in a very convincing Apple style said: "Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof.

"In an emergency, a smart switch will shut off the phone's power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone's delicate circuitry."

Having seen it go viral on Facebook, most readers would have shrugged it off, but some Apple fans with grape-sized brains decided to put the claims to the test. You can guess what happened next. "OK whoever said iOS 7 was waterproof go **** yourself", said one particularly unimpressed lad. Another foolhardy gentleman went one step further: "wtf #ios7 isnt waterproof!! now my phones at the bottom of the river."

iOS7 ad claiming the iPhone to be water proof landed some users in trouble

Sneak does have some sympathy for these poor souls, having dropped his own smartphones into various watery places including the toilet, the bath, the sink and Apple's own factories (what with all the leaks). Sneak has heard of going in depth with a new device, but this is ridiculous. 

BBC anchorman stays classy during iPad and paper mix up

19 Sep 2013

tablet-apple-ipad-mini-white-ios6

A BBC newsreader has won Sneak's affections by grasping a ream of copier paper and truly making it look like he believed it was an Apple iPad.

iPads are the modern day newsreader's prop. A comfort blanket of technological proportions. They can include scripts, photos and games of Angry Birds – any of which may prove useful to a newsreading anchorman.

Simon McCoy of the BBC proved yesterday that it is possible to hold a ream of paper with the same gravitas that you would a tablet computer during a segment about binge drinking – an article that had caught Sneak's bleary attention.

You can see it below. He is carrying an item the size of a swimming float and, Sneak has assumed, is presumably wondering what all the fuss is about tablet computers.

Fortunately a spokeswoman for BBC News said it was just a mistake and added that McCoy simply "went with" his error.

"This morning as Simon McCoy was preparing to introduce this story, instead of picking up his tablet to hold as he went to air, he mistakenly picked up a ream of paper that was sitting next to it," she said. "In the rush of live news, he didn't have an opportunity to swap the items, so simply went with it."

Sneak has access to both a ream of paper and an iPad. He estimates that the iPad is smaller than a ream of paper and weighs a lot less. He hasn't done the precise calculations, but does wonder whether the mere talk of binge drinkers is intoxicating enough to cause confusion.

In the meantime Sneak has some words of advice that he has heard many times before. That is, if in doubt, get an eye test.

First draft of Boris's letter to Apple, Samsung on street thefts emerges

09 Jul 2013

London Mayor Boris Johnson

As one who never ventures far from the safety of his living room Sneak can count himself lucky he’s not one of the many Londoners who have experienced street crime, especially not of his beloved mobile phone.

However, it’s a worrying trend and Sneak was pleased to see Mayor of London Boris Johnson tackle the issue head on with a letter to the top mobile phone makers, including Apple, Samsung and Google, asking them to help tackle phone theft.

Scanning the letter, it’s clear some hasty rewriting took place in City Hall to tone down some of Johnson’s more colourful prose. However, a source in the capital passed Sneak a copy of the first draft, which is presented below in all its glory.
 
Dear chaps or chapesses (yes I know women can be high-ranking business officials these days, the modern world eh, marvelous!)

What spiffing weather we’re having! Anyhoo, look, there’s this dash awful phone-gizmo theft problem in London that I need your help with. It seems some of the awful scallywags and ne’er-do-wells who don’t live in Kensington and Chelsea are appropriating – through foul means – the portable telecommunication devices of upstanding citizens.

The rozzers at Scots Yard tell me they’re powerless to stop anyone and that I should ask you geek and nerds – and I mean that affectionately you brilliant brainy boffins – for some help stopping these ruffians.

No, I don’t mean some sort of weedy geek squads patrolling the streets, Lord no!

What I want is some sort of whizzo tech solution. Surely you can rustle up some nifty gizmo to stop this happening? Some sort of Heath Robinson contraption that stops someone being able to use a stolen phone would be great – you could call it the Boris-a-tron! You can have that free of charge! Marvelous!

Anyway, send me some drawings of what you think could work and I’ll personally look over them before giving them the sign off.

Toodle pip,

BoJo.

Sent from my blasted tablet device (haha!)

Thieves of London, you have been warned...

Apple’s Jony Ive given gold Blue Peter badge

15 Feb 2013

Apple's Jonny Ive has been rewarded a gold Blue Peter badge

Sneak never liked Blue Peter when he was a child - all those fresh-faced eager-beaver up-and-at-em presenters gurning at the camera enthusing kids to "give it a try" just struck him as annoying.

His hardline stance has softened over the years - time does that to a man - but he can't say he ever finds himself watching the show now, obviously.

However, he may well take time out of his oh-so-busy schedule on Saturday morning to see Apple's head design honcho Sir Jony Ive on the show.

This is because Ive is to receive a very special golden Blue Peter badge, for his efforts in designing products like the iPhone and iPad, joining a very special list of people to have received this accolade, including David Beckham, JK Rowling, The Queen and Sneak himself. Ok, not Sneak, that's a lie.

"Sir Jonathan Ive is an inspiration to children around the world and we were ecstatic to hear his comments and design advice to our viewers who will remember such feedback for a lifetime," gushed Ewan Vinnicombe, acting editor of Blue Peter.

Ive, in return, gave the team an aluminium Blue Peter badge crafted by this team - perhaps it's a new iPeter product. Or should that be iBadge?

We think Vinnicombe and the rest of the staff must really have been hoping for iPads for all, and maybe a few iPhones thrown in as well.

 

French thieves smash and grab Paris Apple store

02 Jan 2013

paris-web-2012

Zut alors! Le Sneak was shocked to zee zat thieves in ze French capital of Paris (That's enough faux French accents now - Parisian Ed) have stolen around £1m of Apple goods in a New Year's Eve heist.

The Gallic assassins used the cover of fireworks and drunken revellers to mask their thieving ways and cries of, "Quick, grab the Pomme iPads and iPhones!" (see those French lessons stuck!), to make off with some serious loot.

"They were well prepared," said the brilliantly-named Christophe Crepin from the police union UNSA, according to numerous reports.

"As the majority of police were busy watching the Champs Elysees the robbers took advantage of this opportunity."

The heist is estimated to be worth around £813,000 which given the pricing of Apple goods means they probably got three iPads, four iPhones and five new iMacs in total.

According to the French newspaper Le Parisien (no idea what that means) the thieves were able to first gain access by threatening a security guard at a back entrance.

Typical, a back-door exploit; see those closed ecosystems aren't as secure as you think.

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About IT Sneak

V3.co.uk's undercover reporter offers odds and ends from the odd end of technology.

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