Linked List: October 2010

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance 

Speaking of TSA, Jeffrey Goldberg reports on the latest indignity they’re inflicting upon air travelers: crotch feel-ups.

Update: Marco Arment summarizes:

So, to summarize: With no supporting evidence whatsoever that it will make anyone any safer, and in response to absolutely no credible threats, the TSA has decided to implement a policy, that nobody asked for, in which every passenger must allow TSA agents to either see or touch their genitals before boarding a plane.

TSA Says 11-Inch MacBook Air Can Stay in Bag at Security Check 

Wired:

The Transportation Security Administration told CNN that the 11-inch Air, like the iPad, can stay inside bags when passing through the checkpoint. However, the TSA hasn’t yet determined whether the 13-inch Air can stay inside a bag or must be removed.

How can anyone argue this makes sense?

NYT Story on the iPad as a Device for the Disabled 

Don’t miss the accompanying video.

The Case of the Accidental Tweeter 

Nice piece by ESPN’s Bill Simmons on breaking news and the role of Twitter.

VaultPress 

My thanks to Automattic for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote VaultPress, their new backup service for WordPress sites. Here’s how they describe it:

VaultPress provides realtime, continuous backup and synchro­nization of every single WordPress post, com­ment, media file, revision, plugin, theme, and dashboard setting. Your site is backed up across two separate cloud services, as well as the Automattic grid.

In short, VaultPress was designed with ease of use and reliability in mind. Sign up for the beta now, and sleep better tonight.

Microsoft Changes Strategy With Silverlight 

Mary Jo Foley:

But when it comes to touting Silverlight as Microsoft’s vehicle for delivering a cross-platform runtime, “our strategy has shifted,” Muglia told me.

Silverlight will continue to be a cross-platform solution, working on a variety of operating system/browser platforms, going forward, he said. “But HTML is the only true cross platform solution for everything, including (Apple’s) iOS platform,” Muglia said.

It’s over.

Edwin Watkeys on Adobe 

Edwin Watkeys:

I want to say that Adobe doesn’t really care about you, dear Photoshop or Illustrator or InDesign user, but that’s not really true. They do care about you. But I think they see meeting your needs as instrumental to doing what they really want to do, which is wedge themselves into every nook and cranny of a large organization. You’re their beachhead. You’re their entrée into the enterprise.

Marco Arment: ‘The Mac App Store Isn’t for Today’s Mac Developers’ 

If you only read one thing today, make it this. So good. I’m glad I didn’t start coagulating my Mac App Store notes into an essay, because it would’ve turned out pretty much exactly like this.

iPhone Share of All Phones Sold Is Now Above 4% and Continuing to Rise 

Horace Dediu cooks up some claim chowder for Tomi Ahonen, who back in April wrote:

I know now that the numbers are clearly stacking up so, that the annual sales level of iPhone units, will result in a decline in iPhone annual market share in 2010.

Fortune Profile of Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg 

Includes some scuttlebutt regarding Apple’s years-ago decision to launch the iPhone on AT&T instead of Verizon, and additional confirmation that the iPhone is coming to Verizon “in early 2011”. This stuck out:

McAdam points out that Verizon already carries a data hog of a phone, the Motorola Droid (which runs on Google’s Android operating system), and that the average Droid user consumes more data than the average iPhone user.

But there are vastly fewer Droids on the Verizon network (the company won’t say how many) than iPhones on AT&T.

Why not say how many Droids have been sold?

PayPal Site Outage 

One of those sites that makes me feel unsettled when it goes down.

Faruk Ateş on the Allure of Instagram 

Nice example photos, too.

The Talk Show, Episode 14 

This week’s episode of The Talk Show is pretty much all about the upcoming Mac App Store — what we know (which is very little), and what we don’t. Joining me and Dan Benjamin are two special guests: Marco Arment and Craig Hockenberry.

Sponsored by MailChimp: More free and more social than ever.

This Year’s Trend in Mac Toolbar Icons: Monochrome 

More cues taken from iOS.

Joe Wilcox on Microsoft’s Q1 2011 Numbers 

So, yes, it was a good quarter for Microsoft, but there are a couple of “buts”. For one thing, Apple has, for the first time, surpassed them in revenue (and it wasn’t even close). But here’s the other thing: net income by division:

  • Windows and Windows Live: $3.32 billion
  • Business: $3.39 billion
  • Entertainment and Devices: $382 million

They boast about Xbox sales in their statement, but profit-wise, it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to Office and Windows. Worse, the Online Services division posted another big loss: $560 million in the hole.

GoogleTV Twitter App 

90-second clip from the latest episode of The Engadget Show, shows the brilliant UI of the Google TV Twitter client. (Thanks to Milind Alvares.)

Microsoft Profit Jumps 51 Percent With Record Q1 Revenue 

Office and Windows, going strong.

Adobe Demos Flash-to-HTML5 Conversion Tool 

The wheels are turning.

Amazon Windowshop 

New iPad app from Amazon — more or less an iPad-optimized front-end to all of Amazon.com. Really nice, and a great example of a native app that serves as a complement to a website, rather than a replacement. Native apps like Windowshop aren’t against web apps. It’s simply about how to create the best experience.

‘AppleScriptObjC Explored’ 

New e-book by Shane Stanley:

AppleScriptObjC Explored by Shane Stanley is the most advanced, thorough, and in-depth documentation for the creation of AppleScript Objective-C applications.

Includes a ton of example code.

Rising Sales of Droid Phones Boost Motorola 

Bloomberg:

Motorola Inc., the U.S. mobile-phone maker, reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates and a revenue increase for the first time in almost four years on rising sales of its Droid handsets.

I think you can make the case that Android saved Motorola’s mobile phone business. But:

Sales from its handset business climbed 20 percent to $2 billion last quarter, helping to narrow its loss to $43 million from $216 million a year earlier. The division had an operating profit, excluding some charges, of $3 million. Motorola said it shipped 3.8 million smartphones last quarter, beating Thornton’s estimate of 3.6 million units.

Shouldn’t they be more profitable? $3 million in profit is less than a dollar per smartphone sold. What am I missing here?

New Version of Gmail for MobileSafari 

Brett Lider, for Google:

Go to gmail.com from your iPhone and you’ll notice two improvements we’ve rolled out over the past few weeks. First, scrolling is snappier: the speed of scrolling reflects the speed of your swipe gesture. This is helpful for long conversations where a few quick flicks will get you to the information you need much faster than before. Second, the toolbars stay on screen while you’re scrolling rather than moving down into view after each scroll.

The scrolling is great. Worth checking out on both the iPhone and iPad — very strong work. (Why specify Arial instead of Helvetica, though?)

White Out 

As of last night, the white iPhone 4 was still pictured on the main iPhone page on Apple’s online store. Not anymore.

Khoi Vinh on iPad Magazine Apps 

Khoi Vinh:

My opinion about iPad-based magazines is that they run counter to how people use tablets today and, unless something changes, will remain at odds with the way people will use tablets as the medium matures. They’re bloated, user-unfriendly and map to a tired pattern of mass media brands trying vainly to establish beachheads on new platforms without really understanding the platforms at all.

The Genius of the Genius Bar 

Duncan Davidson:

I wonder how many other issues in Apple products get addressed, in part, because of the data gathered in Apple stores by Apple employees. There are several trends in Apple’s product design, but a very clear one is the simplification of parts that can break. The unibody laptop design not only introduced a stronger case, but a simpler one as well. For example, they eliminated the little magnetically retractable latch in the lid of the laptop. The way it worked with magnets was cool. Designing the hinge so that it wasn’t needed at all is much cooler.

Nintendo Hits Financial Slump 

Nintendo is complaining about the yen’s strength against the dollar, but their big problem is that both the Wii and DS are getting long in the tooth.

Display Resolution of the New MacBook Airs 

Dr. Drang:

This is a huge resolution range. On an 11″ MacBook Air, a 72-pixel line — which would measure 1 inch long against an onscreen ruler — is just 0.53 physical inches long. On a 21.5″ iMac, that same line is 0.70 inches long. User interface items, like buttons, menu items, and scroll bars are 30% bigger on the iMac than on the Air.

How Google Is ‘Closed’, Just Like Apple 

Mike Elgan:

In this analogy, Apple is like Trump. Both Apple and Trump make something in order to sell it. Google is like McDonald’s. Both Google and McDonald’s make something in order to sell something else.

The companies are different, and what they’re “open” about reflects that difference. For example, Trump is very secretive about pending real estate transactions, but would probably be happy to share the details of food served at one of his golf courses. McDonald’s on the other hand, isn’t all that secretive about real estate transactions but they’re very secretive or “closed” about their Secret Sauce.

In other words, companies are very closed, secretive, and controlling about the part of their business that makes the money.

Ask “open” Google how they design their data centers, or how to clone PageRank for example.

Jeff Carlson Reviews iMovie ’11 

Seems like a great upgrade — the first version that really delivers on the revamped iMovie design.

The Rise of HTML5 Video on the Web 

Peter Kafka:

Video search engine MeFeedia, for instance, now says that 54 percent of Web video is now compatible with HTML5. That’s more than double the tally the company had back in May — less than six months ago.

Just look at the graph from MeFeedia.

Chairman of British Airways Attacks U.S. Airport Security Demands 

CNN:

In remarks at the annual conference of the UK Airport Operators Association in London, he said that the practice of forcing people to take off their shoes and have their laptops checked separately in security lines should be ditched.

What’s the #1 Most Crazy Idea Steve Ballmer Has Ever Heard? 

Nice bit of vintage claim chowder from Fake Steve.

Apple Delays White iPhone Until Next Spring 

The good news is, Apple hasn’t had any problems with any of the other iPhone 4 colors.

Barnes and Noble Nook Color 

John Biggs, writing for AOL/CrunchGear:

It’s quite small and compact — much lighter than an iPad — and the UI is very handsome. Android users will be kind of miffed that the device doesn’t support the Android App Store, however, because B&N wants a “curated experience.” So much for the openness of Android.

It’s interesting because it’s only $249, but that still strikes me as a no-man’s land. A lot more expensive than the Kindle, a lot less capable than an iPad.

