WWN#36 – What’s Different? IPhone X Released

What’s Been Happening?

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were released on the 22nd September this year. Compared to its predecessor, the screen, display and cameras were left largely unchanged. The biggest visible difference would be the glass back which replaces the aluminium used in previous versions. It was a necessity as the new wireless charging feature would not have been possible without it. Inside the IPhone 8, there is an A11 Bionic chip that has been touted by Apple to be 25% faster than the previous A10 chip.

In terms of battery life, the battery on the IPhone 8 is actually smaller than the 7 but optimisations on the new chip seems to make it last longer. Overall, the updates are all quite small.

What Now?

Price Guide IPhone 7 IPhone 7 Plus IPhone 8 IPhone 8 Plus IPhone X
Minimum Price (in AUD) $849 $1049 $1079 $1229 $1579

On the 3rd of November, the IPhone X was released to Australia. More than four hundred people lined the streets around Apple’s flagship Sydney store proving it to be significantly more popular than the IPhone 8 despite the $350 price hike. If I was to describe the IPhone X in a sentence: the IPhone X is the IPhone 8 Plus but with all of its features crammed into a body that’s closer to the size of an IPhone 8. However, there are also a few new distinctive features:

  • Face ID – Unlike Samsung’s attempts at facial recognition which have been insecure to date, Apple’s Face ID actually seems to work well. As one user reported, the phone can still recognise you even if you wear a fake beard or glasses. And instead of a one in fifty thousand chance that someone would be able to open your phone with their fingerprint, with Face ID that becomes a one in a million chance. Face ID replaces the fingerprint reader “Touch ID” with the home button being removed.
  • Super Retina Display – At 458 pixels per inch, the resolution is crisper than the IPhone 8 Plus and IPhone 8 (401 and 326 ppi respectively). Without getting too technical, this has been made possible by Apple’s switch from an LCD panel to an OLED display panel.

Notable Mentions:

  • Battery life on the X is purported to be two hours longer than the IPhone 8 (14 hours vs. 12 hours).
  • Dual Cameras – According to Business Insider, the cameras on the back have markedly improved with dual optical image stabilisation which make for less blur, particularly noticeable in videos. The front-facing “TrueDepth” camera with all of its different components makes selfies look more like professional photos.

TrueDepth Camera

Unfortunately the IPhone X stock will be extremely limited until well into 2018 as Apple has reportedly run into significant problems mass producing the “TrueDepth” camera sensor. So for the people who did not line up for an IPhone X on launch date, you may have to wait a few months longer for this one.

What’s Next?

  • Until now, Apple has followed a vaguely chronological naming convention. As we’ve reached 10, it is unlikely that the next IPhone will be called IPhone 9. The big question is whether the next one will be IPhone 11 or will Apple invent a new name?
  • Better displays, better cameras and better processors. It’s likely that the next-generation IPhone for 2018 will contain at least some improvement in one of these areas as Apple has achieved this with every new IPhone release. It’s hard to see though how this can be done next year without increasing the size or weight of the IPhone.
  • The introduction of animated emojis “Animoji” in the X signal that further development in augmented reality is likely. There are already applications available within the App Store that you can download and use that incorporate augmented reality functionality (e.g. IKEA Place lets you visualise its furniture in your home).
  • Although the chances are very slim, I can only hope that the next IPhone will be cheaper than the X…
References:
https://www.macworld.co.uk/review/iphone/face-id-versus-touch-id-3666345/
http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/apple-iphone-x-five-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-buy-the-new-phone-and-five-reasons-you-might/news-story/ca5e55e04306cdc040e0e736782e6e36
http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/iphone-8-vs-iphone-7-3286334
https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2017/09/17/apple-iphone-x-vs-iphone-8-new-iphones-whats-the-difference-upgrade-guide/#2030731610af
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/apple-iphone-x-8-plus-7-camera-comparison-2017-9?r=US&IR=T
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/4463177/apple-iphone-9-or-11-rumours-release-date-features-name-and-wild-speculation-after-iphone-x-launch-event/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ikea-place/id1279244498

 

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WWN#35 – Changes Overdue for CBA’s Compliance, Customers and Culture

 Commbank’s latest initiative – Rewarding Service and not Sales

What’s Been Happening?

August

  • Commonwealth Bank accused of ‘serious and systemic’ breaches of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws by AUSTRAC. For each of the 53,700 contraventions, the maximum penalty is up to $18 million. $8.9 billion was deposited through CBA’s intelligent deposit machines before the bank conducted a money laundering risk assessment.
  • A week after the scandal was made public, the Commonwealth Bank’s board has announced a cut to executive pay and short-term bonuses for the financial year that ended.
  • In mid-August, the bank announced the retirement of CEO Ian Narev who will leave before July 2018.

September

  • Perhaps in an effort to improve its image, CBA announced in late September that it will remove ATM fees charged to non-customers for using its ATMs which was followed in quick succession by Westpac, ANZ and NAB. As a result, fees will be abolished at 3400 CommBank machines, 2300 ANZ machines, 2925 Westpac machines and 1300 NAB machines.

