Apple Eclectic’s Review of 2008: December

As 2008 slid gracefully towards its denouement, confirmation that Apple had lodged itself firmly in the popular consciousness — as if confirmation was needed — came in the form of The Simpsons, who mercilessly did for ‘Mapple’. Apple’s share price fell on the news. (You may notice that the only existent footage I could find on YouTube was this Hulu-approved clip. I hear that Apple’s legal team have posters of Fox’s lawyers on their office walls.)

If you had to pick out Apple’s biggest success of 2008, the sure-fire winner would have to be the App Store. In December we received news that in just 5 short months it had swelled to include over 10,000 applications, and had served over 300 million downloads. Could there be a happier group of individuals than iPhone developers? Well, yes. Easily. Much mewling and puking was to be heard over the rash of 99¢ ‘ring tone’ apps, which were said to be driving down prices and making serious development for the platform impossible. Responding to this criticism, Apple did some quick retooling of the way the lists of most popular apps were displayed in iTunes, and when that didn’t stop the whining, though “well bloody sod them then” and approved the Pull My Finger whoopee cushion simulator (and its numerous imitators).

Things continued to go brilliantly for Apple. OS X claimed an all-time high of 8.87% of the operating system market, with Safari taking 7.13% of the web browser share. The iPhone was said to account for almost 30% of the US smartphone market — a figure which was set to increase as rumours that it was to be sold at Wal*Mart stores finally prove to be true, although the $99 4Gb special edition never surfaced. The world continued to go iPhone crazy. Ohio State University Medical Centre, the University of Derby Medical School, and the University of Cologne all announced plans to purchase iPhones for their students, while in South Korea they went as far as changing the law to allow the iPhone to be sold there. But in France a judge ruled against Apple’s exclusive distribution deal with Orange.

The big question on the lips of every other pundit with a few column inches to fill was, What if Steve Jobs ran the US auto industry? Well, the one thing we can all be sure of is that the adverts would definitely have better music in them, as it was revealed that Steve personally picks the tunes for Apple’s ads.

There was a brief scare when rumours — and photographic proof — that Barack Obama used a Zune surfaced. These were quickly proven to be as accurate as rumours of a Zune phone. But the iPhone Nano rumours refused to die, with phone case manufacturers posting leaks left and right, in an attempt to stave off the boredom which comes from being phone case manufacturers. Elsewhere, Linux was shown (just about) running on the iPhone.

An old tech note surfaced, suggesting that Mac owners should use multiple anti-virus programs. It was pulled a few days later, with Apple claiming “Macs are secure right out of the box,” and adding that, coincidentally, PCs are only secure while still in theirs. Mac OS X 10.5.6 was released, and both NetFlix streaming and BBC iPlayer downloading came to the Mac.

Apple added DMCA charges to its lawsuit against Psystar, and also alleged the involvement of ten shadowy ‘John Doe’ figures, responsible for pulling strings behind the scenes. Another would-be Mac maker, OpeniMac, appeared in Argentina, and EFi-X USA also threatened to release a Mac clone for almost an entire morning, before their European parent told them to shut the hell up.

As all eyes turned towards January 2009 and Macworld, Adobe announced that it would be skipping the venerable trade show, after laying off 600 employees. Next to pull out was peripheral-maker Belkin. And then the unthinkable-but-in-retrospect-perfectly-logical happened, and Apple announced that next year would be their last year of attending the show, and that Phil Schiller would be presenting the Stevenote. Philnote. Whatever. How will Macworld survive without Apple? wondered commentators. No problem, said Macworld organisers, sighting Apple Expo Paris. Next year’s Apple Expo Paris is cancelled, said Apple Expo Paris organisers.

Now, I’m going to have to end this review of 2008 on a disclaimer: In order to maintain the pretence of having a life, I am writing this final entry on the morning of the 30th (so I can spend the whole of the 21st drinking alone). 2008’s still got a day and a half left in it, and considering that that half day is half a Tuesday, almost anything could happen in the next 36 hours. Already today we’ve had rumours of retail-boxed AppleTV software and an Apple Home Media Server. And while I can’t call to mind any products which Apple absolutely definitely cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die promised to have out this year, with them you just can’t rule out a last-gasp one more thing. Perhaps it will be the revamped Mac Mini. Or the Mac Tablet/NetBook. Or even Steve’s abdication. Who knows? But one thing’s for sure: Whatever happens, Apple’s share price will fall on the news.

