Linked List: October 2012

4 Million in 3 Days 

MG Siegler on Windows 8’s weekend numbers:

That’s 4 million in 3 days. Solid, right? Sure. Though it has to be noted that Apple sold 3 million copies of OS X Mountain Lion in 4 days. Microsoft likes to poke fun at the small OS X install base, and now it works both ways. Apple got nearly as many people to buy the update for OS X in the same amount of time despite a sliver of the overall footprint.

Jim Dalrymple has similar thoughts:

Microsoft’s has an installed base of 1.25 billion users. According to Ballmer’s own numbers, 4 million upgraded to Windows 8 in the first four days. That means that one-third of one percent of Microsoft’s user base upgraded.

Now let’s take a look at Apple. In its first four days on sale, Mountain Lion sold 3 million copies. Apple has an installed base of 66 million, meaning that 5 percent of Apple’s user base updated in four days.

This is a really hard comparison to make, though. It speaks to the differences in Apple’s and Microsoft’s customers more than it does the differences between Windows 8 and Mac OS X.

Asus Executive Reveals Nexus 7 Sales Numbers 

Casey Johnston:

Asustek CFO David Chang told the WSJ that the company was selling — not just shipping — 500,000 units a month initially, when the Nexus 7 launched in July. Figures bumped up to 600,000-700,000 in the following months, and in “this latest month,” Google and Asus have sold close to one million units, said Chang.

Sounds like a good start.

Intel Working on 48-Core Chip for Smartphones, Tablets 

Sharon Gaudin, Computerworld:

Intel researchers are working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets, but it could be five to 10 years before it hits the market.

Take your time, guys. Take your time.

Marco Arment Visits a Microsoft Store 

Marco Arment:

Apple’s products say, “You can’t do that because we think it would suck.” Microsoft’s products say, “We’ll let you try to do anything on anything if you really want to, even if it sucks.”

I like this assessment, because it’s exactly what some people love about Apple, and exactly what others hate about Apple.

John Moltz’s Surface Impressions 

John Moltz:

While I was more impressed than I thought I was going to be and genuinely liked the Surface, I wasn’t bowled over. I considered buying one but, as I said earlier, asked myself this question: “Wouldn’t you rather have two iPad minis?”

iPad Sales Grew 44 Percent in Q3 

Interesting catch by Horace Dediu from last week’s Apple earnings call:

The iPad grew shipments at 26% y/y but “sales” as measured by sell-through were up 44%.

With competing tablets, “shipment” numbers often make sales look better than they actually are. But here, Apple was in a situation where shipment numbers made iPad demand look weaker than it actually was.

Om Malik on the Mood at Apple 

Om Malik, after talking to sources within Apple:

Forstall’s firing was met with a sense of quiet jubilation, especially among people who worked in the engineering groups. Or as one of my sources quipped: there are a lot of people going for celebratory drinks, even if there is a little bit of doubt about their roles in the future.

I’ve heard some of this too. But there were many people on Forstall’s team who liked him and were loyal to him. It was people on other teams that disliked Forstall. Forstall was divisive, polarizing — not universally disliked. That’s what made this move surprising, and what made it difficult.

Liveblog Data: Apple vs. Microsoft 

Evan Hansen, at Wired Gadget Lab:

About 11,000 people read our Microsoft liveblog coverage Monday morning in just over an hour. By contrast, our liveblog coverage of Apple’s iPhone 5 launch in September brought in nearly 360,000 visits in a hour, and an Apple gathering last week to announce the new iPad mini and other products (an event that Apple also livestreamed) drew just over 75,000 readers.

Interesting numbers. A few factors work against Microsoft here. People don’t expect surprises at events like Monday’s Windows Phone 8 announcement. That’s the nature of Microsoft’s business model — we already know what Windows Phone 8 is because they’ve had to share it to get handset partners on board. Plus, the truth is simply that Windows Phone hasn’t caught on.

As for the difference in the numbers for the two Apple events, I wonder how much of the drop-off was because Apple offered a live video stream for the iPad Mini event, and did not for the iPhone 5 one.

Regime Change 

Matt Drance:

If this was only about Forstall being a problem, though, Apple would replace him. They clearly aren’t: the same press release explicitly states a search is underway to replace Browett. Not only is this a profound increase in responsibility for all three of these top executives, it’s a profound change in Apple’s organization going as far back as I can remember. There’s a long-standing pattern of separating watershed products important to the company’s future. The Mac and Apple teams. Mac OS X and Classic. The iPod division. iOS and Mac OS X. Suddenly, Tim Cook has pulled the reins in. Federighi owns software. Ive owns design. Cue owns services. Period.

Smart Thread on iPad Mini Pricing 

Branch continues to impress me.

iTunes 11 Delayed Into ‘End of November’ 

Not done yet:

“The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told CNET. “We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface, and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.”

How fast should Siri be? This fast. Eddy Cue and the Siri team have a target.

Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm; ‘Star Wars Episode 7’ Set for 2015 

And I thought yesterday was a “Holy shit!” news day:

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. […]

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

Exciting news. But it’s hard to imagine a Star Wars film opening without the 20th Century Fox fanfare.

‘Forstall Forgot He Was Steve’s Guy, Not Steve Jobs.’ 

Om Malik nails it.

Whither Phil Schiller? 

From MG Siegler’s comments on the Forstall sacking:

No mention of Phil Schiller. No need. He’s clearly number two in the food chain, I believe.

I had the same thought. Tim Cook gets hit by a bus, I think Schiller takes the throne. It’s almost telling that he’s completely unmentioned in today’s announcement, and it’s definitely telling that Cook and Schiller were the only people to appear on stage last week. It’s been reported for a while that Forstall and Jony Ive were not getting along, but I’ve long heard stories that Schiller and Forstall butted heads on numerous occasions.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say again: “marketing” at Apple isn’t what most people think of as marketing. At Apple, the product is the marketing. There are slogans and taglines and styles and songs to choose, but the heart of all Apple marketing are the products themselves.

Out Come the Knives 

Nicks Wingfield and Bilton, reporting for the NYT:

While tensions between Mr. Forstall and other executives had been mounting for some time, a recent incident appeared to play a major role in his dismissal. After an outcry among iPhone customers about bugs in the company’s new mobile maps service, Mr. Forstall refused to sign a public apology over the matter, dismissing the problems as exaggerated, according to people with knowledge of the situation who declined to be named discussing confidential matters.

Instead, Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, in September signed the apology letter to Apple customers over maps.

Echoed by Adam Lashinsky at Fortune: “I also heard that Forstall refused to sign the letter apologizing for the mapping fiasco, sealing his fate at Apple.”

Wingfield and Bilton continue:

Mr. Forstall, who trained as an actor at a young age, also shared with Mr. Jobs a commanding stage presence at events introducing Apple products, often delivering his speeches with a pensive style that echoed that of Mr. Jobs.

Really?

According to two people who have worked with Apple to develop new third-party products for the iPhone, the relationship between Mr. Forstall and Mr. Ive had soured to a point that the two executives would not sit in the same meeting room together.

If that’s true, I’m surprised Forstall lasted this long.

Saying More With Fewer Words 

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic:

America’s most successful large company is also the most laconic. The average Apple earnings release clocks in at 250 words, less than a fifth the length of the average statement from one of the ten largest U.S. corporations, according to Bloomberg.

It might seem like a frivolous factoid, but it reflects a larger point: Perhaps Apple’s can afford to be brief because it derives its revenue from a such a small list of products. The iPhone and iPad account for more than 75% of the company’s revenue. The same cannot be said of Walmart, which sells thousands of products, or GE, which is dozens of divisions and hundreds of products under the hood of a single corporation.

Or perhaps Apple is successful because it is focused, and that focus is reflected in its communications.

iMore: Copy Editing Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. iPad Mini Ad 

Of course there’s lots to quibble about regarding Amazon’s Kindle Fire/iPad Mini comparison. That’s advertising. But the bottom line is that this sort of thing was inevitable with the iPad Mini’s $329 starting price. That’s not to say the iPad Mini’s price is too high, but simply that it’s not competing on price. Amazon, as ever, is.

