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Steve Wozniak, who with his friend Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computer on April 1, 1976 , always has interesting things to say about his company, competition and the technology industry at large. In an interview yesterday, the outspoken gadget lover expressed concern over patent wars.

He argued that patent-related litigation often blocks off start-ups and young thinkers because big boys make sure they own it all.

He also isn’t convinced that we’ll stop using computers in the post-PC world and said it’s too early to judge Tim Cook as Steve Jobs has stamped his mark on products that are three years in the queue…

Wozniak, 61, gave an interview to The Australian Financial Review yesterday. He opined it’s too early to judge Tim Cook who was named the CEO of Apple after Steve Jobs announced his resignation on August 24, 2011.

It is hard to judge yet because Apple products still look like they did under Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs has stamped his mark on products that are three years in the queue. I want to see the special touches [under Cook], not just an iteration to the iPad 3.

Although we are moving towards a very mobile world, I think there is going to be room for PCs for quite a long time still. For some work like audio or visual editing you need the complete machine and [a] larger screen. The mobile device is great for most of the things we do with our computer – but not everything.

The Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg confronted Steve Jobs with the same question at the D conference in 2010, to which Steve replied that he definitely sees tablets taking over more complex stuff, such as content creation, video editing and more.

Software and hardware evolve, Steve remarked, adding that “time takes care of a lot of this stuff”.

Speaking of patent wars, Woz reminded everyone that big companies such as Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo! were all started by new thinkers with bold new ideas who didn’t have to cope with patent lawyers as today’s start-ups do:

I care so much about the young person that has some technical knowledge and wants to start their own busines […] Now, with this big patent situation, there are certain categories that are heavily blocked off because the big companies make sure they own it all. 

Wozniak is the original architect of the Apple I and Apple II computers in the mid-1970s. He is currently chief scientist for storage startup Fusion-io.

Wozniak and Jobs got their first taste of patent litigation back in 1977, when they realized RCA had already patented the design which translates letters into dots that could be put on a screen. They had to license that design for use in the 1977 Apple II system:

Only a huge company with vast sums of money could have afforded to do the research when they did, because you couldn’t make an affordable product that used that technology at the time. […] We actually wound up paying them two bucks for every computer we shipped just for that simple idea… That sort of thing is going to crop up over and over – very simple ideas that the big companies with big money are going to own, and the small guy who starts up is going to have to pay.

On Apple’s total control of its destiny:

The retail process is owned by Apple, the application is owned by Apple, the operating system is owned by Apple and the hardware is Apple’s. Apple has managed to create this entire world that all the products fit in to. There is no other company in the world that has these benefits. […] For example, HP is a big, successful company with so many different departments making servers, PCs and printers, but they are stuck with an operating system that isn’t under their control. For HP to build up the entire structure that Apple has would take them so long that Apple has a huge lead on everybody

I couldn’t agree more about this patent situation stifling innovation, even if it’s easy to overlook that Apple would have never become the consumer electronics powerhouse it is today if it weren’t for their unique patented technologies and solutions that set apart their products from the legions of me-too copycats.

I just wish they get over with this Android patent war so we can all move on and talk new products and ideas instead litigation.

Perhaps that’s the very thing Tim Cook needs to make right in order to win Steve Wozniak’s approval?

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Daily Authority: Tim Cook All

Cook did get drawn on Facebook, dismissing Facebook’s aggressive stance against Apple’s approach to privacy and tracking. 

Cook said he was “shocked that there’s been a pushback to this degree” from Facebook, said he was “appalled” by silent data hoovering by online companies, and with Swisher pushing on some angles, Cook eventually said “Yeah, Kara, I’m not focused on Facebook.” 

Aside from that, ground was covered on two other spaces.

On AR:

Here’s the transcript of this interesting part, a quite revealing quote:

Tim Cook: Well, I can’t talk about anything that may or may not be in the pipeline. But in terms of AR, the promise of AR is that you and I are having a great conversation right now. Arguably, it could even be better if we were able to augment our discussion with charts or other things to appear. And your audience would also benefit from this, too, I think. And so when I think about that in different fields, whether it’s health, whether it’s education, whether it’s gaming, whether it’s retail, I’m already seeing AR take off in some of these areas with use of the phone. And I think the promise is even greater in the future.