Update: Just watched the demo video in this post (Flash required, alas). The Nook Color is so painfully slow it makes me embarrassed for Barnes and Noble. Horrendous scrolling and zooming and touch responsiveness. Just horrendous. (Related: What in the world is Darrell Etherington smoking?)

Ben Brooks Makes the Case for the MacBook Air as a Primary Computer 

And he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

Adobe ‘Edge’ — Prototype Tool for Creating HTML5 Animations 

Great demo. (But, ironically, the video requires Flash.)

Travel Sites Oppose Google’s Purchase of ITA 

Thomas Catan, reporting for the WSJ:

Expedia Inc., Kayak.com, Sabre Holdings and Farelogix Inc. — which operate half-a-dozen leading online travel sites — are forming a coalition called FairSearch.org to persuade the Justice Department to block Google’s latest deal.

Here’s Google’s response.

Video of the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet in Action 

On stage at Adobe’s MAX conference. Not an extensive demo, but anything at all is more than RIM showed at their own developer conference.

Engadget’s WebOS 2.0 Review 

Looks like a great OS update, but they desperately need new hardware to remain relevant.

Zeldman on BBEdit 9.6 

Zeldman:

Given these antecedents, it’s no surprise that the new version adds support for HTML5, including published element lists from WHATWG and W3C; CSS3 properties, including vendor-specific properties for Mozilla, Safari/WebKit, and Opera browsers; a new contextual code-hinting feature tied to your chosen doctype that includes as-you-type popups for allowed elements, attributes, and (in CSS documents) style properties; and Bare Bones’s own offline validator (HTML 3.2 through HTML5, XHTML inclusive), baked right into BBEdit.

Jason Snell Reviews the New MacBook Air Models 

Jason Snell:

The new 11.6-inch MacBook Air, on the other hand, is the smallest and lightest Apple laptop of all time, and its base price of $999 ties it with the plastic MacBook as the cheapest Mac laptop available. I’m not sure I’d call it unlike anything Apple’s created before — it’s got all the stylings of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines, but is tiny like the legendary 12-inch PowerBook of old — but it might be the most novel new Mac released since the Intel Mac era began.

BBEdit 9.6 

Speaking of BBEdit, a new version just came out today. Copious release notes, as usual.

View Generated Source for Frontmost Safari Window in BBEdit 

Nice tweak by David Kendal to an AppleScript I posted back in 2003. Both show the source for the current Safari window in BBEdit. His tweak, though, shows the generated source, after JavaScripts have finished diddling with the DOM and WebKit has parsed the HTML. Update: I’ve made a few special modifications myself.

Update: Change “BBEdit” to “TextWrangler” and the script works just fine, by the way.

Last Week’s ‘Back to the Mac’ Event in 104 Seconds 

Really great. Incredible. Beautiful. Thank you.

Hand Pause 

“What hands do whilst waiting for devices to catch up with their intent.” Simple, true observation. (Thanks to Jim Coudal.)

Update: Fireballed already. Sheesh. Google has it cached, luckily.

iOS 4.1 Security Flaw Allows You to Bypass Lock Screen to Access Phone App 

Start an “emergency call” to a bogus number like “###”, then quickly hit the lock button atop the iPhone — boom, you’ve got full access to the Phone app, including call history and voicemail.

Oddly, or at least coincidentally, it seems to be fixed in iOS 4.2 beta 3 — I can’t reproduce this on my iPhone with 4.2b3 installed, but can on another iPhone with 4.1. Also odd is how similar the exploit is to this one from two years ago — which was also discovered by a MacRumors forum poster. You’d think Apple would have given iOS’s emergency-call-while-locked code a more thorough audit — the thing only has two non-volume hardware buttons, and both of them have now been found to allow the lock screen to be bypassed.

Sprint Announces Samsung Galaxy Tab: $399, With a Two-Year Contract 

Sprint:

It will cost $399.99 (taxes not included) with a new line or eligible upgrade and two-year service agreement on a 3G Tablet Mobile Broadband plan. Sprint customers will have two rate plans to choose from for their Samsung Galaxy Tab: a 2GB data plan with unlimited messaging for $29.99 per month or a 5GB data plan with unlimited messaging for $59.99 per month (plus taxes and surcharges).

Don’t everyone get in line at once now.

Ray Ozzie Says Goodbye the Long Way 

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s outgoing Chief Software Architect, has posted a lengthy (3,500-ish-word) memo on the state of the company and industry. I found it nearly impenetrable — as though it’s written in a language I don’t speak. For example, I think this is how he admits that Apple and Google have kicked Microsoft’s ass in mobile:

Certain of our competitors’ products and their rapid advancement and refinement of new usage scenarios have been quite noteworthy.  Our early and clear vision notwithstanding, their execution has surpassed our own in mobile experiences, in the seamless fusion of hardware and software and services, and in social networking and myriad new forms of internet-centric social interaction.

This sort of opaque communication is at the heart of what’s wrong with Microsoft.

YouTube5 Safari Extension 

My new favorite Safari extension:

This extension removes the need to use flash on YouTube by converting all videos to their HTML5 video tag equivalents. It also has the added benefits of decreased CPU usage compared to Flash, and the removal of in-video ads.

I’ve followed Steven Frank’s lead, and completely disabled Flash Player on my computer. I don’t miss it at all — largely thanks to YouTube5.

Liz Castro Upgraded to iPhoto 11 and Lost Her Entire Photo Library 

She’s OK, because she had a full backup and was able to revert to iPhoto 09.

Everyone who reads Daring Fireball performs full and regular backups, right? Get a big external hard drive or three and use Time Machine or SuperDuper (or both). Drives fail, software has bugs. If you don’t have good backups you will eventually lose something precious.

Why iOS Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to the Open Web 

Robert Scoble interviewed Starbucks CIO Stephen Gillett:

By the way, Gillett also said that iDevices from Apple are used more in its stores than any others. How important is that? Well, Gillett wanted to use Flash on the social network, but there wasn’t any way he could because of Steve Jobs’ refusal to support Flash. Even today Apple is refusing to include Flash in its laptops and desktops.

So, Starbucks built its system using HTML 5.

Nielsen Cops to iPad Stat Cock-Up 

Rik Myslewski for The Register:

The customarily competent media-survey firm, The Nielsen Company, has backtracked on its startling claim that one-third of all iPad users have never download an app. The company now says that the number of download virgins is fewer than one in ten. […]

Face, meet egg. Not only does Nielsen come out looking foolish in this cock-up, but so do the BBC, MSNBC, InformationWeek, Wired, and many other media outlets — including The Reg — that reported the original figures.

You’d have to be an idiot to have believed that a third of all iPad owners never downloaded a single app.

Chris Adamson on Java and Mac OS X 

Another astute take on Java and Mac OS X:

Buried in all the denunciations of “control freak Steve Jobs” and his nefarious skullduggery is a wake-up call that Oracle and Java community need to hear: one of your biggest commercial licensees, the second biggest US corporation by market cap, doesn’t think licensing Java will help them sell computers anymore. Why does nobody take this screamingly obvious hint? […]

Lachlan O’Dea on Java and the Mac 

Astute analysis from Lachlan O’Dea:

The reason isn’t that complicated: Apple no longer needs Java. If you make a list of what Steve Jobs sees as the critical objectives for Apple, it becomes immediately obvious that maintaining a Mac port of Java is not helping to advance any of them. Of course, neither does maintaining, say, Apple’s port of Python. But Python takes very little effort to port and maintain. The Java port requires a team of engineers permanently dedicated to it. Also, the huge success of iOS has given Apple the confidence that their approach to working with third-party developers is working out great for everyone. The prospect of Java developers and applications abandoning the Mac is no longer remotely scary for them. Apple have decided they’d rather pay the costs of dropping Java than keep maintaining it.

Adobe Air 2.5, and Its Role on the BlackBerry PlayBook 

Sean Hollister for Engadget, on today’s new Adobe Air 2.5:

Air will also come standard in RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, but it’s not just for fun, productivity and games there — Adobe told us that the PlayBook’s entire UI is built on Air.

Is that right? The native UI for the PlayBook is Adobe Air? If so, that’s a real score for Adobe, but it strikes me as catastrophic for RIM.

Update: I guess it is right. RIM’s new Tablet OS developer page:

The initial release of the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK allows developers to create Adobe AIR applications. Leveraging Adobe design and development tools, the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR allows you to create rich, powerful applications like never before.

Eric Schmidt Says People Unhappy With Google Street View ‘Can Just Move’ 

John Paczkowski:

Appearing on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” program last week, he said that people who don’t like Google’s Street View cars taking pictures of their homes and businesses “can just move” afterward to protect their privacy. Ironically, he said this on the very day that Google admitted those cars captured more than just fragments of personal payload data.

‘They Didn’t Build a Knockoff: They Built Something New’ 

Andy Ihnatko reviews Windows Phone 7:

Overall, though, this interface is an exciting victory. There’s been an obvious attempt to reduce visual clutter and find clever solutions. After seeing a permanent hardware status bar on the top of every phone I’ve owned over the past decade, it’s almost upsetting to find that it’s gone from Windows Phone 7. But if you really do want to check your battery or signal level, just give the top of the screen a little swipe and the familiar bar will drop down. Nice.

‘Season of the Witch’ — Second Windows Phone 7 Ad From Microsoft 

Saw this during the Phillies-Giants game over the weekend. Great spot.

Panic State of the Union 

Cabel Sasser:

I’d like to try being more transparent. So here’s what going on, right now.

Regarding iOS 4.2’s Change of the iPad’s Orientation Lock to a Mute Switch 

According to a purported email from Steve Jobs, there will be no preference setting to turn this switch back to an orientation lock. What’s weird about this change is that I don’t think anyone is happy about it. It seems like Apple is standardizing for the sake of standardizing, not for improved usability. The iPhone and iPod Touch are, for many people, audio devices. But the iPad is a reading/viewing device for most of us.

And, the iPad with iOS 3.x effectively has a hardware mute button: just press and hold on the volume down key, and it quickly jumps to mute.

Matt Drance on Java on Mac OS X 

Matt Drance:

Java, like Flash, is a ball and chain for a company that loathes external dependency. And you just can’t argue that client-side Java is important to the internet experience like you can with Flash.