More on That Amazon Homepage Comparison Between iPad Mini and Kindle Fire 

Daniel Jalkut:

Since when does Amazon target the anti-Apple market? The companies compete in a growing number of areas including digital music, movies, and eBooks. But Amazon has thrived with this competition largely because it targets the same market that Apple does, while doing some things better than Apple. From the early days when my colleagues were tearing open shipping boxes at Infinite Loop, to the present time when many Mac and iPhone aficionados cling tenaciously to their authentic Amazon Kindles, the pro-Apple market is the pro-Amazon market. Why would a company that has historically aimed so high change its focus to the lower end?

After thinking about it overnight, I think my snap assessment yesterday was a bit off. As Matt Drance points out on Twitter, it’s not a generic anti-Apple message, but rather a very specific one: that Apple’s products are overpriced. That’s a message that resonates with many people by default, let alone when faced with a comparison like this one. Amazon isn’t painting the iPad Mini as a bad product, but rather as a bad deal.

Amazon Attacks iPad Mini on Homepage With Quote From Gizmodo 

You can’t say Amazon is shying from the fight. (Me, I say calling out a competitor like this is playing Pepsi to Apple’s Coke — shooting for second place. But I’m sure some people will love it; they’re going for the anti-Apple market.)

Echograph 

My thanks to Echograph for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Echograph is a fun app for the iPhone and iPad that allows you to create photos containing splashes of video. You start with a still frame from a video clip, then use Echograph to selectively paint animation into the photo. The result: an infinitely looping image that you can export as a high-res MP4 or share directly to Twitter and Facebook. Or as Wired called it, Echograph is the “Instagram of animated GIFs”.

It’s a universal app, and the latest update brings full support for the iPhone 5. Normally $2.99, it’s on sale today for just $.99. One buck.

Game Center Craps Out Under Demand From Letterpress 

Been brutal trying to play at any time other than the middle of the night.

The Talk Show: ‘Looper’ With Rian Johnson 

This week on The Talk Show: very special guest Rian Johnson, writer-director of the hit movie Looper, joins Adam Lisagor and yours truly for an in-depth discussion of the film and the art of filmmaking. This is my favorite episode of the show to date.

Brought to you by two outstanding sponsors:

Amazon’s Quarter 

MG Siegler on Amazon’s quarterly results:

The company lost $274 million on sales of $13.81 billion. Yes, you read that right. Sure, a large part of it was due to the disaster that is the LivingSocial deal (a loss of $169 million as part of a goodwill write-down), but they still lost over $100 million when you take that away.

I’m sure Apple is really regretting not selling the iPad mini at Kindle Fire prices right now.

Yet here’s Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at Forbes declaring that Amazon’s $274 million loss compares favorably to Apple’s $26 billion revenue/$8.2 billion profit quarter:

If you put that next to Apple’s lower iPad numbers, it suggests that the Kindle Fire is eating into iPad sales in a significant way. (iPad sales might also have been affected by expectations of the iPad mini.) If true, this is huge. Thus far, no tablet has been able to make a dent in Apple’s domination of the tablet market. Everybody has tried, but nobody had cracked even single-digit end-user marketshare, by most estimates. The Kindle might be changing that.

First, iPad sales did miss analyst expectations, but were still up 26 percent over the year-ago quarter. And let’s see what happens in the holiday quarter with the iPad Mini in the mix. Second, we’ll never know how Kindle Fire sales compare to the iPad because Amazon does not release unit sale numbers. Apple takes the heat on missing sales projections but none of its main competitors — Amazon, Samsung, or Google — even release those numbers.

I do think Jeff Bezos and Amazon are doing a great job, but there’s no way you can argue today that they’re anything but behind Apple in the tablet game.

From the Department of ‘Just Shut Up’ 

Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft, in an interview with Der Spiegel:

Mundie: My response is that we had a music player before the iPod. We had a touch device before the iPad. And we were leading in the mobile phone space. So, it wasn’t for a lack of vision or technological foresight that we lost our leadership position. The problem was that we just didn’t give enough reinforcement to those products at the time that we were leading. Unfortunately, the company had some executional missteps, which occurred right at the time when Apple launched the iPhone. With that, we appeared to drop a generation behind.

Spiegel: What happened?

Mundie: During that time, Windows went through a difficult period where we had to shift a huge amount of our focus to security engineering. The criminal activity in cyberspace was growing dramatically ten years ago, and Microsoft was basically the only company that had enough volume for it to be a target. In part because of that, Windows Vista took a long time to be born.

Don’t make excuses. And definitely don’t make lame excuses. This is just embarrassing.

(Via BGR.)

Apple Acknowledges UK Legal Judgment That Samsung Tablets Are Not as Cool as iPads 

Legally required burn on Samsung. Masterful copywriting on Apple’s part.

Apple Reports Record-Breaking Fourth Quarter Results 

And, because they didn’t meet analyst expectations, it’s a “miss”. Of course.

Why Apple Doesn’t Care About Its Competition 

Felix Salmon:

Apple, famously, has the same pricing philosophy as Louis Vuitton: it sells premium products at premium prices, and it never discounts. That philosophy has made it an aspirational brand worldwide: you don’t see vendors in China selling fake Google Nexus 7s. Sometimes, as with the iPhone and iPad, the world beats a path to the company’s door in any case. Other times, as in the case of wireless routers or external displays, Apple’s products are so much more expensive than the competition that only the rich Apple faithful tend to buy them.

Smartest piece on the iPad Mini that I’ve seen all week. What the iPad Mini shows is that Apple holds tablets like the Nexus and Kindle Fire in disdain.

Slow Down 

Fraser Speirs:

As for the iPad 4, I’m not at all upset that Apple ‘obsoleted’ my 6-month-old iPad 3. You’re asking me would I rather the pace of innovation slowed down just so I could feel like the king of the hill for a bit longer? That’s crazy. If there’s one thing you’ll never hear me ask for, it would be that Apple slow down the rate at which iPads get better.

Fusion Drive Details 

Dave Hamilton, writing at The Mac Observer:

In a nutshell, Fusion Drive combines TWO drives, a solid state drive (SSD) and a mechanical drive. Apple’s initial incarnation puts a 128GB SSD in with either a 1TB or a 3TB mechanical drive. This is not a simple RAID, however, as 100% of the “magic” is done within OS X itself. What Fusion Drive does is it watches what files and applications you run most regularly and it moves them to the SSD. It will also take stuff that you aren’t using all that often and moves it to the mechanical drive.

See also this new support document from Apple: About Fusion Drive.

Ken Segall on the iPad Mini’s Pricing 

Ken Segall:

Reaction to the $329 starting price has been swift and negative. It’s true that in consumers’ minds, $299 is worlds apart from $300. But any Apple analyst who gets upset over this should be ashamed for failing to understand one of Apple’s core philosophies. The company does not compete on price, it competes on quality. Apple does not sell to “everybody” — it sells to those who appreciate a premium product, and who are willing to pay a premium for it.

“Better but costs more” is a gamble. “Better and costs the same or less” is a sure thing. And the iPad is hard to compare to any previous Apple product other than the iPod. The iPod and iPad didn’t enter mature markets — they entered nascent markets with no strong competitors and established themselves as unquestioned market leaders. The iPad Mini’s $329 starting point leaves a price umbrella in tablets that Apple never left for MP3 player competitors.

You can argue the iPod wasn’t targeted at “everybody”, but it was (and remains to this day) targeted at almost everybody. I’m not saying Apple is doing the wrong thing here. I’m just saying it wouldn’t have been unprecedented for Apple to focus more on price.

‘Probably’ 

From Damon Poeter’s roundup of iPad Mini commentary for PC Magazine:

Like this “key takeaway” from Apple’s iPad mini unveiling, courtesy of Trip Chowdhry, managing director of Equity Research: “Innovation at Apple is over … [it’s] just incremental improvements, nothing ground breaking, the best is over for Apple. The iPad mini is playing catch up to Google Android and probably will have a mediocre customer adoption.”

