August 20, 2012

iLounge reported in May that Apple is allegedly working on a “standalone digital camera, specifically a point-and-shoot model.” The website further said the device would deliver an image quality far beyond what the iPhone and iPad could deliver and attributed its information to sources, camera-related job openings at Apple, a re-trademarked iSight filing, and Walter Isaacson’s biography on Apple’s late cofounder. According to Isaacson, Steve Jobs named photography as one of three industries that he wanted to transform.

With that said, a camera would be a decidedly high-end market that Apple is seen exiting post haste (see Mac Pro, etc.). A REAL CAMERA with iOS camera apps would seem cool, but Apple does not take this type of high-volume market seriously. Most people are perfectly content with the amazing iPhone camera…and the new iPhone’s camera can only get better.

Nevertheless, perhaps Apple needs another hobby. Alternatively, maybe Apple can stave off the upcoming Android camera invasion by partnering with Canon or other makers to provide a hardware development kit that would tie into an iPod touch or iPhone for the user-interface. Imagine automatically uploading pictures from anywhere and using the power of apps to edit and manipulate while on the go. That dream may arrive first in Android format:

NikonRumors just posted leaked press shots of the Android-based Coolpix “s800c” camera, and it begs the question: Would Apple ever build an iOS-powered, point-and-shoot camera?

The leaked s800c pictures reveal a touchscreen menu on the backside, apparently running a Gingerbread flavor, with apps for a camera, email, browser, music, etc. Additional specs labeled on the front of the camera detail a “12X Wide Optical Zoom ED VR” in HD and a 4.5-54.0mm stock lens. NikonRumors, which has a decent track record in scooping Nikon, first discovered the s800c in a filling with the Indonesian Communication Agency. It originally noted the camera would tout a 3.5-inch OLED screen, Android 2.3 with Google Play apps, and built-in GPS and Wi-Fi.

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July 30, 2012

July 22, 2012

June 2, 2012

May 31, 2012

The New iPad Buyers’ Guide published by iLounge this week included a piece that speculated Apple might be working on a standalone camera product. While the story discussed the possibility of Apple working on a point-and-shoot iSight camera, iLounge clearly labeled it as speculation and simultaneously noted it received a tip claiming Apple is working on the project.

Take special note of pages 152 and 153—“Making the case for a standalone iSight Camera.” I’ll share more on this topic shortly, but for now, I’ll say that this two-page spread very nearly had a different title. We were tipped that this project is actually happening at Apple right now, but we didn’t feel confident enough in our source to call it a certainty; it’s therefore billed as speculation. Still, there’s enough smoke to make us think there’s a fire.

It did not feel strongly enough in the source to run the story, but Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge sent out a tweet today noting once again that Apple is working on a standalone camera:


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May 30, 2012

Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter behind the Sony-backed biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, just sat down with Walt Mossberg at the D10 Conference to discuss everything from the late CEO and upcoming blockbuster to writing techniques and…The Beatles.

Sorkin is a Hollywood mogul thanks to his numerous successes, including “The Social Network,” “Moneyball,” and “The West Wing,” but the Big Shot warned that his silver-screen version of the best-selling biography is still in its early stages. expand full story

May 25, 2012

Sotheby’s plans to auction two pieces of Apple history on June 15 in New York, including a rare document penned by Steve Jobs while working at Atari and an operational Apple I motherboard expected to fetch up to $180,000 USD. An excerpt from Sotheby’s description for the Apple I lot is below, and it claims less than six Apple I’s in working condition are known to exist:

As the first ready-made personal computer, the Apple I signaled a new age in which computing became accessible to the masses. The interface of circuitry and software that Woz created enabled users to type letters with “a human-typable keyboard instead of a stupid, cryptic front panel with a bunch of lights and switches,” as he explained to the Homebrew Computer Club. Even so, it was sold without a keyboard, monitor, case, or power supply, An exceptionally rare, working example with original Apple cassette interface, operation manuals and a rare BASIC Users’ Manual. It is thought that fewer than 50 Apple I Computers survive, with only 6 known to be in working condition. expand full story

May 18, 2012

The folks behind the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, now dubbed “jOBS,” which stars Ashton Kutcher as the late CEO, released a presser this evening to announce the production’s June start date for filming. They also confirmed shooting will begin in the “historic garage” where Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple. The film’s early scenes will even feature Jobs’ Los Altos home where he grew up to maintain “accuracy and authenticity” during the movie-making process. expand full story

May 17, 2012

Fast Company summarizes comments made by Apple board member Mickey Drexler regarding Steve Jobs vision beyond Apple’s current product lineup. According to the board member, Steve Jobs dream before he passed away was to design a car. He calls this an “iCar.” While Jobs never got around to actually designing this automobile, it is definitely fun to speculate what the maker of the iPad and Mac would dream up in terms of innovation for the road.

On something that we will actually likely see coming out of Apple’s labs, Drexler commented on Apple’s approach to the living room. Apple has long said that the living room has been a hobby to them with the Apple TV set-top-box, but Drexler commented: “the living room they’re dealing with at some point in the near future.” This of course ramps up the long-running speculation about an Apple Television set.

Rumors range from a 2013 launch to Siri-based input. Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he also would have liked to reinvent photography. (Image: Jalopnik)

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May 15, 2012

Sony hired Academy and Emmy award-winning screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin to write the screenplay for its upcoming Steve Jobs biopic (not to be confused with the one Ashton Kutcher is starring in), reported Variety. Sony’s biopic will cover the life of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and will be an adaptation of the official biography “Steve Jobs,” which is written by famed author Walter Isaacson and released last fall.

