MacLegion Spring 2011 Bundle ★
My thanks to MacLegion for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their 2011 spring bundle of Mac software. The bundle includes Data Rescue, ScreenFlow, Contactizer Pro, VirusBarrier, Forklift, LaunchBar, Printopia, Amadeus Pro, Radio Gaga, and MacPilot. All apps are the latest versions, and come with the same technical support and future upgrade paths that you’d get if you bought each app from the developers directly.
The bundle of ten apps costs just $49.99 — a savings of over $500 off their combined retail price. Offer ends May 12.
How Do Users React When a Developer Adds Airpush Ads to an App? ★
iPhone to Dominate U.S. Physician Smartphone Market ★
Healthcare IT News:
According to a recent survey of U.S. physicians, 61 percent intend
to own an iPhone by the end of 2011. This is up from 39 percent at
the beginning of the year and compares with the iPhone’s 24.7
percent adoption among general U.S. smartphone users.
They offer no explanation for why this is. My guess: healthcare-specific iOS-exclusive apps. Assuming this survey is accurate, the U.S. physician smartphone market isn’t just a little different than the smartphone market as a whole, it’s a lot different.
Airpush — Push Notification Ads for Android ★
Sounds like hell on earth.
Update: Dan Wineman:
Airpush sounds like a really good way to turn “inactive users” into active uninstallers.
Tough Questions for RIM ★
After Research in Motion’s cut earnings guidance last night,
many investors are scratching their heads. Here is what I’d ask
co-CEO Jim Balsillie if I met him for coffee this morning.
Jackson’s questions are clear and pointed. I think RIM is a company whose business is on the cusp of imploding.
White iPhone Really Is 0.2mm Thicker ★
I tried out a bunch of different cases and those that were just a
tiny bit loose on the black iPhone 4 fit perfectly on the white
iPhone 4 (like the CaseMate Chrome) while those that just fit the
black iPhone 4 were just a tiny bit too tight (like the
aforementioned Barely There).
More on ‘iCloud’ ★
John Paczkowski gets confirmation from “sources in the know” that Apple indeed bought the icloud.com domain name, and AppleInsider claims it’s going to be used by iOS 5 and Lion for syncing all sorts of stuff.
The Talk Show, Episode 40 ★
Another week, another episode of America’s favorite podcast: the location data controversy, the white iPhone 4, Apple’s growing mountain of cash, and Moonraker. Brought to you by Campaign Monitor’s World View and Intuit’s Small Business Blog.
Where Apple Would Stand Without the iPhone and iPad? ★
Ole Begemann looks at Apple’s revenue by product line, from 2007 through now:
If the iPhone and iPad had not come, Apple’s revenue from fiscal
Q2 2007 to Q2 2011 would have grown by a “mere” 119% instead
It’s kind of an impossible “What if?” scenario, because much of Apple’s “iPod” revenue today comes from the iPod Touch, which is an iPhone-sans-phone, not an iPod-as-we-knew-it-circa-2006. But the fact remains: the iOS product line has fueled an astounding amount of growth for Apple.
(This is also worth keeping in mind regarding the whole “more revenue and profit than Microsoft” angle (which angle, yes, I just wrote about two entries ago claiming I didn’t “want to make too big a deal out of”): Microsoft’s revenue and profit haven’t faltered. Their just-reported results were record-breaking for the quarter, with revenue up 13 percent and profit up 31 percent, year-over-year. Apple passed Microsoft even though Microsoft’s numbers showed strong growth.)
Cringely on Sony’s Response to the PSN Fiasco ★
A funny thing about Japanese business culture is the tendency to
apologize profusely for absolutely anything that is beyond the
control of the company or its executives. They’ll apologize for
traffic, for bad weather, for someone else’s mistake, but if
the company or its leaders have actually screwed-up they
generally won’t say a thing, which is not at all good for
Sony’s global image.
Related: Colin Campbell at Gamasutra on the damage to the PlayStation brand.
Awkward Use of the First Person Singular ★
I don’t want to make too big a deal out of Apple passing Microsoft as the most profitable company in the industry, because the trend has been clear for a long time. But maybe not so clear to everyone. Steve Ballmer, a year ago, after Apple’s market cap passed Microsoft’s:
Mr. Ballmer said he remains unfazed despite Apple assuming the
position of the technology king. “I will make more profits and
certainly there is no technology company in the planet which is as
profitable as we are,” he said. “Stock markets will take care of
the rest,” he added.
Google TV Update ★
Logitech’s Revue Google TV set-top box and periphery devices,
such as the a Revue-optimized webcam, only generated about $5
million in sales in the last quarter, according to Thursday’s
That’s far below expectations. Logitech had reported Google TV
product sales of $22 million for the previous quarter, and
estimated to sell another $18 million in the fiscal fourth
quarter. The company missed these estimates by more than 70
percent. Tanking Google TV sales were also reflected by a
28-percent rise in inventory.
Todd Bishop, on Microsoft’s quarterly results:
In its quarterly filing, Microsoft indicated that the consumer PC
market was the primary culprit for the decline — pointing in
particularly to a 40 percent decline in netbook sales in the
40 percent decline in netbooks, eh? Some netbook claim chowder:
How the iPhone Knows Where You Are ★
Great article by Glenn Fleishman on how Apple uses cell towers, Wi-Fi, and GPS for location services.
The Economics of Death Star Planet Destruction ★
Or, as Matthew Yglesias puts it, “the logic and limits of the Tarkin Doctrine”.
RIM Cuts Profit Forecast as BlackBerry Demand Falls Short ★
Research In Motion Ltd., facing intensifying competition from
Apple Inc. and Google Inc., cut its sales and profit forecasts for
this quarter on slower-than- expected demand for BlackBerry
smartphones. The stock plunged. […]
RIM said BlackBerry shipments will be at the lower end of the
range of 13.5 million to 14.5 million it projected last month, and
the mix of devices it sells will shift toward cheaper models.
Starting to get the feeling that RIM is a company on the verge of collapse.
White iPhone 4 Slightly Thicker? ★
It’s always something with that jerk.
Don’t Forget the Mac ★
Bloomberg, reporting on Microsoft’s quarterly results:
Personal computer shipments unexpectedly fell 3.2 percent in the
quarter as businesses and consumers held off purchases and shifted
to tablet computers, IDC said. Microsoft’s multi-year contracts
with corporations weren’t enough to make up for businesses that
are holding onto machines for longer periods and consumers who are
choosing iPads over a new laptop with Windows.
The iPad does seem to have siphoned off much of the growth in the PC industry. But don’t forget that Mac sales are up, too — 28 percent higher in the just-completed quarter than a year ago. So it’s really more that Apple has taken the growth, with the Mac at the high end and the iPad at the low end.
Apple Now More Profitable Than Microsoft ★
“Times change”, indeed.
Marco Arment on Pulling the Free Version of Instapaper From the App Store ★
He created the free version in the hope that it would increase sales of the paid version, but sales of the paid version have gone up after he removed the free version of the store. Correlation is not causation, but that’s interesting.
Jim Dalrymple on Android vs. iPhone Market Share Arguments ★
There is no compelling argument that anyone can give that says
that comparing an operating system to a hardware device makes
Did Apple Buy iCloud.com Domain Name? ★
Until recently, iCloud.com was a domain name and a
storage-as-a-cloud service owned by Linkoping, Sweden-based
desktop-as-a-service company, Xcerion. Xcerion’s iCloud service
has just been rebranded to CloudMe, and the company acquired the
CloudMe.com domain on April 5, 2011.
My source, who is familiar with the company, says that Xcerion has
sold the domain to Apple for about $4.5 million. Xcerion hasn’t
responded to my queries as yet. At the time of writing, the Whois
database showed Xcerion as the owner of iCloud.
Push Pop Press: Al Gore’s ‘Our Choice’ ★
This is the book I saw in beta form back in January, prompting me to write this piece on Push Pop Press’s phenomenal design and experience work. It’s a good book, judged simply by its content, but anyone who works in UI design ought to buy this if for no other reason than to study its design. $4.99 on the App Store.
Makes Me Wish I Still Did the ‘Jackass of the Week’ Bit ★
Anton Wahlman, writing for The Street:
We Apple investors typically view Steve Jobs’ health as the
biggest risk to the stock, but there’s a potentially greater
threat: Google’s new operating system.
No, I’m not talking about Android.
I’m talking about Chrome OS.
Ben Brooks Surveys the iPhone Weather App Market ★
His top choice is the same as mine: My-Cast. It’s a really crowded market but it’s largely filled with junk. See also: Marco Arment.
Jobs, Schiller, and Forstall Talk to Mobilized About Location Data and the White iPhone 4 ★
Nice scoop by Ina Fried: a phone interview with Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, and Scott Forstall.
