iPhone Nano patents emerge

Well, what have we here?  Seems ol’ Apple might have been thinking about an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny iPhone a few years back.  The patent below, via BGR, shows what Apple was thinking about before the iPhone was released.  This probably won’t ever see the light of day, but perhaps some of the work done here will find its way into the iPod Nano come September.  That’s right, we said it… we’d live to see a multi-touch Nano!  Stranger things have happened, and how else are we going to do fun stuff with that camera?

more snappers below

 

Eye-Fi Geo lets you Geotag your pictures for iPhoto 'Places'

Although it isn’t true GPS like the iPhone 3G has (and possibly the unannounced iPod touch), Eye-Fi is now offering Apple’s iPhoto users a way to organize their pictures in Places without having a GPS-enabled camera.

Places is an iPhoto feature that organizes photos according to where they are taken, and arranges them in an easy to decipher Google Map. Although you can later manually tag photos to the general area where they were taken, the process is tedious and time consuming. 

Eye-Fi is targeting Apple’s iPhoto users with their new Geo Card ($60 Apple Store), which seamlessly geotags photos that can then be downloaded into Apple’s iPhoto as normal.  The SD card uses Wifi triangulation to give best approximations of location, much like the iPod touch uses Wifi to locate itself in the Maps.app.

Users can also upgrade their Geo card to share images online at MobileMe – or one of more than 20 other photo sharing and social networking sites – for a $9.99 annual fee.

Apple adds MobileMe iDisk iPhone app

Apple today released the MobileMe iPhone app (iTunes Link).  The app allows you to access and share your iDisk files including viewing iPhone-readable files up to 20MB.

FEATURES:

- View files on your iDisk
– Access Public folders
– Easily share files from your iPhone
– Quickly access recently viewed files
– View iPhone-supported file types-including iWork, Office, PDF, QuickTime and more. (Files larger than 20MB may not be viewable.)

This application had been listed by Apple on its website since WWDC in June.

 

Microsoft announces two new venues for birthday parties (weddings, Bar Mitzvahs?)

Psst!! Stuck for a birthday party venue? Looks like Microsoft’s gonna solve the problem for you, and has announced the first two lucky locations for its first retail stores

See, for the Mac lover in your life, you’ll be able to hold your party at a Microsoft store, enjoy all the facilities they provide and do party games and so on (look at this fabulous list of things to do at your next birthday do..). but with an eye to market momentum, Microsoft’s doing the very best it can, and is positioning its shops very close to or next door to existing Apple retail shops.

That’s great news because it means after you and all your friends have had a shindig at Microsoft’s store, maybe including a group Rock Band championship, then you can all troop right next door to the Apple retail store, and whoever the birthday girl or boy is you’ll be able to put your cold hard birthday present cash right down there on a beautifully-designed Apple retail table and…

..and buy a Mac, of course, or an iPod, or iTablet (whatever it’s gonna be).

Oh yeah, Microsoft’s first store locations – and they’ll be taking birthday party bookings soon, Apple fans – are situated in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mission Viejo, Calif. Cnet said. Yesterday. The Orange County, Calif., store is in a mall that already houses an Apple retail store, which makes this party plan so much easier.
 

Outlandish Rumor of the day: Apple preps OS X for Windows

A columnist for PC Retail magazine has launched what could become today’s biggest rumor – speculation that Apple may soon allow OS X to be run on PCs from other manufacturers.

Robert Peckham notes, “The Dell Mini 7 and 9 (and probably the 10 also) can be easily modified with a small software download, which allows the user to install and run Apple’s Mac OS X v10.5.”

He points out the software to enable installation of the superior OS is made available by Dell itself, and asks “why is Apple allowing this?”

In a second report on the same site, the Mac Technology Association is reported as suggesting “Apple may be preparing to open up OS X to the PC channel…”

However, that second report also points out that Robert Peckham (who penned the original report) is actually executive director of the association.

