Some Of The Many Things We Are Interested In:

New CEO for Apple

Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

Says that the “day has come” when he can no longer meet his “duties and expectations.”

By Josh Voorhees

Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple’s chief executive officer, the company’s board of directors announced Wednesday.

Apple’s chief operating officer, Tim Cook, will take over atop the company, according to Apple. As part of the move, Jobs was named chairman of the board, effective immediately.

“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” Art Levinson, chairman of Genentech, said in a statement on behalf of Apple’s board. “Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”

Here’s the background on Cook, via the press release:

As COO, Cook was previously responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.

Here’s the resignation letter Jobs sent to Apple’s board (via Business Insider):

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


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Free iPad Video Apps

The 11 Best Free iPad Video Apps: Showyou, ABC Player And More

The Huffington Post  

The ever-popular Apple iPad, with its wide, high-resolution screen, is a great device for watching video (better than the tiny iPhone, anyway); and yet the options for video discovery are surprisingly limited, given how tailor-made the iPad seems to be for media consumption of all kinds.

Sure, you’ve got YouTube for your standard viral video-viewing pleasure, iTunes for individual purchases and rentals, and Netflix and Hulu Plus for those with subscriptions. But what about for us freeloaders?

Here are eleven zero-dollar apps we found that can be quite useful both for finding new videos online and for watching them full-screen on your iPad, or hooked up to your wide-screen television at home. Just be sure you plan ahead: you’ll need an Internet connection to stream the clips, as the free apps don’t allow for downloads.

ABC wins the award for best iPad app among the television networks, mainly because it is the only one of the Big 4 networks that allows you to watch full episodes on your Apple tablet.

Sure, you have to wait through ads, but the fact that ABC is willing to let users stream full episodes of Secret Millionaire, Primetime and (personal favorite braindead show) Wipeout onto your iPad is a huge plus for the network and a good way to make fans.

Of course PBS has free shows! Joining ABC, PBS has an iPad app streaming full episodes of Masterpiece Theater, Austin City Limits and worldwide dad-favorite Antiques Roadshow.

Sure, you can only watch previews of PBS’s incredibly popular children shows (oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to watch The Electric Company on my tablet), but if you’re an adult looking for some stimulating video content for your iPad, the PBS iPad app is an excellent place to turn.

The TED series–“riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”–are also free to you on your iPad with an attractive interface on a white background, videos are searchable by category and length of time, and can also be saved to watch offline.

Watch some TEDTalks for free and maybe, just maybe, learn something or be inspired to change the world. Not a bad deal at a zero dollar price tag.

Showyou is a well-designed and well-conceived video app that utilizes all the best features of the iPad in its interface. Showyou gives you a user-friendly sliding grid of videos against a black background and the clips are sorted either by publisher (featuring collections by Reddit, The Colbert Report, CollegeHumor and a few dozen others) or by what your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks.

In the “All” view, the “Publisher” and “Social Network” options are combined with the videos that are currently the most shared on the Internet. Your subscriptions are pushed to the top-left corner for easy, swipe-based scanning.

You can also search all videos on Showyou and the results are displayed in the app’s standard grid view.

Sony owns Crackle, a video streaming site, and the company recently built a Crackle iPad app that showcases Sony’s content. Though it’s a little buggy (as we found when tried out the app and as numerous other reviewers have noted), Crackle users can expect a nice selection of ad-supported television and movies from Sony Studios. Be forewarned, however, that most of the content is fairly old. While you won’t be getting, say, Breaking Bad, you do get some episodes News Radio, Seinfeld and The Tick, as well as movies like Pineapple Express, Beverly Hills Ninja and Stand by Me, among other 80s and 90s favorites.

If you don’t mind ads or a small selection that skews older, Crackle is a nice choice for free, professional content for the iPad.

Similar to Showyou, Squrl is a video aggregation app that offers collections of videos from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Vimeo sorted by topic. Think of it as an endlessly iterating selection of playlists on different themes: Movie trailers, politics, sports highlights, music videos, and everything else you would expect across the major video streaming platforms.

Though it does not have the beautiful interface of Showyou, Squrl does a nice job of cataloging your different options so you navigate to a particular category with just a few taps. Its search function can be a bit less intimidating than the image-only Showyou search as well.