Fried: A bunch of folks on the regulatory side, both in the U.S.
and elsewhere, said they are going to look into this. Do you guys
plan on testifying before Congress? How active do you personally
and does Apple want to be?
Jobs: I think Apple will be testifying. They have asked us to come
and we will honor their request, of course. I think it is great
that they are investigating this and I think it will be
interesting to see how aggressive or lazy the press is on this in
terms of investigating the rest of the participants in the
industry and finding out what they do. Some of them don’t do
what we do. That’s for sure.
In a separate article, she talks to Phil Schiller about the long-awaited white iPhone 4.
‘It’s Going to Take A While’ ★
All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have
good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you
make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good,
it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that
got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your
work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase,
they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work
went through years of this.
From a brief transcript of this video.
‘Invention Is in Our DNA and Technology Is the Fundamental Tool We Wield to Evolve and Improve Every Aspect of the Experience We Provide Our Customers.’ ★
Jeff Bezos, in his annual letter to Amazon shareholders:
State management is the heart of any system that needs to grow to
very large size. Many years ago, Amazon’s requirements reached a
point where many of our systems could no longer be served by any
commercial solution: our key data services store many petabytes of
data and handle millions of requests per second. To meet these
demanding and unusual requirements, we’ve developed several
alternative, purpose-built persistence solutions, including our
own key-value store and single table store.
I.e., if Amazon weren’t a serious technology company capable of inventing what it needed, if Amazon were “just a store”, its growth would have been limited by technology.
Nokia to Cut 7,000 Jobs ★
Diana ben-Aaron, reporting for Bloomberg:
Nokia Oyj, which was overtaken by Apple Inc. as the
largest maker of mobile phones last quarter, will eliminate 7,000
jobs and transfer its Symbian software development to Accenture
Plc in the Finnish company’s biggest reorganization in two
This is why they brought in an outsider as the new CEO: to wield the hatchet.
YouTube Founders Acquire Delicious From Yahoo ★
Today, we’re pleased to announce that Delicious has been
acquired by the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.
As creators of the largest online video platform, they have
firsthand experience enabling millions of users to share their
experiences with the world. They are committed to running and
improving Delicious going forward.
(Doesn’t seem like a permalink URL, though. The actual Delicious Blog is here. Guess that’s what happens when you fire all the people who know the password to post to the company weblog.)
Apple’s Cash ★
If Apple had no revenues, the current cash would sustain
operations (SG&A and R&D) for over 7 years or until the middle
How big can it grow? $100 billion? $200?
From the DF Archive: An Anthropomorphized White iPhone 4 Was Confronted Regarding Its Inability to Be Shipped ★
Looks like maybe he’s finally got his act together.
Apple Q&A on Location Data ★
6. People have identified up to a year’s worth of location data
being stored on the iPhone. Why does my iPhone need so much
data in order to assist it in finding my location today?
This data is not the iPhone’s location data — it is a subset
(cache) of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database
which is downloaded from Apple into the iPhone to assist the
iPhone in rapidly and accurately calculating location. The reason
the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to
fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don’t think
the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data.
A good response to the location-logging controversy. A cogent description of what data Apple is collecting and why, and what data your iPhone is caching and why. The petulant your-questions-are-based-on-stupid-assumptions tone of the first few questions has Steve Jobs written all over it, though.
White iPhone Arrives Tomorrow ★
Ten months late; a rare and strange misstep for Apple.
Vintage 2008 Claim Chowder: ‘iPhone Doomed to Failure — Windows Mobile 7 Plans for 2009 Leaked’ ★
Time to check in on this one. Doubly delicious, for being wrong about both the iPhone and Windows Phone 7.
Update: Thanks to Rosyna Keller, here’s a link to the Internet Archive’s cached version of the original information about the then-upcoming Windows Mobile 7.
iPhone, Like Generalissimo Francisco Franco, Is Still Dead ★
Henry Blodget once again says iPhone fans should be “scared” and that Android is going to win the world. Here’s what I believe to be his faulty assumption:
Why do Android’s gains matter? Can’t Apple just hold onto the
“premium” segment of the market?
The Android gains matter because technology platform markets tend
to standardize around a single dominant platform (see Windows in
PCs, Facebook in social, Google in search). And the more dominant
the platform becomes, the more valuable it becomes and the harder
it becomes to dislodge.
His assumption is that one platform will win and all others will lose. If that’s true, I actually think he’s right that Android will likely be that winner. I just don’t think it’s true. (I also think he’s wrong that technology markets “tend” to have one overwhelming winner.) There’s room for iOS (and the iPhone specifically) and Android to succeed and grow.
As we’ve said before, Apple is fighting a very similar war to the
one it fought — and lost — in the 1990s.
Keep in mind that Apple’s penalty for losing the PC war in the 1990s is that it is now the most profitable PC maker in the world.
PlayStation Network User Data Was Compromised ★
Sony, in a message to PlayStation Network account holders:
Although we are still investigating the details of this incident,
we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following
information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip),
country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity
password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible
that your profile data, including purchase history and billing
address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity
password security answers may have been obtained. If you have
authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with
respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is
no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we
cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit
card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an
abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card
number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been
Amateur Hour Is Over, Indeed ★
Craig Hunter on RIM’s latest PlayBook ads:
This type of marketing says everything about RIM’s corporate delusion.
(Hunter’s review of the PlayBook last week is good, too.)
Adobe’s Digital Publishing Mistake ★
Elliot Jay Stocks on Adobe’s pricing model for their Digital Publishing Suite, the InDesign extension for creating iPad magazines. Sounds crazy expensive to me.
Fuck You, Tiny Wings ★
A game review by Garrett Murray.
Sony Shuts Down PlayStation Network Indefinitely ★
Ian Sherr, reporting for the WSJ:
On Monday, the Japanese electronics giant said it is keeping its
PlayStation Network videogame service offline indefinitely
following a hacking attack it now says may have compromised
Android Tablets and Differentiation ★
Jonas Wisser on the problems Android tablet makers face differentiating their products in the market:
There’s no consistent brand name, no consistent experience
(thanks in large part to OS fragmentation), and no consistent
update cycle. Instead, each tablet is forced to differentiate
itself with some sort of hardware or software gimmick; the Sony
tablets will have Playstation Suite, while LG’s G-Slate has dual
rear cameras that shoot in 3D.
(A brief discursion: if the previous paragraph sounds exactly like
the situation in the smartphone market to you, you’re not wrong.
The difference is that consumers are used to that kind of
fragmentation and gimmickry in the phone market — they were
exposed to it for years prior to the arrival of the iPhone. Not so
in the tablet market, which has been dominated by the consistent
experience of the iPad since day one.)
Will the market for tablet computers strongly resemble the market for mobile phones? That’s the question.
Shittier Shitstorm, Indeed ★
Guy English on the iOS location log:
That said and done, no one has yet asked the really interesting
question — if this had happened once Apple was shipping an iOS
device that backed up automatically to an Apple server how much
more of a shit storm would this have been? A very shittier shit
storm is the answer.
Hunch’s Statistical Profiles of Self-Described Mac vs. PC People ★
Nothing terribly surprising, but interesting results nonetheless. I don’t know what’s worse about PC people: that they prefer Jay Leno, or that they still read TV Guide?
David Flanagan on Google and E-Book Piracy ★
When my jQuery pocket reference came out earlier this year, I was
shocked to discover that Google was giving the ebook download
sites higher placement than reviews of the book. And now
yet, but illegal copies are free for anyone who wants one. And
Google will suggest those illegal downloads to anyone who tries to
research the book (see the screenshot). I’ve worked really hard on
this book, and I’ve got to say that this just feels like a kick in
He’s been writing technical books full-time for 15 years, but is now looking for a salaried job. (Via Michael Tsai.)
Deep Green 1.2 ★
Speaking of putting the “magic” in iOS apps, Joachim Bondo has released a new version of his beautiful Deep Green chess game. Don’t let the 1.2 version number fool you: it’s a major update, including both Retina Display graphics for the iPhone and full support for the iPad. Deep Green was my favorite iOS chess app when it was released in 2008, and it remains my favorite today. (The best part: Deep Green was also my favorite Newton chess game, back in 1998.) $7.99 on the App Store — and existing Deep Green owners get the update for free. Bondo, on his weblog, announcing the update:
From the day the iPad was announced, more than a year ago, I
wanted Deep Green to be a universal binary. You should’t have to
manage several versions, and you certainly shouldn’t have to pay
for it twice.
RealNetworks Releases Rinse for iTunes ★
RealNetworks used to try to compete with Apple. Now it’s in the
Apple accessories business. The software company is rolling out
Rinse, a $39 program that promises to “seamlessly organize and
repair your iTunes music library”.
