Apple awarded Patent for iPhone Interface

When Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone at Macworld Expo 2007, he lauded its multitouch interface. “And boy, have we patented it,” he added. It seems that now, four and a half years after Jobs declared the iPhone’s innovations worth protecting, that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has agreed.

On Tuesday, Apple was awarded U.S. Patent 7,966,578, for a “Portable multifunction device, method, and graphical user interface for translating displayed content.” In other words, Apple received a patent on the basic behaviors of the iPhone.

Via an email to Macworld, patent expert Florian Muller—a vocal critic of software patents—described Patent 7,966,578 to as “excessively broad.” Though Muller acknowledged “that Apple is a truly innovative company,” he suggested that Apple—like other large companies—“understand[s] the name of the patent game,” and thus aimed for a broader patent that could theoretically give it more legal muscle to exert over potential competitors.

Toward Better Master Passwords

1Password is great for generating strong random passwords for sites without you ever having to memorize (or even see) those passwords. But there are a few passwords that we all do need to remember. I have a small number (I wish I could say just one) high security passwords that I need to remember. One, of course, is my 1Password master password.

We’ve all been told to change passwords on a regular basis, and there are still some circumstances under which that remains reasonable advice. But it is not a good idea with 1Password master passwords. Ideally you should pick a good master password at the outset and never change it.

10 Good Minutes: Rumors, Patents and New Products

This week on Your Mac Life, sponsored by TabGrip, Smile, Circus Ponies and PowerMax: "10 Good Minutes: Rumors, Patents and New Products"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
http://yml.macosg.com

Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Archives for June 22nd, 2011

This week's show "10 Good Minutes: Rumors, Patents and New Products"

How to encrypt Your Dropbox Files

With the news that Dropbox managed to leave every single user account open for four hours, perhaps it’s time to review our encryption options.

We’re fans of Dropbox here at Securosis. We haven’t found any other tools that so effectively enable us to access my data on all my systems. I personally use two primary computers, plus an iPad and iPhone, and with my travel I really need seamless synchronization of all that content.

That said, I’m having serious doubts about my continued use of the service.

First Look: Final Cut Pro X

With the release of its hotly anticipated Final Cut Pro X (FCP X), Apple breaks new ground—not just with its flagship video editor's interface and underlying infrastructure—but with the whole mindset of what it means to be a working professional video editor.

Apple has revamped Final Cut Pro's hands-on user experience in three major areas: Editing, media organization, and post-production workflow. New tools such as the Magnetic Timeline, Clip Connections, Compound Clips, and Auditions provide a smooth, intuitive editing experience.

With this new application, video pros can no longer follow traditional ways of working.

“Why should Somebody Buy this instead of an iPad?”

It’s been fifteen months since the first iPad shipped. Nearly every sizable company that makes anything that looks even sort of like a computer or a phone has rushed into the market that Apple created. Many of these companies haven’t yet shipped the tablets they’ve announced. Still, a critical mass of major iPad alternatives are now here–tablets such as Motorola’s Xoom, RIM’s PlayBook, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1.

And yet no Apple competitor has started selling anything that clearly answers a fundamental question: “Why should somebody buy this instead of an iPad?”

Why Apple isn't in the Dow

Since 1896, when the Wall Street Journal's first editor and co-founder, Charles Dow, compiled a portfolio of bellwether industrial stocks, the Dow Jones industrial average has sought to reflect the changing U.S. economy. The benchmark has sometimes been slow to keep up with the times.

Today the Dow is notable for one giant omission: Apple, the world's leading tech stock. With a market value of $307 billion as of June 14, the maker of iPhones and Macs is the second largest company in the U.S., behind ExxonMobil, a Dow component, and almost as large as Microsoft and Intel combined. "Apple should be in the Dow," says Paul Hickey, of Bespoke Investment Group in Harrison, N.Y. "Just as there used to be a General Motors vehicle in nearly every American driveway, there's now an Apple product in practically every American household."

Apple debuts ‘Now’ iPad 2 Commercial

Interview with Rob Griffiths of Many Tricks

I'm a big fan of little apps that do one or two things that solve a problem I may have with the way OS X works. I "discovered" Many Tricks after using their Witch app and I follow their "Master of Ceremonies", Rob Griffiths on Twitter.