Would be interesting to see if Chowdhry would accept a wager on whether the iPad Mini will outsell the Nexus 7 in the holiday quarter — but alas, that would require Google to release sales numbers for Nexus devices, which they don’t.

The original, unaltered period photo into which Jack Nicholson was composited to create the iconic photograph seen in the final shots of ‘The Shining’ 

If you only read one blog, it ought to be Lee Unkrich’s The Overlook Hotel.

‘No Reason Other Than Form Factor’ 

Vincent Messina, Cult of Android:

Instead of going for the jugular, Apple jumped into shark infested waters with a 7.9-inch, 1024 × 768, 16GB tablet priced at $329. Sure, it’s Apple, but it’s almost $100 more than the 32GB Nexus 7, it’s over $100 more expensive than the Kindle Fire HD, $29 more expensive than the Fire HD 8.9, and not to mention only $70 less than its cousin the iPad 2 (with whom it shares similar specs).

For Apple consumers, there’s simply no reason other than form factor to choose the Mini over any of the other iPads Apple has to offer.

We shall see. But remember the iPod Mini, which debuted to similar reactions in January 2004 — it was deemed too expensive compared to the better-spec’d regular iPod that cost just $50 more. The only thing the iPod Mini had going for it was its smaller thinner form factor. It went on to become the best-selling iPod.

Letterpress 

Loren Brichter’s Atebits returns, with a very clever and fun two-player word game. I’ve been beta testing it for a few weeks, and it’s a damn good game. It’s the first game that’s made my iPhone’s first home screen in years. It’s a cross between a word game like Scrabble or Boggle and a real estate strategy game like Risk or Go. It’s addictive. (Letterpress is to Game Center what The Magazine is to Newsstand — my first reason to use it.)

Free to try, and for a buck you can unlock the full version, which allows multiple simultaneous games and a few other features. Trust me, Letterpress is going to be a sensation.

AnandTech: Microsoft Surface Review 

Anand Lal Shimpi:

After using Microsoft’s Surface for the past week I can say that I honestly get it. This isn’t an iPad competitor, nor is it an Android tablet competitor. It truly is something different. A unique perspective, not necessarily the right one, but a different one that will definitely resonate well with some (not all) users.

Mat Honan Reviews the Microsoft Surface 

Interesting review of an interesting device.

First Look: iPad Mini 

Jim Dalrymple:

Clearly I wasn’t able to really put the device through its paces, but I was wondering if the mini would be too small. Many of the people I’ve talked to leading up to this introduction that wanted a mini commute to work or school and found the original iPad a bit too big.

After listening to those concerns and seeing the iPad mini, I can certainly see how this would alleviate those problems. The iPad mini can easily be held with one hand for reading.

My five-minute take: It runs iPad apps, but feels like a a “big iPhone” in use. It feels smaller than I expected it to. Having held it, “Mini” now makes sense as the name for it. I can definitely hold it in one hand, and I wonder if that’s exactly the reason for the new scrolling (as opposed to page-turning) theme in iBooks. (Should make iBooks better on the iPhone, too.)

Screen resolution-wise, it’s exactly what I expected for a 163 PPI display in 2012: noticeably nicer than the 133 PPI iPad 1/2, noticeably worse than the 266 PPI iPad 3/4. The iPad Mini display seems brighter and to have better contrast than the iPhone 3GS display, but unsurprisingly, rendered text looks exactly like it does on the 3GS.

Zynga Shuts Down Office, Lays Off 100 During Apple Event 

Apple Events are the new late Friday afternoons: the remote desert where you bury bad news.

Watch the Event Live 

Not sure why they don’t do this every time.

Where Does Apple Go From Here? 

Michael Gartenberg:

So, as Jed Bartlet might say, the question for Apple is: What’s next?

If you’re screaming “television sets!”, calm down. Yes, even you, Wall Street Analyst Who Shall Not Be Named. The entire television-set business is worth about $30 billion dollars. That’s it. Even assuming Apple takes all of that, it’s hardly the type of revenue that Apple needs to fuel the future. That’s the kind of money the company keeps under the mattress for a rainy day purchase or two.

Seems pretty likely that tomorrow is not going to be a “here’s the next big thing” event, but it’s worth pondering. What’s the next $100 billion idea, and what would Apple need to do to set it up?

Learnable Programming 

Astoundingly insightful and inspiring essay by Bret Victor. One of the most thought-provoking pieces I’ve read in a long time.

Amazon Cloud Service Outage 

Not a good day for Amazon so far.

Apple, ARM, and Intel 

Jean-Louis Gassée:

Intel will argue, rightly, that they’ll always be one technological step ahead of the competition, but is one step enough for x86 chips to beat ARM microprocessors?

‘Outlawed by Amazon DRM’ 

Martin Bekkelund:

A couple of days ago, my friend Linn sent me an e-mail, being very frustrated: Amazon just closed her account and wiped her Kindle. Without notice. Without explanation.

Interesting timing, given that many of us expect a heavy dose of iBooks tomorrow.

Back From Yet Another Globetrotting Adventure, Indiana Jones Checks His Mail and Discovers That His Bid for Tenure Has Been Denied 

Andy Bryan, writing for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency:

In his nine years with the department, Dr. Jones has failed to complete even one uninterrupted semester of instruction. In fact, he hasn’t been in attendance for more than four consecutive weeks since he was hired. Departmental records indicate Dr. Jones has taken more sabbaticals, sick time, personal days, conference allotments, and temporary leaves than all the other members of the department combined.

BusyCal 2.0 

Major update to one of my favorite Mac apps. On sale for a limited time for just $30 in the Mac App Store.

Exploded Phone 5 

I upgrade my t-shirt every year, too.

What Is Windows RT? 

Paul Thurrott:

I really like Windows 8 and think Windows RT is a great long-term play against the iPad and other tablet challengers. But any excitement Microsoft generated around this launch will be squandered when people realize they just bought something that looks like Windows 8 but comes with even fewer apps than Windows Phone. That’s not a recipe for success, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Harvest 

My thanks to Harvest for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Harvest was designed by creative professionals for creative professionals, and allows you to track billable time spent on projects, analyze how your time is spent, and create accurate invoices. It works just as well for individuals as it does for teams and agencies. With well-designed client software for the web, Mac, and iPhone, everything is easy and hassle-free.

It couldn’t be easier to get started. Try Harvest free for 30 days. If you don’t love it, simply let the trial expire.

9to5Mac: Smaller iPad to Start at $329 

That’s a little more expensive than I expected — I thought they’d at least hit the $299 mark with the entry-level Wi-Fi model. Curious too that none of the prices, for Wi-Fi-only or cellular models, land on “even” $X99 or $X49 numbers — these prices would look a lot nicer if they were each $30 less.

The Talk Show: Live From Çingleton 

This week’s episode of The Talk Show, recorded in front of a live audience after last weekend’s excellent Çingleton conference in historic Old Montréal, Québec. I was joined by very special guest Brent Simmons, and our topics included dealing with the fast-changing world of being a Mac/iOS developer, the advantages of native apps over web apps (including how that pertains to Glassboard, Brent’s current project), and a whole bunch of stuff about App.net.

The entire episode was sponsored by Marco Arment’s The Magazine — finally, something for nerds like us to put in Newsstand.

Some Advice From Jeff Bezos 

Jason Fried:

He said people who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds.

‘If You’re Scared of the New Tools, Then Run in a New Direction’ 

Thoughtful video essay on Instagram and smartphone photography in general, by Richard Koci Hernandez. (Via Colin Devroe.)

Mat Honan on Windows 8 

Mat Honan is not optimistic:

And then there’s the crapware. Ed Bott had a story pointing out that manufacturers like Gateway are already advertising Windows 8 machines with exactly the kind of pre-installed software that just slows it down and junks it up. It’s the kind of thing that makes people want to get Macs. It doesn’t matter if Microsoft creates the greatest operating system in the world if it then allows others to junk it up. And, ultimately, it means that Microsoft isn’t in control of its brand.

The Uncollaborative iCloud 

Dan Moren on the inability to collaboratively edit or share documents in iCloud. (Dropbox, far from being killed, remains as useful and relevant as ever for Mac and iOS users.)

