Posts Tagged ‘apple’

Google Editions Is Your Local Book Store’s Best Friend [Ebooks]

30 Jun
Lost in the midst of the Ebook wars between Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Sony are the independent bookstores who don't have the clout to bang with the big boys. Not for long, they're looking for help—from Google. More »

Google - Google Editions - Barnes & Noble - Searching - Search Engines

Hands On With The New MacBooks

14 Oct


Mark McClusky just got to spend a bit of time playing with the new line of MacBooks. Here's what he had to say about his experinces:

On his initial impression: They're really beautiful pieces of hardware. The milling eliminates the plastic gasket around the front — this makes a huge difference. The MacBooks now feel sturdy and super-solid, much more polished than the plastic version.

On the Macbook Pro: It's thinner, yes, but in actuality, just a hair wider than my old (one year old) MacBook Pro.


On the displays: They're very bright. Colors are vibrant and pop more naturally. 

On the line-up as a whole: They've now got the same design language across their whole line...iMac, displays, and notebooks — all with that black bezel. This is a very solid update, and a lovely design tweak. But there are no huge game changers here. They've galvinized a lead, and let's face it: no one can trigger object lust like Apple. 

[Editor's note: Instead of waiting for review samples to become available from Apple we're going to just purchase a top shelf MacBook and MacBook Pro. Expect a set of reviews in a few days, Labbers.]

(Photos by Jim Merithew for

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The Paperclip iPhone/iPod Touch Stand [DIY]

30 Sep

If $100 is just too much for you to pay for a homemade iPhone stand, then this paperclip version might be a better option. And to anyone who has ever paid more than 50 cents to hold any pocket electronic, hopefully this fan-made pwnage will keep your money in your pocketbook/child savings accounts next time. [via Lifehacker]

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Facebook 2.0 Now Available on iTunes [Facebook 2.0]

29 Sep

Hey social networking fans, Facebook 2.0 for the iPhone has been released and is now up for download at the iTunes app store. With the newest version, you can get notifications, friend requests full news feeds, news feed comments, your entire inbox, and photo capabilities. Now you can check up on how all your Finance major friends are doing from on the road. Status Update: Not very well. [iPhone Savior]

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iPod touch updated — same screen, new case, Nike+ integration

09 Sep

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As expected, Apple just updated the iPod touch with a new thinner stainless steel case -- it's still got the same display. There's now hardware volume controls (hooray!) and a built-in speaker, and a Nike+ receiver is also built in, so you just need the shoe transmitter. On the software side, the UI has been tweaked and the new iTunes Genius features have been added, and the App Store is now included (obviously). Battery life is decent at 36 hours of music and 6 hours of video, and Apple's doing the same "environmentally sound" design thing it did with the new nano. Three price points: 8GB for $229, 16GB for $299, and 32GB for $399. So much for that rumored price drop below the iPhone's $199 price point, but we won't complain too much about a $100 price drop.

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Briton Invented iPod, DRM and On-Line Music in 1979

09 Sep


Picture credit: Steve Nicholson

Today Apple is almost certain to announce, at the very least, a new, taller iPod Nano. But amidst the hype surrounding the "Let's Rock" event, it's easy to get so caught up in the iPod's future that we forget where it came from.

The iPod was not invented in 2001 in Cupertino, California. It was invented in England in 1979, by “serial inventor” Kane Kramer.

This is not a story of intellectual property theft, or of big companies putting the screws on the little man. Instead, it is just the retelling of another old story — the story of a lone, visionary inventor and his inability to market a product that appeared way before its time.

Kramer came up with the idea for a pocket-sized, portable solid state music player with a friend, James Campbell. Kramer was 23, Campbell 21. The IXI System had a display screen and buttons for four-way navigation. In a report presented to investors in 1979, the IXI was described as being the size of a cigarette packet. Is this sounding familiar yet?

Back in 1979, a memory chip would store a paltry three and a half minutes of music. Kramer fully expected this to improve, and confidently foresaw a market for reliable, high quality digital music players which would be popular with both consumers and the record labels. It could actually be argued that he was still ahead of Apple after the firat iPod went on sale — that had a hard drive and Kramer had moved onto flash memory years earlier.

Much has been made of Apple somehow “stealing” the technology. But the patent did what all patents do, whether used or not. It lapsed, and whether Apple took the idea from there or from somewhere else, it was all perfectly legitimate. In fact, when Apple was suing (and counter-sued by) in 2006 it cited the invention as “prior art” to dispute Burst’s patents. Apple even called Kramer in to give evidence.

But anyone can dream up a magic futuristic gadget. That’s where James Campbell came in. Campbell was an electronics whizz and between them the men came up with four prototypes. According to Kramer’s website, a fifth, pre-production unit actually went on sale at the APRS exhibition at Earls Court, London.


But the really surprising part of Kramer’s invention is not the hardware but the infrastructure behind it. It eerily foreshadows the iTunes Store and pretty much any modern online music store.

