A reader says learning Arabic will help preserve the region's culture. Other topics: Apple's new iPhones and a deal that may end the Syrian crisis.
I refer to Apple fans rush to get their fingers on the new iPhone (September 12).
The first simultaneous launch of two iPhones, the 5S and the 5C, is a tacit acknowledgement by Apple that it has been steadily losing its share of the smartphone market to phone running Google’s Android operating system, and that it needed to change its game in order to reclaim market share.
Statistics indicate that iPhone’s share is around 13.5 per cent, compared to Android’s share of almost 80 per cent.
There has been a global shift towards smartphones, with millions of devices running on Android, which has been selling like hot cakes, especially in China and India. These two countries also have the largest, still-growing, mobile-phone user bases.
Apple used to launch just one iPhone model per year, while its competitors – especially Samsung – would launch a range of phones in different price ranges and sizes.
Although perceived as being technically and aesthetically superior to most of its competition, the iPhone was priced so high that most of its potential customers ended up buying comparatively cheaper options from Samsung, Sony, Huawei, ZTE, Micromax, Karbon and others.
Faced with declining sales and erosion of its market share and share price, Apple has now done what would have unthinkable two years ago – introduced cheaper iPhones.
However, Apple has tried to maintain its status as a premium brand and thus even the so-called cheaper iPhone 5C is priced substantially higher than phones offered by the competition with similar features and technical specifications.
Only time will tell if this strategy succeeds in shoring up Apple’s fortunes or ends up diluting its image from premium to ordinary.
Amitabh Saxena, Dubai
Arabic language embodies values, history and culture
I am writing in reference to the letter Arabic curriculum not for all schools (September 10).
A language is not only a vehicle for communication. For a people speaking a certain language, that language holds much more – a set of beliefs, values, manners, history and culture.
Many languages around the world have become casualties of English’s dominance, not only internationally but in their home countries. Of course, with the decline of a language all of the other factors will suffer.
I would love for my children to learn to speak, read and understand Arabic along with all the beautiful values it upholds.
When you live in Spain, Germany or France, you will naturally learn Spanish, German or French. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Arabic in the Arab world. In most schools, Arabic is taught like a foreign language.
It is great to speak, read and write English well. However, the same amount of time and perseverance should be devoted to the home language.
Seema Anjum, Dubai
Obama and Putin should cooperate
Compliments to President Vladimir Putin of Russia for making a strong case for a diplomatic resolution to the Syria imbroglio (Russia tells US its plan to end Syria arms crisis, September 12).
I also read his opinion article published in The New York Times this week, and I must say that his writing is marked by candour, honesty and humility.
I wish him great success in following this route of peaceful negotiations which will save thousands of innocent lives in Syria, were the country to be bombed.
US president Barack Obama should welcome Mr Putin’s involvement and join with him to resolve the Syrian issue.
They should both remember this line from the movie Schindler’s List: “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”
Rajendra K Aneja, Dubai
Assad has many other weapons
I refer to Assad supporters blindsided by chemical-weapons concession (September 11).
Action delayed is justice denied.
If one person is murdered, the culprit is generally caught and punished for having committed the crime.
But there is a travesty of justice in Syria, where hundreds of innocent civilians have been massacred using chemical weapons and there has been no justice.
The so-called world powers are so weak that they have decided to negotiate with the killer, trying to persuade him to destroy the tool he used to kill so that he cannot kill again.
However, other killing machines are still available to Bashar Al Assad if he wants to use them. Does this make any sense?
I think it is a pathetic state of affairs, but I still believe that truth will triumph in the end.
Ahsan Ghori, Abu Dhabi