Unlock the 007 in You 

More Skyfall fun, from Coke Zero.

What It’s Like to Be on Jeopardy 

Jeopardy champion Glenn Fleishman:

The strangest thing about appearing on Jeopardy is just how not strange it is. There’s no green screen or artificial bits to it. The set is precisely what you see in the broadcast program, with all the lighting and game board and whatnot. It’s like stepping into the television set to play. It’s more surreal than real.

Speaking of James Bond and Reading the Words in URLs 

Based on the URL, I’m sure this Skyfall site is intended for all tablets.

Toned-Down Headline Change of the Day 

Headline on this Jenna Wortham story in the NYT: “Airtime, a Pedigreed Start-Up, Is Tested”. But check the URL slug (or Techmeme) to see the punchier original headline.

Mapping the Entertainment Ecosystems of Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon 

Comprehensive analysis by Graham Spencer at MacStories, mapping the worldwide coverage for movies, TV shows, music, e-books and apps among the big four players. Great work. Eye-opening just how big a lead Apple has in music and movies.

James Bond: Booze, Bonks, and Bodies 

The Economist (of course) tallies up the average kills, hook-ups, and martinis drunk per movie for each of the actors who’ve portrayed James Bond. (I don’t think they should have counted only martinis; they should have counted every drink, period. Moore’s Bond drank mostly champagne.)

Newsweek Going Digital-Only 

Must be a fun day to work at Time.

Inadvertently Leaked Results Show Google Profits Dropping 

John Herrman, writing for Buzzfeed:

In a bizarre and unprecedented leak on Thursday, Google’s quarterly earnings were posted on the SEC’s website. The report is both worrying and incomplete — it starts with the phrase “PENDING LARRY [Page] QUOTE” — and it has sent the company’s stock into a tailspin.

This might seem odd considering that the report says Google made $2.74 billion in income last quarter. But that’s lower than expected, and lower than the same quarter last year. Google’s overall revenues, on the other hand, are up 45% from the same time last year, which means that its income is far less in proportion to how big it is: 19% of revenues last quarter, vs 37% in 2011. Google is growing, but its profits are shrinking.

Per-click ad rates are dropping, and wholly-owned subsidiary Motorola lost another $500 million.

Meantime, next week, Google is expected to unveil and promote new devices made by Motorola competitors LG and Sony. Makes total sense.

Nokia Posts Another Big Loss 

Kevin J. O’Brien, reporting for the NYT:

Nokia on Thursday posted a loss of €969 million in the third quarter, citing sharply declining sales of its smartphones as customers await the introduction of a generation of handsets running a newer version of the Windows operating system.

This tweet from Stefan Constantine encapsulates the deep hole Nokia is in:

Verizon sold more iPhones to Americans than Nokia sold Windows Phones to the world.

Paul Thurrott Reviews the iPod Nano 

Effusive review, and I concur with his assessment about the future:

And while I understand that the pretty little nano is not actually an iOS device, maybe it should be. If you could access the iTunes Store and iTunes Match from this device, it would literally be perfect.

Google Unveils New $249 Chromebook by Samsung 

You know what I’d like? An ARM-based computer that doesn’t run anything other than a web browser and gets only 6.5 hours of battery life.” —No One

Dave Winer: ‘Let’s Call Them Users’ 

Dave Winer:

So rather than run away from the U-word (toward what exactly?) I decided to embrace it, fully — and name the company UserLand. The idea caught on even if the company ultimately didn’t make it.

The bottom line is how you treat them, how much respect you have for them — not what word you use to describe the people who use your product or service.

Update: Zachery Bir has a good point too.

Apple to Acquire Color Engineering Staff 

Ken Yeung and the usually reliable Matthew Panzarino, in an eyebrow-raising report last night for The Next Web:

Color Labs, the photo-and-video-sharing social network that received much criticism over its pre-launch $41 million funding round, is about to be acquired by Apple. We’ve heard through trusted sources that the startup was nabbed for a price that is in the “high double digits”, as in millions, and that the deal is “done”, though papers have yet to be signed.

Liz Gannes and John Paczkowski, reporting today for AllThingsD:

What’s really happening is that Color’s engineering team — about 20 people, comprising almost the entire company — is being “acqhired” by Apple at what’s being called a “nominal” price of something like $2 million to $5 million, according to multiple sources familiar with both sides of the situation. To repeat, there are no “double-digit” millions involved, according to many people familiar with the deal.

Apple is not buying Color’s technology, intellectual property, domain names or liabilities.

Looks like Panzarino and Yeung were taken to the cleaners by their “trusted sources”.

Tweetbot for Mac 

When a great iPhone app comes out, it’s easy to ask the developer to expand it to the iPad too, and then bring it to the Mac. You know what’s hard? Actually doing it. But Tapbots has done it with Tweetbot. $20 for a Twitter client? Damn straight. Screw the race to the bottom. I’m happy to pay for quality work.

For more, see Rene Ritchie’s iMore interview with Tapbots developer Todd Thomas and designer Mark Jardine.

Microsoft’s First Surface Commercial 

It’s a brand ad, not a product ad — not about what Surface can do or how. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. The ad has a clear message: Surface is an iPad-size tablet with a magnetic keyboard cover and it’s fun. That’s a pretty good message. It’s about framing the product in people’s minds.

You Can’t Bring Back Jobs That Were Never Here 

Matthew Yglesias on the “iPad manufacturing jobs” question from last night’s presidential debate:

Americans never had any jobs manufacturing iPads. But thanks to the fact that Chinese factories are churning out iPads, lots of people have jobs that wouldn’t exist if the iPad wasn’t available as a hit product.

Jack Dorsey on ‘Users’ vs. ‘Customers’ 

Jack Dorsey:

The entire technology industry uses the word “user” to describe its customers. While it might be convenient, “users” is a rather passive and abstract word. No one wants to be thought of as a “user” (or “consumer” for that matter). I certainly don’t. And I wouldn’t consider my mom a “user” either, she’s my mom. The word “user” abstracts the actual individual. This may seem like a small and insignificant detail that doesn’t matter, but the vernacular and words we use here at Square set a very strong and subtle tone for everything we do. So let’s now part ways with our industry and rethink this.

That’s why Apple has always had human interface guidelines, not user interface guidelines.

The word “customer” is a much more active and bolder word. It’s honest and direct. It immediately suggests a relationship we must deliver on. And our customers think of their customers in the same way.

Interesting contrast between Dorsey’s two companies, Square and Twitter. Twitter clearly doesn’t view its users as customers — but they should.

Update: Lots of feedback from those pointing out that Twitter’s customers are its advertisers, and the old adage that what they’re selling to advertisers is us. Clearly, yes, that’s how they see it, as do other major social networks. I’m saying they should treat users as customers, too — customers paying not with dollars but with their precious and limited attention.

Check the Weather 

New weather app for the iPhone by David Smith, it’s really something. It’s fast, it’s clever, and it’s distinctive. I’ve been using it for about a week and it’s fair to say it’s now the only weather app I need: it works at a glance for what’s going on right now; detailed hourly and daily forecasts are just a slide away; and, most interestingly, in the U.S. it hooks up to Dark Sky’s API for short term precipitation forecasts. It’s rare that a new app knocks an old one off my first home screen; Check the Weather knocked two off.

Just $2 in the App Store. You’re nuts if you don’t buy it.

Like I Said, $41 Million Down the Toilet 

Ricardo Bilton, reporting for VentureBeat on the collapse of Color:

A source within the company tells us that the company’s shareholders and board last week voted to shut the company down.

Yours truly, when Color launched in March 2011:

This thing looks like a turd to me. Now, maybe I’m the idiot and the joke’s on me and Color is going to be a huge hit. But my figurative money says that the investors who funded these guys just flushed $41 million in literal money down the toilet.

Andrea Seabrook’s DecodeDC 

Andrea Seabrook’s Kickstarter campaign is this close to hitting its funding goal. Great, insightful reporting and incredibly professional production quality. Written-word journalists have been going independent for over a decade; the next step is for radio and TV journalists to do the same.

