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HTC removes patent in case against Apple

The Apple-Samsung case is now in the courtroom, and things are starting to shape up for next month’s HTC versus Apple showdown. The company filed a motion to the International Trade Commission to withdraw a specific patent for a “circuit and operating method for integrated interface of PDA and wireless communication system”, which now drops the number of HTC’s claims down to two standard-essential patents. HTC originally started off with three patents in August of 2011, then added five more for good measure in September of 2011. FOSS Patents blogger Florian Mueller notes that Apple filed a countersuit in June over alleged infringement of standard-essential 4G LTE patents, and says that if Apple is successful in any of its FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) counterclaims, HTC’s ITC complaint will be an utter failure. Apple’s most recent legal volley at HTC is saying that the company managed to skirt an ITC-issued handset injunction after allegedly making “misstatements” to U.S. Customs officials. Some HTC handsets had been banned from import into the U.S. after a ruling found that HTC had infringed on an Apple “data detectors” patent. Continue reading HTC removes patent in case against Apple HTC removes patent in case against Apple originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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HTC removes patent in case against Apple

What Siri foretells for the future of semantic search

Siri is a step forward for iOS users who can use the virtual assistant to set reminders and send messages, but for developer and entrepreneur Ndav Gur , Siri represents more. “Siri has made strong headway into literally understanding you (voice to text) but more importantly about deriving meaning from what a user has just said,” Gur writes in a recent TechCrunch post . What makes Siri exciting is its ability to support natural language now and semantic search in the future. Semantic search moves us away from keyword-based search and into queries based on concepts. Using semantic search, users get knowledge as a result, instead of just information. It’s like asking about the weather and getting advice on what to wear, instead of just the local temperature. Siri is ahead of the game in this arena and is such an “existential threat” to Google’s keyword search that Google has recently announced that it’s working on its own semantic search algorithm . Gur is the founder and CEO of Desti , a company that created its own virtual personal assistant for travelers. You can read more about Siri and semantic search in his guest post on TechCrunch . Continue reading What Siri foretells for the future of semantic search What Siri foretells for the future of semantic search originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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iBook Lessons: Take Control of iBooks Author

