Former Apple designer reveals Apple passed on a curved-glass iPhone due to cost

We have been getting some interesting bits and pieces from the Apple vs. Samsung trial this week, and most, of which, are related to early iPhone prototypes referenced in pre trial briefs by Samsung’s lawyers who alleged Apple was inspired by Sony products when creating its initial iPhone concepts. We get some more insight on Apple’s original iPhone plans today thanks to a deposition of former Apple designer Douglas Satzger, as discovered by Network World in recent court filings. Satzger, current VP of Industrial Design at Intel, held various roles at Apple from 1996 to 2008 including Industrial Design Creative Lead and Industrial Design Manager. In the deposition, Satzger claimed Apple had “strong interest in doing two pieces of shaped glass,” while referencing the 0355 model prototype pictured above.

He continued to explain how Apple ultimately chose not to utilize curved glass mainly due to cost:
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One of Apple’s lead designers reveals that the design process starts around a big kitchen table

“Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life,” said Apple industrial designer Chris Stringer (no relation to Sony’s ex-CEO Howard Stringer), who has been a part of every design since 1995, when he testified today in court as part of the Apple vs. Samsung trial.

Who helps imagine those products that come to life? Stringer told the court that Apple has a small team of only 15 or 16 people who design the original idea for the company’s key products, from the iPhone to the MacBook Pro, AllThingsD first reported. Apple’s lead designer, Sir Jonny Ive, is of the group.

Interestingly, he added the design process begins around a kitchen table, where the intimate team hashes out ideas to someday come to light. If the team believes an idea is good enough, the idea will be made into a physical model. In typical Apple design fashion, the group pays so much attention to detail that there can be up to 50 drawings for one button. What a crazy look into the start of the products we use everyday.

Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller is set to take stand next in the case, where both parties are seeking damages over a slew of patents. What a treasure trove of information this case is turning out to be.

 [AllThingsD]

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2005 Purple iPhone design could thwart Samsung’s assertion that Apple copied Sony

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We hope you are not sick of early iPhone prototypes just yet, because the monster Apple vs. Samsung trial is kicking off today and another prototype has hit the docket. This time, Apple is releasing images of its “purple” iPhone design from 2005. It actually has some, if not most, of the design elements of the iPhone 4 design, which Samsung accused Apple of lifting from Sony. This one, again, is labeled “iPod”.

The chronological progression below is also posted in the filing (PDF) [via The Verge]:

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Aaron Sorkin compares daunting task of Steve Jobs biopic to ‘writing about The Beatles’

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. Read more

Sharp agrees to share technology with Foxconn for new iPhone plant in Chengdu

Reuters reported today, while citing Japanese business daily Nikkei, that Sharp will supply its technology to Hon Hai for a new Foxconn plant that will produce panels for devices like Apple’s iPhone. The move follows an investment from Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Precision in March, which agreed to buy 46.48-percent of Sharp’s LCD plant in Japan and $844 million in new shares for an 11 percent stake of the company.

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sharp Corp will supply technological know-how to Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co for a plant in China that will produce panels for Apple Inc’s iPhone and other consumer electronics products, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday.

As for what technology Sharp will provide, the report only specified it will be “aimed at improving quality management” at a future plant in Chengdu. Sharp will reportedly receive “tens of billions of yen in fees” through the partnership, and it announced plans today to buy back Sony Corp’s 7.04-percent stake in its Sakai, Japan-based plant.

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Sony releases ‘Music Unlimited’ Spotify competitor as iOS app

Looking to usurp rival competitors like Spotify and MOG, Sony today launched its Music Unlimited streaming service as an iOS app. We told you in January that it was coming, but today the free app officially hits the App Store with subscriptions starting at $3.99 a month for varying access to the service’s 15 million+ songs and playback features. There is also a 30-day free trial of the premium service.

Previously only available to Android users and Sony products such as PlayStation 3 and Blu-ray players, the service offers two paid subscriptions options, including: a $4 Basic plan that provides basic channels and access to your own library; and a $10 Premium account giving you access to on demand playback for Sony’s catalogue, offline listening. The more expensive packages also offers the ability to create playlists, and access charts, new releases, and premium channels. Unlike Spotify, which recently debuted its iPad app, the Music Unlimited app does not have an iPad-specific version.

The Sony Music Unlimited app is available in the New Zealand App Store now, and it should hit the United States and other supported markets soon. As of March, Sony offered the service in 14 countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. A full list of features for Basic and Premium subscribers is below:

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Review: Tenqa REMXD $39 over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones — Cans this good should cost more

Photos by Veronica Oggy

For a pair of headphones under the $50 mark, we often find ourselves recommending something like the standard $35 Apple earphones. You typically cannot beat the sound quality (build quality up for debate) for the price, but if you want to go Bluetooth, pickings are slim in the under $200 category.

