by John Moe // Posted: 09/09/10 05:39 PM
I figured that was a better headline that “Apple chairman calls for a higher standard for app approval”. Same thing.
“We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps”
(No fart-related YouTube clip here. Even I have a little shame.)
by John Moe // Posted: 09/08/10 11:34 AM
Go read this.
Posted: 09/02/10 12:12 PM
Amazon is already reacting to the creation of Apple’s new streaming TV service and set-top box.
The Seattle based online retailer sells streaming TV shows too. Yesterday those shows cost just about 2 bucks to download. That’s twice the price of Apple’s streaming TV offerings. So today Amazon enacted a price cut. You can stream the boob tube to you computer for just 99 cents a program. Even though amazon will be taking a loss.
Posted: 09/02/10 06:00 AM
Apple is getting social. Yesterday Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs announced that his new version of iTunes will have social network built right in. It’s called Ping.
Jobs says people will use Ping to see friends’ music downloads, follow their favorite artists, and review concerts. But is Ping another way for Apple to get all of us to spend more time online and less time on the Web?
Apple is masterful at building “walled gardens” online. iTunes, the app store, and the iPad all offer simple, easy-to-understand online experiences with little hassle. Dan Ackerman, a senior editor at C-NET, says control and simplicity are part of Apple’s basic business philosophy, and that works for many consumers. But Jim Louderback, CEO of the Internet TV company Revision3, worries that creating walled-off enclaves online will ultimately harm consumers and undermine the Web’s promise of creating a truly democratic medium – where anyone can publish to the world. We talk with both about the pros and cons of walled gardens.
Posted: 08/31/10 06:00 AM
Could Apple move iTunes into the cloud? It probably won’t happen tomorrow at Apple’s iTunes event – but in the long run it seems inevitable.
Cloud computing is slowly taking over – it’s already changing the way we work and live. Corporations’ appetite to increase data storage is driving HP and Dell in their bidding war for the data storage company 3Par. Seems like time to ask what’s ours in a cloud-computed world?
If you are uploading all your photos to Flickr, who owns them? What about the love letters sent to your husband or wife? Do you own those words if they are stored in-box on Yahoo instead of a in a shoebox in your closet?
Eric Goldman, a professor of technology at Santa Clara Law School, and Justin Brookman from the Center for Democracy and Technology argue that in the digital age, our definitions of ownership are in flux.
by John Moe // Posted: 08/18/10 11:17 AM
This is interesting and potentially very significant. At a gaming conference in Cologne, Germany, Google detailed plans to launch a store for Chrome web apps, meaning games and tools that you can plug into your Chrome browser. Chrome is made by Google and is rapidly gaining market share. It would be like any mobile app store but just for the web. The wrinkle is that Google is apparently only taking a 5% cut of the sales, which is way less than the 30% cut taken by Apple, Facebook, and other big companies for app revenue. This could provide huge incentive to developers to want to build on the platform. Companies are realizing that they need to make developers love them in order to get ahead, that’s why Microsoft is paying developers to offer their wares on the upcoming Windows 7 Phone.
by John Moe // Posted: 08/12/10 03:58 PM
Apple TV has been this grand idea of a set top box on your TV that connects online and lets you watch shows that way. But the box is expensive and hasn’t sold well at all. We’ve been hearing about an impending relaunch for a while now, possibly at the mid-September event Apple is planning (also expected to involve a re-designed iPod Touch). Now Engadget says they have some of the dirt on what the new device is. They say it will retail for $99, be renamed iTV (because of course you need that lower case i on everything), and run on the same A4 chip that runs the iPhone 4. The upshot of that for consumers is that it will be incapable of delivering 1080p or 1080i video, settling instead for 720p. Those are just numbers but the takeaway is that the video quality will not be state of the art. There will be an app store on it and strong integration with iTunes, presumably, but it’s unlikely to appeal to videophiles and the type of high end user that Apple relies on.
by John Moe // Posted: 08/09/10 11:13 AM
You knew it was coming, right? The decision by the Library of Congress to allow jailbreaking of iPhones continues to have ramifications. Relatively easy jailbreaking software has been made available and now a program called Frash, that will let you run Flash on the iPhone. It’s apparently still kind of hinky, doesn’t run all Flash, and was kind of shoved out the door before being completely developed but will likely get better with updates. So now we have a situation where instead of being bound to an AT&T iPhone that doesn’t run Flash, you can have a jailbroken phone that does.
by John Moe // Posted: 08/06/10 11:16 AM
There have been rumors about the Beatles showing up on iTunes for download ever since iTunes premiered. But while it always seems about to happen, it never quite happens. Now it appears that it’s not about to happen after all.
