Linked List: April 2010

Jay Yarow on Microsoft’s Tablet Problem 

Microsoft is still months away from getting back into the phone game, and they seemingly have nothing in the pipeline for tablets.

‘What the Old Timers Used to Call Cabin Fever’ 

The evolution of Jack Torrance, by Max Brown.

Guess How Many Different Mobile Phone Models Motorola Currently Sells 

117.

Motorola, Then and Now 

Peter Svensson, reporting for Forbes:

Motorola Inc. posted an unexpected profit in the first quarter, as sales of its new phones outdid its own forecasts. It also gave an outlook that was brighter than Wall Street was predicting, and its shares jumped in premarket trading.

However, it has lost its position as the largest U.S. maker of phones to Apple Inc. Motorola sold a total of 8.5 million phones in the quarter, while Apple sold 8.8 million iPhones. Four years ago, when the Razr was still popular, Motorola sold 46.1 million phones in the first quarter.

David Chartier Reviews Five iPad Bags and Packs 

This is the sort of thing Macworld does better than anyone — cross-comparison of a pile of competing products. Chartier’s favorite: the Tom Bihn Ristretto for iPads and Netbooks.

IE 9 Will Support Only H.264 for HTML5 Video 

Dean Hachamovitch:

The future of the web is HTML5. Microsoft is deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C. HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design. The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only.

Charlie Stross on Apple’s Long-Term Strategy 

I don’t agree with all of it, but Charlie Stross’s analysis of Apple’s long-term strategy is just great overall. This is spot-on:

I’ve got a theory, and it’s this: Steve Jobs believes he’s gambling Apple’s future — the future of a corporation with a market cap well over US $200Bn — on an all-or-nothing push into a new market. HP have woken up and smelled the forest fire, two or three years late; Microsoft are mired in a tar pit, unable to grasp that the inferno heading towards them is going to burn down the entire ecosystem in which they exist.

Apple’s decision to ban apps made using Adobe’s Flash cross-compiler isn’t about the present. It’s about making decisions now — exerting control while they have it — to shape the landscape of the entire industry a decade from now. And count me in with Stross — HP’s decision to buy Palm is a sign that HP understands Apple’s strategy and they want in.

Here’s where I disagree with Stross:

And [Steve Jobs] really does not want cross-platform apps that might divert attention and energy away from his application ecosystem. The long term goal is to support the long-term migration of Apple from being a hardware company with a software arm into being a cloud computing company with a hardware subsidiary — almost like Google, if you squint at the Google Nexus One in the right light. The alternative is to join the PC industry in a long death spiral into irrelevance.

Apple needs to add a strong cloud computing infrastructure to its core competencies, yes. But hardware is more important to Apple’s business now than ever. I think it’s Apple’s goal to produce both software and hardware that its competitors cannot compete with. From a design perspective, Apple creates an experience. From a financial perspective, though, Apple sells hardware.

Thoughts on Horses 

Another open letter from a CEO.

Irony 

Me, using my iPad to watch a video from the WSJ of Adobe’s CEO talking about how essential Flash is to publications like the WSJ.

What Would Nick Denton Pay for These Things I Found in a Bar? 

Don’t forget to hit Refresh a few times.

Paint It Black 

Drill, baby, drill.

Mike Arrington: HP to Kill Windows 7 ‘Slate’ Project 

Mike Arrington:

Hewlett-Packard has killed off its much ballyhooed Windows 7 tablet computer, says a source who’s been briefed on the matter.

If true, that means Steve Ballmer got up on stage for his CES keynote to promote a “slate” that will never actually ship.

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch: ‘Moving Forward’ 

Kevin Lynch:

However, as we posted last week, given the legal terms Apple has imposed on developers, we have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple devices for both Flash Player and AIR. We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others.

Not much substance, other than declaring a “general release” of Flash Player 10.1 for Android in June, but nothing to disagree with either. This is about as good a response as Adobe could have given.

Microsoft Confirms That ‘Courier’ Concept Will Not Be an Actual Product 

I win another bet.

HTC Agrees to Pay Microsoft for Patent Licenses Regarding Android Phones 

Todd Bishop:

The Redmond company says mobile-phone maker HTC will pay Microsoft an undisclosed sum to license a series of patents that, according to Microsoft, cover technology in HTC mobile phones that use Google’s Android operating system. Of course, that would be the same HTC that Apple has sued for patent infringement over the same Google Android devices.

This, on top of the patent suit from Apple. Android doesn’t sound so “free” for HTC anymore. I wonder how the patent fees HTC has agreed to pay Microsoft for each Android phone it sells compare to the cost of a Windows Phone 7 license.

Sage Wallower, the Middleman 

CNet:

Hogan, however, had help in finding a buyer for the phone. CNET has learned that Sage Robert Wallower, a 27-year-old University of California at Berkeley student, contacted technology sites about what is believed to be Apple’s next-generation iPhone. […] CNET’s sources said Wallower, a former Navy cryptologic technician who transferred to UC Berkeley two years ago, acted as a go-between. […]

In an in-person interview with CNET at his home in Oakland on Thursday, Wallower said, “I’m not the person who found it. I didn’t see it or touch it in any manner. But I know who found it.” He declined to identify anyone else, however, in part because he said conversations with law professors had convinced him that Apple was a “legal juggernaut.”

“I need to talk to a lawyer,” Wallower said. “I think I have already said too much.”

When do they buy the wood chipper?

Wired Identifies Seller of Lost iPhone Prototype 

Brian X. Chen and Kim Zetter:

Brian J. Hogan, a 21-year-old resident of Redwood City, California, says although he was paid by tech site Gizmodo, he believed the payment was for allowing the site exclusive access to review the phone. Gizmodo emphasized to him “that there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press,” according to his attorney Jeffrey Bornstein.

So begins Hogan’s efforts to put it all on Gizmodo.

A friend of Hogan’s then offered to call AppleCare on Hogan’s behalf, according to Hogan’s lawyer. That apparently was the extent of Hogan’s efforts to return the phone.

Read that closely. First, Hogan never called anyone, including Apple, to attempt to return the phone. Second, his friend, according to this paragraph, “offered to call AppleCare”. Did this friend actually even call AppleCare? It’s not clear from Wired’s article that Hogan did anything at all to return the phone.

His attorney says he recently transferred schools and will resume his college education in the fall. He has been working part time at a church-run community center giving swimming lessons to children and volunteered at a Chinese orphanage last year while he was enrolled in a study-abroad program.

“He also volunteers to assist his aunt and sister with fundraising for their work to provide medical care to orphans in Kenya,” his attorney says. “Brian is the kind of young man that any parent would be proud to have as their son.”

You know it’s bad when your attorney is asking for leniency before you’ve even been charged.

‘I Know You Are But What Am I?’ 

From the WSJ’s live coverage of their interview with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen regarding Steve Jobs’s piece on Flash:

Speaking about Mr. Jobs’s assertion that Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Mac crashes, Mr. Narayan says if Adobe crashes Apple, that actually has something “to do with the Apple operating system.”

Uh, OK.

Mr. Narayan calls accusations about Flash draining battery power “patently false.”

Who are we going to believe, Shantanu Narayen or our lying Activity Monitors?

Weak sauce, Adobe.

I Really Do Try to Avoid Linking to Self-Aggrandizing Stuff, but This One’s Too Good to Resist 

Archived here, for when Tputh’s headlines rejigger.

Kottke on Jobs on Flash 

More “web-like” is exactly right.

Textie 

New iPhone (and iPod Touch) app from the creators of Borange and Tweetie, lets you send free messages to “any email address and most U.S. mobile phones”, with free replies, and iPhone push notifications for new messages. It’s a route around phone carrier text messaging. Read the FAQ for more info.

Free with ads, $2 without.

More From Michael Gartenberg on Flash and Apple 

Michael Gartenberg:

Like Steve, I have not seen Flash work well on a mobile device. That doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t. Adobe needs to not respond to Apple with words but rather actions and showcase shipping devices and how well they can run Flash.

Tim Bray on Flash History 

Tim Bray:

Flash filled an real need; for a lightweight portable graphics programming environment, and for an ubiquitous reliable video codec. That, plus a lot of determined marketing by Adobe, got us to the status quo, where it’s assumed that every computer has a Flash player installed.

One more thing: Flash Studio offered developer tools that let designer/developers who were (and are) more designer than developer create software. That’s where Flash still beats HTML5; you need to be more developer than designer to create Flash-like things using HTML5. For now. There’s a real opportunity today for an HTML5 IDE for designer/developers.

Michael Gartenberg’s Advice for Adobe 

Good advice, but it’ll be more fun if Adobe doesn’t take it.

Read It and Weep 

Jobs’s “Thoughts on Flash” in Flash.

Apple Homepage Placement for Jobs’s ‘Thoughts on Flash’ 

I wonder how many page views this piece will get.

Steve Jobs: ‘Thoughts on Flash’ 

Steve Jobs makes the case against Flash on iPhone OS. Cogent, detailed, straightforward, brutally honest. No prevarication. Read the whole thing, but there are a few choice bits. First, Apple couldn’t include Flash on iPhone OS now even if they wanted to:

We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

And they wouldn’t if they could:

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

While you’re reading it, think about how little wiggle room the whole thing leaves for Adobe to respond.

WSJ: Apple to Charge Premium Prices for iAd Mobile Ads 

Emily Steel:

Apple is hitting the road to showcase its new mobile-device advertising capability, dubbed iAd, and has indicated it could charge as much as $10 million to be part of a handful of marketers at the launch, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Ad executives say they are used to paying between $100,000 and $200,000 for similar mobile deals.

And:

Apple is planning to charge advertisers a penny each time a consumer sees a banner ad, ad executives say. When a user taps on the banner and the ad pops up, Apple will charge $2. Under large ad buys, such as the $1 million package, costs would rack up to reach $1 million with the various views and taps.

Flash Player H.264 Hardware Decoding in Mac OS X 

Adobe already has a pre-release version of Flash Player available that takes advantage of the new H.264 hardware decoding APIs Apple added in Mac OS X 10.6.3. Clearly Apple and Adobe are in a cold war regarding Flash and iPhone OS — but just as clearly, they’re working together to make Flash perform better on Mac OS X.

Update on Flash Installer Asking Chris Messina to Force Quit the Finder 

Kudos to the Adobe Flash installer team — they looked into it, found how it happened, and wrote it up in a comment on Messina’s Flickr entry.

Who Wrote Shakespeare? 

William Shakespeare.

Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear 

Absolutely pitch-perfect viral campaign from Pixar for Toy Story 3. Are there more of these?

It’s the Theft and Purchase of the Unit, Not the Publication of Photos and Information 

Really dumb piece by Tim Wu at Slate on the Gizmodo/iPhone saga. Wu writes:

Apple has indicated it believes a serious felony was committed. The company appears to regard Gizmodo’s acts as larceny, or misappropriation of trade secrets, or both. Here is where the case gets serious: If we accept that journalists can be punished severely for publishing information gained by others in unsavory ways, that’s a bad thing for journalism. Nearly every truly big story, from the al-Qaida photos on down, involves a leaker of some kind, often one who has broken some law. If the publishers of such materials—as opposed to the leakers—are treated as criminals, journalism will suffer.

If you agree with that, read the following sentence slowly, so it sinks in. Gizmodo isn’t being “punished severely for publishing information gained by others in unsavory ways”; they are being investigated by law enforcement for committing a felony themselves.

Note that Engadget “published information gained by others in unsavory ways” — they ran a photograph and a description of the phone (including revealing the front-facing camera) two days before Gizmodo. The photo and description came from the sources who took the phone from the bar and eventually sold it to Gizmodo. Yet Engadget is not in any trouble at all.

Gizmodo isn’t in trouble for spoiling Apple’s secret; they’re in trouble for breaking the law.

Wu writes:

But Gizmodo, for one thing, says it wants to give the telephone back, and so it may lack any intent to possess the phone permanently. That matters, legally speaking.

No, it doesn’t matter, legally speaking. When you borrow someone else’s property without permission, that’s called theft. (Also, Gizmodo gave the phone back to Apple on April 20, the day after this. Hello, Slate?)

AT&T Continues Not to Offer iPhone Tethering; Generalissimo Francisco Franco Still Dead 

Engadget’s Chris Ziegler got an answer out of AT&T:

“iPhone tethering has the potential to exponentially increase traffic, and we need to ensure that we’re able to deliver excellent performance for the feature — over and above the increases in data traffic we’re already seeing — before we will offer the feature.”

Keep in mind that iPhone users on other carriers around the world, including our friends in Canada, have been using tethering for close to a year now.

Apple Acquires Siri 

Timothy Hay:

Apple Inc. has acquired Siri Inc. just a few months after the start-up’s voice-activated personal-assistant program launched in the App Store, an investor in San Jose-based Siri told VentureWire.

Doubling Down 

MG Siegler, interviewing HP senior VP Brian Humphries:

“This is a great opportunity to take two Silicon Valley idols and put them together,” Humphries noted. That’s an obvious statement, but he quickly moved on to the meat. “WebOS is the best-in-class mobile operating system. Our intent is to double down on WebOS.”

I really do think this is a great move for HP. I don’t know that it’s going to work, but it certainly gives them better opportunities in the mobile space than they would have had otherwise. They should announce that the Windows 7 “slate” they pre-announced a few months ago has been canned, to be replaced by a version running WebOS. Just saying they’re “doubling down” doesn’t mean squat if they don’t act on it. The easiest way HP could screw this up is by not committing fully to WebOS for all mobile devices — phones, handhelds, tablets.

The App Cubby Jr. Sale 

David Barnard:

Mrs. App Cubby (Elizabeth) and I are expecting baby #2!

These kids don’t feed, clothe, and shelter themselves you know, so we’ve decided to hold an “App Cubby Jr” sale. This week only, you can buy any App Cubby app for twice the normal price! 100% of proceeds go toward diapers, food, our insurance deductible, and other baby related expenses.

I love it.

2015 Claim Chowder 

Noted:

The death of the iPhone is being foretold and the outlook for the PC and laptop aren’t much better. Influential security company CEO Eugene Kaspersky told PC Advisor at InfoSec Tuesday that both are set to be consigned to history.

The iconic Apple iPhone will either not exist or occupy a very small niche satisfying the needs of committed Mac fans around five years from now, predicts Kaspersky.

HP to Acquire Palm for $1.2 Billion 

HP:

HP and Palm, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which HP will purchase Palm, a provider of smartphones powered by the Palm webOS mobile operating system, at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $1.2 billion. The transaction has been approved by the HP and Palm boards of directors.

And:

Palm’s current chairman and CEO, Jon Rubinstein, is expected to remain with the company.

Strikes me as a great move for both companies. Palm gets some muscle, and HP gets out from under the thumb of licensing OSes from Microsoft. HP is not going to make the same mistake in the mobile market that they made in the PC market, by not owning and controlling their own OS.