If you are looking for DJ-style, over-ear Bluetooth headphones, your options are even fewer before hitting the $250+ price point for a wireless pair of Beats by Dr.Dre.

However, at just $39, Tenqa’s Remxd Bluetooth Headphones are clearly not for the pros, but looking at the Bluetooth alternatives from Rocketfish, Sony, and Sennheiser, they definitely impress at a fraction of the competition’s prices. They were also built with iPhone in mind, which means they pack a microphone and controls for hands-free calls—just like Apple’s stock iPhone earphones…

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‘jOBS’ biopic starring Ashton Kutcher will shoot in original Apple Garage and childhood home

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. Read more

iPhone reverse-engineer/hacker/rapper Geohot arrested for marijuana possession on way to SXSW talk

According to Above the Law, the original iPhone jailbreaker, Geohot, was arrested for felony possession of marijuana while at an international border crossing on his way to SXSW. According to the report, the arresting border patrol officers may have been outside of their jurisdiction (and likely measured improperly).

Before you rush to judge the guy, remember Steve Jobs’ thoughts on mind-altering substances (and phone hacking). If you have jailbroken using any of the “xxxRain” jailbreaking tools, you have used Geohot’s work. He also recently worked at both Google and Facebook (and Lady Gaga’s BackPlane).

He was still able to give his talk at SXSW, which is a pretty interesting (mp3). The full description is below:

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iPad 3 w/8 Megapixel camera pictured by Apple Daily publication

Apple Daily today has images of what it claimed is the next iPad compared to an iPad 1 and an iPad 2. You will notice increased tapering and a bigger camera lens. The publication said the camera is a whopping 8-megapixels, which would likely mean it is the same Sony camera found in the iPhone 4S that CEO Howard Stinger first leaked in April of last year. Apple will likely bring some of its optics over, as well.

We first heard reports of 5- to 8-megapixel cameras in the next iPad at the end of last year in a wide-ranging set of reports.

Apple.pro grabbed some images of the print version that seem to show the tapering better.

The iPad 3 picture seems to be coming together but that does not mean there are not going to be some surprises.

Apple Daily also noted new cabling (pictured below): Read more

NPD: Apple grabs almost a fifth of all holiday consumer electronics sales, Apple Stores second only to Best Buy and Walmart in revenue

Apple’s $46.33 billion dollar holiday quarter and the 73+ million shipped Macs and iOS devices are clear standouts in the newest NPD research note exposing Apple as the only brand to have grown sales in the all-important holiday quarter. The same cannot be said for rivals Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Sony, and Dell, which all experienced missteps in holiday-quarter gadget sales. Five consumer electronics categories (PCs, TVs, tablets/e-readers, mobile phones and video game hardware) drove nearly 60 percent of all sales in 2011. Apple’s share of total revenue across these five important categories rose 36 percent year-over-year, according to NPD.

As a result, Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Apple TVs and the company’s other consumer electronics gear accounted for 19 percent of all sales dollars. That is almost twice as much as No. 2 Hewlett-Packard. HP’s, Samsung’s, Sony’s and Dell’s sales dipped 3 percent, 6 percent, 21 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. Apple Retail was No. 3 in terms of revenue, right after No. 1 Best Buy and second-ranked Walmart. Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place to round out the top five—a repeat of 2010.

By the way, did you notice which two consumer electronics categories lack a dedicated Apple offering?

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Here’s a rare prototype translucent Apple hard drive circa 1985

Apple and its cofounder Steve Jobs certainly helped design and popularize storage devices throughout computing history. For example, the Mac mainstreamed Sony’s 3.5-inch floppy drive in the 1980s, but Apple was working on its own storage devices even before the Mac debuted. One of our buddies discovered this eBay listing advertising for what appears to be a prototype of a previously unknown NISHA hard drive adorned with the colorful Apple logo. It comes in a translucent case, and it could easily be the first Apple product we have seen like this, even though it never shipped. It is neither a Hard Disk 20 drive Apple introduced on Sept. 17, 1985 specifically for use with the Macintosh 512K nor is it a Hard Disk 20SC.

The latter product was the first SCSI drive Apple manufactured and deployed on the Macintosh Plus in 1986, effectively obsolescing the Hard Disk 20 unit. It is a safe bet that this unit represents an early prototype of one of Apple’s hard drives, but it could also be a new hard drive design that never saw the light of day. The seller could not tell either, as the drive did not power up. Eagle-eyed readers are aware that Apple of the past had been designing its own storage devices and the aforementioned Hard Disk 20 serves as an illustrious example of the company’s closed approach to hard drives.

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