You may recognize Sorkin’s name from the hit movie “The Social Network,” which profiled the hugely-popular social network Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. The film received eight academy award nominations. While the story may not have been accurate all the way through, it did have many tech-oriented facts right—like the code that appeared on Zuckerberg’s computer while coding from his Harvard dorm room. Sorkin also wrote the upcoming show “The Newsroom” that airs on HBO June 24.

The Sony biopic should be a much bigger budget film than the unofficial version directed by Joshua Michael Stern, which is set to begin filming sometime this month. However, the unofficial version does feature “Two and a Half Men” star Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, which should attract a good amount of viewers. We saw last weekend how Kutcher looked compared to the Apple co-founder.

Since Sorkin definitely has a good track record, this should be an entertaining film—as long as he does not change the history of Jobs’ life as he did for Zuckerberg during some aspects of “The Social Network.” However, he did a great job with “The Social Network,” and using Isaacon’s hit biography as a guide should make for a good representation of the amazing life of Jobs.

Sony commented on its excitement over the film:

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May 1, 2012

April 18, 2012

Time Magazine just released its list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2012, and Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook—following in the footsteps of Steve Jobs— made the list alongside Hilary Clinton, Tim Tebow, Rihanna, and Salman Khan. Also featured on the list this year, after stemming from the incredible success of his “Steve Jobs biography, is author Walter Isaacson.

Each entry on the list includes a description written by someone close to the influential person. In the case of Cook, former U.S. Vice President and Apple board member Al Gore did the honors. Gore said Cook has already “led the world’s most valuable and innovative company to new heights while implementing major policy changes smoothly and brilliantly.” Gore’s full entry on Cook is below:
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April 11, 2012

Bloomberg is reporting that the United States has filed an antitrust lawsuit in a New York district court against Apple and publishers Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster over alleged eBook price-fixing. The news follows reports from Reuters yesterday that the U.S. Department of Justice was preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers accused of colluding to fix and increase the price of eBooks.

According to the report, all the parties named in the suit—except Macmillan, Penguin, and Apple— are willing to settle to avoid legal costs. The Department of Justice could announce “unspecified” settlements as early as today.

At the core of the settlement discussions is the agency model introduced with the iPad in 2010. The deal with publishers was described by Steve Jobs to biographer Walter Isaacson:

“We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway…. They went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.’ “

The model allows publishers to set their own prices as long as Apple gets a 30 percent cut and a guarantee that the same content is not offered lower elsewhere, but the Department of Justice is trying to return to Amazon’s wholesale model by giving retailers like Amazon control over pricing. Bloomberg explained: expand full story

April 5, 2012

Yesterday, as part of a wider interview with Larry Page, Bloomberg quoted Google’s CEO as saying:

I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally….I think that [Anger at Android] served their interests. For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe that it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better.

However, Page likely was not present for the behind-the-scenes remarks from the former Apple CEO. Jobs probably put on a more distinguished game face, especially in the last meeting the two had when Jobs was very ill. In addition, Jobs’ anger was more than likely focused on former Apple board member and then previous Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Biographer Walter Isaacson was present behind-the-scenes with Jobs, and last night he disputed Page’s assertion that Jobs’ anger was “for show”:

Isaacson continued: “It’s almost copied verbatim by Android. And then they licence it around promiscuously. And then Android starts surpassing Apple in market share, and this totally infuriated him. It wasn’t a matter of money. He said: ‘You can’t pay me off, I’m here to destroy you’.”

As for what will happen now that Jobs isn’t around to go ‘thermonuclear’ on Google, Isaacson thinks that Apple CEO Tim Cook will handle things differently. “Tim Cook will settle that lawsuit”, Isaacson added.

In the book, Isaacson quoted Jobs as saying: expand full story

April 4, 2012

In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Google’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Page talked at length about his new role as chief and his plans for the future of Android, Motorola, and the rest of the company. Much the interview revolved around Android and Google’s relationship with other companies, and Page was asked about his relationship with Steve Jobs toward the end. He was also asked about the state of Android tablets and his thoughts on Apple’s recently announced dividend.

When the interviewer mentioned Google and Jobs had their “differences” about Android, presumably referring to Jobs’ claims that Android is a “stolen product,” Page claimed Jobs’ anger toward Android/Google was “actually for show”:

I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally… He was quite sick. I took it as an honor that he wanted to spend some time with me. I figured he wanted to spend time with his family at that point. He had a lot of interesting insights about how to run a company and that was pretty much what we discussed.

He continued when encouraged to elaborate on his “for show” comment:
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April 3, 2012

In a Financial Times story about Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive “emerging from [Steve] Jobs’ shadow,” we get a few interesting stories from ex-Apple employees regarding the design guru’s work ethic. While one anonymous ex-Apple employee told the publication Ive’s “main talent was his ability to manage his relationship with Jobs,” Path chief and former Apple employee Dave Morin remembers Ive as a perfectionist.

Morin described a story about Ive spending three months adjusting the MacBook design to ensure it could be easily operated with one finger:

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March 24, 2012

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Former Apple TV UI designer and “Professional Hobbyist, Apple TV” Michael Margolis went vocal on Twitter (via Reddit) about the new Apple TV redesign last night. He says that Steve Jobs tossed out the new design five years ago. He adds, “Now there is nobody to say ‘no’ to bad design.”

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The “new” Apple TV design received some mixed reviews, but most people appreciate the updated look and feel. The negatives, however, seem to focus on Apple’s limited access to services like Hulu, Amazon, VUDU, and other streaming services.

Apple is widely expected to release a full Apple HD product in the coming year. Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he cracked the code to the TV, but it does not appear that Apple has yet implemented that vision.

Updated with comment from Margolis, below: expand full story

March 9, 2012

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