Read all about one man’s bold steps to enjoying his music on the go. It doesn’t have much to do with matching anything, though.
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A company called In Icons made headlines this week by announcing their freakishly-realistic Steve Jobs figurine/doll, which is set to go on sale in February. Is this a loving tribute to a man who changed the world? Or a dishonorable product that preys on the public’s fascination with the recently-deceased?
Isn’t it too soon for this? We’re talking about a man who only died a few months ago, and already people are profiting from his visage. Somehow it makes me think of those movies where deceased stars or public figures are digitally inserted; sometimes it’s long after their death, sometimes it’s while they’re still alive. (Like Marlon Brando’s digitized appearance in Superman Returns. Or remember President Clinton’s cameo in the movie Contact? He was still in office at the time!) Using a real person — be it a recording or a facsimile — for your own ends, without permission, is a very, very grey area.
Put simply, it feels… icky.
Now to be clear, In Icons does not have permission from the Jobs family (or even Apple) to immortalize Jobs’ appearance as a product for sale. But the legalities of using a dead person as intellectual property, and who owns or gives permission for such use, are murky at best.
To be fair, DiD Corporation of Hong Kong, which will distribute the doll (for $99.99 a pop, plus shipping), makes its living by selling realistic figurines based on famous figures — both real and fictional, from the past and the present. Among their other products are President Obama, Tiger Woods, and Tom Hanks’ character from Saving Private Ryan. And playing Devil’s advocate here… Nobody has a problem with the production of an Albert Einstein doll. Einstein was another real-life human being who is still celebrated for how his unique intelligence changed the world. On the other hand, Einstein died over 56 years ago.
The doll does look like it’s very well made. A lot of time and care had to have gone into replicating Jobs’ features for the figurine, because its resemblance is uncanny — leaps and bounds better than the majority of “toys” out there based on real people or even fictional characters. You can’t accuse In Icons of cutting corners in its design. The doll will sell for $99.99.
The legal questions are for the lawyers to sort out. (Apple’s legal team is said to see the miniature iPhone and Apple II that come with the doll as an inroads to a lawsuit that could stop the doll’s production. Jobs’ family is also seriously considering legal action.)
But we, the fans and consumers, must each consider and decide the morals of it for ourselves. You already know what I think (see above, re: “icky”). Where do you stand?
It appears that, after In Icon’s ultra-realistic Steve Jobs doll hit the headlines, Apple has moved to block sales of the figurine, squeezing the Chinese toy maker and threatening it with legal action.
The Telegraph reports that the 12-inch model, which ships as an almost exact replica of the iconic Apple co-founder complete with blue jeans, black turtleneck and white trainers, has been targeted by Apple, which threatens to sue the toy maker unless it stops trading.
The doll is on sale for $99 and was set to begin shipping to customers in February.
The issue focuses on the likeness of the figurine has to the former Apple CEO, which Apple claims it owns the rights to. The company reportedly sent a letter to In Icons stating that “any toy that resembles the technology company’s logo, person’s name, appearance or likeness of its products is a criminal offence,” writes The Telegraph.
In Icon boss Tandy Cheung had previously said that Apple could “do anything they like”, adding that the company “will not stop, we already started production”. Cheung had spoke with lawyers in Hong Kong who had told him that he was not violating Apple’s intellectual property as long as he didn’t include any Apple products.
“Steve Jobs is not an actor, he’s just a celebrity… There is no copyright protection for a normal person. Steve Jobs is not a product… so I don’t think Apple has the copyright of him.”
Expecting Apple to move and block sales, sellers of the doll are already fetching upwards of $135 on eBay.
Apple has successfully blocked sales of other Steve Jobs models in the past, curbing sales of a figurine created by MIC Gadget in 2010.
If you’re the type of person who loved old school DOS games and you also own a Mac then you owe it to yourself to go and check out Boxer, a free Mac app that “plays all the MS-DOS games of your misspent youth” on your machine.
Emulators and ROMs that port old games from the past too today’s range of computers and phones have been popular for some while but Boxer is 100% dedicated Mac app. It’s based on the hugely successful DOSBox emulator and it literally builds games into apps, as it explains on its site:
Boxer takes your CDs, floppies and bootleg game copies and wraps them into app-style gameboxes you just click to play. They’re self-contained so you can back them up or share them with friends. No mess, no fuss.