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News Roundup for January the 5th

So as the Apple world descends on San Francisco for Macworld 2009, what treats are there in store for the faithful? Well, as is only to be expected, the rumours are flying thick and fast. The latest centre around the 17″ MacBook Pro, which will apparently not only now come in an aluminium unibody enclosure, and possibly also boast a quad-core CPU, but will feature a super-thin, non-removable, extra-long-lasting battery. A Silver-Zinc battery, no less. Man, 2009 already feels just like the future.

Elsewhere, all the usual suspects have been accounted for. The Mac Pro gets a mention, and then there’s the Mac Mini. Not satisfied with it simply not being discontinued, it’s said to be gaining dual display support. MacTechNews.de will see these, and raise you a 28″ iMac.

The thing which all of these rumours have about them is that they’re just believeable enough to be true. Which makes them dull. Of course, there’s always the rumour that the iLife and iWork applications are destined for the clouds. Because sometimes editing video on a laptop just isn’t slow enough. Or the already-evergreen MacBook Nano. Or the rather left-field Apple Media Server. Or how about the iGlove?

None of these rumours crazy enough for you? Then how about this one: Steve Jobs for US CTO. With a special iChat appearance by President-Elect Obama himself as Phil’s “one more thing”. I guess it would make a neat stepping stone for Steve’s 2012 White House run.

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Sarah Palin Slams iTunes, Glad Steve Jobs is Dead

We don’t generally cover the Presidential Elections — Æ is not a politics site, and it certainly isn’t an American politics site — but this story got caught in our Apple news net.

AP are reporting this little outburst by Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin — we include her first name in case she’s confused with globe-trotting national treasure and former funny-man Michael Palin — as she was leaving her hotel yesterday morning. A reporter from CNN, apparently eager to milk their breaking exclusive, asked Governor Palin for her reaction to the (it would turn out incorrectly) news that Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack. She is quoted as having replied:

“Well I gotta tell you I think it’s just great. It shows that you can’t go around being that type of person — peddlin’ the kinds of lies that man did to this great nation’s children — sooner or later God’s gonna catch up with you and he’s gonna make you pay for your lies and your sins.”

At this point Governor Palin is reported to have turned to an aide and to have either taken from them or been given an iPhone which she proceeded to flourish at reporters.

“When you’re sellin’ these things — they’re just un-American — just look on the back here: designed by Canadians and made by the Chinese. Un-American. And they come with this thing which calls all your friends and family and tells them to vote for Obama.”

Governor Palin is then reported to have dashed the iPhone to the pavement, before being bundled into a waiting SUV by her security detail.

The Republican party later released the following statement to clarify Governor Palin’s remarks:

“Governor Palin’s earlier comments were taken out of context and distorted by the media. She is of course saddened to learn of the death of such a truly great American as Steven P. Jobs.

“Governor Palin would however question whether a service such as Apple Corp.’s iTunes, which is meant as an entertainment service targeted at this great nations’ impressionable youth, is the correct outlet for such anti-religious works as Cassiopeia Project’s ‘Evolution’, and would urge Apple to make corresponding Biblical texts also available through their ‘iTunes U’ service.”

The smashed iPhone was later recovered and discovered to be an iPod Touch containing a quantity of music and an address book with several names and numbers.

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DrawIt Teams Up with Acorn

There is a particular maxim of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s which is banded about quite a lot in Mac circles:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

It seems that Pieter Omvlee has taken this to heart with the latest release of DrawIt, the rather excellent vector graphics editor. Version 3.6 boasts a number of improvements, particularly in terms of increased speed and decreased memory footprint. But probably of most interest is what Pieter has decided to leave out: DrawIt no longer supports the in-place editing of bitmaps, instead now passing the task seamlessly to an external editor.

While this may sound like a raw deal for existing DrawIt users, it is actually exactly the opposite. Pieter has teamed up with Gus Mueller of Flying Meat Software to offer anyone who had previously paid full price for one of the 2.x or 3.x versions of DrawIt a copy of Acorn. I think that everyone can agree that this more than makes up for the change.