Firesheep 

Fascinating, frightening free Firefox extension from Eric Butler — lets you hijack (“sidejack”, to be technical) accounts on popular services like Facebook and Twitter by capturing unencrypted session cookies sent over the local network.

Definitions in Google Dictionary 

Simon Rich, in The New Yorker:

My favorite Google feature is Google Dictionary. Whenever I need a word defined, I just type it into the search box and the meaning pops right up. It’s really convenient, but sometimes the definitions can be strange.

NYT Piece on the State of Android Apps 

Jenna Wortham, reporting for the NYT:

“Google is not associated with things you pay for, and Android is an extension of that,” said Mr. Hall of Larva Labs. “You don’t pay for Google apps, so it bleeds into the expectations for the third-party apps, too.”

Interesting Product Development Idea From Amazon 

Ian McAllister:

For new initiatives a product manager typically starts by writing an internal press release announcing the finished product. The target audience for the press release are the new/updated product’s customers, which can be retail customers or internal users of a tool or technology. Internal press releases are centered around the customer problem, how current solutions (internal or external) fail, and how the new product will blow away existing solutions.

If the benefits listed don’t sound very interesting or exciting to customers, then perhaps they’re not (and shouldn’t be built).

This strikes me as a great idea. (Via Dare Obasanjo.)

Ryan Block Wonders if the Mac App Store Will Have Enough to Sell 

Ryan Block:

The real issue with the desktop software market is that (unless you’re talking about productivity software) there just isn’t all that much consumers need to buy anymore.

Filed away for future claim chowder.

Rangers Beat Yankees for the American League Championship 

The Texas Rangers — a franchise that had never won a playoff series or even a home postseason game prior to this year — dominated the defending champion Yankees over the series. They out-hit them, out-pitched them, and even out-ran them. They’re heading to their first World Series, and they earned it.

AppShopper App 

My thanks to AppShopper for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. AppShopper is a native app for the iPhone and iPad that acts as a filtered list for the App Store — with views for new and updated apps, along with the ability to track price drops. Create a wishlist and get notified — by email or push notifications — of price drops and updates to the apps on your list.

AppShopper’s list of popular apps is based on the preferences of other AppShopper users, not the App Store as a whole, and strikes me as being more refined. I’ve found apps using AppShopper that I haven’t heard of before. AppShopper is a free download from the App Store.

Engadget’s Windows Phone 7 Review 

Judging from various initial reviews of Windows Phone 7, including Engadget’s, the biggest initial problem seems to be launch times for third-party apps:

In day to day use, the lack of multitasking proved to be an even bigger annoyance than we expected. Not only is there no third-party support for the function, but if you lock your screen while you’re in a third-party app (say, Twitter), the software must reload when you unlock! This can be especially annoying when you’re playing a game which has a substantial load time (more on that below). It doesn’t freeze your state, so you have to reload the app and your saved game all over again. It’s not just bad — it’s nearly unforgivable.

The iPhone got away without any sort of third-party multitasking for a few years, but iOS apps didn’t quit when you locked the screen. And it seems like apps take longer to launch on Windows Phone 7 than they did on pre-multitasking versions of iOS. Actual multitasking — apps that continue to run in the background — isn’t nearly as important as fast relaunch/resume.

Redefining ‘Flash’ 

Good point from Jeff Rock: Apple’s promotional material for the new MacBook Airs contains numerous mentions of “flash” — it’s just a different sort of flash.

Using JavaScript to Display Real Names on Your Group Tumblr 

Nice howto write-up from Rod Knowlton. See it in action on my favorite group Tumblr site, American Drink.

Rooting Google TV 

I don’t understand why these guys are working on “rooting” Google TV. Why not just download the source code from Andy Rubin?

A Closer Look at iPhone Transition Animations 

Details, details, details.

Gadgets and Games, Live Today 

Speaking of fun things happening live on the web this afternoon, I’ll be a guest on Clayton Morris’s Gadgets and Games in about an hour, at 2p ET. Other guests this week: Michael Gartenberg, Joanna Stern, and Michael Rose.

Update: Permalink for today’s episode.

AT&T Continues to Beat Verizon in Subscriber Growth 

Dan Frommer:

If the conventional wisdom is that AT&T wireless blows, why is it beating Verizon Wireless — supposedly the best carrier of them all — in subscriber growth every quarter?

This chart may well summarize what has compelled Verizon to work out a deal with Apple for the iPhone. We know what Apple wants: additional market share without conceding any control over the platform. I suspect Verizon is finally willing to concede that control to Apple for a Verizon iPhone because their main goal is beating AT&T.

Titillating Layer Tennis 

My pal Mike Monteiro takes on Jennifer Daniel today in Layer Tennis, with Jeffrey Zeldman doing match commentary. Even better: they’ll be raising money throughout the match for breast cancer research.

James Gosling on Apple’s Java Discontinuation 

James Gosling, on the news that Apple is deprecating its support for Java on Mac OS X:

This made upgrading to subsequent releases very hard, and for quite a while Apple’s JVM lagged behind all other platforms. But they eventually got their act together and their JVM upgrade pipeline got streamlined and they kept up very well in recent years.

None the less, there were recurring discussions about having Sun or the community shoulder the burden. There were lots of obstacles. One was that a lot of Apple’s web sites (MobileMe, iTunes, the App Store) were Java apps and they were nervous about not doing the QA themselves.

There’s a difference between Java on the server and Java on the desktop. Mac OS X is overwhelmingly a desktop OS. My understanding is that the iTunes Store, Apple Store, and MobileMe are all still written using WebObjects, and thus, Java. It’s just that they don’t run on Mac OS X. You don’t think Apple is filling that North Carolina data center with Xserves, do you?

Here’s my question, though: If Mac OS X 10.7 ships without a working Java JVM, will you be able to write Android apps using a Mac? And it’s not just Android, of course. There are an awful lot of professional Java developers who use Macs as their preferred development machines.

Andy Zaky: ‘The Amazing Amazon Stock Bubble’ 

Andy Zaky, writing for Fortune:

While Amazon continues to execute at a very high level — yesterday it reported better than expected sales growth of 39% and earnings growth of 16% — the stock still trades at a very lofty 67 P/E ratio. That’s more than triple Apple’s 20.1 P/E ratio, or Google’s 24.6 P/E ratio. Even more striking is that the company trades at 2.31 times its expected 5-year growth rate, which indicates that the stock has gotten way ahead of itself. Ideally, a company should trade at no more than a 1:1 PEG ratio unless the company has a consistently proven track record (like Apple) of far exceeding analyst expectations.

The Talk Show Sponsorship Openings 

DF RSS feed sponsorships are a whisker away from being sold out for the remainder of 2010 — the only remaining spot is the week of December 27. But The Talk Show — the podcast I co-host with Dan Benjamin — has openings in the weeks ahead. If you’ve got a product or service that you’d like to promote to an audience of about 200,000 smart, good-looking tech enthusiasts, get in touch with Dan.

Next week’s show is going to be about the upcoming Mac App Store, with special guests Marco Arment and Craig “Fleshy Palm” Hockenberry.

Update: The Talk Show just hit #1 in iTunes’s list of top tech podcasts.

HP Slate 500 Appears; Costs $799 

Ballmer’s pride and joy from CES. What a turd. This photo says it all — the device has a permanent slide-out tab that serves no functional purpose. It’s just a place to put a bunch of regulatory and licensing small-print crap.

Update: Matthew Yohe improves the design.

Apple Deprecates Java 

Apple:

As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the version of Java that is ported by Apple, and that ships with Mac OS X, is deprecated.

This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X. The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products.

This Hacker News thread has a good discussion on the news. Remember when Java was a first-class supported language for Cocoa?

Ian Betteridge: ‘Why Google TV Will Fail, in One Sentence’ 

Ian Betteridge pulls a choice sentence from Danny Sullivan’s extensive review.

Not Getting It 

Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox for Mozilla, after yesterday’s “Back to the Mac” event:

I wonder when Apple will stop shipping Safari. It’s obvious already from today’s keynote that they’re looking to bypass the web.

I’m not sure he could be more wrong. Apple’s strategy isn’t about bypassing the web or replacing it or anything like that. In fact, Apple, judged by its actions with WebKit, is clearly committed to offering the best web browsing experience — both on the desktop and mobile devices — of any platform in the world. Apple’s strategy is about offering a great web experience and more.

No wonder Firefox is falling in popularity.

Update: Craig Hockenberry points out that Beltzner posted the above tweet using Tweetie for Mac — a native app.

Helvetica: The Face All Print Men Are Talking About 

Trade advertisement from 1966. (Via Khoi Vinh.)

Restore the Traditional Editing Timeline in iMovie ’11 

Jeff Carlson:

When Apple radically changed iMovie between the ‘06 and ‘08 releases, one of the biggest criticisms was the abandonment of the traditional editing timeline. Instead of one horizontal succession of clips at the bottom of the screen, iMovie ’08 introduced an editing area at the top-left of the screen where the movie wrapped like a paragraph.

Well, if you’ve been pining for a “real” timeline, it’s time to re-evaluate iMovie ’11. With a couple of clicks, you can have it back.

Back to the PC 

Good point from Horace Dediu regarding Apple’s “Back to the Mac” theme, where the design of Mac OS X Lion is taking inspiration from iOS — it can’t be copied by competitors.

Samsung Galaxy Player, Perhaps the First Android iPod Touch Competitor 

No pricing yet, no word of availability in the U.S. And the compositing in the video is dreadful.

Looks a little thick compared to an iPod Touch, no?

FaceTime for Mac Leaves Your Apple ID Account Information Unprotected Once Logged In 

MacNotes:

We started having a closer look at the settings when Gernot pointed us at some issues: Once you’ve logged into FaceTime you can have a look at all the account settings of the used Apple ID. Username, ID, place and birth date are shown as well as the security question and the answer to it — in plain text, without another password request.

Yikes.

