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旧款手机运行慢,苹果的“阴谋”?

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2017年12月28日

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For years, some consumers have suspected Apple of a nefarious plot: The company, they said, was slowing down their older iPhones to get them to buy new ones. Now, many of them feel vindicated.

多年来,有些消费者一直怀疑苹果公司(Apple)有一个邪恶的阴谋:他们认为,苹果公司在降低旧款iPhone的速度,迫使用户购买新款。现在,他们中的很多人觉得自己的猜测得到了证实。

In a statement on Wednesday, Apple said that it had released a “feature” that occasionally reduces processing power on older devices to prevent them from unexpectedly shutting down. The reduction, Apple said, was necessary because older batteries could otherwise periodically overload. The statement came after reports on Reddit and Geekbench were picked up by technology news sites.

在周三发布的一项声明中,苹果表示,它发布过的一项“功能”会偶尔降低旧设备的处理能力,以防止设备突然关闭。苹果表示,这种降低是必要的,因为不然的话,旧电池可能会经常超负荷。这项声明是在Reddit和Geekbench的报告被科技新闻网站转载后发布的。

Some users saw the announcement as proof that the company had engaged in “planned obsolescence,” a scheme to degrade the old devices to force users to upgrade. Others felt betrayed. And still others were simply confused.

有些用户认为,这项声明证明,该公司在进行“计划报废”,这种阴谋是为了让旧设备降级,迫使用户升级。有些人认为这是一种背叛?;褂行┤酥皇歉械矫曰?。

Here is a Q. and A. with Brian X. Chen, the lead consumer technology writer for The New York Times, about what the announcement really means.

以下是《纽约时报》首席消费技术撰稿人布赖恩·X·陈(Brian X. Chen)就那项声明的真正含义做出的解答。

Can you translate? Is Apple saying that it intentionally slows down older iPhones as new ones are released?

你能翻译一下吗?苹果公司是承认自己在发布新一代iPhone时,故意降低旧设备的速度吗?

What Apple is acknowledging is a power management technique in which the iPhone scales back processing power to keep the device running for longer when its battery health is low. Lithium ion batteries have a limited number of charge “cycles” before they can no longer be recharged properly. Apple’s website says the battery loses about 20 percent of its original capacity after 500 charge cycles.

苹果只是承认自己使用了一种电源管理技术,这种技术会在电池健康状况不佳的情况下,降低iPhone的处理能力,保证设备运行更长时间。锂离子电池的充电“周期”是有限的,超过那个次数就无法再正常充电了。苹果公司的网站称,在500次充电循环后,电池的容量会降到原来的80%。

In other words, if your iPhone is beginning to run out of battery capacity, these slowdowns might kick in to keep it running for longer or prevent it from shutting down unexpectedly.

换句话说,如果你的iPhone电量快耗尽了,这些减速程序就会启动,让你的iPhone运行更长时间,或者是阻止它突然关机。

Apple is not admitting to planned obsolescence. If Apple explicitly said that they injected code into older iPhones to slow them down because new ones came out, that would be admission. All it is admitting to now is trying to keep the old iPhones running for longer.

苹果公司并没有承认在做计划报废。如果苹果公司明确表示,他们是因为新款上市才把降低速度的代码写入旧款iPhone中,那才是承认。现在,它承认的只是,试图让旧款iPhone运行更长时间。

Does this change your conclusion last month that this is not a conspiracy to force users to buy new phones?

这是否改变了你上个月的结论?那时候,你认为,这不是一个迫使用户购买新手机的阴谋?

The premise of my previous column was that the vast majority of slowdown problems are fixable without buying a new phone. That point stands, and now we have even more information supporting that premise: a battery replacement also helps.

我之前那篇专栏文章的论点是,绝大多数减速问题都是可以解决的,不需要购买新手机。我依然坚持这个观点,现在我们有更多的信息支持这个观点:更换电池也有帮助。

How many users does this affect? 这影响了多少用户?

Apple has said the power management technique works on iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7.

苹果公司表示,电源管理技术适用于iPhone 6、6S、SE和7。

What else could be slowing the older phones down?

还有哪些因素会导致旧款手机的速度变慢?

Often, a buggy operating system upgrade can cause glitches when running apps. Another common cause is having little available device storage. Smartphones rely on flash storage, which keeps data in the cells of semiconductor chips. When stored, that data is scattered across the drive. So when you call it up by opening an app or a document, you are retrieving it from multiple parts of the drive. If lots of space is occupied, the data gets crowded and the device may feel sluggish.

