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Code/red: Think Different, Xiaomi

Plus, Apple orders a bunch of next-gen iPhones, Italy wags a finger at Google and another Airbnb horror story.

Original image by Sascha Pallenberg


  • Apple, Microsoft and Electronic Arts all report earnings after market close.
  • Casual Connect — which is a gathering of game developers, not swingers — kicks off in San Francisco.

Boom! Insanely Great, Magical and Revolutionary Xiaomi Smartphone Changes Everything. Again.

Xiaomi Chairman Lei Jun’s Steve Jobs impersonation is uncanny, isn’t it? Presiding over the launch of the company’s new flagship Mi 4 handset at an event in Beijing last night, Lei turned in a performance that would shame Ashton Kutcher. Dressed in a black T-shirt and blue jeans and brandishing a new device with a chamfered metal chassis reminiscent of the iPhone’s, Lei cemented his reputation as “the Chinese Steve Jobs” with some hyperbolic smack talk — “Our product really is better than the iPhone. Our white version is also better than their white version.” — and Jobs’s “one more thing” keynote finale. Pretty brazen. But to dismiss Xiaomi as an Apple copycat is to completely misunderstand the company’s commitment to innovation — according to Xiaomi, anyway. “We’re not copying Apple’s products; end of story,” Xiaomi global VP Hugo Barra testily told The Verge. “We are not the only ones who have adopted the Steve Jobs presentation style. The whole world has done that.”

Way to Embrace the “Sharing Economy” …

Julie Bort, Business Insider: “A woman rented her 600-square-foot Palm Springs, California, condo to someone [on Airbnb] for a little over a month, and now she says the guy won’t leave and is threatening to sue her.”

Not Tonight, Honey, I Have a Regulatory Headache

More trouble for Google overseas. Italy’s Data Protection Authority today told Google it must change the way it treats and stores personal data, obtaining consent for collecting it and making it clear that it may be used for commercial purposes. Google has 18 months to comply.

“Apple Orders Shitload of Next-Gen iPhones” Story Sets Stage for Inevitable “Apple Cuts Orders for Next-Gen iPhones” Story

Like last year’s iPhone launch, this year’s iPhone launch will be the biggest ever. Supply chain sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Apple has ordered 70 million to 80 million units of its next-generation iPhone line, to be divided between two models, one with a 4.7-inch display and another with a 5.5-inch display. That’s a big number — significantly larger than the 50 million to 60 million units the company ordered ahead of last year’s iPhone launch. That said, Apple’s build forecasts are adjusted based on early demand. And history has shown that anonymously sourced “Holy Shit, Apple Ordered a Ton of New iPhones” reports are typically followed by anonymously sourced “Oh God, No! Apple Is Reducing iPhone Component Orders on Weaker Demand” reports, the unrealistic expectations set by the former begetting the latter, which in turn are inevitably rendered ludicrous by a subsequent Apple earnings report that includes a fantastically large number of iPhone sales.

Tim Cook: I’d Recommend Questioning the Accuracy of Those “Apple Orders Shitload of Next-Gen iPhones” Stories

Apple CEO Tim Cook, January 2013: “I’d recommend questioning the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. I’d also stress that even if a particular data point were to be factual, it would be impossible to interpret what it really means to our business. Our supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for our components. Yields can vary, supplier performance can vary. There’s just a long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what’s going on.”

Wait, I Thought the Silver Spaniel Was One of the Avengers

Palo Alto Networks: “In the past, the main target of Nigerian scammers has been wealthy, unsuspecting individuals, but the Silver Spaniel attacks thus far in 2014 indicate their target has shifted toward businesses.”

Disney Fan Tempts Kids Into Dark World of Unboxing Videos

Hillary Reinsberg, Buzzfeed: “DisneyCollectorBR’s most watched video, an unwrapping of ‘egg surprises’ branded by Angry Birds, SpongeBob, and Cars, recently hit 90 million views. Five other videos have received over 40 million views, and another 15 have over 20 million. The channel’s hundreds of videos have been watched over 2.4 billion times — that’s more than ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy.”

Careful With That Embarrassing Social Media Propaganda, Eugene

Andrew Jacobs, the New York Times: “When it comes to leveraging Western social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Beijing’s efforts would appear to be a bit ham-handed. On Twitter, many of the fake accounts identified by Free Tibet use stock images or headshots found on the sites of commercial photographers in the United States. Others employ the likenesses of actors like Erica Durance, who played Lois Lane in the television series ‘Smallville,’ or in one case, Syd Barrett, the lead vocalist of Pink Floyd, who died in 2006.”

Off Topic

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Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments and Heart coffee beans to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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