DrawIt costs €29; Acorn costs $49.95.

Interesting site fact: We here at Æ use DrawIt Lite (which has just been revved to version 1.3) to do the occasional graphic, such as the Amazon logos at the top of the sidebar. Now, if a few people were to click through and buy something from one of our shops we could afford to get the full version. Just saying.

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Apple Eclectic’s Review of 2008: October

For several weeks prior to the start of October, the mailing lists, blogs and forums of the Mac development community had echoed to cries of “F—ing NDA!” Just as the calls for Apple to relax the restrictive terms governing discussions of coding for the iPhone had reached fever pitch, they did. This left the entire development community happy and contented, able to knuckle down to producing iPhone apps with nary a further murmur or complaint. (Hee! Sometimes I crack me up.)

October saw the Copyright Royalty Board meeting in Washington, DC, to discuss whether to increase the royalty rate on digital music tracks. Some people worried that an increase would force Apple to close iTunes, based on a year-old threat. But are we really expected to believe that Steve would shut iTunes down if he didn’t get his way? Well, yes, that sounds exactly like the kind of thing he’d do — so I guess it’s lucky that the Board decided not to increase royalties. Un-shutdown, iTunes continued to pass the 200 million TV show downloads mark this month.

In education news, Oxford and Cambridge made some of their lectures available via iTunes U, while Apple introduces the ‘Fieldtrip to the Apple Stores’ programme, stealing a page from the Jesuits ‘get them while their young’ play book. Meanwhile, Apple sued the Victoria School of Business and Technology for having a very Apple-like apple as their logo.

steve_jobs_reportsIn a triumph for ‘Citizen Journalism’ — or at least for the antediluvian hacks who get their knickers in a twist over the very idea of ‘Citizen Journalism’ — CNN’s iReport site iReported that Steve Jobs had had a heart attack, with a witness claiming to have seen ambulances on the Apple campus. That witness later turned out to be some 18 year old prankster, whose motives — beyond ’s—s and giggles’ — remain unclear. Also in the media, Woz spoke to the Daily Telegraph and slammed the iPod — where by ’slammed’ we mean ‘makes the perfectly reasonable observation that it won’t exist for ever and ever’.

Apple wins five Brit!sh Technology Awards, mostly for the iPhone. It also contiuned to win friends in high places, with the revelation that Carl Bildt — you know: the Swedish Foreign Minister — owns a Mac. Which could prove useful, as fellow Scandinavians Norway continued to act the anti-competetive fool. Behaving themselves for a change, however, were Greenpeace, who, in the wake of another of Steve’s ‘Environmental Updates’, gave Apple a not-completely-ridiculous-but-still-totally-made-up score.

The October the 14th MacBook special event arrived. It didn’t bring the $800 NetBook some people expected, but we did get the new aluminium unibody design across the entire MacBook and MacBook Pro line. Apart from the white entry-level MacBook. And the 17? MacBook Pro. Altogether, this left the MacBook line up with all the visual cohesion of Brangelina’s sprogs. But at least we got to see a nice long video of Jonny Ive being really enthusiastic about industrial milling machines — despite which the entire world continued to pronounce ‘aluminium’ incorrectly. This new ‘brick’ manufacturing technique meant a stronger, more-rigid enclosure produced using less material and energy and leading to greater future recyclability. Apple’s share price fell on the news.

macbooks
We also got to see a new 24? Cinema Display, the first for a few years, which was exactly the miracle needed to kick off the rumours that the Mac Mini was about to be discontinued. Or refreshed. But the aftermath of the special event was more about what was left out. The lack of FireWire on the aluminium MacBooks alone lead to a blogosphere-wide sulk. And Steve described Blu-Ray as “a bag of hurt”, leading the masochists at Psystar to quickly release a model with a near-usless Blu-Ray drive.

Apple announced their Q4 results. They made a profit of $1.14 billion on revenues of $7.9 billion, and sold 2.6 million Macs, 11 million iPods, and 6,892,000 iPhones. Apple’s share price fell on the news.

