New smaller Apple wireless keyboard and rectangular mouse hit the FCC

Engadget’s got the quickly-removed-from-the-FCC new mouse and keyboard that Apple plans on rolling out in the next few weeks.  Interestingly, the keyboard is smaller (that old wireless keyboard was way too big!) and the mouse is more rectangular that the current Mighty Mouse. 

How long do we have to wait, Apple?  How long?

 Engadget notes:

A new Apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse have arrived at the FCC, and they’ve got new model numbers of A1314 and A1296 — the current wireless keyboard is A1255 and the Mighty Mouse is A1197. That’s pretty much all we know for now, but these keyboard dimensions are also smaller than the current model, which rules out a return of the numeric keypad — sorry to dash your hopes, Excel jockeys.

Eminem's music publisher, Apple, settle download dispute

After a brief in-court skirmish, Apple and Eminem’s music publisher, Eight Mile Style, have settled a lawsuit over the digital downloading rights to the rapper’s songs.

Eight Mile Style attorney Richard Busch said Friday that the deal was reached late Thursday. He declined to disclose details of the settlement.

The music publisher had claimed that a previous distribution deal with Aftermath Records covering 93 Eminem songs had not extended the label the rights to sell those tracks through iTunes. Apple, as retailer, was subject to the same lawsuit. The music publisher was chasing millions in compensation.

The case reached court yesterday, reports from which indicated a tense courtroom discussion between the parties.

As reported by The Detroit News, the trial grew heated as Eight Mile Style’s legal team posed an aggressive cross-examination of a music company executive over whether Interscope Records impring Aftermath ever had the rights to sell the hip-hop artist’s songs over the Internet.

The case hinged on a difference in wording included within the existing deal for record distribution. Eight Mile Style pointed out that the deal the record label claimed allowed it to sell Eminem’s music digitally only said copyright “will be licensed” to the label. It did not indicate a deal had been agreed.

While Aftermath put up a fight against the argument, it seems pretty clear the label (and Apple) were left with little choice but to reach an out of court deal in the case, which could have wider significance in cases were other labels have made music available through iTunes without securing a watertight digital distribution deal.

I Am T-Pain: 300,000 users spend 66 mins in-app, more

Update: Get I am T-Pain for $.99

We let you know about Smule’s recently-released I Am T-Pain iPhone app as soon as we saw it – we knew it was something special, and it turns out we weren’t wrong as the 300,000 people who downloaded it in the first few weeks of release spend around 66 minutes within the app each.

That’s an impressive statistic for any app. Not just that, but MobileCrunch reports that to date 4.1 million performances have been recorded within the app, and as a big brave thank you, Smule’s cut the price of the software to 99-cents (until Saturday morning) and has launched a competition to win big prizes for users.

Smule will also add a new song, “I’m On A Boat (featuring T-Pain) to its In-App Purchase collection later today.

And as part of a promotion, users are being encouraged to make their own music video using the song, with a finalist chosen every week for ten weeks receiving a handy $500 for their efforts.

The wining finalist will win $5,000 and a replica of T-Pain’s big gold chain.

Apple getting ready to put a touchpad on the mouse?

We’re seen the pictures from their patent applictions (below) for a number of years.   We’ve even seen some pretty awesome mockups.  Is Apple about to release a new mouse with its new consumer products?

That’s AI’s latest theory.  They think that upcoming consumer Macs will be outfitted with a new "Mightier" mouse which could gain things like haptic feedback and multi-touch on the top.  Us? We’d take a Multi-touch trackpad that could sit below our keyboards and be happy.  But we’re not the "Crazy Ones"

Apple patent hints carrier control over features, applications

Looks like patent day for Apple news this day, and the latest application to come to light may have a little more impact on many than some – as it appears to describe a system by which mobile carriers may be able to limit, or indeed, switch off apps and app features held on your iPhone.

The patent, Systems and Methods for Provisioning Computing Devices, allows carriers to “specify access limitations to certain device resources which may otherwise be available to users of the device”, according to the description.

“Mobile devices often have capabilities that the carriers do not want utilized on their networks,” Apple explains. “Various applications on these devices may also need to be restricted,” Slashdot informs.

Carrier provisioning profiles are distributed to computing devices via an activation service during the provisioning process.

As far as we can glean, the patent covers some kind of certificate-based authority by which applications and device features can be disabled.

“For example, a mobile device may be designed with Bluetooth functionality, but the carrier may wish to prevent its users from taking advantage of that capability. Various applications on these devices may also need to be restricted,” Apple explains.

We’re curious if this means Apple’s laying the ground for an assault on jailbreaking. We’re also wondering if the patent description might be related to the needs of some local regulators – for example, disabling WiFi support for some territories.