TouchScroll, a Scrolling Layer for WebKit Mobile 

David Aurelio:

Here it is: TouchScroll, our scrolling layer for WebKit Mobile. It is JavaScript/CSS 3 based and allows for fixed elements like headers and toolbars on web pages when viewed on the iPhone or on Android. It works on the iPad, too. Check out the demo (short URL: http://u.nu/8uvg8) to see it in action — it works in Desktop Safari (at least kind of) or WebKit Nightly (very good), but I recommend you have a look at it on your iPhone, iPad, or Android based device.

Very impressive. Feels like native Cocoa Touch scrolling. (Performance is acceptable, but not great, on Android.)

Code Names 

Daniel Ionescu:

Google’s Andy Rubin, the lead engineer behind the Android OS, said that “full support” for Flash is coming in Froyo, the code-name for version 2.2 of Android.

The code name for the release of iPhone OS with support for Flash is “Get Bent”.

Google I/O 2010 Session Schedule 

Speaking of developer conferences, Google has posted the schedule for I/O, coming in mid-May. I feel like there’s a great story on the differences between Google and Apple — cultural, strategic, technical — just based on the differences between I/O and WWDC. I mean, just look at the design of the I/O session schedule.

Ze Frank’s Chillout Song 

Sweet.

Jason Chen Retains Criminal Defense Lawyer 

First smart move he’s made in this saga. (If Brian Lam is smart, he’ll lawyer up too.)

Apple IIe Twitter Terminal 

Regarding the iPhone- and iPad-only Apple Design Awards this year, I quipped on Twitter that the Mac was with the Apple II as a platform that wasn’t eligible this year. That doesn’t mean I think the Mac is going away. Apple is selling more Macs than ever; it’s an extremely profitable business. You can’t create iPhone apps without a Mac.

But despite the fact that Apple’s Mac business has never been bigger, it’s already been eclipsed by the iPhone OS business — iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads. If you pause and close your eyes, you can feel it — the tectonic plates are shifting underfoot. The long-term trend is inevitable.

That said, though, what’s funny is that we could have had an Apple II ADA winner — this guy turned an Apple IIe into a Twitter terminal.

WWDC 2010: June 7-11 

Apple finally announces WWDC dates. Note that last year’s WWDC was held the same week (June 8-12), but was announced on March 26. The ticket price has gone up from $1295 to $1599, and airfare prices are significantly higher with so few weeks notice.

The focus is heavily iPhone OS centric. There are some Mac OS X developer sessions and labs, but not many. (Translation: Mac OS X 10.7 is not going to be announced this year.) The IT track appears to be gone. Looking at the session list, one could argue that this year’s WWDC is an iPhone OS developers conference, not an Apple developers conference. Look no further than this year’s Apple Design Awards, which will only honor iPhone and iPad apps — no category for Mac apps.

Good Luck Feigning Ignorance 

Nick Bilton surveys legal opinion on the Gizmodo case:

In contrast to Mr. Zimmerman’s views, David Sugden, a California lawyer who specializes in intellectual property litigation, said the state shield law might not apply, if stolen property were involved. […]

Mr. Sugden cited an example with celebrity images that are often bought by gossip sites like TMZ.com or Us Weekly. He said, “When TMZ takes photos of a celebrity, it’s in plain view, which is legal,” but cautioned, “TMZ would be in trouble if the reporters were breaking into houses to take those photos of people.”

Mr. Sugden said Gizmodo’s best defense would be to argue that it didn’t know the phone was Apple’s property when it was shown to them.

Good luck to the editors of a web site that specializes in mobile gadgetry — owned by the same publisher that received this warning from Apple just two months prior — arguing that they didn’t know that a heretofore unseen iPhone prototype, for which they were willing to pay $5000, belonged to Apple. And that’s their best defense.

The EFF Disputes the Validity of the Gizmodo Warrant 

Matt Zimmerman, EFF:

Under California and federal law, this warrant should never have issued.

By his interpretation of these laws, journalists in California cannot be subject to search warrants no matter what they do — no matter what laws they may break — to obtain the material and information for their reporting. That would certainly be quite a precedent.

Steve Jobs to Appear Onstage at D8 Conference 

Kara Swisher:

Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs will appear at the eighth D: All Things Digital, in an interview on the opening night, kicking off our tech and media conference that will also include famed Hollywood director James Cameron, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, among others.

June 1 in Los Angeles.

Mozilla Fennec ‘Pre-Alpha’ for Android 

It’ll be interesting to see if Gecko can be turned into a worthy mobile competitor to WebKit. (They realize alpha is the first letter of the alphabet?)

The Bygone Bureau’s New Design 

Remember jQuery Masonry, a web page layout toolkit I linked to yesterday? The Bygone Bureau are using it to achieve a lovely and previously impossible layout.

App Store Rejection of the Week: Michael Wolff 

Michael Wolff:

The stated reason for the rejection of my free app is that Apple requires “sufficient amounts of content to appeal to a broad audience.” Putting aside the fact that this pretty much makes specialty content ineligible for iPhone or iPad apps, it’s also a pretty fudgy standard. For instance, I get a bigger readership for my online columns than I do for my Vanity Fair columns — so Vanity Fair shouldn’t make the cut?

Where we are is that Apple is now creating a distribution system for books and periodicals — in a sense, no different from a newsstand or bookstore — which it proposes to regulate as it sees fit, without explanation, recourse, or standards.

I don’t get it. I looked at the Android version of his app, and it’s effectively a dedicated RSS reader for Wolff’s columns, with ads from AdMob. There are dozens of apps like this in Apple’s App Store.

Five Reasons iPhone vs. Android Isn’t Like Mac vs. Windows 

Astute analysis from Mark Sigal. Android may well grow to overwhelm the iPhone OS in terms of market share, but if so, it won’t be for the same reasons Windows did on the desktop.

Investigators Have Found the Finder 

Mary Duan, San Jose Business Journal:

Investigators said they have identified and interviewed the person who took the phone from the Gourmet Haus Staudt on March 18 after it was left there by Apple engineer Gray Powell following a birthday celebration. Officials were unable to tell the Business Journal whether that person, whose name has not been released, was the same person who eventually sold the phone to tech Web site Gizmodo.com. […]

Wagstaffe said that an outside counsel for Apple, along with Apple engineer Powell, called the District Attorney’s office on Wednesday or Thursday of last week to report a theft had occurred and they wanted it investigated.

Chip Maker Intrinsity Moving to North Korea 

Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone:

Apple has bought the company that many analysts say helped make the brain in the iPad tablet, people familiar with the deal said Tuesday.

Apple has finalized a deal to acquire a small chip company called Intrinsity, Apple confirmed. Intrinsity, of Austin, Tex., made a name for itself by creating a fast chip for mobile devices in cooperation with Samsung, both a partner and competitor to Apple.

Google’s Andy Rubin Compares iPhone to North Korea 

Brad Stone of the NYT interviewed Andy Rubin last week:

Mr. Rubin also addressed many other topics—like whether consumers actually care if their mobile phone software is “open” or not. He insisted that they will, comparing closed computing platforms to totalitarian governments that deprive their citizens of choice. “When they can’t have something, people do care. Look at the way politics work. I just don’t want to live in North Korea,” he said.

Paul Ohm: ‘Searching Journalists in the Terabyte Age’ 

Great piece by Paul Ohm on the breadth of material taken by authorities when they confiscate modern computers:

In other words, all of the rules that govern police searches of news offices were created in the age of typewriters, desks, filing cabinets, and stacks of paper.

Now, flash forward thirty years. The police who searched Jason Chen’s home seized the following: A MacBook, HP server, two Dell desktop computers, iPad, ThinkPad, two MacBook Pros, Iomega NAS, three external hard drives, and three flash drives. They also seized other storage-containing devices, including two digital cameras and two smart phones. If Jason Chen’s computing habits are anything like mine, the police likely seized many terabytes of disk space, storing hundreds of thousands (millions?) of files, containing information stretching back years. […]

At the very least, the courts should forbid the police from looking at any file timestamped before March 18, 2010, and in addition, they should force the police to comply with the Comprehensive Drug Testing rules.

The Comprehensive Drug Testing rules (which Ohm describes in his piece) are very fair, and ought to be applied here. But the timestamp idea, however well-intentioned, isn’t practical — timestamps are trivial to change.

CNet: Journalist Shield Law May Not Halt iPhone Probe 

Declan McCullagh and Greg Sandoval:

Eugene Volokh, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles who teaches First Amendment law, says that court decision — the case is called Rosato v. Superior Court (PDF) — means that California’s state shield law “wouldn’t apply to subpoenas or searches for evidence of such criminal activity.”

Translated: If Gizmodo editors are, in fact, a target of a criminal probe into the possession or purchase of stolen property, the search warrant served on editor Jason Chen on Friday appears valid.

Adobe Flash Player Installer Requires You to Force Quit the Finder? 

Another great Adobe installer.

RIM Releases BlackBerry OS 6 Video 

Jay Yarow:

It’s obvious what RIM wants you to think when you watch this video: “Wow, this is kind of like an iPhone.” That’s because the whole video is showing people dancing around, pretending to zoom around a big BlackBerry with a touch user interface.

The big problem with that line of logic is that RIM does NOT have a good, popular touchscreen phone, and is hardly a touch-focused company. The only touchscreen BlackBerry, the Storm, is garbage compared to an iPhone.

And I thought RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis just told us that people are abandoning touchscreen phones and going back to hardware keyboard QWERTY phones?

Playing Coy 

BBC News, talking to Jennifer Granick, the EFF’s civil liberties director:

The second issue the EFF is concerned about is if police officers are doing the investigative work of a private company. “If there was some offence here it is not apparent what it is”, she said.

Actually, it’s very apparent, and quite simple. They’re looking at Jason Chen and Gizmodo on felony charges for buying stolen property. This police raid was not about what Gizmodo published.

BBEdit 9.5 

Another major update to an eminent Mac app. Major new features include an in-window live search bar, and an impressive new system for attaching scripts to application and document events. Amazingly, it’s a free update for existing BBEdit 9.0 users.

(No one does release notes like Bare Bones does release notes.)

Amy Hoy: ‘The iPad, and the Staggering Work of Obviousness’ 

Amy Hoy:

Nevertheless, the shortsightedness of punditry is evergreen. Instead of praising the iPad, critics express their disappointment, because they expected more. They expected a genre buster. They expected something they’d never seen before, something beyond their imagination. Something revolutionary.

They’re disappointed that the iPad is so… well… unsurprising.

Therein, of course, lies the genius.

Spotify 0.4.3 

I occasionally link to things — e.g. Hulu videos — that, due to the byzantine ways major media corporations manage copyright, are only available to people in the U.S. Here’s something cool that’s only available outside the U.S.: a major new version of Spotify. (Of course, it’s not available everywhere outside the U.S.)

Transmit 4.0 

Been beta testing this for a while. It’s very nice. My favorite feature:

With the new Transmit Disk feature, you can now mount any of your favorites in the Finder itself, even if Transmit’s not running. These volumes are real: drag files to your SFTP server, save a small graphic to your Amazon S3 bucket directly from Photoshop, or roll your own iDisk-like backup volume.

And, finally, hierarchical list views. The interactive product web page is itself a thing of beauty.

NYT Story on Computers Seized From Jason Chen 

Brian Stelter and Nick Bilton:

Legal experts said there was little doubt that bloggers qualified. “Of all places, California is probably the most clear that what Gizmodo does and what Jason Chen does is journalism,” said Sam Bayard, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

He said the case could hinge on whether there is an exception in the law involving a journalist committing a crime, “in this case receipt of stolen property. He said “this seems unlikely based on the plain language of the statute.”

In other words, if the only target of the criminal investigation is the kid who found the unit and sold it to Gizmodo, then yes, Jason Chen should be considered protected by California’s shield law. They should have issued a subpoena (which means asking Chen to talk to them), and not used a warrant to break into, search, and confiscate items from his home.

But if Chen (and, presumably, his employer, Gawker Media) is himself the target of a felony investigation, the shield laws aren’t relevant. The shield laws are about allowing journalists to protect sources.

Joe, Joe, Joe 

Joe Wilcox, not being sarcastic:

Surely Gawker’s legal department vetted everything before allowing one word, photo or video to be posted about the iPhone prototype.

You must be new to this story, Joe.

President Obama Praises the World Champion New York Yankees 

Bryan Hoch, MLB.com:

Monday brought the ultimate acknowledgment of their six-game Fall Classic victory over the Phillies, as President Barack Obama welcomed the Yankees into a jam-packed East Room of the White House to celebrate their triumph one final time.

“It’s been nine years since your last title, which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans,” Obama said. “I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that — the Cubs, for example.

I love that Obama, a White Sox fan, worked in a dig at the Cubs.

Boy Genius Report Acquired by MMC; Boy Genius Reveals Himself 

Rebranding as BGR. Congratulations to Jonathan Geller, a.k.a. “Boy Genius”, both on the acquisition and on successfully maintaining his anonymity until he chose to reveal it.

Nick Denton on Whether Gawker Writers Are Journalists 

My personal take is that Gawker writers and editors, including those at Gizmodo, are clearly journalists. Journalists are those who commit journalism, regardless of medium. Gawker chief Nick Denton, however, in an interview with Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz last year, doesn’t seem to see it that way:

“We don’t seek to do good,” says Denton, wearing a purplish shirt, jeans and a beard that resembles a three-day growth. “We may inadvertently do good. We may inadvertently commit journalism. That is not the institutional intention.”

(Bonus: Note the caption under the picture of Gawker staff writers.)

Simplenote for iPad 

My favorite iPhone notes app is now a universal binary, with a native iPad UI. I’ve been beta testing it for a few weeks, and it’s just great. Not sure I’ll ever use Pages for iPad again.

Their web site isn’t updated with iPad specific screenshots yet, but it’s a free download, so get it.

John Cook’s First Day on the Job at Yahoo News 

Today was the first day on the job at Yahoo News for John Cook, the “reporter/blogger” who filed the aforelinked piece “What is Apple Inc.’s role in task force investigating iPhone case?”.

His former employer, until earlier this month? Gawker Media.

Due to what I can only assume to be an editing error, this relationship was not mentioned in his piece.

Update: 24 hours later, a disclaimer was appended to the article.

The Police and San Mateo County District Attorney Take Orders From Apple? 

The Macalope on this Yahoo News piece by John Cook questioning Apple’s role in the investigation, on the grounds that Apple is one of 25 companies that sit on the REACT task force steering committee.

What’s the counter-argument? That REACT should never investigate any crime against one of the companies on its steering committee? What company would sign up for that? My inbox is chockablock with messages from those who think Apple initiated this. That can’t happen. This is a criminal investigation, not a civil lawsuit. Apple gets to decide whether to file civil litigation. The San Mateo district attorney gets to decide whether to launch a criminal investigation. We don’t know yet whether Apple has been in contact with the DA, but, why wouldn’t they? They can tell the DA what happened. They can’t order the DA what to do.