October also saw the release of the native version of Open Office 3 is released… which I really should get round to reviewing one of these days. Apple donated $100,000 to the campaign to fight California’s ‘Proposition 8?. And Microsoft, in yet another desperate and frankly rather embarrassing attempt to regain the initiative resurrects the ‘Apple Tax’ argument.

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Apple Eclectic’s Review of 2008: September

It doesn’t really matter what Apple did or released this month, since September 2008 will go down in infamy as the month of the bloody awful Microsoft adverts. First we had this mini masterpiece staring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld:

Unfortunately, the campaign was cancelled before the third instalment in the planned trilogy materialised. Then we had this simply stunning homage to Apple’s own ‘Mac vs. PC’ adverts:

Google’s Chrome browser appeared with a little comic book but no OS X version, despite being based on the Apple-sponsored open source WebKit. Sergey Brin would later describe this as “embarrassing,” bless him. The nightly builds of WebKit passed the Acid 3 browser tests, while Safari’s share of the browser market continued to increase, in part due to the iPhone version.

The plaudits for Apple’s top brass continued to pile up, with Steve Jobs making #4 — and Jonny Ive #70 — in Vanity Fair’s ‘100 Leaders of the Information Age’ list. But there was no love for Kane Kramer, who it turns out invented the iPod back in 1979. After helping Apple with the Burst.com legal case, all he had to show for his efforts — apart from a doubtlessly generous consultancy fee — was a complimentary iPod which broke after eight months. (Although I suppose he should be grateful it didn’t burst into flames.)

OS X 10.5.5 and Adobe Creative Suite 4 were both released, as was Spore, which turned out to be a bit disappointing after the novelty of creating races of walking penises wore off.

Fresh from backing down to China, iTunes was in for more flak from both Frank Zappa’s window — whose beef appeared to be the use of lossy compression — and AC/DC — who had a new album out and so needed the publicity to counter general apathy among the music-buying public.

But the big news of the month came at Apple’s September the 9th ‘Let’s Rock’ special event. The new nanochromatic iPod Nanos were unveiled, looking just like Internet heartthrob Kevin Rose said they would. The new design marked a return to their original long-and-thin form factor, with wide screen and shake-to-shuffle gimmick. Also launched were the new iPod Touch — which we were later to discover is really a bit of a screamer in the CPU department — and a very slightly revamped iPod Classic. iTunes 8 was released, with a new visualiser and the Genius Playlist feature, which analyses your music library and then recommends which songs you should buy next from iTunes. The iPod shuffle also got updated colours to make them look more than ever like Opal Fruits Starbursts. All in all this represented a solid evolution of the entire iPod line. Apple’s share price fell on the news.

But no sooner was one special event over and done with then rumours started about another in October, focused on the MacBook range. Oh, and the The Beatles on iTunes rumours reappeared. Would anything come of these? Tune in again tomorrow — same Mac time, same Mac channel — to find out.

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Apple Eclectic’s Review of 2008: August

August marked the 10th anniversary of the original iMac first shipping. Yes, we’ve mentioned the announcement of the iMac before, but we think this second milestone deserves commemorating, since the iconic, instantly-recognisable gum-drop computer is arguably the first machine of the modern Apple era. And as Apple’s market cap passes $159.5 billion this month, we can again reflect on the company’s staggering reversal of fortune.

steve_jobs_parkingThis month we got an unprecedented insight into what it was like to work at Apple, as ex-employee David Walsh filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming he was forced to put in longer hours than his contract specified for no extra compensation. Although, frankly, David should think himself lucky he wasn’t on the team responsible for the ill-fated MobileMe launch. As the outages continued — at one point, the only e-mails getting through to subscribers were phishing scams — Apple offered customers a further 60 days of free service to make up for the inconvenience. Meanwhile, many members of staff were to find themselves mysteriously disappeared. Among them we’re David G., the (infrequent) MobileMe blogger — (does anyone else think the main thing Steve has against blogging is the name? I mean, blogging. It’s not very elegant, is it? Rename it ‘podwriting’ or something and I’ll bet he’d be all for it) — and Rob Schoeben, the head of the project, who was replaced by Eddy Cue and moved to a new position as part of the foundations of Apple’s new Cupertino campus. You definitely didn’t want to choose this month to pick Steve up on his choice of parking space.