Paul Miller Defends the $599 Price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 

Not much of a defense. Consider this: Steve Jobs stated earlier this week that Apple has no interest in making a 7-inch iPad, but what if they did? How much do you think it would cost alongside the current 10-inch iPads? I don’t know, but it’d be less than $599. (My guess: an Apple 7-inch iPad would start at $299, more or less commensurate with the smaller display.)

‘Better Than Wang’ 

This week’s episode of The Talk Show, recorded by yours truly and Dan Benjamin a few minutes after the end of today’s “Back to the Mac” Apple event.

Sponsored by the .tv top-level domain name, and Alarm Clock Connect (a beautiful alarm clock app for iOS).

Marco Arment on the New MacBook Airs 

Good analysis. I think what he’s missing about the smaller 11.6-inch model is that it might appeal to frequent air travelers (and anyone else who works in a cramped space).

Verizon to Sell Galaxy Tab Starting November 11 for $599.99 

At this price, who buys one of these instead of an iPad — especially considering that the iPad will be right there next to it in Verizon stores?

The New MacBook Air 

I don’t think Jobs was exaggerating when he said this is the direction in which all MacBooks are heading. Thinner, lighter, longer battery life — in large part due to the use of flash storage. The only thing holding up moving to flash storage across the line is the price. As soon as it becomes relatively cheap to include 256 GB of Flash storage (and relatively reasonable to put in 512 GB), hard disks will disappear from MacBooks.

Optical drives are on the way out, too. Note, for example, that Apple is shipping the OS restore disk as a USB flash drive with the new Airs.

From the DF Archive: ‘How Should Mac Apps Be Distributed?’ 

We don’t know much about the Mac App Store yet, but solving the distribution problems I wrote about a year ago is one reason why I think it’s going to be a hit for users.

FaceTime for Mac 

Beta version is available for download now. It’s a standalone app, not a part of iChat, as many expected. It’s just an app that does FaceTime. And there’s no Windows version. (My worry is that Apple was going to stick FaceTime into iTunes, so as to have it available on both Mac and Windows.)

Live Stream of Today’s Apple Event 

Announced just a short while ago. I’ll be writing some notes and initial impressions over on the @daringfireball Twitter account.

Shawn Blanc on Apple and the Cloud 

Shawn Blanc has a very thoughtful piece on Apple and cloud-based data syncing:

At the moment there are more than 65 apps for iOS which sync via Dropbox. How many iOS apps use iDisk to sync data? I only know of one: OmniFocus. And even then, MobileMe is just one of several syncing options the Omni Group offers.

Dropbox is flinging wide the door for syncing and sharing of data across multiple computers and devices. It seems to me that Apple should be the ones owning this service.

I’ve heard rumors of a “Dropbox-killer” service from Apple, possibly a part of Mac OS X 10.7. I don’t know if it made the cut, but we’ll find out in a few hours.

The problem, of course, is what about Windows? I’m not sure how an Apple cloud syncing solution could be tied to a new version of Mac OS X.

Businessweek Feature on RIM and the BlackBerry 

Diane Brady and Hugo Miller, writing for Businessweek about RIM:

Balsillie thinks the world is wrong about apps. Many are just glorified bookmarks, he argues, that aren’t necessary if you can connect customers to the Web. “I’m not going to bring developers to the Web. I’m going to make mobility Web-friendly,” he says. “Why do you need a YouTube app if you play YouTube? Why do you need an app to follow the Tour de France if you can just follow the Tour de France?”

Balsillie has a point — or he would if the consumer universe operated logically.

No, he doesn’t have a point. The iPhone has a great browser — I say the best mobile browser, and certainly better than any BlackBerry’s. And people still prefer using native apps. The original 1.0 iPhone didn’t have an App Store. You know what people wanted? Native apps. This gets back to my talk at Web 2.0 Expo last month. Many native iOS apps are web clients — they’re just written using CocoaTouch instead of HTML/CSS/JavaScript. The results, in terms of user experience, speak for themselves.

And BlackBerry’s browser’s rendering engine? WebKit. From Apple. Do they think Flash is going to give them a competitive edge in mobile user experience?

And check this out:

There certainly appears to be a geographic divide in how RIM is viewed. More than 90 percent of Canadian analysts rate RIM a “buy,” while only half of their U.S. counterparts do.

Angry Birds Developer Announces 2 Million Android Downloads 

There is no paid version, only a free one with ads.

Does Microsoft Still Think the iPhone 4 Is Apple’s Vista? 

MG Siegler has some tasty claim chowder:

It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I’m okay with that.

That was Microsoft COO Kevin Turner during his keynote speech this past July at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington. To be exact, he gave that speech on July 14, two days before Apple’s “Antennagate” press conference. At that point, talk about the iPhone 4’s antenna was at a fever pitch. And there were plenty who (foolishly) believed Apple would have to do a recall.

RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie Responds to Steve Jobs Comments Made During Apple Earnings Call 

Weak sauce, I say. RIM’s pinning a lot of their tablet hopes on Flash support.

Yojimbo for iPad 

Bare Bones Software has shipped its first iOS app:

Yojimbo for iPad is a companion app that syncs effortlessly over WiFi with Yojimbo 3 for Mac OS X (required; sold separately), letting you take all of your Yojimbo data anywhere. Yojimbo for iPad even handles your encrypted entries.

I’ve been beta-testing it for a while. It’s great.

60 Percent of Apple’s Sales Are From Products That Did Not Exist Three Years Ago 

As Horace Dediu writes, the chart speaks for itself.

Android Chief Andy Rubin Responds to Steve Jobs With Tweet 

Andy Rubin:

the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”

That’s a compelling argument for about 0.01 percent of the population. (Via MG Siegler.)

2001 Monolith Action Figure 

The Kenner-esque logo at the bottom of the package puts it over the top. (Via Merlin Mann.)

Judge Rules Against ‘Edge’ Trademark Troll Tim Langdell 

Remember this jerk? Looks like EA is cleaning his clock in court:

Tim “Edge Games” Langdell has lost a round in court with EA over the use of his “Edge” trademarks. In refusing his request for a preliminary injunction, judge William Alsup described Edge Games as ‘trolling’ and suggested that it could face criminal charges.

“Given the suspect nature of Dr. Langdell’s representations to both the USPTO and the Court concerning plaintiff’s current and future sales and business activities, it is an open question whether plaintiff’s business activities legitimately extend beyond trolling various gaming-related industries for licensing opportunities,” wrote the judge.

HP WebOS 2.0 Promo Site 

Branding-wise, they’re calling the new phone the “Palm Pre 2”, but the updated OS gets the HP name. The demo videos are Flash — so not only can you not watch them from most competing mobile devices, but you can’t watch them from current WebOS ones.

HP Announces Palm Pre 2, WebOS 2.0 

Sounds like a great software update. Hard to judge the hardware by the press release. But there’s no U.S. release date for the new phone. And why announce this major news — the first major Palm news since the HP acquisition — with a press release? Why not a media event?

Steve Jobs, Yesterday on Apple’s Quarterly Analyst Conference Call 

The boss made a rare appearance on Apple’s analyst call, and he was en fuego. Macworld has a full transcript, and it’s chock full of good stuff. Highlights, paraphrased:

  • Upcoming iPad competitors are going with 7-inch screens as a cost-cutting measure, because they can’t compete with Apple on price. Apple has tried 7-inch screens and deems them too small for iPad-caliber apps — squeeze everything down and tap targets get too small and too close to each other. He pretty much squashed rumors that Apple is building a 7-inch iPad.

  • Apple passed RIM in smartphone sales this quarter, and Jobs doesn’t “see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future”. RIM is in trouble, because the industry is moving toward software platforms, and that’s outside their expertise.

  • Waiting for numbers from Gartner to see whether the iPhone outsold Android this quarter. Jobs is using total iOS device activations for comparison — not just iPhones — and says Apple averaged about 275,000 per day over the last month.

  • Google’s argument is “open vs. closed”. Apple sees it as “fragmented vs. integrated”. The iPhone model is better for users, and better for developers.

Ray Ozzie Leaving Post as Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect 

Sounds like a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” departure. Everything he’s done at Microsoft has been a dud.

Apple Reports Record Fourth Quarter Results 

Apple, reporting over $20 billion in revenue and $4.3 billion in profit:

Apple sold 3.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 27 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 14.1 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 91 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 9.05 million iPods during the quarter, representing an 11 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. The Company also sold 4.19 million iPads during the quarter.

14 million iPhones strikes me as surprisingly high (and the final nail in Antennagate’s coffin). 4.19 million iPads actually sounds a little low to me, though. I would have guessed 5 million.

Kevin Guilfoile’s ‘The Thousand’ 

Just finished Kevin Guilfoile’s new novel, The Thousand, and I really enjoyed it. It’s smart, fun, intricately plotted, and really comes together at the end. Sort of like a Dan Brown novel for smart people. Don’t take my word for it — check out the glowing reviews. $16 for the hardcover, $10 for the Kindle edition.

Round-Up of Analyst Predictions for Apple’s Q4 Results 

Speaking of Philip Elmer-DeWitt, he’s got a good round-up of analyst predictions for today’s quarterly results announcement from Apple. What’s the deal with Daniel Ernst’s prediction of a mere 2.4 million iPads sold? Apple sold 3.27 million iPads the previous quarter — does he really think iPad sales have gone down? It boggles the mind.

Update: That 2.4 million iPads number must be a typo, because today Ernst set a target price for AAPL of $500 — way up from the current price of $315 or so.

What if the iPad Counts as a ‘PC’? 

Philip Elmer-DeWitt on a report by Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore:

Exclude the iPad, and Apple’s PC sales grew 24% year-over-year. Include them, and Apple’s unit sales soared roughly 250%. By comparison, Hewlett-Packard grew 3% year-over-year and Dell units fell 5%.

When the iPad is part of the mix, Apple’s share of the U.S. PC market is about 25%. That makes it the market leader, having gained a remarkable 18 points in the space of two quarters.

Like I just said, there’s no way Microsoft and Intel aren’t taking this seriously.

Engadget’s Nokia N8 Review 

Vlad Savov’s review of Nokia’s new flagship smartphone is devastating: decent hardware (but a slow processor) and terrible software.

