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Friday Recap: Dock Connector RIP?, Readability March 1, Steve Jobs Birthday

Apple dock connectorFebruary is winding to a rapid close, which means we should hear something about that rumored iPad 3 event next week — likely in the form of an invite for the media to attend. After all, the powers that be in Cupertino aren’t going to take this new U.S. Proview lawsuit over the iPad name trademark too seriously, especially when they have a fancy new tablet being queued up, probably as we write this. In the meantime, let’s all head into the weekend by catching up on the rest of the day’s news for this fine Friday, February 24, 2012.

About Those “Apple Ditching the Dock Connector” Rumors…

It’s not hard to find rumors spread far and wide about almost every part of an iOS device, from the software to the hardware inside. But Google for something about the dock connector and you might be surprised how little might be found — that is, until this week. iMore is reporting that Apple may be preparing to ditch the traditional iPod dock connector first introduced in April, 2003 with the third generation iPod in favor of a smaller “micro dock.” Why tamper with something that works and risk the ire of accessory makers everywhere? The report theorizes that Apple could make the switch in an effort to free up space inside the iPhone for other fun stuff like LTE radios. For our money, we buy the first half of the rumor — the 30-pin dock connector is past its prime. But instead of a “micro dock,” we like Daring Fireball scribe John Gruber’s idea of wireless charging, which would cut the cord entirely and bring AirPlay everywhere.

Video: Finally! Readability Announces March 1 Debut of iOS App

If you’re a fan of “read later” apps like Instapaper or Read It Later, you’re probably familiar with Readability. While support for the service has been turning up all over third-party iOS apps, the company’s own native solution has been conspicuously absent from the App Store, months after its submission. Today, the company has announced that the wait will soon be over: The official Readability app for iOS will debut next Thursday, March 1 as a free, universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. We’ve certainly been waiting for the blessed event here at MacLife.com, and to tide you over for the next few days, Readability has posted a minute-long video to demonstrate the new app, which we’ve embedded here for your viewing pleasure. Now if only we could find those keys to our time machine so we could jump ahead a few days…

 

Netflix Snubs BlackBerry (and PlayBook), For Now

It ain’t easy being Research in Motion these days. Reuters is reporting that the latest “agony of defeat” moment for the BlackBerry maker arrived today, with word that Netflix has no current plans to support the flailing platform in either smartphone or tablet form. The word came down via Twitter in response to a customer’s inquiry, which means some percentage of the company’s 24 million U.S. subscribers will have to find something better to do with their time now. Of course, the PlayBook 2.0 update released on Tuesday makes it possible for Netflix to simply port their existing Android app to the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the company’s tweet would seem to rule out even that less-desirable option. Don’t worry, guys… once those BlackBerry 10 devices start rolling out later this year, things will start turning around for you… won’t they?

Happy Birthday, Steve!

If the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs were still alive, he would have been 57 years old today, a fact that appears to be trending on Twitter. According to MacRumors, at least two Jobs fans are celebrating the day outside Apple’s flagship retail Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, planning a party in the man’s honor. “To fete what would have been Jobs’ 57th birthday, dancers will gyrate to Bob Dylan songs while vegetarian birthday cake is served and black turtlenecks are handed out to hundreds of Apple fans,” explained event organizers Brendan McElroy and Seth Rogers. “If you want to respect his memory, the best way of doing it is focusing on a lot of the positive memories we have of him.” MacRumors also noted that the day marks the 12th anniversary of the popular Apple-centric website, so here’s a tip of the hat to both Steve Jobs and MacRumors!

Apple Patents Reveal Concept for Even Thinner Keyboards

AppleInsider is reporting that the folks in Cupertino have been working diligently to make keyboards “even thinner and lighter with a brand new take on the classic input method.” The discovery comes by way of a new patent application entitled “Single Support Lever Keyboard Mechanism,” which describes “a handful of ways that a keyboard could be shrunk in size without affecting its performance.” Call us crazy, but we kind of think that Apple’s external keyboards are already too thin (we never quite got used to those mushy keys!) — the company has a mixed track record with keyboards and mice when they’re not part of a notebook computer, in our humble opinion. “Apple’s solution is a single support lever keyboard mechanism, which the proposed invention says would allow the keyboard cap to be formed of almost any material, but would also provide stability to each key,” the report explains. The word “rigid” is used quite a few times in describing the new patent, so we like the sound of it. Does this mean we’ll never see that rumored touchscreen Mac, though…?