Remember how fun it was to find the download link for the free version of the RealPlayer plugin? Remember when Real had their own music store? Even better, remember back in 2003, when, regarding the iPod, Real founder and then-CEO Rob Glaser told The New York Times:
“It’s absolutely clear now why five years from now, Apple will
have 3 (percent) to 5 percent of the player market. … The
history of the world is that hybridization yields better
UI Designers as Magicians ★
Interesting, introspective piece by UI designer Dave Wiskus on his, and other UI designers’, reactions to Tweetbot. His analogy to stage magicians is quite apt — when you know how the tricks are done, you can lose your sense of perspective when considering how regular people perceive the work of your peers.
Nook Color Updated to Android 2.2, Gets Third-Party Apps ★
Harry McCracken on the Barnes and Noble’s just-announced update that turns the Nook Color from a mere reader into an actual tablet computer. Things that are interesting about this:
- The Nook’s $249 price.
- The apps are from — and only from — B&N’s own “Nook Apps” store. No access to Android Market, nor, from what I can tell, to any of Google’s closed Android apps, like Google Maps or Gmail. This shows how Android isn’t a single platform — it’s a foundation upon which platforms can be built.
- I remain convinced that Amazon is going to do something similar.
Andy Ihnatko Reviews the BlackBerry PlayBook and LG G-Slate ★
Good (and fair) reviews of the two tablets, but regarding Flash, Ihnatko and I disagree. He writes:
But I think Apple’s completely wrong about Flash. I’ve been
watching Conan and Colbert all week long on the PlayBook and the
G-Slate; Flash video works perfectly fine. The framerate could be
described as “slideshow-esque” until the local buffer fills
up, but after no more than thirty seconds, I’m watching an hour
of smooth, sound-synced video.
What does Flash video playback do to the battery? It drains down
about as much as you’d expect when you play streamed, compressed
video for an hour. On both devices, I can watch a couple of hours
of video and still have most of the charge left.
Is the Flash plugin stable? Why, my friends, it’s just as stable
as the desktop Flash player.
(Yes, thank you; I thought we’d all enjoy a good laugh together.
Sorry if you were drinking something when you read that.)
The plugin does crash the mobile browser sometimes. But it rarely
happens in the middle of playback and it doesn’t happen
frequently enough for any regular desktop Flash user to raise an
eyebrow. Hell, I’ve had to restart my desktop browser just while
writing this very column.
The quality of desktop Flash Player is not good enough. It’s a reasonable argument to make that any sort of Flash Player support is better than no Flash support — that even with the crashes and lesser-quality playback and the security exploits, it’s better to at least have the option, as a user, to access this content than to be in the position of iOS users and have no say in the matter.
But down this path, we’d never get rid of Flash. The baseline experience for online video would forever remain crashy, lesser-quality, less-power-efficient, insecure, and in the total control of a single company — Adobe — that has shown itself to be incapable of addressing any of these problems.
Apple, by refusing to support Flash on iOS, has done more to motivate publishers and websites to support open-standards-based online video than any other company. And, on the issue of quality, they’ve raised the bar. There are no components in iOS where frequent crashiness is deemed acceptable.
My thanks to DaisyDisk for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. DaisyDisk is a new Mac utility that presents an interactive visual map showing where the storage is being used on your hard drives — and it does it with style and panache. It’s a visual solution to the problem of figuring out where your storage is being used, and helping you find big files you no longer need to create more free space.
It’s a geeky tool, yes but DaisyDisk sports a stylish, attractive UI design. Screenshots don’t do it justice — DaisyDisk makes great use of iOS-esque animation for transitions. A fun disk utility? Actually, yes.
Check out DaisyDisk in the Mac App Store, on sale this week for 25 percent off.
Galen Gruman Reviews the BlackBerry PlayBook: ‘Unfinished, Unusable’ ★
Here’s a PlayBook review that doesn’t pull punches:
But I doubt that RIM actually listened to customers or outsiders
— the train wreck is just too complete for there to have been
anything other than heads deeply buried in sand. Still, it’s one
thing to see an impending train wreck and fret. It’s another to
view the aftermath — it’s a lot worse than I could have imagined,
and it feels awful to look at it.
Why RIM chose to ship the PlayBook in such a state is
unfathomable. The iPad 2 and Xoom have been out for weeks, so
there’s no heading them off at the pass. Instead, the PlayBook
debuted with all eyes on it — but instead of a world-class
performer, we got the homeless guy who plays air guitar in front
of the mall.
One quibble: Gruman’s paragraph on the PlayBook’s support for Flash:
On the bright side, the PlayBook supports Flash, with no need to
download a player as on Android. But Flash objects are often slow
to load, and some would not function. That’s an issue Flash also
has on Android, as my colleague Neil McAllister discovered in his
extensive Flash tests. It’s becoming increasingly clear to me
that Flash and mobile don’t mix.
That’s some “bright side”.
Malick and Magic ★
David Thomson, in The Guardian:
How do I know how pleasant he is? I had dinner with him once. He
could not have been nicer or more interesting. I forgot he was a
film director and came to appreciate him as an intelligent man of
the world — and a man who with intricate care has compiled his
own legend as an impossible, unreachable recluse.
(Via Coudal, of course.)
Consider the Retina Display ★
Smart piece by Tim Ricchuiti on some of the implications of “retina displays” for Macs.
Peter Kafka on Apple’s Purportedly Imminent Online Music Locker Service ★
Which may sound a lot like what Amazon rolled out last month.
From the music industry’s perspective, however, there’s a big
difference: Amazon started its service without getting approval
from the big music labels. But Apple is actively seeking licenses
for its service, and will pay the labels for the privilege.
Harry McCracken: ‘The Era of Beta Hardware’ ★
Harry McCracken on RIM’s PlayBook:
The hardware is nice and the WebOS-like interface is fun. With a
serious software update or three — and more apps — today’s
disappointing PlayBook could be the powerful, professional-grade
tablet that RIM has been bragging about for months. It’s just
that the company essentially released an unfinished product,
presumably because it was so very anxious to get into the tablet
market before other iPad alternatives had a chance to get an edge.
Motorola’s thinking with the Xoom seems to have been similar: It
shipped a tablet with a 3G data connection and a promise of a free
4G upgrade and a MicroSD slot that didn’t work.
I don’t understand why so many reviewers bend over backwards to grade these things on a curve. If the iPad 2 had the problems and deficiencies the Xoom and PlayBook have, these same reviewers would (rightly) trash it, and declare (again, rightly) that Apple had finally lost its Midas touch.
These aren’t “beta” tablets. They’re bad tablets. It’s that simple. It’s true that their hardware seems closer to iPad-caliber than their software, but improving software is the hardest part of making products like these. By the time RIM releases “a serious software update or three” the entire market will have changed. The truth is, Motorola, Samsung, and now RIM have released would-be iPad competitors that pale compared to the iPad. Just say it.
The mass market doesn’t buy, and doesn’t want to buy, products based on what they might become months from now if these companies somehow dramatically improve the software. They buy products for what they are today, out of the box. Motorola and RIM and Samsung are Apple’s industry peers. These are the big leagues, this is The Show. They’re charging customers real money to buy these things. They should be judged by the same standards. Judging these things on a curve is the flip side of my criticism of Walt Mossberg’s iPad 2 review:
Stating the plain truth, that the iPad 2 has no serious
competition as a mainstream consumer device, doesn’t make you
biased. It makes you accurate.
Android Location Service Cache ★
Android phones store the same type of location information, but, unlike iOS, Android’s cache only contains recent entries — which is to say Android is doing it right.
The Talk Show, Episode 39 ★
Featuring special guest star Adam Lisagor. When I have grandkids and tell them I used to have a podcast, this is the episode I’ll play for them.
Brought to you by two fine sponsors: Audible and MailChimp.
Senator Al Franken Sends Letter to Steve Jobs on iPhone Location Tracking ★
Really good questions, especially the first one:
Why does Apple collect and compile this location data?
iPad Market Share in Context ★
Pingdom notes that the iPad — not iOS, but just the iPad — has surpassed Linux in usage according to Statcounter.
Also worth noting, from yesterday’s Apple financial results: the iPad is far-outselling all Macs combined, even though the iPad is only one year old and the Mac is currently selling better than ever.
DF’s stats are off the charts for iOS usage. Over the last 72 hours, 58 percent of visitors were using Mac OS X (55 percent on Snow Leopard); 22 percent used iOS (9 percent on iPad); 16 percent used Windows; 2 percent Linux.