It’s all in the software: “When code executes on the device, the policy process may check entitlements specified in the carrier provisioning profile to determine whether the code execution request may be granted. If the carrier provisioning profile includes the necessary entitlements, the code may be permitted to access the data and/or system functionality requested. If the carrier provisioning profile does not include the necessary entitlements, the ability of the code to access certain data and/or functionality on the device may be restricted.”

Again, as far as we can understand it, the patent applies to creating vetting systems which can be maintained by software on the device, or carried on hardware. The patent even clarifies this: “Those of skill may recognize that the various illustrative logical blocks, modules, circuits, and algorithm steps described in connection with the embodiments disclosed herein may be implemented as electronic hardware, computer software, or combinations of both.”

We suspect this could lead to the release of Apple mobile devices that carry inherent hardware limitations which tie the device to specific carriers, or enforce use limitations defined by the carriers, or by Apple itself.

Interestingly, the iPhone isn’t referred to explicitly in this patent, which refers to "device". Theoretically, then, these technologies could therefore be applied to any Apple device with network/carrier access – such as the rumoured 3G-capable tablet, perhaps?

iPhone sales to double in 2010 as carriers dance the Apple tune

Apple could double iPhone sales in 2010 as it drops exclusivity deals in key territories and works to extend its digital media principalities across its product range, analysts said this morning. Meanwhile the extreme secrecy of the company’s dealings with Orange and Vodafone to diversify iPhone distribution in the UK has come to light.

Analysts at UBS and Morgan Stanley this morning raised price targets on the company’s stock.

UBS upped its target to $265 from $170, saying iPhone prospects look bright. The analyst firm also said, “Apple may be working on building out a foundation for a service ot provide seamless access and mobility of digital content across its products,” according to Marketwatch.

Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty surprised us all this morning with a bullish AAPL report, saying the expiration of exclusive deals and a move to broaden iPhone distribution will drive major growth for Apple.

“This total opportunity is substantial,” she wrote, as reported by CNN Money, “it adds up to an incremental 20.3M iPhone units and $3.76 in adjusted EPS, 100% and 41% of iPhone units and adjusted EPS respectively."

She notes the French connection, where iPhone sales rocketed 136 per cent when local regulators demanded an end to Apple’s originally exclusive deal with Orange. She expects similar experiences in other territories as the company broadens distribution, though she warns the US may lag on this, with Verizon not expected to carry the device before 2011, (in her opinion). She expects Apple to sell 41.7 million iPhones in calendar year 2010.

With the device so much in vogue, it is no surprise that in the UK O2 and Vodafone were prepared to engage in extreme secrecy in their negotiations with the company. And the extent of their effort to maintain that secrecy is extremely interesting.

Orange chief exec, Tom Alexander, said that the deal to carry the iPhone on the Orange network was signed over a year ago, but the company was not allowed to tell anyone under terms of the deal.

We’ve really been dying to tell people, but we just couldn’t do it. It’s been really frustrating.” Mr Alexander told the Daily Telegraph. “There’s been a lot of secrecy surrounding it.”

Vodafone was also in the frame – and that carrier was so keen to ink an iPhone distro deal that it hired a team of temporary staff to conduct the negotiations, staff who were not connected to its own people, and who were under the kind of secrecy clauses you’d expect from a top-ranking military spy – they couldn’t even tell their spouses what they were doing in their day.

Gartner analyst, Carolina Milanesi, told the Telegraph: “Apple calls all the shots. Apple is an iconic brand and the iPhone is an iconic device which has transformed the mobile phone market. Apple can do what it likes and the mobile phone operators just have to lump it.”

Larry Ellison shows some passion


He’s Steve Jobs’ buddy, and he’s got some turn of phrase – here’s Oracle CEO Larry Ellison telling the Churchill Club why all the fuss and bother over ‘cloud computing’ is just so much hocus pocus – and he gets pretty funny, we thought…

Apple patent promotes two-hand full gesture multitouch – tablet?

Apple’s latest patent application has already set tongues wagging and tweets ablaze, as it describes a way to control the tablet with two hands by touch, think Minority Report.

Apple’s new patent describes a sophisticated multitouch input method, in which you use all ten fingers, complex movements and other gestures. You can even type. The patent describes sensors which will work to identify exactly what your gestures mean, will be able to move the cursor and enable various activities, all through touch.

Or, as the patent puts it: “Apparatus and methods are disclosed for simultaneously tracking multiple finger and palm contacts as hands approach, touch, and slide across a proximity-sensing, multi-touch surface. Identification and classification of intuitive hand configurations and motions enables unprecedented integration of typing, resting, pointing, scrolling, 3D manipulation, and handwriting into a versatile, ergonomic computer input device.”

