snydeq writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has some advice for Apple CEO Tim Cook: consider offering a phone based on the rival Google Android platform. Speaking at the Apps World conference in San Francisco, Wozniak made the suggestion of an Apple Android device when responding to a question about the fate of the faltering BlackBerry platform, saying that BlackBerry should have built an Android phone, and that Apple could do so, too. 'BlackBerry's very sad for me,' Wozniak lamented. 'I think it's probably too late now' for an Android-based BlackBerry phone. Apple, Woz said, has had some lucky victories in the marketplace in the past decade, and BlackBerry's demise may provide a cautionary tale: 'There's nothing to keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market.'"
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CambodiaSam sends the latest on "Red Star OS," North Korea's attempt at a home-grown operating system. Previously, it had closely resembled Microsoft Windows, but a new update now strongly mimics Apple's OS X. "Despite living in a country very much shut off from the outside world, many people in North Korea do have access to technology - including mobile phones. However, devices are heavily restricted. Internet access, for instance, is locked down, with most users able to visit only a handful of sites mostly serving up state-sponsored news. The Red Star OS is peppered with North Korean propaganda, and its calendar tells users it is not 2014, but 103 — the number of years since the birth of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung. An earlier version of Red Star OS was made available worldwide in 2010 after a Russian student posted it online. The latest version is believed to have been released some time in 2013."
An anonymous reader writes in with the latest from the rumor mill about a possible Apple smartwatch. "We've heard that when Apple reveals its first smartwatch product, there's going to be a heavy focus on health and fitness, but There might also be a way to charge the wearable without plugging it in, according to a report from the New York Times. Inductive charging came in a wave of smartphones last year, including Google's Nexus 4 and Nokia's Lumia 920 range, although we don't often see it in anything smaller than a phone (or camera) form-factor. Apple, however, is looking into cramming the same technology into its iWatch, or whatever it eventually calls its debut wearable."
theodp writes: "Apple has recently disclosed a pending patent for Inferring User Mood Based on User and Group Characteristic Data, which has received surprisingly scant attention from the press even though it ups the ante for privacy intrusion. The brainchild of iAd team members, Apple boasts its invention will make it possible to 'charge a higher rate for mood based content delivery' by scrutinizing 'channel characteristics, demographic characteristics, behavioral characteristics, spatial-temporal characteristics, and mood-associated characteristics.' Apple further explains: 'Mood-associated physical characteristics can include heart rate; blood pressure; adrenaline level; perspiration rate; body temperature; vocal expression, e.g. voice level, voice pattern, voice stress, etc.; movement characteristics; facial expression; etc. Mood-associated behavioral characteristics can include sequence of content consumed, e.g. sequence of applications launched, rate at which the user changed applications, etc.; social networking activities, e.g. likes and/or comments on social media; user interface (UI) actions, e.g. rate of clicking, pressure applied to a touch screen, etc.; and/or emotional response to previously served targeted content. Mood-associated spatial-temporal characteristics can include location, date, day, time, and/or day part. The mood-associated characteristics can also include data regarding consumed content, such as music genre, application category, ESRB and/or MPAA rating, consumption time of day, consumption location, subject matter of the content, etc. In some cases, a user terminal can be equipped with hardware and/or software that facilitates the collection of mood-associated characteristic data. For example, a user terminal can include a sensor for detecting a user's heart rate or blood pressure. In another example, a user terminal can include a camera and software that performs facial recognition to detect a user's facial expressions.' Your move, Google!"
VentureBeat is one of the many outlets featuring recently surfaced video of Steve Jobs doing an early demo of the Macintosh, 30 years ago. I remember first seeing one of these Macs in 1984 at a tiny computer store in bustling downtown Westminster, Maryland, and mostly hogging it while other customers (or, I should say, actual customers) tapped their feet impatiently.
An anonymous reader writes "Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, recently claimed that Apple is the only computer company left from the early days of the Mac. Unfortunately for him, HP still exists. "Every company that made computers when we started the Mac, they're all gone," Schiller told Macworld in an interview on Apple's Cupertino campus. 'We're the only one left.' I'm sorry Apple, but when exactly did HP declare bankruptcy? We contacted an HP spokesperson for a statement on Apple's ridiculous claim and were pointed to its timeline history page."
