This week JD takes a listen to Apple’s new iTunes Radio service and breaks it down for us; Pedro wrestles with a rare tie-less day in the studio; and gives us his observations on everything from “Breaking Bad”, iOS 7 and the updated edition of JD’s book, “iPad: The Missing Manual”. In the news New York State goes after fake online reviews; LinkedIn gets sued for allegedly hacking user accounts; Microsoft debuts new Surface tablets; Blackberry throws in the towel; iPhone sets a sales record for their new smartphones; Google’s Gmail service slows to a crawl; Valve announces their own Linux based OS; and Adobe updates their consumer photo apps to eliminate the dreaded “Pet Eye”. (Stop frontin’, you know you wanted it…)
Roving correspondent Jocelyn Gonzales is back with a report on do-it-yourself iPad magazines and the online service that helps put them together while Pedro barely keeps his inner-Miley at bay as J.D. explains how a user can get a complete archive of their Twitter posts. In the news, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announces his retirement; Nokia gets set to launch a Lumia tablet; Samsung and Apple plan big September announcements; Apple TV gets more channels; and Kevin Spacey lays the truth down on the television industry.
In case you were on vacation last week like we were, you may have missed the non-Batman news from the West Coast…Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced he would be retiring within the next 12 months and with no obvious successor in view, it seems like it might be a bit of a PopeWatch thing there in Redmond. Windows 8.1, thought to be the corrected version of Windows 8, is due for release on October 17th for current users who wish to upgrade.
Nokia, the company that makes the Lumia smartphone for Microsoft’s Windows Phone system is also said to be working on its own tablet that will run the much-mocked Windows RT software. According to the Verge tech site, the Nokia Sirius will have a 10.1-inch screen, look like a big Lumia phone and be price around $500. If it’s real, let’s see how they do with that.
Summer’s pretty much in the archive now anyway, and September is shaping up to be a big month for the announcements aside from Nokia. Samsung has confirmed it will be introducing its Galaxy Gear Smartwatch at the IFA Consumer Electronics show in Berlin on September 4th. Apple has not officially confirmed it, but major media sources are reporting the company will introduce its next round of iPhone at a press event on September 10th, with the new models possibly being available on September 20th.
All Things D and 9to5Mac are among the sites reporting that Apple is prepping the program will allow customers to trade in their old iPhones for credit toward a new model. While Apple had no comment on that, the company issued an update for Apple TV this week that brings the Disney Channel, the Weather Channel, Vevo Music Videos and the Smithsonian Channel all to the main screen’s channel lineup. And one more bite of Apple news here — the company’s legal team has responded to the Department of Justice’s proposed punishment in that e-book case this summer. (Hint: Apple is not happy.)
The Federal government has been looking into other tech business as well, and just released a memo on mobile malware findings. According to the report, 0.7% of all mobile malware affected Apple’s iOS system, while 79% was aimed at Android and 12% was targeting the Symbian OS.
While we’re talking about national security, it seems US fugitive Edward Snowden did not need to have a sophisticated scheme to steal all those 20,000 leak-worthy documents from the National Security Agency. The investigations team over at NBC News did some digging and reports that multiple intelligence community sources told them all Snowden needed was a few USB thumb drives and the willingness to exploit a gaping hole in an antiquated security system — all without leaving a trace. (Hint: The NSA is not happy, nosireee.)
In other product news, Facebook is starting to roll out shared photo albums this week. Feedly has just announced the general availability of Feedly Pro. Feedly Pro offers Evernote integration, but if you really like Evernote — and writing in journals by hand — check out the Evernote Smart Notebook from Moleskine.
In the casual gaming world, the sequel to the popular PopCap Games title Plants vs. Zombies arrived this month for iOS. The new game, Plants vs. Zombie 2: It’s About Time had 16 million downloads during its opening week. The game itself is free but has many in-app purchase opportunities for coin packs and additional plants. No word on when the game will be available for Android.
Actor and producer Kevin Spacey had some words of warning for TV executives at the Edinburgh Television Festival in Scotland last week. (Hint: Content and story make people happy — while schedules and devices don’t matter.)
And finally, the old ways do work well for some people. Instead of going all digital video that some of the franchise’s previous installments, Star Wars VII will be shot on good old-fashioned 35mm film stock to recapture the feel of movies from the 1970s. The news comes in the same month that Gilbert Taylor, the cinematographer for the original Star Wars, passed away at the age of 99. In addition to Star Wars and many other films, Mr. Taylor shot Dr. Strangelove, A Hard Day’s Night and some episodes of The Avengers TV series. Before his film career took off, rhe spent six years with the Royal Air Force Force during World War II and filmed night raids after a request from Winston Churchill. Rest in peace, Mr. Taylor — and thanks for all the amazing work.
Can the mythical iRadio finally be on the way for real? Apple’s recent deal with the Warner Music Group has some wondering if the company’s long-rumored streaming music service will soon be announced — maybe even at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.
Apple also has some other things on its To Do List this month, namely that Federal antitrust case against the company that opened this week in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Federal lawyers accuse Apple and five major book publishers of conspiring to raise e-book prices together before the iPad came out in 2010.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to expand its empire with 4,000 TV episodes — mainly children’s shows from Viacom — going into the Amazon Instant Video inventory. Amazon Instant Video now has about 41,000 titles for the streaming.
Samsung keeps adding Galaxies to its universe of flat devices. The Galaxy Tab 3 — available in 8-inch and 10.1-inch screen sizes, were announced this week and the new models are said to run on Intel processors instead of ARM chips. Other companies are also rolling out new hardware sporting Intel processors; among others, the new Haswell chips are included in Toshiba’s top-shelf Qosimo X75 and a new 27-inch all-in-one from Dell Computer.
Yahoo Mail Classic has become extinct, replaced by the new-look Yahoo Mail. A page on Yahoo’s Help site said that the new terms of service for Yahoo Mail required “the acceptance of automated content scanning and analyzing of your communications content, which Yahoo Uses to deliver product features, relevant advertising, and abuse protection.” Yahoo points out that those not wishing to be scanned can download mail with an IMAP e-mail client or just close their accounts.
Microsoft, while trying to get people interested in buying Windows RT tablets, is said to be cutting the price of the software to get OEMs interested and have lower-priced Windows-based tablets available for consumers.
As for Android hardware, the Jelly Bean version of Google’s mobile operating system is now running on a third of the Android-powered devices out there. Android used also got their own version of Twitter’s Vine app for creating six-second videos. Mashable gave the app a test drive and also reported that a 16-year-old user figured out how to breach the six-second Vine limit and rickrolled the service.
A trio of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology say they’ve figured out how to hack an iPhone in less than a minute with a malicious USB wall charger. The proof-of-concept Evil Charger will debut next month at the Black Hat security conference.
And finally, fans of the 11th Doctor were upset to learn over the weekend that Matt Smith is leaving the starring Time Lord role on Doctor Who after this year’s Christmas episode. This means holiday regeneration and a tidal wave of Internet speculation on who the 12th Doctor will be. Actor Ben Daniels has been mentioned, along with more diverse possibilities. The online betting firm William Hill has the odds and online polls have popped up everywhere, but really, just make Helen Mirren an offer.