Watts Martin on the iOS Location-Tracking Log ★
Watts Martin points to this piece from Christopher Vance on the iOS 4 “consolidated.db” location-tracking log — which was written back in September. Martin:
The forest that’s being missed for the Apple trees here? Go back
to the observation I made about where this has been discussed:
digital forensic circles. I don’t want to claim that
consolidated.db exists to aid forensics investigations, but it’s
digital manna from heaven for law enforcement (and hackers). Yet
any phone you use stores information locally — and if it’s a
smartphone, that can be a lot of information, from your calendar
to your browsing history. Call me a bleeding heart if you will,
but the amount of “digital fingerprints” we leave has
increased exponentially over the last two decades, and that trend
shows no signs of slowing down.
The problem with “consolidated.db” is that the information it contains is not something we know or expect our phones to contain. Common sense tells you that your iPhone contains a record of the calls you’ve made, your mobile browsing history, your email, your calendars, your contacts. Until yesterday, though, most of us were unaware that the iPhone contained a persistent location log.
The key question for Apple: Given that this file was widely known among iOS forensics experts back in September, why does it still contain historical (as opposed to just recent) location history today?
Andy Ihnatko on iOS 4’s Location-Tracking Log ★
Best piece I’ve seen on the “consolidated.db” location-tracking log:
A few reality checks, lest I inadvertently do a Glenn Beck number
on all of you, here:
This database isn’t storing GPS data. It’s just making a
rough location fix based on nearby cell towers. The database
can’t reveal where you were…only that you were in a certain
vicinity. Sometimes it’s miles and miles off. This implies
that the logfile’s purpose is to track the performance of the
phone and the network, and not the movements of the user.
A third party couldn’t get access to this file without
physical access to your computer or your iPhone. Not unless
you’ve jailbroken your iPhone and didn’t bother resetting
its remote-access password… or there’s an unpatched exploit
that would give Random Person On The Internet root access to
It’s pretty much a non-issue if you’ve clicked the
“Encrypt iPhone Backup” option in iTunes. Even with physical
access to your desktop, a no-goodnik wouldn’t be able to
access the logfile.
But still! What a nervous can of worms. This is an open, unlocked
file in a known location in a standard database format that
anybody can read. If someone has physical access to your Mac — or
remote access to your user account — it’s a simple matter of
copying a file and opening it. And while the logfile can’t tell
someone that you were at a specific house, it can obviously tell
your boss that you went to the Cape on the day you called in sick.
It’s worse than that, though, because even if you are encrypting your backups, it’s also available to anyone who has physical access to your iPhone.
The big question, of course, is why Apple is storing this information. I don’t have a definitive answer, but the best at least somewhat-informed theory I’ve heard is that consolidated.db acts as a cache for location data, and that historical data should be getting culled but isn’t, either due to a bug or, more likely, an oversight. I.e. someone wrote the code to cache location data but never wrote code to cull non-recent entries from the cache, so that a database that’s meant to serve as a cache of your recent location data is instead a persistent log of your location history. I’d wager this gets fixed in the next iOS update.
Alex Levinson on the iPhone Location-Tracking File ★
iPhone forensics expert Alex Levinson has three problems with O’Reilly’s report on the “consolidated.db” location log file:
- Apple is not collecting this data.
- This hidden file is neither new nor secret.
- This “discovery” was published months ago.
In fact, it was published by Levinson, in a book titled iOS Forensic Analysis.
Kickstarter Campaign for Matthew Modine’s ‘Full Metal Jacket Diary’ iPad App ★
I have the hardcover edition of Matthew Modine’s Full Metal Jacket Diary and it’s great. Now, producer Adam Rackoff is turning it into an e-book app for the iPad, and this Kickstarter campaign is raising the funds to make it happen. Count me in; hope you are too.
Reuters: Apple to Ship New iPhone in September ★
Kelvin Soh, reporting for Reuters:
Apple’s next-generation iPhone will have a faster processor and
will begin shipping in September, three people with direct
knowledge of the company’s supply chain said.
The production of the new iPhone will start in July/August and the
smartphone will look largely similar to the iPhone 4, one of the
people said on Wednesday.
Pretty much just common sense: if you think about it. Apple pretty much came right out (via off-the-record back channels) and told the press there would be no iPhone 5 announcement at WWDC this year. If the iPhone 5 were coming out in June or even July, surely they’d announce it at the WWDC keynote. So it’s not coming in June or July. And nothing ever gets released in August. And Apple always has a big September event for iPods where a new iPhone announcement would be perfect. So, September. I’d bet on it.
iTunes Store Posts Record $1.4 Billion Quarter ★
Nice catch from Apple’s quarterly results by Peter Kafka:
Still, since Apple spelled it out, let’s repeat it here: Its
digital storefront did more than $1.4 billion in sales in the last
quarter. That’s a new record for the company, up from $1.1
billion a year ago.
Apple doesn’t break out the mix of those sales, but my hunch is
that most of the growth has been fueled by the app store, since
digital music has been flat, at least in the U.S., for a while.
And Apple’s TV and book sales are relatively tiny.
Apple Reports Second Quarter Results ★
Revenue up 83 percent, profits up 95 percent, year-over-year. So, they’re doing OK.
Open source app by Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden that reads a file stored on iOS 4 devices which contains a history of location data for the device. It’s not GPS data — it’s location data triangulated by cell towers. It’s a Mac app that reads the file from your backups stored by iTunes (presuming you’re not using iTunes’s option to encrypt these backups). I ran it, and it pegged everywhere I remember going for the past 6 months or so.
Their FAQ explains how it works in detail, and, unlike much of the coverage of their tool, they don’t sensationalize the implications. Good work.
Now is the first time in a few months that there are near-term openings on the DF sponsorship schedule, including this coming week and all of May. If you have a product or service that you’d like to promote to Daring Fireball’s audience of smart, good-looking readers, please do get in touch.
Why Weren’t Samsung and Apple Able to Settle? ★
Given everything above, why weren’t the two companies able to
come to an agreement? I have three possible answers:
- Apple demanded too many design concessions.
- Samsung sees the ability to model its own products after
Apple’s as strategic enough to fight for.
Any combination of the three are plausible, but number two is the
most compelling in my opinion.
The other possibility, of course, is that Apple never even contacted Samsung before filing the suit.
Samsung’s 2006 Phones ★
And then here’s what they announced in February 2007, one month after the iPhone. (Via.)
I don’t think there’s any serious argument that Samsung has not ripped off the iPhone’s aesthetic — to a far greater extent than Android handset makers as a whole. The question is whether they’ve broken the law in doing so.
Never Say Never Again ★
Regarding the aforelinked piece on refined sugar as a toxic substance, and it inspiring me to severely reduce the sugar in my diet, I’m reminded of this delightful scene from 1983’s Never Say Never Again:
M: Too many free radicals. That’s your problem.
James Bond: “Free radicals,” sir?
M: Yes. They’re toxins that destroy the body and the brain, caused
by eating too much red meat and white bread and too many dry
James Bond: Then I shall cut out the white bread, sir.
Is Sugar Toxic? ★
Gary Taubes examines the mounting evidence that refined sugar is killing us:
If it’s sugar that causes insulin resistance, they say, then the
conclusion is hard to avoid that sugar causes cancer — some
cancers, at least — radical as this may seem and despite the fact
that this suggestion has rarely if ever been voiced before
publicly. For just this reason, neither of these men will eat
sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, if they can avoid it.
“I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little
as I possibly can,” Thompson told me, “because I believe
ultimately it’s something I can do to decrease my risk of
cancer.” Cantley put it this way: “Sugar scares me.”
It’s not often that a magazine article inspires me to change my life. This is one.
Nilay Patel on Apple’s Lawsuit Against Samsung ★
Taken as a group, it feels like a remarkably solid case —
Samsung can’t just up and countersue Apple with its own patents
and hope to walk away with a handshake and a cross-license because
of the various trademark, trade dress, and design patent claims.
How the company decides to deal with those issues remains to be
seen; there’s no question in my mind that Samsung designed
TouchWiz to look and feel as much like iOS as possible, and then
marketed it as such. (More than one of my friends has come back
from a Verizon store with a Fascinate having been told that it’s
“basically the same as an iPhone.”)
Justin Williams looks back at NetNewsWire through the years. It’s rather remarkable how much has changed.
Review of Apple’s Unit Numbers Released in Legal Filing Prior to Earnings ★
Speaking of how many iPod Touches and iPads have been sold, Horace Dediu has some interesting numbers drawn from Apple’s complaint against Samsung.
ComScore Discovers That Apple Sells iOS Devices Other Than the iPhone ★
Aatekah Mir, reporting for the WSJ Digits blog:
Google Inc.’s Android might be the most popular smartphone
platform, but if you add other mobile devices like tablets to the
mix, Apple Inc.’s iOS beats Android in the U.S. by a wide margin
— 59% to be exact. […]
The research found that Apple’s iOS platform — on iPhones,
iPads and iPod Touches — reached 37.9 million people, while
Android reached 23.8 million, on phones and tablets.