Swisher: But it’s a critically important part of Apple’s future?

Cook: It is.

On cars:

Ok some interesting hints here — once again let’s go with the transcript here because there’s good back and forth, and each sentence here tells us something:

Kara Swisher: Mm-hmm. Last question on innovation, self-driving cars. One of the companies you acquired is Drive AI, a self-driving startup. Apple is testing autonomous vehicles. It was, reportedly. Last year, Elon Musk said he offered to sell Tesla to Apple for 1/10 its value. And he said you wouldn’t even take a meeting with him.

Tim Cook: You know, I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built. I think Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead, but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space. So I have great appreciation for them. In terms of the work that we’re doing there, obviously, I’m going to be a little coy on that. The autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view. If you sort of step back, the car, in a lot of ways, is a robot. An autonomous car is a robot. And so there’s lots of things you can do with autonomy. And we’ll see what Apple does. We investigate so many things internally. Many of them never see the light of day. I’m not saying that one will not.

Swisher: Would it be in the form of a car or the technology within a car?

Cook: Yeah, I’m not going to answer that question.

Swisher: I think it has to be a car. You can’t just do the tech — you’re not going to let — you’re not Google.

Cook: We love to integrate hardware, software, and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that’s where the magic occurs. And so that’s what we love to do. And we love to own the primary technology that’s around that.


Cook stepping up to a podcast probably isn’t exactly his favorite thing to do in a week, so exploring the reasons he would do it are interesting. 

Certainly, the podcast dives into the Facebook issue a lot, along with the App Store and Epic case as well, and Cook felt the need to be on the front-foot with it again telling us how we should think about the issue.

And as for the Apple Car, there are hints. 

There’s nothing unusual about Cook declining to detail plans for Apple’s automotive play, but the hints there are pretty strongly towards a whole car, not just software. Hardware, software, and services together plays into Apple’s own ecosystem ambitions.

And the quote around autonomy in regards to Tesla being a “core technology” reveals a lot, too.


⚰️ RIP LG: Remembering the six best LG phones ever made(Android Authority).

🕹 Lenovo Legion 2 Pro’s new cooling system leaks in latest live shots. Pretty weird, but gaming phones are allowed to be weird I guess? (Android Authority).

🔎 Google’s latest acquisition could lead to spatial audio for the Pixel Buds (Engadget).

🤔 A portless phone with wired charging might be on the horizon (Android Authority).

🔋 Samsung’s new India-focused Galaxy F12 packs a 90Hz display and 6,000mAh battery at a low price (Android Authority).

🍎 The long-awaited next Apple TV may support 4K 120Hz gaming, implying HDMI 2.1 support (Engadget).

📺 The major streaming services are starting to run out of shows with limited filming over the past year, and the pre-COVID cupboard looking thin: the number of originals Netflix released so far in ’21 is down 12% year-on-year (Bloomberg).

👍 Over a decade on, and millions in legal fees, Supreme Court rules 6-2 for Google over Oracle in Java API legal war — and the ruling expands fair use in APIs moving forward (The Register).

⛔ Yahoo Answers will be shut down forever on May 4th, has sadly become overrun with far-right strangeness but it was once a key part of the internet. I guess now Quora has all the good and bad questions? (The Verge).

🐧 Hipmunk’s founders launch Flight Penguin to bring back Hipmunk-style flight search: $10/m is steep, though (TechCrunch).

🎮 Someone made a giant, playable, TV-sized Nintendo Switch — and is donating it to Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital (YouTube).

🌠 NASA asteroid-sampling spacecraft will go look at ‘the mess it made’ (CNET).

🚁 NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity has survived its first Martian night alone (Space).

