April 2, 2012

Flight Control Rocket sequel out now

This game appeared for the first time relatively quietly at GDC, but it’s now available on the App Store, so check out the sequel to one of the App Store’s most popular games ever, Flight Control. The new one is called Flight Control Rocket, and though I was told that it was put together by the Australian studio Firemint (that EA purchased not too long ago), there’s no mention of them in the app listing at all.

Their influence is also sort of missing in the game itself — Flight Control’s relatively subtle theme and feel have been replaced with a very freemium model and some very flashy (and relatively complicated) graphics. Instead of just guiding different colored planes into runways, the sequel has you pushing lots of different spaceships of all shapes, sizes, and abilities, into docking ports, assisted by robots with their own abilities and lots of XP to earn.

But don’t take my word for it: Flight Control Rockets is out now, for an initial price of 99 cents. It’s fully updated and ready to go on the new iPad’s Retina Display. Let us know what you think of EA’s new direction with the series.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Daily Update for March 16, 2012

It’s the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You’ll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what’s happening in the Apple world.

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Mountain of iPad pre-orders cause shipment delays

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 08:53 PM EST (05:53 PM PST)
As the third-generation iPad makes its way into the hands of eager customers worldwide, some buyers who pre-ordered the tablet through Apple’s online store are finding that their shipments have been delayed due to the onslaught of launch day deliveries.

AppleInsider has received a number of reports from readers who have noted that their iPad pre-orders, which were promised to be delivered on launch day, are being delayed to as late as Saturday.

An unknown amount of iPad shipments handled by both FedEx and UPS are seeing a slip in delivery times, with some being stuck “in transit” while others have yet to leave the carrier’s facilities.

According to one reader, who will remain anonymous, a FedEx representative stated that an agreement with Apple allowed the company to extend its delivery deadline to 8 p.m., which is well past the shipment’s previously quoted 3 p.m. time. The reader goes on to say that the delivery status of their package was changed to “Future Delivery Requested” without authorization before ultimately being delivered at 6:45 p.m.

Despite the apparenly overwhelming demand being placed on delivery companies, many brick-and-mortar Apple stores remain stocked with the hot-selling tablet. A check with random Apple Stores along the west coast of the U.S. found that both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE models of the new iPad were available in many locations.

Apple’s third-generation iPad was announced at a special event on March . Along with a high resolution Retina Display, the new tablet features a faster A5X processor, 4G LTE-capability and a substantially larger battery.

Sales of the new iPad began on Friday and some estimates project that Apple will sell 66 million units in 2012.


German appeals court lets Motorola to continue push notification patent against Apple

Germany has been the site of quite a few patent battles between Motorola and Apple in the past, and there’s another crater on the landscape over there: One of the High Regional Courts in that country has made a decision on Motorola’s ongoing challenge against Apple over push notifications, saying that a motion by Apple to try and suspend an injunction by Motorola attempting to keep Cupertino from using iCloud over there has been denied. In other words, Motorola is free to continue its battle to try and prevent Apple from using push notifications. Not great news for Apple, and not bad news for Motorola.

Motorola is obviously trying to keep Apple from using iCloud and push notifications in Germany, claiming that it already owns the patent on that technology. FOSS Patents has a more complete rundown of what’s going on if you’re tracking the legal maneuvers.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPad A5X processor built on Samsung’s 45nm technology

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Infrared microscope inspection of Apple’s new A5X processor revealed that the chip was designed and built around Samsung’s 45nm low power architecture, which is currently used in A5 processor found in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

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Conde Nast to track iPad readership

It’s been two long years for advertisers working with Conde Nast and their digital magazines. Until now, the publication has provided advertisers with only minimal details on its digital readership. An AdAge report suggests this is all about the change.

Because of the newness of the medium, Conde Nast had to develop new tools and new ways to gather significant data from iPad, Kindle and Nook readers. The publishing company has ironed out some of the kinks and is ready to provide regular data on:

  • the magazine’s paid tablet subscriptions and single-copy sales during the reporting period
  • the number of readers that actually opened the issue’s tablet edition, including print subscribers using their complimentary digital access
  • the total number of times that readers opened it and the time that readers spent with it

The is welcome news to advertisers like Robin Steinberg, Executive Vice President and Director of publishing investment and activism at MediaVest, who said, “There is no doubt this is not only a good move but the right move.”

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple serves up first beta of OS X Lion 10.7.4 to developers

By Katie Marsal

Published: 07:18 PM EST (04:18 PM PST)
Apple has asked its Mac developers to begin testing Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4 build 11E27 — the first external beta of the company’s fourth maintenance release to its current Lion operating system.

