This week the governor of Alabama announced that Blue Origin would build a factory in Huntsville, Alabama, for its new BE-4 rocket engine. "I must commend founder Jeff Bezos and company President Robert Meyerson for their vision to create this innovative company, and for choosing to make Alabama its home sweet home," said Gov. Kay Ivey.
The decision has been widely hailed as largely a political one—Alabama has considerable influence in the US Congress over space policy, and, with its decision to build there, Blue Origin was aligning part of its future with the southern state—but that does not appear to be the sole rationale. Rather, a closer examination of the Alabama choice reveals that Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, whose business acumen pushed Amazon to the top, has brought the same shrewdness to the aerospace industry. He is playing to win.
A year-long process
The BE-4 rocket engine is the cornerstone of Blue Origin's future as an orbital and deep-space rocket company. About 30 percent more powerful than the space shuttle's main engine, seven of the BE-4 engines will power the company's large New Glenn orbital rocket. It also is the front-runner to be selected by United Launch Alliance for its next-generation rocket, Vulcan. In other words, if the BE-4 engines work out, Blue Origin will need to build a lot of them.
Lending credence to that rumor, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis today in a research note said the so-called "iPhone 8" will come bundled with a 10W power adapter with a USB-C connector and an integrated USB-C Power Delivery chip.
Curtis said the USB-C Power Delivery chips built into both the iPhone and 10W power adapter will be supplied by Cypress Semiconductor. The research note suggests it'll be the same CYPD2104 chip used in the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
An excerpt from the Barclays research note distributed to clients, obtained by MacRumors and edited slightly for clarity:
We believe that in the iPhone 8, Apple likely includes Cypress Semiconductor's USB-C Power Delivery chip in the phone and an additional chip within the power brick in box (likely a new 10W, which would use a more integrated solution with Cypress Power Delivery).Like the new 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the so-called "iPhone 8" would be capable of fast charging with a Lightning to USB-C cable connected to the new 10W power adapter or Apple's 29W USB-C power adapter for MacBook.
Apple will presumably include a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box if it's going in this direction, possibly instead of the traditional Lightning to USB cable. Apple could also opt to include a female USB-C to male USB-A adapter in the box.
Apple's current 5W Power Adapter for iPhone and 12W Power Adapter for iPad both have slower USB-A ports.
Given the "iPhone 8" is expected to have around a 2,700 mAh L-shaped two-cell battery pack, faster charging would be a welcomed addition. The device is also widely rumored to feature wireless charging on top.
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Addressing the "many different origin stories for the iPhone," Fadell pointed out that such stories were the result of Apple's multiple running projects and prototypes that it had for the iPhone. These included four big brands: "a large screen iPod" with a touch interface, an "iPod phone" that was about the size of an iPod mini and used a click wheel interface, the Motorola Rokr, and even an ongoing attempt to get a touchscreen onto a MacBook Pro to further prove the feasibility of the technology that would eventually end up in the iPhone, and never in a MacBook.
The touchscreen Macbook project was basically trying to get touchscreen technology into a Mac to try to compete with Microsoft tablets. Steve was pissed off, and wanted to show them how to do it right. Well, that might have been the project to show Microsoft how to do it right, but they quickly realised there was so much software and there were so many new apps needed, and that everything had to be changed that it was very difficult. Plus the multitouch itself, we didn't know we could scale it that large to a full-screen display. Those were the challenges over on Mac.At the time before the launch of the iPhone, the iPod was Apple's most popular product, and Fadell remembered the company's yearly pressure to continue to grow the brand and entice customers "every holiday." Eventually, Apple's collaboration with Motorola was catalyzed by the company's concern over its users asking themselves, "Which one am I going to take, my iPod or my cell phone?" Apple didn't want to lose that argument, so it introduced the first iTunes support in a cell phone in 2005 with the Rokr, which Fadell said "was not deliberately made poor."
Limitations of the Rokr included a firmware restriction of 100 songs to be loaded at any one time on the cell phone, as well as a slow music transfer process from a computer in comparison to devices at the time specifically dedicated to music playback. Motorola eventually ditched iTunes in the Rokr line as Apple continued releasing iPods like the 2005 iPod nano and its ability to hold up to 1,000 songs, which Motorola saw as undercutting Rokr. Of course, rumors were also ramping up surrounding Apple's work on a phone of its own.
No, it was not deliberately made poor. Not at all. We tried our best. Motorola would only do so much with it. Their software team was only so good. Their operations system was only so good. And that experience just didn't work very well. It was a clash of all kinds of problems, it wasn't a case of trying to not make it good.The company's concerns during its iPod days even looked forward into current technology, particularly over storage capacities and the "celestial jukebox." Fadell said that Apple foresaw users no longer needing to be concerned with storage tiers and paying more for more space, because it "could see a time" when network speeds would ramp up alongside better technology and lead to streaming and downloading directly on a mobile device, like Apple Music and Spotify.