In totally unrelated news, Apple suffered a small fire in one of the buildings on its campus, causing $2 million in damages but no reported fatalities (although as mentioned above, David G. hasn’t be heard from for a while). Early reports that it was caused by either a frayed MagSafe connector, or one of the 2nd generation iPod Nanos which seemed to be catching fire left, right and centre in Japan this month, were denied. Apple’s former General Counsel, Nancy Heinen, also chose this month to settles with the SEC over the options backdating scandal, but the timing was purely coincidental.

Also in August, Bloomberg accidentally published Steve Jobs obituary. Eager to seize upon the opportunity this afforded them, Microsoft announce that they were to spend $300 million with new ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky — see that ‘+’? That’s a couple of million dollars worth of cool right there — on new advertising for Windows Vista. $10 million of that was destined to be trouser by Different Thinker Jerry Seinfeld. Apple’s share price was unaffected by the news.

In the UK, the Advertising Standards Agency decided to rule that Apple’s iPhone adverts were misleading for saying the device offered users “the whole internet” when they didn’t support Flash or Java. China, meanwhile, blocked access to the iTunes Store due to its carrying the “Songs for Tibet – The Art of Peace” album. Access was later restored when Apple agreed to remove the offending item.

Woz — suffering another relapse in his battle against wedding cake addiction — married again, this time to Janet K. Hill, with whom he shared a love for the Segway.

ipod_nano_spy_shotIn the month-old App Store, the resonably-priced $999.99 app I Am Rich debuts, and then just as quickly departs, as a handful of morons whine about accidentally buying it.

Psystar wannabe Open Tech put itself up for sale. Anyone who wanted an almighty legal spanking from Apple needed only find $50,000 — payable through PayPal, if you please.

And Internet heart-throb Kevin Rose got into the rumour game when he published photographs of what could possibly be the new curvey iPod Nano, due to be released at a special event in September. Would he be right? Tune in tomorrow to find out that, yes, he was.

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Steve Jobs Speaks

As you’ve probably read by now, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has released a letter concerning his health. It’s fairly short so I’ll quote the whole thing:

Dear Apple Community,

For the first time in a decade, I’m getting to spend the holiday season with my family, rather than intensely preparing for a Macworld keynote.

Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil deliver the Macworld keynote set off another flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed.

I’ve decided to share something very personal with the Apple community so that we can all relax and enjoy the show tomorrow.

As many of you know, I have been losing weight throughout 2008. The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. A few weeks ago, I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority.

Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause—a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.

The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I’ve already begun treatment. But, just like I didn’t lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it. I will continue as Apple’s CEO during my recovery.

I have given more than my all to Apple for the past 11 years now. I will be the first one to step up and tell our Board of Directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple’s CEO. I hope the Apple community will support me in my recovery and know that I will always put what is best for Apple first.

So now I’ve said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this.

Steve

So what should we make of this? Well, for a start, from that “I’m getting to spend the holiday season with my family” I’d imagine this was written a while ago — say, actually during the holiday season, if not before — and if it had been released sooner it would have had the desired effect of dampening the rampant speculation.

Reaction from the Apple Community has been as expected, with choruses of “We told you so” and “Good on Steve for telling everyone else to go f— themselves”. The one dissenting voice so far has come from Dizzle at I Drank the Kool-Aid — who even then only goes as far as calling-out Apple PR over their statement that Jobs’ absence from the Macworld keynote was “more about politics than his pancreas.” This was, as she observes, simply a lie. (Although we can safely assume that they didn’t actually know much more than us when they made the statement, the fact that it was so definite counts against them.)

But what does this statement actually tell us? As Steve notes, the news that Phil Schiller was going to deliver the Macworld keynote “set off another flurry of rumors about [Steve’s] health.” Those rumours were basically that Steve was too ill to present the keynote himself, and as this open letter refuses to acknowledge, those rumours were correct.

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Apple Eclectic’s Review of 2008: November

When they come to write the definitive history of the 21st century, November 2008 will be remembered for one thing and one thing only — it was the month when Sesame Street came to iTunes. There was also some kind of election in the US, returning the country’s first black President. Apple’s share price fell on the historic news. Barack Obama — whose name, coincidentally, is still not recognised by OS X’s built-in spellchecker — soon joined Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in the pantheon of world leaders photographed near MacBooks.