The games look and feel like the originals, and run at full screen resolution with no quality issues, as this shot from Commander Keen 4 shows:
Those who had big boxes of floppies or CDs in the past can relive the feeling of being well stocked as Boxer turns the folder on your Mac into a virtual shelf, which is a nice touch.
Boxer 1.2 has recently been unwrapping (running on for OS X 10.5 upwards) and the newer version has tweaked its look and feel (adding MT-32 emulation), improved usability, fixed some bugs and, most importantly, added support for a bunch of new games.
This video uses the older version of the app but it still gives an clear idea of how Boxer works, and the kind of fun you can have with it:
Boxer is yet to make it into the Mac Store but there are plans to do so at some point according to the developer behind the project. For now, it can be downloaded from its website, and — good news — there are no plans to introduce any subscription and it will remain free.
On the very last day of 2011 Apple’s first fiscal quarter of 2012 ended and what happened during the preceding three months will drop jaws across Wall Street. Unlike previous years the quarter ran for 14 weeks rather than 13, this is something that happens every six years to align the fiscal periods with the December calendar. Six years ago this extra week of product sales wouldn’t have been notable, this time it should be taken into account (little reminder for the analysts amongst you).
Apple will report the results of its first quarter on January 24 and expect the news to be incredibly impressive. Those with even a basic knowledge of Apple’s business will know that its first quarter is always the most profitable driven by strong sales ahead of the holiday shopping season which kicks off in early November and runs right through until the end of December. The products that Apple makes are massive holiday sellers and the iPhone and iPad were sure to have been unwrapped in there millions across the world.
Although sailing under the radar of most onlookers, the clue to just how big Apple’s first quarter was likely to be was actually pinned by Apple itself during the last time we heard the company speak about its financials. During the fourth quarter of 2011 conference call Peter Oppenheimer gave a forward looking statement that predicted that Apple would bring in revenue of $37 billion on earnings per share of $9.30.
Estimated and actual quarterly Apple sales revenue
To add some perspective, Apple reported record revenue during the third quarter of 2011 and that was $28 billion. Those who are regular followers of these numbers will know that Apple’s guidance for upcoming quarters is always below what actually happens, in fact Apple often guides 12-18% lower than its actual numbers. Even on the lowest end of that scale Apple will report revenue of $41 billion, on the higher end $43 billion.
Such huge numbers would suggest that Apple has increased its revenue by $15 billion in just six months. But more notably Apple’s previous first quarter reported revenue of $25 billion, a first quarter record but a massive $18 billion below the current expectations.
Such analysis and predictions of revenue reveal just a small piece of the big picture that will be discussed during Apple’s fiscal results on January 24. Sales of its hardware and uptake of iCloud, iOS 5 and OS X Lion will be closely watched. I’ll cover the details of these nearer the January 24 date.
Apple is now giving refunds to customers that purchased the bizarre GameStore app that surfaced over the past weekend in the App Store. GameStore offered in-app purchases for non-existent racing games.
In an email to customers that purchased GameStore during the brief time it was on the App Store, Apple has noted that the app was made available for sale “prematurely.”
You recently purchase the GameStore app. The app was made available for sale prematurely. We apologize for the problem and have refunded the purchase amount back to your account. These funds will be applied to your original payment method within 5 business days.
When it was on the App Store, GameStore was listed as having a June 2009 origin, despite the app surfacing only days ago.
The wording suggests that Apple will eventually release GameStore again. Let’s hope the app actually does something the next time around.
- Bizarre Official GameStore App Pops Up On App Store, But Why Did Apple Make It?
- Buy A New Mac Now, Get Lion Free When It’s Released
- How to Hide App Store Purchases [iOS Tips]
- AT&T Reveals iPhone Pricing Details
- We’ll Refund Your Old Purchase If You Switch To App Store – Developers
The area where the fitness tech companies congregate at CES seems to get larger and louder every year — and based on the preview emails or stuff we’ve chatted about on the phone, fitness at CES 2012 looks like it’ll be bigger than ever.
The big news this year is Low Energy Bluetooth v4.0, a new BT protocol that’s being quickly adopted by leading high-end smartphones, including the iPhone 4S. The previous generation of Bluetooth was too much of a power vampire, making BT-connected devices that used small batteries (like the coin-cells commonly used in heart-rate monitor sensors) impractical for BT connections; but because this new Bluetooth uses much less power, it’s a huge boon for fitness gadget manufacturers looking for a simple way to connect their devices to smartphones.