Content was to be stored on a central server and distributed to music stores vie telephone line (remember — in these days there was no internet and almost no home computers). Customers would take their players into the store and buy music which would be loaded onto the IXI chips inside (the chips were removable, like a tiny cassette). This alone would obviate the need for physical media, but take a look at a few points from Kramer’s investor pitch to see just how close he got to the future:

Immediacy of delivery

No physical inventory and therefore no production costs

Live performances taped and then made immediately available

Entire back catalogs could be put on sale at almost no cost

New, risky artists can be promoted with low cost

Instant micro-billing, handled centrally

Vending machines for self-purchasing — located in bars, filling stations, supermarkets (it seems quaint now that these were to be coin operated)

Uncanny. Kramer also foresaw DRM, or digital rights management, before it even had a name. This is worth transcribing (the original was written on a typewriter):

For every record or tape of conventional format sold, over one copy is made in an illegal form.

Therefore over 100% of the total sale potential is lost.

With IXI, all programme material (recordings) is stored and transmitted on a high security enclosed digital network, all terminals being supplied under license to retailers. Because of the attention to security, it is impossible to break into the system undetected, thus preventing bootlegging of the programme material by fraudulent means.

The first stage at which the digital encoded programme material is converted to analogue (audio) signals, is when the IXI CHIP is played back in the home playback unit.

It can be seen from the above, that the format prevents mass copying of programme material by fraudulent traders and home copying.

Though it is easy to laugh at this optimism, it’s possible that Kramer foresaw the recording industry’s huge reluctance to online delivery and attempted to diffuse it. What is really laughable, though, is that the same recording industry is still thinking in exactly the same way almost thirty years later.

Now Kramer is working on something called the "Bully Button", a wearable recording device which can be discretely activated by kids (or adults) when they are set upon by bullies. It's a laudable idea, but the leap into the future he made with the IXI and it's ecosystem. Back in the 1970s, Kramer was thinking way ahead of his time. Sadly for him, it took the market until now to catch up.

Development of the first MP3 player [Ken Kramer]

IXI Systems Report 1979 [Direct pdf]

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EA Announces SimCity and The Sims 3 for the iPhone: Spore Coming on September 7th [IPhone]

04 Sep

EA has announced that nine new titles are currently in development for the iPhone: Yahtzee Adventures, EA Mini Golf, Lemonade Tycoon, Mahjong, Monopoly: Here & Now The World Edition, SimCity, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 09, Need for Speed Undercover, and The Sims 3. Many of these titles have been mentioned before, but I was pretty pumped to hear about SimCity and the Sims 3 being added to the list. EA has also revealed that they are shooting to release Spore Origins on September 7th—the same day it is released on the Mac and PC. Hit the jump for some new Spore screenshots and the official press release.

LOS ANGELES, Calif., – September 5, 2008 – EA Mobile™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS), today announced that Spore™ Origins, an original game for the iPhone™ and iPod® touch, will be available this month. The game takes full advantage of the devices’ built-in accelerometer as players tilt, turn and twist their way through a world made of primordial ooze. In conjunction with the launch of Spore Origins, EA Mobile also announces a list of nine games in development for both the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms.

Eat-or-be-eaten in Spore Origins! Designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch, Spore Origins uses the platforms’ motion-sensing technology to let gamers navigate a primordial tidepool on a quest to evolve. Feast on the weak and flee from the strong through two exciting modes and 35 challenging levels. Pinch, pull, and poke your creation in the Creature Editor, customizing the texture, shape and body parts to improve your offense, defense, perception and movement as you evolve over millions of years.

““We’re really excited to bring Spore Origins to the iPhone and iPod touch,” said Travis Boatman, Vice President Worldwide Studios at EA Mobile. “By leveraging the unique capabilities of these devices, players can customize their own creatures and shape their destiny in an exciting evolutionary journey. ”

EA Mobile today also announced nine titles in development for the iPhone and iPod touch, pending regional availability. This list includes YAHTZEE Adventures, EA Mini Golf, Lemonade Tycoonâ„¢, Mahjong, MONOPOLY: Here & Now The World Edition, SimCity, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 09, Need for Speedâ„¢ Undercover, and The Simsâ„¢ 3.

Spore Origins will be available globally from the Apple App Store on iPhone and iPod touch, or by simply visiting from an iPhone. Additional versions of Spore Origins are also available for the iPod, as well as other mobile devices. All iPod games are available for the third-generation iPod nano, iPod classic and fifth-generation iPod and can be sent as a gift using the iTunes gifting feature (

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Nike’s SportBand ready for April launch?

15 Mar

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Make of it what you will, but Germany’s own Mac Life has apparently grabbed hold of a few more details concerning that SportBand we saw sashay into the FCC’s database late last month. Reportedly, the unit isn’t meant to replace the Nike+iPod system; rather, it's an alternative for runners who'd prefer not to have earbuds in and a DAP on their person when logging their treks. As expected, time, speed, distance and calories will all be tracked, and each run can be captured and stored on the outfit's website after you thumb a ride back home. We're told to expect said device in April for €59.95 ($93), but only time will tell if that's an accurate assertion (and true worldwide).

[Thanks, Susanne]


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