Apple has launched App Store subscriptions for digital content, something that should please magazine publishers looking for a non-print business model. However there is a sting in the tail - publishers must go through Apple, paying the 30% "Apple tax".
This is a short history and background of the Macintosh research project on the eve of its becoming a product.
First there was the 'Splosion Man ripoff MaXplosion (and Capcom's non-response). Then there was a The Blocks Cometh clone (eventually taken down after the uproar). Now comes Lugaru, a wholesale copy of code, data, and name. (Android developers, you're not safe either.)
Where do you think Apple’s iPhone is the most popular? Where do Nokia’s Symbian phones dominate? How is it going for Android in different parts of the world? What about Blackberry? We’re going to answer all of those questions and more in this article, which will closely examine mobile OS usage across the world.
We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies. - Google's Chrome is will be joining Firefox in no longer licensing the MPEG-LA H.264 video codec favoured by Apple and Microsoft for use in the HTML5 <video> tag (previously). Not everyone is seeing this as a good thing.
Google's sheer size and power is staggering - and of course a little disconcerting. But ultimately are they ensuring the internet remains open and user friendly? CBC Radio had a great piece on the Algorithm That Changed World on how Google has helped keep the internet useful and spammers at bay. As a user, I have not found any other search engine that come close in giving me useful results. Intelligent Life's take on Apple vs Google, shows how this open system vs closed system philosophical differences plays itself out with product strategy. Of course, Google's user-centric world can suck if you have ever written a book.
Wikileaks may have been the big news, but there were numerous other data breaches in 2010. [more inside]
Well whadda ya know, the largest music retailer in the United States is about to start selling the Beatles. Bet you still won't be able to buy Lady Madonna without the piano, though, even though it kicks all kindsa ass without the 88 keys.
Apple’s Tablet Computer History - A collection of beautiful prototype designs for some of Apple's early tablet computers from the 1980s and 90s, including the famed Newton [ related | via ]
Apple Computers, creator of the worlds first Apple Computer Tablet and the worlds first Smartphone to go to space quitely announced today that despite 35% year over year growth, they are discontinuing the Xserve. [more inside]
Apple has decided to follow the success of their iOS App store by making a Mac App store. Yes, applications for the Mac OS will soon be available, in addition to the previous methods, for one click download and installation from a single online source. Engadget covers the guidelines for App submissions, CNET has a FAQ about the store, while Ars Technica, PC Mag, ZDNET, MSNBC, CNN, Computerworld and Macworld discuss the pros and cons of this development.
"[T]he most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do."
"He’s a minimalist and constantly reducing things to their simplest level. It’s not simplistic. It’s simplified. Steve is a systems designer. He simplifies complexity." John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview [via]
Apple Inc. is making a version of its iPhone that Verizon Wireless will sell early next year, according to people familiar with the matter, ending an exclusive deal with AT&T and sharpening the competition with Google Inc.-based phones. [more inside]
Good news for Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister of the UK and leader of the Liberal Democrats: he's more popular than the Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron. Perhaps not so good news for the Liberal Democrats' image: that's with Tory party activists. Meanwhile, Cameron has professed his love of Macs and iPads in an interview, undoubtedly causing Apple to become instantly uncool in much the way The Smiths and Paul Weller did a few years ago.
With the unveiling of the BlackBerry Playbook, a 7" iPad competitor solidly aimed at business, are the tablet wars heating up?
In honour of Chinese jade hitting $3,000 an ounce, a quick context of what one ounce buys... $1300 $883 $350 $51.93 $20.08 $4.74
A blind man uses a mobile phone to "see":
I have never experienced this before in my life. I can see some light and color, but just in blurs, and objects don’t really have a color, just light sources...I went outside. I looked at the sky. I heard colors such as “Horizon,” “Outer Space,” and many shades of blue and gray. I used color queues to find my pumpkin plants, by looking for the green among the brown and stone. I spent ten minutes looking at my pumpkin plants, with their leaves of green and lemon-ginger. I then roamed my yard, and saw a blue flower. I then found the brown shed, and returned to the gray house.
The Man Who Makes Your iPhone - Bloomberg Businessweek profiles Terry Gou, the founder and chairman of Foxconn, the controversial manufacturer of consumer electronic devices for Apple, Sony, HP and Dell, among others.
Apple has suddenly reversed their stance on 3rd-party tools for iOS development. (From the horses's mouth.) This means that programmers will be able to use Adobe Flash (and other tools) to make iPhone (iPad, etc.) apps. It does NOT mean that Flash apps (swfs) will be able to run in iPhone or iPad browsers. That is still verboten. It means that developers won't be stuck using just XCode (Apple's code editor/compiler) and the Objective-C language. Alternatively, programmers will be able to use Actionscript (Flash's language) or some other language. Apple will allow cross-compiled apps to be sold in their app store. Meanwhile, porn is still not allowed. Responses: 1, 2, 3.