Of course, BT v4.0 isn’t the only story. Here’s a smattering of what to expect from the North Hall fitness cluster at CES:
Start-up Basis will be releasing a gadget that tracks the users heart-rate continually, without the need to switch between sleep and active modes. Like Scosche’s myTREK, the device uses optics to “see” blood flowing through veins (rather than the electrical pulses measured by almost all heart-rate monitors in use today).
Oregon Scientific says they’ll have a button-less touch screen heart-rate monitor that they’ve developed in partnership with yoga company Gaiam. This doesn’t sound like an app-enhanced gadget, but rather a stand-alone device; should prove interesting nonetheless.
There’ll be a new line of HD cameras, stereo headsets and FM radios — all 100-percent waterproof — from an outfit we’re not able to mention yet.
Bolstering the new stuff are fitness gadgets released in the last couple of months or so that we’ll take a look at:
Wahoo Blue – The world’s first ever Bluetooth-connected heart-rate monitor made its debut last month, made it’s appearance in no small part due to the new widely adopted Bluetooth v4.0. This should be the first of many Bluetooth-enabled fitness devices…
Jawbone Up – Another device made possible through Bluetooth v4.0, this bracelet ambitiously tracks pretty much everything you do — how much you sleep, how many calories you eat and burn — then gives you the ability to share all this info with the rest of the world. But the gadget has had its share of problems; has Jawbone gotten the Up’s act together?
- This is Scosche’s New, Bizarrely Cool iPhone Fitness Appcessory
- Again, Wahoo Reinvents Fitness on the iPhone
- Find Out How Much Sleep You’ve Lost Thinking About the New iPhones With This New Appcessory
- These New iHome Earphones Come With a Fitness Coach
- Turn The iPhone 4 Into A Heart Rate Monitor, For Free [New App]
What’s this? Android news on Cult of Mac?! Who the hell cares?! Maybe you don’t, maybe you do. Point is: these are a few of the popular topics going on in the Android world today. Maybe you’d like to know what the competition is up to, or perhaps your aunt received a Kindle Fire she needs to update. Regardless of the reason, having a resource such as Cult of Android allows you to learn more about what’s going on in the ecosystem powered by the world’s leading mobile OS.
Google Fights Fragmentation: Any Android 4.0+ Device With The Android Market Now Requires Unmodified Holo Theme
Android 4.0 was created to help unify Android across all devices. Yesterday, Google took that goal of unification one step further. From here on out, any device running Android 4.0 with the Android Market, will require the inclusion of the unmodified Holo theme family. The Holo theme family consists of the themes Theme.Holo, Theme.Holo.Light, and Theme.Holo.Light.DarkActionBar. You can see examples of these three themes in the above image. These requirements will help better control the rampant “fragmentation” of Android and will allow manufactures to continue using their own custom themes, while providing a familiar experience. More…
As the ongoing patent arms race continues, Google has acquired a few extra weapons courtesy of IBM. Just before the end of 2011, Google scooped up another 200+ patents from IBM, bringing the total of IBM patents acquired to just over 2000. Of course not all these patents are mobile related, but there are a few covering VOIP, NFC, and a “computer phone.” This just continues the steps Google has been taking to increase its patent portfolio and readying itself for the inevitable patent troll 2.0 that 2012 will bring. More…
The Android Market saw staggering growth in 2011 and thanks to some tracking done by Distimo, we have a better look at how the numbers play out in comparison to Android’s top competitor Apple. According to Distimo, the Android Market has now reached over 400,000 apps, which is still 100K shy of Apple’s 500K+ active apps available according to 148apps metrics. While Android still trails in overall apps, it’s really the rate at which it’s growing that is impressive. More…
Our favorite tasty treat has finally made it onto the Android platform distribution chart (albeit a tiny sliver of a slice). Google puts out these distribution charts to allow developers to see who’s rocking what, when it pertains to versions of Android. This helps prioritize development and support for future and current apps. This is the first time we’re seeing Android 4.0 (actually 4.0, 4.0.2, and 4.0.3) show up in the chart, and I have to admit, it feels nice to be noticed. There’s a lot of other interesting percentage to note, so let’s take a look at which versions of Android are heading the pack and which are following behind. More…
While most companies are going to wait until CES to launch their newest products, AT&T appears to have other plans. BGR has received word that AT&T plans to lanuch the Pantech Element this Sunday, ahead of CES. This 8″ 4G LTE device will features an IP578 waterproof rating (which means splash resistant, not waterproof) along with: More…
Sony Ericsson will have a strong presence this year at CES and they’re already stirring up some excitement. Over on their Facebook page they’ve posted a small collage of shots showing off a mysterious device(s) that will be unveiled at CES. We’re hoping to see the Sony Ericsson Nozomi or Xperia Arc HD revealed at CES, and some astute Xperia fans have pointed out that the camera button in this pic is on par with what could be an Xperia Arc successor (the HD perhaps). More…
There’s going to be plenty of hardware debuting at CES this year, but let’s not forget that software companies will also be in the house. Sega is one such company, and they are planning to debut their Virtua Tennis Challenge for mobile devices, specifically the Sony Xperia Play. Sega has only recently broken into the mobile gaming world, but they have every intention of having a bigger presence in the near future. More…
- Sony Ericsson Joins Google’s Open Handset Alliance
- Sony Ericsson CEO: “We Should Have Taken the iPhone More Seriously”
- Apple’s Latest Weapon Against Android: Nortel’s 6,000 Patents
- Minecraft – Pocket Edition Will Launch As Android Exclusive, But What About iPhone?