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Steve Jobs Receives Special Grammy, Accepted by iTunes Boss Eddy Cue

Eddy Cue accepts Special Merit GrammyFew would argue that Apple has made a significant impact on the music industry in recent years, and over the weekend the company’s late CEO was honored with a posthumous Special Merit Grammy Award recognizing those accomplishments.

MacRumors is reporting that The Recording Academy has presented the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs with a Special Merit Grammy Award “in recognition of his contributions to the field of music with the iPod and iTunes Music Store. First announced in December, the Trustees Award was accepted by senior vice president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, at a ceremony for the Special Merit Awards on Saturday.

“On behalf of Steve’s wife, Laurene, his children, and everyone at Apple, I’d like to thank you for honoring Steve with the Trustees Grammy Award,” Cue said. “Steve was a visionary, a mentor, and a very close friend. I had the incredible honor of working with him for the last fifteen years.

“Accepting this award means so much to me because music meant so much to him,” Cue continued. “He told us that music shaped his life…it made him who he was. Everyone that knows Steve knows the profound impact that artists like Bob Dylan and The Beatles had on him.”

Finally, Cue reminded the audience how this love of music flowed into the products Jobs helped create at Apple: “Steve was focused on bringing music to everyone in innovative ways,” Cue explains. “We talked about it every single day. When he introduced the iPod in 2001, people asked ‘Why is Apple making a music player?’ His answer was simple: ‘We love music, and it’s always good to do something you love.’

“His family and I know that this Grammy would have been very special to him, so I thank you for honoring him today,” Cue said in conclusion.

The Recording Academy also posted a tribute to Steve Jobs written by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a personal friend of Jobs who has racked up an amazing 16 Grammy awards over his own career.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of MacRumors)

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Thursday Recap: Apple Labor Protests, FBI File on Steve Jobs, Kindle Jabs iPad

Apple Store San Francisco protestDoes the FBI have a file on all of us? Some conspiracy theorists believe so, but it should probably come as no surprise to discover that the Feds definitely had one on the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, dating back to 1991. Curious to read what it says? Thankfully, the 191-page document is now available for all to read, complete with redacted segments. But that’s just the icing on the cake for what’s been happening since this morning — here’s a look at what else is making news for Thursday, February 9, 2012.

San Francisco Protest Over Chinese Labor Includes Apple Store Employee

Cult of Mac is reporting on the protests today at six Apple Stores around the world, which collectively delivered 245,000 signatures to brick-and-mortar locations in Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney and Bangalore. The protests come courtesy of Change.org and SumOfUs, who are attempting to draw attention to Apple labor policies in China. Ironically, the San Francisco protest — small though it would up being — included one of Apple’s own, in the form of Cory Moll, a full-time employee at the company’s downtown location since 2007. Moll isn’t just seeking better conditions for Apple workers in China, he also happens to head up the Apple Retail Workers Union, which aims to improve working conditions at the company’s retail stores as well. The short-lived protests today didn’t draw much attention outside of the blogosphere, but Moll made an appearance “to show solidarity” and “take full advantage of the rights and liberties we enjoy in this country to be able to do that.”

NYT Claims iPad 3 Will Have “Truly Amazing” Screen

Hey, did you hear? There’s a new iPad coming. When can you buy it? Well, this morning we reported that AllThingsD has pegged the first week in March for the announcement, and now The New York Times is chiming in with a few more details. According to an Apple employee who has apparently touched the actual device, the new iPad is “essentially the same size and shape as the iPad 2” but includes what the source claims is a “truly amazing” screen — which certainly sounds like the much-ballyhooed Retina Display that effectively doubles the resolution of the current model. The report notes that the end product may or may not actually be called the iPad 3, reminding us of the “rampant speculation” last fall with the iPhone 5, which actually wound up being an iPhone 4S instead. iPad 2S, anyone?

FBI Releases File on Steve Jobs, Reveals Possible White House Position

There has been plenty written about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs since his untimely passing last October, but one of the more interesting things about him has just surfaced in an FBI file dating back to 1991. According to AppleInsider, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation as released a 191 page file on the late Jobs, where it was revealed the Apple co-founder “was considered for appointment to the President’s Export Council by the George H.W. Bush administration in 1991.” As part of that consideration, the FBI conducted a background investigation on Jobs, which includes “an uncharacteristically high number of derogatory comments for an FBI investigation.” While the names of the individuals who made comments such as “deceptive” and having “questionable moral character” are redacted, the document also reveals a bomb threat made against Jobs at Apple’s headquarters on February 7, 1985. The case was closed by August of that year, with no suspect and no bombs ever discovered.

