I am holding my breath now.
What kind of device is it?
A dedicated DMD (e.g., Laser rangefinder or GPS)
Is this device capable of measuring conditions or providing information other than distance (e.g., slope, wind, temperature or club recommendation)?
Is now interpreted as not being installed if the Smart Key is not fitted.
Appendix IV (5)
In addition, when the distance measuring application is being used, there must be no other features or applications installed on the device that, if used, would be in breach of the Rules, whether or not they are actually used.
I think this is just ridiculous, if a person is going to cheat then that's what they do, this whole argument if your measuring device has this or that but can be turned off still isn't good enough is BS. People do what people do and part of the game of golf that sets it apart is that we are on the honor system 99.9% of the time. People are not going to leave their phones in the car during a round so it can be posted.
You may be surprised to know the average age of the R&A rules dept is significantly lower than the average golfer and that they are furnished with all the latest gizmos. The equipment dept probably has enough phones to flood Amazon when they've finished with them.
I hope they get a good price for them, then, and can bring down the admission charges to the Open Championship.
Their concern is with the preservation of the traditions and principles of the game. That will (and probably has throughout their history) been seen by some people as a stumbling block to progress. They have to balance any so-called "progress" with how it affects the way the game is played. This means that they will often take time to deliberate on an issue, in an effort to make it come out right. There have been knee jerk decisions in the past which had to be rescinded later.
It's especially difficult with electronics because they change so fast that the rules can't really be expected to keep pace. The testing, discussion (including the joint discussions between the R&A and USGA which don't happen on a monthly basis), reaching an agreement on a change, then the formulation of a rule change, and ultimately the implementation has to take time. There is no way around it. This is exacerbated by the 4 year revision schedule if an actual rule change is involved.
I just discovered (you'll see why tomorrow or Thursday) that the new Gx-4i2 is actually approved for use under the rules with the chrome face plate.
In the Gx-4 and 4i the yellow faceplate simply completed a circuit or something that allowed the range finder to display the slope it was measuring. So it wasn't truly "disabled" (though I would argue it was more disabled than simply not enabling it via software like you can on a smart phone).
In the Gx-4i2 the actual hardware that measures it is in the yellow piece, so the USGA saw fit to rule that the chrome face plate does not have the hardware.
It's kind of like saying a battery is legal for a GPS, but if there's an add-on device that measures windspeed, you can't attach it and use it.
Must watch for the 4 and 4i on sale!
I agree, the DMD companies are probably lobbying for this change because it can only increase profits if they can sell devices with this feature.
Basically someone in the group that probably doesn't own one is going to have to know that a yellow faceplate on this particular rangefinder makes it non conforming or else this player will be able to get illegal information during a tournament, even though I see it has "non conforming" stamped on the faceplate you still have to get up close to see it. There is no way you can prevent someone from using this, the faceplate probably snaps on and off in seconds and if a player is on the other side of the fairway how could a competitor tell if he switched out the faceplate if he holds the rangefinder in a way that hides the end of it. I think the USGA has just cracked the door open for the other DMD's with slope feature that can be switched off the opportunity they have been waiting for there is just no way someone can be prevented 100% from using the non conforming feature. I think the reason Bushnell had the switch put in the slope feature was this very reason.