Rob was kind enough to give me some of his time to talk about the company, how they work across continents and times zones, what he thinks about "competing" with Apple and a wide range of other topics. I hope you enjoy it.

Click this link to listen to the interview directly but, even better, subscribe to Your Mac Life on iTunes and get all of our interviews downloaded automagically.

Testing for Rosetta Use in OS X

With speculation and rumor suggesting (possibly accurately) that OS X Lion will be issued without the "Rosetta" dynamic translator that allows PowerPC code to run on Intel-based Macs, a number of people are undoubtedly concerned about their readiness to use a platform without any form of PowerPC support.

If a program does require PowerPC and you install OS X without Rosetta, you will see the program's icon appear with a white "no entry" slash through it, and you will not be able to open the program. To avoid chancing that this will happen with any of your current programs, it will help to check whether any that you use or have installed are PowerPC-only applications.

There are several ways to do this in OS X.

Unlocked iPhones: What are They Good For?

Since the launch of the very first iPhone, customers in the U.S. could only get their hands on the device if they were willing to ink a two-year contract with a cell phone carrier. iPhone users in other parts of the world had it different, though—they could buy an iPhone that wasn’t locked into any one carrier, provided they were willing to pay up for the privilege.

That changed on Tuesday, when Apple announced it would sell an unlocked version of the iPhone 4 in the U.S. You’re responsible for procuring your own micro-SIM—that’s the card that identifies you to mobile networks and lets you make calls—and you’ve got to line up a cellular contract. But other than that—and a modest payment of $649 or $749 to buy the device—an unlocked iPhone 4 capable of connecting to any GSM-based network is all yours.

The question is, why pay up for an unlocked phone?

Secrets From Apple's Genius Bar: Full Loyalty, No Negativity

Steve Jobs turned Apple Inc. into the world's most valuable technology company with high-tech products like the iPad and iPhone. But one anchor of Apple's success is surprisingly low tech: its chain of brick-and-mortar retail stores.

A look at confidential training manuals, a recording of a store meeting and interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees reveal some of Apple's store secrets. They include: intensive control of how employees interact with customers, scripted training for on-site tech support and consideration of every store detail down to the pre-loaded photos and music on demo devices.

Ron Johnson and more Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud

This week on Your Mac Life, sponsored by TabGrip, Smile, Circus Ponies and PowerMax: "Ron Johnson and more Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
http://yml.macosg.com

Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Archives for June 15th, 2011

This week's show "Ron Johnson and more Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud"

Unlocked iPhone FAQ, including AT&T Plan Info

Apple is selling an unlocked version of the iPhone in the US starting at US$649. To help clarify questions about this development, we've put together this little FAQ. We'll explain what the unlocked iPhone means to you as a customer and how you'll be able to use it both at home and abroad.

Apple Cloud vs. Google Cloud: The Philosophical Differences

At the end of TechRepublic’s live commentary of the Apple WWDC keynote on Monday, after Apple had unveiled iCloud, I had a conversation with the participants in our live chat in which I explained that Apple’s cloud was a “store and forward” cloud as opposed to an “All your base are belong to us” cloud. Goofy Internet memes and technical jargon aside, that’s a pretty good description of the difference between the Apple cloud and the Google cloud — even though I was half-joking at the time.

Let’s look closer.

Why Apple scrapped MobileMe for iCloud

As Apple gets ready for the fall launch of iCloud, its brand new Internet service for Mac and Windows, it seems only right to mark (if not exactly mourn) the passing of MobileMe, one of the rare product flops Apple has seen in recent years. While there was much to praise about MobileMe, there were too many problems—both real and perceived—that ultimately doomed the service.

What went wrong with Apple's pioneering Web services infrastructure?

Preparing for Lion: Find Your PowerPC Applications

No bad thing will happen to your Mac the day Lion goes final. Your current hardware won’t refuse to boot. Your current system won’t stop working. Your favorite applications will still be your favorite applications. But suppose, just for the sake of argument, that you become interested in upgrading to Lion. And suppose, for the sake of even further argument, that Lion lacks Rosetta. What might the loss of Rosetta mean to you?

To find out, you need to know what PowerPC-only applications you currently depend on.