Video: Amazon Latest to Take a (Commercial) Swipe at the iPad

Move over, Samsung: Amazon is ready to get in a few well-placed jabs at Apple on its own. The e-tailer has just introduced a new 30-second television commercial featuring an iPad owner making goo-goo eyes at one of the new Kindles in an effort to initiate conversation with a bikini-clad brunette. The poor sap can’t read on his iPad 2 out in the direct sunlight, so the brunette talks it up as the “best way to read, even in the sunlight.” When the iPad owner brings up watching movies or surfing the web, the brunette points to her kids, both of whom are happily tapping away on their Kindle Fires. “Three Kindles? That’s gotta be expensive,” the poor slob moans. “Not really,” the smiling brunette replies. “Together, they’re still less than that,” indicating the man’s iPad 2. Oh, and the kicker? The brunette is married, so the iPad owner’s advances are completely for naught. (Insert sad trombones here.) Good one, Amazon…

 

BlackBerry Gets Kicked in the Fruit by NOAA, Too

Another day, another organization abandoning Research in Motion’s BlackBerry in favor of Apple’s iOS platform. The latest comes courtesy of The Loop, who reports that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “is dumping RIM’s BlackBerry from its list of officially supported mobile devices,” according to a memo dated February 3, 2012. BlackBerry will continue to be supported until May 12, at which time workers will be issued new iPhones and iPads — devices running iOS 5 or above will be supported, including the iPhone 4. At this point, RIM is either going to be the comeback story of all time (unlikely, since that honor should probably go to Apple itself at this point) or continue its downward spiral, seemingly without end.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of Cult of Mac and Cory Moll)

 

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Tuesday Recap: Verizon Quarterly Loss, Steve Jobs Plane, Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day

Virgin America Steve Jobs planeSo yeah, Apple still has the moxie to rake in the big bucks, as you’ve no doubt heard from Cupertino’s fiscal first quarter results earlier today. We can’t help but think that this bubble has to burst eventually, but hey, it’s a wild ride while it lasts, right? Unfortunately for U.S. carrier partner Verizon Wireless, the quarterly financials weren’t quite as rosy. Ready to find out more? Then read on and discover all the news that’s fit to print for this Tuesday, January 24, 2012.

Verizon Blames Quarterly Loss on Pensions, Subsidy Costs

We all know that Apple just clocked in another record quarter with 37.04 million iPhones sold — and according to Bloomberg, 4.3 million of those were activated last quarter on Verizon Wireless. Unfortunately, the Big Red carrier’s news wasn’t all rosy, with total smartphone sales of 7.7 million — about 1.5 million shy of analyst projections. Despite total sales of .4 billion (a 7.7 percent increase over last year), Verizon as a whole lost .02 billion last quarter compared to its .64 billion profit a year ago, which the company blamed on handset subsidies paid out to wireless customers.

Inside Apple: The Secret Packaging Room

Fortune writer Adam Lashinsky’s book Inside Apple hits stores tomorrow, and much like Walter Isaacson’s official bio on Steve Jobs, nuggets of information have been leaking out in the last week or so in advance of the release. According to NetworkWorld, one such detail outlined in the book examines a room in Apple’s headquarters dedicated to product packaging — a secret area “only accessible to a select few with the requisite security badges” for the purpose of testing boxes. “To fully grasp how seriously Apple executives sweat the small stuff, consider this: For months, a packaging designer was holed up in this room performing the most mundane of tasks — opening boxes,” Lashinsky reveals. The attention to detail even extends to the unboxing experience as well. “One after another, the designer created and tested an endless series of arrows, colors, and tapes for a tiny tab designed to show the consumer where to pull back the invisible, full-bleed sticker adhered to the top of the clear iPod box,” Lashinsky writes. “Getting it just right was this particular designer’s obsession. What’s more, it wasn’t just about one box. The tabs were placed so that when Apple’s factory packed multiple boxes for shipping to retail stores, there was a natural negative space between the boxes that protected and preserved the tab.” Shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s owned an Apple product…

Readdle Serves Up PDF Expert 3.2 for iPad with Full Text Search

It’s no secret that the iPad makes a great vehicle for reading and even editing PDF files, which is why developer Readdle continues to innovate with their PDF Expert for iPad. The company just pushed out a new version 3.2 update, adding full text search across your entire PDF library — no more simply searching by file name, the complete text of every PDF document inside the app is available to you. PDF Expert 3.2 also adds a new sorting panel for reordering files based on Name, Date or Modified Date, along with support for the Tab and Arrow keys on Bluetooth keyboards while filling out PDF forms for lightning-quick text entry. Last but not least, the update introduces a new Eraser tool for your handwriting, located in the Pens toolbar. PDF Expert 3.2 is available now from the App Store for only .99, and is a free update for previous owners.