iBook Lessons is a continuing series about ebook writing and publishing. Michael E. Cohen is an ebook designer, instructional software developer and the author of ” Take Control of iBooks Author “. This new book introduces iBooks Author to users, and discusses publication through the iBookstore. Cohen agreed to sit down with TUAW to talk about ebooks, the iBookstore, and creating books using the iBooks Author tool. TUAW: Michael, you’ve been doing this a long time — and by “long time,” I mean since before the dawn of the ebook. Can you tell us a bit about your experience in the ebook world, and where you’re coming from? Cohen: It all began on Bloomsday in 1990 (for those unfamiliar with James Joyce, June 16 is the day his novel Ulysses was set, and is Bloomsday to Joyce fans). The Voyager Company had just made a name for itself in the Mac world by producing the first interactive CD-ROM for consumers, Robert Winter’s HyperCard exegesis on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony . Bob Stein, who ran Voyager, and who came from a publishing background, was interested in what could be done with text on a computer and he got a grant to bring a bunch of scholars and geeks together to discuss it at an in-house conference. I was working at UCLA at the time as a technical advisor for the Humanities Computing Facility (actually the job title was User Relations Liaison). One of the invitees was Richard Lanham, a professor of English and specialist in rhetoric. Dick and I were friends, and he invited me to tag along to the meeting (I had turned some of his book, Revising Prose , into a computer program for the Apple II a few years earlier, and had done a sample version of his Handlist of Rhetorical Terms as a HyperCard stack). It was at that meeting that Voyager began what become known as the Expanded Books project. At the end of the meeting, Bob Stein offered me a job — jokingly, I thought. But it wasn’t a joke; a few months later I had left UCLA to work at Voyager, ostensibly on a CD ROM edition of Macbeth but also as part of the Expanded Books team. So that’s how I came into this business. TUAW: What were some of the Expanded Books projects you worked on, and what lessons did you learn while creating them? Cohen: Oh, my. Got an hour? TUAW: I do! But the condensed version is fine. We’re on your schedule here… Cohen: I began working with the people who were trying to imagine just what it would mean to put a book on the computer (specifically the just released line of Mac PowerBooks ). So we spent a lot of time doing mock-ups, trying to imagine what qualities/features/functionality people expected from books and how to best express them simply and cleanly on the PowerBook, in HyperCard. Some lessons were simple: how to mark pages and passages. We came up with interfaces for that (dog-ears, margin lines, and slideable paper-clips). The issue of how to show where one was in a book was another: we developed a hideable “page gauge” for that. Fixed versus variable pagination was another. We went with fixed pages…BUT we also developed a way to double the text size while retaining the same pagination for those who were older and wanted larger print. Taking notes was another. We came up with an in-book notebook. We also looked to the past. We were asked to look at Elizabeth Eisenstein’s treatise about the 100 years following Gutenberg, and how printing changed the world. We were very interested in how that was being replicated at a much faster pace with the invention of digital technology. Basically, we came up with an interface that was a book-like as possible. And we consciously decided not to patent or copyright it. We were interested in publishing books and figured that if we made the interface available for others to copy, we could help establish ebook conventions. That way, there could emerge a vibrant ebook market. And it would have worked, too, if that rascal Tim Berners-Lee hadn’t unleashed the World Wide Web, and destroyed the nascent interactive media market in the process! I helped write the HyperCard scripts for the first ebooks, and personally laid out the first three ebooks Voyager published: Jurassic Park (before the movie!), The Complete Annotated Alice by Martin Gardener, and Douglas Adam’s Complete Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy . TUAW: Many of those revolutionary aspects you worked on are now available in iBooks Author. Looking at iBooks Author with all your experience, how do you evaluate this tool? What ground does it break and what does the software mean in the overall ebook world? Cohen: Some of our inventions (like bookmarks and page gauges) are still in use by most ebook makers. Ah, iBooks Author. How do I evaluate it? I have two perspectives on it: one as an educator (and trainer of educators) and one as a crazy geek who likes to customize and extend technology. As one who has worked training teachers to use digital technology in instruction, I have to say that iBooks Author is the bee’s knees and cat’s pajamas. Really. It is something that offers most of the features one would want in a digital textbook, and, more importantly, one that I could teach intelligent faculty to use profitably (in the educational, not remunerative sense) in a few hours. As a geek I am disappointed that it is not more extensible, and uses a proprietary framework (but one that IS very close to the EPUB 3 standard ). But, overall, I am delighted to see it…and very sad that it took over 20 years since we started making ebooks for it to emerge. As for what it means…gosh, I could speculate. My hope is that it creates a thriving marketplace for ebooks in education. I think Apple is being clever here: use education as a way to expand the capability of ebooks, and then extend that capability to non-instructional books over time. Meanwhile, it solves the ugly problem of ever larger and more expensive textbooks that kids have to carry around. TUAW: What are some of the features in iBooks Author that excite you the most? Cohen: Well, obviously its existence itself is the biggest feature. It’s a way to create attractive inexpensive textbooks? That’s huge . The various widgets are the other big features: they are suitable for so many different kinds of instructional use. And I’m personally intrigued by the misnamed HTML widget (it’s actually more of a way to host Dashboard-style HTML/Javascript widgets inside of the iBooks framework). Had I world enough and time, I’d spend hours and hours playing with ways to use it. The templates are another big feature. They provide an easy way for novices to quickly produce attractive materials, but are also extensively customizable for the more professional book developer. TUAW: Are there some features you feel could still be improved? Cohen: What don’t I like? The fact that it is proprietary. I understand why it is, but I don’t like that it is. And I don’t like that it doesn’t easily support collaborative work: many textbooks have multiple authors, but iBooks Author doesn’t lend itself well to distributed authorship. Also, there’s no change tracking and no sidebar comments, the kinds of tools available in Word and Pages TUAW: Who is the target audience for your book, and what will they get out of it? The target audience is really anyone who wants to learn how to use the software. More specifically, though, I did write it with textbook authors and educators in mind, because that is who iBooks Author itself is really designed for. It is not a general ebook creation tool; it is exquisitely tuned for creating a specific family of book-types: textbooks. For use in the classroom and for home study. iBooks Author can be used for creating catalogs and similar books that require lots of images and interactive sidebars associated with the text, but it really is a textbook creation tool. If I were a novelist, I wouldn’t choose it as my ebook platform, unless my novel was in the form of a textbook, of course (which could be interesting to try to do). TUAW: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to talk. It’s both a pleasure and an honor to meet you. You bring an amazing history of ebook creation to the table, and I’m sure there are still many stories to share that we didn’t have time for. Would you be open to coming back and talking further? Sure. Ebooks are something of a passion of mine. You may have picked up on that! Take Control of iBooks Author (US$15) by Michael E. Cohen is available from Take Control Books . Michael E. Cohen taught English composition, worked as a programmer for NASA’s Deep Space Network, and helped develop the first commercial ebooks at the Voyager Company. Continue reading iBook Lessons: Take Control of iBooks Author iBook Lessons: Take Control of iBooks Author originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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iBook Lessons: Take Control of iBooks Author