Fanhattan is a fun way to find new on-demand and free content for the iPad. Split into “movies and “TV shows,” Fanhattan features an attractive sliding line of titles that gives price points on Netflix, Hulu and iTunes, and links up to Rotten Tomatoes reviews, cast information, recommendations and more.

Fanhattan is a good choice for those who are willing to shell out some cash to watch on their iPads, but so far its ability to find (or even search for) free content is somewhere between limited and non-existent. Hopefully the people behind Fanhattan will add the capability to showcase free movies and television when they next update the app, as it is sorely lacking as of now.

Plizy is another video aggregator, one that sorts videos by channels on a user-curated front page. You start out with a few pre-determined Plizy categories (all of which can be deleted) including “Plizy Buzz” (the most popular videos on Plizy), Google News, TED Talks, Vimeo Staff Picks, Bloomberg, NPR Music and the videos shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter; from there you can add channels from about a dozen different categories including Animation, Comedy, Culture, Politics and more.

The interface is a little clunky, and the fact that there is no list view for videos is puzzling (once you click on a category, it auto-plays, rather than letting you scan through your options), but overall it’s a helpful app for finding and watching videos that you care about.

“Brought to you by Goldman Sachs” is probably not what you want to hear about a free video app, but guess what? The Goldman Sachs-sponsored video app SnagFilms is a really good app for viewing free documentaries on the iPad!

No, you won’t be able to watch “Inside Job,” but you are able to view several dozen both short and full-length documentaries full-screen on SnagFilms, including critical hits like “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” “Winnebago Man,” and “Buena Vista Social Club.”

And while “The views and opinions expressed in these films do not necessarily reflect those of Goldman Sachs,” perhaps that’s a good thing: The documentaries on offer, though currently a bit light, are well-varied and interesting.

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Twitter’s New Open-Source Tools

Twitter launches Bootstrap, open-source tools for making web apps

The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

Twitter on Friday released Bootstrap, an online toolkit for developers looking to build new web apps, or even clean up some of the code they already have.

Bootstrap is an open source set of files written in CSS (or Cascading Style Sheets, a programming language used to dictate how a website or web app looks and works) that covers some of the building blocks of most web apps, such as buttons, tables and forms, page templates, app navigation and even stylistic matters such as typography and color gradients.

The simple and small tools (at about only six kilobytes in size) released by Twitter, on the popular code sharing site GitHub, are the same basic tools used by Twitter developers for the social network’s own webpages and apps, Mark Otto, a designer at Twitter, said in a blog post.

Earlier on at Twitter, programmers were more focused on building the social network to meet users’ needs than building it with coding consistency, Otto said.

“Inconsistencies among the individual applications made it difficult to scale and maintain them,” he said. “Bootstrap began as an answer to these challenges.”

Now, the same tools Twitter users are open to the Web and anyone who wants to use them or make them better, or “fork” the tools and modify them to build something else, Otto said.

“Bootstrap works by providing a clean and uniform solution to the most common, everyday interface tasks developers come across,” he said. “We want to keep working on slimming down Bootstrap’s already tiny footprint while also increasing the breadth of what it covers. As always, we’d love your feedback and hope you find it useful. If you’d like to help make Bootstrap better, feel free to fork it, file issues and watch its progress over on GitHub.”

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iPad 3 Cool New Features

Apple iPad 3: Retina display and 5 more features we’d like to see

The Web was abuzz Friday with a rumor we’ve all been hearing for months — that the iPad 3, whenever it comes out, will be outfitted with Apple’s retina display.

Double the resolution, up to 2,048 by 1,536 from the iPad 1 and iPad 2’s 1,024 by 768 for a crisp 326 dpi (dots, or pixels, per inch) matching the density of the much-loved screen on the iPhone 4 — that’s the rumor and the latest to report that this is happening from unnamed sources oversees: the Wall Street Journal.

The journal says the retina-display-packing iPad 3 will hit stores early next year, while others have said such a device could launch this fall or winter. Either way, nothing is official as of yet — an Apple doesn’t comment on rumors. The Cupertino tech giant hasn’t yet said anything about the next iPad and the iPad 2 is enjoying huge sales.

But, with a growing swarm of tablet competitors running various versions of Google’s Android mobile OS (rest in peace HP TouchPad), the iPad 3 might have to be more than simply thinner, lighter, faster and equipped with a better screen.

In that vein, here are five unsolicited features that we’d like to see on the next iPad — or any tablet for that matter.