Cook botches this, implying in his article that the police who raided Chen’s home take orders from Apple:

Which raises the question as to whether Apple, which was outraged enough about Gizmodo’s $5,000 purchase of the lost iPhone for CEO Steve Jobs to reportedly call Gawker Media owner Nick Denton to demand its return, sicked its high-tech cops on Chen.

EFF Lawyer: Seizure of Gizmodo Editor’s Computers Violates State and Federal Law 

Avram Piltch:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Internet’s leading digital rights advocacy group, has also taken a public position on the search, telling us that California’s search warrant is illegal and should never have been issued. In a phone interview this afternoon, EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick told us: “There are both federal and state laws here in California that protect reporters and journalists from search and seizure for their news gathering activities. The federal law is the Privacy Protection Act and the state law is a provision of the penal code and evidence code. It appears that both of those laws may be being violated by this search and seizure.”

Granick said that, even if Jason Chen is under investigation for receipt of stolen property, the government has no right to issue a search warrant, because California law includes exceptions for journalists who are in receipt of information from sources.

Or, as summarized by The Macalope:

Shorter EFF: buying stolen merchandise is fine as long as you write a story about it.

God bless the EFF, they do good work, and I can see why they want to err on the side of the media. But this is uncharted territory. If you think paying $5,000 (or more — the $5,000 figure comes from Nick Denton) to purchase stolen property qualifies as “news gathering activities”, show me the case law.

‘These Are Jason Chen’s Computers’ 

“They’re the real thing.”

Good Luck With the Shield Law Argument 

Henry Blodget:

The search warrant is ambiguous about the specific reason the police gave for the search and seizure. Specifically, it’s possible — likely, even — that the police believe Gawker Media committed the felony by acquiring the iPhone (“buying stolen property”).

If that’s the “probable cause” the police used to obtain the warrant, the journalist shield law may not apply.

Journalist shield laws are about journalists being able to protect sources who may have committed crimes. They’re not a license for journalists to commit crimes themselves. Gawker is making an argument that is beside the point. They’re arguing, “Hey, bloggers are journalists.” The state of California is arguing “Hey, you committed a felony.”

Steve Jobs’s Advice to Nike: ‘Get Rid of the Crappy Stuff’ 

Nike CEO Mark Parker on the advice he got from Steve Jobs.

Police Seize Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen’s Computers 

Uh-oh, looks like someone may have committed a felony.

Update: From Gizmodo’s report:

Here is all the documentation (Jason Chen’s personal details are pixelated).

So, Gray Powell’s personal details get plastered all over Gizmodo. Jason Chen’s get pixelated.

jQuery Masonry 

Fascinating web page layout toolkit by David DeSandro. (Via Cameron Moll.)

Gawker Media Posts the Legal Advice They Received Before Purchasing the Stolen iPhone Prototype 

“Oh yeah.”

What If You Had Bought Apple Stock Instead of That Apple Product? 

If you’d bought Apple stock instead of a $5,700 PowerBook G3 in November 1997, you’d be sitting on a cool $330,000 today. (Via Kottke.)

No Nexus One on Verizon 

Google:

In the US, if you’ve been waiting for the Nexus One for Verizon Wireless’ network, head over to http://phones.verizonwireless.com/htc/incredible to pre-order the Droid Incredible by HTC, a powerful new Android phone and a cousin of the Nexus One that is similarly feature-packed.

Makes sense — the Incredible is mostly the same hardware, but with a better camera. The Incredible uses HTC’s custom Sense UI, though, so it’s not the pure Google UI like the Nexus One.

NYT: ‘Criminal Charges Possible in the Case of the Lost iPhone’ 

Nick Bilton:

The San Mateo district attorney could act by early next week, according to people involved in the investigation. The office has the option of filing felony charges. […]

[…] According to people familiar with the investigation, who would not speak on the record because of the potential legal case, charges would most likely be filed against the person or people who sold the prototype iPhone and possibly the buyer.

Israel Lifts Ban on Imports of Apple iPad 

Reuters:

Israel will begin allowing people to bring Apple iPads into the country starting on Sunday, two weeks after customs began confiscating the tablet computers for fear they would interfere with other wireless devices.

‘Mick’s Rock. I’m Roll.’ 

Sean O’Hagan on Exile on Main Street:

In places, Exile on Main Street does indeed sound, in the best possible way, like an album made by a bunch of drunks and junkies who were somehow firing on all engines.

Dilbert on the Lost Prototype iPhone 

“It worked great until my fourth stein, then it started misspelling everything.”

Tom Wolfe on Mark Twain 

The novelist’s novelist.

The Understated Elegance of Mariano Rivera 

Harvey Araton:

Rivera, 40, has been so good for so long that Reggie Jackson ranks him not in the category of the bullpen specialist but in the transcendent grouping of sports icons.

“For what he does, he’s maybe the most dominant athlete other than Bill Russell that I know,” Jackson said. “But it’s also in the way he does it. Quiet. Humble. Mariano is regal, baseball royalty.”

CanvasMol 

Splendid HTML5 app for 3D molecule modeling. (Thanks to DF reader Jonas Lekevičius.)

Put This On: Shoes 

Absolutely delightful interview with Raul Ojeda, manager of Willie’s Shoe Service in Hollywood.

‘On the Fritz’ 

No one knows where the phrase comes from.

iPad USB Camera Adapter Supports Audio Headsets, Too 

Glenn Fleishman:

I tested a Skype call with a USB headset, and the quality was just terrific. This make the iPad even more viable for phone calls, omitting a requirement for a Bluetooth headset which requires separate charging and pairing.

Matt Casamassina Joins Apple as App Store ‘Editorial Games Manager’ 

Matt Casamassina:

Anybody who has read my work through the years will know that I’ve long been a huge Nintendo fan, but if there is one company that could entice me away from covering Mario and Zelda it’s the one owned by Steve Jobs. Beginning early May, I will join Apple as global editorial games manager, App Store. In a nutshell, I will be leading the charge for games on the App Store, so whether you browse through iTunes, iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, the games content you see will be handpicked and organized by me and my team. I couldn’t be happier.

Casamassina has been a longtime presence in the Nintendo news media.

Instapaper Pro 2.2.3 

Great improvements to an essential iPhone and iPad app.

Paratroopers: Air Assault 

My thanks to Software Factory for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Paratroopers: Air Assault, a game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Shoot enemy paratroopers out of the sky before they hit the ground and attack your base. Nice artwork, great sound, weapon upgrades, achievements, and more.

On sale right now for just $0.99 on the App Store.

CNet: Lost iPhone Prototype Spurs Police Probe 

CNet:

Silicon Valley police are investigating what appears to be a lost Apple iPhone prototype purchased by a gadget blog, a transaction that may have violated criminal laws, a law enforcement official told CNET on Friday.

Apple has spoken to local police about the incident and the investigation is believed to be headed by a computer crime task force led by the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office, the source said. Apple’s Cupertino headquarters is in Santa Clara County, about 40 miles south of San Francisco.

Uh-oh.

YouTube Video: ‘Gizmodo “Leaks” Another Prized Apple Product’ 

Another “found” item.

Chris Ware’s Rejected Fortune Cover 

Wonderful, hilarious illustration. Can’t believe they didn’t run it.

More Proof That the Japanese Hate the iPhone 

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc.’s iPhone shipments to Japan more than doubled in the past year, capturing 72 percent of the country’s smartphone market, a research firm said.

They just keep hating it more and more.

Best Practices for Creating a Presentation on a Mac for Use on an iPad 

Tips for Keynote for iPad users from Apple.

Michael Tyznik’s Speculative U.S. Currency Designs 

Not perfect, but way better than what the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing has stuck us with. (Via Zeldman.)

Update: Switched to a URL that works.

Trade Secret Liability in the Gizmodo N90 iPhone Affair 

Jonathan Ballerano makes the case.

Reuters: ‘Lenovo Emerges as Leading Candidate to Acquire Palm’ 

HTC is apparently interested, too, but considers Palm’s current asking price too high. (Remember that in addition to WebOS, Palm has a deep mobile patent portfolio.)

Google and Adobe, Sitting in a Tree 

Google VP of Android engineering Andy Rubin, in a weblog post for Adobe:

Google believes that developers should have their choice of tools and technologies to create applications. By supporting Adobe AIR on Android we hope that millions of creative designers and developers will be able to express themselves more freely when they create applications for Android devices. More broadly, AIR will foster rapid and continuous innovation across the mobile ecosystem.

Google is happy to be partnering with Adobe to bring the full web, great applications, and developer choice to the Android platform.

Translation: “We’re allied against iPhone OS.”

Technical Difficulties at the Supreme Court 

Not exactly tech savvy:

At one point, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked what would happen if a text message was sent to an officer at the same time he was sending one to someone else.

“Does it say: ‘Your call is important to us, and we will get back to you?’” Kennedy asked.

Update: Lots of feedback from readers pointing out that most of these remarks were taken out of context. Having now read the actual transcript, I agree, and regret having linked to this.

Nokia Earnings Rise, But Disappoint Analysts 

CNet:

“In Q1, Nokia delivered both year-on-year net sales and operating profit growth,” Chief Executive Officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in a statement. “We continue to face tough competition with respect to the high end of our mobile device portfolio, as well as challenging market conditions on the infrastructure side.”

Wall Street’s reaction to the news: a 13 percent drop in Nokia’s stock.

Super Slow Motion Footage of the Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch 

Great footage and wonderful narration by Mark Gray.

Peter Kafka on Hulu’s Purported $10/Month Subscription Plan 

Peter Kafka:

Also, access to Hulu on the iPad seems a bit less valuable given that Disney’s ABC, one of Hulu’s owners, is already giving away free access to its shows via a very popular app. Industry sources says Hulu CEO Jason Kilar tried desperately to get ABC not to introduce its free app for this very reason.

But while Disney is a minority owner in Hulu, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the largest individual shareholder in Disney. If you want to connect the dots on that one, you’ll be doing the same thing everyone else in TV Land is doing.

Letterman’s Top Ten Excuses of the Guy Who Lost the iPhone Prototype 

“It must have fallen out of my iPants.”

The iPad DJ: Rana Sobhany 

Apparently she didn’t get the memo that the iPad is not a creative tool, and is just for consumption. Very cool.

Technical Note TN2267: Video Decode Acceleration Framework Reference 

New from Apple in Mac OS X 10.6.3:

The Video Decode Acceleration framework is a C programming interface providing low-level access to the H.264 decoding capabilities of compatible GPUs such as the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M. It is intended for use by advanced developers who specifically need hardware accelerated decode of video frames.

This sounds exactly like what Adobe has been asking for — it should provide a big improvement to Flash Player H.264 playback. (Via Michael Tsai.)

Ryan Block on the Legality of Tech Leaks in General 

Interesting perspective, but I’ll emphasize here that most leaks involve breaking contracts. There are ethical and legal issues with that, no argument. But what makes this Gizmodo/iPhone story unprecedented is that it involved their purchasing the actual unit. Not obtaining information but obtaining property.

Android Running on the iPhone 

Incredible hack.

New U.S. $100 Even Uglier 

Why are we making our money ugly? We’re ruining one of the greatest visual brands in history.

Scott Robbin’s iPad Split Keyboard 

I’d like something like this, although I think it’d be more useful in portrait mode than landscape. At least in landscape you can comfortably type with all of your fingers. The portrait keyboard is in a no-man’s land — too small for using all your fingers, too big for just your thumbs. Dan Provost suggested something similar on January 30.

Update: Just noticed that Robbin’s post was from January as well. All I can say is that in practice, iPad in hand, these ideas seem even better now than they did in January.

Jason Snell on Apple’s Great Quarterly Results 

Includes a different, and perhaps more informative, chart showing revenue breakdown by division (iPhone, Mac, iPod) over time.

The Conversation 12: The Gizmodo/iPhone Thing 

Earlier today, Andy Ihnatko and your humble narrator were on Dan Benjamin’s The Conversation, to talk about the Gizmodo/iPhone saga. Another good show from Dan.

Google Buys Agnilux, Semiconductor Firm Founded by Former PA Semi Employees 

Seth Weintraub:

Agnilux was founded by members of the PA Semi (originally “Palo Alto Semiconductor”) company that was purchased by Apple for $278 million in April 2008.  After the purchase, many of the top employees were reportedly upset at the pricing of the stock options Apple granted to them. They left to form Agnilux, the super secret early stage start-up that Google just grabbed.

Apple’s Revenue by Product Division 

Silicon Alley Insider’s chart of the day:

Apple’s iPhone business, which didn’t exist three years ago, now represents a whopping 40% of the company’s revenue, and has been the company’s biggest revenue generator for three quarters in a row.

Keep in mind, too, that iPod Touches don’t count toward the “iPhone” revenue numbers, even though they’re iPhone OS devices. Compare and contrast with Microsoft.

‘Someone Has It Backwards’ 

Interesting. Apple has responded publicly to Adobe’s Mike Chambers’s claim that Flash is an open platform:

“Someone has it backwards — it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary,” said spokeswoman Trudy Miller in a statement.

Spot-on.

HTML5 Is My Arcade 

Knocking at Flash’s door.

‘The Guy Was Pretty Hectic About It’ 

Jeff Bercovici called the owner of Gourmet Haus Staudt:

What [the “finders” of the phone] never did, however, was notify anyone who worked at the bar, according to its owner, Volcker Staudt. That would have been the simplest way to get the phone back to the Apple employee who lost it, who “called constantly trying to retrieve it” in the days afterward, recalls Volcker. “The guy was pretty hectic about it.”

Theft.

Blowing Up HTML5 Video and Mapping It Into 3D Space 

Wild.

Adobe’s Mike Chambers on Section 3.3.1 and Adobe’s Response 

Mike Chambers:

While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5. Developers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store.

We will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5. However, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature.

They’re resting their hopes for Flash as a mobile platform on Android.

Twitterrific 1.0.1 for iPad 

Update to the best iPad Twitter client adds Instapaper support (sweet) and fixes bugs.

Claim Chowder: Tomi Ahonen on iPhone Sales 

Tomi Ahonen, former Nokia executive and self-professed expert on mobile phones, 11 days ago:

You read it right. I am writing the first history of the once-iconic iPhone, written now in early April 2010, before Apple has released its first quarter earnings for 2010. This is literally the peak of the short reign that Apple’s iPhone had as the most emulated smartphone. […] And mark my words, the numbers are now very clear, Apple’s market share peak among smartphones, and among all handsets, on an annual basis, is being witnessed now. Yes its true, Apple cannot grow market share into 2011. But its not for reasons you might think.

[ten thousand words of gibberish snipped]

The Apple iPhone sales pattern differs from all other major smartphone makers because Apple only releases one new model per year. So the sales take off strongly and then decline as the rivals keep releasing newer phones. Apple’s best quarter is its Christmas quarter. This year they were not able to grow market share. And we already know, that Apple’s January-March quarter was a heavy fall from the Christmas level of sales (as it always is, this is the normal pattern).