Why There’s No 16 GB Surface 

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread, regarding how much free space is available on a 32 GB Surface RT:

I am Ricardo Lopez, Test Manager for Surface RT. After the OS, OfficeRT and a bunch of apps, you will still have more that 20GB. As you say, you can always add an SD card and while you cannot add apps there, you can get music, movies and photos there.

Probably doesn’t matter in the long run. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s iPads start at 32 GB, too. But it’s interesting that the lean-and-mean version of Windows isn’t nearly as lean and mean as iOS.

Justin Williams’s Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Mac OS X (2012 Edition) 

Great list; quite a few apps in here I’d never heard of before.

Tech Talk: iPhone 5 

Saturday Night Live nails it.

Amazon in Talks to Buy Texas Instruments’ Mobile Chip Division 

Reuters:

Amazon.com Inc, the world’s largest Internet retailer, is in advanced talks to buy the mobile chip business of Texas Instruments, Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist reported on Monday.

If negotiations lead to an agreement, Amazon, which makes tablets and is expected to enter the smartphone industry, would become a direct rival to Apple and Samsung Electronics, which also designs their own chips. The value of any deal will probably be billions of dollars, Calcalist said.

Makes sense if Amazon is committed to being a device maker. You want control over your core dependencies, and these chips are without question a core dependency in the mobile game. (Now imagine if Microsoft bought a chip maker.)

Do-Not-Track Movement Is Drawing Advertisers’ Fire 

Natasha Singer, reporting for the NYT:

“If we do away with this relevant advertising, we are going to make the Internet less diverse, less economically successful, and frankly, less interesting,” says Mike Zaneis, the general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry group.

Utter and complete bullshit. TV doesn’t track you, and with a few exceptions like HBO, it’s completely advertising driven. Print media doesn’t track you, and it’s been primarily advertising-driven for centuries.

Update: Lessien disputes my argument that “TV doesn’t track you”:

Not true. Cable boxes are data treasure troves.

Good point. But even so, I don’t see how anyone could argue that such tracking is necessary for advertising. And it certainly wasn’t the case for most of the TV industry’s history, which predates digital cable boxes.

Bullish Cross: ‘Apple $1000: Why It’s Time to Buy’ 

I don’t offer investment advice, but Andy Zaky does — and those who listen to him have done pretty well:

History has repeatedly taught us that the best time to buy Apple is when the bearish sentiment in the stock has reached the pinnacle of extreme pessimism. When every guest on CNBC is calling for the imminent demise of Apple, when every headline is making a case for why Apple has peaked, and when the stock continues to slide by over a 2% a day right in the face of a market rally, that’s when you know it’s time to buy.

The last two times we publicly advised investors to buy Apple was on Thursday, May 17, 2012 when Apple was at $530 a share and on Friday, June 17, 2011 when Apple was at $320 a share. In both cases, Apple bottomed out on the following trading session and then went on a 30%+ rally. We have only ever published five public buy recommendations on Apple and each one was published within a few days of Apple’s final bottom. We have never missed a long-term price-target on Apple.

Get the Details on Mitt Romney’s $5 Trillion Tax Plan 

Just a click away.

Pricing and Pre-Orders for Surface With Windows RT 

Roughly in line with iPad (3) pricing: $499 for 32 GB, $599 for 32 GB and a Touch Cover, $699 for 64 GB including a Touch Cover. Maybe the only surprise is that the cover isn’t standard — I thought that was the Surface’s hook, its primary differentiator.

Foxconn Admits Employing 14-Year-Old Interns 

Kathrin Hille and Sarah Mishkin, reporting for The Financial Times:

“Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks,” the company said. “This is not only a violation of China’s labour law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy, and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions.”

Foxconn pledged to conduct a full investigation and fire any employee found to have been responsible for the violations. The company also said the Yantai facility “has no association with any work we carry out on behalf of Apple”.

Foxconn needs to get its act together.

Apple Hires Amazon A9 Executive William Stasior to Run Siri 

Nice scoop from Kara Swisher:

Apple has hired major Amazon exec and prominent search technologist William Stasior to run its Siri unit, according to sources. At the online retail giant, Stasior has been in charge of A9, Amazon’s search and search advertising unit. The former AltaVista exec co-founded the independent company and has run it since Udi Manber left for Google.

Stasior has an impressive pedigree (you can read his resume and see a really geeky binary image he posted of himself here).

Samsung Official Cites Serious Chip Rift With Apple 

Brooke Crothers, reporting for CNet:

Samsung’s multibillion dollar component supplier partnership with Apple is beginning to unravel, according to a South Korea-based report, which quotes a Samsung official. Though Samsung makes Apple’s newest A6 chip used in the iPhone 5, the relationship between the two companies has changed substantially, according to a report in Korea Times.

Shocker.

AppCode 

My thanks to JetBrains for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote AppCode, their professional Objective-C IDE for iOS and Mac developers. AppCode offers an amazing array of features, including code generation and completion, safe and accurate refactoring, and thorough inspections that help you detect and fix problems as you go. The list goes on: unit-testing support, editing history, integration with a slew of version control systems and issue trackers — and, last but not least, full Xcode interoperability.

If you’re an iOS or Mac developer, you owe it to yourself to check out AppCode.

‘Ant-Covered Candy Bar’ 

This week’s episode of America’s favorite podcast, The Talk Show, with special guest John Moltz. Topics include Windows 8 and Microsoft’s imminent but still largely mysterious Surface tablets, Apple’s new iPods (and their ads), Apple’s obsession with making devices ever thinner and lighter, and, of course, Yankees star Alex Rodriguez Ichiro Suzuki.

Brought to you by two fine sponsors:

  • Pixelivery — Pixel art tees for everybody, from the makers of United Pixelworkers.

  • Echograph — Animated photography, now evolved for the iPhone 5.

Chitika: iPhone 5 Web Usage Surpasses Galaxy S III 

Chitika:

The Galaxy S III has been available in the U.S. for nearly four months, and posted impressive sales figures – even beating out domestic sales of the iPhone 4S in August 2012. However, only 18 days since the public release of the iPhone 5, the newest Apple device has overtaken the Galaxy S III in terms of Web traffic volume. Record-breaking sales numbers, along with new 4G browsing speeds which encourage data usage, are the most likely explanation for this tremendous growth.

Telling statistics.

LTE might help explain why iPhone 5 owners are browsing the web more than those using older iPhones, but it doesn’t explain how it so quickly surpassed the Galaxy S III, which also supports LTE. There are profound differences in how iPhone and Android owners use their devices.

Consumer Interest in iPhone 5 

Jim Dalrymple, reporting on a ChangeWave survey of over 4,000 North Americans:

The survey of 4,270 primarily North American consumers shows an “unprecedented degree of consumer interest” in the iPhone 5. Results show that one-in-three people are “Likely” to purchase the new iPhone, while 19% are “Very Likely” and 13% said they were “Somewhat Likely” to buy the iPhone 5.

To put these numbers in perspective, Changewave did the same survey when the iPhone 4S was released and 10% said they were “Very Likely” and 11.5% said they were “Somewhat Likely” to buy.

The Maps thing doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

Apple Agrees on Licensing Terms for Use of Iconic Swiss Clock Design 

Finally.

October 23 

Looks like that’s when Apple is going to unveil the smaller iPad. Would be cool if they had a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, too. (I’ve got no dirt on that — just something I’m hoping to see sooner rather than later.)

Speaking of Ads, Here’s Apple’s Spot for the New iPods 

Seems like those iffy “genius” ads from the Olympics were a million years ago. This one reminds me of the classic iMac “She Comes in Colors” spot from the late ’90s.

(Also, just realized I forgot to link to the new Jeff Daniels-narrated iPhone 5 spots. The “Thumbs” one is pretty clever in the way it frames the new 4-inch display as better but anything bigger — read: all high-end Samsung phones — as being too big.)

Microsoft Surface Ad Campaign 

We’ve got them at bus stops all over Philadelphia too. Boldly minimal. (Still no pricing, though.)