Chart Tuesday

Apple continues to grow its Apple Watch dominance in the smartwatch market, despite a host of cheap and often cheerful competitors now on the market. But it’s not cheap and cheerful that’s growing, which surprised me:

The data, via Counterpoint Research at Statista, show a market shift towards more expensive watches, “with premium vendors like Apple, Samsung and Garmin helping to shore up the high end”.

“2023’s biggest segment ($101-$200) shrank by 7% pts, while the more premium $300-plus segments grew by 8% pts”

Anecdotally, I’ve heard more than a few people picking up a device to fight the COVID 15, or the weight put on while stuck at home!

All the best,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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Senate Questioned Meta, Tiktok, Youtube, And Twitter; Tim Cook Seen In Building

Execs from four tech giants were called before the Senate Homeland Security Committee yesterday. The Senate questioned Meta, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter on safety, privacy, misinformation, and more.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was also seen in the building, but he did not appear before the committee …

Congress managed to drag in a relatively fresh set of product-focused executives this time around, including TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas, who testified for the first time before lawmakers, and longtime Meta executive Chris Cox. The hearing was convened to explore social media’s impact on national security broadly and touched on topics ranging from domestic extremism and misinformation to CSAM and China.

Committee Chair Sen. Gary Peters pressed each company to disclose the number of employees they have working full-time on trust and safety and each company in turn refused to answer — even though they received the question prior to the hearing. Twitter General Manager of Consumer and Revenue Jay Sullivan chipped in the only numerical response, noting that the company has 2,200 people working on trust and safety “across Twitter,” though it wasn’t clear if those employees also did other kinds of work […]

Though the executives pointed to the total number of workers who touch trust and safety, none made the meaningful distinction between external contract content moderators and employees working full-time on those issues.

One key concern was that moderation efforts are even worse when it comes to languages other than English.

Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) steered the content moderation conversation in another important direction, questioning Meta Chief Product Officer Chris Cox about the safety efforts outside of the English language.

“[In] your testimony you state that you have over 40,000 people working on trust and safety issues. How many of those people focus on non English language content and how many of them focus on non U.S. users?” Padilla asked.

Cox didn’t provide an answer, nor did the three other companies when asked the same question.

TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas was particularly evasive when it came to the question of the company’s links to the Chinese government.

 Pappas immediately fell into step with her peers, evading straightforward questions, offering partial answers and even refusing at one point to admit TikTok’s well-documented connections to China. When Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) pressed Pappas on where TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance is based, she dodged the question awkwardly by claiming the company is distributed and doesn’t have a headquarters at all […]

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) also drilled into TikTok’s relationship with the Chinese government. “Are there members of the Chinese Communist Party employed by TikTok or ByteDance, or no?” Hawley asked.

Pappas avoided answering directly but eventually landed on the answer that no one making “strategic decisions” at the company has ties to the Chinese government.

It’s clear that the companies believe that they are free to pick and choose the questions they answer, even on issues impacting on election interference and national security.

Apple CEO Tim Cook did not appear before the committee but, interestingly, was seen in the building on the day of the hearings.

Photo: Andy Feliciotti/Unsplash

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Tim Cook Slams Trump’s Decision To Withdraw From Paris Climate Pact In Company

Earlier this week, it was reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook was among a handful of influential executives urging President Trump to remain in the Paris climate accord. Despite pleas from Cook and others, however, President Trump today announced that the United States will withdraw from the pact, marking a blow to climate change efforts.

In wake of Trump’s announcement, Tim Cook has sent an email to Apple staff reiterating the company’s stance on climate change and slamming the president’s decision…

In the email, obtained by Axios, Cook acknowledges that he spoke with President Trump earlier this week in an attempt to persuade him to remain in the Paris climate pact, but to no avail.

I know many of you share my disappointment with the White House’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. I spoke with President Trump on Tuesday and tried to persuade him to keep the U.S. in the agreement. But it wasn’t enough.

Cook explains that Apple will continue its own efforts to protect the environment, as they are good for both the planet and Apple’s business. Furthermore, Cook says that Apple will continue working towards a closed-loop supply chain and to stop mining the earth altogether, an effort first announced earlier this year.

