Ron Johnson, who was responsible for Target and Apple's wildly successful retail chains, is now trying to reinvent the department store from the ground up as J. C. Penney's new CEO: divid[ing] stores into 100 shops that [...] will each be like its own small store. Surrounding the shops will be wide aisles that Johnson calls 'streets.' Along those pathways will be ice cream and coffee bars and wood tables with built-in iPad tablet computers that shoppers can use to surf online. But after quarter after quarter of heavy loss, some analysts think Johnson is destroying J. C. Penney. But they've predicted his failure before. More on Johnson's work with the Apple Store. Johnson himself on what he learned building the Apple Store.
Minimalist design. Seamless metal and glass. Sleek lines. Revolutionary. Super thin. Perhaps the last official Steve Jobs product launch (translation). [more inside]
Today saw Apple has enter the competitive 7" tablet market with the iPad Mini. But what if your tablety desires run to something larger, not smaller? Sony has you covered with a 20-inch, 11-pound "tabletop PC".
“These companies are willing to shove 1,000 attorneys down your throat if you share music, but won’t even respond to a legal order about actual music theft and piracy.” -Benn Jordan [via] [more inside]
The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
How Apple uses a Nevada based investment fund to (legally) avoid paying corporate tax on some of its massive profit.
Circa 2005, Steve Jobs was introducing a new feature to iTunes and he called them podcasts! Unfortunately, during the LIVE presentation Adam Curry was not happy with his Mac!! Priceless!
Google makes great maps. But Apple and Google aren't getting along well. So in its new iOS 6, Apple dropped all Google mapping tech in favor of its own Maps app that it promised would "blow your head off". Some people like it. Others don't. But the numbers are that 63 countries with a combined population of 4.5 billion people will lose at least one of the traffic, transit, or street views they had before. And even arch-supporter John Gruber acknowledges " the maps experience in iOS 6 is a downgrade". Google may produce an official Google Maps app for iOS. Then again, they may not.
A year ago, programmer Mark O'Connor decided to swap his MacBook for an iPad and a Linode VPS (Virtual Private Server) development environment. Today, he discusses the success of his experiment.
Skeu It! "A celebration of arbitrary and gratuitious user interface decisions." Specifically: needless or inappropriate skeumorphism. Best of Skeu It.
The AntiSec hacking group claims to have released a set of more than 1 million Apple Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) allegedly obtained from breaching an FBI agent's laptop via a Java vulnerability. The group claims to have over 12 million IDs, as well as personal information such as user names, device names, notification tokens, cell phone numbers and addresses. There's a tool to help you check if your device is in the list. [more inside]
The alternative to admitting that it simply sucks when an Apple TV is bricked or phone shatters, Geniuses are taught to employ the "Three Fs: Feel, Felt, and Found. This works especially well when the customer is mistaken or has bad information…"Apple's secret employee training manual for its "Geniuses" as revealed by Gizmodo.Customer: This Mac is just too expensive. Genius: I can see how you'd feel this way. I felt the price was a little high, but I found it's a real value because of all the built-in software and capabilities…The maneuver is brilliant. The Genius has switched places with the customer. He is she and she is he, and maybe that laptop isn't too expensive after all. He Found it wasn't, at least.
How Google and Apple's digital mapping is mapping us "Digital maps on smartphones are brilliantly useful tools, but what sort of information do they gather about us – and how do they shape the way we look at the world?"
It is proposed that a memorial to Steve Jobs be erected in St. Petersburg, Russia. The entries are in and you can vote for your favourite online. [more inside]
A jury has ruled for Apple in its huge smartphone patent infringement case involving Samsung and ordered Samsung to pay $1.5 billion.
