SciTechBlog
May 17, 2010

Apple CEO Steve Jobs' late-night e-mail feud

Posted: 10:47 AM ET

Apple CEO Steve Jobs engaged in a catty e-mail exchange over the weekend with a blogger from the website Gawker, who chided the tech luminary for calling its slate computer a "revolution" in television ads.

Ryan Tate, the blogger, who writes that he was drinking during the digital duel, carries on a conversation that sounds, at turns, like it could have been ripped from the pages of a "Saturday Night Live" script.

Tate's first note, which, according to the posted e-mails, was sent at 9:34 p.m. on Friday, asks Jobs what he thinks a young Bob Dylan would think about Jobs' claim to a computer "revolution."

"Revolutions are about freedom," the blogger asserts (I dare you to read that line without doing a Will-Ferrell-as-George-W.-Bush voice in your head; and keep in mind, we're talking about computers and app formats here, not the War on Terror).

"Yep, freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom," Jobs replied at 12:52 a.m. on Saturday, according to the e-mails as posted by Gawker. "The times they are a changin’, and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is."

Jobs sent three more notes to Tate after that one. The duo argued about Apple's aim to control app development and the recent police raid of a Gizmodo blogger's home following that blog's decision to publish details about a prototype iPhone from Apple. Gizmodo, as Tate notes, is owned by Gawker Media, which also publishes the site Gawker.com.

As TechCrunch notes, Apple's CEO is known for occasionally sending brief e-mails to consumers and reporters.

The BBC's Maggie Shiels makes a funny point about the "nocturnal back-and-forth":

"We're all aware of the perils of 'drunk dialing' an ex – but for Ryan Tate at media gossip blog Gawker, e-mailing Apple boss Steve Jobs – with a stinger cocktail on hand late one night while the wife was away – really paid off," she writes.

Despite his apparent resentment over Apple's efforts to control app development for its products, Tate did leave the exchange with a few positive things to say about Apple and its iconic leader.

"Rare is the CEO who will spar one-on-one with customers and bloggers like this," he writes. "Jobs deserves big credit for breaking the mold of the typical American executive, and not just because his company makes such hugely superior products: Jobs not only built and then rebuilt his company around some very strong opinions about digital life, but he's willing to defend them in public. Vigorously. Bluntly. At two in the morning on a weekend."

Check out the full exchange (foul language warning), and let us know who you think came out on top.

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Filed under: Apple • Steve Jobs


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May 10, 2010

'Toy Story 3' is back up on the iPad, Disney says

Posted: 02:42 PM ET

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. ET: Disney Online spokeswoman Dana Henry Benson says "Toy Story 3" has an iPad-specific website, but a glitch caused some iPad users to hit the Flash site, which wouldn't load. That bug has since been fixed, she said in an e-mail to CNN.

"Toy Story 3" has a nice website.

You can play games with Rex the dinosaur, and learn how to make "Green Alien Cupcakes."

But, for a brief time, some Apple iPad users were haven't a tough time viewing it on their touch-screen computers.

That Disney website is built in Flash format, which, as screen grabs show, means it didn't work at one point on Apple's iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

Big deal, right? Lots of websites are built in Flash, and many of them don't work on Apple gadgets (there's a workaround for some Flash video). But it's kind of amusing when you consider the fact that Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has been posting lately about how much of a problem Flash is, was a Pixar co-founder and now serves on Disney's board of directors.

Disney Online says a glitch prevented iPad users from viewing the site, but an iPad-specific website is now working.

The faux pas stirred up some jokes online.

As a Wall Street Journal blog says in a headline, "Whoever Built the 'Toy Story 3' Web Site in Flash, Please Report to HR Immediately–and Bring Everything in Your Desk With You."

(via AllThingsD)

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Filed under: Adobe • Apple


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May 5, 2010

Find the Apple fanboy of your dreams at 'Cupidtino'

Posted: 10:32 AM ET

Do you spend your nights debating the merits of iPhone multitasking?

