theodp writes "Apple,' writes Dave Winer in The Un-Internet, 'is providing a bad example for younger, smaller companies like Twitter and Tumblr, who apparently want to control the 'user experience' of their platforms in much the same way as Apple does. They feel they have a better sense of quality than the randomness of a free market. So they've installed similar controls.' Still, Winer's seen this movie before and notes, 'Eventually we overcome their barriers, and another layer comes on. And the upstarts become the installed-base, and they make the same mistakes all over again. It's the Internet vs the Un-Internet. And the Internet, it seems, always prevails.' Thinking along the same lines, Cory Doctorow warns the stakes are only going to get higher, and issues a call-to-arms for The Coming War on General Purpose Computation."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
smitty777 writes "Forbes is running an intriguing story on a new 'Superphone' under development by the folks at Microsoft. According to this leaked MS roadmap document, the plan is to build the Apollo-based phone in the 4th quarter of 2012. FTA: 'In the end, however, none of this matters. Microsoft's "peek into the future" is barely a glimpse into what the company may or may not have planned for 2012. While the "superphone" bullet is worth noting, it is not the confirmation of a revolutionary new product. At best, it indicates that Microsoft wishes to compete with Apple by offering a product that is, well, super.' It's also interesting that Sony and AT&T also appear to be working on superphones of their own."
mariocki writes "Steve Jobs' go-to design man Jonathan Ive, the creator of modern computer design classics such as the iMac, MacBook Pro and iPod/iPhone/iPad, has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year's Honours list, taking him from plain old 'Mr' straight to 'Sir' in one fell swoop. This now puts him in the same league as Paul McCartney, Michael Caine, Bob Geldof and Bill Gates. Ive said 'I discovered at an early age that all I've ever wanted to do is design' and even for Apple haters his designs have done more for personal computer design than the mainstream PC manufacturers could imagine, taking the PC from the geek den into the living room of even the most painfully trendy fashionista."
Several readers pointed out the story of the Apple phone that never was, from 1983. Pictures of the concept phone are impressive, as you'd expect from Hartmut Esslinger, later founder of Frog Design. Even more interesting is that this phone is part of a much larger collection of Apple artifacts curated by Stanford.
judgecorp writes "Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron will get a personalised iPad app to help him run the country. The 'government dashboard' will include health waiting list figures, crime statistics, economic statistics and a real-time news feed. Cameron is a committed Apple user — but British members of Parliament have only been allowed iPads in the House of Commons since March 2011."
theodp writes "When it comes to explaining decision making and behavioral economics, Dan Ariely is the man. In his latest blog post, Ariely tackles the irrationality of app buying, explaining why the thought of paying even $1 for an app turns into an agonizing decision for those perfectly willing to spend $4 on coffee, or $500 on devices that they arguably don't really need. Had Apple created a really low minimum price for apps — say $0.15 — instead of offering free apps on day one, Ariely suggests, we would be anchored to the idea that apps should cost something. 'Then paying more (maybe even $2) for an app would be a simpler step,' he concludes, 'maybe one that we could take as easily as paying $4 for a latte.'"
beaverdownunder writes "An Italian watchdog has fined Apple 900,000 euros ($1.2m, £750,000) for failing to inform Italian shoppers of their legal right to two years of technical support, recognizing instead only a one-year standard warranty. This had led people to pay extra for Apple's own support service, AppleCare, which overlapped with the government-mandated guarantee."
It's a rumor that goes back years (here's one example from this summer) that Apple is planning to produce dedicated TV sets branded with its own name; the main question seems to be when. DigiTimes (hat tip to CNet) is reporting that component-maker sources say that Apple has begun the process by ordering parts that hint at an offering next year of Apple TV sets (as opposed to Apple TV) in 32" and 37".
walterbyrd writes with a quote from an article at Techrights: "Given the latest actions from Apple we cannot help recommending that people buy nothing from Apple. Boycott the company for being a threat to the IT landscape and also to common sense." More from the article: "...Apple has been working hard to embargo — not just sue — the competition. Apple disregards the notion of fair competition..."
theodp writes "In the Sixties, we could put a man on the moon. Nowadays, laments jocastette, America's tech giants can't even put a BASIC on the phone. Woz managed to crank out a BASIC interpreter for the 6502 in the '70s. As did Bill Gates and Paul Allen. So, why — at a time when development has never been easier — can't Google, Apple, and Microsoft manage to support a free BASIC or other programming-for-the-masses development environment on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones?" My limited experience with Android development showed using Java to be obtuse and downright obnoxious to do anything (at least without Eclipse, and even with it doing anything non-standard required digging through horrendous ant buildfiles). And, of course, without a REPL things were even more obnoxious. There is the android-scripting project, but it doesn't provide particularly exhaustive access to the platform.
N!NJA writes "One of my favorite facts of this past year was the proof that China makes almost nothing out of assembling Apple's iPads and iPhones. From the article: 'If you want lots of jobs and lots of high paying jobs then you’re not going to find them in manufacturing. They’re where the money is, in the design, the software and the retailing of the products, not the physical making of them. Manufacturing is just so, you know, 20th century.'"
lseltzer writes "The iPad has dominated the high-end tablet market so far, but that is about to change. At CES in Las Vegas in a couple weeks you will see tablets running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) everywhere and at prices that will make an iPad a lot harder to justify. The competition from the OEM model in the Android markets will massively shift market share away from Apple, just as it has done in the smart phone market."
An anonymous reader writes "Apple Insider reports that Apple recently filed two patents for a new breed of fuel cell-powered laptop computers. The devices would eschew lithium ion batteries in favor of fuel cells that are capable of running for weeks without requiring a recharge. The patents are entitled 'Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device' and oeFuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device."
Lucas123 writes "According to published reports Apple is plunking down up to $500 million to purchase solid-state drive start-up Anobit Technologies. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted about the deal congratulating Apple on its first acquisition in his country. Apple is planning to use the acquisition to set up to set up a semiconductor development center in Israel. Apple already uses NAND flash from Anobit in its iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air products, according to the reports."