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.'"
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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."
TheBoat writes "Apple announced on Monday that iPhone 5 preorders topped 2 million units in the smartphone's first 24 hours of pre-sale availability. That figure doubles Apple's first-day iPhone 4S sales last year, making the iPhone 5 Apple's fastest-selling smartphone ever. 'iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal,' Apple marketing boss Philip Schiller said."
First time accepted submitter nastav writes "Now that I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery of my new shiny iPhone 5, I'm faced with a dilemma — SquareTrade, Applecare Plus, or some other insurance option? I have used SquareTrade in the past for my iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 (I skipped iPhone 4S). It provided Accidental Damage Handling (ADH) for the iPhone before Apple introduced its own version of ADH. I've had the opportunity to file claims with SquareTrade multiple times, and they handled it quickly and professionally each time. Now that there is a product from Apple itself, I'm not sure which one to get. They are priced similarly (~$100 for a two-year plan, $50 deductible for each ADH incident) Apple limits the number of ADH claims to two, whereas SquareTrade (AFAIK) limits the number of claims to the 'value of the product,' which translates to approx. 600 USD in coverage (or about 4 ADH claims). I've tried reading many comparison articles on the internet without definitive answers. I'm hoping that the tech-savvy folks on Slashdot would help out with a discussion on pros and cons of each, and perhaps add other options into the mix."
EGSonikku writes "The iPhone 5 has been benchmarked using the GeekBench tool. According to the results, Apple's claim of 2x higher performance over the iPhone 4S seems accurate. The results show the iPhone 5's A6 CPU is dual core and clocked at 1.2GHz, and is paired with 1GB of RAM. Despite the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a quad core CPU at 1.4GHz, and twice as much RAM, it seems the iPhone 5 is faster than the S3, or any other Android handset." Meanwhile, Samsung has launched a marketing campaign that compares some of the hardware specs and features between the new iPhone 5 and the GS3.
An anonymous reader writes "A preliminary ruling from the International Trade Commission found that Apple did not violate four of Samsung's patents in the design of the iPhone. 'The patents in the complaint are related to 3G wireless technology, the format of data packets for high-speed transmission, and integrating functions like web surfing with mobile phone functions.' The complaint was filed by Samsung in 2011, and a final confirmation is due next January. Apple has similar claims against Samsung awaiting ITC judgment; the preliminary ruling is expected in mid-October."
WebMink writes "Back in 2009, Apple signed an agreement aimed at reducing electronic waste resulting from mobile phone accessories. But this week's launch of the iPhone 5 shows them reneging on that commitment. Instead of including a micro-USB connector on the iPhone, as they agreed to do along with the rest of the phone industry, they created yet another proprietary connector. At a stroke, they have junked earlier iPhone accessories, forced a new industry in Apple-only accessories to arise and broken their promise to the EC. It's a huge missed opportunity both for their customers and for the environment."
puddingebola sends word of a German court decision yesterday which found that Google's Motorola Mobility must recall all of its Android tablets and phones that infringe on Apple's patent for "rubber-band" scrolling. From the Guardian: "The dramatic decision, the latest in an escalating war between Apple and the smartphone and set-top box company MMI, follows earlier cases in which Apple had to disable automatic "push" delivery of email to its iPhone and iPads after MMI won a separate patent fight in Germany. The recall will not take effect immediately because Apple will have to request a ban on specific products and provide a €25m (£20m) bond, while MMI can appeal. However, the court indicated that it was unlikely that an appeal against the validity of the patent would succeed. MMI, with Google's backing, is expected to continue the appeal. The court also ruled that MMI owed Apple damages for past infringement."