The Magazine 

New, from Marco Arment, a magazine in the form of a subscription-based iOS app:

Instead of the traditional labor-intensive magazine layout and expensive multimedia production, The Magazine’s article format is similar to Instapaper’s: one clean, adjustable, reader-friendly template with HTML, occasional images, and some small conveniences. It loads quickly, integrates well with sharing and system conventions (including text selection and VoiceOver), occupies minimal storage space, and shows the utmost respect for your time and attention.

The Magazine is leaving behind a lot of what magazines “need”. And many magazines really do need them. But I don’t think this does.

All of this is a bit crazy, and it’s not guaranteed to succeed. But I bet it will.

The first issue is an excellent start. Says a lot about the state of the magazine industry that things like loading quickly and allowing you to select text make the app stand out from the crowd. I predict a bunch of you are about to find Newsstand useful for the first time.

How to Opt Out of Interest-Based Ads From the iAd Network 

Apple:

If you do not want to receive ads related to your interests, you can opt out by accessing this link on your iOS device using iOS 4 or later. You need to be logged into your iTunes account in order for your opt out to be effective.

The message “You have successfully opted out” should appear and you should automatically be opted out of interest-based ads.

(Thanks to Kevin Fox.)

Connect 

Sign of the times: new website from DPReview.com dedicated specifically to “mobile photography”. (Thanks to John Nack.)

Verizon iPhone Owners Must Opt-Out of Sharing Data With Advertisers 

Another one from Matthew Panzarino:

The opt-out options are only available for 30 days after you’ve fired up a new line and they’re located in the MyPrivacy section of Verizon’s website. There are three categories of opt-out, each of which covers the sharing of a different flavor of personal information.

And they’re not just for iPhone owners, any smartphone purchaser is likely going to need to check out these privacy settings if they want to make sure they’re only sharing what they wish. I’m an iPhone owner, so could only confirm that it was there for me, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be for other devices as well.

Hard to disagree with Ben Brooks on this.

MLB’s Passbook Ticketing Experiment Pays Off 

Matthew Panzarino:

In the two weeks that the Passbook program was in place at four Major League ballparks, Passbook accounted for 12% of sales of single game tickets purchased online, around 1,500 in total. Those numbers seem pretty darn impressive, the parks are not minor ones, and that’s a decent chunk of ticketing. But they get even more impressive when you think about the breakdown.

That 12% is only two weeks, only counts online purchasers who chose to deliver to mobile users, who were iPhone owners, and those that updated to iOS 6 (which was only available on the 19th of last month) within that period could take advantage of Passbook. I think its very safe to say that percentage is going to get a lot higher next season, when the MLB rolls out Passbook support to many more parks.

Maybe Passbook is going to be a big deal.

The Shooting of Malala Yousafzai, the Girl Who Wanted to Go to School 

Basharat Peer, writing for The New Yorker:

On Tuesday afternoon, Taliban militants attacked and seriously injured Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen-year-old campaigner for education for girls in Mingora, a town in Swat Valley, in Pakistan’s North Western Frontier Province. Malala was returning home from school when the men attacked; a fellow-student and a teacher were injured as well. “A bullet struck her head, but her brain is safe,” a doctor told the Express Tribune newspaper. […] A Pakistani Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, claimed responsibility and threatened to attack her again, if she survives: “She was pro-West, she was speaking against the Taliban and she was calling President Obama her idol.” He added, “She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas.”

Age Demographics of iPhone and Android Users 

Dan Rowinski, writing for ReadWriteWeb:

Does Android skew towards a younger demographic? The numbers might surprise you. According to comScore, 52.4% of all Android users are aged 35 years or older. That is five percentage points higher than the iPhone. Near 55% Android tablet users are also older than 35.

David Pierce Reviews the New iPod Touch 

It’s so much thinner and lighter than the iPhone 5, it’s hard to believe. It’s near the point where the headphone jack is the limiting factor on getting it any thinner.

HTC Pulls Tablets From US Market 

Mike Dano, FierceWireless:

HTC has discontinued sales of tablets in the United States. However, a company executive said the Taiwanese handset maker could re-enter the space if it builds a tablet that could “make a splash.”

“We’re watching that market [tablets] very, very closely,” said Jeff Gordon, HTC’s global online communications manager.

Watching Apple (and Amazon, and Google) sell millions of tablets.

Smaller iPad to Be Wi-Fi Only? 

Charles Arthur:

Apple’s expected “iPad mini” will only come in a Wi-Fi version — but there will also be a revised version of the iPad with 4G connectivity compatible with the UK’s Everything Everywhere network, and sporting the new “Lightning” connector, industry sources have told the Guardian.

Well, anything is possible, but I’d still put my money down on the iPad Air having LTE options, much like its bigger sibling.

Did Apple and Google Really Spend More on Patents Than R&D? 

Ian Betteridge:

There’s been a meme doing the rounds based on the New York Times’ story on “the iEconomy” which claims that in 2011, both Google and Apple spent more on patent protection than R&D. This, on the face of it, looks like a savage indictment of the whole parent system — legal nonsense taking priority over real research.

There was something, though, that didn’t quite add up for me. Call it an old journalist’s nose for something fishy, but… it just didn’t smell right.

Samsung to Unveil 4-Inch ‘Mini’ Galaxy S III 

Amar Toor, reporting for The Verge:

JK Shin, head of Samsung Mobile Communications, confirmed today that his company will be releasing a four-inch version of the Galaxy S III on October 11th in Germany. Shin announced the news during a meeting with Korean press on Wednesday.

Shin didn’t reveal many details about the device, though he said it was spurred by increasing demand for 4-inch devices in Europe.

This is Samsung’s strength. With Apple, you get one size display to choose from (each model year). With Samsung, it looks like you’re going to get to choose. Also, my long-standing theory has been that Android phones went to 4.5-inch (and greater) super-size displays because it was too hard engineering-wise to fit LTE chipsets and batteries strong enough to power them into smaller form factors. Every iPhone sold is proof that there is demand for 4-inch and smaller display sizes. It was only a matter of time until we started seeing high-end Android (and Windows Phone) handsets with similar size displays to the iPhone. And so here we are.

Update: Leaked specs suggest the 4-inch Galaxy is rather lame: slower processor and a mere 800 × 480 pixel display.

How Much Do Google and Facebook Profit From Your Data? 

Speaking of putting more privacy controls into web browsers:

Privacyfix measures your last 60 days of activity on Google, extrapolates that to a year, and uses a value-per-search estimate. Analysts believed Google was making $14.70 per 1,000 searches in 2010, and possibly less in 2011. Of course, if you spend all your time searching for luxury hotels or mesothelioma lawyers — and then clicking through the advertised links — you’re much more valuable than the average user.

Brock says his estimated annual Facebook value was a mere $1.68. His daughter, perhaps unsurprisingly, is at $12. His Google value checks in at more than $700 per year, though.

The Do Not Track Standard Has Crossed Into Crazy Territory 

Ed Bott:

I cannot make this stuff up. The representative to the W3C working group from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) proposed this change the other day to the Tracking Definitions and Compliance section of the DNT standard:

Marketing should be added to the list of “Permitted Uses for Third Parties and Service Providers” in Section 6.1 of the Tracking Definitions and Compliance Document.

Via email, two other members of the working group expressed confusion. One asked, “What do you mean by marketing? What would be permitted?” Another said, “I don’t follow.” (This is how polite people in standards groups say “WTF?”)

Do Not Track is (was?) a fine idea for a W3C standard, but at this point, browser makers should take things into their own hands. Just add (more) features to browsers to allow users to assert tighter control over tracking by advertisers.

These big advertising groups clearly feel they are entitled to collect this tracking data; they’re not.

Teenager Survey Shows Growing Ownership of iPhones and iPads 

Results from analyst Gene Munster’s semi-annual survey of U.S. teenagers. These two nuggets on the growth rate are stunning:

  • Survey finds 40% of teens own an iPhone, up from 34% in the spring and 23% a year ago.

  • Of the survey group, 44% have a tablet; 72% of those own iPads. In the spring survey, 34% owned a tablet; a year ago the total was 29%.

That growth rate in tablet ownership shows just how high the stakes are for Microsoft with Windows 8. They’ve got one chance to get in the game with tablets, and this is it. The train is leaving the station.