- More Bad News for HTC: ITC to Take Up New Apple Complaint
Yesterday we showed you how to conserve iCloud storage space by removing old backups from your iOS device. But what if you don’t have old backups eating up your storage, and you’re still going over your limit?
Today’s tip will show you how to manage your iCloud storage by disabling backups for selected iOS apps that you don’t necessarily need to backup with iCloud, quickly providing you with more storage for your important data.
A perfect example of this is with photos taken with the Camera app, which can quickly eat up space on your device if you’re a keen snapper. If you backup your images to iPhoto — or a similar application — on your Mac on a regular basis, you may not need to have your photographs stored in the cloud as well.
By disabling iCloud backups for the Camera app — and other apps that don’t need to be backup — you can take back a significant amount of your cloud storage. To do this, open up the Settings app on your device, then tap the ‘iCloud’ tab.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap ‘Storage & Backup’. Now choose ‘Manage Storage’.
Tap on the device you’d like to manage, and you’ll be presented with a list of apps you’re currently backing up to iCloud. Under the app’s name, you can see how much of your iCloud storage they’re taking up. For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that my Camera app wishes to use 2.8GB of my iCloud storage next time I sync.
Scroll through your list of apps and disable all of those that you don’t want to backup. Simply toggle the switch next to each app’s name to off, then tap the ‘Turn Off & Delete’ button.
At the end of this process, you should find your iCloud backup size has quickly been reduced, providing you with more space for your most important data.
- How To Delete iCloud Backups On Your iOS Device [iOS Tip]
- Apple Unveils iCloud Subscription Pricing for US, UK, EU
- See How Much Storage Space Your iOS Apps Are Using On Documents & Data [iOS Tip]
- Apple Will Delete Your iCloud Backups on Sept 22 in Preparation for Launch
- iCloud Will Store All Your Documents And Photos Across Any Device, Any App [WWDC 2011]
"President Obama speaks via videoconference to Iowa caucus-goers"
Who rides around in an armored Cadillac and likes to take retro-filtered photos? The President of the United States, of course! That’s right, President Barack Obama is now Instagram.
As the campaign season starts to ramp up, Obama’s staff is covering all the bases. Fellow Instagram addicts can follow the president’s staff from his official account for plenty of hipster filter goodness and behind-the-scenes peeks along the campaign trail.
From the Instagram blog:
We’ve seen political coverage on Instagram increase as the 2012 US Presidential Election nears. News organizations such as NBC News, ABC World News and the Washington Post have been sharing behind-the-scenes photos at debates and town hall meetings across the country, offering a unique look into the 2012 elections. As election day nears, we look forward to seeing how campaigns, reporters and voters use Instagram to tell the story of the 2012 Presidential Election through photos.
Herman Cain is probably glad he never opened an account.
- Foursquare Brings “Social Voting” To The iPhone
- Instagram Wants An “Open Ecosystem,” Releases Developer API
- Jobs Says Gore Can Be Next President
- Political Fact-Checking App Featured on iTunes Store
- Apple’s Phil Schiller Congratulates Instagram On Winning iTunes Rewind 2011, Asks You To Follow Him