We have to say, while we know millions of Windows users would welcome the chance to run a decent user-focused OS on their machines, we’re not completely convinced Apple wants the hassle of providing support services to so may different machines with so many different components.

Plus, with Mac sales at new heights and Apple making so much cold hard cash from its hardware sales, we don’t truly believe there’s fire inside the smoke here….

What do you think?

iPhone-controlled robot dances out the shadows

A robot hobbyist has developed an application that lets the iPhone 3GS function as the brain and face of miniature humanoid robot, Robochan.

It’s made from a Kondo KHR-2HV humanoid which has had its head replaced by an iPhone which controls the machine.

The little feller has multiple functions – he’s an alarm clock, a private dancer, can wave stuff around and even interact with it’s owner (kinda). We’d like one round the 9to5Mac office.

Via: Dvice.com

 

UK Ads standards body – "iPhone really does have an App for everything" (except Google Voice)

The iPhone really does have an App “for everything” – and that claim has been officially sanctioned by the UK Advertising Standards Association – the body which ensures claims made in advertising are the truth.

There were 10 complaints that the Apple TV advert which claimes “there’s an app for just about anything – only on the iPhone,” was misleading because it isn’t the only smartphone to offer a marketplace from which a range of applications could be downloaded. But these ten complaints were not upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Naturally, the majority of these applications also work on the iPod touch , which is expected to gain its own built-in camera in the coming weeks.

The ASA said there were far more applications available for the iPhone than the G1 phone, which also offers applications, and the user-experience of the iPhone and its app store was “distinct”.

“We concluded the claim ’Only on the iPhone’ was justified and not misleading,” the ASA said.

During the enquiry, Apple told the ASA that its App Store, “provided users with a unique experience unmatched by any other application market place”.

So there it is – it’s official – there really is an App for “everything” on the iPhone…unless you want Google Latitude, Google Voice, MMS+tethering in the US…

Look at unreleased Apple prototypes here….

Apple execs often say they’re as proud of the products they don’t release as they are of those they do – and if you’d like to take a look at some of those unreleased prototypes, then good news for you in form of a new book from influential designer Harmut Esslinger of Frog Design.

The book offers images of numerous previously unseen Apple prototypes, (bigger image after the jump). That’s no surprise when you consider Frog Design was responsible for many early Apple designs, including that of the Apple IIc, and that Esslinger himself defined the ‘Snow White style used by Apple in the ‘80’s.
 

“We worked closely with Steve Jobs and Apple’s developers to innovate computer usability and appearance, resulting in iconic products with no historic precedent," writes Esslinger.

Of course, we know that it wasn’t a Frog but a Tangerine (Jonathan Ive’s old firm) which ended up leading Apple’s design innovation in the 21st Century – we do hope Apple one day loosens its kimono to show us a few of the things it managed to prototype and then not release in the last ten years, but we still think this title will make interesting reading to any earnest Apple-spotter.

The book: A Fine Line: How Design Strategies Are Shaping the Future of Business, includes pictures along with background stories of various well known design classics, and unseen products.

Europe's Apple boss may take top job at UK TV broadcaster, ITV

That Apple has been firing on all cylinders for the last decade’s pretty clear from its success in all sectors, so it’s no surprise the company’s senior executives are in great demand – now Apple’s most senior European executive, Pascal Cagni is one of two candidates seen as likely to seize the top job at major UK broadcaster, ITV.

Cagni is up against HMV chief executive, Simon Fox, for the role, a replacement for current executive, Michael Grade. ITV is thought to be hopeful to make an announcement on the matter on August 6, though the process may drag through until September.

Pascal joined Apple in April 2000. He put in place a talented management team which transformed Europe into Apple’s fastest growing region.
 

He joined Apple from NEC Computer International where he served as European Vice President and General Manager of Packard Bell.