“The finding is incredible because it shows that Android being
the most popular smartphone is not the whole story,” said Mark
Donovan, the senior vice president of mobile at comScore.
No, it is not “incredible”. It is completely obvious to anyone who actually looks at how many iPod Touches and iPads people have bought. Smartphone market share is not platform market share.
This is interesting, though:
Among iPad owners, 27.3% also have iPhones, while 17.5% have
BlackBerry devices and 14.2% have Android phones. (The rest use
other operating systems or have flip phones rather than
Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made ★
If you missed out on Taschen’s 2,874-page $1,500 limited edition of this remarkable book, Amazon has the mass-market edition for just under $40. So great. (Via Uncrate.)
Andy Zaky: ‘Why Apple Shares Are Dirt Cheap’ ★
Sharp piece by Andy Zaky on Apple’s finances and stock price. He expects a big move:
In fact, it is very likely that Apple will have more cash than its
current market capitalization in less than five years. Once Wall
Street begins to catch on to this reality, Apple shares should see
a major upside correction. And this is precisely why Apple
shouldn’t trade below a 20 P/E ratio over the next several years.
I Have Doubts ★
Let’s be clear, no one doubts that BlackBerry-maker Research in
Motion can build a killer business tablet — but for some reason
the company hasn’t.
I’ve been using the PlayBook for a few days now and found a
laundry list of shortcomings: no email, no calendar, no
contacts, no 3G cellular service, very few apps. The list goes
on. Sure you can get some of these features if you pair it with
your existing BlackBerry phone, but come on — this stuff should
be baked right in.
Let me go on the record: I doubt that RIM can build a killer business tablet.
Hardware: sure. OS, now that they own QNX? Sure. But RIM has no track record of creating, maintaining, and growing a great application platform, and neither does QNX. Their various solutions for the PlayBook are Air apps (an Adobe platform), HTML5 web apps (an open platform), and emulated Android apps (a Google platform). Mark my words: a killer tablet (“business” or otherwise) needs killer native apps. I don’t think RIM understands that, because if they did, they wouldn’t have released this turd to the public.
A Bit More on Apple’s Copycat Suit Against Samsung ★
Ina Fried reports:
“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a
lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to
the user interface and even the packaging,” an Apple
representative told Mobilized. “This kind of blatant copying is
wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when
companies steal our ideas.”
That their products are shameless copies is hard to deny. But has anyone ever won a lawsuit based on copying stuff like this?
Apple Sues Samsung Over Galaxy Android Devices ★
Ian Sherr, reporting for the WSJ:
The lawsuit, filed on April 15 in the Northern District of
California, alleged that Samsung’s smartphones, such as the
“Galaxy S 4G,” “Epic 4G,” “Nexus S” and its “Galaxy Tab”
touchscreen tablet, violated Apple’s intellectual property.
“Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique
Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets,
Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and
innovative style in these infringing products,” the lawsuit said.
The Nexus S, of course, is a “pure Google” Android device, with no software customization by Samsung.
(Google redirect link to poke through the WSJ paywall.)
The Apple TV Set ★
No, what you’ve had in your living room all your life—that’s
just a TV set. A dumb hunk of plastic and glass, a front-end for
your rat’s nest of cables, waiting to be changed to channel 3
and left there to rot. This new thing from Apple? That’s a TV.
Good way of looking at it. How could Apple make a TV set people want to buy which has just one cable sticking out the back: a power cord? Figure out an answer to that and maybe you have something.
Marco Arment on Apple and the HDTV Market ★
He doesn’t think Apple will make one:
It causes practical problems, too: TVs usually require large
warehouses and very large retail display areas, which Apple’s
retail stores aren’t ideal for. And large TVs usually require
in-home service, which Apple doesn’t offer for any other
They could get over those problems. They’re inconvenient and
limiting, but not fatal.
A bigger problem is that Apple prefers to offer fully integrated
products, but a modern TV is just one component in a mess of
electronics and service providers, most of which suck.
I used to think Apple might get into this market — selling big high-quality TVs with built-in Apple TV functionality — based on the following logic: “Why settle for selling a $299 box instead of a $2000 TV set?” Now, of course, Apple TV is a $99 box. I agree with Marco — I don’t think Apple is going to get into the TV set business. “There’s money to be made” just isn’t reason enough.
The fundamental question Apple always wants an answer for before entering a new market is “Why would someone buy this instead of what’s already out there?” I don’t think there’s a good answer for that if an Apple-branded HDTV is just a big screen with built-in Apple TV functionality.
Lithium Network, Server, and Storage Monitoring ★
My thanks to Lithium for sponsoring last week’s DF RSS feed. Lithium makes gorgeous, well-designed server monitoring software, with native clients for the Mac, iPhone, iPad and a good web interface, too. If you’re an IT professional who needs SNMP monitoring, check it out.
They’ll Die Out Eventually ★
When I got my first Mac, it came with the Macintosh Intro, a
disk that held a little tutorial explaining how to use various
parts of the Macintosh. Among the topics covered was what a mouse
is and how to use it (and even that you can lift it off the table
and put it down in another spot to have more space to move in a
As he said during his AllThingsD interview with Walt Mossberg,
when someone suggested including a touch-typing tutorial in this
intro as well, since many people did not know how to use a
keyboard, Steve Jobs simply said not to bother as “death will take
care of that”.
iPad 2 Still Hard to Buy ★
On Wednesday morning I stopped by the SoHo Apple store in New York
City to purchase an iPad for a family member. As I had
anticipated, a store clerk said they were out of stock and
recommended that I check back the following morning. When I asked
what time I should arrive, the clerk hesitated, looked around as
if about to tell me a secret and said: “Well, do you see that
group of people outside? They’re already here waiting for
tomorrow’s shipment of iPads.”
Saying Apple Will Never Do Something: Always Dangerous ★
Nice buffet of claim chowder, collected by Harry McCracken.
The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science ★
Chris Mooney on why cold hard facts and scientific evidence seldom change the minds of those who already hold a strong opinion. (E.g., climate-change deniers, vaccines-cause-autism believers.) Fascinating but utterly depressing.
Josh Topolsky’s Advice to HP ★
As the horrendous reviews of the BlackBerry PlayBook rolled in last week, the thought occurred to me that HP is now our only hope for a high-quality rival to the iPad.
Jin Kim on the Demise of The Flip ★
Like Pogue, he makes a strong case that The Flip wasn’t killed by camera-enabled smartphones. Really seems like Cisco had no idea what to do in the consumer market.
Claim Chowder Pairs Well With Kool-Aid ★
Paul Thurrott, back in May last year:
And IDC is now forecasting that “mininotebook” (i.e. netbooks and
sub-12-inch machines) will sell 45.6 million units in 2011 and
60.3 million in 2013. If I remember the numbers from 2009, they
were 10 percent of all PCs, or about 30 million units. Explain
again how the iPad will beat that. Please. Even the craziest iPad
sales predictions are a small percentage of that. […]
Pass the Kool-Aid.
Neil Hughes, AppleInsider, yesterday:
Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities is on day 6 of his
tech trip to China and Taiwan. In his meetings with component
suppliers, sources have revealed expectations that Apple will sell
between 40 million and 45 million iPads in 2011.
White said he heard those same figures in a separate visit to Asia
last fall, but “at the time, this number was difficult for many
investors and some in the media to get their heads around.”
Pass the Kool-Aid indeed.
That’s Quite a Chart ★
Horace Dediu, on what happens if you count the iPad as a computer:
The bottom line is that Windows-only computer units are down 2.0%
while OSX-based computer units are up 272% (this excludes both the
iPhone and iPod touch).
The Mac has been beating the overall PC industry in terms of growth for 18 consecutive quarters. But if you count the iPad too, the difference is just astounding.
The Sound of 1,700 Jaws Dropping ★
Larry Jordan on Final Cut Pro X:
I can’t think of any other company that could so totally
redefine what a non-linear video editor is than Apple. Since the
release of Final Cut Pro 1, each version of FCP has contained
incremental improvements. This is a complete restatement at every
As Phil Schiller, senior VP for world-wide marketing for Apple
told me after the presentation, “This is a total rethinking of
how we tell stories visually.”
Looking at the high-res screenshots, I see that the UI font for the app is Helvetica, not Lucida Grande.
Adobe Systems Employees: It Gets Better ★
Beautiful, open, honest.
David Pogue on the Curious Death of The Flip ★
Weird. Pogue reports that Flip sales remain strong, and they had a great new product ready to unveil yesterday:
That new Flip that the product manager showed me was astonishing.