Thinner and lighter

This may seem obvious, but while the iPad 2 is svelte, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is barely thinner and yup, even lighter. However, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 achieves this with the use of a plastic back that feels much flimsier in the hand than the iPad 2’s aluminum body. Apple has used plastic and glass to create thinner and lighter iPhones and this might be an option in the iPad 3. Another idea for Apple might be the use of something similar to the grippy, rubberized plastic feel of the Motorola Xoom.

Glare protector

Among the biggest knocks on the iPad is that its glossy screen reflects too much light and is therefore no fun to take outside and read by the pool or on the beach. (Yes, it’s a good problem to have.) But it’s a serious issue for Apple, which wants to become a major player in the electronic book market and compete with Amazon’s Kindle, the leading e-book reader. The Kindle has a matte-type screen that diffuses light rather than reflect it — so why shouldn’t the iPad have a glare-proof screen?

As Apple offers with its MacBook Pro laptops, an anti-glare screen and a glossy screen could be offered so consumers can choose what they want.

Haptic feedback

Apple seems to have become an accidental force in the mobile gaming industry. It’s iPhone and iPad have inspired developers to make hundreds (if not thousands) of affordable games with low barriers to entry. The iPad 2 offers impressive graphics performance and the iPad 3, which will assuredly make use of a faster processor, will see a bump here as well. But if Apple wants to make the iPad an ever better gaming machine, it needs to give gamers a rumbling iPad, one that vibrates and shakes in response to the video games played on screen in the same way that every home gaming console’s controllers do.

This isn’t impossible by any means. Many Android phones and tablets already feature haptic, or tactile, feedback when using keyboards and other functions. Of course, this would have to be a feature that could be turned off or on for those who do or don’t want to make use of the rumble.

Biometric security

The physical security of mobile devices is still rather limited. Users are able to protect their phones and tablets with a four-digit unlock code, but many don’t even bother, leaving their iPads and Androids vulnerable if they leave them in a coffee shop or taxi cab. So why not add another layer of security — like iris scanning? Companies like Hoyos Group make iris identification systems that scan 2,048 points in the eye’s most colorful layer — the software can even detect “liveness” so, you know, no one can use some dead guy’s eye to break into an iPad.

Wireless charging

Apple’s iOS 5 will enable iPad and iPhone owners to “cut the cord” and wirelessly sync songs, contacts, apps and plenty of other content whenever Apple mobile devices are near their Mac computer counterparts. And, with iOS 5, users will even be able to download operating system updates “over the air” without having to plug their i-device into a computer for the latest software. This can be taken a step further with wireless charging.

The technology is already proven. Many third-parties accessory makers offer wireless charging products for phones, tablets and even TV remotes. Hewlett-Packard had built wireless charging into its HP TouchPad as well. All TouchPad users had to do was lay their tablets into a charging dock and it would charge right up, no need to plug any cables into the device itself. Post-PC should be post cables and wires too.

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Free Alternatives for Texting!

Free alternatives may cut into text messaging profits

August 21, 2011|By Salvador Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

Apple’s upcoming iMessage service, Facebook’s new Messenger app and other no-cost options could diminish a revenue stream for the wireless industry that totaled about $21 billion last year

Koshal Singh, left, checks Facebook on her iPhone while waiting in line.… (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times)
Ben Chinn likes to text as much as the next guy — he just doesn’t like to pay for it.

Chinn, 37, sends most of his text messages free of charge with Google Voice and a smartphone application. He also pays $5 a month for up to 200 messages on his AT&T mobile phone plan.

“With everything with the mobile carriers, I feel I’m getting nickeled and dimed,” said Chinn, of San Francisco. “I resent paying so much for text messaging, and I feel that it’s not a reasonable price to pay for something that costs the carriers next to nothing.”

It’s customers like Chinn who are worrying the big telecommunication companies. Text messaging has been a huge profit center for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, but that money could trickle away as free alternatives gain popularity.

Facebook Inc., for example, recently launched a smartphone app called Messenger that enables users to communicate with anyone who is a Facebook friend or has a cellphone number. And this fall, Apple Inc. will roll out iMessage, enabling the millions of iPhone and iPad owners to send messages to one another over the Internet at no cost.

In addition to free apps, the growing popularity of smartphones — which can handle both email and texting apps — are dimming text messaging’s future as a profit center.

