TechCrunch reports that Apple, facing a substantial backlash (and some snarky competitive advertising) over goofs in the mapping software included in iOS 6, is going after the problem with a hiring spree. Here's TechCrunch's lead: "Apple is going after people with experience working on Google Maps to develop its own product, according to a source with connections on both teams. Using recruiters, Apple is pursuing a strategy of luring away Google Maps employees who helped develop the search giant’s product on contract, and many of those individuals seem eager to accept due in part to the opportunity Apple represents to build new product, instead of just doing 'tedious updates' on a largely complete platform." Meanwhile, writes reader EGSonikku "Well known iOS hacker Ryan Perrich has gotten the iOS5 Google Maps application to run on iOS6 using 'a little trickery.' (YouTube demonstration.) He has not released it yet due to crashing issues but states 'it mostly works.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Apple received a lot of criticism during the Apple/Samsung litigation this past Summer as folks deemed it absurd that Apple was able to patent things such as icon design and the overall form factor of a smartphone. Well as it turns out, it appears that Apple has engaged in some copying of its own in the form of the new clock icon design used in iOS 6 on the iPad- a rather ironic turn of events given that Apple railed against Samsung for copying its own iOS icons. Specifically, the clock icon in iOS 6 on the iPad is a blatant copy of a Hans Hilfiker design to which both the trademark and copyright is owned by the Swiss Federal Railways service."
An anonymous reader writes "iOS 6 has seen rapid adoption among iPhone and iPad users, reports developer David Smith. Smith's applications like Audiobooks get around 100k downloads weekly and he's taken to mapping the adoption of Apple's software releases over the last couple of years. This update's data shows a 35.4% adoption of iOS 6, with iOS 5.x holding court at 71.5% adoption. That's a pretty rapid pace, eclipsing Android Jelly Bean's 2-month adoption levels of 1.2% easily."
An anonymous reader writes with this news from Geek.com: "If you're planning to get a new Verizon iPhone 5, there might be a little bonus feature included that neither Apple nor Verizon are keen to admit. As units have started making it out of the stores, it appears that the Verizon version of the device is fully unlocked out of the box and able to connect to any GSM network. Verizon support is apparently confirming to customers that the device is unlocked. At the very least, this doesn't appear to be a mistake. It likely has to do with the way the iPhone's radios are designed along with the implementation of LTE on Verizon. This might make the device a little more palatable to those on the fence about upgrading, especially for anyone that travels."
iFixit has posted a detailed teardown of the new iPhone 5. While the casing still uses Apple's proprietary pentalobe fasteners, the good news is that Apple has made the screen much easier to remove. Once the fasteners have been removed, the screen will lift out easily through the use of a suction cup. The screens are by far the most common parts of iPhones to break, and this change turns a complicated 38-step procedure that takes about 45 minutes at minimum into a quick, 5-10 minute job. The teardown also shows the iPhone 5 battery to be very similar to the iPhone 4S's, suggesting that the improvements to battery life come from other hardware and software changes. We get a look at the new A6 processor running the phone, which is a custom design based on ARMv7. iFixit also looks at the Lightning connector assembly; unfortunately, it includes the loudspeaker, bottom microphone, Wi-Fi antenna, and headphone jack as well, so fixing any one of those parts individually will be difficult. Whatever you think of Apple's decision to move to Lightning instead of micro-USB, it seems their switch away from the 30-pin connecter was necessitated by size constraints.
This video is a half-hour speech given by Dino Dai Zovi and Charlie Miller, two people Apple corporately hates because of their success in finding security holes in Apple operating systems and software. Both Charlie and Dino have been mentioned on Slashdot before and probably will be again. This is a chance to see how they sound and look in person, talking to a small "by invitation only" group. They have a book to push, too: The iOS Hacker's Handbook. (Please note that this book is supposed to help you secure iOS and iOS apps, not exploit security holes in them.)
Hugh Pickens writes "Currently — as most of us know — TSA agents briefly examine government ID and boarding passes as each passenger presents their documents at a checkpoint at the end of a security line. Thom Patterson writes at CNN that under a 2008 Apple patent application that was approved in July and filed under the working title "iTravel," a traveler's phone would automatically send electronic identification to a TSA agent as soon as the traveler got in line and as each traveler waits in line. TSA agents would examine the electronic ID at an electronic viewing station. Next, at the X-ray stations, a traveler's phone would confirm to security agents that the traveler's ID had already been checked. Apple's patent calls for the placement of special kiosks (PDF) around the airport which will automatically exchange data with your phone via a close range wireless technology called near field communication (NFC). Throughout the process, the phone photo could be displayed on a screen for comparison with the traveler. Facial recognition software could be included in the process. Several experts say a key question that must be answered is: How would you prove that the phone is yours? To get around this problem, future phones or electronic ID may require some form of biometric security function including photo, fingerprint and photo retinal scan comparisons. Of course, there is still a ways to go. If consumers, airlines, airports and the TSA don't embrace the NFC kiosks, experts say it's unlikely Apple's vision would become reality. 'First you would have to sell industry on Apple's idea. Then you'd have to sell it to travel consumers,' says Neil Hughes of Apple Insider. 'It's a chicken-and-egg problem.'"
bonch writes "Google-owned Motorola is asking the International Trade Commission to ban every Apple device that uses iMessage, based on a patent issued in 2006 for 'a system for providing continuity between messaging clients.' Motorola also claims that banning Macs and iPhones won't have an impact on U.S. consumers. They say, 'With so many participants in the highly competitive Wireless communication, portable music, and computer market, it is unlikely that consumers would experience much of an impact if the requested exclusion orders were obtained.' The ITC has yet to make a decision."