Could AAPL split in a move toward Dow? Bernstein analyst thinks it will

A week after Apple posted its third-quarter earnings for 2012 , Bernstein Research analyst A.M. “Toni” Sacconaghi speculates that the time is right for Apple to split its stock if it wants a future spot as an indexed member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average . The Dow is woefully underpopulated with technology companies, Sacconaghi argues, and IBM and Microsoft were added during a time when the PC market was far less mature than the smartphone market is now. But if Apple was to join the DJIA, the price of the stock would have to come down from the current $607 that it’s trading at as of this morning. The Dow is a price-based index with few stocks selling more than $100 a share. Granted, this is speculation worthy of Chris Rawson’s rumor roundups . Despite some headlines indicating that it’s practically a done deal, Sacconaghi’s scenario is just that — a “what if” situation. As Barron’s Tiernan Ray rightfully points out , Apple has not indicated that it has any current intention of splitting its shares — although the company has done so three times before , most recently in 2005. The New York Times’s DealBook blog is also considering Apple’s fiscal future, pointing out a few possible big-game acquisition targets for the company’s ample cash hoard. Writer Andrew Ross Sorkin saves the serious caveats for the end of the post (much of Apple’s cash is overseas and cannot be repatriated without a tax hit, for example) after he speculates on some truly blue-sky options for Apple’s shopping list. Twitter and Path? Nuance? Sprint? Research In Motion ?!? Despite the reports of past talks between Apple and Twitter , none of these seem particularly likely. If we’re throwing darts at the stock listings, though, perhaps Apple will fork over $68 billion and take over Comcast, which would gain it 51% of NBC Universal along with millions of paying cable customers. [via Reuters ] Continue reading Could AAPL split in a move toward Dow? Bernstein analyst thinks it will Could AAPL split in a move toward Dow? Bernstein analyst thinks it will originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Could AAPL split in a move toward Dow? Bernstein analyst thinks it will

Daily Update for July 31, 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. You can listen to today’s Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here . No Flash? Click here to listen . Subscribe via RSS Daily Update for July 31, 2012 originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Daily Update for July 31, 2012

Apple’s components spending increasing dramatically

Statements made by Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer during the recent 3Q 2012 earnings call are beginning to make sense in light of news from AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski that shows that Apple’s prepayments for inventory components are ramping up in a big way . The Apple executives had noted that the 4Q 2012 earnings guidance would be down due to a “product transition,” basically a way of saying that they’d be spending more on building inventory for a new product coming down the pike. Cook and Oppenheimer also repeatedly referred to “confidence in the new product pipeline,” meaning that something big is coming from the company. (Chris referenced this in passing in yesterday’s Rumor Roundup. ) Paczkowski pointed out a chart in Apple’s latest 10-Q filing (at the top of this post), which shows prepayment for inventory components in the June quarter rising US$1.15 billion over the previous quarter. That’s a huge buildup, and Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um is cited as saying that “Historically, such increases have been followed by a solid ramp-up in revenue in the following 2-3 quarters. In our view, an increase in inventory component prepayment may suggest that Apple is securing supply for potential new product launches.” As reported by several sites yesterday, the anticipation is building for a rumored Apple event in mid-September . There’s a good chance that one of those products is the next-generation iPhone, but perhaps we’ll also see other products getting a refresh. What updated or new Apple products do you want to see? I’m holding out for a new iMac, while several of the other TUAW bloggers want a new Mac mini. Tell us your wishes for new products in the comments. Continue reading Apple’s components spending increasing dramatically Apple’s components spending increasing dramatically originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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DODOcase touts new interior tray design for iPad cases