After a year of scorched-earth litigation, a jury decided Friday that Samsung ripped off the innovative technology used by Apple to create its revolutionary iPhone and iPad. The jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion. An appeal is expected. [more inside]
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road. -- Stewart Brand
Steam to sell productivity software [main link]. Gabe's dislike of the Windows 8 app store [BBC] may be explained. It's particularly interesting given that Steam is about to launch on Linux [Valve] [previously on Mefi]; it's one app store across all three platforms. [more inside]
iPhone Caused “Crisis of Design” at Samsung (Memo) “Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off.’ All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide,” Shin wrote. “Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.” Complete text of the internal memo submitted in the Apple vs Samsung case. Those are the more ugly points of the memo, which seems to bolster Apple’s lawsuit stating that Samsung infringed upon a number of Apple’s patents. Apple asserts that Samsung has “slavishly copied” Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, and is seeking $2.5 billion in damages. So any more ammunition that Apple can get to make it look like Samsung attempted to actively rip off Apple’s products is only a good thing for Apple’s case. And the memo is rife with ammunition.
At 5:00 PM, they remote wiped my iPhone. At 5:01 PM, they remote wiped my iPad. At 5:05, they remote wiped my MacBook Air.
Yes, I was hacked. Hard. Mat Honan, a tech journalist, had his iPhone and Mac remotely wiped and his gmail account deleted within the space of 5 minutes. Password cracked? No. Security question leak? No. Social engineering Apple tech support.
Prototypes are usually the missing links in the evolution of human technology, the dead-ends of ideas that give way to the refinement of the final physical product. Prototypes aren't just for Darth Vader. While the legal back and forth between Apple and Samsung continues, a treasure trove of prototype designs for Apple devices has been released to the public, showing insights into various design approaches and feature enhancements, including larger form-factor iPads with and without kickstands and landscape ports and iPhones that parody the Sony logo, show a different layout for camera elements, and look remarkably like fourth-generation models, as far back as 2005. On the other hand, some have made prototypes into the end goal itself, such as the folks at Dangerous Prototypes, a site which features a new open-source electronic hardware project each month. Some are just gratuitous fun, while others are a bit more practical, such as one project that recycles old Nokia displays and another that provides access to infrared signal, useful for hacking together remote controls for all sorts of IR-based devices. Other prototypes of tomorrow's technology are less concerned with shrinking down the guts of the invention itself, to make it disappear, but rather on how we interact with and integrate physical representations of these ideas into our daily lives. Above all else, prototypes are always forward-looking and are therefore inherently optimistic expressions of human creativity: Even children are getting into imagining the world of tomorrow.
For the past 13 years, with every new release of (Mac) OS X John Siracusa has written insanely detailed reviews of the newest version for Ars Technica. Apple OS X Mountain Lion came out today. This morning, John Siracusa's 25,935 word review was released to the public. Not sure if you want to read the review? Read Marco Arment of Instapaper's review of the review. If the epic detail of the review wasn't enough, Siracusa split out a separate blog post about the review on his personal blog. [more inside]
Secrets at Apple's Core A talk by Adam Lashinsky (Fortune's editor at large) about how Apple has become the most admired (and secretive) company in the world.
"When Art, Apple and the Secret Service Collide: ‘People Staring at Computers’ ": A year ago (previously on MetaFilter), Kyle McDonald created an art project that landed him in some trouble with Apple and the attention of the US Secret Service. He writes about it for WIRED. [more inside]
Apple is abandoning EPEAT
Apple’s mobile design direction is in conflict with the intended direction of the standard. Specifically, the standard lays out particular requirements for product “disassemble-ability,” a very important consideration for recycling: “External enclosures, chassis, and electronic subassemblies shall be removable with commonly available tools or by hand.” Electronics recyclers need to take out hazardous components such as batteries before sending computers through their shredders, because batteries can catch fire when punctured.[more inside]
"Thanks largely to smartphones, this is probably the best time ever to live in a packed city... Steve Jobs was a lifelong suburbanite, but it turns out he perfected the city." [google cache for those getting a log-in page.]
I've lost track of the many reasons that have been given for the [Apple OS X] switch to Intel, but this I know for sure: no one has ever reported that, for 18 months, Project Marklar existed only because a self-demoted engineer wanted his son Max to be able to live closer to Max's grandparents.