The email sends the message loud and clear that climate change is real and is a principle held dear to Apple’s core values. Tim Cook reiterates that Apple operates with the idea of leaving the world better than it was found.

Our mission has always been to leave the world better than we found it. We will never waver, because we know that future generations depend on us.

This isn’t the first time Cook has used an internal email to address a policy from the Trump Administration. Following Trump’s immigration ban earlier this year, Cook sent an email declaring the policy something Apple did not support.

The full text of the email, obtained by Axios, can be read below.


I know many of you share my disappointment with the White House’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. I spoke with President Trump on Tuesday and tried to persuade him to keep the U.S. in the agreement. But it wasn’t enough.

Climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it. I want to reassure you that today’s developments will have no impact on Apple’s efforts to protect the environment. We power nearly all of our operations with renewable energy, which we believe is an example of something that’s good for our planet and makes good business sense as well.

We will keep working toward the ambitious goals of a closed-loop supply chain, and to eventually stop mining new materials altogether. Of course, we’re going to keep working with our suppliers to help them do more to power their businesses with clean energy. And we will keep challenging ourselves to do even more. Knowing the good work that we and countless others around the world are doing, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about our planet’s future.

Our mission has always been to leave the world better than we found it. We will never waver, because we know that future generations depend on us.

Your work is as important today as it has ever been. Thank you for your commitment to making a difference every single day.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news!

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The Woz Calls For Gorilla

For five years Apple’s iPhones have had the same 3.5-inch screen when competition moved up to bigger canvases, measuring all the way up to five inches and beyond. With this year’s iPhone, Apple increased the screen to four inches. The company even defends the move with ergonomics being the primary concern for making the screen taller but not wider. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak reflects on Apple’s stubborn insistence on one-size-fits-all approach and wishes the iPhone came in at least two sizes…

Steve Wozniak was in Johannesburg to speak at First National Bank’s leadership summit. In an interview with TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod transcribed by The Next Web, the Woz reveals what’s been ticking him off.

Here’s where it bothers me. I walk into my phone stores: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and I see all these modern smartphones. Big, big, big, big, and there’s the iPhone.

If you compare the screen size right there in front of you, whether it means much or not, it may be fewer pixels, less information on the screen, but you get a feeling you’re getting more with a larger screen.

I’m not sure if I’m with Woz here. I’m all for variety and choice, but have you seen flagship Android devices lately? They’re massive and I mean massive.

Kinda up to a point when I’d feel embarrassed operating a “phone” with a display measuring nearly five inches diagonally. But I agree with Wozniak that the tiny iPhone getting drowned in the sea of jumbo-sized Android handsets sends the wrong message.

Size does matter, but only to a certain extent.

Anyone can make a smartphone with a massive display for the Gorilla hands.

Making a phone call in public on a 5.3-inch phablet. Not a pretty sight, eh?

Making a phone call in public on a 5.3-inch phablet. Not a pretty sight, eh?

It takes someone of Apple’s caliber and technological prowess to cram up 4G LTE, a fast processor, a long-lasting battery and other technologies into as compact a package as the iPhone 5 is.

In fact, from the engineering standpoint a device like Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablet is much easier to engineer than the four-inch iPhone 5, simply because space is not at premium inside the Note due to its massive 5.3-inch display footprint.

What about the iPad?

That talk doesn’t apply to the iPad though. The iPad always had a great price for the size of the screen. Why would you want to buy the smaller screen devices? They looked a lot more like copies than any of the phones did.

I beg to differ.

If anything, brisk Nexus 7 sales prove there’s a demand for smaller tablets.

I love my iPad and use it every day, but I’m also using a Nexus 7 and wish there was a smaller, much lighter iPad available that could just slip into my pants pocket (or women’s purses).

Sure enough, Apple needs to be less arrogant here and admit that 9.7-inch is not the be-all-end-all form factor for the tablet.

So, what exactly is Wozniak yearning for?

Part of me wishes that Apple had not been so kind of arrogant and feeling we’re the only one with the right clue. I wish they had made a small and a large version of the iPhone; that would have been great for me. Keep the aspect ratio the same, horizontal and vertical the same, but just grow it in the other way.