Virgin America Christens Plane with Famous Steve Jobs Quote

The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs left us with many memorable quotes, but somewhere near the top of that list resides “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” According to Cnet, the expression now has a new lease on life, with the words emblazoned on the side of a new Airbus A320 aircraft as part of the Virgin America fleet (photo above, if you don’t mind squinting).“”The ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ aircraft name was actually submitted as a tribute to Mr. Jobs by one of our employees in an internal plane naming competition,” Virgin America spokesperson Abby Lunardini explained to CNET on Monday.“”The idea behind Virgin America was to reinvent the travel experience by thinking differently about design and service–we are known for the tech-forward amenities we offer onboard.” Considering Virgin’s presence in Silicon Valley and the company’s “fleet-wide Wi-Fi with touchscreen entertainment and power outlets at every seat,” we think Jobs would approve.

iStoryTime Hearts “Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day”

Ready to introduce your child to the forthcoming Valentine’s Day in a special way? zuuka’s iStoryTime line has just published a new title together with HarperCollins Children’s Books entitled Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day. Available as a .99 universal app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, the title is also making its debut on the Amazon Appstore for the Kindle Fire as well as Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color and Nook Tablet devices. The story follows that loveable puppy Biscuit as he delivers “sweet puppy love” to his special friends, including Daisy, Puddles, Grandma and Grandpa. “Biscuit has been a family classic for almost two decades and for good reason as the lovable yellow puppy teaches children life lessons such as how important it is to give rather than receive,” said Woody Sears, founder of zuuka. “We’re very excited to add another Biscuit book to the iStoryTime library and look forward to many more.” The app includes fully animated Read to Me and Read to Myself modes, memory and puzzle games as well as a sticker and coloring book, all wrapped up neatly in a 110MB app that’s available for download from the App Store today.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image co
urtesy of Cnet)


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Monday Recap: Jobs Action Figure Cancelled, Apple Ranked Eighth Most Valuable Brand

New Apple Store in FranceThe deafening roar of the CES news cycle has finally subsided, things have started to get back to normal with the coming of a new week that should shed some light on Apple’s new education goals at a media event this Thursday. Cupertino got some good news today, with a huge jump in the ranks as the world’s most valuable brand — complete with an ironic leap over once-mighty cellphone giant Nokia. But there’s plenty more to read about today, so kick up your feet and have a quick look at what’s making news for Monday, January 16, 2012.

Steve Jobs Action Figure Creator Buckles Under Pressure

We probably all knew how this story was going to end — according to PCWorld, the Hong Kong businessman behind the frighteningly realistic 12-inch Steve Jobs action figure, is throwing in the towel. Tandy Cheung of In Icon claims the move is done “out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feelings of the Jobs family,” citing “immense pressure from the lawyers of Apple and Steve Jobs’ family.” The entrepreneur also denies crossing “any legal boundaries,” but before you go branding Cheung a heartless capitalist, he wants you to know that his intentions were pure. “[Jobs’] passing left me with emptiness, sadness and a feeling of great personal loss,” he explains. “I am sure that these sentiments are felt by all of his fans.” The project began four years ago with Cheung creating a single figurine of Jobs, which he “placed on my desk next to my Mac. I decided to share this memento with the rest of his fans as a commemoration to Steve.” While In Icon has stepped aside, PCWorld reports that other likenesses of Steve Jobs are readily available on eBay, so if you’re in the market for that sort of thing, buy now before Apple’s lawyers come a-callin’…

New Apple Stores Coming to France, Switzerland

MacRumors is reporting on plans for two new Apple Stores in France (shown above) and Switzerland, with the French store described as “a one-level structure set back on a broad stone plaza, with a tan-colored rear wall and all other encompassing walls made of glass.” The store will be built in Aix-en-Provence, France on the south side of Place du General de Gaulle, where a “tired-looking” tourism office now resides. Plans are also afoot for the first retail store in Basel, Switzerland, a two-level affair encompassing 460 square meters (nearly 5,000 square feet) which will mark the country’s fourth such brick-and-mortar outlet. While the location in France could open later this year, both store locations are more likely to appear sometime in 2013.