Dying Woman Embarrassed and Harassed by TSA 

Joel Moreno, reporting for Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO:

A dying woman says a a security pat-down at Sea-Tac Airport left her embarrassed in front of crowds of people. Michelle Dunaj says screeners checked under bandages from recent surgeries and refused to give her a private search when she requested one. Dunaj, who is dying of leukemia, carried a large amount of prescription drugs through Sea-Tac to head to Hawaii for what would be one of the last trips of her life.

A machine couldn’t get a reading on her saline bags, so a TSA agent forced one open, contaminating the fluid she needs to survive. She says agents also made her lift up her shirt and pull back the bandages holding feeding tubes in place. Dunaj needs those tubes because of organ failure.

Shameful.

Pandora and Artist Payments 

Pandora founder Tim Westergren:

For over two thousand artists Pandora will pay over $10,000 dollars each over the next 12 months (including one of my favorites, the late jazz pianist Oscar Peterson), and for more than 800 we’ll pay over $50,000, more than the income of the average American household. For top earners like Coldplay, Adele, Wiz Khalifa, Jason Aldean and others Pandora is already paying over $1 million each. Drake and Lil Wayne are fast approaching a $3 million annual rate each.

It’s hard to look at these numbers and not see that internet radio presents an incredible opportunity to build a better future for artists. Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it is also enabling musicians to earn a living. Since Pandora accounts for just 6.53% of all radio listening in the U.S., it seems fundamentally unfair that other forms of radio that represent much larger shares of U.S. radio listening pay substantially less to artists.

Hard to argue with that.

App Store Approval Taking Longer for Mac Apps Than iOS Ones 

Lex Friedman, writing for Macworld:

The website Average App Store Review Times collects reports from developers who tweet about how long their apps spend in Apple’s approval queues. Based on nearly 70 reports, the site puts the average review time at 27 days for the past month, and the trend line shows that reviews are slowing down, not speeding up. (The same site reports the average iOS App Store review time at seven days.)

Hopefully just a hiccup from the rush of iOS 6 and iPhone 5 compatibility updates.

Source Code Pro 

New free and open source monospaced type family by Adobe’s Paul D. Hunt. It’s a companion to Source Sans Pro. Good punctuation marks, and I’m digging the lowercase i and j. I’m giving it a shot as my daily-driver for anti-aliased monospaced text, as a replacement for Menlo (the tweaked version of Bitstream Vera Sans Mono that Apple includes with Mac OS X). 12px seems like the sweet spot for my eyes.

HTC Sales Drop 

Everyone talks about the Apple-Samsung rivalry, but on the sidelines, companies like HTC have been ravaged.

James Bond’s Film-by-Film Body Counts Illustrated in the Style of the ‘Dr. No’ Title Sequence 

The name is Dawes. Brendan Dawes.

Told You It’s Nice 

Farhad Manjoo:

I’ll go even further: When I pick up the iPhone 5 and examine it closely, I find it difficult to believe that this device actually exists. The iPhone 5 does not feel like a product that was mass produced. In a strange way, it doesn’t feel like it was built at all. This is a gadget that seems as if it fell into the box fully formed. If you run your hands around its face, you scarcely feel any seams or other points of connection; there’s little evidence that this thing is a highly complex device made from lots of smaller things. Instead it just feels like a single, solid, exquisitely crafted piece of machinery, and once you pick it up you never want to put it down.

iCloud: Extended Complimentary Storage for Former MobileMe Members 

Apple:

As a thank you to our former MobileMe members who moved to iCloud, we have extended the complimentary storage upgrade they received until September 30, 2013. This extension applies to accounts moved to iCloud between October 12th, 2011 and August 1st, 2012.

Ex-TSA Agent: We Steal From Travelers All the Time 

ABC News:

Pythias Brown, a former Transportation Security Administration officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, spent four years stealing everything he could from luggage and security checkpoints, including clothing, laptops, cameras, Nintendo Wiis, video games and cash. Speaking publicly for the first time after being released after three years in prison, Brown told ABC News that he used the X-ray scanners to locate the most valuable items to snatch.

The 13 Most Shameless Super Mario Rip-Offs on the App Store 

“Ultra Dario” is my favorite.

Eric Schmidt: ‘By the Summer of 2012, the Majority of the Televisions You See in Stores Will Have Google TV Embedded’ 

Maybe he meant some other 2012?

$12.5 Billion Well Spent 

John Moltz has some delightful Webtop claim chowder.

The Squarespace Developer Platform 

My thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their Squarespace Developer Platform beta. It provides developers with full code control, a beautiful client interface, and world-class hosting. You don’t need to worry about servers or hosting — just focus on your code. Use the desktop tools you know and love — connect via Git and SFTP. Squarespace’s award-winning support team provides customer service. They’ve even got a free sandbox until you’re ready to go live. Sign up today.

Again I Ask: What Is It About Apple That Causes People to Lose Their Minds? 

Glenn Fleishman:

When I started reading James Stewart’s New York Times “Common Sense” column titled “Apple’s Maps and Jobs’s Shadow”, I thought in the first two paragraphs that he had captured the nuance of Apple in transition from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook, and correctly offered the context of its last 12 months of financial success and the challenges ahead that the firm faces. Then I hit the third paragraph and it all goes downhill from there.

One Year Ago 

Lovely tribute at Apple.com.

The Design of Airline Baggage Tags 

Mark Vanhoenacker, writing for Slate:

This success is largely due to the humdrum baggage tag. That random sticky strip you rip off your suitcase when you get home? It’s actually a masterpiece of design and engineering. Absent its many innovations, you’d still be able to jet from Anchorage to Abu Dhabi. But your suitcase would be much less likely to meet you there.

(Via Dave Pell’s NextDraft.)

Charlie Kindel: ‘Paying Developers Is a Bad Idea’ 

A better title would have been “Paying Developers Is a Last-Ditch Act of Desperation”.

Bobby Valentine Fired by Red Sox 

I’m surprised they didn’t fire him by the 7th inning of last night’s game. Even as a Yankees fan, I’m glad they shitcanned him. I like the Red Sox as worthy rivals whom the Yankees are forced to beat in a dramatic American League Championship Series — not as sad-sack last-place pushovers.

Meg Whitman: No HP Smartphone in 2013 

Take your time.

K Is for King, Q Is for Queen 

Chess set derived from Hoefler & Frere-Jones’s Champion font.

The Forgotten Mapmaker 

Alexis Madrigal:

As I described last month, Google has spent literally tens of thousands of person-hours creating its maps. I argued that no other company could beat Google at this game, which turned out to be my most controversial assertion. People pointed out that while Google’s driven 5 million miles in Street View cars, UPS drives 3.3 billion miles a year. Whoever had access to these other datasets might be in the mapping (cough) driver’s seat.

Well, it turns out that Nokia is the company that receives the GPS data from both FedEx and UPS, the company’s senior VP of Location Content, Cliff Fox, told me.

I don’t think it’ll happen, but how odd would it be for Apple to acquire Nokia not for their phone expertise, but for their mapping expertise?

Tent.is 

Speaking of longshot alternatives to Twitter, Tent looks interesting, if for no other reason than that it’s decentralized. Tent.is is a Tent hosting service from the creators of the protocol. I’ve signed up; you can probably guess my username.

Netbot 

New from Tapbots: just like Tweetbot but for App.net.

Snappli Doubles Down, Insists Their Data Shows Users Dumping iOS Maps 

OK, I’ll bite. Which alternative maps apps have these users turned to if they’ve abandoned the built-in one? If usage of rival mapping services is not rising commensurate with this purported plummet in the use of iOS Maps, what could possibly be going on? iPhone users are just giving up on mapping in despair? Sure.

(Bonus points to Snappli for recommending Forbes’s “If Steve Jobs Were Alive, He Would Fire Tim Cook” piece.