Ono says “there is just an element we’re not happy about, as people.” No details on what that element is (iPhone 4 antenna?).
Paul McCartney has been similarly cryptic about vague issues with Apple Computer in the past. The roots of the conflict have always been in the nomenclature: the band had started Apple Recordings and then this guy Steve Jobs comes along and takes their name. Of course, you can Alta Vista the phrase “Beatles downloads” and get a lot of options.
by John Moe // Posted: 08/05/10 11:26 AM
This is one report from an analyst who recently downgraded Microsoft stock but is a pretty amazing number if true. The number is up 10% from a year ago. The analyst, Trip Chowdhry, says that Microsoft has not been able to connect with the younger generation of users (ahem KIN! ahem) and could be in even more trouble when this Mac generation graduates and goes in to the work force without being native on Windows.
Here’s a thought, Microsoft: scrap the Windows name and replace it with Xbox. Xbox Word, Xbox Excel, Xbox Outlook. You’re welcome.
by John Moe // Posted: 07/28/10 12:11 PM
Meanwhile in St Paul, John Moe avoids “the iPad is hotter than ever!” joke. The iPad has received complaints about the iPad getting too hot ever since it launched. Now there are lawsuits seeking class action status against Apple for making a product that can’t be used under reasonable weather conditions. Essentially, the claim is that you can’t use it on a hot day in direct sunlight because it overheats and won’t work. PC Magazine editor Zach Honig got an error message about that but then he put the iPad in the fridge and it cooled down and was fine. But still, you shouldn’t have to stick your iPad in the fridge, right?
Posted: 07/28/10 06:00 AM
If you bought a hammer, you could go home and pound any nail you want with it. But what if the company that made the hammer said you could only pound nails they approve and that they sold you? What kind of weird hammer is that?
Substitute hammer and nails with iPhone and software. Apple has always had control over what you could do on the iPhone it sold you.
But this week, the Library of Congress ruled that if you own an iPhone, you should be able to run any kind of software that works, not just what Apple says is okay. It’s called jailbreaking your phone. The decision has implications for any smart phone manufacturer but Apple is the most restrictive of what you can and can’t do on the phone they make.
It got us wondering about the whole idea of owning something digital. You could go to a (used) record store and buy Frampton Comes Alive on vinyl. And you would OWN that record, lend it out, use it as a frisbee if you wanted. But if you go to the iTunes store and download that same album, there are a host of restrictions. That’s because you’re not really buying it, you’re just licensing it, agreeing to a set of conditions under which you’re allowed to encounter it.
On today’s show, we explore the Library of Congress decision with veteran librarian and digital library consultant Karen Coyle. We also talk with Anthony Falzone, Executive Director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society.
by John Moe // Posted: 07/27/10 05:16 PM
Like a lot of people, I thought it was a bit odd how there was absolutely no talk of Mac computers at Apple’s World Wide Developers’ Conference in June. Now there is. Apple revealed new Mac desktops with more powerful processors for the same price. Also a new Mac Pro that’s super fast and costs up to $5000. But I think the most significant product may be the $999 27-inch LED Cinema Display monitor. It’s a lot of money, sure, but it’s another play for Apple’s move into the living room.
by John Moe // Posted: 07/27/10 11:13 AM
Yesterday the Library of Congress said that if you own a smart phone, you should be able to run any kind of software that works on that phone even if the company that makes it, Apple for instance, doesn’t approve of that software. It’s your phone, after all. It’s a process called jailbreaking your phone.
This was a pretty significant decision in terms of the future of licensing and the entire concept of ownership (think about all that stuff you get from iTunes that you don’t really own, you just use it with Apple’s permission). But the process of actually jailbreaking your phone is an arduous one and few people are likely to bother. But big picture? Years from now? Huge.
Now Apple says well we may have to go along with that but we don’t have to like it. They’re saying that if you jailbreak your phone, you’re no longer covered under warranty.
by John Moe // Posted: 07/26/10 11:43 AM
The trade group CTIA represents Apple, Verizon, AT&T, Motorola, and Verizon is upset over a law passed in June in SF requiring any business selling a cell phone to display radiation levels emitted by a given device. The CTIA argues that the law oversteps the regulatory authority of the FCC, which does not require such disclosure. The FCC has said that all cell phones sold in the United States are safe. Some researchers say that the results are inconclusive.