Report: Video Pros Continue to Abandon Apple

Ars Technia has a fascinating look at where Final Cut Pro X stands, nearly a year after being demonstrated to video professionals at NAB 2011 and six months following its debut in the Mac App Store. The news is not good — rivals Avid and Adobe have gained significant ground that had been lost to Apple’s Final Cut Pro over the years, and pros are blaming not only the radically overhauled FCPX software but also Cupertino’s tardiness at updating the aging Mac Pro as well. “The perception here is that Apple is more concerned with selling iPads and iPhones than they are with the people who have stuck with them since the 90′s, the professional editors and VFX people,” explains Jude Mull, a video pro working at a Hollywood facility that digitizes television content. Many of those interviewed cite the steep learning curve with FCPX as one major reason for abandoning it, with onetime industry leader Avid and Adobe’s underdog Premiere Pro software now being viewed as “professional options that keep us working and employable here in L.A.” The real question is, will Apple be able to right the ship before it goes down Titanic-style…?

New iTunes Pop-Ups Ripped from Android Market?

Late last week, word began circulating that Apple had quietly introduced new pop-up windows to iTunes app pages, which enable users to read about an app prior to clicking on it first. It’s a novel bit of code that makes life with the desktop iTunes just a little bit nicer, but the folks at iMore.com seem to feel it’s just a tad too familiar — in fact, they think it’s a flat-out copy of the tabbed screens from Android Market. “We know that in the past Android has been accused of copying Apple, but like Notification Center this time it looks like Apple is the one caught with their fingers in the copy jar,” iMore explains of the pop-up windows, which “are activated by a new information icon which will appear when hovering over an app icon.” What do you think, iTunes lovers? Are the new pop-ups a subtle “homage” to Google’s Android Market or is there something more sinister going on here?

Apple Now Ranked Eighth Most Valuable Brand

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple Inc. has taken a big leap in only one year. No, we’re not talking about in revenue — that goes without saying! This time, Apple is making waves as one of the 10 most valuable brands in the world for 2011, leaping from number 17 last year to number eight this year, a 58 percent year-over-year improvement. The iPhone maker is now sandwiched between Intel in seventh place and Disney in ninth place (!!), while Coca-Cola continues to rank first, followed by IBM, Microsoft, Google, GE, McDonald’s and Intel who, along with tenth-place HP, remain unchanged from 2010. In fact, Apple is the only brand in the top 10 who changed at all — that is, with the exception of Nokia, who fell six places from number eight to number 14, a 15 percent slide.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of MacRumors)

 

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Law & Apple: Kodak Sues and the Steve Jobs Action Figure Lives

Law & Apple

In this latest edition of Law & Apple, we learn that sometimes a lawsuit is really just a fancy marketing promotion. Also, the age-old question of “After I die, what happens to my likeness?” is threatened, bluffed, and, depending on where you live, clearly unanswered.

Want the latest on Apple’s legal adventures? Cue the “dun dun” and let’s go!

Kodak vs. Apple

Last week we found out that Kodak was headed toward bankruptcy unless they found some miracle solution to reverse their fortunes. While we were all a little saddened by the news, few of us expected that Kodak’s next move would be to sue Apple and HTC for patent infringement. Apparently unable to surprise the world with new innovations, Kodak went the route of the surprise lawsuit.

Eastman Kodak brought the new lawsuits Tuesday in the Western District of New York, claiming that both Apple and HTC violated up to five different Kodak patents regarding digital imaging.

Is Kodak Just Trying To Sell Patents?

Now with Apple-Busting Power!

While this lawsuit will most likely result in Apple and HTC working together (what?) to fend off Kodak, the bigger picture of what this lawsuit is about shouldn’t be missed. As FOSS Patents points out, Kodak has been trying to sell off it’s patent portfolio for a while now, and this lawsuit is likely nothing more than an attempt to show the value of those patents to a potential buyer. When Nortel sold off their patent portfolio at a bankruptcy auction the bidding was fierce, and the final price tag was .5 billion. If Kodak can demonstrate that its portfolio is strong enough to sting Apple, and that portfolio goes up for auction, we can only wonder how high the bidding will go.

Apple vs. In Icons

If you had your hopes up to snag one of the super-realistic, super-creepy, Steve Jobs action figures the web was all a flush with last week, well, get your credit card ready. For better or worse, it appears the doll will be on sale in just a few weeks.

Once the plans for the doll were released by the Chinese manufacture In Icons, Cupertino sent a cease-and-desist order claiming that “any toy that resembles the technology company’s logo, person’s name, appearance or likeness of its products is a criminal offense.” Apple lawyers cited California Civil Code Section 3344 which address the use of a person’s name, likeness, voice, or signature without their prior consent. The protection lasts through the entirety of a person’s life and for 70 years after their death.

Steve Jobs Doll

You can’t stop me, Apple. You can only hope to contain me.

