Google Chrome OS: A Scramble to Say Nothing

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I woke up this morning to see the whole world talking about Google’s (s goog) new operating system, Chrome OS, that is targeting  netbooks and desktops. I spent a big part of the morning reading many different stories and posts — and they say absolutely nothing, apart from chunks of information from the original blog post, which is, well, a lot of words that say nothing much. Meanwhile, The New York Times has the best overview of the Chrome OS announcement, so don’t bother reading anything else for now. The guys at jkOnTheRun sum up the release of the OS succinctly when they write:

A web, or cloud, OS that puts the bulk of all user activity firmly up in the web. No heavy lifting on the user’s netbook; that will all take place up in the cloud with the Chrome OS handling it all. This is so clever on Google’s part, and could very well turn the next page on cloud computing.

Stacey is currently working on our analysis, but I was hoping to get a conversation started with our community — what do you make of this new development? Do you think Google has what it takes to beat Microsoft, or will this prove to the the equivalent of a Hollywood starlet, hot today, not tomorrow?

Apple Insists New Apps Must Be iPhone 3.0-Compatible

It’s getting down to the wire, and Apple (s aapl) clearly means business. Yesterday they sent out an email to those enrolled in the iPhone development program notifying members that all apps submitted will now be reviewed for approval using iPhone OS 3.0. That means that even if you were designing your app using the iPhone 2.0 SDK, as Apple has insisted that all apps submitted until now must be, it’s finally time to break out the 3.0 SDK and see if your work is compatible with the new software. If not, better get it into shape quick, because now Apple has yet another reason to reject you.

In the notification email from Apple, they also cover existing apps already available in the App Store. According to them, all apps should (theoretically) already be compatible with the new software. In my experience, this isn’t exactly true, with some very odd behavior coming from some apps, like eBay mobile not letting me successfully sign in. There are other quirks as well, but hopefully devs take this last month to test and correct both of those so that when iPhone 3.0 officially launches people don’t encounter the same annoying ticks that beta testers have experienced. Read More about Apple Insists New Apps Must Be iPhone 3.0-Compatible

iPhone OS Beta 5 Now Available, Kills Carrier File Switching

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This week, Apple (s aapl) deviated from their usual biweekly update schedule and released yet another installment of the iPhone OS 3.0 beta. As of last week, the beta has been accompanied by an iTunes 8.2 pre-release build, and an updated version of that accompanies the beta firmware and the SDK. Aside from the single-week interval, the beta is also unusual in that it was released on a Wednesday night, instead of a Tuesday, when Apple has usually released new iterations in the past.

There are a few different reasons Apple might be stepping up the release schedule. First, WWDC is coming up very soon, and they might be speeding up the development schedule in order to get a stable product out the door come early June. They might also have picked up on a nasty security vulnerability before anyone else did for once, and therefore a quick patch along with any bug fixes completed to date was required. Read More about iPhone OS Beta 5 Now Available, Kills Carrier File Switching

New iPhone 3.0 OS Beta 4 Comes With iTunes 8.2 Pre-Release

In keeping with the release schedule they’ve established, Apple (s appl) yesterday let loose new versions of its iPhone 3.0 OS and accompanying SDK. This time around, developers got another goody, in the form of an early pre-release of iTunes 8.2. The new version of iTunes is apparently required for activating the new iPhone OS beta, build 7A300g. As always, users must also install the latest iPhone SDK (build 9M2732) in order for the update to work properly.

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The new iTunes pre-release is stealing the spotlight this time around, thanks to a mention in the “About iTunes” legalese of Blu-ray (screenshot above) among other formats mentioned in conjunction with Gracenote, the software used to gather track information when CDs or other media are played back in Apple’s media jukebox app. Many are speculating that this could foretell the coming of the sometimes maligned video disc format to the Mac platform. Read More about New iPhone 3.0 OS Beta 4 Comes With iTunes 8.2 Pre-Release

Leading iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Acquired by Amazon

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People who like to read books on their iPhones (including myself) will be pleased to hear that Amazon (s amzn) has grown tired of playing catch-up with Stanza on the platform and instead bought out the much smaller company behind the app, Lexcycle. The Stanza makers are reportedly “very excited” by the development, which is understandable considering the gobs of cash Amazon no doubt threw their way. I’d be jazzed, too.