According to our poll, nearly half the respondents think a four inch display should be the new gold standard for iPhones.

I think Apple tricked itself and said ‘oh you could reach everything with one thumb’ and I don’t see anybody having any trouble using the larger screens. Apple said that as a defensive move because when the other phones came out they all had larger screens.

He’s right about Apple making the case for the 3.5-inch form factor as a defensive move.

Apple is now saying that four inches diagonally is the optimal screen size for comfortable one-hand operation (and I approve the message).

It could be argued the other way around, that Apple gave the iPhone 5 a taller display because

Apple is now trying to run with that defence, saying ‘we are right’ and really there’s a mix of people. Not all people want the same thing and a lot of people really like the big screens.

I’m pretty sure Android vendors build Gorilla-sized phones not out of conviction or as a result of research but to differentiate themselves from the iPhone and isolate Apple as the only vendor stuck with small displays.

Since when does Apple skate to where the puck is?

Then again, maybe norms are shifting (and this isn’t so bad)?

Software Development And The War On Muda

Recently the principles of lean manufacturing pioneered by Toyota have become popular topics in application development. In particular, Mary and Tom Poppendieck have written several excellent books describing how lean principles could be applied to software development.

These lean principles have been particularly popular in the agile methods community, where they’re used to justify the elimination of wasteful practices that don’t contribute to deliverable code during tightly bounded iterations.

Fundamental to implementing lean techniques is the identification and elimination of waste–any activity that absorbs resources without creating value. The Japanese have a wonderful word for waste, muda.

The problem in how most software organizations approach the elimination of muda is that they make assumptions about where waste hides rather than deducing it from measurement. By working from assumptions rather than data, they often miss some of the largest sources of muda and may attack the symptoms of waste rather than its sources.

The largest source of muda on most software projects is rework — the effort required to fix mistakes. The elimination of this source of muda offers a large and immediate opportunity for improving productivity and reducing development and maintenance costs.

Tragically, however, most software organizations don’t measure the effort and cost of rework. It lies hidden below the surface, sinking budgets and schedules that crash headlong into its ruinous bulges.

Why is rework not measured? Probably because most IT organizations do a poor job of tracking effort, and even those that do find it hard to get developers to separate rework from initial effort in a knowledge-intense occupation. Since few people record overtime, especially in the maelstrom of a death march, the full extent of rework goes unreported.

The few available studies of rework report that it accounts for between 30% and 50% of project effort in most organizations that have not undertaken successful process improvement. Rework numbers are painful, not only in the collecting, but also in the fessing up. Few executives want to admit they are flushing away an average 40% of their investment in applications.

The war on muda must begin as a war on rework. An attack on rework must be guided by data.

How many and what types of defects are we injecting? At what point in the development cycle are these defects being injected and detected? What is the full effort/cost of identifying, correcting, and retesting different types of defects, and how are these hours spread across the development or maintenance cycle? What is the cost of defects that escape into operations in terms of rework, liability, and lost business opportunity?

Armed with these data an organization can begin analyzing the profiles of defects causing the most rework, assess their typical causes and prioritize actions to eliminate them. (I’ve written about the Top Five Causes of Poor Software Quality).

These data are also helpful for evaluating the value of new methods and technologies. Will it really help to eliminate a significant source of defects and wasted effort?

Determining the underlying causes of defects and the most appropriate remedial actions is not simple. Too many executives have long held that they just needed to hire smarter people, when their real problem was giving impossible delivery dates to the smart people they already employed.

The types of defects made in wee morning hours are typically different from those made when work can be completed within normal working hours. Without data it is difficult to achieve profound insight into the causes and cures of software muda.

Lean techniques have worked in many other industries and they can work in software. However, lean techniques must be guided by the type of insightful data that many organizations do not collect today. Historical data tells us that rework is the largest source of muda in most software organizations. Attacking rework is the first beachhead in the war on muda.

Dr. Bill Curtis is the SVP & Chief Scientist at CAST Software.

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