Simplicity is highly overrated. Why people prefer feature-bloat.
"The Japanese Tradition" was a series of nine short, parody "How To" videos that gently mocked the formality of Japanese culture, from comedy duo Rahmens (ラーメンズ) and Japan Culture Lab. They're available on DVD, but nearly all of them can be seen on YouTube, including Sushi and Ocha (tea). [more inside]
... Apple will know who you are, where you are, and what you are doing and saying and even how fast your heart is beating. ... This patent is downright creepy and invasive— certainly far more than would be needed to respond to the possible loss of a phone.
MacPaint and QuickDraw Source Code - The Computer History Museum and Apple, Inc. release the source code to one of the first major drawing tools and graphical libraries for personal computers, one that managed to fit inside a paltry 128 KB of memory. [more inside]
Editors of the pop-culture magazine Wired provided the title "iPhone 4’s ‘Retina’ Display Claims Are False Marketing" to a highly critical article about the new iPhone's high-resolution "Retina" display, so-called as the human eye cannot resolve individual pixels when viewing it. A technician who worked on the Hubble telescope disagreed with the Wired editors' choice of rhetoric in very strong technical terms and issued less stringent disagreement with Raymond Soneira, the writer of the piece. Neuroscientist and photographer Bryan Jones published his own highly readable technical analysis of the display's pixel arrangement, that helped him decide whether Apple's claims were truthful or not.
"That stainless steel band that runs around is the primary structural element of the phone. And there are these three slits in it. It turns out, this is part of some brilliant engineering which actually uses the stainless steel band as part of the antenna system... it's never been done before. And it's really cool engineering!"Less than three weeks after Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 4's (previously) revolutionary signal-boosting design, the internet discovers a fatal flaw that causes calls to drop when the bottom-left corner is touched. Jobs personally offered one customer a solution via email: "Just avoid holding it in that way." Apple's marketing department apparently didn't get the memo. [more inside]
Joyce’s Ulysses Banned Again—by Apple, Not the Government. According to Sarah Weinman at the Daily Finance; she says that a Webcomic adaptation of the book, Rob Berry and Josh Levitas' Ulysses Seen, (previously seen here on Mefi), has been banned from iPads and iPhones because of cartoon nudity. Here is the image that is causing all the controversy. Warning: Contains crudely illustrated male genitalia. via Slate.com. And this isn't the first time. Read about the original censorship and legal battles regarding Joyce's Ulysses..
Afraid that Jobs' wild spending and Woz's recurrent "flights of fancy" would cause Apple to flop, Wayne decided to abdicate his role as adult-in-chief and bailed out after 12 days. Terrified to be the only one of the three founders with assets that creditors could seize, he sold back his shares for $800. An interview with Apple Computer co-founder Ron Wayne (he also designed Apple's first logo). Had he held out, his shares today would be worth $22 billion.
"They actually envied those who could take a leave due to work injury, while casually joking about how their station's been toxicated."
A (translated) Chinese report on life as a factory worker at Foxconn, the company that manufactures iPhones and other gadgets. Each employee would sign a "voluntary overtime affidavit," in order to waive the 36-hour legal limit on your monthly overtime hours. This isn't a bad thing, though, as many workers think that only factories that offer more overtime are "good factories," because "without overtime, you can hardly make a living."
A candid late-night email exchange between an online journalist and Steve Jobs (who may or may not have realized he was in fact talking to a journalist). (SLGawker, though the perplexed are welcome to Google the obscure Mr. Jobs for more information.) Learn whether Jobs thinks a 20-year-old Bob Dylan would've thought Apple was groovy, how Apple is protecting you from porn, and more!
Adobe's Latest PR Campaign should bring comfort to those who fear Adobe pulling products from the Mac, given that Adobe loves Apple, and have said so today publicly. [more inside]
Cupidtino is a "new social dating website exclusively for Apple fans" which launches in June. If your Cupidtino Appleationship works out, you could have a magical Apple Store Wedding! Via "Oh God No." [more inside]
Here's Why We Don't Allow Flash On The iPhone And iPad. An open letter by Steve Jobs. Some previous discussion here, here.
California police have raided the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, and seized his computers. Chen posted Gizmodo's review of Apple's next-generation iPhone, which had been left in a bar by a staff member (previously). Media reports say that police are considering criminal charges against the person who sold the phone to Gizmodo. Assuming that the police were not investigating Chen himself for breaking the law, the case raises the question of whether bloggers such as Chen are journalists under the law.
