Thursday, 18 October 2012
Apple has acquired Particle, a firm specializing in the design of HTML5 websites and web apps. Particle has previously done some HTML5 work for Apple, along with others such as Google, Amazon, and Motorola and they are also behind video sharing service Robo.to. The deal for the acquisition happened last month, and is mostly a talent, rather than product, acquisition. It is unknown what the team will be working on, though Josh Lowensohn at CNET speculates that it has to do with Apple's heavy HTML5 focus for its web content:
As for the purpose of the buy, Apple has put a big focus on HTML5 on its product pages, iAd advertising, and on iCloud.com, which serves as one of the only places Apple has true Web applications.
Particle is a company that has focused predominantly on user experience in the past, and that background can be put to use almost anywhere in Apple?s ecosystem. Reworking the iCloud web apps, making them faster and more responsively, is certainly an option. It is also possible that Particle?s experience with iTunes Extras means that they will work on media content. The sky -- or more appropriately, the cloud -- is the limit.
While most of Apple?s focus has been on native applications, web content is very important to Apple?s interaction with users. Even the iTunes, iBooks, and App Store apps on iOS devices are HTML5 web apps with some native trimming. Given how quickly content needs to change in either store, for the time being, this is neccessary. It?s quite possible that the team brought in from Particle will be used to impove the overall store experience, doing their best to make it more responsive, or perhaps even improving search.
What would you like to see the Particle team work on? What areas of their web experience does Apple need to imporve the most? Give us your thoughts below in the comment.
It's not like we should be surprised, considering Apple has claimed in the past that jailbreaking is illegal -- but at the same time, did the Cupertino cronies hear about the ruling that made circumventing DRM, and thus jailbreaking, legal? Anyway, whether Toyota was supporting illegal, legal, or deliciously gray and ambiguous, activity, it doesn't matter: Apple asked Toyota to remove the theme, and Toyota graciously bent over and capitulated.
This story raises a much more interesting topic, though: this is the first time a multinational company has publicly acknowledged and embraced the jailbreak community. Considering jailbreaking is technically legal, and Cydia's creator, Jay Freeman, estimates that up to 9% of OS devices are jailbroken, it simply makes good, commercial sense to target jailbreakers with ads. Toyota was simply trying to make some money, for shame!
As long as Apple continues to throw around its increasingly-expansive mass, the legality of jailbreaking will continue to be inconsequential. It will be interesting to see if another big company dares embrace the jailbreak community after this, too.
If you just so happen to live in Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Finland, Netflix would like you to know they've not forgotten about you. In fact, the latest update available in the Google Play Store opens up the Android app to those regions along with improved subtitle support for Android 4.0 and above.
Plus, while it's not noted, the app does seem to respond a little bit better over previous versions. By that we mean, it no longer takes 2 minutes to scroll through items causing you to forget what you were intending on watching in the first place. That's a good thing.
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
GoPro just revealed its new flagship action camcorder, the Hero3, and we managed to get our mitts on one this evening. First things first, the Hero3 is tiny, particularly when considering that it shoots 4K video (albeit at a paltry 12fps), a resolution usually reserved for much larger, cinematic cameras. Having handled its competition recently -- the Action Cam from Sony and the Contour+2 -- we can say that the Hero3 feels smaller and lighter than both of them. It's about the size of a couple of matchboxes stacked together and is quite lightweight, yet still feels sturdy. The textured plastic exterior is finger friendly, and the big round power / mode and record buttons give a reassuring snick with every press. The WiFi remote that comes with the Hero3 Black Edition is similarly solid in its construction, though we wish it had the same textured skin as the camera instead of its smooth exterior. We didn't get to use the Hero3 for its stated purpose just yet, but we'll be filming with the thing tomorrow, so stay tuned for all the POV footage. In the meantime, feel free to enjoy a tour of GoPro's new diminutive hardware and check out its first sample video after the break.
Gallery: GoPro Hero3 and WiFi remote hands-on
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We're all at least somewhat familiar with fly-by-wire, the electronic piloting system found in most modern planes. Nissan wants to bring the same tech to cars, leaving behind the purely mechanical solutions currently used to take turns in your four-wheeler. The first automobiles to come equipped with steer-by-wire would be luxury sedans from Infiniti. Other companies have incorporated the tech into concept vehicles, but Nissan would be the first to stick it in a production model. The company plans to have the first drive-by-wire cars in consumer garages by the end of next year, with an eye towards a future in which you drive from the back seat using a joystick. Of course, the lack of direct feedback as your tires turn over the road may lead some to cling tight to their mechanical steering apparatus, though, moving to a digital steering system should lead to better handling vehicles.
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Leo Laporte, Alex Lindsay, graciously allow me to sit in on MacBreak Weekly #321. We talk everything from the finally-shipping Lightning adapters to space jumps to Thunderbolt Displays to, oh yeah, the upcoming Apple event on October 23.
More download and viewing options below.
For laptop users, there's a new option to lock the program if your system is running on battery power -- so scheduled operations don't kick in and drain your power source at an inopportune moment. If you happen to have an SSD installed in your PC, you can head to the Disk Defrag options and exclude it from scanning (many think that defragmenting an SSD is a very bad idea).
Auslogics Disk Defrag is a free download and works with most versions of Windows.
Apple calls the iPod nano 7 "renanoed", and if you look at the longer, thinner shape, and the wider screen, it's harder to argue the logic than it is the ad copy. It still isn't running iOS, and Apple has rounded the icons to better visually differentiate it from it's bigger, more computer-like cousins, but it does include apps. And buttons. There's a Home button now, also similar to iOS, and a volume rocker with a pause/play control in between. It also has the new Lightning connector, which is why it can be so thin.
Here's a look at the white and (Product) RED versions, and how it compares to the new iPod touch 5, and the iPhone 5.
All shots taken with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and an EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro lens, embedded at HiDPI for iPhones, iPad 3, and Retina MacBook Pro.