Intel, Microsoft, and the Curious Case of the iPad 

Brooke Crothers:

“That tablet thing? Yeah, we’ll get back to you on that.” That’s a crude but fairly accurate encapsulation of the attitude Microsoft, Intel, and Advanced Micro Devices have toward the iPad and the tablet market in general.

Why the cavalier attitude? Before I defer to the opinion of an IDC analyst I interviewed (below), here’s one pretty obvious reason I’ll put forward. All three companies look at their revenue streams — traditional PC hardware and software on laptops, desktops, and servers — and come to the conclusion that the tablet is a marginal market. A deceptively accurate conclusion, because at this point in time — and even 12 months out — the tablet is marginal compared with the gargantuan laptop, desktop, and server markets.

An interesting take, but I disagree. I think Microsoft and Intel are both taking the iPad’s success extremely seriously. It may be a small market, as of today, but the trend line is heading north at a very steep angle. I think it’s a case where you can’t take what Microsoft and Intel say about it at face value. Intel has no processor to power an iPad-class device. Microsoft has no OS to run an iPad-class device. Most worrying for these companies may not be the iPad itself, but the fact that iPad competitors — scant though they are, as of today — aren’t running Intel processors or Microsoft software.

Enterprise HTML: Proven High Performance, Enterprise-Level and Scalable HTML Tips and Best Practices 

Don’t miss the companion sites for Enterprise CSS and JavaScript.

Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Development of Warhammer Online 

Scathing behind-the-scenes look at the development of EA’s Warhammer Online MMO game, from “EA Louse”, a pseudonymous insider:

Anyway, back to Warhammer. We shouldn’t have released when we did, everyone knows it. The game wasn’t done, but EA gave us a deadline and threatened the leaders of Mythic with pink slips. We slipped so many times, it had to go out.

We sold more than a million boxes, and only had 300K subs a month later. Going down every since. It’s “stable” now, but guess what? Even Dark Age and Ultima have more subs than we have. How great is that? Games almost a decade make more money than our biggest project.

He predicts doom for EA’s long-awaited Knights of the Old Republic MMO game. Take it with a grain of salt, given the author’s anonymity and the fact that it’s mostly about a single game that went bad, but it’s an interesting look at the big-ticket game industry.

‘Top Men’ 

I’m a guest on the latest episode of The Incomparable podcast, along with Jason Snell and Dan Moren. The topic: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

‘Taken for a Ride’ 

Funny-because-it’s-true spot from JetBlue. (Via Joe Stump.)

An Open Enhancement Request to the Mobile Safari Team for Sane Bookmarklet Installation or Alternatives 

A thoughtful request from Marco Arment. It may strike you as esoteric, but the reason this is important is that URL handlers are still the primary form of inter-app communication in iOS.

Apple and Verizon, Sitting in a Tree 

Nice catch by Todd Bishop, on the difference between Apple’s iPad press releases for Verizon and AT&T:

Cook in the AT&T release: “We look forward to expanding the reach of iPad, allowing even more customers to experience the magic of iPad for themselves. As we approach the holiday season, we are very happy that customers will now be able to buy iPad Wi-Fi + 3G at AT&T Stores.”

Cook in the Verizon release: “We’re thrilled to be working with Verizon Wireless to get iPad into the hands of even more customers this holiday season. iPad allows users to connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before, and together with Verizon Wireless we’re offering an easy way to stay connected wherever you go.”

The first seems obligatory, the second downright giddy.

RipIt 

My thanks to The Little App Factory for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote RipIt, their award-winning DVD ripping app for the Mac. It’s my go-to app for DVD ripping, and a great way to get movies from DVDs onto an iPad.

Even better: use coupon code “DARINGFIRE2010” to buy RipIt and save 25 percent.

New Version of The New York Times iPad App 

Now with a lot more content from the paper, including the excellent Week in Review section. And the description now includes “free until early 2011”.

TED’s iPad App: Q&A With Developer Matt Drance 

Love the photo, and the app looks great.

Why CDMA Instead of LTE? Why January? 

These are the top questions I’m getting from readers about the iPhone and Verizon. Forgive the self-link, but I can’t answer them any better today than I did in August.

The Talk Show, Episode 12 

On this week’s episode of my and Dan Benjamin’s podcast, we talk about the new Windows Phone 7 commercial, the Palm Pre 2, and some ideas about what might be coming at next week’s Back to the Mac event on Apple’s campus. Sponsored by the .tv top-level domain name, and Alarm Clock Connect (a beautiful alarm clock app for iOS).

John Sculley on Steve Jobs 

A lengthy, fascinating, interview with Sculley by Leander Kahney. Tons of good stuff to quote, but I love this passage the most:

The one that Steve admired was Sony. We used to go visit Akio Morita and he had really the same kind of high-end standards that Steve did and respect for beautiful products. I remember Akio Morita gave Steve and me each one of the first Sony Walkmans. None of us had ever seen anything like that before because there had never been a product like that. This is 25 years ago and Steve was fascinated by it. The first thing he did with his was take it apart and he looked at every single part. How the fit and finish was done, how it was built.

Fascinating, considering the iPod’s central role in Apple’s renaissance.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Good iPhone Application? 

Craig Hockenberry makes the case that it can run at least a few hundred thousand dollars.

New MobileMe Calendar Web App Now Out of Beta 

Prediction: Mac OS X Mail and iCal get makeovers in 10.7 to look like the new MobileMe versions — which, in turn, are clearly inspired by their iPad counterparts.

Verizon and AT&T Stores to Sell iPad Starting October 28 

So it begins. Not with a CDMA iPad, but instead:

Verizon Wireless will offer three bundles, all featuring an iPad Wi-Fi model and a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. The iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi costs $629.99, the iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi is $729.99, and the iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi costs $829.99.

Seems like a good deal. And it’s the symbolism that matters most. Apple and Verizon Wireless are now working together.

Horace Dediu on What Happens to Gartner’s Worldwide PC Market Share Numbers If You Count the iPad 

Apple’s slice of “PC market share” is growing nicely, counting only Macs. But if you include the iPad, it’s unbelievable. Gartner is free to dismiss the iPad as a “media tablet” rather than a “PC”, but Apple reaps the profits from each of these $500-800 computing devices the same way other hardware makers reap the profits from their $500-800 computing devices.

SecondConf 

Another new conference that looks good — this one in Chicago, for both Mac and iOS developers. Short notice, but it looks like they still have a few spots open, and I have a coupon code to save you 10 percent off registration: “DARING”.

The Rise of the Tower Graphic 

Interesting piece by Max Gadney on the rise of large format infographics on the web. He’s got a bunch of examples, but I’m especially enamored of this one by Karl Russel for the NYT. (Thanks to Joe Clark.)

The Flintstones Hawking Winston Cigarettes 

Times change.

Windows Phone 7 and Removable Storage 

Paul Thurrott:

Supported devices (not all Windows Phones will be expandable) will include a micro-SD card slot, which by Microsoft’s requirements must be placed under the battery cover (i.e. next to the actual battery) and not be externally accessible. That’s because this functionality isn’t designed to be something that is swapped out, used with a PC, or whatever. Instead, the micro-SD-based storage will work in tandem with whatever storage is available inside the device. So let’s say you get a device and it has 8 GB of storage internally plus an empty micro-SD slot. You could add a memory card (with 8 to 32 GB of storage) to dramatically expand the storage (to up to 40 GB).

What you can’t do is swap it out without hard resetting the device. That’s because the storage on the card and the internal storage is co-mingled, and the system makes no differentiation. There’s no way to know where something (an app, song, whatever) is stored, and if you do pop out the card, the phone will complain. And it won’t be readable on your PC, so you can’t use it to transfer content in either direction.

At first I thought this sounded like a mistake. Why allow it at all? But if you think about it, it actually does seem like a reasonable compromise. It’s something advanced users can diddle with when they first buy a device, but which regular consumers will never see or need to be concerned with.

Water Droplets Bouncing on a Superhydrophobic Carbon Nanotube Array 

Hypnotic super-slow-motion macro footage.

On the Lack of Referral Information From Twitter Links 

Speaking of Tim Bray, he makes a good point here about incoming traffic from Twitter: it mostly comes without useful HTTP referrer headers. When a website links to DF, I can tell where the incoming visitors are coming from. When someone links to DF from Twitter, I can’t.

Tim Bray on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 

Bray works for Google as an Android developer evangelist, so feel free to take it with a grain of salt. But, as he says, given that he’s been using it for a month, this is probably “the most exhaustive Tab review on the planet”. Spoiler: Bray likes it a lot.

On the flip side, though, Jason Snell got to play with one, and tweeted:

Galaxy Tab browsing experience disappointing. Lag before scrolling, serious judder while scrolling. Breaks the spell of touch interface.

Any sort of touch lag or scrolling judder is unacceptable in iOS. Perhaps this is endemic to using Android 2.x on a tablet-size display.

FCC May Force Mobile Carriers to Warn Users Before Charging Overage Fees 

A welcome change. I can’t wait to hear more from the carriers about how they’re not currently screwing customers with these overage fees.

Microsoft Announces Windows Phone 7 Sync Software for Macs 

Josh Topolsky:

According to a statement from the company issued late in the day, beginning some time “later in 2010” Mac users will be able to live the dream along with their PC counterparts by downloading a beta OS X application which will allow you to sync “select content” from a Mac of their choosing to a Windows Phone. The company was short on details, but hopefully we can pry more info out of the big M in the coming days.

Times change.

Sony Releases Stupid Piece of Shit That Doesn’t Fucking Work 

The Onion News Network predicted Sony’s Google TV product back in February 2009. Seriously, look at this “Unique Remote” — can you believe this is the real remote, not the joke one from The Onion?

Apple to Hold ‘Back to the Mac’ Media Event October 20 

A “sneak preview of the next major version of Mac OS X”, and, I’m just guessing here, the brand-new way-cooler MacBook Air.

Alternate Take on Microsoft’s First Windows Phone 7 Ad, From a Commenter at Business Insider 

These ads reveal Microsoft’s deepest fear: the PC is no longer the center of the software universe. Phones are.

In other words, “Stop spending all day looking at your phones and go back to spending all day looking at a Windows PC”.

Samsung Has Sold 5 Million Galaxy S Phones 

That’s over a million per month. Impressive.