It was called FlipLive, and it added one powerful new feature to
the standard Flip: live broadcasting to the Internet. That is,
when you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot, the entire world can see what
you’re filming. You can post a link to Twitter or Facebook, or
send an e-mail link to friends. Anyone who clicks the link can
see what you’re seeing, in real time — thousands of people at
And the FlipLive was supposed to ship yesterday. April 13. The day
after Cisco killed the Flip.
Apple Employees: It Gets Better ★
“Life changes so much.” So good.
Apple Releases iOS 4.3.2, Verizon iPhones Get 4.2.7 ★
Curious that the Verizon iPhone is still on its own branch.
Spare Us the Email Yada-Yada ★
Those annoying “legal” disclaimers/directives some corporate-types have in their email signatures? Useless bullshit, says The Economist.
RIM Co-CEO Calls a Halt to BBC Interview ★
Anyone else get the feeling that both of RIM’s CEOs are on the verge of a total breakdown?
The Talk Show, Episode 38 ★
Me and Dan:
— There’s a German word that I’m looking for.
— Where you laugh at somebody else’s misfortune?
— No. But it’s along the lines of that. It’s a German word for
when you’re running the vacuum, and you see a little, like, Star
Wars figure gun or a Lego piece, something of that size, and the
head of the vacuum is just inches away, and you go to stop, so as
not to suck it up, no matter how many times you as a parent have
warned the child whom the little piece belongs to to be careful
about such things so that they don’t get vacuumed up, but you
try to stop, because you have memories of being a child yourself
and having been warned by your parents along similar lines and
yet suspecting that your own parents were unsympathetic and
purposefully vacuumed up such pieces, and that the emotional
scarring and memory of such lost guns causes you, no matter how
many times this has happened, to stop the vacuum cleaner and but even
in your best efforts to stop, the suction of the vacuum and
proximity to the head are such that the piece still gets sucked
up and is lost forever. What is the German word for that?
— Yeah. I don’t know.
— It’s on the tip of my tongue.
Brought to you by two fine sponsors: Shopify and Rackspace.
Flash on Android Tablets ★
Neil McAllister on using Flash on the Motorola Xoom. Video was choppy, it made scrolling web pages difficult, form-based apps barely worked, and he “had no luck” with games. But he did get to see animated Flash web ads.
Remember, iOS doesn’t have Flash because Steve Jobs is a dick.
Just the Simple Truth ★
Have I mentioned my favorite part of Obama’s speech yesterday?
Nice overview of the gesture-based shortcuts in the Tweetbot UI.
International Game Developers Association Board Has Issues With Amazon’s Appstore ★
They don’t like the terms:
In brief: Amazon reserves the right to control the price of your
games, as well as the right to pay you “the greater of 70% of
the purchase price or 20% of the List Price.” While many other
retailers, both physical and digital, also exert control over the
price of products in their markets, we are not aware of any other
retailer having a formal policy of paying a supplier just 20% of
the supplier’s minimum list price without the supplier’s
And they draw this conclusion:
The IGDA’s bottom line is simple: under Amazon’s current
terms, Amazon has little incentive not to use a developer’s
content as a weapon with which to capture marketshare from
competing app stores.
Speaking of exquisitely designed pixel-perfect new apps for iOS, Panic has just released Prompt:
Prompt is a clean, crisp, and cheerful SSH client.
This is another one that I’ve been lucky enough to beta test for a few months, and I can recommend it wholeheartedly. Most of the existing SSH clients for iOS look like leftovers from Linux. $4.99 on the App Store and you can get one that was designed and engineered by Panic. If Apple made an iOS SSH client, it’d look like Prompt.
Apple Adds Do-Not-Track Tool to Safari ★
Nick Wingfield, reporting for the WSJ:
Apple Inc. has added a do-not-track privacy tool to a test version
of its latest Web browser for keeping customers’ online activities
from being monitored by marketers. […]
The move by the Cupertino, Calif., company leaves Google Inc. as
the only major browser provider that hasn’t yet committed to
supporting a do-not-track capability in its browser, called Chrome.
Microsoft Corp. and Mozilla Corp. both offer do-not-track features
in their latest browsers.
No idea why Google wouldn’t be leading the way on this.
John Carmack on Android Gaming ★
Interview with NowGamer:
Q: With Rage HD on iOS do you see yourself ever working on
A: Every six months I’d take a look at the scope of the Android,
and decide if it was time to start really looking at it. At the
last Quakecon I took a show of hands poll, and it was
interesting to see how almost as many people there had an
Android device as an iOS device. But when I asked how many
peple had spent 20 bucks on a game in the Android store, there
was a big difference. You’re just not making money in the
Android space as you are in the iOS space.
Update: Here’s an audio recording of the moment Carmack polled the audience. Skip to 8:40. (Thanks to Andy Baio.)
New free iPhone and iPad app for watching videos from and sharing videos with your friends. Nice design (love the Futura), and it really shines on the iPad. Guess they didn’t take development advice from Fred Wilson.
The Android Multitouch Story Gets Even Murkier ★
There’s been a lot of chatter these past few weeks about Steven
Levy’s new Google book In the Plex, and particularly some
revelations in the book about Steve Jobs — specifically, that
Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted him to be the first CEO of
Google, and that Jobs mentored the two founders until he later saw
pinch-to-zoom in Android and everything went to hell. The acrimony
was so deep, we’re told, that Jobs kept the iPad a secret from
Eric Schmidt even though Schmidt was still on Apple’s board of
directors while it was being developed.
The Flip Is Dead, Long Live Portable Video ★
Christopher Breen on the demise of The Flip. He nails it.
Final Cut Pro X ★
Announced last night at NAB in Vegas: a long-awaited major new version of Apple’s professional video editing software. A ground-up rewrite with 64-bit support, Grand Central Dispatch support (for multi-core processing, which in turn allows most rendering to take place in the background), better color management, and a lot more. Ships in June for just $299, from, of course, the Mac App Store.
Photography Bay has video clips of the announcement presentation.
Update: MacRumors has decent-quality video of the event, too.
15 Slides, Three Writers, Three Ways ★
Jim Coudal, Michael Lopp, and yours truly, speaking together at SXSW last month about writing:
In this presentation, you will see the same set of 15 slides —
three times. Three different writers will walk through the same
set of slides and explain their approaches to getting started,
editing ideas, figuring out how to get unstuck, and understanding
when they’re done. Part improv and part preparation, this
presentation will give you three totally different and unexpected
perspectives regarding the art of writing.
Here’s a direct link to the MP3 recording of the presentation, and here’s a PDF edition of our
15 12 slides. I really like how this turned out.
Update: Geoffrey Wiseman created a video from the slides and the audio recording. Nice.
TSA Pats-Down Six-Year-Old Girl ★
Keeping us safe.
New headline-setting web service from the typographic aces at House Industries.
Acorn 3.0 ★
Lots of new features (layer styles!), now available in the Mac App Store, and limited-time price of just $30.
Bond Mixology ★
Nice work from Jay Thrash: an iPhone-optimized website based on the data from the now-defunct Atomic Martini’s list of all drinks consumed by James Bond in the movies, replete with recipes.
Dave Winer: ‘AOL Is Doing Layoffs the Wrong Way’ ★
You prepare for the layoffs quickly and quietly. Then one morning
you do them. All of them. And then have a company meeting and you
tell the people that that was it. No more layoffs. You’re on the
team. And then have a good story about how you’re going to lead
them to prosperity. […]
And what you don’t want to do is what AOL is doing. Week after
week cutting off limbs. So that everyone inside the company is
thinking they’re next.
Right. Who’s left at an AOL-owned site who isn’t looking around for a new gig?
Could Have Saved Cisco $600 Million ★
Yours truly, back in May 2009:
I like my Flip, but I think the whole Flip class of pocket video
cameras is ultimately doomed — the distinction between
“still” and “video” cameras is quickly disappearing. Soon
they’ll just be “cameras” that do both.
That, of course, was written a month before the video-shooting iPhone 3GS debuted. Flip got pinched on two sides: smartphones got cameras that were almost as good (quality-wise), and point-and-shoot still cameras started shooting video that was way better.
‘Windows App Store’ Screenshots Leak ★
MG Siegler, at AOL/TechCrunch:
I swear this looks familiar…
The End: Cisco Shuts Down Flip, a $590 Million Mistake ★
Cisco is giving up on its barely two-year-old $590 million
purchase of Pure Digital Technologies, announcing today that it is
closing its Flip business unit and cutting 550 employees as
part of a larger restructuring. The move comes after clear signs
that the outsized deal was not paying off for the technology
giant, which is in the midst of refocusing its business on its
core networking business.