Oneflower writes "As we discussed last week, a lawsuit is moving forward that alleges widespread conspiracy among the CEOs of Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar to suppress the wages of their tech staff. Mark Ames at Pando explains how it happened, and showcases some of the emails involving Steve Jobs and other CEOs. Quoting: 'Shortly after sealing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into joining after he complained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruiting Apple’s employees. Chizen sheepishly responded that he thought only a small class of employees were off-limits: "I thought we agreed not to recruit any senior level employees. I would propose we keep it that way. Open to discuss. It would be good to agree." Jobs responded by threatening war: "OK, I’ll tell our recruiters they are free to approach any Adobe employee who is not a Sr. Director or VP. Am I understanding your position correctly?" Adobe’s Chizen immediately backed down.'"
snydeq writes "30 years ago today, Apple debuted the Macintosh. Here are some reviews of the early Mac models, including the Macintosh ('will be compared to other machines not only in terms of its features but also in the light of the lavish claims and promises made by Apple co-founder Steven Jobs'), the Mac SE ('contains some radical changes, including room for a second internal drive and even a fan'), the Mac IIx ('a chorus of yawns'), and the Mac Portable ('you may develop a bad case of the wannas for this lovable [16-lb.] luggable'). Plus insights on the Macintosh II's prospects from Bill Gates: 'If you look at a product like Mac Word III on that full-page display, it's pretty awesome. ... But the corporate buyer is never going to be a strong point for Apple.'" iFixit got their hands on a Mac 128K and did a teardown, evaluating the old hardware for repairability. What will the Mac look like in another 30 years?
New submitter blackwizard writes "MacRumors is reporting on pervasive GPU failures in 2011 MacBook Pro machines, leading both to intermittent video issues, corruption, crashing/freezing, and eventually even failure to boot. Luckily for Apple, the machines are now out of warranty (unless you bought AppleCare). The issues have been reported both on Apple's own forums and other blogs. Apple has so far failed to take action on the problem. Will they take ownership of the issue, or continue to ask customers to pay for an entire new logic board when just the GPU fails?"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Horace Dediu writes at Aymco that in 2013 there were 18.8 times more Windows PCs sold than Macs, a reduction in the Windows advantage from about 19.8x in 2012. But the bigger story is how Apple's mobile platform including iOS devices has nearly reached the sales volume of Windows. In 2013 there were only 1.18 more Windows PCs than Apple devices sold. Odds are that in 2014 Apple and Windows will be at parity. Dediu says that the Windows advantage itself came from the way computing was purchased in the period of its ascent in the 1980s and 1990s 'when computing platform decisions were made first by companies then by developers and later by individuals who took their cues from what standards were already established. As these decisions created network effects, the cycle repeated and the majority platform strengthened.' There was concentration in decision making in the 80s so a platform could win by convincing 500 individuals who had the authority (as CIOs) to impose through fiat a standard on the centers of gravity of purchasing power. Today, with mobile products there are billions of decision makers. and the decision making process for buying computers, which began with large companies IT departments making decisions with multi-year horizons, has changed to billions of individuals making decisions with no horizons. Companies have become the laggards and individuals the early adopters of technology. 'Ultimately, it was the removal of the intermediary between buyer and beneficiary which dissolved Microsoft's power over the purchase decision,' concludes Dediu. 'The computer has become personal not just in the sense of how it's used but in the sense of how it's owned.' Finally, all the above is almost moot, given the rise of Android, something that is beating both Cupertino and Redmond alike."
curtwoodward writes "Boston University hadn't been very aggressive with intellectual property lawsuits in the past. But that changed in 2012, when the school began suing the biggest names in consumer tech, alleging infringement of a patent on blue LEDs — a patent that, no coincidence, is set to expire at the end of 2014. As of today, about 25 big tech names have now settled the lawsuits, using 'defensive' patent firm RPX. A dozen or so more defendants are probably headed that way. And BU is no longer a quiet patent holder."
coondoggie writes "Apple today agreed to refund at least $32.5 million to iTunes customers in order to settle FTC complaints about charges incurred by children in kids' mobile apps without their parents' consent. 'As alleged in the Commission's complaint, Apple violated this basic principle by failing to inform parents that, by entering a password, they were permitting a charge for virtual goods or currency to be used by their child in playing a children's app and at the same time triggering a 15-minute window during which their child could make unlimited additional purchases without further parental action."