Apple, today:

The Company sold 8.75 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 131 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

So the “heavy fall from the Christmas level of sales” we “already know” about was, uh, an increase of 50,000 iPhones. This was the most iPhones Apple has ever sold in a quarter. (And does not count the 63 percent year-over-year growth in sales of the iPod Touch.)

Unaffiliated Apple Analysts Out-Perform Wall Street Analysts Again 

Turley Muller was the most accurate, once again. (And even he vastly underestimated the total number of iPhones sold.) If you’ve got money invested in Apple stock, take note of these track records.

High DPI Web Sites 

Dave Hyatt on CSS pixels and high-resolution displays, from back in 2006. Also highly informative.

A Pixel Is Not a Pixel Is Not a Pixel 

Peter-Paul Koch on CSS pixels and display resolutions. Informative, as always.

Regarding Flash Player for Smartphones 

Kevin C. Tofel:

Whether you agree with Apple’s steadfast refusal to allow Flash on its mobile devices, the lack of Flash doesn’t appear to be hurting Apple device sales. Even without Flash support, Apple recently reported it has sold a total of 50 million iPhones and in only a few days, 500,000 iPads, not to mention a vast number of iPod touch devices. Some consumers do refuse to buy a Flash-less Apple device, but I’d wager that they’re in the minority.

Number of iPhones with Flash Player: 0.

Number of competing phones with Flash Player: 0.

We keep hearing that the second number is going to change. If and when it does, we’ll see whether it’s a competitive problem for the iPhone and iPad.

And for what it’s worth, I still haven’t seen a definitive answer as to whether Google plans to make Flash Player a standard component for Android, even when Adobe releases it.

SproutCore Touch 

Impressive framework for creating touchscreen HTML5 interfaces. Their demo — a documentation viewer — works great on the iPad.

Apple Q2 Earnings: Another Great Quarter 

Revenue and profits are way up. iPhone, iPod, and Mac sales all beat consensus estimates. iPhone sales were up 131 percent year-over-year — an astounding number, given that they sold more iPhones this quarter than during the holiday quarter. Best non-holiday quarter in company history.

Here’s Apple’s data (PDF).

Macworld’s Live Coverage of Apple’s Q2 2010 Financial Call 

Starts at 5pm EDT. My money says Steve Jobs is not on the call, and Apple will have nothing more than “no comment” to say regarding the much-publicized stolen iPhone 4G. But, we can hope.

iPad Thieves Rip Off Part of Man’s Finger 

Gruesome story in Denver:

Jordan left the store with his iPad bag tied around his hand. Unreleased surveillance film shows two young men following him.

A few feet from the doors to the parking garage Jordan felt a violent tugging at his arm. He looked down and saw a young man trying to grab his bag. “He was almost sitting on the ground he was pulling so hard and it was still tied around my fingers; and it wouldn’t come off and then finally he gave it one big jerk; and that’s when he stripped the skin off my pinky and it went right down to the bone.”

Nick Denton has obtained the finger for $10,000.

Mark Fiore’s NewsToons App Now in App Store 

Remember when this was the hot Apple news?

Has Gizmodo Broken the Law With Its iPhone Story? 

Ian Betteridge has an excellent post examining the legal implications of the stolen next-gen iPhone affair, including citations from the relevant sections of the California code.

Betteridge concludes that Apple will not file a criminal complaint. That’s certainly the question right now.

Selecting Hair With Refine Edge in Photoshop CS5 

I remember when this sort of masking took hours of painstaking work.

Jeff Bercovici, for DailyFinance:

Asked whether he’s concerned his company may have committed a crime in buying the phone, Denton says that Gaby Darbyshire, Gawker Media’s chief operating officer, researched the relevant case law and came away satisfied that Gizmodo was in the clear.

Gaby Darbyshire, however keen a legal mind she may possess, is not a U.S. attorney. She’s a former English trial lawyer. I suspect Denton might have gotten different advice if he’d asked a California attorney familiar with California’s lost property statute:

One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.

Marco Arment’s iPhone OS Font Test Page 

Back in 2007 I put together a test page to see which fonts were included in the original iPhone OS. It’s fallen out of date. Marco Arment has made a new version, and it’s a bit more cleverly coded, in that unsupported fonts all show up rendered in Marker Felt, making them easy to discern.

The bad news: the swell new fonts Apple has included in the iPad’s OS (like Baskerville, Futura, Gill Sans, and Hoefler Text) are not included in the iPhone OS 4.0 beta 1. And in both OSes, they’re still including the anemic Courier New but not good sturdy Courier. And don’t get me started on including Arial when Helvetica is right there.

Looks Right 

I agree with Todd Heasley — it’s delightfully Dieter Rams-ish.

Charles Arthur on the Legal Implications of Gizmodo Buying a Stolen iPhone Prototype 

I don’t see how Gizmodo can plausibly argue that they didn’t know, all along, that this unit belonged to Apple. Are they counting on Apple forgiving and forgetting once the unit has been returned?

Apple Senior VP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell Sends Letter to Gizmodo Asking for Device to Be Returned 

The jokey tone of Brian Lam’s post reporting this letter and the focus on the “see, we’re giving it back!” angle, distracts from the most interesting aspect. Lam quotes his own response to Sewell, wherein he writes:

Happy to have you pick this thing up. Was burning a hole in our pockets. Just so you know, we didn’t know this was stolen when we bought it.

Stolen, not lost.

Palm Loses Head of WebOS Development to Twitter 

MG Siegler:

Last Friday, news hit that Michael Abbott, Palm’s head of software and services, the man in charge of its webOS platform, was leaving the company. […] Abbott will be joining Twitter as the company’s new vice president of engineering, we’ve learned and confirmed with the company.

New York Times Story on Gizmodo’s iPhone Prototype 

Miguel Helft and Nick Bilton, reporting for the NYT:

The person who found the phone peddled it to Gizmodo, which bought it for $5,000, Nick Denton, chief executive of Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, said by instant message. […]

No sourcing from the Times to verify the phone was “found”, rather than obtained by some other means, other than Gizmodo’s own reporting.

By late in the day, reports began to surface on the Internet that Apple’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, had called Gizmodo to get the device back. Mr. Denton declined to comment, saying any conversation between Mr. Jobs and Gizmodo would most likely have been off the record.

What reports, where? Update: Presumably they were referring to this post at The Awl from Choire Sicha. Would have been good for the NYT to note that Sicha was a long-time employee of Denton’s, having served as Gawker editorial director.

“We haven’t had any formal communication with Apple,” he said. Brian Lam, the editor in chief of Gizmodo, said his publication would “probably” return the device to Apple.

“Probably” as opposed to what? There are a mountain of legal issues I believe Gizmodo has already run afoul of, but under what grounds can they possibly not return this unit to Apple? It is Apple’s property and Gizmodo is in possession of it.

Apple’s Mac OS X Resolution Independence Guidelines 

Developers should be thinking in terms of points — physical units of measurement — not pixels.

Android’s ‘Density-Independent Pixel’ 

Android devices have wildly-varying pixel-per-inch resolutions. To aid developers, the OS offers a “density-independent pixel” unit of measurement:

A virtual pixel unit that applications can use in defining their UI, to express layout dimensions or position in a density-independent way.

The density-independent pixel is equivalent to one physical pixel on a 160 dpi screen, the baseline density assumed by the platform (as described later in this document). At run time, the platform transparently handles any scaling of the dip units needed, based on the actual density of the screen in use. The conversion of dip units to screen pixels is simple: pixels = dips * (density / 160). For example, on 240 dpi screen, 1 dip would equal 1.5 physical pixels. Using dip units to define your application’s UI is highly recommended, as a way of ensuring proper display of your UI on different screens.

I suspect Apple will do something similar, except that by going straight from 480 × 320 to 960 × 640, everything just doubles in terms of pixels and nothing works out to a non-integer scaling factor.

Hulu iPad App in the Works, May Be Used to Test Subscriptions 

Brian Stelter and Brad Stone, reporting for the NYT:

People briefed on Hulu’s plan believe it may test the subscription approach with its iPad app. They could not say when such an application might be available.

[Hulu CEO Jason] Kilar declined to talk about any future Hulu products, but he waxed enthusiastic about the coming wave of ultra-portable tablet computers like the iPad. “Typically media consumption in the house was confined to the living room or home office,” he said. Tablets, he added, “allow consumers to serendipitously discover and consume media in every room of the house.”

When Hulu ships its iPad app, what becomes the next “This is why Apple has to add Flash Player to iPhone OS” poster child? FarmVille? Uh, maybe not.

Photograph of Steve Jobs’s Office 

Taken earlier today.

HTML5 Presentation 

Slideshow-style presentation on HTML5 made using HTML5.

Andy Ihnatko on the ‘(Increasingly Plausible) Miraculous Engadget (and Gizmodo) iPhone 4G’ 

Andy Ihnatko’s spot-on take:

Gizmodo has a lot of explaining to do.

For what it’s worth, Nick Denton says the backstory on how they got it is coming.

Gizmodo Paid for iPhone 4G Prototype 

Gawker chief Nick Denton on Twitter, in response to this question about how Gizmodo came into possession of a prototype next-generation iPhone:

Yes, we’re proud practitioners of checkbook journalism. Anything for the story!

Consider that if the device was truly lost by mistake, they have cost at least one person their career. And if the device was not lost but stolen… well, the story behind this unit is almost certainly more interesting than the device itself. And the device is fascinating.

Anyway, I heard yesterday from multiple sources that Gizmodo paid for the unit.

Hearts and Minds 

David Pogue on Google’s efforts to woo iPhone developers to Android.

Engadget Reviews the HTC/Verizon Droid Incredible 

Clearly the new king of the Android hill.

Filed for Future Claim Chowder: DigiTimes Reports Apple to Use OLED Display in Second-Gen iPads 

Max Wang and Joseph Tsai, reporting for DigiTimes:

Apple reportedly has started development of the second generation iPad using the same design concept as for the iPhone 4G, and will use an OLED panel, according to sources in the component industry.

But then they go on to point out that OLED displays of that size are prohibitively expensive:

Kuo noted that the current price of the 9.7-inch LCD panel for iPad is about US$60-70, but the price of a 9.7-inch OLED panel is about US$500. He said the price gap is unlikely to narrow significantly in 2010 or 2011.

In short, their report boils down to “Apple is going to use OLED displays in the next-generation iPad, even though such displays are impossibly expensive.

(Given what I’ve seen with the Nexus One, I don’t think Apple will ever use today’s OLED, regardless of cost, because of the wild hyper-vibrant color reproduction. Perhaps future OLED displays will solve that problem, though.)

Gizmodo Has the Purported Next-Gen iPhone in Hand 

It’s been an open secret to those of us in the racket that Gizmodo purchased this unit about a week ago, from those who claimed to find it. That this belongs to and was made by Apple is almost beyond question at this point. Just how much it looks like what Apple plans to ship this summer, I don’t know. Note that it’s thinner than a 3GS.

I’m mentioned in the article, and must respond. Jason Chen writes:

Apple-connected John Gruber — from Daring Fireball — says that Apple has indeed lost a prototype iPhone and they want it back:

So I called around, and I now believe this is an actual unit from Apple — a unit Apple is very interested in getting back.

Obviously someone found it, and here it is.

Note that I did not use the word “lost”. It is my understanding that Apple considers this unit stolen, not lost. And as for the “someone(s)” who “found” it, I believe it is disingenuous for Gizmodo to play coy, as though they don’t know who the someones are.

2006 Apple Patent Filing for Ceramic Enclosures 

In my research regarding Engadget’s purported photos of a next-gen iPhone, the factor that pushed me over the edge to believe that it’s authentic is the glass back. I know the trend for Apple of late has been toward unibody aluminum enclosures (exhibits A and B: MacBook Pros, iPad), but I think that works poorly for a phone, because the radios can’t get a strong signal. Multiple sources familiar with the next iPhone have confirmed to me that the back is made out of some sort of fancy glass — and looks pretty much exactly like what’s pictured at Engadget. That’s not the only reason I believe Engadget’s unit is legit, but it’s one.

Now, the thing I’ve been curious about ever since hearing about this “glass” back is durability. Everyone knows that dropping your iPhone is like dropping a piece of buttered toast — there’s a good side and a bad side it can land on. Put a glass back on these things and, in terms of drop survivability, it’d be like a piece of toast with butter on both sides, as it were.

But, reader Antoine Hebert emailed with this 2006 Apple patent application, for high-durability ceramic enclosures. Glass-like appearance and feel but far stronger and more scratch resistant. And: radio transparent.

Engadget Posts Pictures of Purported Next-Gen iPhone 

The story sounds like something out of a novel — someone “finds” a next-gen iPhone housed in a 3G case on the floor of a bar in San Jose, and, while the phone was at first operational, alas, the unit now no longer boots. Those in possession of the unit send pictures to the editors at Engadget, who posted them last night. I was highly skeptical, to say the least. But: intrigued.

Today, Engadget has doubled down and called it legit, offering as proof this blurry photo they obtained back in January, which if you squint right appears to show this very device next to a test unit iPad. This photo isn’t conclusive, clearly, but I believe Engadget’s confidence in the legitimacy of this unit is based partly on factors they can’t publish.

So I called around, and I now believe this is an actual unit from Apple — a unit Apple is very interested in getting back. I am not certain that this looks like the actual production unit Apple intends to ship to consumers. I think it’s a testbed frame — thicker, with visible (un-Apple-like) seams, meant to fit in 3GS cases so as to disguise units out in the wild. It’s hard to tell from the photos. But I think it is the real deal in terms of the internals and display being next-gen iPhone hardware, and the new glass back. Put another way: the front looks legit, the back looks legit, but the sides I’m not sure about. A front-facing camera and 960 × 640 display are two things I believe are slated for the next iPhone. (The “80 GB” of storage sounds like a mistake to me, but who knows? SSD storage typically comes only in even power-of-two increments.)

The most-cited counter-evidence is this photo, originally posted by Applesfera, which is purportedly of a counterfeit iPhone purchased in Japan, with the same style volume buttons and mute switch. Update: But now Applesfera claims that their reader who submitted the image admits it was a fake.

The whole story is a bit fishy, to say the least. But, to reiterate, I believe Engadget’s photos do show a pre-production or testbed Apple iPhone unit. The fishy parts are where it came from, who leaked the photos and sold the unit, and who did they sell it to?

Princeton Report Identifies iPad DHCP Problem 

iPads are continuing to use IP addresses after their leases have expired.

Clayton Morris Reviews the New Flip Slide HD 

Clumsy interface and expensive for what it offers.

Close It Up 

The AP Stylebook changes “Web site” to “website”. (I switched here at DF back in October.)