AOL Shuts Down Download Squad ★
In a surprise move Monday night, popular software blog Download
Squad became the latest tech casualty in Huffington/AOL’s
so-called ‘consolidation’ of its content sites. In an
end-of-the-day email, Download Squad’s staff was told that the
blog was closed and they were jobless, effective immediately.
From that moment, no further blog posts were made on
The staff should have done what the crew at Engadget did — start quitting AOL months ago and get a new gig ready outside AOL.
Amazon to Offer Cheaper Kindle With Ads ★
Amazon.com Inc. said Monday afternoon that it will begin selling a
cheaper version of its Kindle e-reader device that is supported
with advertisements early next month.
The ad-supported Kindle will cost $114 — $25 less than the
cheapest Kindle currently available — and will be available
on May 3.
Free with ads would be cool, and interesting. $25 off, though? Feels nickel-and-dimey to me.
Why ‘Post PC’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Sans PC’ ★
The iPad and other devices are not here to displace the PC (by
which I mean all personal computers, whether they’re Macs or PCs
running Windows). In fact, post PC means after PC, a new
generation of products that build on the PC. What it doesn’t
mean is sans PC, that is, without PC. The personal computer will
no doubt be with us for a very long time… but that doesn’t
mean we’re not in the post-PC world.
The Quintessentially Victorian Vision of Ogden’s ‘The Wire’ ★
“Omar comin’, yo!”
(Via Scott Simpson.)
The Gap Theory of UI Design ★
Yours truly, speaking at Webstock in New Zealand back in February, taking a tour of the entire history of Apple’s graphical user interfaces, and forming a basic theory about the philosophical difference between the old way (pre-Mac OS X) and new way.
Such a good conference, and all of the presentations are now online. You can’t go wrong watching any of them. (Let’s not talk about what they’ve done to the aspect ratio of the slides in these video transfers, though.)
Bloomberg Businessweek Launches iPad App ★
David Kaplan, for PaidContent:
A number of publishers have been griping about Apple’s
unwillingness to share consumer data related to its app, as well
as restrictions on iPad subscriptions preventing publishers from
directing readers to a browser or some other means for completing
a transaction. Additionally, publishers who accept Apple’s
subscription policy require in-app purchase offers to be extended
at the same price as the same offer made elsewhere.
None of these issues is a problem for BBW, Oke Okaro,
Bloomberg’s global head of mobile told paidContent. “We are
very pleased with Apple’s terms,” he said in a recent
You know what’s different about Bloomberg than other news publishers? Bloomberg has always been looking ahead. They’ve never been rooted in print. They never let their legacy business (proprietary insanely expensive hardware terminals) get in the way of moving forward with new opportunities.
Another difference: they’re profitable and financially healthy.
Here’s their pricing deal for the Businessweek iPad app: free for print subscribers, $2.99 per month for an iPad-only subscription. That’s it. Affordable, fair, and simple.
Steven Sasson, Inventor of the First Digital Camera ★
Nice little interview by David Friedman.
‘Inside Job’ ★
Finally saw Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s documentary on the 2008 global financial crisis. So good, but so angering. Clearly political, but, in a strong sense, utterly bi-partisan: both Republican and Democratic administrations have been equally in thrall to the Wall Street investment banks over the last 30 years.
In addition to serving as an excellent explanation of a complex story, photographically the movie is quite beautiful. Really well-done. Available to rent on iTunes.
Why Do Apps From the Same Company Look Worse on Android Than on iPhone? ★
Coincidence, I’m sure.
‘Tree of Life’ Site Goes Live ★
See also: Jim Coudal’s new Stuff About Terrence Malick archive. (Nice Coudal home page, too.)
Acer Touchbook ★
Rich Jaroslovsky reviews Acer’s new dual-14-inch, six-pound touchscreen Windows notebook:
The biggest drawback is the battery. The two touch screens suck
power like a vacuum cleaner, and even Acer’s claim of three
hours on a full charge may be on the high side if you’ve got the
screens set to bright and are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Sounds like something from a company that just shitcanned their CEO.
Facebook’s Open Compute Project ★
Facebook is open sourcing their server and data center information, and
calling it the Open Compute Project.
It’d be interesting to compare the efficiency and design of Facebook’s data center servers with Google’s — anyone have a link to Google’s open source server and data center info?
New from 37signals: Pow, an open-source web server for Mac OS X, for easy local deployment of Rails and Rack web apps.
One of the things I love about this is how nicely packaged the project is. The website is gorgeous (be sure to take a look at it on your iPhone, too), the screencast gives you the basic gist of installation and usage, and the documentation is well-written.
Clorox Lets Employees Choose Their Phone ★
Lucas Mearian, reporting for Computerworld on Clorox CIO Ralph Loura’s keynote speech at the SNW conference:
Loura so far has replaced 6,000 desktop and tower computers with
lightweight HP laptops, and got rid of company-issued Blackberries
while letting workers choose between an iPhone or Android or
Window Phone 7-powered smartphone. The company has issued 2,000
smartphones, 92% of which are iPhones. About 6% of the smartphones
chosen were Android-based while 2% were Windows Phone 7 devices.
Recipe for Baked WordPress ★
Making your WordPress site Fireball-proof is not hard and anyone
who can’t find the minimal amount of time to do it probably
shouldn’t be self-hosting in the first place.
The Talk Show, Episode 37 ★
Another episode of America’s favorite podcast. Topics include Fred Wilson’s “develop for Android first” advice, Amazon’s potential role in the Android landscape, and grown men in bathtubs.
Brought to you by two fine sponsors: FreshBooks and MailChimp.
Khoi Vinh on The Daily ★
To me, The Daily is a near perfect realization of exactly the idea
that occurs to print editors every single time they get their
hands on digital media for the first time, regardless of what the
underlying technology might be: “Let’s make it just like what
we know so well in print.” As a result I found it sadly lifeless
and lacking in urgency.
Skyhook Wireless on Android’s Openness ★
Keep Skyhook Wireless’s lawsuit against Google in mind when considering Andy Rubin’s protestations regarding Android’s openness:
In complete disregard of its common-law and statutory obligations,
and in direct opposition to its public messaging encouraging open
innovation, Google wielded its control over the Android operating
system, as well as other Google mobile applications such as Google
Maps, to force device manufacturers to use its technology rather
than that of Skyhook, to terminate contractual obligations with
Skyhook, and to otherwise force device manufacturers to sacrifice
superior end user experience with Skyhook by threatening directly
or indirectly to deny timely and equal access to evolving versions
of the Android operating system and other Google mobile
Put another way, there is something called “Android” that truly is open source, in the “take this and do what you want with it under this standard open source license” way. But that “Android” doesn’t include all sorts of things that we, as users, think of as being part of Android — things like Google Maps, Gmail, Android Market, etc. (and you can’t even call something based on this “Android” unless Google permits you to). None of those things are open in any sense of the word, but all of them are essential aspects of any consumer phone or tablet running Android.
Andy Rubin on Android’s Openness ★
Recently, there’s been a lot of misinformation in the press
about Android and Google’s role in supporting the ecosystem.
Where by “a lot”, I think he’s mostly responding to this piece for Businessweek by Ashlee Vance and Peter Burrows.
Our approach remains unchanged: there are no lock-downs or
restrictions against customizing UIs.
But that’s not quite a rebuttal of what the Businessweek story reported. From Businessweek, emphasis added:
There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more
partnerships formed outside of Google’s purview. From now on,
companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most
up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they
will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s
As Jason Kincaid writes at AOL/TechCrunch:
The key words here are “early access”. Yes, as Rubin says,
manufacturers can still access the Android code once it’s
released and the same old rules apply, but there’s no doubt that
Google is giving preferential treatment to certain carriers and
hardware manufacturers in return for their cooperation.
And, as the Businessweek article points out, there’s a strong
incentive to get first dibs on a new version of Android. You’re
first to market, you get loads of press coverage, and so on.
Google can dangle this carrot, and then ask for restrictions that
go well beyond what it typically requires.
Farming vs. Mining ★
Wil Shipley on farming vs. mining as a metaphor for running a software company:
In the mining model of software companies, the charismatic,
flighty founders and their investors stand to make a lot of
money. Their workers, their customers, and their secondary
investors all get boned, because these companies and their
products tend to suck.
Epic’s Tim Sweeney on Mobile Gaming ★
Matt Buchanan interviews Epic’s Tim Sweeney:
Speaking of Android, you’re probably wondering why there’s no
showstopper like Infinity Blade for the platform. Well, wonder no
more. Says Sweeney, “When a consumer gets the phone and they wanna
play a game that uses our technology, it’s got to be a consistent
experience, and we can’t guarantee that [on Android]. That’s what
held us off of Android.” The problem with Android is consistency.