Do you have a poster of Steve Jobs on your bedroom ceiling?

And are you looking for a partner who has plenty of free wall sockets, so you can charge up your iPod, iPad, iBook and iPhone - all at once?!?

Well, maybe Cupidtino is the website for you.

The new dating site, designed exclusively to set-up fans of Apple gadgets, says it will launch in June.

For the uninitiated, the name is a combination of Cupertino, the California city where Apple Inc. is based, and Cupid, that love-mongering cherub that shows up every February. Apple fans have a reputation in the tech world for being, well, pretty fanatical. Some make pilgrimages to Apple stores. Others own nearly every product Apple puts out. When the iPad debuted earlier this year, some people waiting in line to buy it said they didn't really know what it was - but they trusted that Apple would know what's best for them.

Some people love Apple for its sleek, consumer-oriented products. Others hate the company just as much - dubbing its fans the "Cult of Mac." (A blog has actually appropriated that name and made it positive).

Cupidtino says it started the Apple-fan dating site because people who love Apple share other things in common, too:

"Cupidtino is a beautiful new dating site created for fans of Apple products by fans of Apple products!" a message on the site says. "Why? Diehard Mac & Apple fans often have a lot in common – personalities, creative professions, a similar sense of style and aesthetics, taste, and of course a love for technology. We believe these are enough reasons for two people to meet and fall in love, and so we created the first Mac-inspired dating site to help you find other Machearts around you."

At first, it didn't seem entirely clear whether the site was a joke or not.

But Cupidtino's Twitter feed sent a message to CNN saying, "We're for real."

The "about" section of the website says it was created by three people in San Francisco, California.

Here's how they describe themselves:

"We’re 3 geeks (2 devs and a designer) with backgrounds at Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! We’re based in San Francisco and obsessed with our Apple gadgets (we have them all!). We’re privately funded and would love to discuss interesting partnership opportunities. More info to come soon as we release more broadly."

Some Apple-relevant blogs are pumped about Cupidtino:

"If there's one thing that all Mac-obsessed creatures have in common, besides their undying devotion to Apple products, it's the need to be loved," writes a blog called the iPhone Savior.

The blog notes that Mac fans have gotten married in Apple Stores before. If you meet the fanboy or -girl of your dreams, the blog suggests, "just be sure to pre-order your iPhone cake in advance."

Not everyone online is this excited about the thought of Apple fanatics falling in love, however:

Apple fans can be annoying when they’re on their own," writes Michael Arrington at the blog TechCrunch. "The thought of them breeding and creating little Apple fans, a whole family of hard core hipster Apple lovers, is just not a good thing.

"On the other hand, making sure that Apple fans only date other Apple fans is a good way of stopping them from spreading their Apple fan genes to the general population, I guess. So maybe this site isn’t all bad."

When it launches this summer, the Cupidtino service will only be available through "Apple platforms."

What do you think?

Apple fans: Do you feel a connection with other Macheads that could be useful in a dating context?

And PCs: Do you feel left out?

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Filed under: Apple


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May 3, 2010

iPad hits 1 million sold - faster than the iPhone

Posted: 10:02 AM ET

Will the iPad be bigger than the iPhone?

That's true in a physical sense, obviously. Apple's iPhone fits in your pocket. Its iPad - which is a touch-screen computer without a keyboard - would look ridiculous if you put it up to your ear.

But the iPad, it turns out, is also bigger in terms of initial sales.

Apple on Monday announced it has sold 1 million iPad computers in the 28 days the device has been available. The iPhone, which debuted in 2007, didn't hit the million mark until 74 days after it went on sale.

“Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers," Apple CEO Steve Jobs says in a press release.

That begs the question: Will the iPad end up being a bigger hit than the iPhone, which has revolutionized the smartphone industry?

It's very early, and the iPad still has a long way to go. While 1 million iPads have been sold this year, the analyst firm Piper Jaffray says 36 millions iPhones will be sold this year worldwide, according to the blog AppleInsider.