Sourcebits 

My thanks to Sourcebits for again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Sourcebits is a contract developer specializing in iPhone, iPad, mobile, Mac, and web software. Their iPhone apps have been downloaded over 4.5 million times from the App Store, and they have a growing list of Android and BlackBerry apps, too. If you’re looking for software development services, check out Sourcebits’s website for examples of their work, such as Climate, a brand-new iPhone weather app they just launched this week.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen on iPhone OS and Flash 

Skip to about the 3:30 mark to get to the good part.

Short translation: “We’re counting on Google to save Flash.”

Non-Apple’s Mistake 

Brilliant, must-read piece by Stanislav Datskovskiy:

I argue that Apple now has not one but two monopolies:

I) A nearly-total monopoly on computer (and pocket computer) systems designed with good taste.

II) A total monopoly on the Microsoft-free, hassle-free personal computer.

Mr. Jobs is indeed starting to behave like that other convicted monopolist we know and love. Yet unlike the latter, Jobs did not engage in underhanded business practices to create his monopolies. They were handed to him on a silver platter by the rest of the market, which insists on peddling either outright crap or cheap imitations of Apple’s aesthetic.

(Via Alex Payne.)

Photoshop CS5 64-Bit Benchmarks 

Fast.

The Only Tea Party Stat You Need to Know 

Not surprising.

Huh? 

Electronista on RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis’s keynote at a conference today:

The company leader also dismissed the importance of touchscreen phones. While it’s important to give customers what they want, touch-only phones like the iPhone aren’t that popular, Lazaridis argued. He claimed that most of the people buying touchscreen phones are going back to phones with hardware QWERTY keyboards, like those that made RIM “famous.”

Apple Asks Cartoonist Mark Fiore to Resubmit iPhone App 

Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, for the WSJ Digits weblog:

The cartoonist who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning this week says Apple has asked him to resubmit an iPhone app that it earlier rejected because it “ridicules public figures.” […]

A representative from Apple called the cartoonist Thursday and suggested that he resubmit the app, Mr. Fiore said in an interview. “I feel kind of guilty,” he said. “I’m getting preferential treatment because I got the Pulitzer.”

It’s not the Pulitzer that got him the phone call, it’s the publicity over his app’s rejection. (Of course, the publicity is largely fueled by his winning the Pulitzer.)

This sort of app should not have been rejected in the first place — shouldn’t even have been considered borderline. Resubmission and hoping for a different reviewer sometimes works in cases like this, but at this point, there’s no way for us to know whether Fiore is getting reconsidered only because of the publicity stink. It’s possible that it really is Apple’s policy to reject any app related to political satire. It’s also possible that it is not. That’s the core problem — that we don’t know.

Motorola’s Droid Problem 

So the new king of the Android hill is the HTC Droid Incredible — Nexus One-caliber hardware with HTC’s proprietary “Sense” UI, coming to Verizon April 29.

It occurred to me today that this shows just how bad a deal this whole Android/Droid thing is for Motorola. Motorola’s only relevant phone is the Droid. But Verizon owns the “Droid” brand, and now just a few months later, Verizon’s new flagship phone in the Droid line is made by HTC, not Motorola.

I don’t know if Motorola can afford it, but they ought to be doing whatever they can to scoop up Palm.

S.E.C. Sues Goldman Sachs 

The New York Times:

Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail.

Goldman’s stock is down 14 percent on the news. Couldn’t happen to a worse bunch of scumbags. (I’ll echo Tim Bray: “Pity it’s civil not criminal.”)

Unity vs. Section 3.3.1 

David Helgason on the Unity weblog:

Unity learned of these changes with the rest of you just last Thursday and today, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about these changes being final and what we may need to do to comply.

We’re meeting with Apple next week to discuss the matter, and our engineers have been discussing possible technical solutions as well.

New games made using Unity are still being accepted, so a finger in the wind suggests Unity is going to be deemed kosher.

App Store Rejection of the Week: Mark Fiore’s NewsToons 

Laura McGann:

This week cartoonist Mark Fiore made Internet and journalism history as the first online-only journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Fiore took home the editorial cartooning prize for animations he created for SFGate, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle. […]

But there’s just one problem. In December, Apple rejected his iPhone app, NewsToons, because, as Apple put it, his satire “ridicules public figures,” a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, which bars any apps whose content in “Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.”

This is preposterous, pure and simple, along the lines of last year’s fiasco with the Ninjawords dictionary app being forced to excise cuss words.

Fiore has not resubmitted his app, saying he’d heard about the experiences of others cartoonists and wasn’t in a position to get into a fight with Apple. Still, he has a hunch Apple will eventually change its mind on him, as it has with other cartoon apps. “They seem so much more innovative and smarter than that,” he told me.

I think he should have resubmitted immediately, and hoped for a different reviewer. But he should definitely resubmit now, given the amount of attention this rejection is drawing. I realize this was an app, not an e-book, but Apple can’t credibly run a book store while holding any sort of policy that bans political satire.

Update: Ruben Bolling (author of the wonderful Tom the Dancing Bug) reports on Twitter that Apple has asked Fiore to re-submit his app.

App Store Rejection of the Week, Runner-Up: Scratch 

Scratch is a well-regarded runtime geared toward allowing kids to create their own simple games and animations. They had a player app in the App Store, but it’s been removed. This is unfortunate, because it seems pretty cool, but, this is not the least bit surprising. It’s only surprising that it ever made it into the App Store in the first place.

There’s a gray zone regarding the “no code interpreters other than WebKit’s JavaScript engine” rule, but Scratch is way outside that gray zone. You can argue that the rule is wrong-headed (and you will be far from alone in doing so), but this is Apple being consistent, not inconsistent.

Apple’s intention with the “no interpreters” rule is to block meta platforms. Imagine a hypothetical arbitrary “Flash Player” app from Adobe, that allowed you to download SWF files — such an app would stand as an alternative to the App Store. What’s frustrating about Apple blocking Scratch is that Scratch doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that one could use to build software that’s even vaguely of the caliber of native iPhone apps. It’s really rudimentary stuff, focused on ease-of-programming. But what’s Apple to do? Change the rule to “no high-quality interpreters”?

The only way something like Scratch could get into the App Store would be if it used WebKit as its interpreter.

The Latest Improvements to the WebKit Web Inspector 

Looking good.

Toys 

Paul Graham:

At this point, when someone comes to us with something that users like but that we could envision forum trolls dismissing as a toy, it makes us especially likely to invest.

Google Backs Yahoo in Privacy Fight With DOJ 

Declan McCullagh:

Google and an alliance of privacy groups have come to Yahoo’s aid by helping the Web portal fend off a broad request from the U.S. Department of Justice for e-mail messages, CNET has learned.

Sony Announces ‘Division Two’ Vaio Laptops 

This does not sound like a good idea:

Sony is to launch a “division two” of VAIO laptops that are made and designed by other manufacturers.

NSA Chief Loves His iPad 

“Wonderful.”

Google Announces First Quarter 2010 Financial Results 

Revenue up 23 percent year-over-year, net income up even more.

Eyeballs Still Don’t Pay the Bills 

David Heinemeier Hansson on Ning’s layoffs:

Are you kidding me? The company has blown through $120M of VC funding over six years, built up massive traffic, yet just had to slash and burn, and you’re saying that “traffic growth is no longer good enough”. How the hell was it ever good enough?

Reminds me of First Citiwide Change Bank’s business model.

Dave Johnson Predicts Ubiquitous iAds 

Dave Johnson:

I gave $200 to Apple, and another $100/month to AT&T. Why does Apple now deserve additional revenue on an on-going basis just because I run apps on my phone?  You might say, “but wait, Dave — this is designed to help developers continue to release free apps.” If that’s true, why are paid apps also allowed to use iAd? Mark my words — in a year or so, pretty much all apps will use banner ads. Not just free ones.

Consider them marked.

Don’t Play The Tray 

Neven Mrgan on the iPhone OS 4 fast-switching tray:

Trying to “clean out” your tray is not a habit you want to get into. It’s pointless, and besides, you can never win - as soon as you run another app, in the tray it’ll go. It’s like the world’s worst game of Whac-A-Mole. Instead, learn to see the tray as a “recent apps” area. If you’re in the middle of one task - say, writing an email - and you need to switch to something for a second — say, looking up a spelling — then the tray is your friend. But once you’re done with that, you’re done.

Scoble Asks Why iPad Production Is Behind Demand 

Scoble’s third guess:

The focus groups that Apple talked with didn’t hype it up enough with the people studying the groups. This is because they, themselves, didn’t have the apps (the iPad without apps is pretty lame, actually).

Apple never does focus tests. Even the engineers at Apple working on iPhone OS 4 didn’t get to see the iPad while it was being developed.

As for why production is falling behind demand, I think it’s simply a factor of Apple’s conservatism. Better to have demand outstrip supply than the other way around. Worked out well for the original iPhone. Note too that Apple can afford to let demand outstrip supply for a few months, because it’s not like those who can’t get their hands on an iPad right now have any alternatives to choose from.

Tim Conneally Reviews the WebStation Android Tablet 

Someone will make a decent Android-based tablet eventually, but this piece of junk goes to show just how much work will be involved to create such a thing. I mean, crikey, a stylus?

‘I Live for Myself and I Answer to Nobody.’ 

Jon Patrick on Steve McQueen. (Via Dunstan Orchard.)

Errol Morris on Stupidity 

Errol Morris:

My definition of a stupid person. A stupid person is a person who treats a smart person as though they’re stupid.

See also: the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

New 3D Buildings for New York City in Google Earth 

Screw Liberty City — let’s get a version of Grand Theft Auto set in the real deal.

Photographs of Vintage Computers 

Great photo essay in Time. (Via Michele Seiler at Coudal.)

Don’t Forget About Clang 

Rainer Brockerhoff:

In other words, it’s no coincidence that Apple is now instructing developers to switch to Clang-supported languages and their Clang-wrapping IDE (Xcode).

Lukas Mathis on iPhone OS 4.0 

Good overview of the new UI features. Mathis is skeptical on the utility of the task switcher.

Regarding “folders”, I’ll add that they’re not really folders at all, not in the sense of the Mac. There is no “folder” icon, nor any folder object that you create as a first step. There is no nesting. You just pile icons on top of each other. What iPhone OS 4 folders resemble most is the “stacks” concept that has been rumored for the Mac desktop ever since Copland was a bright shining beacon ahead of us. I think it’s great. (Note also that on a hypothetical 960 × 640 iPhone display, the tiny 9 × 9 thumbnail icons on the container icons will be more legible.)

DFW’s Circles 

Slate:

Below you’ll find the complete list of words that David Foster Wallace circled in his American Heritage Dictionary.

(Via Chris Pepper.)

Keeping the Platform Nimble 

Steve Cheney raises a good point regarding Apple’s renewed push for App Store developers to use Apple’s own iPhone SDK:

By telling developers to move to Xcode tools, Apple is setting the stage to potentially switch architectures.

History often repeats itself: In 2003, Apple advised developers to switch to Xcode tools. This was not a coincidental move — 2 years later Apple moved to Intel across its entire Mac line. Developers who complied could simply press a button and applications would run natively (full performance) on new Intel Macs.

Adobe did not ship (non-beta) Intel-native versions of the Creative Suite apps until April 2007, 16 months after Apple began shipping Intel-based Macs (and about two years after Apple announced the Intel transition). Adobe was also late shipping Mac OS X versions of Photoshop.

Cheney’s idle speculation that the A4 CPU in the iPad is something other than ARM is not the case, but, still, it’s not silly in the least bit to think that Apple will someday add a new architecture for iPhone OS devices (or, will someday push for iPhone OS apps to go 64-bit). Not wanting to wait two years for Adobe to update Flash’s iPhone compiler is perfectly reasonable on Apple’s part. Adobe has a track record regarding their preparedness for Apple platform shifts, and it’s not good.

The Progress of the Platform 

I largely agree with this thoughtful take on the Apple-vs.-Adobe Flash-for-iPhone situation by Ian Samuel:

Stop trying to get out of writing real iPhone apps, Apple seems to be saying.

Android-Based Alex E-Reader Now Shipping, for $399 

Good luck with that.

Intel Posts a Strong First Quarter, Fueled by High-End Laptop Sales 

High-end laptop sales are up, netbook sales are down. Seems like a good time to re-link my piece from October on Apple netbook claim chowder.

PhoneGap Still OK for iPhone App Development 

PhoneGap — a framework for writing App Store apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript — is apparently not in violation of Apple’s new Section 3.3.1 iPhone developer agreement terms.

Update: Looks like maybe Appcelerator is OK too.

The Official Panic Basketball Team 

“We can totally help,” I said. “With one condition: they let us design the jerseys!”

Around the World in Ten Layers 

Speaking of Coudal, there’s an “around the world” exhibition Layer Tennis match on Friday, with Z in the commentary booth. Love the poster on the Coudal front page.

‘Lunatic at Large’ 

Ben Child, reporting for The Guardian:

Among the discarded projects of the famously fastidious Stanley Kubrick are “lost” movies about Napoleon Bonaparte, the Holocaust and the American civil war. Now, 11 years after his death, a treatment by the legendary film-maker titled Lunatic at Large looks set to make it to the big screen, with Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell attached to star.

No word yet on who will direct. (Via Kevin Guilfoile at Coudal.)

Crashed on Quit Again 

Garrett Murray:

Why would quitting the app cause a crash so frequently? This would be like if you worked in an office from 9-5 and every day at 4:59pm you became filled with rage and ran around throwing chairs and breaking windows. Then you went home and came back the next day acting like nothing happened.

Hacker News Comments on My ‘Mobile Multitasking’ Piece 

Several insightful comments. “Jsz0” writes:

You certainly do need a task manager on Android for the simple reason that certain types of applications can be battery hogs. They may not tax the performance of the device enough to be killed automatically. I know Android 2.x is supposed to monitor battery usage but it simply doesn’t work very well — or at all in some cases. Subsonic (streaming audio client) kills my phone’s battery if I don’t kill it manually with a task manager. The app does not include a quit option. It can kill my battery in about 3 hours even if I pause playback because it keeps its connection to the server open. Another app I use, Jabiru (jabber client), does the same thing but it does have a disconnect and quit option so I wouldn’t need a third party task manager to deal with it. So it seems to me Android’s multi-tasking is largely dependent on the applications you use.

I’ve gotten a few emails from Android users claiming the same. I didn’t see this using a Nexus One, but, I didn’t use the apps mentioned above. The gist is that there do exist some third-party Android apps which have a detrimental effect on responsiveness and/or battery life in the background.

“Jiri” has an astute observation:

These Android/iPhone apps’ architecture is very close to web page approach. In web environment, you can load the page, interact with page, you can close it anytime and do something else.

David Quintana on Mobile Multitasking 

More on the differences between Android and iPhone OS 4.

