News roundup: From patents to super skinny Macs

Dan Moren
31 July, 2011
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Rumours say Apple may be super-sizing the MacBook Air, but they also speculate that you may soon be talking to your iPhone. In fact, these are all just weapons being prepared for the oncoming patent war. And just what will it take to get kicked out of an Apple Store? One man sets out to find the truth.

Apple Finishing Up Work on an Ultra-Thin 15in Mac Notebook (MacRumors)

Is Apple working on a 15in ultra-thin notebook? Word on the internet suggests yes indeedy. Given the success of the 11in and 13in MacBook Airs, it’s hardly a surprise that Apple would want to bring the Air’s smaller form factor and other improvements to its larger notebooks. My sources tell me that the prototype—codenamed Matryoshka—is actually just a 15in carrying shell that contains a 13in Air.

iOS 5′s Siri-like system navigation is called ‘Assistant’, uses device-info to handle actions (9 to 5 Mac)

Early last year, Apple bought Siri, an iOS app company that had developed an intelligent digital assistant. 9 to 5 Mac reports that a forthcoming iOS feature, dubbed Assistant, may finally bring Siri’s capabilities to Apple’s mobile devices. Using data like contact info, location, and even music metadata, Siri can let users carry out certain complex tasks, like making plans to see a movie, all with voice recognition and synthesised speech. Personally, I won’t be satisfied until my phone speaks in the dulcet tones of Majel Barrett.

HTC is braced for Apple smartphone patent war (BBC)

Make way for the patent wars! Hot on the heels of Acer’s warning of a patent war, HTC CEO Peter Chou says he is locked and loaded for an intellectual property rumble with Apple. It’s like Gangs of New York, but without all the great hats.

Google On The Nortel Loss, Patents As Government-Granted Monopolies, And Plates Of Spaghetti (TechCrunch)

Speaking of patents, Google senior vice president and general counsel Kent Walker dished to TechCrunch about the company losing its bid for the enormous Nortel patent portfolio. Walker also spoke frankly on the problems with patents in general, calling them ‘government-granted monopolies.’ Say, that gives me a great idea for a board game.

Former Google CIO says business misses key people marks (Computerworld Australia)

Douglas C. Merrill, who formerly served as Google CIO and president of EMI’s digital arm, spoke at a conference in Sydney, during which he revealed an interesting tidbit. During his stint at EMI, he profiled users of the Limewire file-sharing service and discovered that the heavy users of the service were also among the biggest customers of the iTunes Store. Wow, this really meshes well with Johnny Depp’s next film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Sometimes We Pay for Music, Arrrrr.

Mark Malkoff: Apple Store Challenge (My Damn Channel)

We’ve all seen the nicely-trained folks at the Apple Store graciously helping out customers, but just how much would it take to wear out your welcome? Mark Malkoff decided to put it to the test, trying everything from having a pizza delivered to the store to bringing in a goat. So complicated! All he needed to do was walk up to the nearest blue-shirted employee and ask, “Hey, is this the Android Store?” Boom.

Product News:

Ustream 2.1 – Version 2.1 of the interactive video app for iOS brings a native iPad interface, the ability to broadcast and interact with your audience through chat and poll, live event watching and participation, AirPlay support, and sharing via Twitter and Facebook. Free.

Drobo Firmware Updates – Drobo has released a series of firmware updates for its DroboFS, B800fs, and DroboPro FS network storage solutions that bring support for Time Machine under Lion. Free.

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