Corning and Gorilla Glass 

Bryan Gardiner, writing for Wired:

One of the first conversations between Weeks and Jobs actually had nothing to do with glass. Corning scientists were toying around with microprojection technologies — specifically, better ways of using synthetic green lasers. The thought was that people wouldn’t want to stare at tiny cell phone screens to watch movies and TV shows, and projection seemed like a natural solution. But when Weeks spoke to Jobs about it, Apple’s chief called the idea dumb. He did mention he was working on something better, though — a device whose entire surface was a display. It was called the iPhone.

Ichiro’s Respect for His Bats 

Great story by David Waldstein in the NYT on the care Yankees star Ichiro Suzuki takes of his bats:

Today, after a decade in the major leagues, Suzuki still displays that same reverence on a daily basis, caring for his bats like Stradivarius violins. While most players dump their bats in cylindrical canvas bags when they are not using them, Suzuki neatly stacks his best eight bats inside a shockproof, moisture-free black case that he keeps close by his locker at home and on the road. […]

The case, which looks like a mini trunk, not only protects the bats from jostling and banging during transports, it also serves as a dehumidifier, drawing moisture out of the bats during the hot, humid American summers.

DPReview on the iPhone 5 Camera 

Barney Britton and Kelcey Smith:

Apple might not have set out to make some of the most popular cameras on the planet with its iPhone range of smartphones, but that’s exactly what has happened.

Actually, I think that’s exactly what Apple set out to do.

Really? 

Jerry Seinfeld writes a letter to the editor in the NYT.

MG Siegler on Feature-Creep in Chrome 

MG Siegler:

But again, I’m worried that’s changing. And it seems to be changing for a silly reason: feature-creep. It seems like Google is adding stuff to Chrome just to add it. It’s as if they feel like they can’t do nothing feature-wise, so they come up with junk to shove in there, slowing Chrome down in the process.

Wonder if that’s related to Chrome’s seemingly stalled market share growth?

Stop-Motion Lego Dr. Strangelove 

How can I not link to this?

Ex-Nokia Team to Launch New Phone Based on MeeGo 

Sven Grundberg, reporting for the WSJ (paywall circumventing Google search)

A group of former Nokia Corp. employees has raised €200 million ($258 million) from a variety of telecommunications-industry players to introduce a new mobile operating platform based on discarded Nokia technology, and the group will unveil a new phone next month.

Finnish start-up Jolla Ltd. made waves earlier this year when it announced its intention to use Nokia’s MeeGo operating system as the basis for a new line of mobile devices. Nokia abandoned the system last year in favor of using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows system, but allowed Jolla and other companies access to the technology.

Jolla’s code name for its new MeeGo-based system is “Sailfish.” Further details about the new phone aren’t being disclosed at this time.

Well, good luck. I mean it.

Web Browser Market Share Numbers 

September numbers from Net Marketshare for “mobile/tablet”:

  • iOS: 64 percent
  • Android: 21

Still the biggest mystery in the market share world is why web usage numbers are so out of whack with device sale numbers.

Pew Survey Pegs Android U.S. Tablet Market Share at 48 Percent 

They’re including the Kindle Fire as “Android”, and the survey was conducted before the Nexus 7 shipped. Color me skeptical, given that these numbers seem out of line with other market share indicators, but perhaps things are changing:

Now, just over half, 52%, of tablet owners report owning an iPad, compared with 81% in the survey a year ago. Android-based devices make up the bulk of the remaining tablet ownership, 48% overall, dominated largely by the Kindle Fire. Two in ten, 21%, own a Kindle Fire, 8% the Samsung Galaxy, and the rest, a mix of others.

If the Kindle Fire and Galaxy Tab combine for 29 percent, that leaves 19 percent to be split among the also-ran Android tablets.

ABC News Tracks Missing iPad to Florida Home of TSA Officer 

Megan Chuchmach, ABC News:

Ramirez produced the iPad only after ABC News activated an audio alarm feature, and turned it over after taking off his TSA uniform shirt. His explanation for the missing iPad in his home was that his wife had taken it from the airport.

“I’m so embarrassed,” he told ABC News. “My wife says she got the iPad and brought it home,” he said.

Moments later, his wife appeared at the door to say she had found it and “no told my husband.” Asked how that was possible given that ABC News tape showed him handling the iPad at the security checkpoint, Ramirez shut the door and has not responded to questions since.

Just shut them down.

Consumer Reports Compares Maps Navigation on iOS 6 and Android 

Consumer Reports:

Having put it through the paces we subject each portable navigator to in our test program, our original criticisms remain. But having more thoroughly tested Apple Maps alongside a Samsung Galaxy S3 running Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with Google Maps, we have a more favorable opinion — certainly more favorable than comments and articles that we’ve been reading online.

Motorola Reneges on Ice Cream Sandwich Software Update 

Shocker.

Google Passes Microsoft’s Market Cap 

Another milestone for the post-PC era.

Jackass of the Week: Peter Cohan 

Peter Cohan, writing for Forbes, questions whether Tim Cook is capable of leading Apple (“After $30 Billion Mistake, Can Tim Cook Manage Apple?”):

You might think that Tim Cook is doing a spectacular job. After all, since taking over as CEO on August 24, 2011, Apple stock has risen 74%, and its revenues and profits have soared 66% and 85% in the last year.

But since the Apple Maps fiasco, Apple has lost $30 billion in stock market value, reports The Guardian.

Cohan’s sleight of hand trick here is almost beyond clumsy. He’s like a stage magician doing a card trick who asks the audience, “Hey, everyone close your eyes for a second.” In the first paragraph, he acknowledges that Apple’s stock value has risen 74 percent under Cook. In the second, he switches from percentages to dollars, simply because $30 billion sounds like an awful lot of dough. With a market cap over $600 billion, any change in stock price, even just a few percentage points, is going to amount to a change in market cap of tens of billions of dollars.

The actual percentage loss in the few days post-Mapgate? 4.5 percent. Not sure where Cohan pulled his numbers from, but according to Wolfram Alpha, Apple’s stock price rose not 74 percent but 77 percent from closing on 24 August 2011 through last Friday. Cohan concludes that because of the Maps mistake and — yes — ongoing labor problems at Foxconn:

While those worker issues do not cost Apple shareholders money or seem to trouble its customers enough for them to stop buying its products, they are a further indictment of the problems with Tim Cook’s management approach.

He should solve them. If not, Apple’s board should find someone who will.

77 percent gain in stock price, 85 percent gain in profits. Shitcan him. What exactly is it about Apple that makes people lose their minds?

Apple Releases Carrier Settings Update for Verizon iPhone 5 

Apple:

This carrier settings update resolves an issue in which, under certain circumstances, iPhone 5 may use Verizon cellular data while the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

According to a Verizon statement to The Loop, customers will not be charged for any data that was consumed due to the bug in the previous carrier settings.

New Apple Developer Guideline Bans Apps That Promote Other Apps 

Darrell Etherington, writing for AOL/TechCrunch:

Apple has changed its iOS developer guidelines, adding a clause (on September 12, a source tells me) that reads: “Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.” That’s a change that could have wide-reaching effects, especially on promotion models that offer developers a paid top slot on app recommendation offerings like FreeAppADay, Daily App Dream and more.

I’m not sure I see any problem that Apple is solving here with this ban. Whereas some of these apps, like TouchArcade, solve a real problem with the App Store: they provide expertly curated and community-driven recommendations that are far more relevant and accurate than the top-selling lists in the App Store itself. The App Store mostly presents you with what’s popular; an app/service like TouchArcade tries to present you with what’s good.

This is a case where these services should be able to survive outside the App Store as mobile websites, but I simply don’t see what problem Apple is solving by keeping them out of the store. See more in this report by Keith Andrew at PocketGamer.

Samsung Android Hole Also Leaves SIM Cards Vulnerable 

Lucian Constantin, IDG:

Several Samsung Android devices, including Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Beam, S Advance, and Galaxy Ace were reported to be vulnerable because they supported the special factory reset code.

Borgaonkar showed that a device can be forced to automatically open a link to such a page by touching a NFC-enabled phone to a rogue NFC tag, by scanning a QR code or by including the link in a special service message. However, an attacker can also include the link in a Twitter feed, SMS or an e-mail message and trick the victim to manually click on it.

Any evidence yet that this exploit is being used in the wild?

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