The National Labor Committee, a watchdog group that investigates working conditions at foreign factories producing goods for US corporations, has released a report on the KYE Factory in Guangdong, China. KYE manufactures outsourced products for Microsoft (their biggest customer), HP, Best Buy, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech, and ASUS. The report focuses heavily on the workers producing Microsoft products. In response, Microsoft says they will investigate the allegations, as their vendor code of conduct (pdf) bans much of the abuses uncovered by the report. Photo Slideshow / NLC report summary [more inside]
iPad, one week later. Ars Technica gave it a very through review. ifixit tore it apart and Will It Blend? threw it in a Blendtec. Adam C. Engst said in a column at TidBITS: "The hardware is so understated [...] the fact that you’re using an iPad falls away. You’re using the app, whatever it may be, and while you’re doing so, the iPad is that app." An Apple event today announced an iPhone OS update that brings a lot of what was missing so far (multitasking!) while also screwing over a Adobe by changing the developer license agreement. 300,000 sold. [more inside]
Almost Everything by Kirby Ferguson: A web series featuring a good-natured Canadian geek who uses slick, fast-paced video presentations to comment on the world's ills. Episodes: Apple's Stealth Jabs at Microsoft - Protecting and Maintaining Your Heterosexual House of Cards - Americans Love Lists - Trajan is the Movie Font - Thank You For All the Butt Cracks - Passive Resistance, Like Gandhi - Punchline Piracy - The Fag Bomb - I Love Progress Bars - Slumdog Controversy - The Distraction Machine - Talent is Hard Work - 2012 and the Conspiracy Conspiracy - I Don't Care About Tiger Woods' Penis (An Open Letter to the American Media). Like the background music? The full soundtrack by Windom Earle is available for preview or download on Amazon. A product of Goodiebag.tv (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, blog, more videos).
First iPad in dash. [SLYT]
"We were like children with toy train sets. And that was part of the problem. It was such fun. Computing was not supposed to be fun." Stephen Fry visits Apple headquarters to preview the iPad; the resulting article is a sprawl that touches on hero worship, product history, and Douglas Adams, "the first person in Britain to own a Macintosh computer." [more inside]
The <video tag>, as defined by the HTML5 spec, is an element "used for playing videos or movies". Which codec those videos or movies are in is currently undefined, with the two contenders being the free open source Ogg Theora and the proprietary H.264. With the unveiling of Internet Explorer 9 both Microsoft and Apple are supporting H.264 in their browsers, and comparisons of the standards seem to bear out H.264 as the better of the two. However Mozilla have taken a stance against incorporating H264 into Firefox on the grounds that it is patented and has to be licensed. Arguments are now being made for and against Mozilla sticking to its ideals. John Gruber of Daring Fireball points out that Firefox already supports proprietary formats such as GIF. Um, perhaps not the best example.
This is the biggest ego battle in history. It looked like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Today, such warmth is in short supply. One well-connected Silicon Valley investor, who did not want to be identified talking about the Google-Apple feud, says he is stunned by the level of rancor he’s witnessed. “It’s World War III. Amazing animosity is motivating two of the most powerful people in the industry,” he says. “This is emotional. This is the biggest ego battle in history. It’s incendiary.”
Apple sues smartphone manufacture HTC for patent infringement. Digital Daily has the court filings, and includes a list of popular HTC Android and Windows Mobile phones targeted in the concurrent ITC Complaint to block importation of those devices into the US. Engadget has a little more information, including HTC's initial response. Listed patents are all seemingly software patents, a controversial area of patent law. (via Daring Fireball)
Apple announces something: The iPad, which all signs say is a tablet computer. Various people, from the Ceo of textbook and magazine publisher McGraw-Hill and Weblogs. Inc founder Jason Calacanis have talked about their experiences using and testing the device. But the most interesting aspect of the computer may not be the technology, but rather its potential for use in creating and participating in content creation which could revolutionize digital magazines and newspapers
AT&T's recent complaints about its mobile phone customers using too much of its underpowered data service have now expanded this week to open opposition to net neutrality legislation. In response, the satirical blog The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs jokingly "reported" on a fake Apple memo calling for "Operation Chokehold", where customers agree to get together on Friday to overwhelm the company's networks. The joke has gained traction with disgruntled users, enough so that AT&T, in turn, chided the blog for "an irresponsible and pointless scheme", creating a Facebook page to promote "Operation Cuckoo".
...the Apple store called and informed me that due to the computer having been used in a house where there was smoking, that has voided the warranty and they refuse to work on the machine, due to "health risks of second hand smoke".