However, it appears that Apple’s lawyers were bluffing, and In Icons is not biting. There is no federal law regarding the use of a celebrity likeness after death. At the state level, California is one of only a few states that protect “personality rights” after death; the others are Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, California, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. 

All thirty-eight other states have no such protections, and the cool-but-creepy Steve Jobs doll will be available there in February. Will you get one? If you do, take a picture of it with your Kodak and send it to us.

Adrian writes the weekly Law & Apple column for MacLife.com. You can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to him on Facebook, if you want to.

News

Thursday Recap: Google Tablet, Steve Jobs Action Figure, RIM Licensing?

Steve Jobs action figureIf you’ve already seen photos of the super-realistic 12-inch Steve Jobs action figure online, you may have already placed bets with your friends as to when Apple would come calling to squash it. If you guessed today, we have a winner! Cupertino is claiming ownership of the late co-founder’s likeness, but the defiant Chinese manufacturer plans to proceed anyway. Get out the popcorn, this one should be interesting! Meanwhile, here’s the rest of what’s making news for this Thursday, January 5, 2012.

Report: Google May Go Head-to-Head with Kindle Fire

Google’s Eric Schmidt recently sounded the alarms for companies making Android tablets, revealing that the search giant themselves are planning to launch their own branded tablet within the next six months — presumably some sort of “Nexus” branded hardware in the tradition of their annual smartphones. While many rightfully assumed that the company had Apple’s iPad in their sights, a new report from DigiTimes is claiming that Amazon’s 9 Kindle Fire is what Google may actually be taking aim at. The idea is to introduce a seven-inch tablet priced at 9 (or less) to take advantage of their new Android 4.0, “confectionally” known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Of course, in less than six months they’ll have a new iPad to contend with as well, so… good luck, Mountain View.

Apple Clamps Down on Steve Jobs Action Figure Maker

If you’ve been waiting anxiously to pit your Steve Jobs action figure against the forces of evil (do they make action figures of Google CEOs?), you may want to grab one on eBay while you can. According to The Telegraph, a 12-inch action figure of the iconic Apple co-founder is set for release next month by Chinese manufacturer In Icons, but Cupertino will have none of it, claiming they own the likeness of Steve Jobs and they’ll sue if the company moves forward. The report claims “any toy that resembles the technology company’s logo, person’s name, appearance or likeness of its products is a criminal offence.” In Icons remains defiant and plans to proceed with selling the figure next month for , although units have already shown up on eBay for 5 each. The eerily realistic figure “comes with a pair of black socks, some glasses, a leather belt, two apples (one with a bite taken out of it), a bar stool and a ‘One More Thing’ backdrop.”

Google Translate App Goes Universal

Count us among those who frequently criticize Google for their often weak iOS apps, with bonus points taken away for how few of them include a universal build for native iPad support. If you frequently turn to the Google Translate app on your iPhone or iPod touch, you’ll be happy to know that the search giant pushed out a new version 1.3.0 update on Wednesday night which finally adds support for the iPad with a universal build. There’s nothing too fancy in the iPad edition, but at least now when we want to hear what some of our babbling nonsense sounds like in Mandarin, we won’t have to dig into our pocket to grab the iPhone anymore. (Yes, we’re that lazy…)

RIM May License BlackBerry OS to Samsung, HTC

It’s too bad there’s no technological equivalent of the Lifetime network, because we’re dying to see what kind of soapy TV movie they’d make about Research In Motion. According to BGR, the news keeps getting more interesting out of Waterloo, with Jeffries & Company analyst Peter Misek claiming that RIM may soon license their once-mighty BlackBerry software to other hardware makers — specifically HTC and Samsung, who have been known to dabble in Android and Windows Phone of late. “We think some of this has already been started with RIM likely agreeing to license Blackberry 10 to Samsung, HTC, and possibly others,” the analyst writes. “This would help create a critical mass for the ecosystem and maintain RIM’s monthly service revenue.” Misek believes such a move would help get “people hooked on the RIM ecosystem,” something that could ultimately move more BlackBerry 10 handsets — assuming they can ever release one.