Google Chief Java Architect Worries Over ‘Rudderless’ Java 

Joab Jackson, reporting for IDG:

The Java platform has “appeared rudderless for the last few years,” said Google’s chief Java architect, Josh Bloch, speaking Wednesday at the Red Hat Middleware 2020 virtual conference. “A malaise [has fallen] over the community and the end is not in sight.”

Five bucks says Gosling goes to Google. (Android’s Dalvik virtual machine is the most interesting thing that’s happened to Java, the language, in a long time.)

Library of Congress Acquires Entire Twitter Archive 

Matt Raymond from The Library of Congress:

Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.

Update: Server is down (surprise, surprise, it’s a WordPress site), but Google has it cached.

Uninformed Gizmodo Rant of the Day 

First draft: Apple screwed Kindle iPad app.

Second draft: Never mind, Kindle iPad app has a confusing UI for settings.

Donovan McNabb: ‘I’d Like to Thank the Ungrateful, Over-Expecting, Oftentimes-Racist Fans of Philadelphia’ 

And people wonder why I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan.

Apple Announces One-Month Delay for International iPad Sales  

Apple:

Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, May 10.

No quote from Jobs in this one.

Don’t Take Your iPad to Israel 

Bar Ben Ari and Zohar Blumenkrantz, reporting for Haaretz:

If you had thought to buy Apple’s new iPad tablet computer any time soon and bring it to Israel, you may have to change your plans: Starting yesterday, the Communications Ministry has blocked the import of iPads to Israel, and the customs authority has been directed to confiscate them.

Please Make the iPhone Weather Application Location Aware 

Sometimes all you need is the right domain name.

Inside Apple’s Automatic Graphics Switching in the New MacBook Pros 

Nice report by Chris Foresman:

Apple’s approach in the new 15” and 17” MacBook Pros differs from Optimus in two key ways. The first is that the switching is all handled automatically by Mac OS X without any user intervention (though there is actually a System Preference to deactivate it, if you choose). Apps that use advanced graphics frameworks such as OpenGL, Core Graphics, Quartz Composer or others will cause the OS to trigger the discrete GPU. So, when you are reading or writing Mail, or editing an Excel spreadsheet, Mac OS X will simply use the integrated Intel HD graphics. If you fire up Aperture or Photoshop, Mac OS X kicks on the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M.

Details, Details, Details 

Michael Gartenberg on today’s new MacBook Pros.

Cisco as Palm Buyer? 

Makes as much sense as any of the other companies rumored to be interested.

HTC Studying Whether to Have Own Smartphone Software 

Bloomberg:

HTC Corp., Taiwan’s largest mobile-phone maker, is studying whether to equip phones with its own operating system, a move that may intensify competition with Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

They’re considering acquiring Palm.

2009 World Series Championship Rings 

Home opener at Yankee Stadium is being played right now, as I type, against the Angels — which means Hideki Matsui, World Series MVP, was there for the ceremony.

Tim Bray on Life at Google 

Great writing. (Love the comment on jumpsuits, too.)

Microsoft Outsourcing IT Services 

Todd Bishop:

Infosys Technologies Ltd. will manage Microsoft’s internal IT services worldwide under a three-year deal announced by the global outsourcing company this morning. According to an Infosys news release, those services will include technical assistance for employees at their desks and from centralized help desks, in addition to management of “applications, devices and databases in 450 locations across 104 countries.”

Infosys is headquartered in Bangalore. Neither Apple nor Google would ever consider outsourcing IT. It’s a point of pride at both Apple and Google just how little they spend on IT compared to typical Fortune 100 companies (which typical companies, of course, use Microsoft infrastructure).

Update: Bishop posted an update with a response from Microsoft, in which they claim this is not a change so much as a consolidation of third-party support services. And, a little birdie informs me that Apple “heavily leverages” Infosys as well.

Update 2: After reading the above update, another little birdie emailed to clarify that Apple uses “Infosys and other outsourcing companies for code development of internal systems, not for support,” and that Apple low head-count low-cost support costs are indeed a source of pride and a selling point to their customers in the enterprise. And then yet another little birdie suggested that Radar, of all things, is one such system that is maintained by outsourced developers.

Flip Slide HD 

Interesting, but it does not seem worth $279 to me.

I Have a Simple Question 

Nick Bilton, adding to his report on what Eric Schmidt told guests at a party regarding a purported iPad competitor Google is working on:

According to a guest at the party, Mr. Schmidt offered one other piece of information: the Google device will run Adobe Flash content and games.

This is good news for Adobe, but not for Apple.

Why is this not good news for Apple?

Brent Simmons on NetNewsWire for iPad and iPhone OS 4.0 

Brent Simmons, in an interview with Mike Schramm at TUAW:

We’re not giving out the actual numbers, but I will tell you this, and I think this is very cool. The iPad app, within five days, made us more money than the iPhone app has in its existence over the last six months or something. And it’s only priced double, $9.99 versus $4.99. So, that says a few things. One, I think it’s a better app, our app on the iPad. And being there on day one is huge, since everyone’s looking for apps. But, yeah, even with a much smaller user base so far, it’s just done so well.

Strategery 3.1 

Strategery is a great Risk-like strategy game for the iPhone, and now, iPad. I’ve linked to it before, but the recent 3.0 update was a step backward in several regards. The just-released version 3.1 puts it back on my list of favorite iPhone OS games. $2 gets you a universal binary that’s native for both iPhone and iPad.

(The only downside: it requires iPhone OS 3.1, so you can’t use it on an iPhone that’s running OS 3.0.1 for use with samizdat AT&T tethering.)

Dan and Martha 

Pretty cool.

‘House’ Season Finale Filmed Entirely With Canon 5D Mark II 

Greg Yaitanes, director of the episode, thinks the footage looks better than that from their regular cameras.

Update: Another WordPress site craps out. Google has it cached, though.

This, More Than Any Other Reason, Is Why I Can’t Wait to Abandon AT&T 

MG Siegler:

It’s now been over a year since Apple unveiled tethering as a part of iPhone 3.0 OS. At the time, while 22 carriers around the world were announced to be supporting it, in the U.S., all Apple could say was that AT&T would be supporting it “later.”

Twitter Reveals ‘Promoted Tweets’ Ad Plan 

Claire Cain Miller, reporting for the NYT:

The advertising program, which Twitter calls Promoted Tweets, will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that the advertisers have bought to link to their ads. Later, Twitter plans to show promoted posts in the stream of Twitter posts, based on how relevant they might be to a particular user.

Update: Twitter’s own announcement.

Long-Awaited Update to Apple II Laptops 

Now with Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

Correction: Apparently these are Macintoshes, not Apple II’s. I conflate these legacy Apple platforms, sorry.

Wawa to Celebrate Billionth Free ATM Withdrawal  

Local note: if you’re ever in the Philly area and need an ATM, look for a Wawa convenience store.

iPad as E-Reader for the Blind 

Benjamin Clymer:

Ask any PC-loving computer nerd why Apple products have become the de facto choice of the masses, and you’ll likely hear something like, “People buy Apple products because they’re pretty.” That may be true for many, but one group of consumers who care little for Apple’s prodigious aesthetics are the blind.

They care more about how Apple products actually work. And while the iPad may be Apple’s most controversial launch in recent memory, the blind community is unanimous in its support.

Here’s why it should not be surprising. Apple doesn’t think design is how something looks, but rather how it works.

NewTeeVee: ‘Google to Open-Source VP8 for HTML5 Video’ 

Ryan Lawler:

Google will soon make its VP8 video codec open source, we’ve learned from multiple sources. The company is scheduled to officially announce the release at its Google I/O developers conference next month, a source with knowledge of the announcement said. And with that release, Mozilla — maker of the Firefox browser — and Google Chrome are expected to also announce support for HTML5 video playback using the new open codec.

And after that, I’ll bet we never hear another word about how Ogg Theora is really just as good as H.264.

Questions: Will Apple or Microsoft support VP8? And will Google support it at YouTube?

Opera Mini Approved for App Store 

Told you so — if you’re surprised that Apple accepted Opera Mini, you don’t understand what Apple is doing with the App Store.

Apple Against the World 

Jason Snell, on Apple’s moves to maintain control over the App Store and native iPhone app development by prohibiting the use of third-party meta-platforms:

Sounds good, but the develop-once-run-anywhere philosophy is something that makes more sense to bean counters and development-environment vendors than it does to platform owners and discriminating users. In the ’90s we were told that Java apps would be the future of software, because you could write them once and deploy them anywhere. As someone who used to use a Java-based Mac app on an almost daily basis, let me tell you: it was a disaster. Java apps didn’t behave like Mac apps. They were ugly and awful and weird, but hey, at least they ran on the Mac.

It’s the same way I feel about Adobe’s AIR environment today.

Microsoft Announces Kin, Its Next Two Failed Phones 

Entire web site is Flash. These two phones are neither Windows Mobile 6 nor Windows Phone 7. It’s as though the company is self-destructively attempting to sabotage its own mobile efforts.

Redmond Hot Tub Time Machine 

Paul Thurrott on iPhone OS 4:

Based on the announcement, they’re making some obvious but important updates to the product and, perhaps for the first time ever, they are clearly responding to their increasingly aggressive competitors, especially Google (Android) and Microsoft (Windows Phone).

Yes, iPhone OS 4, set to ship this summer, is a response to Windows Phone 7, set to ship after this summer.

Apple’s Wager 

John Siracusa:

Apple’s decisions regarding its mobile platform in particular have been extremely protective from the very start. Cumulatively, these actions represent a huge bet placed by Apple. The proposition is this: Apple is betting it can grow its platform fast enough, using any means necessary, that developers will stick around despite all the hardships and shoddy treatment. Each time it chooses to do what it thinks is best for the future of the iPhone OS platform instead of what will please developers, Apple is pushing more chips into the pot.

Alice for the iPad 

How does the Kindle compete with this?

Conan O’Brien to Host Late Night Show on TBS 

I wish him well, but going from The Tonight Show to TBS is like going from the New York Yankees to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jean-Louis Gassée Gets It 

Jean-Louise Gassée:

Who, in his right mind, expects Steve Jobs to let Adobe (and other) cross-platform application development tools control his (I mean the iPhone OS) future? Cross-platform tools dangle the old “write once, run everywhere” promise. But, by being cross-platform, they don’t use, they erase “uncommon” features. To Apple, this is anathema as it wants apps developers to use, to promote its differentiation. It’s that simple. Losing differentiation is death by low margins. It’s that simple. It’s business. Apple is right to keep control of its platform’s future.

It really is that simple. That’s a perfect one-paragraph summary of the situation. His detailed analysis (and historical perspective — much of it first-person) is spot-on.

A New Google Docs 

No better comparison of the cultural differences between Google and Apple than to compare Google Docs and iWork. iWork has no form of cloud based syncing or collaboration; the appeal of the apps (both on the Mac and iPad) is that it helps you create beautiful documents. Google Docs is all about cloud-based syncing and collaboration; its example documents are downright homely.

The Conversation, Episode 10 

Yours truly, Craig Hockenberry, and special guest Jim Coudal were on Dan Benjamin’s The Conversation this afternoon, talking about Twitter’s purchasing of Tweetie, the iPad, iAds, and more.

I Can See the ‘Mountain View, Start Your Photocopiers’ Banner Hanging at WWDC Now 

Ashlee Vance and Nick Bilton, reporting for the NYT:

But Google is going one step further, exploring the idea of building its own slate, an e-reader that would function like a computer.

Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system. People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in “stealth mode” with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.

Robert Love on iPhone OS 4 and Multitasking 

Google Android engineer Robert Love:

As I stated in my previous post, the real concern with multitasking on an embedded, swapless device is memory consumption. Battery life is a straw man. So how do services solve the memory consumption problem? Alone, as described in the event, they don’t. But iPhone OS will continue to kill applications that leave the foreground. Thus, applications will need to be refactored into a client and server pair: a user-facing application that only runs when in the foreground and a background service. The point being, services have a small memory footprint and they are limited in number. Without the risk of unbounded multitasking, this greatly relieves memory pressure.

I think his overview of how multitasking works on iPhone OS is the best I’ve seen, and a decent layman’s explanation. And he’s absolutely right that the biggest constraint is RAM — that’s why older iPhones and iPod Touches are cut off from these features.

Update: Some of his specific technical guesses are wrong, though. This statement, for example, is flat-out incorrect:

Thus, applications will need to be refactored into a client and server pair.

Adobe Unveils Creative Suite 5 

Adobe has a chart to help you decide which version has the apps you want.

Louis Gerbarg on Apple, Adobe, Game Interpreters, and Section 3.3.1 

Best piece I’ve read on the whole thing, by a long shot. Must-read.

Bloomberg Reports Palm to Put Itself Up for Sale 

Serena Saitto and Ari Levy, reporting for Bloomberg:

Palm Inc. , creator of the Pre smartphone, put itself up for sale and is seeking bids for the company as early as this week, according to three people familiar with the situation. […]

Taiwan’s HTC Corp. and China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. have looked at the company and may be potential bidders, said the people. Dell Inc. also looked at Palm, though it decided against an offer, according to two of the people.

Markos Moulitsas on the iPad 

Non-geek writers are far more likely to get it — to see how the trade-offs lead to a new type of experience. Moulitsas writes:

For me, all I care is whether a device makes my life easier. I could give a shit about whether the hackers love or hate it, or how much hype something has. The iPad filled my needs seamlessly, with only minor hassles. It was better than a laptop, allowing me to travel more efficiently.

As Tim O’Reilly observed, this should be a wake-up call for many companies. I suspect what we’ll see instead, as the iPad turns into a big hit, are companies like Microsoft suggesting that there’s something wrong with iPad users, not that there’s something wrong with its products.

James Gosling Leaves Oracle 

James Gosling:

Yes, indeed, the rumors are true: I resigned from Oracle a week ago (April 2nd). […] As to why I left, it’s difficult to answer: just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good.

Pretty safe to say that the Sun we knew is gone.

The Macalope on This Week’s Affairs 

What a week.

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch on Flash CS5 and Section 3.3.1 

Kevin Lynch:

First of all, the ability to package an application for the iPhone or iPad is one feature in one product in Creative Suite. CS5 consists of 15 industry-leading applications, which contain hundreds of new capabilities and a ton of innovation. We intend to still deliver this capability in CS5 and it is up to Apple whether they choose to allow or disallow applications as their rules shift over time.

I’m not sure what else Adobe could say at this point, but I’m pretty sure this rule isn’t going to change.

Secondly, multiscreen is growing beyond Apple’s devices. This year we will see a wide range of excellent smartphones, tablets, smartbooks, televisions and more coming to market and we are continuing to work with partners across this whole range to enable your content and applications to be viewed, interacted with and purchased.

Translation: “Maybe someone else will make a mobile device where Flash apps run.”

iLounge’s App-by-App Breakdown of What’s New in iPhone OS 4 Beta 1 

Nice job.

Doxie 

My thanks to Doxie for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their brand-new document scanner for the Mac. It’s portable, USB-powered, and comes with elegant software that scans paper documents directly to Mac and web apps like iPhoto, Google Docs, Evernote, Acrobat, and Flickr. Looks great, costs just $129, and scans everything from photos to receipts to business cards.