When it comes to book-like folio cases for iPad, San Francisco-based DODOcase was the leader in creating a design that used traditional book-binding techniques and a wooden tray to protect the tablet in a classy way. The company has just announced a new interior tray design that adds significant strength to DODOcases. According to a press release from the company, The new tray is 330% stronger than the previous version and about 2x the strength on average of the competitive products we tested against. This redesign reflects our desire to make and provide the best product possible and allows the DODOcase to withstand increased drop impact. The new tray will be available on all iPad products starting 7/31 – and is the product of an extensive design process that included looking at traditional wood crafts that focused on strength as well as usability: from the science of baseball bats and axe handles to the art of Japanese Bokken wooden sword construction, we wanted to make the DODOcase even stronger. TUAW will be doing a full review of the newly-redesigned case in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy the video below and dream of a colorful DODOcase on your iPad. DODOcase touts new interior tray design for iPad cases originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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DODOcase touts new interior tray design for iPad cases

Reminder: iWork.com beta shuts down today

iWork.com is dead. Long live iWork.com ! Today is the last day that you’ll be able to sign into the iWork.com beta. Apple’s first attempt at creating a document sharing environment for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote documents never did make it to prime time. Tomorrow, iWork.com goes the way of the dodo and MobileMe. Apple has built in the capability of sharing your documents between your own devices via iCloud , with a recent update to the OS X version of iWork adding the ability to save to and read from iCloud. Any documents you have stored on iWork.com should have been moved to your iCloud account, provided that you used the same Apple ID to sign into both iWork.com and iCloud. If your documents somehow failed to make the transition to iCloud or if you just want to move them back to your Mac, Apple has full instructions here on how to download those precious files. Continue reading Reminder: iWork.com beta shuts down today Reminder: iWork.com beta shuts down today originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Magic Window time-lapse desktop adds scenes, we look behind the curtain

I’ve looked at Magic Window a couple of times, first for the iPad and then in its OS X incarnation. The Mac version of the app has been updated today and now includes a total of 60 stunning scenes to spruce up your desktop or to use as a screensaver. The app is also on sale for $2.99 to celebrate the release of Mountain Lion . On the iPad or any iOS device Magic Window provides pretty time lapse images, but because of multitasking limitations in iOS you can’t do anything else while the images display. On a Mac, you get a screensaver, or as I like to use it, as an ever-changing desktop background. You can display sunsets or sunrises over cities, or natural landscapes, all displayed in gradual time-lapse fashion. Having an app like this has always made me wonder what is behind it technically, so I put the question to Josh Michaels who developed Magic Window. Creating the time-lapse photos is quite a project. The scenes are captured with a Canon 5D Mark II camera (a pair of cameras, actually, so there is a backup). An intervalometer controls the time lapse parameters. Josh and his crew carry a tripod, ten batteries, 4 lenses and 2 TB of portable storage. Each image in the series is 21.1 MP and is processed using Lightroom, then with Final Cut plus some custom plug-ins and tools. Each setup takes 1-4 hours to shoot, and there are the inevitable issues with weather or someone walking in front of the camera. Josh says they have even been busted by security while shooting. It’s especially rough in Las Vegas, he says, because casino operators just don’t trust cameras, especially on tripods, and most especially when they are in one place for a long time. Magic Window is a very nice way to add some beauty to your desktop that subtly changes as your day moves on. The app is on sale for US $2.99 through the Mac App Store. An update to the iPhone and iPad versions will be out about the time iOS 6 is released. Check the gallery for some behind the scenes shots of the images being created. Gallery: Behind the scenes creating Magic Window images Continue reading Magic Window time-lapse desktop adds scenes, we look behind the curtain Magic Window time-lapse desktop adds scenes, we look behind the curtain originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Magic Window time-lapse desktop adds scenes, we look behind the curtain

New game coming from creators of The Incident

Developers Neven Mrgan and Matt Comi are also known as Big Bucket. They’re the team behind the popular and acclaimed iPhone and iPad game The Incident . They’ve just announced a brand new title, coming out later on this year. The as-yet-unnamed game will be announced at Portland’s XOXO Festival ( the gathering funded by Kickstarter and organized by Andy Baio), and will be previewed there. According to Mrgan, parts of XOXO will be open to the public, so if you’re in Portland, you can stop by and see it if you like. We’ll look forward to hearing more about this game. Both of these guys are super talented, and whatever they’re planning to show off will almost certainly be a lot of fun. Continue reading New game coming from creators of The Incident New game coming from creators of The Incident originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 16:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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New game coming from creators of The Incident