LG Quantum Windows Phone 7 

Sascha Segan:

Windows Phone 7 also just doesn’t seem to be designed for phones with landscape-format, sliding keyboards yet. Too many of the Windows Phone 7 screens don’t rotate, leaving you craning your neck to try to operate the phone at a 90-degree angle.

Then why release a landscape slider now? Wishful thinking?

H&FJ: ‘Finishing Touches’ 

If the devil is in the details, Hoefler & Frere-Jones are the go-to foundry for satanists.

OkTrends on Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex 

Fascinating data research from dating site OkCupid. Stereotypes vs. data. (Via Andy Baio.)

From the Department of Not Practicing What They Preach 

Funny find from Dan Wineman.

Footage of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly in ‘Back to the Future’ 

It’s like a clip from an alternative universe. And it seems impossibly apt that it’d be this movie — a movie about going back in time and changing the future — that would have such footage.

Amazon Link for ‘The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ 

Looks like a fantastic book. Order a copy through this link and I’ll get a few kickback dollars from Amazon.

‘The Simpsons’ Executive Producer Al Jean on Banksy’s Opening Credit Sequence 

Good interview with Al Jean by Dave Itzkoff:

Q: One of the things Banksy is known for is disguising his identity. How can you be sure that you were dealing with the real him?

A: The original boards that we got from him were in his style and were certainly by an extremely proficient artist. We were dealing with the person that represented him making the movie. I haven’t met him, I don’t even know what he looks like, except what the Internet suggests. And he’s taken credit for it now so I’m pretty sure it’s him.

DeNA to Buy Ngmoco 

Hiroko Tabuchi, reporting for the NYT:

DeNA, the Japanese social game giant, said Tuesday that it would acquire Ngmoco, a Silicon Valley iPhone game developer, for $400 million — one of the largest deals ever involving an iPhone application developer and another sign that the iPhone is fast becoming the hottest game device on the market.

A little birdie tells me that Ngmoco employees didn’t hear about the deal until last night. [Update: I originally wrote that Ngmoco employees didn’t hear about the deal until the NYT story hit. My mistake, not the birdie’s. We regret the error.]

‘Impressive. Most Impressive.’ 

Vanity Fair has excerpts from J.W. Rinzler’s new book, The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. And don’t miss Mike Ryan’s interview with Jeremy Bulloch.

Scott Simpson’s Standard of Cool 

Re: the last, this is my mantra for keeping my phone in my pocket.

First Windows Phone 7 Ad From Microsoft 

Not bad. Entertaining, and, for me at least, it hits home.

But it’s more of an indictment of our “eyes on the phone, all the time” culture than an endorsement of Windows Phone 7. How exactly does Windows Phone 7 solve this? And do iPhone/Android/BlackBerry addicts really see this as a problem that needs to be solved? I feel like I spend so much time on my iPhone not because it’s inefficient, but because it’s so good. I’m never more than a few seconds away from something at least somewhat engaging.

I.e., Microsoft’s premise here is that WP7 has a dashboard and system-wide interface that’s optimized for getting you through a finite amount of “checking in” or “catching up” in significantly less time than other mobile systems. But I don’t think people are on their iPhones/Androids/BlackBerrrys all the time because of inefficient UI design. I think it’s because we want to be on them. These devices are where our minds are drawn — like moths to a flame, perhaps — whenever we’re otherwise unoccupied.

But: perhaps this message from Microsoft isn’t targeted at existing smartphone owners. It’s for those shopping for the first smartphone, who, because they don’t have one yet, see existing smartphones as something unpleasant — gadgets that turn friends and family into anti-social heads-down faces-underlit jerks. I can see how that message might work.

Update, 19 April 2013: The original story linked above is now a 404. Fireballed.org has a cache, but the embedded YouTube videos are now marked private. Here’s a YouTube link that works for the “Season of the Witch” spot.

CNet’s Guide to Today’s Announced Windows Phones 

Some aren’t slated to ship until 2011, though.

Microsoft Announces Ten Windows Phone 7 Handsets for 30 Countries 

October 21 in Europe and Asia, November 8 in the U.S. Give them credit: it looks like they’re going to hit their ship dates.

Microsoft’s Language Problem 

Microsoft announces Windows Phone 7, in a press release headlined “Windows Phone 7: A Fresh Start for the Smartphone: The Phone Delivers a New User Experience by Integrating the Things Users Really Want to Do, Creating a Balance Between Getting Work Done and Having Fun”:

The goal for Microsoft’s latest smartphone is an ambitious one: to deliver a phone that truly integrates the things people really want to do, puts those things right in front of them, and either lets them get finished quickly or immerses them in the experience they were seeking.

Who talks like this? This bureaucrat-ese is intended, I suppose, to sound serious. But it just sounds like bullshit.

Here’s how Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007:

Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone. And here it is.

And here’s Apple’s PR announcing it, headlined simply “Apple Reinvents the Phone with iPhone”. You can accuse Apple of hyperbole, but not opaqueness.

The Macalope on Ryan Block’s Purported ‘Glassgate’ Scandal 

The Macalope, on this report from Ryan Block at Gdgt, alleging that the iPhone 4 s prone to glass-cracking when put in a slip-on case.

Color me skeptical too. Where’s the evidence that this is a widespread or even vaguely common problem?

What I like best is Block’s next-day follow-up, wherein he feigns surprise that a slew of hacks picked up the story and reported it as fact that it’s a significant problem — even though it was Block himself who, in his original report, gave it the name “Glassgate”. What other meaning does the -gate suffix have than “scandal with coverup”?

See also: The Angry Drunk.

Everything You Need to Know to Understand the Mindset of the Carriers, in One Short Quote 

From a ZDNet story on Apple’s relationship with Australian carrier Telstra, quoting CEO David Thodey:

“We are Apple’s largest customer in Australia, yet with Apple we are still working through some areas in how to work.”

There you go. He thinks his carrier is Apple’s customer. Thus the conflict, because Apple treats iPhone owners as its customers.

Microsoft Promotes Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 

The problem? Rovio Mobile, the company behind Angry Birds, hasn’t committed to a port yet.

(I’ll bet five bucks that it’s the same story with that Tap Tap Revenge icon, too.)

Banksy Storyboarded and Directed Tonight’s Opening of The Simpsons 

So great.

Yankees Sweep Twins, Head to American League Championship Series 

Eight more wins for 28.

Charlie the Chimp Dies at 52 Despite Smoking Habit 

The BBC:

A chimpanzee famous for smoking cigarettes has died at a South African zoo, aged 52. Charlie the chimp started smoking when some visitors to Mangaung zoo, in Bloemfontein, threw him lit cigarettes.

Alex King on Buying an Android Phone 

He researched, he waited, he ordered, and before his phone even arrived, a more appealing new model was announced.

Devil’s advocate perspective: There’s a constant stream of new hardware in the Android world, and Apple is trying to stay ahead releasing just one new model per year.

NYT Reports iPhone Coming to Verizon 

No new details, but they claim an independent source who confirmed the deal. Love the last paragraph, where they acknowledge the WSJ scooped them.

Carcassonne 

My thanks to The Coding Monkeys for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Carcassonne, their award-winning board game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s a tile-based game where you build a medieval landscape, with multi-player support over both the Internet and local network. Great fun for both board game fans and social gamers.

Watch their demo video and check out the game’s exquisite graphics. Available now on the App Store for the special introductory price of $4.99. Plus, buy now and you’ll receive the iPad/Universal update (scheduled for later this year) at no additional cost.

Andy Rubin Talks Android 

PC Magazine interview:

PC Mag: People have been saying that the freedom of Android has basically meant that the carriers are free to screw the consumers.

Rubin: If I were to release an operating system that I claimed was open and that forced everybody to make [phones] all look the same and all support very narrow features and functionality, the platform wouldn’t win. It wouldn’t win because the OEMs have a lot of value to bring and the carriers have a lot of value to bring, and they need a vehicle by which to put their interesting differentiating features on these things.

What value have the carriers brought? Seriously. What software on Android phones have the carriers added that’s any good at all?

Things you don’t hear iPhone users say: “Man, this iPhone would be even better if my carrier could ‘add value’ to it.”

Pogue on Flash on Android 

He likes it, with caveats, but admits he didn’t test the effect on battery life. Come on.

Jim Dalrymple on the Rumors of a 7-Inch iPad 

He says Apple has been working on seven-inch models ever since the project began. That doesn’t mean they ever plan to release them, but if they do, it’s not the case that Apple just started working on them, as some analysts have speculated. (Dalrymple’s Apple sources are top-notch.)

‘An Atom-Based Product, Developed in Bits’ 

Glenn Fleishman, writing for The Economist, on the Glif project’s remarkable success at Kickstarter.

Dear Gap, Mike Monteiro Has Your New Logo 

Mike Monteiro:

You sell good stuff. But never in my experience has any of your employees offered me a free pair of pants because the ones I was wearing looked bad. I wouldn’t expect them to. Their job is to sell me clothes.

My job is to sell design.

New $5,000 Multimedia Computer System Downloads Real-Time TV Programs, Displays Them on Monitor 

Google TV reminds me of this 1998 Onion classic. The underlying question has switched from “why not just watch TV?” to “why not just use a computer?”

Sell Your Gap Stock 

Gap President Marka Hansen explains their new logo. What a pile of say-nothing corporate horseshit. No wonder the new logo is so insipid.

Nicholas Deleon Calls ‘No Clothes’ on Google TV 

Nicholas Deleon at AOL/TechCrunch:

So we’ve established that Google TV will bring the Internet to your TV. Great. But you know what? I already “have” the Internet. You do, too.

It’s called a computer — and to a lesser extent, a smartphone.

If it works, it’ll be because Google has figured out a new interaction model for computing that doesn’t require a mouse pointer or touchscreen. But even if the interaction model works, is a computer what people want in the living room? Count me in with Deleon — I don’t see it.

Update: This tweet from “mpjoyn” nails why I’m skeptical:

Living room PCs will be big, but only as touchscreens for each family member. Hell is watching someone else control a GUI.

It’s not that there isn’t demand for living room computing. It’s whether the TV should be a computer display. Who wants to watch someone else surf the web?