The Top Steve Jobs Keynote Moments

Keynote speeches by Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc., have become something of a cultural event. Relentlessly analyzed, interpreted, live-blogged and picked apart for details, these "Steve-notes," as they have come to be called, give insight not only into the new products and features Apple will be touting in the coming fiscal quarter, but Jobs' own outlook on gadgets and technology. With Jobs ongoing struggles with illness, his physical appearance and demeanor as well have become fodder for armchair pundits and tech obsessives.

This list will count down some of our favorite moments from Steve Jobs' many speeches and presentations over the years.

Five Awesome, Useless MacBook Tricks

MacBooks are well-known for doing awesome, useful things--they don't (usually) get viruses, the battery life is great, and the user interface is simple.

What they didn't tell you is that your MacBook can do a lot of awesome useless things. Take a moment and indulge in the (mostly) unnecessary features available!

Sly's Website of the Week - June 8th, 2011

Not sure if I'll be on tonight's show as it's Game 4 of a very high-spirited (to say the least) Stanley Cup Final between my Canucks and the Boston Bruins. But I wanted to post the website of the week because it's too damn cute/funny not to.

Ever get confused playing the "Shell Game". Maybe you should take lessons from this cat.

Yes, I said cat:

Enjoy!
~Sly

How Apple can make Money from Higher Quality Songs

Whenever Apple introduces a new mobile device, I go through an anxious ritual: trying to decide how much memory I need in the device.

For example, the last time I bought a new iPhone, I stood in the store for what felt like an hour weighing the pros and cons of spending an extra $100 for the 32-gigabyte version. In the end, I decided to buy the less expensive 16-gigabyte option. My reasoning: I’ll only add the songs and videos I need to the phone at that time, and swap them out when my device fills up later.

Now that Apple announced its music software offering on Monday, iTunes Match, it’s likely that the memory decision will be made for me. And that subtle incentive for me to add memory will help Apple is some small way to make more money.

Archives for June 8th, 2011

This week's show "Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud - All Your Questions Answered!"

Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud - All Your Questions Answered!

This week on Your Mac Life, sponsored by TabGrip, Smile, Circus Ponies and PowerMax: "Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud - All Your Questions Answered!"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
http://yml.macosg.com

Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

On Cloud Nine

On Monday Seve Jobs and a host of Apple exec u tives deliv ered the highly antic i pated keynote address to the 2011 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. There are plenty of recaps of the annunce ments avail able and I have no inter est in run ning though the bul­let points here. If, by some mir a cle you’re unaware of what was announced, this slideshow from Macworld should fill you in.

What I want to com ment on specif i cally is the iCloud announce ment. I believe that, despite the stu pid name, iCloud will prove to be as ground break ing as any thing else announced at the Keynote. I also sus pect that iCloud will ulti mately be one of the most impor tant announce ments that Apple has ever made.

How to Burn a Lion Boot Disc

In my last post I walked you through the process of installing Lion on a bootable external hard drive and using that hard drive to install subsequent Lion installations. I thought that in the absence of Apple installation media using a full Lion installation on and external drive would be the easiest way to perform a clean install. I was wrong. Apple's official Lion Installation Media was under my nose the entire time, and I am going to show you how to get it.

MobileMe is dead. Long live iCloud

Like a Hollywood movie studio trying to bring back an ailing superhero franchise, Apple today killed off one of its products by resurrecting it with something else that promises to fix many of the original's shortcomings. At the same time the company acknowledged that MobileMe has been a dud. Can iCloud put the bad memories of MobileMe in the past? Apple sure hopes so.

iCloud, in case you missed it, is Apple's new cloud sync service. It succeeds MobileMe, the $99 a year service Apple introduced three years ago, which will close down on June 30, 2012. iCloud syncs files, apps, app data and media across iOS devices, Macs and PCs. It also syncs your music across devices, though won't do that for video content.

Bandwidth Caps may Obscure iCloud

iCloud's sync services may run smack dab into a countervailing trend: bandwidth caps and overage fees. Because iCloud could potentially move many gigabytes to and from the Internet, crossing your limit could suddenly become a costly or difficult issue. If you're already running close to limits routinely with your current usage (such as streaming movies from Netflix), adding iCloud could put you over the top.

Go Canucks Go!

This is the flagpole outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. :)

Why yes - we are a nation of hockey mad goobers - why do you ask? :)