The Friday release to Apple Developer Connection members, as first predicted by AppleInsider on Monday, was accompanied by a note asking developers to focus their testing efforts on AddressBook, Graphics, iCal, Mail, and Printing.

The 580MB delta release is said by those familiar with the software to contain just one known issue related to the inability to play content purchased through iTunes in QuickTime. 

Separately, Apple on Friday also served up OS X Lion Server Software Update 10.7.4 build 11E27 — a 622MB delta update to Lion’s server software with changes to Calendars, Contacts, Server App, Web Server, WebDAV Sharing and ServerAdmin DNS.

Earlier in the day, the Mac maker also released the second developer preview of Mountain Lion, the successor to Lion due for release sometime this summer.


New York Times removes fabricated Mike Daisey allegations in Apple Chinese factory story

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 06:32 PM EST (03:32 PM PST)
After entertainer Mike Daisey’s report on factory conditions in China was acknowledged to be fabricated to tell a dramatic story rather than being authentic reporting, the New York Times has removed portions of his claims from a “contributed” article it published last fall.

“Questions have been raised’

Following an exposé of Daisey’s falsifications, the New York Times removed a paragraph written by Daisey in his op ed piece “Against Nostalgia,” which the paper published October 6, the day after Jobs died. The paragraph originally stated:

“I have traveled to southern China and interviewed workers employed in the production of electronics. I spoke with a man whose right hand was permanently curled into a claw from being smashed in a metal press at Foxconn, where he worked assembling Apple laptops and iPads. I showed him my iPad, and he gasped because he’d never seen one turned on.”

The New York Times now omits the paragraph on the piece, and has added an editor’s note reading:

“Questions have been raised about the truth of a paragraph in the original version of this article that purported to talk about conditions at Apple’s factory in China. That paragraph has been removed from this version of the article.”

Actually, clear answers were given

Earlier today, radio program “This American Life” retracted its episode on Apple after investigating Daisey’s claims regarding working conditions in factories the company uses in China.

The show’s host Ira Glass noted on the sites blog that, “Daisey lied to me and ‘This American Life’ producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story, before it was broadcast. That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, it was our mistake.”

Glass added, “We’re horrified to have let something like this onto public radio.”

An investigation of Daisey’s claims by American Public Media resulted in identifying Cathy Lee as the translator Daisey said he’d used to interview workers exiting Foxcon’s factory.

Daisey originally falsified the translator’s name to journalist investigators and said she could not be contacted, but after being identified, she noted that many details of Daisey’s show (specifically castigating Steve Jobs), and his comments picked up by reports by New York Times (including its op ed piece published the day after Jobs died) were lies.

“In my first two hours of my first day at that gate, I met workers who are 14 years old,” Daisey claimed to report through the translator’s help. “I met workers who were 13 years old. I met workers who were 12. Do you really think Apple doesn’t know?”

Daisey also said he’d met people poisoned by hexane, a chemical Apple had identified its own reports of being improperly used by one of its contracted companies. Apple stopped the practice and forced the contractor (Wintek) to handle the problem and to pay the medical bills and other damages of injured workers.

Daisey has since acknowledged his claims of interviewing child workers and poisoned workers, seeing factory guards armed with guns, “visiting factory dorm rooms with beds stacked to the ceiling” and a variety of other reported events were simply invented for dramatic effect to tell a gripping story.

“Look,” Daisey responded to the report, “I’m not going to say that I didn’t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard. But I stand behind the work. My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism. And it’s not journalism. It’s theater.”

New York Public Theater, which is currently running Daisy’s monologue, and Wooly Mammoth Theater, which plans to run it in Washington DC this summer, have both supported Daisey’s work, while the Public Theater also noted, “Mike is an artist, not a journalist. Nevertheless, we wish he had been more precise with us and our audiences about what was and wasn’t his personal experience in the piece.”

Daisey has since said his show “uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by the New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.”

At the same time, Daisey himself contributed a significant portion of the “documented conditions” reported by various news outlets, leveraging his purported onsite reporting of actual workers’ conditions within China in order to publicize his play.

Truth takes a back seat to a gripping yarn

Daisey has frequently served as a convenient media identity for news outlets seeking to publish stories about Apple. Invented claims about ongoing hexane poisoning (and Apple’s purported indifference to the practice) were similarly used by publicity firms who professionally draw attention to public outrage, including SumOfUs.org.