We can only hope that they were having more luck with them than other flush early-adopting sods were having with their aluminium unibody MacBooks. Reports of problems were flooding in, mainly centring on the new glass trackpads. We also heard how, while the MacBooks did have undocumented support for 6Gb of total RAM, it didn’t always work. But worst of all, the laptop’s HDCP proved to be a bag of hurt when some copy-protected media failed to play back over analogue outputs. Eager to ride the zeitgeist, owners of PowerBook G4s launched a class action lawsuit over dodgy memory slots. They formed a neat orderly queue behind the 128k Mac owner’s whose mice had packed in.

random_woz_urinal_segway_pictureApple celebrated the opening of its 250th Apple Store, in Modesto, California. This month also saw the arrival of a slew of stores — both physical and on-line — across Asia. But their was something strange afoot outside a number of Apple’s UK stores: in an embarrassing display of attention seeking, Microsoft parked “I’m a PC” photo booths on their doorsteps. The move was broadly welcome by Apple Store customers, making up as it did for the lack of alternative public bathrooms.

iPhone OS 2.2 shipped — and although iPod Touch owners didn’t have to pay cash money for it this time, they still found themselves badly treated due to the lack of the new maps and street view features. Apple became the world’s no. 2 smartphone vendor, with news that the iPhone was outselling all Windows Mobile devices combined. Safari 3.2 was released, and rumours began to circulate that Snow Leopard would be arriving sooner than anyone had hoped, possibly even during the 1st quarter of 2009. Less certain of an imminent arrival were The Beatles on iTunes, as Macca revealed that talks were currently ’stalled’. Whatever than meant. In the mean time we had to amuse ourselves listening to some former manager of Pink Floyd whining about how iTunes was destroying the album. (In truth, the kids today have better things to get stoned to than the Floyd.)

Just as the blogosphere was getting up a good head of rumour — new iMacs, new Mac Mini, new CEO — Apple went and rained on its parade, announcing “Our holiday line-up is set.” Spoil sports. Instead, we had to keep ourselves entertained watching senior Apple management playing musical chairs. Tony ‘who?’ Fadell was out as iPod Big Cheese, replaced by Mark ‘who?’ Papermaster, who would have become Senior VP of Devices Hardware Engineering if his former employer, IBM, hadn’t stepped in to stop him. Fadell was left with a consolation prize of a $300,000-a-year special adviser role. But his sudden fall from grace shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone who remembers this incident from the iPhone launch event (at about 5:55):

(Oddly enough, based on Steve’s actions during the same event, rumours that Apple was to buy Starbucks never surfaced. Until now.)

Apple’s 10-K filing this month revealed that their number of employees had grown by almost 50% over the last year. But since ‘zombie apocalypse’ didn’t appear anywhere in their list of ‘risk factors’ they’re either being criminally negligent or — more likely — have a plan in place to deal with the expected flood of undead. (Thinking about it, they must have built all those Apple Stores for a reason.) Making it onto the ‘risk factor’ list, however, was ‘the danger of legal actions going against us’. I think we can all imagine the heart warming scene as, somewhere in Miami, the Pedraza boys point with slack-jawed simplicity to this entry and say, “That’s us, that is!” The anti-trust portion of Psystar’s countersuit against Apple was dismissed by the Judge, and a tentative trial data of November 2009 was set.

Elsewhere in law, Apple wielded the DMCA ban hammer against the BluWiki site and its iPodHash team attempting to reverse engineer the iTunes library copy protection. And in the UK, the ASA was up to its old tricks again, banning the ‘real fast’ iPhone advert after concluding that, no, it really isn’t.

Meanwhile, November was a bad month for garbage-based vocalising. Real Dan Lyons got told to stop blogging by his new masters at Newsweek after trash-talking Yahoo!’s top lawyer; and Rob Enderle — renowned for talking the other kind of trash — lost his gig at Dell after they cancel plans for their iPod killer. Which is a shame, because with Rob on board, how could it possibly fail?

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