Put another way: How is Google TV not WebTV 2.0?

Engadget’s Motorola Droid Pro Preview 

This doesn’t appeal to me personally, but I think it plays to Android’s strengths. Could be really appealing to BlackBerry switchers.

NYT: ‘Microsoft and Adobe Chiefs Meet to Discuss Apple’ 

Bombshell from Nick Bilton:

Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, recently showed up with a small entourage of deputies at Adobe’s offices to hold a secret meeting with Adobe’s chief executive, Shantanu Narayen.

The meeting, which lasted over an hour, covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could partner in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options.

And people wonder why Apple hasn’t added Flash Player support to iOS.

Tweet Library 1.0 

Another great new iPad app, this one from Manton Reece. Tweet Library is a Twitter client that can filter and archive tweets, and there’s a companion website for sharing your archive collections. Watch the demo movie and you’ll understand. I’ve been beta testing it and really like it.

TouchUp 1.0 

Excellent new $3 photo editor for the iPad, from Rogue Sheep. Really thoughtful take on how to do this with a touch interface.

WSJ Now Says Verizon Will Carry CDMA iPhone 

I don’t think I’ve ever before linked to the same article twice in succession, but the WSJ has completely rewritten the lead to this story:

AT&T Inc. is about to lose its lock on the iPhone.

Apple Inc. is making a version of its iPhone that Verizon Wireless will sell early next year, according to people familiar with the matter, ending an exclusive deal with AT&T and sharpening the competition with Google Inc.-based phones.

They’re saying it’s a done deal. That’s news. What I’m curious about is who leaked the confirmation: someone at Verizon, or someone at Apple? And was it authorized?

The Talk Show, Episode 11 

Me and Dan Benjamin, talking about Wookiee dingleberries. And other stuff.

This week’s episode is sponsored by Squarespace — fully hosted, completely managed environment for creating and maintaining a website, blog or portfolio, starting at just $12/month.

WSJ: ‘Apple Making Verizon-Ready iPhone by Year End’ 

Yukari Iwatani Kane and Ting-I Tsai, reporting for the WSJ:

Apple Inc. plans to begin mass producing a new iPhone by the end of 2010 that would allow Verizon Wireless to sell the smartphone early next year, said people briefed by Apple.

The new iPhone would be similar in design to the iPhone 4 currently sold by AT&T Inc. but would be based on an alternative wireless technology called CDMA used by Verizon, these people said. The phone, for which Qualcomm Inc. is providing a key chip, is expected to be released in the first quarter of next year, according to the same people.

Note that there’s a difference between Apple making a CDMA iPhone and Verizon carrying it. The WSJ is only reporting what I did two months ago: that a CDMA iPhone 4 is heading toward production. They’re not saying Verizon has agreed to carry it.

Instagram 

Slick new camera app for the iPhone, with a great UI, cool filters, and a built-in photo-sharing social network. Or maybe it’s a photo-sharing social network with a free iPhone client.

The app is nice, but I can’t see why I’d use the sharing service instead of Flickr.

Android is Open, Exhibit 72 

John Biggs at AOL/MobileCrunch:

Some excited rooters at the XDA Dev Forum tried to root the G2 — namely to unlock the software so they can add their own programs and control the OS — only to find that there is a built-in lock in the G2 hardware that returns the handset to the stock state upon rooting.

“Openness” jokes aside, there’s an argument to be made that this is a security feature.

Ben Metcalfe: ‘The .ly Domain Space to Be Considered Unsafe’ 

Who’d have thought you can’t trust the Libyan government?

The Symmetry of Share Shifts in Mobile Phones 

More interesting data visualization on the mobile market, by Horace Dediu.

Tennessee County’s Subscription-Based Firefighters Watch as Family Home Burns Down 

Not from The Onion:

In this rural section of Tennessee, Gene Cranick’s home caught on fire. As the Cranicks fled their home, their neighbors alerted the county’s firefighters, who soon arrived at the scene. Yet when the firefighters arrived, they refused to put out the fire, saying that the family failed to pay the annual subscription fee to the fire department. Because the county’s fire services for rural residences is based on household subscription fees, the firefighters, fully equipped to help the Cranicks, stood by and watched as the home burned to the ground.

(Via JWZ.)

Xmarks Premium Pledge Campaign 

Not dead yet?

But first, the punch line: we’re revisiting the idea of Xmarks as a premium service. We’ve set up a Pledgebank page where you can sign up if you’re willing to pay at least $10 a year for Xmarks. No credit card is required, but please only pledge if you are genuinely willing and able to pay.

Google Responds to Oracle’s Android Patent Lawsuit 

Nilay Patel:

Google says Android doesn’t infringe any of Oracle’s patents, and even if it does, those patents are invalid and / or unenforceable for a variety of reasons anyway, so, you know, shove it. That’s basically all Google — or any patent defendant — needs to say in the answer, and if that was it, we’d just note it and move on with our lives. But we were struck by the factual background section, which reads to us like Google’s geared up for war: it basically accuses Sun and Oracle of not playing fair when it comes to Java’s open-source license situation and directly implies that parts of Android are based on code that might require a patent license.

Sony’s Google TV Remote Control 

Seems like a lot of buttons.

George Kokkinidis Redesigns The Guardian’s ‘Who’s Suing Who?’ Graphic 

Nice. (His whole site is good.)

Google Mobile App for iPhone Now Has Goggles 

Requires auto-focusing camera, so it’s only available for iPhone 3GS and 4. (Via MG Siegler.)

360 MacDev Conference 

New Mac developer conference in Denver, December 10-11, with a good lineup of speakers. Save 20 percent on registration using this coupon code they sent me: “DFReadersRock”.

Who’s Suing Who in Mobile? 

Not the best-looking graphic, but interesting.

Update: Paul Conigliaro takes two stabs at a redesign.

Why Apple Doesn’t Talk 

Matt Drance:

If you just shut your mouth and let the product speak for itself — once you actually have a product — then there’s a much better chance for people to be pleasantly surprised.

Claim Chowder: ‘10 Reasons the iPad Could Fail Catastrophically’ 

Speaking of Kontra, his Twitter stream is chock full of delicious iPad claim chowder today, including this gem by Mikel Reparaz at GamesRadar back in January.

How Not to Fight Colds 

Jennifer Ackerman:

It seems counterintuitive, but there it is: People with more active immune systems may be especially prone to cold symptoms.

(Via Kontra.)

Nielsen: Android Takes Top Spot in U.S. Smartphone Sales 

Ryan Kim:

Nielsen said among recent acquirers of smartphones in the last six months through August, Android was the top platform in the U.S. with 32 percent of new purchases, followed by the iPhone and Research In Motion’s Blackberry platform, tied at about 25 percent.

When looking at overall market share, RIM remains on top with 31 percent, trailed by the iPhone at 28 percent and Android at 19 percent. But the race continues to tighten with RIM maintaining a slide from 37 percent in February. The iPhone has remained largely stable during that period, while Android market share is up from 8 percent in February.

The only thing that could change this trend is getting the iPhone on other carriers in the U.S. The numbers are very different in Europe, where the iPhone is available on multiple carriers in most countries.

A Terrible Tablet From a Company With a Bizarrely Coincidental Name 

Charles Arthur on the £180 10-inch “Next 10” Android tablet:

But choosing or touching any of the screens did nothing. A few more prods and it gave up - nothing would get it to react. Seriously, if that’s Android on a tablet, there’s trouble ahead.

My recommendation: do not buy this item unless you have tried it out thoroughly in a shop, and found out whether you can crash it (as I did in 30 seconds).

Apple Loses ‘Cover Flow’ Patent Lawsuit to Mirror Worlds 

Bloomberg:

The federal jury in Tyler, Texas, awarded $208.5 million in damages for each of the patents infringed. The verdict form was unclear as to whether the amount applies to the three patents collectively or would be charged individually. Lawyers for closely held Mirror Worlds declined to discuss the verdict.

Mirror Worlds, a software business started by a Yale University computer-science professor David Gelernter, claimed Apple’s iPod music device, iPhone and Mac computers infringed its patents. Apple challenged the validity of the patents and whether they were infringed, according to court records.

That’s the same David Gelernter who survived an attack from Ted “The Unabomber” Kaczynski.

From The New York Times’s report on the verdict:

If Mirror Worlds is granted the full amount by the court, it would be one of the largest patent awards in United States history. The case was heard before Federal District Judge Leonard E. Davis in the Eastern District of Texas, a locale favored by plaintiffs in patent cases because of the generosity of the jury awards.

Skype for Android Phones Now Available 

No longer exclusive to Verizon, and now works as you’d expect. The small print notes:

Skype has been tested on HTC and Motorola devices with Android OS 2.1 and above. It may work on other Android phones, but we can’t guarantee full functionality or compatibility. We’re aware of some problems with the Samsung Galaxy S, and we’re looking to address these in the future.

Update: Apparently this new app is just plain “Skype”. The “Skype for Mobile” app was and remains exclusive to Verizon.

VP in charge of Nokia’s MeeGo Devices Resigns 

Are they going to abandon MeeGo?

Sparrow — New Email Client for Mac OS X 

New desktop email client by Dinh Viêt Hoà and Dominique Leca. It’s a Gmail-only beta version at the moment, but they have plans to expand support to other IMAP servers. Rather than ape Apple Mail or even traditional three-pane email clients in general, Sparrow’s UI design borrows from Tweetie (for Mac), the iPad, and Gmail’s web app. I’m not sure how this design will scale to support a full list of mailboxes (or, in Gmail parlance, labels), but still, it’s very interesting, and an original take on email. Worth a look now, and worth keeping an eye on.

Why Apple Added Another Button to Their Remote Control 

The answer to a question Dan Benjamin and I discussed on last week’s The Talk Show. On the old remote, there was one button for Play/Pause and Select. In a menu, the button meant “Select”; in a media playback context, it meant “Play/Pause”. The new remote (which, yes, came out before the new Apple TV, but it’s new to me) adds a separate dedicated Play/Pause button. In most contexts, both buttons do the same thing, so why add another button?