The group advertised a petition calling on Appel to do something about what it described as “a young girl” who “spends those hours inhaling n-hexane, a potent neurotoxin used to clean iPhone glass, because it dries a few seconds faster than a safe alternative. After just a few years on the line, she will be fired because the neurological damage from the n-hexane and the repetitive stress injuries to her wrists and hands make her unable to continue performing up to standard.”

After collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures based on the invented claims, SumOfUs.org erased the claims and substituted wording that tried to instead suggest rubbing alcohol was a dangerous toxin.

Have you seen it?

A year ago, one Apple shareholder attending the company’s meeting asked Tim Cook and other executives if they had seen Daisey’s monologuist play, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” which references the role of Steve Jobs and Apple’s activities in China.

Cook dismissed the play, saying “if it’s not on ESPN or CNBC, I don’t see it,” but said he could comment on China, noting that in everything from worker safety to making processes environmentally friendly “we have the highest standards” and adding that Apple is the most transparent in its auditing and reporting than any other company, reporting actual problems and taking real action.

The woman again pressed Cook to see Daisey’s play, to which Cook answered, “I don’t need to see a play. I know Steve Jobs,” adding that Apple’s executives have also been there, interviewing workers and not just management, and opening lines of communications that allow workers to report problems independently.


Dell Exec Trashes iPad In Business Amid New iPad Launch

Dell Exec Trashes iPad In Business Amid New iPad Launch

iPad vs. Dell Streak Android tablet

Just a few short weeks ago, Michael Dell announced that his company should no longer be considered a consumer PC and device maker. Dell should now be considered an IT vendor with a focus on enterprise data center products, went the message. The company was going to get out of the device and peripheral business.

What a difference a few weeks can make when it comes to a company’s message. While the tech world focused on today’s launch of Apple’s new iPad, Dell’s chief commercial officer Steve Felice was talking up the company’s ability to challenge the iPad in business environments. Or put more accurately, the ability that Dell will have to challenge the iPad when Windows 8 ships later this year.

Felice was busy making the same kinds of statements that we’ve heard time and time again over the past two years from the likes of Lenovo, HP, RIM, and Dell itself among others.

On the commercial side there are a lot of concerns about security, interoperability, systems and device management.

That argument that may have rung true two years ago, but plenty of companies and their IT departments have had time to explore how to secure and manage the iPad (and the iPhone, for that matter) as well as to get a solid understanding of the integration capabilities that Apple has built into iOS.

Considering that IT leaders are now moving beyond the concept of device management and embracing information and data management or mobile app management, Dell’s focus on device management in this statement makes the company seem out of touch with even its core IT customers.

Interestingly, Felice provided no specifics about Dell’s plan with Windows 8 as far as specific devices or price points. Given that Windows on ARM (WOA) tablets are expected to have no enterprise integration and security features compared to those that the new iPad (or the iPad 2 or even the original iPad) has out of the box, makes it hard to consider WOA tablets as an option for most businesses. Windows 8 on x86 tablets will ship with full enterprise and Active Directory support but aren’t expected to be able to compete with the iPad on price.

Ultimately, Felice’s comments and sense of optimism don’t match up with the reality that the iPad is dominating the business tablet space with 96% of the market and with 84% companies planning tablet purchases choosing the iPad.

This sense is summed up by one of his comments to Reuters:

We come at the market in a different way … We are predominantly a company that has a great eye on the commercial customer who also wants to be a consumer.

A sentiment that complete misses the point that Apple, in doing the complete opposite, has managed to position itself perfectly for the consumerization of IT and BYOD trends that are redefining IT and technology in the workplace.

Dell Tablet Plans To Go Up Against iPad In 2012

Cult of Mac

Views of new iPad videos outpacing original, iPad 2

Each year, the iPad is capturing the attention of a growing number of people. You can see it in the press coverage that’s dedicated to the device, the amount of people using it in public and in the number people who’ve watched Apple’s iPad videos on YouTube. According to AdAge, the original iPad video campaign accrued 2.5 million views in a week, while the iPad 2 climbed to 2.7 million. In the same amount of time, the third generation iPad has grabbed 2.8 million.

This latter figure is significant as the new iPad is an evolutionary step in the progression of Apple’s tablet. It’s not as revolutionary as the original iPad which was a new device and one that kicked off this current tablet craze. Even though the new iPad is similar to earlier models in many ways, people still want to see it in action.

AdAge also points out Apple’s online advertising strategy which uses a short 30-second spot combined with a longer five-minute ad. Rather than leave old ads on its YouTube channel, the company deletes the earlier marketing clips when the new ones go live. When you go to Apple’s YouTube page to view the iPad, all you will see is the current generation model, which, as AdAge points out is likely what Apple wants.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog