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Does iOSification Stand in the Way of Mountain Lion Take Up?

News that just 25% of Mac users have upgraded to the latest release of OS X has lead to a variety of theories as to why this might be the case. Top of the list is the operating system’s march towards looking and feeling like it’s “little brother”, iOS.

Why have only 25% of Mac users upgraded to Mountain Lion?

Given that Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion features some considerable performance boosts, the fact that take up isn’t higher (I mean, it’s only $19.95 to upgrade!) has lead some to question if the main player, Snow Leopard, might become Apple’s equivalent of Windows XP.

There are, of course, various advantages to using Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. To begin with, there is the compatibility with PowerPC applications which later versions of the operating system don’t support. There’s also the Hackintosh phenomenon – sadly it is becoming trickier to install Mac OS on newer non-Mac hardware, but Snow Leopard can be configured to run on a large selection of systems and even as a virtual machine on computers with AMD processors.

Financial constraints on users might also be to blame, although the low cost of the software upgrade (as opposed to the hardware) suggests otherwise. The real problem might simply be Apple’s growing popularity as the “friendly” and “usable” platform is reaching a new audience that has already been through enough transferring from Windows and doesn’t want the perceived hassle of yet another “upgrade”.

But what of the iOSification of the platform? Seen by some as inevitable, you only need to glance at Launchpad, Mail, iPhoto and many other Apple and third party apps to see that the whole look, style and ethos of iOS is being adapted wholesale for what is a desktop computing platform. This isn’t to everyone’s tastes.

What is most interesting about this is that it puts Apple into a situation similar to that experienced by Microsoft since Windows XP’s initial end of life date. Now extended to 2014 (although with a share of 41% earlier this year, that date seems extremely optimistic) Windows XP support is a major bugbear for Microsoft, particularly as it isn’t Metro friendly and can’t even run Office 2013. Yet it persists in popularity among users and games publishers.

Apple were forced to issue a patch for Snow Leopard in September 2012, something that isn’t usually done for the last-but-one release. Usually at this stage support is dropped, so it will be interesting going forward to see how Cupertino deals with this particular problem.

In the meantime, they’ll be hoping that the low price and the coming holiday season leads to an increase in the uptake of upgrades…

Has Apple’s Legal Team Made a Big Mistake?

Forget Bill Gates, forget Samsung. There’s a new enemy in town for Apple: US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton.

Apple - technology giant

She’s the plain talking lawmaker overseeing the nonsensical claim over the English language currently being made by Apple as they attempt to take ownership of the phrase “app store”, thereby preventing everyone’s favourite tax-dodging tax evading Internet retailer Amazon from using it on their collection of Android games and applications.

A number of ridiculous details have arisen in this case:

  1. Hamilton previously indicated (in 2011) she was unimpressed by Apple’s arguments and denied them a preliminary injunction.
  2. Apple claims that Amazon’s promotion of its own “Appstore” is false advertising.
  3. Apple’s lawyer, David Eberhart.

Yep, Eberhart is a bit of a character. If he’s not a complete maverick employed by the Apple legal department to pull a victory from the jaws of defeat, then he’s in completely the wrong area of the legal profession in our opinion. Apparently Apple claims that Amazon had deceived customers with by using the term “Appstore”, but Eberhart isn’t making a great case.

“They [Amazon employees] admit they targeted Apple customers, because Apple set the benchmark for what consumers expected. When you combine that with our evidence consumers associate the term ‘app store’ with Apple…”

However our new hero Judge Hamilton is completely unimpressed by this.

“Everyone who uses a smartphone knows the difference between the Apple iOS system and the Android system. Where’s the confusion? There’s some suggestion [by Apple] that if Amazon is using the ‘Appstore’ term someone might think they have as many apps as Apple does. Well, why? And how, in fact, does that contribute to any deception on the part of Amazon?”

This is a woman who has successfully brought some plain talking into Apple’s relentless attack on its non-Microsoft competitors over the past few years. Indeed, it is a shame that more of the judges involved in these cases haven’t taken a similar no-nonsense attitude.

Because, dear reader – and forgive me for bringing this up – but Apple is on the verge of losing all respect among the tech blogging community (and I mean actual bloggers, not those bought-and-paid-for technology “journalists” who are littered with shiny white Cupertino hardware every year). The once mighty company is falling into hole, becoming a shadow of its former self as it wages a 1990s Microsoft-style war against companies it deems to be using its technologies.

It’s sad, and unless there is a change in policy it’s going to have a severely negative impact on Apple’s public face over the next couple of years.

And as for apps, well I was buying them from Handango back in 2004. I don’t recall them launching any lawsuits against Apple for stealing their idea of providing an easily accessible marketplace for apps to be downloaded and installed. Which brings us back to Eberhart:

“Consumers will see this kind of advertising and import their associations with Apple service. They understand what the App Store by Apple entails—hundreds of thousands of apps, and an ease of service unmatched by any others,” said Eberhart. “When a consumer sees something like this they will be deceived into thinking the Amazon store has the same types of qualities.”

So, who invented single-click purchasing?

Colouring the Sheeple

Are you a fan of the iPhone? Do you upgrade each and every time Apple says you can? Over the years the iPhone has devolved from a stunning piece of hardware into a device that is just “good enough”.

The immense amount of quality software for the platform and the quality of the device build is undeniable – but so is the poor quality of the OS UI, which has now gone a ridiculous five years without any noticeable development.

HTC, Samsung and Nokia all fancy their latest phones as potential iPhone beaters, and Nokia’s current Lumia 920 strategy appears to mock not just the iPhone 5’s single monochromatic release but the people who lap it up time after time…

Save Money – Brits Buy American!

We’re just a few weeks from Christmas yet the biggest online retailer has failed to present its top selling new gadget to the British public. Unavailable anywhere outside of the USA, the Kindle Fire has a ready made killer app in the shape of the Amazon website, but unless you have a kind friend, uncle or plane ticket, anyone in Europe and the Far East who wants a Kindle Fire tablet will have to wait.

Does it make sense for Amazon to hold off? It’s difficult to say. Reviews have been largely positive (unless you read Apple-centric papers such as the Telegraph) so there seems to be every reason for Amazon to supply some of their Android-based 7 inch slates for buyers in the UK, Germany, France and other European countries.

At the very worst, this would have resulted in shortages in the USA, something that other companies have turned to their advantage on many occasions over the years.

Similarly, we have the (temporarily?) revived HP TouchPad available for £300 in the UK and just £120 in the USA. Even with VAT this doesn’t seem right, and is of course the result of the endless “rip of Britain” pricing on electronic goods that has dogged gadget fans for many years.

With Samsung prevented from selling their latest tablet in the majority of territories thanks to Apple’s unjust legal actions the only avenue to acquiring a decent alternative to the iPad is to choose the Motorola Xoom or the HTC Flyer, the latter of which doesn’t have Honeycomb installed yet. The Eee Pad Transformer from ASUS is a good option, but has the status of proto-laptop rather than out-and-out tablet.

Or, a canny shopper might look for friends and relatives in the USA who might be able to help out by purchasing a Kindle Fire or HP TouchPad on their behalf, sending it through customs as a gift.

But what if you don’t have a friend who can help?

Fortunately we’re living in the modern age, which means that by checking any of the following websites you can find a service that will allow you to shop in the USA. These sites either provide a proxy US-based address for you to ship your goods to before having them forwarded, or offer a fully proxy online shopping service.

But what about payment? Don’t worry, as this can also be handled. If you don’t have a US credit card, using payment services via these sites can get you around that potential landmine, allowing you to shop for cheap electricals in the USA from the comfort of the UK!

Girls Love the iPhone 4

The Apple iPhone 4 - girls love it

I’ve always felt that the hardcore mobile phone market – the one the developed from the PDA/smartphone users as opposed to the Nokia kids – was pretty partisan. For instance, I’ve been literally dragged from using my Windows Mobile to use an Android phone. Similarly, an old friend of mine won’t touch anything other than a BlackBerry.

Although relatively new, Android phones were attracting the same sort of dedicated, evangelical users before the first HTC Dream/G1 was even available to buy!

So it came as some surprise to find that a good friend of mine had traded in his brand new HTC Desire in order to jump on the Apple iPhone 4 train to super coolness and uber-styledom.

This friend – who will remain nameless for fear of recriminations from the Geek Police – had previously owned the HTC Dream and saw the HTC Desire as the perfect Android device that it is.

What prompted his decision to throw away what is to all intents and purposes the best phone on the planet at the moment at the moment in favour of the most stylish, awe-inspiring and marketable second-best phone?

A girl.

Seriously. I could hardly believe it myself, but it’s true.

He’d met this girl at a party recently after finishing a particularly lucrative contract, and she had apparently become insistent that he ditch the Android in favour of a brand new Apple iPhone 4. She even made him do it offered to take him to the local mobile store in order that he would feel “at one” with the mobile technology that he should be using.

Now this has been related to me by a third party, so I’m not entirely sure of the veracity of all of this. However, I it seems that they’ve now moved in together, if the number of happy emails with the prologue “Sent from my iPhone 4″ are anything to go by.

Of course, the thing is, if the above account is true, the lady concerned made a big song and dance of actually going to a high street branch in order to sell the experience and the phone to my friend. He could have shopped online, such as at http://www.dialaphone.co.uk.

So the moral of this story? Android phones are pretty cool, but girls really love the Apple iPhone 4!

Fixing a Broken iMac G5 with 7p

iMac G5 interiorFollowing a recent eBay purchase of a 2005 Apple iMac G5 rev 1 – which I expected to receive as a “damaged” piece of kit “for spares or repair” – I prepped myself to pickup a brand new soldering iron and researched prices of capacitors.

The computer was sold as damaged citing problems with the display – however upon opening the rear panel, I discovered that every single capacitor was fine!

So began a crawl of the World Wide Web which took in the insane as well as the more practical (and sensible) fix of taping up some coins and mounting them inside the iMac, between the processor shielding and the back panel.

Closing the computer adds pressure to the CPU – and with a bit of heat from the processor after it gets going, the on screen display glitch is all but gone!

Augmented Reality Live

The first ever augmented reality iPhone app, designed exclusively for a live exhibition, is being launched in conjunction with this year’s Marketing Week Live (MWL2010) at Kensington Olympia, from 29th – 30th June.

Enabling visitors at MWL2010 to keep up-to-date with real-time feeds, this new app also provides a wealth of practical information on exhibitors and itineraries. With augmented reality geotagging offering detailed information on the best places to grab post-exhibition dinner, drinks and hotels, this iPhone app looks a surefire winner.

Making use of the iPhone camera, and combining image recognition with augmented reality, the revolutionary MWL2010 iPhone app is packed with the latest digital technology. The app’s image recognition function enables visitors to source exhibitors’ Twitter feeds, websites and contact numbers, simply by pointing their iPhone at the exhibitor’s logos.

Augmented reality geotagging comes courtesy of The Hedonists’ Guide, and enables the user to locate local restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels, co-ordinated by the iPhone’s internal GPS to coordinate where the user is in relation to the local amenities. General data is allso on offer to keep the user updated on general show information, Twitter feeds, itineraries, schedules and keynote presentations.

“This app will arm MWL2010 visitors with real-time knowledge of everything going on at Marketing Week Live,” said Mark Choueke Editor of Marketing Week, “and provide them with a fantastically interactive exhibition experience during the two days. Such apps will change the landscape of future exhibitions and we at Marketing Week are delighted to be leading from the front.”

To find out more about MWL2010: www.marketingweeklive.co.uk. To keep up to date with all the news and show updates, follow on Twitter @MWL2010, or visit on Facebook!

Hovering Over a Touchscreen

Ever since the iPhone came out, we’ve all been obsessed with touch-screen technology. Not that it didn’t exist before then, but it really wasn’t so much in the public eye unless you were using a commercial kiosk or something like that. Now touch-screens are everywhere, but there’s still one thing that the mouse & screen combination can do that the touchscreen never got right: hovering. You can see it in several online applications; the menu that unscrolls when you hover over it, the link that magically appears as the cursor passes over. We could never get it right on touch-screens because it’s basically a binary operation. You’re either touching it, or you’re not.

Folks over at TrueTouch have figured out a way for a screen to actually track how far away your finger is from the screen. So, if it’s close, but not touching, the screen will “see” it, and the operation will register as hovering.  I can totally see this becoming the next big thing in mobile technology. Check out the demo video over at the source article from DVICE.


The Next iPhone

The find of a next-generation iPhone in a bar has been shrouded in skepticism and controversy, but recently Gizmodo got their hands on the device and did a full examination of it including a call to Apple who said that a prototype was, indeed, missing. The new iPhone model has a lot of things that costumers have been asking for, including a front-side camera, a flash for the back-side camera, a higher resolution screen and a micro-sim card. What’s very interesting is its industrial design.

Gone are the smooth curves and seamless sides we’ve seen in previous models. But that doesn’t mean the new iPhone G4 looks bad. In fact, the finished quality of this new design looks perfectly shiny (with apologies to Firefly). If people were starting to lose interest in the iPhone, this is definitely the device that will bring them right back. Check out Gizmodo’s writeup to see their full findings and conclusions.

SOURCE: Gizmodo

iPhone OS 4

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07
Image via Wikipedia

In a keynote today, Steve Jobs and crew introduced the new OS for the iPhone coming this summer. Included in the upgrade are some features that users have been asking for since the very beginning such as multitasking and folders. Other touches of awesomeness include a game center, an improved Mail app and an entirely new platform for advertisement called iAds. These new ads, available straight from Apple for developers to throw into their apps, are a feature-rich multimedia experience coded entirely in HTML5 and they never end the app instance. You stay inside the app and navigate through whatever the advertiser has in store, such as videos, interactive pictures, games, whatever!

If you’re an iPhone user, look for iPhone OS 4 this summer. For a detailed writeup on all the new features, check out Gizmodo’s full coverage.