Infinity Blade Racks Up Million for Developer

“Epic” is definitely the word we’d use to describe a new report from Joystiq touting over million in revenue for developer Epic Games from the Infinity Blade franchise. That includes the original launched in December, 2010 as well as last month’s Infinity Blade 2, which is some pretty good scratch for a mobile device game. “We have so much more in store for players, and will continue to make great content for Apple’s evolving platforms,” explained Epic Games President Dr. Michael Capps. No word on expanding the company’s horizons to competing platforms such as Android, however.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of The Telegraph)

 

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Tuesday Recap: Jobs Bio Tops Amazon, BBC iPlayer Incoming, Price Check Promo

Amazon Price Check promotionIt seems like the lazy part of December is upon us: The frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is behind us and the last-minute mad rush for holiday gifts is still a week or two away. So what’s a MacLife.com reader to do? Why not take a bite out of some tasty tech news from around the internet while you wait — here’s the latest and greatest for Tuesday, December 6, 2011.

Steve Jobs Bio Tops Amazon’s 2011 Best Seller List

Not much of a surprise, but Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has landed in the top spot on Amazon.com’s best seller list for 2011 after debuting at number 13. The official bio has only been available since late October, jumping into the number two position less than a month ago. Needless to say, the bio will soon take the leap to the big screen after the rights were acquired by Sony Pictures, with The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin “strongly considering” the role of screenwriter on what’s sure to be an epic feature film adaptation.

BBC iPlayer App Arriving on iPhone This Week

If you’re a fan of British television, you’ve no doubt been on pins and needles waiting for BBC Worldwide’s global iPlayer app to wash ashore here in the colonies. Just last week the app launched in Canada after a pilot launch in Australia and Scandinavia, and now The Next Web is reporting the subscription-based app will be arriving in the U.S. this week: Thursday, December 8 to be exact, not to mention expanding into other countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland as well. Oddly, BBC iPlayer will only initially be available for the iPhone and iPod touch — there’s no word on when a super-sized version for the iPad will follow, but at this point we’ll take what we can get.

EU Regulators Investigating E-Book Publishers

In other global news, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple and five e-book publishers are now under scrutiny in the European Union “over deals that may restrict sales across the region.” EU antitrust regulators are up in arms over Cupertino’s deals with Hatchette, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan, and the scrutiny also extends to traditional brick and mortar retailers as well. The EU wants to fight “artificial restrictions imposed by some companies to cross-border trade,” and the probe announced today “will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition.” The parties in question are cooperating with the investigation, so we’ll see where this one goes…

How Does May Sound for New MacBook Air, Pro Models?

MacRumors is reporting that new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models look likely for May, 2012 thanks to a roadmap leaked from Intel outlining the company’s next-generation mobile processors, called “Ivy Bridge.” According to VR-Zone, Ivy Bridge will allow Apple to introduce quad-core processors to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, while bringing “significantly faster graphics and new OpenCL capabilities to the MacBook Air.” Of course, as MacRumors notes, a lot of what Apple will do is dependent upon the direction the company decides to take its MacBook Pro line, which is rumored to get a complete revamp early next year. In any event, if you can survive with your current rig for a few more months, it might just be worth waiting until May to see what shakes out.

PSA: Amazon Wants to Pay You for Using Price Check App

Amazon is ready to open up an old-fashioned can of whoop-ass on brick and mortar retailers this holiday season — at least for those of us using the company’s Price Check app on iOS or Android. This Saturday, December 10, Amazon is giving Price Check users a five percent discount (up to per item) on “select items in electronics, toys, sports, music and DVD just by checking a price.” Better yet, you can redeem the offer three times for a maximum savings of . The promotion kicks off at 9pm PST on Saturday and ends at 11:59pm PST on December 10. What’s the catch? There isn’t one, but Amazon is hoping you’ll share with them the in-store advertised price of a qualifying product, which in turns helps them maintain the lowest prices. The only real downside is that you’ll have to get off your couch and actually go into a retail store to get the savings, but we’re betting more than a few of you will be all too happy to take Amazon up on some free cash for the holidays.

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Wednesday Recap: Amazon Santa, Path 2.0, Spotify Apps, Steve Jobs T-Shirt

Steve Jobs GeeksRiot.com T-shirtHoly moley, can November really be over already? Tomorrow, December will be upon us and the deafening rumble of Santa’s sleigh won’t be far behind. Most of us are already getting in the holiday spirit, which gives us little time to catch up on what’s happening in the tech world. So without further ado, here’s a taste of what’s new for this Wednesday, November 30, 2011.

Path 2 Introduces Smart Journal

Instagram may get all the hype, but Path has been quietly making inroads over the last year as well. The company today introduced version 2.0 of the Path app for both iOS and Android, featuring a new, cleaner design, the ability to decorate your Path with wallpaper-like photos and a new “Smart Journal” mode that recognizes when you spend time in a new place, recording it for you automatically. The free app also offers more ways to share (via Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare), including check-in and music as well as improved push notifications.