Because music can play in the background. If you’re playing music, the Select and Play/Pause buttons are no longer interchangeable: Select applies to on-screen UI elements, Play/Pause applies to the music.

WSJ Interview With Steve Ballmer on Windows Phone 7 

Nick Wingfield:

WSJ: You’re still charging a license fee for the software.

Mr. Ballmer: Sure.

WSJ: Is that difficult in an environment where Android is free?

Mr. Ballmer: Android has a patent fee. It’s not like Android’s free. You do have to license patents. HTC’s signed a license with us and you’re going to see license fees clearly for Android as well as for Windows.

The message: Google isn’t charging for it, but Android isn’t free of charge.

Fred Wilson on What a CEO Does 

From Fred Wilson:

A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.

Suggested by Mike Abner on Twitter. I’m not saying there’s strife at Twitter; my earlier post didn’t come out right. Could well be that naming Dick Costolo CEO really was Ev Williams’s idea — that Williams was spending less time on product development and more time on financial matters. Perhaps now, Ev is to Costolo as Sergey Brin and Larry Page are to Eric Schmidt. But what’s his new title?

Update: According to MG Siegler at AOL/TechCrunch, his new title is “co-founder”.

Luke Geissbuhler’s Homemade Spacecraft 

Impressive project, and some great footage. My favorite part of the video is the countdown, though — the boys’ excitement is palpable.

The New Rental-Only Apple TV and iTunes Content Fragmentation 

I agree with two things in this piece by Louis Gray:

  1. It’s a problem that the iPad remains stuck on iOS 3.2. But the iOS 4.2 betas seem very far along; this isn’t going to be a problem for long.

  2. Most of the TV shows available from iTunes can only be purchased, not rented. The new Apple TV can only rent. Thus, most shows from iTunes cannot be obtained directly from the new Apple TV. You can watch them, but you have to buy them from a Mac or PC with iTunes, then play them on Apple TV via home sharing. The new Apple TV would be a much more appealing proposition if all iTunes TV shows were available to rent. The decision to make more shows available to rent belongs to the networks, not Apple, but Apple’s the one that decided to sell a new Apple TV that can only rent content.

The situation is much better for movies than TV shows, but still, there are many movies in iTunes, including a lot of new releases like Iron Man 2, that are purchase-only.

Dan Lyons, Again, on the ‘Android Will Do to the iPhone What Windows Did to the Mac’ Trope 

Dan Lyons, in a feature story on Android for Newsweek:

Android has also transformed Google and its longtime ally Apple into fierce rivals. Until recently, Apple seemed destined to rule the mobile Internet, thanks to the popularity of the iPhone, which was introduced in 2007 and quickly began grabbing market share. But Android has enabled handset makers like Motorola and Samsung to develop credible rivals to the iPhone. This year, as those companies have gained traction, Apple’s momentum has stalled.

Android is, without question, doing well. Maybe it is the next Windows. But Lyons’ whole article is about phones. The Android success story, at least so far, is indeed all about phones. But Apple’s success story is about all iOS devices: iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads. Android-vs.-iOS is the game, and Android phones-vs.-iPhone is just a part of it.

And: how has Apple’s momentum “stalled”? Are iPhone sales down? I doubt very much that’s what we’ll hear in Apple’s next quarterly results.

Dick Costolo Takes Over as Twitter CEO 

Ev Williams, who took the reins as Twitter CEO from Jack Dorsey two years ago:

This led to a realization as we launched the new Twitter. I am most satisfied while pushing product direction. Building things is my passion, and I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about what we have to build.

This is why I have decided to ask our COO, Dick Costolo, to become Twitter’s CEO. Starting today, I’ll be completely focused on product strategy.

I don’t buy that as an explanation. Why can’t the CEO be focused on product strategy? Seems to work for Apple. What happens now if Costolo and Williams disagree on product strategy?

Alessi Tab 

Speaking of Android tablets, this one is apparently going on sale in Italy in November, for €399 (about US$550). So dies the Windows empire, one tablet at a time.

LG Delays Android Tablet, Waiting for Android 3.0 

Reuters:

LG Electronics Inc said on Monday that it had scrapped a plan to launch a tablet computer based on Google Inc’s Android 2.2 operation system known as “Froyo,” a decision that may delay the rollout of its first tablet PC slated for next quarter.

That’s a different tune than the song LG vice president Chang Ma was singing a little over a month ago:

The South Korean company also plans to launch a tablet computer globally by the fourth quarter under its Optimus line, said Chang Ma, vice president of marketing for LG’s mobile-devices unit.

The first LG tablet, which will run on Google Inc.’s Android software, will set itself apart from Apple Inc.’s iPad by focusing on the ability to create content, rather than simply display it, Mr. Ma said in an interview.

Mr. Ma said that the iPad is a great device, but he doesn’t do much work on it. “Our tablet will be better than the iPad.”

Glif: Kickstarter Project to Make an iPhone Stand/Tripod Mount 

Count me in for this Kickstarter project: Dan “The Russians Used a Pencil” Provost and Thomas Gerhardt have designed a combination stand/tripod mount for the iPhone 4.

Told You He Was Creepy 

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, in an interview with Atlantic editor James Bennet:

“The average American doesn’t realize how much of the laws are written by lobbyists” to protect incumbent interests, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Atlantic editor James Bennet at the Washington Ideas Forum. “It’s shocking how the system actually works.”

That’s a succinct — and non-partisan — assessment that sounds exactly right to me.

But then:

“Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it,” he said. Google implants, he added, probably crosses that line.

At the same time, Schmidt envisions a future where we embrace a larger role for machines and technology. “With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches,” he said. “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

Somebody needs remedial “creepy line awareness” training.

‘Right Wing Radio Duck’ 

Donald Duck discovers Glenn Beck. Not sure how long it’s going to last on YouTube, watch it while you can. (Via Roger Ebert.)

The Talk Show, Episode 10 

This week’s episode of The Talk Show, wherein yours truly and Dan Benjamin talk about the new Apple TV 2, the Kindle 3, and my brief bit of time playing with a Windows Phone 7 prototype.

Marco Arment on the Kindle 3 

Marco Arment:

Because if my support emails about Kindle 3 support are any indication, Amazon is selling a lot of these. And at that price, it’s no wonder: $140 is barely more than many iPad cases. Amazon is clearly sending a message to the market:

“We’re not competing with the iPad. You can buy both if you want.”

I agree. Now that the prices start below $150, I see the Kindle as being to reading what the iPod Nano is to listening — a dedicated standalone device. The Kindle doesn’t compete against the iPad any more than the Nano competes against the iPod Touch.

‘The Léo Way’ 

The Economist makes the case for Léo Apotheker as a good choice to run HP.

Sourcebits 

My thanks to Sourcebits for again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Sourcebits offers software development services, specializing in mobile platforms like iOS (including both iPhone and iPad), Android, BlackBerry, and the web. If you’re looking for software development services, check out Sourcebits’s website for more information and examples of their work, including Night Stand HD, their bestselling clock app for iPhone and iPad.

Microsoft, AT&T Set to Unveil Windows Phone 7 Handsets 

The timing of the Motorola lawsuit was not coincidental — it’s all part of the Windows Phone 7 ramp-up:

Microsoft Corp. will formally unveil a lineup of smartphones using the revamped version of its mobile operating system on Oct. 11, and AT&T Inc. will begin offering them four weeks later, according to people familiar with the launch plans.

The launch — centered in New York with satellite events elsewhere — is crucial for Microsoft, which has been battered by Apple Inc.’s iPhone and a wave of flashier consumer friendly devices using Google Inc.’s Android mobile software.

Update: Consider too that Motorola’s Android phones are most closely aligned with Verizon, at least here in the U.S.

Microsoft Sues Motorola Over Android 

Nick Wingfield, reporting for the WSJ:

Microsoft Corp. accused Motorola Inc. of violating its patents with smartphones that use Google Inc.’s Android operating system, firing a legal salvo in the a market where Microsoft has struggled.

The Redmond, Wash., company said it filed complaints against Motorola with the International Trade Commission and federal court in Seattle, alleging that Motorola’s Android-based phones violate nine Microsoft patents covering the synchronization of email, calendars and contacts, scheduling of meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.

Remember back in April, when HTC signed this agreement with Microsoft:

Microsoft Corp. and HTC Corp. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for HTC’s mobile phones running the Android mobile platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will receive royalties from HTC.

So Microsoft’s stance is that handset makers can use Windows Phone 7 and pay Microsoft, or they can use Android and pay Microsoft. They’re suing Motorola (I wonder if Samsung is next) but the target is Google — just like with Apple’s suit against HTC.

iOS and Android Web Usage Growth 

Serenity Caldwell for Macworld, regarding this report from Netmarketcircle:

The report, released Friday, tracks the usage share of both mobile operating systems from November 2009 to September 2010. Android market share grew a whopping eight times over that ten-month span, traveling from an initial 0.03 percent adoption to 0.24 percent by the end of September. Apple’s iOS continued a steady but upward climb, nearly tripling its 0.43 percent share to 1.18 percent.

The report also broke out the prevalence of individual iOS devices. The iPhone leads the pack with 0.75 percent, followed by the iPad at 0.30 percent, and the iPod at 0.12 percent. (And yes, that iPad number is larger than than the total Android usage share.)

10 Ways People Are Using the iPad to Create Content 

The funny thing is, you still see people talking about the iPad being only for consumption. I don’t think it’ll ever end.

Writer for iPad 

Another iPad text editor with Dropbox syncing, this one from Information Architects. Definitely worth a look: a spartan plain text interface, a custom monospaced font, and a few convenient customizations to the on-screen keyboard. The “focus” features seem unnecessary to me — how much more focused do you need a writing interface to be than the default Writer view? Note the FAQ, which points out some non-obvious things, like how to rename documents. $4.99 at the App Store.

On Google Buying Twitter 

John Battelle:

Here’s my simple reasoning for why Google won’t buy Twitter: Twitter won’t sell.

Walt Disney’s Original Plan for EPCOT 

“It will be a community of tomorrow, that will never be completed.”

(Via Jennifer Brook.)

HP Stock Tanks After It Hires No-Name CEO 

I’ll admit, I never heard of the guy.

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