We were trying to do this because we didn't want cell phones to come eat our lunch, OK? The Motorola Rokr died much earlier than the arrival of the iPhone. This was us trying to dip our toe in the water, because we said, 'Let's not make a phone, but see how we can work with phones to see if we can have a limited number of songs on a phone'. So people could use iTunes and then they would want to move over to an iPod. It wasn't about making it less good because the iPhone was coming. This was well before the iPhone was even thought of.
It was very clear, after the Rokr, and after everything we had learned in what it was going to take, that the worry was about the 'celestial jukebox' - people wouldn't have to buy large capacity iPods, 150GB or so, because they were soon going to be able to download. So we had an existential problem, people were not going to have to buy larger and larger iPods. The high-capacity iPods were where we were making all our money, and if they could download at any time - and we could see the time when the networks were going to get faster because of 3G - we were like 'oh my God, we're going to lose this business' to this music jukebox in the sky, which is basically what Spotify is.In the rest of the interview, Fadell dives into the iPhone team's massive dissection of every possible mobile device at the time to scope out the competition, the remaining similarities between current generation iPhones and original iPods, and the ongoing legacy of 2007's first iPhone.
Fadell said that it changed his life, and "how my kids are growing up compared to how I and my wife grew up," but he hopes iPhone users remember to unplug every now and then: "...it requires all of us to make the proper changes in our lives to make sure we don't lose the analogue portion of our life and we don't just stay digital and mobile all the time."
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Worst thing that happened today: I forgot my glasses on the counter by the mirrors in the ladies' toilets at Birmingham New Street Station. I realised this at exactly the moment my train to London was moving away from the platform.
Best thing that happened today: I received an e-mail alert titled "hggggggfgfg", which I assumed meant, "ALERT: Engineer's Cat Has Walked Across Their Keyboard." It was later claimed that this alert was issued because of "testing", which I can only mean "testing for robustness of cat-proof-ness", a test which the system has surely failed.
In conclusion, I give you the most recent studio portraits that nursery had done of the children (late April).
[Studio portrait of Humuhumu and Keiki smiling together. Humuhumu has her peach-framed glasses on.]
Lindy Mechefske posts
Thrilled to be working with Ruth Wood on an anthology of transgender stories. We are interested in stories from anyone under the transgender umbrella as well as stories from the people close to them. We are looking for stories from people anywhere in the world so please share this widely. Submission details below.
PLEASE SHARE WIDELY! ( Read more... )
I have to take Cordelia out to Domino Farms for a doctor's appointment. That means taking a cab, and given construction, I'm wondering if I ought to allow more time for the trip. Then again, maybe the cabbie will be sensible and get around that bit by taking 14 to 23 to Plymouth Rd instead of Plymouth Rd straight through. It wouldn't normally be faster, but right now, I think it is, especially in the middle of the day when the highway isn't backed up.
Scott will likely be able to pick us up after the appointment. He has PT at 5:00, so he's not likely to work late.
The appointment is the only thing we absolutely have to do today. We might have people over this evening for either Scott's Firefly game or board games, but I'm worried that I won't be up to it. I'm not sure if Scott would want to run without me. I feel bad because it's been a while since we got together, but I really do feel like crap.
I very much want to do some writing. I posted my Not Prime Time story yesterday, but I have something else, a treat for a different exchange, almost done. I also need to start two other stories for something else entirely.
Scott took Cordelia to Traverwood yesterday to renew her library card. The timing was bad, so the road he'd normally take was backed up for about three blocks from the four way stop sign at the bottom of the hill. He tried another route only to discover that that road doesn't currently go through, due to construction. Cordelia knew that but didn't understand what he was trying to do, so they got all the way out there and then had to come all the way back. I had wondered why I had time to shower and then sit around for another half an hour while they were gone, and that all explains it.
Scott is going to be working Saturday. His company wants full production then in the hope that they'll be able to give everyone Sunday through Tuesday off. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because three days would be really, really nice. Also, given that he took Monday off this week, Saturday only makes a five day work week for him as opposed to a six day.
Okay, half an hour to come up with food for me and Cordelia and get everything ready to go...
What I Just Finished Reading
Elizabeth Letts, The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse that Inspired a Nation: The reviews of this are split between "wow, this is poorly-written" and "OMG HORSIE." I have to say it is indeed very poorly written, but the story is compelling -- I mean, horse rescued from the slaughterhouse, turning out to be a champion jumper? It was pretty good. Also I learned that the US Army had horse breeding programs up through WWII even though horses were much less useful than they'd hoped.
What I'm Reading Now
( Black Panther #15, Defenders #2, Infamous Iron Man #9, Mighty Captain Marvel #6, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #20, Secret Empire #5, X-Men Blue #6 )
What I'm Reading Next
I have no idea.