Under his tenure Packard Bell grew at three times the industry rate gaining the number one position in the European home computer market while revenue grew to more than $1 billion. He also sits on the board of the Aspen Institute and Egg.

In a recent (October 08) interview he touched on Apple’s future strategy, saying: “With the iPhone we are entering a Convergence Age. If you look back in time, Apple has delivered truly amazing products, from the Macintosh to the iMac, the iPod, and today the iPhone. The success of each of these products has reinforced the others. We are enjoying a virtuous circle of innovation and intend to continue to surprise and delight our customers in the future!”

Apple dislikes jailbreaking for a number of reasons…let us count the ways

Apple doesn’t want people jailbreaking.  Not even a little bit it.  If you don’t mind reading through 45 pages of legalese, you’ll see why.  It really boils down to these 13 reasons:

  1. Crashes & instability
  2. Malfunctioning & safety
  3. Invasion of privacy
  4. Exposing children to age-inappropriate content
  5. Viruses & malware 
  6. Inability to update software
  7. Cellular network impact 
  8. Piracy of developers’ applications 
  9. Instability of developers’ applications 
  10. Increased support burden 
  11. Developer relationships
  12. The Apple/iPhone brand 
  13. Limitation on ability to innovate

All of these seem like legitimate reasons for keeping out jailbreakers until you consider that iPhones are computers.  If Apple wins this arguement, why wouldn’t computer makers be able to dictate what is put on a 3G enabled notebook?  Could you modify the EFI/BIOS on a laptop?  What’s the difference?

Wired took a particularly hard look at the cell tower’s danger:

The EFF has asked the regulators for the DMCA exemption, (.pdf) which would allow consumers to run any app on the phone, including those not authorized by Apple.

Fred von Lohmann, the EFF attorney who made the request, said Apple’s latest claims are preposterous. During a May public hearing on the issue in Palo Alto, California, he told regulators there were as many as a million unauthorized, jailbroken phones.

In an interview Tuesday, he said he suspected those phones have not been used to destroy mobile phone towers. “As far as I know, nothing like that has ever happened,” he said.

He added that, if Apple’s argument was correct, the open-source Android phone from Google on T-Mobile networks would also be a menace to society. ”This kind of theoretical threat,” von Lohmann said, “is more FUD than truth.”

Apple also claimed that jailbreaking would pave the way for hackers to alter the Exclusive Chip Identification number that identified the phone to the cell tower, which could enable calls to be made anonymously. Apple said “this would be desirable to drug dealers.”

GV Mobile goes to Cydia on Jailbroken iPhones within hours

Kinda like prohibition isn’t it?  Take away something the people want and those people will be forced to circumvent authority to get it back.  In the case of GV Mobile and the larger Google Voice, Apple AT&T banned them from the App store so their developer is packing up and going to unlawful grounds.  GV Mobile hit Cydia a few hours after it was officially banned from the App Store.  The developer, Sean Kovacs, is also working on a Web App that will also work on the Pre.

 

Thanks commenter (picture via iPhoneBlog)

AT&T Killed Google Voice on the iPhone. Are Skype and Fring next?

DF spoke with someone (at Apple most likely) who mentioned that Apple killed Google Voice on the direct orders of AT&T.  Fantastic.  Killing innovation and competition has now become the first order of business for these characters.  Here’s a little advice: If you were ever thinking of downloading a VoIP app, do it right now, before other apps start disappearing from of the App Store without explanation.  As DF mentions, AT&T has a special double standard for iPhone users.  Sling Player works over 3G on Blackberry and Windows Mobile.  Google Voice works on Blackberry on AT&T.

Apple users: This is what "carrier exclusivity" buys you.

Skype (iTunes Link)

Fring (iTunes Link)

TruPhone

IM+ with Skype

Classy move all the way around. What I like is that Google is sitting back, letting these joker telcos get away with this, knowing in the long run it only helps them.  VoIP technology is so superior that these feeble attempts to block them will only hurt the telcos more.