Rumor: Apple Killed 64-Bit Final Cut Pro 8 Dead

Still fuming over Apple’s decision to abandon Final Cut Pro 7 in favor of Final Cut Pro X? Your mood isn’t likely to improve when you read this: According to 9to5Mac, not only was there a 64-bit version of Final Cut Pro 8 which retained the same user interface professionals know and love, but Apple supposedly killed it in favor of the more forward-thinking FCPX. This rumor comes courtesy of RHED Pixel founder Richard Harrington, who recently discussed the decision during a talk at American University’s Filmmaker in Residence program. “[Apple] looked at it and said, ‘This is not what we want to do… this is evolutionary, not revolutionary, and they killed it,” Harrington explained. That news is likely to stir up the hornet’s nest all over again, but at least FCPX is improving with each new update in the meantime…

GeeksRiot Offers Steve Jobs T-Shirt

Another day, another Steve Jobs tribute. This time it’s in the form of a new T-shirt available exclusively from GeeksRiot.com, with all proceeds benefitting Movember. “This is our tribute to a man who changed the world,” the geeks explain on their website. “We were deeply moved by the passing of Steve Jobs, and wanted to create a piece of art in his memory. A piece that would strike someone in the same way that he always struck us: bold, uncompromising, and true to the heart. This is our tribute to a true visionary. Please help us build a future where no man is taken before his time by cancer.” The slick-looking T-shirt (shown above) is available in small, medium, large and XL for only .99 from the group’s website, and be sure to Like their Facebook page as well while you’re at it.

Spotify Introduces Apps (Now Where’s the iPad App?)

Remember that Spotify announcement we told you about last week? Turns out it wasn’t as exciting as the company’s invite might have let on. The streaming music company’s “brave new world” is Spotify Apps, billed as “a bunch of cool, exciting and integrated apps inside Spotify, created by some of the best and brightest in the world.” That includes Last.fm, TuneWiki, Rolling Stone and others, who are bringing HTML5-based apps to the Spotify application, which can now be downloaded in a preview version. Gee, we would have been much happy to have a native iPad app or even an entirely browser-based client like some of the rumors were speculating… but we still love you anyway, guys.

Amazon Wants to Play Santa For Your Kids with New App

Already receive way too many packages from Amazon each week? Prepare to receive even more for the next few weeks, as the e-tailer has rolled out a new iPad-only app entitled Amazon Santa. As you can imagine, the free app encourages the little ones to seek out and wish list all the stuff they want from Santa Claus this year, making it way too easy for parents to buy it all. “Get more smiles and shouts of joy this Christmas when you use the free Amazon Santa App — a fun and easy way for kids and parents to create personalized, holiday Wish Lists to share with Santa, friends and family,” the app description reads. The 13.4MB download is available now and requires iOS 4.2 or later.

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“1111 Notes for Steve” Collects Palo Alto Sticky Note Tributes to Jobs

iiii n 4S bookSteve Jobs may be gone, but he lives on in the hearts and minds of Apple fans everywhere. Nowhere was that more obvious than at the Apple retail store in the co-founder’s hometown of Palo Alto, where thousands of sticky note tributes were posted by passers-by — and now we can all own some of those memories in a new non-profit book called iiii n4S.

While many of us were moved by the death of Steve Jobs, one man decided to do something with that emotion and the result is now available as a new book entitled iiii n 4S (1111 Notes for Steve). Author Philipp Stauffer was so moved by all of the sticky note tributes posted outside the Apple retail store in Palto Alto, California that he decided to collect some of them for posterity.

“As the number of notes grew, I became increasingly aware of the powerful messages that they held,” Stauffer explains. “The overall message in all this is profound, and sets a high benchmark for entrepreneurs, designers, CEOs and any other individuals who aspire to change the world. I wanted to make sure that at least a fraction of all these notes was captured and made available to everybody who did not have the chance to witness it personally. I randomly picked 1,111 notes to show, as well as a few overview shots, that hopefully do justice to this touching happening.”

The resulting 158-page book is being made available as an “early bird edition” on Blurb.com, an on-demand printing service which offers an iBooks-compatible electronic edition for .99, a softcover version for .44 and two different hardcover editions (.66 for dust jacket or .77 for ImageWrap). All profits from the book will go to College Track, the non-profit co-founded by Job’s wife, Laurene Powell, as well as to The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

For more information or to purchase a copy of iiii n 4S, head to the Blurb.com website; the current “early bird edition” will contain more content than the eventual final release, which the author hopes can “sell more books than Walter Isaacson and do good at the same time.” The author has also established a Facebook page for the project as well.

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