(image from here)
by John Moe // Posted: 07/23/10 04:15 PM
So there’s this problem with Safari, in that it can let any website, even creepy ones you arrive at accidentally, see private information. Apple says it’s working on fixing that but until the do, you can do it yourself. This article walks you through the steps you can and perhaps should take.
by John Moe // Posted: 07/23/10 11:23 AM
First it was supposed to be ready for the June launch. Launch comes, no white iPhone. Then it was going to ship in July. Well, July’s here. No white iPhone. Now Apple is saying the white iPhone is delayed until late this year, no specific date given. They say manufacturing it has been “more challenging” than expected.
So let’s recap: Apple can make a revolutionary product that redefines personal technology and contains more computing power IN YOUR HAND than NASA had for the Apollo mission to the moon but they can’t handle the color white. Got it.
Posted: 07/23/10 09:35 AM
If you don’t own a smart phone now, you probably will soon.
Here’s the picture from Wall Street: Nokia, which pretty much makes regular old cell phones, announced a 40 percent drop in revenues Thursday. On the same day, AT&T said they had a huge quarter with lots of new customers for the iPhone activated 3.2 million new iPhones last quarter. Meanwhile, research firm Strategy Analytics says smart phone shipments are up 43 percent worldwide.
Americans are ditching cell phones in favor of devices that can make calls AND check email AND update Facebook AND stream video AND you get the idea. In the process, we’re flooding the data networks these smart phones rely on. It’s lots of fun now, but is it sustainable? Can the networks do what we’re asking of them?
Also in this program, Foxconn says it will raise prices for the technology companies it works with. Foxconn builds popular products for Apple, HP, Dell, and others. We’ve been watching the situation with Foxconn for a while. Here are some links to past coverage:
Suicides in China (May 21)
More suicides at Foxconn (May 28)
by John Moe // Posted: 07/21/10 11:11 AM
When the iPad launched, a lot of people wondered if Mac sales would suffer. It’s not just a business question; it’s a question of whether people would move away from the standard computer and move toward the cheaper and simpler tablet. Well, I guess not. As part of Apple’s $15.7 billion quarter there was news that the company sold 3.47 million Macs. That’s a new quarterly record and a 33% increase over a year ago. Not a real shocker since you need something to sync your iPad too. Apple says this shows the iPad is not cannibalizing the Mac but it may be dining on the sweet flesh of the PC. That’s me paraphrasing Apple. iPad, Mac, and iPod shipments were all stronger than expected: 3.27 million iPads, 3.47 million Macs, and 9.4 million iPods during the June quarter.
Posted: 07/19/10 06:00 AM
If you own an iPhone 4, Apple has a present for you. Starting later this week, you can get a free case for your phone. It’s an offer that Apple hope puts an end to a series of complaints about calls dropping if you touch the antenna. According to Consumer Reports, if you have a case or even just some tape covering the antenna, problem solved. On Friday, Apple head honcho Steve Jobs took to the stage at company headquarters to address this issue. It was an odd announcement. He said that all smart phones with antennae lose signal when touched like this and Apple is not alone. He also claimed that fewer people have used cases for the 4 so it’s a more noticeable problem. But in the end he said the company would provide free cases for everyone who has bought an iPhone 4 and anyone who will buy one between now and September 30.
We talk to Steve Henn from Marketplace about what happened at the event. We also check in with Steven Levy, a veteran technology journalist and senior writer for Wired, about what this means to the future of Apple.
by John Moe // Posted: 07/16/10 01:44 PM
There has been no video of the big Apple announcement today but here’s what it comes down to. Jobs said the issue with the antenna is one that affects all smart phones with antennae. He showed video of similar loss of signal problems affecting Blackberries and Android phones and made a point of emphasizing that no phone is perfect. He then moved on to stats about how few returns and complaints they’ve had about the iPhone 4 and it’s issues.
And then he got into the bumpers. Something like 80% of iPhone 3GS customers had cases on their phones, in part because the case for the 3G will also fit the 3GS. But only 20% of iPhone 4 customers left the store with a case because it had to be a different case for the different shape of the phone. And as we know, the case prevents this problem of dropped calls.