The patent application basically describes the creation of an all-new user interface, designed to replace the current mouse and keyboard UI. It also notes the new interface has advantages against voice control because it allows people to more easily manipulate graphic objects and so forth.

“A generic manual input device which combines the typing, pointing, scrolling, and handwriting capabilities of the standard input device collection must have ergonomic, economic, and productivity advantages which outweigh the unavoidable sacrifices of abandoning device specialization,” the patent also notes.

Good news too for RSI sufferers: “Epidemiological studies suggest that repetition and force multiply in causing repetitive strain injuries. Awkward postures, device activation force, wasted motion, and repetition should be minimized to improve ergonomics. Furthermore, the workload should be spread evenly over all available muscle groups to avoid repetitive strain.”

There’s lots more in the patent filing, which is available here. We think reading the original patent is probably going to be better than any over-simplification we may provide.

With tablet rumours growing apace, it is interesting to reflect on this statement made by Gizmodo, citing a source the publication believes to have seen a prototype of the Apple device: “There was talk of making the device act as a secondary screen/touchpad for iMacs and MacBooks.”

So the Apple tablet could also replace the interface you currently use on your current Macs. And is now widely expected to ship in early 2010…

Via: AppleInsider

Cyclopedia mixes Wikipedia and augmented reality on the iPhone

Cyclopedia ($2 App store) is a new iPhone application that allows to to view geo-tagged Wikipedia articles in a augmented reality browser.  The browser uses the iPhone’s camera to create a backdrop while the Wikipedia articles are displayed around the backdrop of the view.  

Check the video for more.

From the developer:

Cyclopedia uses the iPhone camera, compass and GPS together to created an augmented reality of the world by overlaying Wikipedia information over the viewfinder. By moving the iPhone around you will see articles pop up according to the direction you are pointing, You can then click on the title to get a quick overview article and, if you want to know more , you can then dive deeper into the full article.

You can also display the entries on a regular top-down map and search the whole of wikipedia for anything you want.

When the app first launches it searches for all the articles that are within 30 miles of your current position. It then filters them according to two distance radii you set within the app . Though the default is fine. You can set a near and a far distance to really pinpoint the information you want to see. If you’re in St Mark’s Square in Venice you might set the radius to be close so only the things you can see are shown, but if you’re sitting at the top of the London Eye you might want to set it to give you everything within 1 and 2 miles of you.

To really fine-tune your search, you can also drag the sliders at the top of the screen to set the field of view that they app uses to display the information.

There are currently 65,000 entries in Wikipedia that have geotagged information included in them and all of these are available to you through the system. If you find a location that you don’t feel is included. Go and add the gps data directly into Wikipedia yourself and it will eventually pop up in the app. That’s the beauty of Wikipedia. 

18% of Mac users have upgraded to Snow Leopard

Netapplications is reporting that around 18% of Mac users have upgraded to Snow Leopard.  Their methodology uses the data from thousands of websites and compiles them together – you can see from their data below (via theappleblog) that Snow leopard traffic spikes during the weekend when people aren’t at work using their older Macs and their PCs.

That is all well and good, but we thought you’d like to know that 9to5mac Mac users are now over 65% (!!!) converted.

Two-thirds of you are now on Snow Leopard.  That’s up from just over half on the week after the release (and 10% the day of release)  What’s slowing the rest of you down?


Nokia, Samsung, Sony, others set mobile to HDTV interconnect standards

Looks like interconnection development is the new black, with earlier reports on Intel’s LightSpeed technology designed to connect everything to everything else now followed by the creation of a cross-industry group to create a unified interconnect to output multimedia content from a phone to a TV.

Apple’s already ahead on this, at least in some respects, as devices and docks already exist to take video and other media from an iPhone or iPod to a TV set, but any movements that aim to make life a little simpler should be welcomed.

Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony and Toshiba have announced the formation of the Mobile High-Definition Interface Working Group. The group aims to create an industry standard a/v interface to connect mobile phones or portable consumer electronics devices directly to high-definition televisions (HDTVs) and displays.

This is likely to be based on Silicon Image’s Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) technology, and will be promoted and marketed as a standard.

The aim is to create an easy and cheap technology to achieve this, pleasing manufacturers by not costing too much, and pleasing users by being easy-to-use. And it’s expected to support high-def.

The Working Group is expected to organize a Consortium of founding members who will develop a mobile connectivity technology standard specification that governs transmission and reception of high-definition content between portable devices and display devices, to support connectivity in accordance with the new specification.