Twitter Acquires Tweetie 

I had a feeling this was in the works when Tweetie wasn’t iPad-native on day one. Here’s Loren Brichter on the deal.

Here’s to hoping that Twitter doesn’t fuck Tweetie up like Brizzly did to Birdfeed. And there’s going to be some heavy drinking tonight from developers of other iPhone OS Twitter API clients.

Adobe Platform Evangelist Lee Brimelow on Apple’s Decision to Forbid iPhone Apps Compiled With Flash CS5  

“Go screw yourself Apple.”

RIM Buys QNX 

This article posits that the deal is about tying BlackBerries to car navigation systems. I think that might be selling it far short — QNX is a serious kernel. This might be about the future of the BlackBerry OS. I.e. that QNX might be to RIM what NeXT was to Apple.

‘Infographic’, by Phil Gyford 

Zing.

Adam Lisagor’s ‘Fingerspoo’ iPad Wallpaper 

Gross, but accurate.

Robert Love on iPhone OS and Android Multitasking 

Good overview of how multitasking works on Android, and, considering it was written a week ago, a spot-on prediction about how Apple would add support for it to iPhone OS.

Ted Landau on iPad File Sharing 

I linked to this in my iPad review earlier in the week, but it’s worth a standalone item. The workflow for editing iWork documents on both your Mac and iPad is just atrocious, and Landau has done the hard work of copiously describing just how bad it is.

John Paul Stevens to Retire From Supreme Court After 34 Years 

His letter of resignation to President Obama (PDF).

Adobe Ideas for iPad 

No fair slagging on Adobe all day without pointing to Adobe Ideas, their first iPad app:

This free app helps you sketch out ideas, annotate photographs, extract color themes from photographs, and more. Sketches created in Adobe Ideas can be emailed as a PDF for editing in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop or viewing with any PDF viewer.

It’s very good, and very fun. My six-year-old son likes it, too. This is the Adobe I love.

Cutting Edge Stuff 

Adobe, on the careers page John Dowdell suggested Apple employees take a look at:

Adobe has a new talent acquisition system. This system is optimized for performance on IE 6 or IE 7, running on Windows XP. Unfortunately it is not supported on Firefox, nor is it supported on a Mac at this time.

A new system optimized for a 10-year-old version of Windows.

‘He Can’t Win’ 

Cringely, quoting Bill Gates from 1998:

“What I can’t figure out is why he (Steve Jobs) is even trying (to be the CEO of Apple)? He knows he can’t win.”

Adobe Distances Itself From JooJoo 

Vladislav Savov at Engadget:

Adobe is drawing a thick line between itself and the JooJoo, and urges us to instead look at the alternatives from its partners like HP, Dell and Lenovo. Mind you, not one of those companies is (as yet) selling a competing tablet, and it’s not like there’s some magical formula that will make 720p Flash video run smoothly on a bare Atom CPU (remember, Ion GPU acceleration is not yet available for the Linux-based JooJoo), but who are we to stand in the way of a carefully worded damage limitation statement?

So the only Flash-capable tablets Adobe recommends aren’t available yet.

I’m Sure There Will Be a Line Wrapping Around the Block 

Adobe’s John Dowdell:

I know that a number of good people work at Apple. If you’re seeking a more ethical company, Adobe is hiring.

Unboxing the iPad Data 

Interesting infographic by John Kumahara and Johnathan Bonnel.

Adobe’s Initial Response to Section 3.3.1 

Nick Bilton:

When asked how this would affect the software introduction, Adobe released the following statement: “We are aware of Apple’s new SDK language and are looking into it. We continue to develop our Packager for iPhone OS technology, which we plan to debut in Flash CS5.”

Translation: “Fuck.”

Mark Wilson Has Apparently Never Used an Ad-Based iPhone App 

I mean, there are thousands of apps already in the App Store that present ads just as big or bigger than iAds. If you don’t like an app using iAds, don’t use it. Easy.

Announcing WebKit2 

Anders Carlsson and Sam Weinig, from Apple’s WebKit team:

This is a heads-up that we will shortly start landing patches for a new WebKit framework that we at Apple have been working on for a while. We currently call this new framework “WebKit2”.

WebKit2 is designed from the ground up to support a split process model, where the web content (JavaScript, HTML, layout, etc) lives in a separate process. This model is similar to what Google Chrome offers, with the major difference being that we have built the process split model directly into the framework, allowing other clients to use it.

Whoa.

Why Does AppleInsider Make It So Easy for Me? 

“Kasper Jade” and “Prince McLean”, one week ago:

The upcoming 4.0 reference release of Apple’s iPhone OS will deliver new support for running multiple concurrent third party apps, and allow users to switch between them using a windows management mechanism similar to one made popular on the company’s Mac OS X operating system. […]

Those familiar with the design of iPhone 4.0 said that the user interface will resemble Apple’s desktop Expose feature, in that a key combination — reportedly hitting the Home button twice — will trigger an expose-like interface that brings up a series of icons representing the currently running apps, allowing users to quickly select the one they want to switch to directly. When a selection is made, the iPhone OS zooms out of the Expose task manager and transitions to that app.

Where by “familiar with the design”, they meant “making shit up”, unless by “Exposé-like”, they meant “not at all like Exposé”.

Tim O’Reilly on the iPad and the End of the PC Era 

Great observations from Tim O’Reilly on Apple’s weakness:

Media and application syncing across iPhone and iPad is poorly thought out. MobileMe, which should be Apple’s gateway drug for lock-in to Apple services, is instead sold as an add-on to a small fraction of Apple’s customer base. If Apple wants to win, they need to understand the power of network effects in Internet services. They need to sacrifice revenue for reach, taking the opportunity of their early lead to tie users ever more closely to Apple services.

It wouldn’t even be that much of a sacrifice to revenue if Apple included, say, a year or two of free MobileMe service when you buy an iPhone OS device. Or just make MobileMe service free for the lifetime of the device — that way, developers, including Apple, could count on a cloud-based syncing service.

This is Google’s primary advantage, but Apple — judging from how the iPad iWork apps don’t even attempt to sync documents, and how non-MobileMe users are stuck with USB syncing through iTunes — doesn’t seem to see that.

Justin Long Says ‘Get a Mac’ Might Be Done 

Leaving on top, if so.

Apple’s iPhone OS 4 Preview 

Brief overview of what’s new.

How a Book Publisher Blew the Deal to Publish J.D. Salinger’s ‘Hapworth 16, 1924’ 

Roger Lathbury:

After thinking I could do right by a man I admired, I let him down.

‘Pyramid Lake (at Night)’ 

The story of the iPad’s default wallpaper, photographed by Richard Misrach.

Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 Event Starts in 30 Minutes 

Here’s a link to Gizmodo’s live coverage, which seems the best so far. (Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica is doing a great job, too.) I generally follow Macworld’s live coverage of these events, but they’ve switched to some new dingus called ScribbleLive, which I presume is using Flash since it requires a dedicated iPhone app, which app is, alas, not iPad-native. And on my Mac it just renders as a big empty white box.

Anyway, if you want predictions, here are my predictions, based purely on my own speculation and few coin tosses. iPhone OS 4 will introduce background processing for third-party apps (expect demos from developers like, say, Pandora and Skype), and, perhaps, some sort of suspend-resume model for going right back to where you were when you re-open an app. iPhone OS 4.0 will only be for the iPhone and iPod Touch, not the iPad. The iPad, like any such project at Apple was developed by a team that was locked away in secrecy, so the team working on iPhone OS 4.0 only found out about the iPad when the rest of us did, on January 27; Dalrymple has it exactly right: OS 4.1 will be the unified OS for all these devices. (My spidey-sense tells me that iPhone OS 4 is going to drop support for first-generation iPhones and iPod Touches, and some of the features may only be available on the 3GS and this year’s new models.)

Apple will not announce new iPhone hardware at this event. Just like the last two years, this is only about the OS and the new stuff for developers in the SDK. But there might be hints about next-gen iPhone hardware features. If I’m right that the next-gen iPhone will have a 960 × 640 display, they might start talking about higher-res iPhone apps today, and spin it as a way to make iPhone apps look sharper when run on iPads.

The Digg iFrame Toolbar Is Dead 

Kevin Rose, who just took over as CEO of Digg from Jay Whatshisname:

Framing content with an iFrame is bad for the Internet. It causes confusion when bookmarking, breaks w/iFrame busters, and has no ability to communicate with the lower frame (if you browse away from a story, the old digg count still persists). It’s an inconsistent/wonky user experience, and I’m happy to say we are killing it when we launch the new Digg.

Matt Richtel in the NYT on AT&T’s Mini-Tower Rip-Off 

Matt Richtel:

Faced with withering criticism for its spotty iPhone service, AT&T blames in part a shortage of cellphone towers near homes and businesses. But it has a solution: put a miniature cell tower in your living room.

There’s a catch, though. You have to pay for it. And that is making some customers angry.

And rightly so — it’s using your broadband connection to improve AT&T’s network. AT&T should be paying us to install these things, not the other way around.

I can’t wait to get rid of these clowns.

SublimeVideo Flash Mode 

Optional Flash-fallback for non-HTML5 browsers in Jilion’s upcoming HTML5 video embedding library.

‘If You Need to Explain It, We Should All Agree, Then the Design Isn’t Doing Its Job’ 

Khoi Vinh on the Popular Science iPad design:

And they’re repetitive, too; over and again, it’s the same basic format in which a layer of type slides pointlessly against the backdrop of a fixed image. That repetitiveness does little to counter the general feeling of placelessness throughout the app; the navigation is well-meaning but fussy at best, but honestly much closer to incompetent. (As we get out of the gate with iPad publishing, can we just very quickly impose a moratorium on displaying instructions on how to use reading interfaces? If you need to explain it, we should all agree, then the design isn’t doing its job.) I got lost and frustrated repeatedly, and then I got bored.

Agreed fully.

Placelessness is a huge problem. With a paper magazine, newspaper, or book, you know where you are and how much remains based on the pages in your hands. The Popular Science iPad app is visually interesting and impressive, but you get no sense of place, and, worse, I’ve found you don’t even get a sense of where there is scrollable content. It’s more like an interface for a touchscreen magazine from a science fiction movie than something that’s actually done right.

(If I were hiring someone to design an iPad magazine, I’d sell a kidney to hire Khoi Vinh. I’m not sure how much of a hand he’s had in the design of the NYT Editors’ Choice iPad app, but I’m absolutely in love with that app. That app has changed my morning reading routine. It has little sci-fi wow factor, but it is graceful, placeful, and feels like The Times — the Times I know and love, as someone old enough to vividly remember what it was like when being a news junkie meant getting your fingertips stained black every morning — in a way that the nytimes.com web site never has.)

Surprise, Surprise, the JooJoo Is a Turd 

Paul Miller reviews the JooJoo tablet for Engadget. It stinks. It’s fast, though, but — shockingly — Flash video performance is horrendous:

Software issues aside, the JooJoo actually happens to be quite speedy thanks to its 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB solid state drive. It only takes about 7 seconds to boot and toggling between the menus is snappy. WiFi speeds were also quite fast with it taking 11 seconds to load Engadget and 8 seconds to bring up NYTimes.com.

But what about Flash? This is supposed to be the big differentiator, right? The iPad killer! In an interesting move, Fusion Garage coupled the Atom processor with NVIDIA’s Ion graphics to aid in playing full screen Flash video (or for doing… something). Unfortunately, the software just isn’t there yet. Currently the device is running Flash 10.1 beta 1, and won’t have hardware-accelerated Flash video for a good while now (the timing is partly reliant on Adobe support, and is labelled as a “work in progress” by JooJoo). That means some regular-sized YouTube and Hulu works, as decoded by the CPU, but full screen Hulu is jittery, and a 720p YouTube clip is like watching a slideshow. In one of the biggest moves of irony, JooJoo has actually implemented a hack for YouTube where you can view a video in Flash or in “JooJoo” mode which is a straight playback of the MPEG video file every YouTube video harbors. What does this remind us of? HTML 5, albeit with a less elegant implementation. This of course only works on YouTube right now, though JooJoo says it plans on supporting other sites in the future. Watch the video below for yourselves to see all this Flash tragedy play out.

(Ironically, Engadget’s video demos are only available in Flash. Why would a website devoted to leading-edge gadgetry continue to embed video in a format that can’t be played on the best web-reading gadget? If your video doesn’t play on the iPad, you’re like Steve Allen mocking the lyrics to rock-and-roll songs — an anachronism.)

Bill Simmons on Sabermetrics 

Baseball, the sport for math geeks. (Via Kottke.)

‘The Mechanical’, Down to the Wire 

The Vanderbilt Republic’s Kickstarter project to raise $5000 to process the film from their documentary trip to Cambodia last year ends tomorrow at noon eastern. They’re close, but not there yet. If this project is unsuccessful, there’s a real danger that this film will stay unprocessed and begin to disappear.

See photographer George Del Barrio’s piece at The Huffington Post for more, including new video footage.

Adam Engst on the iPad as a Blank Slate 

Adam Engst nails it:

The hardware is so understated — it’s just a screen, really — and because you manipulate objects and interface elements so smoothly and directly on the screen, the fact that you’re using an iPad falls away. You’re using the app, whatever it may be, and while you’re doing so, the iPad is that app. Switch to another app and the iPad becomes that app. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.

That’s the best description of the iPad experience I’ve seen yet.

iBooks App Makes Use of Private Frameworks 

So much for me saying (just today) that Apple’s App Store apps don’t make use of private APIs.

That said, I’ll bet this is more about the short development cycle of the app and the fact that this is the first release of the iPad. The first release of the iPhone, of course, didn’t have any public APIs at all.

Nintendo Executive Talks Trash on iPhone OS Gaming 

Nintendo’s U.S. president Reggie Fils-Aime:

“Clearly it doesn’t look like their platform is a viable profit platform for game development because so many of the games are free versus paid downloads.”

Dave Winer on the iPad 

The best review from an iPad skeptic I’ve seen. Maybe skeptic isn’t the right word, but clearly he’s unconvinced that it’s the next big thing.

This is a minor point in his piece:

And pragmatically, experience has shown that the winning computer platforms are the ones you can develop for on the computer itself, and the ones that require other, more expensive hardware and software, don’t become platforms. There are exceptions but it’s remarkable how often it works this way.

I think that’s only true historically. I don’t think it’s true any more, especially in the mobile space. And it was never true for consoles, and the iPad in some ways is like a cross between a mobile device and a console. But, all that said, I’d love to be able to develop for the iPad on the iPad. Especially if it were a HyperCard-like thing, where the output looked native to the iPad but was based on WebKit behind the scenes, thus allowing the apps made by the thing to be openly distributed and shared with other iPad users.