So Jobs said that starting late next week, anyone who has bought an iPhone 4 will be able to get a free case. If you’ve already bought a case, you’ll get a refund on the case you’ve bought. This offer will be available until September 30. I’m still not clear if phones sold after that date will have a hardware correction or what. So that’s the news. We’re talking about it on Monday’s show.
by John Moe // Posted: 07/15/10 11:55 PM
there are reports that Steve Jobs was warned about the iPhone 4’s antenna issues before the phone was released. Meanwhile, Senator Charles Schumer calls on Apple to fix the problem for free (which isn’t a politically opportunist thing to say, like, AT ALL).
by John Moe // Posted: 07/14/10 11:41 AM
Microsoft is getting ready to make a big push in mobile but it obviously isn’t going to have very many apps at the time of launch. Nowhere near Apple’s 225,000, nowhere near Android’s 65,000. So they’re paying people to play with them.
The company is providing financial incentives ranging from free tools and test handsets to funds for software development and marketing, said Todd Brix, a senior director at Microsoft who works with app developers. In some cases, Microsoft is providing revenue guarantees, and will make up the difference if apps don’t sell as well as expected, he said.
(via @jrothmanshore on Twitter)
by John Moe // Posted: 07/12/10 02:24 PM
Consumer Reports has reviewed the iPhone 4 and the news isn’t good for Apple:
It’s official. Consumer Reports’ engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception. When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal. Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.
Posted: 07/07/10 06:00 AM
When you think about it, 4th of July weekend was a great time to pull a heist online. People aren’t on the computer. They’re too busy barbecuing and watching fireworks to notice that someone’s stealing their money. But that’s exactly what happened over the past weekend and even as early as last week. Some customers of Apple’s iPhone app store noticed some odd charges to their accounts recently for apps they never intended to download, some of them were a couple dollars but sometimes up to $100 or more. Meanwhile, in the app store “books” category, some titles you’ve never heard of - all from the same publisher- were suddenly showing up as best sellers. Apple now says it’s identified who was responsible and has kicked them out of the app store. They also advise you check your purchases and change your password.
Joshua Topolsky, editor in chief of the tech site Engadget, brings us up to speed on the story. And John Hering, founder and CEO of the online security company Lookout offers tips on keeping safe online.
Posted: 05/28/10 08:31 AM
We last talked about the suicides at the Foxconn facilities in China only a week ago. But since that time the death toll has risen and Foxconn has been scrambling to respond and prevent future fatalities. Foxconn is the company that assembles many of the consumer electronics you may own, like smart phones, tablets, video game consoles. We follow up with Endgadget’s Laura June about reports of workers being asked to sign a pledge not to commit suicide (a pledge the company later retracted and apologized for). Laura also tells us of the increased number of counselors on site and the reported installation of nets being placed beneath the tall dormitories from which many workers have been jumping.
For understanding of how the phenomenon of suicide is different in China than in the United States, we speak to Dr. Eric Caine. chair of Department of Psychiatry at University of Rochester Medical Center and co-director of Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide.
Apple, HP, and Dell are all major partners with Foxconn and have all recently said that they would be investigating conditions there. We asked each company what specifically they planned to do. Here are their responses:
Posted: 05/27/10 06:00 AM
After vowing just a couple of days ago to make privacy changes in “coming weeks”, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters on Wednesday to introduce simplified controls on the popular social networking site. We hear about what those changes are, what didn’t end up changing at all, and what the overall mood at Facebook is from Wired.com’s Ryan Singel.
We also take a look at Microsoft. They used to be at the center of everyone’s computer life. If you had a home computer, you probably had a PC. But on Wednesday, Apple surpassed Microsoft in terms of market capitalization to become, by that measure at least, the largest technology company in the world. We talk to Matt Rosoff of the research group Directions on Microsoft and ask what happened.
Posted: 05/26/10 06:00 AM
Walmart’s slogan is “Low prices are just the beginning”. That phrase can be applied to the process of figuring out if their offer of an iPhone 3GS for $97 is a bargain or not. Sure, it’s a low price, over a hundred dollars less than what Apple charges for the phone, but that’s just the beginning. You’re also entering into a two-year contract with AT&T because that is the only carrier that supports the iPhone. Essentially, you’re placing a bet that this phone and this carrier will be the right choice for the next two years of your life.
Thing is, Apple is just about to announce a new iPhone with a forward facing camera for video conferencing, a better screen, and some other improvements we don’t even know about yet. And AT&T might not be the exclusive carrier forever as rumors persist about Verizon and other companies maybe getting into the mix.
Also, we hear about a simple add-on to your Firefox browser that will remove teen heartthrob Justin Bieber from your online experience.