AmiMoJo writes "According to security company Sophos, around 55% of home users and 18% of enterprise users have updated to Mavericks, the latest version of Mac OS (10.9). Unfortunately Apple appears to have stopped providing security updates for older versions. Indeed, they list Mavericks itself as a security update. This means that the majority of users are no longer getting critical security patches. Sophos recommends taking similar precautions to those recommended for people who cannot upgrade from Windows XP."
An anonymous reader writes "The smartphone and tablet rivals will work with a mediator in an effort to settle their patent disputes in advance of a second trial on the issues scheduled for this spring, according to Bloomberg News. The agreement, filed in federal court in San Jose today, was in response to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh's request in November that both sides submit a settlement discussion proposal before trial. Senior legal executives at the companies met Jan. 6 to discuss 'settlement opportunities,' according to the proposal. The companies agreed to retain a mediator 'who has experience mediating high profile disputes,' according to the filing, which doesn't name the person. The chief executive officers and three to four company lawyers, but no outside lawyers, will attend the mediation before Feb. 19, according to the filing."
New submitter aissixtir sends word that Apple has responded to allegations that the NSA has backdoor access to iPhones. Apple said, "Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. ... Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them."
iFixit has posted a teardown of Apple's new soda-can-shaped Mac Pro. Despite the unusual form factor, it earned a relatively high repairability score: 8/10. iFixit said, "For being so compact, the design is surprisingly modular and easy to disassemble. Non-proprietary Torx screws are used throughout, and several components can be replaced independently." They say it's easy to access the fan and the RAM slots, and while the CPU is buried a bit more deeply, it's still user-replaceable. The Mac Pro doesn't get higher than an 8 because its uses some proprietary connectors and the cable routing is cramped. They add, "There is no room, or available port, for adding your own internal storage. Apple has addressed this with heaps of Thunderbolt, but we'd personally rather use the more widely compatible SATA if we could."
theodp writes "Perhaps people are reading too much into Apple CEO Tim Cook's 'Big Plans' for 2014, but hopes are high that the New Year will bring a biggie-sized iPad. Over at Forbes, Anthony Wing Kosner asks, Will The Large Screen iPad Pro Be Apple's First In A Line Of Desktop Touch Devices?. 'Rumors of a large [12.9"] iPad are many and constant,' notes ComputerWorld's Mike Elgan, 'but they make sense only if the tablet is a desktop for schools.' Elgan adds, 'Lots of schools are buying iPads for kids to use. But iPads don't make a lot of sense for education. For starters, their screens are too small for the kinds of interactive textbooks and apps that Apple wants the education market to create. They're also too small for collaborative work. iPads run mobile browsers, rather than full browsers, so kids can't use the full range of HTML5 sites.' Saying that 'Microsoft has fumbled the [post-PC] transition badly,' Elgan argues that 'the battle for the future of education is likely to be between whatever Google turns the Chromebook into against whatever Apple turns the iPad into.'"
An anonymous reader notes that Apple has renewed its patent attack against Samsung, asking U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh to prohibit Samsung from selling over 20 different phones and tablets. Apple made a similar request after it won a $1 billion judgment in 2012, but Koh did not allow it. An Appeals court later ruled that Apple could resubmit its request if it focused on the specific features at the center of the 2012 verdict, and that's what we're seeing today. Apple's filing said, "Samsung’s claim that it has discontinued selling the particular models found to infringe or design around Apple's patents in no way diminishes Apple’s need for injunctive relief. ... Because Samsung frequently brings new products to market, an injunction is important to providing Apple the relief it needs to combat any future infringement by Samsung through products not more than colorably different from those already found to infringe."
zacharye writes "The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and flexible computer Apple has ever created, and it's also extremely expensive — or is it? With a price tag that can climb up around $10,000, Apple's latest enterprise workhorse clearly isn't cheap. For businesses with a need for all that muscle, however, is that steep price justifiable or is there a premium 'Apple tax' that companies will have to pay? Shortly after the new Mac Pro was finally made available for purchase last week, one PC enthusiast set out to answer that question and in order to do so, he asked another one: How much would it cost to build a comparable Windows 8 machine?"
Frankie70 writes "Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission has hit Apple with a small fine and warned the company that it may face a more substantial penalty if it doesn't stop interfering with carriers' iPhone pricing and the prices of the plans carriers sell alongside the iPhone. 'Through the email correspondence between Apple and these three telecom companies we discovered the companies submit their pricing plans to Apple to be approved or confirmed before the products hit the market,' Taiwan's FTC said in a statement."