“There is a change coming, and it will have a serious impact on messaging traffic in mature markets, starting with the U.S.,” said John White, a business development director at Portio Research. “We see iMessage and Facebook messaging as the biggest players [and] this will start to impact right away.”

Juniper Research has predicted that global revenue for text messaging will peak this year and begin to drift down. And in a recent report, UBS Investment Research warned that “customers could elect not to pay for texting as smartphones and third-party applications become pervasive.”

Text messaging’s popularity exploded around 2005, driven by teenagers and young adults who adopted the format as an easy way to communicate on the go, similar to the instant messaging function on their computers.

And text messaging is still a big business, accounting for an estimated $21 billion in U.S. revenue for telecom companies last year and an estimated $23 billion this year, according to the Consumer Federation of America.

But growth in message traffic slowed for the first time to single digits — 8.7% — in the last half of last year compared with the previous six months, according to U.S. wireless trade group CTIA.

Typically, wireless carriers have charged separately for text messaging, multimedia messaging and data plans, which provide Internet access. Though they have offered unlimited plans for each category, carriers have been pulling back recently, limiting particularly how much a customer can use the Internet.

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A New Walkman?

Sony Ericsson unveils Live with Walkman Android smartphone

Sony Ericsson has unveiled a new Android smartphone with Walkman branding that touts unique music-centric features. Dubbed the Live with Walkman, the handset will feature a dedicated Walkman button for quick access to your music. But, it’s different from previous Walkman-branded devices in that it also features deep Facebook integration for music sharing and discovering.

The Live with Walkman will sport a 3.2-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display powered by a single-core 1GHz processor with 380MB of RAM. It will have a front-facing VGA camera for Skype video calling, a 5-megapixel rear-facing auto-focus camera capable of 720p HD video recording, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, DLNA, and Sony’s xLOUD system for enhanced audio output.

Additionally, the handset will have deep integration with Sony’s Qriocity for music content. However, it’s interesting to note that the press image above shows the device playing music through Spotify, which makes us wonder whether the music service would also come preloaded.

The Live with Walkman will run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and is expected to arrive later this fall, possibly in October. It will be available worldwide in select markets, but no pricing information has been disclosed yet.

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Sci-fi Meets Future Tech

Intel recruits sci-fi writers to dream up future tech

Chip maker Intel has commissioned leading science fiction authors to pen short stories that imagine future uses for the firm’s technology.

The collection, called “The Tomorrow Project”, aims to capture the public’s imagination regarding the company’s current research.

Intel believes this can help anticipate consumer aspirations, and drive future adoption of its products.

The anthology has been made available online as a free download.

The Tomorrow Project is led by Intel futurist Brian David Johnson, who regards the scheme as an important way to assess future technology trends.

“When we design chips to go into your television, your computers, your phones – we need to do it about five or ten years in advance. We need to have an understanding of what people will want to do with those devices,” said Mr Johnson.

“What science fiction does is give us a way to think about the implications of the technologies that we’re building, for the people who will actually be using them.”

The concept is called “future casting” – and aims to drive future technology uses, rather than simply responding to market forces.

“If we can give people a vision of the future – and do it through science fiction – we can capture people’s imaginations,” said Mr Johnson.

The project features work from UK sci-fi author Ray Hammond, who took research in development at Intel’s labs and used it as the basis for “The Mercy Dash” – the story of a couple battling futuristic traffic technology in a race to save a mother’s life.

“I was more nervous approaching this than I have been with any of my full-length novels. I’ve never written short stories, so the form was new to me,” Mr Hammond told BBC News.

The author’s work has been made freely available for download from Intel’s site and Mr Hammond has been delighted by the reaction.

“I’ve had several hundred responses from people around the world who’ve read the story, and either want to read more of my books, or else ask specific questions on the content.”

The initiative suggests a cultural shift by the chip giant, which has had to adjust to sharp changes in the consumer tech landscape.

In previous decades, Intel was able to drive progress and profits through steady increments in processor speed. Yet in a post-PC world, firms like Apple have successfully used lifestyle innovations to frame future market appetites.

“Intel have owned the desktop and server market for a long time. As the world moves to mobile devices where they are not number one, what are they going to do?” said Mr Hammond.

The author believes narrative has an important role to play in future technology.

“Story telling is often under-appreciated in marketing and development. It can engender reactions you just don’t get if you show a bunch of slides. The best CEOs – like Apple’s Steve Jobs – are the most brilliant story tellers,” said Mr Hammond.

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