Around 1992 Mondo 2000 magazine asked: "R.U A Cyperpunk?"
"Siri, how expensive would it be to replace all the lights in my house with fireflies?" (cf. "Is that rain?")
In five minutes, Dan Benjamin graciously and honestly recollects and signs off the 120-episode technology/Apple podcast The Talk Show. (can't listen? summary of remarks). Benjamin co-hosted TTS with writer John Gruber, who on Friday controversially announced he was taking the show to Mule Syndicate alone.
1944 - Apple's Internal Marketing Video dated 1984 with Steve Jobs as FDR - The backstory.
Start Ups: This is how Design works.. A guide for non-designers by designer Wells Riley. [more inside]
David Lowery, of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven has an interesting argument for why the new Internet-based music-publishing industry may actually not be great for the artists: Meet The New Boss [more inside]
The U.S. has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the largest publishers, alleging a conspiracy to rig the pricing of e-books. Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins have agreed to settle, though Macmillan, Penguin and Apple continue to contest the charges. Some background from WIRED: Bigger Than Agency, Bigger Than E-Books: The Case Against Apple and Publishers
Flashback is the first significant MacOS botnet, reportedly infecting and controlling over half a million Macs. Flashback has been around for since September 2011 but recently got a boost with a Trojan that exploits a security hole in Apple's Java distribution; a vulnerable Mac can be infected simply by visiting a web site, no user password required. Apple released a fix for the Java exploit yesterday, some six weeks after Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle released their fixes.
Ira Glass retracts the This American Life episode "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory". Mike Daisey responds. [more inside]
The idea that the form of a product should correspond to its essence does not simply mean that products should be designed with their intended use in mind. That a knife needs to be sharp so as to cut things is a non-controversial point accepted by most designers. The notion of essence as invoked by Jobs and Ive is more interesting and significant—more intellectually ambitious—because it is linked to the ideal of purity. No matter how trivial the object, there is nothing trivial about the pursuit of perfection. On closer analysis, the testimonies of both Jobs and Ive suggest that they did see essences existing independently of the designer—a position that is hard for a modern secular mind to accept, because it is, if not religious, then, as I say, startlingly Platonic.— Form and Fortune is an essay about Steve Jobs and Apple's design philosophy by Evgeny Morozov.
Android apps can secretly copy photos [SLNYT] "Android apps do not need permission to get a user's photos, and as long as an app has the right to go to the Internet, it can copy those photos to a remote server without any notice, according to developers and mobile security experts."
Rick Santorum released an anti-Romney ad in January that borrows ahem liberally from Apple's famous 1984 ad. Weirdly, it also copies Apple's second Super Bowl advertisement, Lemmings, which was viewed as insulting to its audience and became a legendary failure. (Via Ken Segall, a former creative director at Apple who writes, "Note to Rick: if you’re going to copy Apple’s marketing success, try not to copy its failure as well.")
David Pogue weighed in yesterday about the Nightline piece on the terrible working conditions in Apple's subcontractor factories in China. Mike Daisey has been trying to engage with Mr. Pogue, but it hasn't gone well. Here's his final response to Mr. Pogue's story.
Apple has released a developer preview of the next version of OS X, named Mountain Lion. A key new feature is Gatekeeper, a security system that will allow users to decide what type of applications can be installed or launched on their personal computers. While some security experts think its a good idea, others worry about it being subtly used to discourage users from installing non-App Store applications. Macworld has coverage of the entire update, while Daring Fireball recounts a personal demonstration.
Is Webkit, the web browser engine used by Safari and Chrome, turning into IE6? Concern is growing that reliance on proprietry CSS features marked by vendor prefixes could be breaking the web.
If people thought Apple's voice assistant Siri was conservative, then Iris, a similar feature for Android (which uses the search engine ChaCha), will blow their mind.
Please be advised that the FBI’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release regarding (STEVEN PAUL JOBS) is now available.
Slam poet Marshall Soulful Jones performs "Touchscreen".