Bertrand Serlet on Apple’s API Lifecycle 

Re: the last on Apple and private APIs, here’s video of Bertrand Serlet from WWDC 2009. Apple doesn’t disallow the use of private APIs out of spite; they disallow it because their private APIs are not fully baked.

Alex Payne: The Moderate’s Position on iPad Openness 

Thoughtful and reasonable.

Update: Although, I don’t understand his position on private APIs at all. I suppose he means not that Apple should document and allow the use of every single SPI on the system, but rather that Apple’s own apps shouldn’t be able to use private APIs if third-party developers can’t. My understanding though, is that Apple’s App Store apps do only use the public APIs. The built-in system apps — which run in the background, among other things — are obviously in a different class. Third-party developers will never get to write system-level apps for iPhone OS.

The Mobile Web vs. the Objective-C Web 

Cameron Moll, author of Mobile Web Design:

Frankly, as the adoption rate of iPhone increases and if iPad follows suit, it will become increasingly difficult to argue in favor of a starting point other than iPhone OS. The NPR iPad app, for one, provides a much more pleasant user experience than NPR.org.

The reason, I think, is that even if the people building iPhone apps would prefer, on general principle, to be building cross-platform open mobile web apps instead of banking on Apple’s closed proprietary platform, there’s no way to build cross-platform web apps that provide the same quality of user experience. The NPR iPad app is indeed terrific, and I don’t think it could be replicated as a mobile web app — at least not with the same amount of work, and not in a way that’s cross-platform.

Playing Chess With Kubrick 

Jeremy Bernstein recollects his time playing chess with Stanley Kubrick, while writing a profile of him for The New Yorker. (Audio excerpts from his interview with Kubrick are still available on YouTube.)

iPad-Optimized Version of iPhone OS Reference Library 

If you’ve got an iPad (or the SDK simulator), check out the iPad-optimized version of Apple’s iPhone OS developer docs. It’s an iPad-style UI implemented in HTML/CSS/JavaScript — it even has popovers.

Update: Peter Hosey explains how to enable this display mode in a WebKit-based browser on your Mac.

And the JavaScript behind this thing is a fork of PastryKit.

Magazine Art Direction on the iPad 

Video by Brad Colbow analyzing the art direction of three magazines’ iPad apps: Time, GQ, and Popular Science. Time and GQ both only work well in landscape — they lose much of their design when held vertically. (GQ looks particularly bad in portrait orientation.) Popular Science works equally well in both orientations.

I’ll add that Popular Science also has a better meta design than Time. Time and GQ is selling each issue as a separate iPad application. I’m not sure who Time thinks is going to spend $5 a week for a new Time app, but my guess is that his name is Joe Nobody. But regardless of per-issue pricing, who wants a separate app for each issue? Shouldn’t part of the advantage of digital distribution be that you can carry around many back issues? Who wants a page full of Time icons on their home screen?

With Popular Science (as well as GQ), there’s one app, and all issues appear inside that one app. That’s clearly the right way to do this.

Update: I originally wrote that GQ was like Time — one app per issue — but it’s not. It’s one app with in-app purchasing for subsequent issues.

iBooks and ePub 

Good overview from Liza Daly regarding how iBooks handles ePub files.

Update: More from Liz Castro.

First Day iPad Sales: 300,000 

Apple:

Apple today announced that it sold over 300,000 iPads in the US as of midnight Saturday, April 3. These sales included deliveries of pre-ordered iPads to customers, deliveries to channel partners and sales at Apple Retail Stores. Apple also announced that iPad users downloaded over one million apps from Apple’s App Store and over 250,000 ebooks from its iBookstore during the first day.

That means it outsold the original iPhone on day one. And the numbers don’t include pre-sold 3G iPads.

Will It Blend? 

Oy.

Apple Announces iPhone 4.0 Event on Thursday 

Invitation-only press event Thursday at Apple’s Town Hall.

John Patrick on the iPad 

John Patrick, former vice president at IBM:

When we introduced the ThinkPad in 1992 it seemed like a huge deal just to get everyone at IBM to agree with the name. No one, certainly not me as VP of marketing at the time, had any idea that more than 30 million ThinkPads would be sold. The iPad will surely sell multiple times that number but more important the iPad will change the model of personal computing — not immediately and not for everyone, but for many millions of people the PC will begin to look like a dinosaur.

Denial of Expertise  

Joe Clark on iPad critics:

This was the weekend those of us with high standards lost their remaining residue of patience for ideologues who hyperbolize about open systems without actually creating something people want to use.

Update: Fireballed. Change link to temporary cache for now.

Paul Thurrott on the iPad 

Paul Thurrott:

Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool.

Apple Support Document: Powering a Peripheral Through USB 

Apple:

The USB ports on Apple computers provide 5 V (Volts) and 500 mA (Milliamps) to each port, regardless of whether the port is USB 1.1 or USB 2.0. This is in compliance with USB specifications. On some newer Intel-based Macs, such as the MacBook (13-inch, Late 2007), when a device requiring more than 5V and 500mA is connected, the port with that device connected to it becomes a high-powered port capable of offering up to 1100 mA at 5 V. That port will continue to operate as a high-powered port until the device is removed. 

Jason Snell’s iPad Review 

Excellent, comprehensive review. I agree with almost every word. Love this bit about Safari:

There’s just something about surfing the Web using Safari on the iPad. It feels different, somehow. Apple’s marketing pitch says “it’s like holding the Internet in your hands,” and while that’s a little bit cheesy, it’s not far off. There’s just something different about holding that Web page in your hands, rather than seeing it on a desktop or laptop PC, or on a tiny iPhone screen. Tapping on links doesn’t feel the same as clicking on them with a mouse. It’s a good feeling.

Marshall Clow Reviews PCalc for iPad 

5-star review. Worth noting: PCalc is a universal binary — the iPad native version is included with the iPhone version.

Teabonics 

Flickr set featuring signage from “Tea Party” rallies.

On the Placement of the iPad Headphone Jack 

Joshua Topolsky:

And one other item of note — Apple chose to place the headphone jack at the top of the device. We don’t know about you, but we think the idea of draping our headphone cord across the screen or snaking it around back is a tremendously bad idea. And guess what? In practice, it kind of stinks. Why the company didn’t opt for putting the plug in the logical place — say, the bottom of the iPad, or the side even — is a mystery that will undoubtedly haunt our every waking moment.

But the top of the iPad is the side half the time. It’s meant to be held horizontally just as often as vertically. Perhaps the headphone jack placement isn’t optimal for listening to music in the background, but it seems pretty good for watching video. And putting it on the bottom means you wouldn’t be able to use headphones while it was docked.

If you really want your headphones plugged into the “bottom”, just turn your iPad all the way around so that the home button is at the top.

iPad: Charging the Battery 

I’ve seen numerous complaints today about the iPad not charging via USB, only via the power adapter. According to Apple:

Some USB 2.0 ports and accessories do not provide enough power to charge iPad. When this occurs the message “Not Charging” appears in the status bar next to the battery icon.

It works for me via the built-in USB ports on my MacBook Pro, but not via my USB hub. Apparently some Macs have built-in USB ports that aren’t “high power USB 2.0”, though.

Update: This is not a bug or error on Apple’s part. It’s a factor of just how strong the iPad battery is. It’s closer in watt-hour capacity to a MacBook Air battery than to an iPhone battery. More from Dan Frakes here.

iFixit’s iPad Teardown 

Those of you still without iPads might want to grab some tissues.

Netflix on iPhone? 

Steve Swasey, Netflix:

We wouldn’t invite you to dinner without planning to serve dessert.

Benchmarking in Your Lap 

The iPad’s twice as fast as an iPhone 3GS, and appears to have the same amount of RAM: 256 MB.

Why Andre Torrez Will Be Buying an iPad This Weekend 

Good prediction at the end.

Andy Ihnatko on the iPad and Multitasking 

Well said.

Archive of My Appearance Yesterday on ‘Gadgets and Games’ 

Hourlong iPad discussion on Clayton Morris’s Gadgets and Games show with Andy Ihnatko, Jason Snell, Mike Rose, Ross Rubin, Natali Del Conte, and your humble narrator. Pretty good, I thought.

Update: Direct link to the .mp4 version.

Letterman’s iPad Top Ten List 

“You’re not buying an unnecessary electronic device — you’re buying a family.”

Rivet 

My thanks to The Little App Factory for once again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Rivet. Rivet lets you stream your movies, photos, and music from your Mac to your Xbox 360 or PS3. It integrates with iTunes and iPhoto (and Aperture); changes and additions on your Mac are instantly visible on your console.

This week only, DF readers can save 25 percent with coupon code “DARINGFIRE2010”.

Microsoft Changes Name of Next-Gen Mobile OS From ‘Windows Phone 7 Series’ to ‘Windows Phone 7’ 

Good to see Microsoft having just as amazing a weekend as Apple.

Lorem iPad 

For journalists on deadline.

Joel Johnson Responds to Cory Doctorow 

Joel Johnson:

I’m glad the Apple ][+ came with schematics for the circuit boards. I’m glad it encouraged a generation of kids to tinker and explore. I’m also glad that I don’t live in the fucking ’70s and have to type in programs from a magazine anymore.

Heather Champ Leaving Flickr to Start Online Community Consultancy 

Flickr’s brain drain continues. What a great community Heather helped shape.

Gizmodo’s List of Essential iPad Apps 

Tons of great apps already.

Netflix Available on iPad 

Streaming movies and TV shows. Works great.

Google Services on the iPad 

The Gmail interface looks good.

Andy Ihnatko, Jason Snell, and Yours Truly, Live on Clayton Morris’s Strategy Room 

3pm Eastern today — about half an hour from now. Take a guess what we’ll be talking about.

Quake 2 Ported to HTML5 

Neat:

In the port, we use WebGL, the Canvas API, HTML 5 audio elements, the local storage API, and WebSockets to demonstrate the possibilities of pure web applications in modern browsers such as Safari and Chrome.

Update: Is it an April Fool’s joke? Why can’t they just link to a page where you can try it? Has anyone gotten this to work?

Update 2: Several readers report that it’s no joke. The FAQ states that they can’t post an online demo due to licensing issues for the resources.

Gina Trapani: ‘Why You Shouldn’t Buy an iPad (Yet)’ 

Unlike Cory Doctorow, Gina (unsurprisingly) makes a reasonable argument:

Don’t be the guy who bought the first-gen iPad when Apple slashes the 2011 iPad price in half.

That’s possible, of course. Everyone remembers the big original iPhone price drop three months after it shipped. But: I think the original iPhone was priced high to start as a hedge — just in case it didn’t sell in huge quantities. And remember: the original iPhone, even at $600, was sold out for most of its first three months.

I think the iPad is already priced to move. I don’t think we’re going to see any price cuts.

Next year’s iPad will be faster, cheaper, less buggy, and have better apps and worthy competitors. Let all the deep-pocketed Jobs apostles be your canaries into the iPad coalmine. Give developers time to fix their apps to work well on the iPad. Give Apple a year to lower prices on faster hardware and fill in all the gaping feature holes. (Remember how long early iPhone owners lived without copy and paste?)

Now this is true. Next year there will be a second-gen iPad and it’ll be superior in many ways to the ones that ship tomorrow. I don’t think they’ll be cheaper, but they’ll be better. (Remember, though, that those who bought the original iPhone got copy-and-paste for free when it was added to the iPhone OS.)

I think the comparison to the original iPhone is perfect. Me? Getting the original iPhone on day one was the best money I’ve ever spent. If you bought an original iPhone and regretted it a year later, though, you probably ought to skip the original iPad.

iPad Claim Chowder: John Breeden 

John Breeden is an iPad doubter:

I’ve been covering and reviewing notebooks and battery technology for the past decade, and I know what the current technology is capable of. There is no way that a 1.5-pound computer is going to be able to drive an IPS display for ten hours as Steve Jobs claims. It just can’t happen. Perhaps if you let the iPad lapse into standby mode, you could squeeze it. But if you are actually using the device, my estimate would be less than three hours of power, and that’s being generous. The display would look amazing, but be quite a power hog.

Unless Apple has also developed some new type of power source, such as nuclear cells or magical hamsters on tiny spinning wheels for the iPad, don’t expect the claims about battery life to hold true. The candle that blazes the brightest is always the first to go out.

OK, let’s see what people who’ve tested it say. David Pogue:

Speaking of video: Apple asserts that the iPad runs 10 hours on a charge of its nonremovable battery — but we all know you can’t trust the manufacturer. And sure enough, in my own test, the iPad played movies continuously from 7:30 a.m. to 7:53 p.m. — more than 12 hours. That’s four times as long as a typical laptop or portable DVD player.

Walt Mossberg:

The iPad lasted 11 hours and 28 minutes, about 15% more than Apple claimed. I was able to watch four feature-length movies, four TV episodes and a video of a 90-minute corporate presentation, before the battery died midway through an episode of “The Closer.”

Why Cory Doctorow Won’t Buy an iPad (And Thinks You Shouldn’t, Either) 

Uh, OK.

iFixit’s ‘Apple Tablet Teardown’ 

Posited as an April Fool’s joke, this is actually a fascinating technical analysis of the Newton hardware.

The Macalope’s Fools of the Year 

The Macalope:

This is probably a good time to point out that this is all true. That might be confusing since it is April 1st, but everything in this article is 100 percent true, as hard as it is to believe. Well, except for the thing about Gruman winning steak knives.

Monolith Action Figure  

“Properly proportioned to those in the movies 2001 and 2010 (1:4:9 - the squares of the first 3 integers).”

I’d buy it.

20 Things Doghouse Diaries Already Knew About Apple’s iPad 

Prescient.

Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over’ 

Why link (again) to this Onion article from January 2001? To point out that it was obvious all along how he was going to run the country into the ground.

JD Powers Customer Satisfaction Survey: All Smartphones Below Average 

Except for one.

Apple: iPad-Ready Websites 

Flash : HTML5 video :: Tommy Lee Jones : Will Smith

Glenn Fleishman on the Purported CDMA iPhone 

Glenn Fleishman:

It makes more sense to me now that Apple would want a CDMA phone that it could sell for several years, upgrading all the while, rather than sitting out of that market, letting Google’s Android and potentially Windows Phone 7 Series dominate the CDMA networks.

Not to mention that in big markets like New York, people are not buying iPhones because of AT&T’s service. Anyway, if Apple pulls the trigger on this, I’ll bet it’ll be ready to go on sale at the traditional September iPod event.

Stephen Fry on the iPad for Time 

Even cooler than getting a review unit: he got to spend an hour with Steve Jobs.

Gee, I wonder why Time got this sort of access but Newsweek didn’t?

Wolfram Alpha Lowers iPhone App Price, Will Give Refunds 

Had been priced at $50; they’ve dropped the price all the way to $2. I’m not sure they were wrong to try premium pricing, but $50 was just way too high. Maybe $10 would have worked. (Like it or not, $10 is premium pricing in the App Store.)

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