It's also important to note that the iPhone cost $499 and $599 when it first hit the market. Sales didn't really take off until 2008, when Apple slashed the entry-level price of the device to $200, putting it within reach of more consumers.

Let us know what you think in the comments. What, if anything, do these sales figures mean? Is the iPad on track to change popular computing the way the iPhone changed what a mobile phone could be?

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Filed under: Apple • iPad • iPhone


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April 30, 2010

Adobe responds to Apple's Flash snub

Posted: 12:12 PM ET

It was already at reality-show proportions. But the tech feud between Apple and Adobe continues to escalate as Adobe responded Thursday to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' sharp criticism of its Flash player format.

The gist from Adobe: So what? We have other friends to play with.

"... Given the legal terms Apple has imposed on developers, we have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple devices for both Flash Player and AIR. We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others," Adobe's chief technology officer, Kevin Lynch, posted in a blog on Thursday evening.

Lynch said that he still holds out hope Apple and Adobe can work together on the mobile Web.

"We could provide a terrific experience with Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch," he wrote.

This comes after Jobs posted a missive about flaws with Adobe's Flash. He said the format leads to crashes, hinders app development and doesn't work well with touch-screen devices. That's why Apple does not support Flash video or games on the iPad, iPhone or iPod, he wrote.

Adobe says it has other plans for Flash.

"We look forward to delivering Flash Player 10.1 for Android smartphones as a public preview at Google I/O in May, and then a general release in June. From that point on, an ever increasing number and variety of powerful, Flash-enabled devices will be arriving which we hope will provide a great landscape of choice," Lynch wrote.

Now that both companies have weighed in - all blog style - who do you side with?

Read the source material for yourself (Apple | Adobe) and let us know in the comments. Several of you posted yesterday that you thought Steve Jobs was right to snub Flash.

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Filed under: Adobe • Apple


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April 29, 2010

Steve Jobs: Why Apple snubs Flash

Posted: 11:50 AM ET

Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Thursday said 200,000 applications are available in his company's mobile app store - and they all benefit because they're not built in Flash.

In a post on Apple's website, Jobs listed reasons none of those apps support Flash, a format that supports video, animation, games and other content and is made by tech competitor Adobe.

Some tech bloggers have criticized Apple for not supporting Flash on its mobile devices, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod. But Jobs said Adobe Flash is a format for the past.

Performance, not business strategy, guides Apple's decision not to use the format, he said.

"Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice," he wrote in the post. "Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short."

Adobe has complained its business "could be harmed" by Apple's decision not to use the format.

Jobs listed several specific reasons Apple doesn't use Flash. Some of the more interesting ones:

_ "iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video," he wrote.

_Apple products run more reliably without Flash: "Flash is the number one reason Macs crash."

_Flash isn't made for touch-screen devices: "... Many Flash websites rely on 'rollovers,' which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot." Apple's touch screens don't use rollovers.

_And, most important, Jobs said, is that Flash slows down app development: " We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers."

What do you think? Is Jobs right, or should Apple support Flash on its devices?

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Filed under: Apple • iPad • iPhone • iPod


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April 26, 2010

Police seize computers from Gizmodo editor

Posted: 05:34 PM ET

The Gizmodo-iPhone saga continues.

Gizmodo, the technology blog that recently published details about Apple's next-generation iPhone after paying $5,000 to get its hands on the device, posted documents today showing that police raided one of its editor's homes.

A search warrant posted by Gizmodo says police on Friday seized computers, cameras, hard drives, business cards and computer servers from the home of Jason Chen, the site's editor who last week published details about Apple's unreleased smartphone.

The warrant, issued by a judge in California's San Mateo County, says police were able to raid Chen's home because they had reason to believe his computers were used to commit a felony. The warrant makes specific reference to the unreleased iPhone 4 and gives police the authority to look for e-mails and other documentation related to the gadget.

Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, published a statement saying the raid was unlawful because of journalistic protections. Chen works from home, so his house should be protected as newsrooms are, the statement says.