通常,一个有漏洞的操作系统升级会导致运行应用程序时出错。另一个常见的原因是,几乎没有可用的设备存储空间。智能手机依靠的是闪存,这个部件负责把数据存储在半导体芯片的单元里。存储后,数据是分散在存储器各处的。所以当你打开一个应用程序或文档时,你是从存储器的不同区域提取那些数据。如果大量空间被占用,数据就会很拥挤,设备可能就会显得迟钝。

Some users say that installing bigger batteries seems to fix the problem. Does that make sense? What else can users do to, short of buying new phones?

有些用户表示,安装更大的电池似乎就能解决这个问题。这话有道理吗?除了买新手机,用户还能怎么办?

I would recommend paying a third-party repair shop to replace the aged battery with a fresh one. This will cost between $20 and $70, depending on where you live and which iPhone you own. Repair shops will probably recommend against installing a battery that has a larger capacity than the original, as there can be risks of damage.

我会建议你去第三方维修店换掉旧电池。这可能要花费20至70美元,取决于你的居住地和iPhone型号。维修店很可能会建议你不要安装比原电池容量大的电池,因为那可能会带来损坏风险。

The other solutions I wrote about in my last column included doing a clean install of the operating system and freeing up storage on the device. There is a scenario where you absolutely can’t get around buying a new phone: App and game makers design their software to work better on newer, faster devices. So if you have an older smartphone and you want a brand-new game with heavy graphics to work as well as it possibly could, you’ll want a new phone.

我在上一篇专栏文章中提到的其他解决方案包括重装操作系统和释放存储空间。不过在有一种情况下,你就只能买新手机了,那就是,如果应用程序和游戏制作者设计的软件在更新更快的设备上运行得更好。所以,如果你有一部旧款智能手机,而你又想让一个全新的含有大量图形的游戏达到最佳运行效果,那么你需要一部新手机。

Is this unusual? Do other smartphone makers — or, more broadly, electronics companies — do this, too?

这是个例吗?其他的智能手机厂商——或者更广义上说,电子企业——也这么做吗?

I don’t find the power management technique that surprising or unusual. You have probably noticed that when your smartphone (iPhone or Android) is running out of battery, like when there is less than 10 percent, the device begins to run more slowly. That is partly to keep it running for longer.

我不觉得这个电池管理技术有多意外或很少见。你可能已经注意到,当你的智能手机(苹果或安卓)电量不足时,比如说,只剩不到10%的电量时,设备运行就会开始变慢。一定程度上这是为了让手机能使用更久。

Could Apple have avoided this by, say, using a different type of battery?

苹果能不能通过比如说使用其他类型的电池,来避免这个情况?

We all dream about the day that the tech industry will adopt a longer-lasting, smarter battery than lithium ion. But battery technologies have to pass rigorous safety testing — if something goes wrong, they are miniature bombs. (You saw what happened with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7.) Lithium ion, though flawed, is still the safest and most easily reproducible battery technology on the market.

我们都梦想着有一天科技企业会能采用续航时间更长也更加智能的电池,而不是锂离子电池。但电池技术需要通过严格的安全测试——如果哪里出了差错,它们就会是一个微型炸弹。(三星盖乐世[Galaxy]Note7的情况你们也看到了。)锂离子电池尽管有缺陷,但仍然是市面上最安全也最容易复制的电池技术。

Apple is known for its masterful marketing. Do you think it has handled this controversy well?

苹果以其高超的市场营销手段出名。你认为他们对这个争议处理得好吗?

No, it could have avoided controversy by being more transparent to begin with. It could have notified people that a power management mode was kicking in to keep their iPhones running for longer because their batteries are running out of juice. That would also inform people that they should be getting their batteries replaced. Because Apple was not transparent, it’s natural for people to suspect it of deliberately crippling their devices to get them to buy new ones.

不好,如果一开始他们就能更加透明,这个争议本来是可以避免的。这或许提醒了人们,他们的iPhone开启了电池管理模式使手机运行时间更长,是因为电池快没电了。这也是在告诉人们他们该去更换电池了。因为苹果没有做到公开透明,人们自然会怀疑他们在故意破坏人们的设备,使人们去购买新手机。

This episode is a good reminder that even digital devices need maintenance. Many people believe that because gadgets lack moving parts, they should keep working as intended. But we still need to take care of them. Last year I wrote a column about maintaining our devices, which included tips like replacing aging batteries, freeing up storage and, in the case of desktop computers, removing the cover and blowing out dust.

这次事件能很好的提醒人们,即使是电子设备也是需要保养的。许多人认为,装置里没有什么活动部件,所以理应按既定方式一直运转下去。但我们仍然需要爱护它们。去年,我写了一篇有关设备保养的专栏文章,文中提供了一些有关比如替换老化电池、释放储存空间以及——对台式电脑来说——如何拆卸机箱扫除灰尘的建议。
 


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