While it looks like the Stanza devs will continue to work on the app under the Amazon banner, and they claim that no major changes to the app will result from the purchase, Amazon no doubt has big plans for the platform, which it will likely integrate with its existing iPhone app for Kindle titles. Hopefully they don’t just shut it down in favor of their own app, or rebrand it, because I think the Stanza name at this point has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of iPhone apps. Read More about Leading iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Acquired by Amazon

Apple Introduces New Features in iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 3

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Running a new beta on the iPhone is a little like being a kid with very loving but forgetful parents during Easter. You can bet that there are lots of eggs hidden around, but you’ll probably still be finding some long after the actual hunt is over. Since Apple (s aapl) doesn’t come right out and tell you what it is specifically that’s new about a new beta, features and improvements leak out slowly as developers actually use and poke around in the software.

The latest beta, dubbed 7a280f, is no exception. Lately, all kinds of neat new tricks have come to light, some of which are just nice conveniences, while others indicate a maturation of the platform ahead of the upcoming full release in June. I’ve been playing with it myself for a while, and a lot of these features escaped my notice. Read More about Apple Introduces New Features in iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 3

Apple Releases iPhone 3.0 Beta 2 for Developers

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Apple (s aapl) released the second version of the iPhone 3.0 OS and SDK Beta today, bringing developers a number of feature improvements and stability fixes.

It’s good news for people like me who are using the beta on their primary phones — against their own good judgment and the advice of Apple and everyone else. The official build number is 7a259g, and this release marks only two weeks since the announcement and initial release of the iPhone 3.0 software. Read More about Apple Releases iPhone 3.0 Beta 2 for Developers

First Look: iPhone OS 3.0 Beta

icon_ipswBeing enrolled in the iPhone Developer Program, I was lucky enough to have access to the iPhone 3.0 pre-release beta, which I installed on my iPod touch as soon as Apple’s (s aapl) servers recovered from the initial shock. I was a little hesitant to put it on my iPhone 3G right away, since it is my primary phone and we are still talking about early beta software. After less than a day of working with the OS on my touch, however, I couldn’t resist any longer and took the plunge.
It’s not really the case that there are so many big changes that I just can’t live without, but the little ones make a big difference in the device’s usability and day-to-day operation. So if you do plan on installing this beta build, don’t expect to be blown away, but do expect a growing sense of contentment with your phone. As long as you don’t mind a few bugs, that is. Read More about First Look: iPhone OS 3.0 Beta

Apple and Microsoft: The Difference in OS Sales Models

In a previous article I discussed Apple’s approach to cloning and how far they should go in shutting down that business. This led to the question “why can’t I just buy Mac OS X and install it on any hardware I want?”, which led to a pretty typical answer that the boxed OS X is sold as an upgrade, not a new (or full) license. This answer is sometimes challenged, and brings up the idea of what an “upgrade” is in the Mac world as opposed to Microsoft.

This is not an Apple vs. Microsoft argument. It simply attempts to outline the difference in each one’s approach to OS sales, and why each uses the sales model it does. Rather than claim one is “right”, I believe each is right for the business model it supports. 

Where Apple may be handicapped in terms of perception is that Microsoft’s approach is well-known and understood. Microsoft could point out that ~95 percent of the planet probably “gets” their model. Apple, for all their recent success — so much so that many Apple fans forget they’re still a drop in the Atlantic in terms of global market share — employs a different approach that, when viewed through Microsoft’s, might seem a bit strange.
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Native Client: An OS in Your Browser

Earlier this week, I wrote about the launch of Google’s (s goog) Native Client, and how the company hoped that the new software would help web-based apps run faster and more securely. After the post appeared, I got an email from Google, asking me if I wanted to find out a bit more about Native Client, and suggesting that they could help “clarify some misunderstandings” in the piece I wrote. Since I hate to think that there’s something I might have missed or described poorly in a post, I agreed.

What resulted was a phone call with three Google engineers: Linus Upson, an engineering director; Brad Chen, the engineering manager for Native Client (who wrote this post on the Google blog); and Henry Bridge, a product manager for Native Client. Read More about Native Client: An OS in Your Browser