In an account posted on Gizmodo, Chen says he returned home from dinner to find police searching his house.

Chen, who apparently has not been arrested or charged with a crime, says his door was kicked down as part of the search.

For background, you can find Gizmodo's account of how the blog acquired the unreleased iPhone here.

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Filed under: Apple • iPhone


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April 22, 2010

Guy who lost 4G iPhone offered trip to Germany

Posted: 06:03 PM ET

It's probably been a tough week for Apple engineer Gray Powell, what with him reportedly losing a next-generation iPhone in a bar, only to see photos of the super-secret device later spashed across the internet.

Tech blogs say Powell left the prototype, which was disguised as an iPhone 3GS, behind at Gourmet Haus Staudt, a German beer hall in Redwood City, California. The iPhone was later sold to tech blog Gizmodo for $5,000.

There's been rampant speculation that Powell is in trouble with Apple for losing the phone. But Lufthansa, the German airline, is offering to help the 27-year-old drown his sorrows.

The airline’s director of marketing and customer relations has written an open letter to Powell, dated April 21 and posted on the internet.

“I recently read in the news that you lost a very special phone at a German beer bar in California," writes Nicola C. Lange. "We all know how frustrating it can be to lose personal belongings … at Lufthansa we also noted with great interest your passion for German beer and culture."

Lange goes on to say, "[Lufthansa] would like to offer you complimentary Business Class transportation to Munich where you can literally pick up where you left off.”

The letter was attached to a tweet posted on the airline’s Twitter page Thursday. It said, “If you can help us get in touch with Gray Powell, we’d like to fly him to Munich.”

As marketing gimmicks go, this is a pretty good one.

There was no word as of late Thursday on whether Powell had accepted the offer. But if he does, maybe he should leave his iPhone at home.

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Filed under: Apple • iPhone


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April 20, 2010

3G iPad goes on sale April 30

Posted: 11:23 AM ET

The 3G version of the iPad, which connects to the Internet over AT&T's wireless network, will go on sale in the U.S. on April 30, Apple announced Tuesday.

The suggested retail price is $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

The Wi-Fi + 3G model is priced higher than the Wi-Fi-only model released in the U.S. on April 3 because its 3G capability will allow users to surf the Web without a Wi-Fi connection.

Customers who have not pre-ordered a 3G iPad will have to wait until 5 p.m. on April 30 to get their hands on the new model.

“Apple retail stores will offer a free Personal Setup service to every customer who buys an iPad at the store,” according to the company's press release.

All versions of the iPad will go on sale at the end of May in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, Apple said.

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Filed under: Apple • iPad


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April 7, 2010

iPad destruction videos go viral

Posted: 10:10 AM ET

The Web's latest viral video hit comes from the popular online series called "Will it Blend?"

The premise of the show is simple. A guy in glasses and a lab coat (who just so happens to be the founder of a blender company) puts stuff in a kitchen blender and then declares the objects blendable or not.

Monday's iPad blender test has been watched 2.8 million times on YouTube.

So does the iPad blend? Tom Dickson, the show's host and founder of Blendtec, says yes in the video, as he pours the ashy remains of an iPad onto the counter top.

But with a caveat. Dickson has to bust the iPad into two pieces for the 9.7-inch screen to fit inside the appliance.

A number of other iPad-destruction videos are getting passed around the Web, too. Some guys decided to bust their iPads within moments of purchasing them.

Not everyone is happy about this trend.

On the Apple-fan blog Macgasm, Joshua Schnell seems disturbed:

"Why is it that all these people on the internet want to destroy iPads? It makes me weep," he writes.

Some environmentalists see the stunts as wasteful.

Referring to the young men who smashed iPads right after purchasing them, the green blog Treehugger writes:

"This joker and cohorts need to go tour some of the horrendous precious metal mines, the manufacturing facilities, an e-waste dump and get first hand experience with how much goes into creating and disassembling one of these devices so that they begin to grasp that this is not funny."

What do you think?

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Filed under: Apple • iPad


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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

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