October

  • In early October, rumours of a class action led by Maurice Blackburn against Commonwealth Bank for the AUSTRAC debacle became reality following the announcement that the funding for the litigation by IMF Bentham was now unconditional.
  • Scathing criticism came from the country’s largest consumer group, CHOICE, about the Commonwealth Bank’s Dollarmites scheme which allowed “kickbacks” to schools to “flog their products”. CBA also pays schools $5 for every account opened via the program, and 5 per cent of every deposit made at school, up to a maximum of $10 per deposit.

What Now?

Last Friday (13th of October), CBA announced that it would immediately remove “financial outcomes” from a bank teller’s performance assessment criteria, with customer service being the sole measure of a teller’s performance.

This is seen as the latest move by the bank to endear itself to customers and shareholders following the AUSTRAC money-laundering scandal and the call to ban the bank’s Dollarmites program by CHOICE.

Executive General Manager, Angus Sullivan, said “the new remuneration plan will support and encourage [our staff] to have better quality conversations with customers, understand their needs and provide the best possible service”.

What’s Next?

Moving away from sales-based incentives and recognition programs and towards value-based rewards is certainly a step in the right direction. As Australia’s largest bank, it will still take a number of changes before the bank can be back in the spotlight for all of the right reasons instead of wrong ones.

In her opening statement before the House of Representatives in Canberra, CBA Chairwoman Catherine Livingstone outlined the renewed focus for the bank in:

  • Encouraging a customer-centric mindset that is shared by both management and employees across the company so that customers’ needs are met and outcomes are improved.
  • Reviewing and implementing better monitoring procedures for cash transactions, especially ones that flow through the IDMs.
  • Meeting and exceeding overall compliance obligations to AUSTRAC
  • Fostering an organisational culture that strengthens accountability and compliance

 

References:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-14/commonwealth-bank-ceo-ian-narev-to-retire-by-july/8803302
http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/banking/atm-fee-removal-comes-with-a-catch/news-story/d62b3513646d98d24a8cae9a74419163
http://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2017/10/13/cba-scraps-bank-teller-commissions-move-improve-image/
https://www.choice.com.au/money/banking/savings-options/articles/cba-facing-public-scrutiny-cleans-up-dollarmite-commissions-061017
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/catherine-livingstone-just-told-mps-the-cba-is-conscious-there-needs-to-be-greater-transparency-about-what-the-bank-does-2017-10

WWN#34 – Regulators say Miwa Sado died from “karoshi”


What’s Been Happening?

Karoshi, a Japanese term for “death by overwork” is an inevitable result of Japan’s gruelling work culture that is rarely discussed.

The culture where long hours and after-work social engagements are typical, dates back decades. Koji Morioka, a professor at Kansai University in Japan, has commented that a Japanese workplace always has overtime work. It’s almost a part of scheduled hours. At least one in five Japanese employees work 49 hours or more every week.

In December 2015, 24 year old Matsuri Takahashi committed suicide after having clocked 105 hours of overtime within a one month period. In the same year, Kiyotaka Seriwaza who was a maintenance worker killed himself after putting in 90 hour weeks.

What Now?

NHK, the public broadcaster that employed a reporter by the name of Miwa Sado has only just released more details surrounding her death in 2013. NHK said that it waited to make the information about her death public out of deference to her family. Sado was a Japanese journalist whose work schedule included 159 hours of overtime and just two days off in a single month. This inevitably led to a heart failure that killed her at the age of 31.

In a statement released by Labour regulators, they ruled that her death was another case of “karoshi”. “It can be inferred that she was in a state of accumulated fatigue and chronic sleep deprivation”.

What’s Next?

In light of the growing attention surrounding “karoshi”, the Japanese government has been taking steps to end the norm of long working hours so that there is an appropriate work life balance for its people. Earlier this year, legislation was passed introducing a “Premium Friday” which lets people leave the office a couple of hours early – but not every Friday, only the last Friday of each month. However, the scheme is not mandatory so it is unclear how many businesses will actually participate in this initiative.

Companies have been joining the effort to change the gruelling work culture. The ad agency Dentsu has begun shutting its lights off in its headquarters at 10pm and requires its workers to take at least five days off every six months. Japan Post Insurance, a life insurance company, shuts its lights off at 7:30pm.

There’s still a lot more that can be done and though new company policies or legislation can be passed quickly, effectively implementing and transforming work culture can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

References:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/do-japanese-really-work-themselves-to-death-in-some-cases-yes/2016/07/31/77b48754-4f48-11e6-bf27-405106836f96_story.html?utm_term=.a24b22c586b8
http://fortune.com/2016/12/30/japan-karoshi-overwork-working-hours-friday/
https://www.mumbrella.asia/2017/10/japanese-work-culture-scrutiny-nhk-admits-death-employee-caused-overwork
http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/japanese-reporter-dies-after-working-159-hours-overtime-in-a-month/news-story/8975f3d0783a824e469db2b89eb68a7f
http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/japanese-reporter-miwa-sado-worked-herself-to-death-regulators-say-20171005-gyvgiy.html