Hugh Pickens writes "Michael DeGusta writes that Apple's new Maps app is the very first item on their list of major new features in iOS 6, but for many iPhone and iPad users around the world Apple's new maps are going to be a major disappointment as the Transit function will be lost in 51 countries, the Traffic function will be lost in 24 countries, and the Street View function will be lost in 41 countries. 'In total, 63 countries with a combined population of 4.5 billion people will be without one or more of these features they previously had in iOS,' writes DeGusta. 'Apple is risking upsetting 65% of the world's population, seemingly without much greater purpose than speeding the removal of their rival Google from iOS. Few consumers care about such battles though, nor should they have to.' The biggest losers will be Brazil, India, Taiwan, and Thailand (population: 1.5 billion) which overnight will go from being countries with every maps feature (transit, traffic, and street view) to countries with none of those features, nor any of the new features, flyover and turn-by-turn directions. Apple's maps are clearly behind in some key areas, but they will presumably continue to improve over time. Google has committed to making their maps available everywhere, so it seems likely Google will release their own iOS maps app soon, as they did with YouTube, which has similarly been removed from iOS 6." But what percentage of people who actually buy iPhones lost these features?
Hugh Pickens writes "Austin Carr notes that a number of user interface designers have become increasingly critical of Apple's approach to software user interface design. Much of their censure is directed against a trend called skeuomorphism, a term for when objects retain ornamental elements of the past that are no longer necessary to the current objects' functions, such as calendars with faux leather-stitching, bookshelves with wood veneers, fake glass and paper and brushed chrome. A former senior UI designer at Apple who worked closely with Steve Jobs said, 'It's like the designers are flexing their muscles to show you how good of a visual rendering they can do of a physical object. Who cares?' The issue is two-fold: first, that traditional visual metaphors no longer translate to modern users; and second, that excessive digital imitation of real-world objects creates confusion among users. 'I'm old enough, sure, but some of the guys in my office have never seen a Rolodex in real life,' says Designer Gadi Amit. 'Our culture has changed. We don't need translation of the digital medium in mechanical real-life terms. It's an old-fashioned paradigm.' One beneficiary could be Microsoft, where the design of Windows 8 distances itself from skeuomorphism by emphasizing a flat user interface that's minimalist to the core: no bevel, no 3-D flourishes, no glossiness and no drop shadow."
zaba writes "A company named PersonalWeb Technologies has decided to sue a host of heavy players in the tech industry, including Apple, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo! for patents it holds related to data processing. They have a previous suit against other big names like Amazon, Google and HP. Anyone care to guess where the company is based or where the suits were filed?" The company is also targeting GitHub, but seems to have accidentally sued Rackspace — GitHub's host — instead. Rackspace has responded, saying, "It’s apparent that the people filing the suit don’t understand the technology or the products enough to realize that Rackspace Cloud Servers and GitHub are completely different products from different companies."
Today several public interest groups, including Public Knowledge, announced plans to file a net neutrality complaint with the FCC over AT&T's restriction of FaceTime on iPads and iPhones. Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said, "AT&T’s decision to block FaceTime unless a customer pays for voice and text minutes she doesn’t need is a clear violation of the FCC’s Open Internet rules. It’s particularly outrageous that AT&T is requiring this for iPad users, given that this device isn’t even capable of making voice calls. AT&T's actions are incredibly harmful to all of its customers, including the deaf, immigrant families and others with relatives overseas, who depend on mobile video apps to communicate with friends and family." The groups have sent a letter (PDF) to AT&T asking them to reconsider their policy. The communications giant has previously responded to complaints by proclaiming their transparency and saying that charging more for being able to use FaceTime over mobile broadband is a "reasonable restriction."
An anonymous reader writes "Presenting at the IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing conference, a researcher from the University of Tennessee presented evidence that the iPad 2 is as fast as the original Cray-2 supercomputer. Performance improvements were made to the iPad 2 LINPACK software by writing Python for generating and testing various Assembly routines. The researcher also found that the ARM Cortex-A9 easily beats the NVIDIA/AMD GPUs and latest Intel/AMD workstation CPUs in performance-per-Watt efficiency."
1sockchuck writes "Data centers operators often tout their diesel backup generators as a symbol of their reliability. So why does Microsoft want to get rid of them? Microsoft says diesel generators are 'inefficient and costly' and is looking at alternatives to supply emergency backup power for its server farms, including fuel cells powered by natural gas. One possible option is the 'Bloom box,' which both Apple and eBay are using in their data centers (albeit with biogas as the primary fuel). Bloom is positioning its fuel cells as a way to forego expensive UPS units and generators, using the Bloom box for primary power and the utility grid for backup. It's a pitch that benefits from the current low price of natural gas." (Microsoft would like to stop using so much water, too.)
Nerval's Lobster writes "Freshly minted Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is promising the company's U.S. employees a new smartphone of their choice. There's just one catch: it can't be a BlackBerry. According to Business Insider, which posted significant portions of Mayer's memo, employees will have a choice of the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, HTC EVO 4G LTE, Nokia Lumia 920, or the upcoming iPhone 5. 'We'd like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do,' she wrote, adding that Yahoo will shift away from BlackBerry as its corporate device of choice. Somewhere up in Waterloo, at least one Research In Motion executive could be screaming in frustration over this development. Not because Yahoo is a bellwether for corporate smartphone use; its U.S. employees shifting to an iOS, Windows Phone or Android device won't automatically drive other major companies will follow suit. But as a symbol of RIM's current issues, it's difficult to find a better one than a high-profile technology company dumping its collective BlackBerry stock in favor of pretty much any other platform."