“If you took the underlying NGP hardware and shipped Android on
it, you’d find far far less performance on Android. Let’s say you
took an NGP phone and made four versions of it. Each one would
give you a different amount of memory and performance based on the
crap [the carriers] put on their phone.” Bottom line, for Epic to
do the kinds of things they do on iOS, “Google needs to be a
little more evil. They need to be far more controlling.” Even so,
the main reason Epic has focused on iOS? “It’s really the best
place to make money.”
Sweeney just needs to talk to Fred Wilson.
So Much for Toyota’s Jailbroken iPhone Ad Campaign ★
Kyle Matthews, owner of ModMyi:
I received a call from our contact at Velti this evening as well
as an email asking me to please take the theme out of Cydia. On
the phone, he explained Apple had contacted Toyota and requested
they remove the theme and stop the advertising campaign. They
(Velti) in turn contacted me relaying the message. The reason
Velti listed for the removal request of the theme emailed through
our dev portal was “Toyota’s making us take it down…” Toyota
had agreed to do so to “maintain their good relationship with
Apple,” our Velti contact told me on the phone.
Who at Toyota thought this was a good idea?
iPhone 5 Will Not Launch in June ★
My sources said today that rumors of an iPhone 5 release at the
end of June were completely false.
What kind of sense would it make for Apple to release or announce a new iPhone in June and not do it at WWDC? Do people even think before they publish stuff like this?
David Friedman Proposes a New ‘Save’ Icon ★
I love baseball and I’ve been complaining about the use of floppy disk icons for “Save” buttons for years, but even I don’t think a home plate icon works — too U.S.-centric. It’s a tricky design problem.
As Marco Arment notes, iOS has solved this not by coming up with a new icon, but by eliminating the need for users to explicitly save anything or to deal with the file system directly. So maybe it’s somehow right that the universal icon for “Save” is a relic from a bygone era of computing.
Xoom Uptake ★
Two observations from Google’s Android OS usage numbers:
- Over 65 percent of Android devices are on 2.2 or better. That’s not bad at all.
- Only 0.2 percent are on 3.0. I don’t think the Motorola Xoom is selling very well.
World of Goo’s iPad Launch Numbers ★
In the first month of sales on the iPad App Store, World of Goo
sold 125K copies (thanks to being prominently featured by Apple).
In comparison, World of Goo’s best 31 day period on WiiWare was
68K copies (thanks to a mass mailing by Nintendo), and on Steam it
was 97K copies (thanks to two promotions at discounted prices). So
far, the iPad version is by far the fastest selling version of the
game, both in terms of number of units sold and in revenue
What makes this even more amazing is that this is a two year old
game released on a platform that is less than a year old. The iPad
doesn’t have the benefit of an install base built up over
This is what makes iOS different than Android.
The Problem With 4G in a Nut ★
Jonathan Geller, reviewing the HTC Thunderbolt for BGR:
How does the Verizon Wireless’ first 4G LTE smartphone do in the
real world? Well, not that great to be honest — especially with a
1400 mAh battery. Over 3G, the ThunderBolt can easily power
through a normal workday. On 4G, however, I couldn’t get more
than around 4.5 hours of usage at best… a figure that is not at
all acceptable to me.
What makes matters worse is the fact that 4G can’t be switched
on and off by the user. There is no widget to disable LTE and
there’s not even a menu setting you can check on and off to
enable or disable 4G.
4.5 hours of battery life.
Stanley Kubrick’s Chicago, 1949 ★
Speaking of Kubrick, this one’s worth a re-link:
Before he started making movies, Stanley Kubrick was a star photojournalist. In the summer of 1949, Look magazine sent him to Chicago to shoot pictures for a story called “Chicago City of Contrasts”.
‘Barry Lyndon’ Coming to Blu-Ray May 31 ★
One of my favorites, finally available on Blu-ray. Just $14 at Amazon.
Update: If you’re just starting your Kubrick Blu-ray collection, get the boxed set for just $105.
Google Bids to Buy Nortel Patent Portfolio for $900 Million ★
Not a bad first day on the job for Google CEO Larry Page.
On the Argument That Android Is Taking Over ★
Nice piece by Jon-Erik Storm on Henry Blodget’s and Fred Wilson’s arguments that Android is the new Windows:
Really? I can come up with three counterexamples. One, gaming
consoles. There are three: XBox, Playstation, and Wii. There has
almost always been more than one important gaming console. Two,
there are several web browsers that people use. If IE were still
the only one, standards like HTML5 and CSS wouldn’t matter.
Three, is Facebook really the only social platform? What is
Twitter then? Maybe iTunes would have been a better example, eh?
And as for PCs, Apple seems content with it being the #1 laptop
and #2 PC maker with its approximately 8% marketshare, but yet
reaping more profits. But the point is these examples are
unscientific and don’t explain why technology platforms
stabilize that way (if they do) and why that will apply to
That’s the question of the decade. Is mobile going to work out like the console market, with a handful of competing and roughly equal major platforms? Or is it going to work out like the PC, where a lower-cost inferior licensed OS grows to an overwhelmingly dominant monopoly position? (And, as Storm points out, Apple’s penalty for “losing” the PC war is that it is now the world’s most profitable PC maker.)
(Also worth noting about the console market: the lead has changed hands several times: Atari, Nintendo, Sony, Nintendo. And second-place has changed numerous times as well. It’s long been a healthy competitive market.)
Reuters: ‘FT Won’t Give Up Subscriber Relationship to Apple’ ★
Georgina Prodhan, reporting for Reuters:
The Financial Times wants to keep selling subscriptions for its
digital news directly to readers rather than surrender control of
new customers who sign up via Apple’s iPad, the managing director
of FT.com said.
Not a word of complaint about the 70/30 revenue split. Their complaint is solely about access to customer information, which they profit by selling. And remember: it’s not Apple that controls that information with App Store subscriptions: it’s us, the users. What the FT is arguing here is that they don’t want their subscribers to have any control over their customer privacy.
Toyota Advertising on Jailbroken iPhones ★
Car manufacturer Toyota is reportedly running adverts in the Cydia
store to promote their iPhone user interface theme, also
distributed through the store. The adverts and the theme are part
of Toyota’s advertising campaign for the 2011 Scion tC vehicle.
Jailbreaking goes mainstream?
Technology Is Not Enough ★
“This is what we believe: technology alone is not enough.”
Perfect new iPad 2 spot from Apple. Here it is on YouTube.
ShopSavvy Android vs. iPhone Numbers ★
Alexander Muse, ShopSavvy:
For every ShopSavvy user with an iPhone there are four who have an
Android phone. Our downloads per platform are maintaining this
disparity. We assumed we were just popular on Android, but there
is something much bigger going on. Consumers are flocking to
Android in droves!
Interesting numbers, but even ComScore is only reporting a 33-25 percent U.S. market share lead for Android vs. the iPhone. 4-to-1 is off the charts. Maybe it’s that there are so many more competing apps for iOS? Maybe it’s that Android users are more interesting in bargain-hunting?
Update: The user-contributed reviews for ShopSavvy in the App Store are pretty mixed; many of them describe its bar-code scanning as slow and inaccurate, and suggest using Red Laser instead. So maybe it’s just an inferior app.
Peter Kafka Interviews MLB.com CEO Bob Bowman ★
MLB.com boasts one of the most successful subscription
businesses in digital media; last year, the company reported
1.5 million subscribers, and expects that number to hit 2 million
this year. So it’s worth listening to Bowman’s take on Apple
vs. Android, his company’s recent Facebook experiment, and why
mobile advertising is taking off. […]
Kafka: Why do you think an Android owner behaves differently than an
Bowman: The iPhone and iPad user is interested in buying
content — that’s one of the reasons they bought the device. The
Android buyer is different.
I.e., Android users are cheap.
Kafka: So you’re selling via Apple’s new in-app subscription
rules. But you’ve decided you can live with them?
Bowman: We’ve been living by them since March 1st. We don’t
view them as a dramatic change from where they’ve been in the
past. We’re hopeful that over time, the margin will fall from 30
percent, but we don’t know if it will.
But make no mistake about it, Apple’s been a great partner. Last
I checked, they created the iPhone and the iPad.
Comparison Between iOS, Android and Windows Phone Sales ★
For a few months now we have had our “Plane Finder” app
available for the major 3 platforms largely due to demand from the
user base. I have put together a graph of sales from the 3
platforms without actual numbers so you can compare side by side
how they fare!
His iOS numbers exclude the iPad, just to keep it fair.
The Engadget Staff Jumps Ship to SB Nation ★
Joshua Topolsky and the rest of the Engadget staff that’s quit AOL in recent weeks are starting a new tech site for SB Nation.