Apple takes aim at Adobe… or Android?

Ars Technica weighs in on iPhone 4s section 3.3.1 which bans Adobes upcoming Flash wrapper for iPhone apps:

Apple’s current—and in our opinion, objectionable—position is now close to the complete opposite of its initial stance. From promoting openness and standards, the company is now pushing for an ever more locked-down and restricted platform. It’s bad for competition, it’s bad for developers, and it’s bad for consumers. I hope that there will be enough of a backlash that the company is forced to reconsider, but with the draw of all those millions of iPhone (and now, iPad) customers, I fear that Apple’s developers will, perhaps with some reluctance, just accept the restriction and do whatever Cupertino demands.

It’s a gamble alright. On one hand, it could lock in developers with the iPhone in a very-good-for-Apple way. On the other hand, it could do the exact opposite. The good thing is, we’ll find out over the next year. Personally, I think Apple will pull it off in the 3-year near-term, but not the long-term.

Googles iPad Optimized Websites [Updated]

The Google Mobile Blog:

Here at Google we’re really excited about the promise of tablet computers, which will be great for browsing the web and using apps. We’ve been working hard to optimize our services for the new format – larger touchscreens, increased portability, rich sensors – and we’d like to share some information about our progress so far.

Gmail in a two-pane view on the iPad is nice, but what I find interesting about this post is how much it reeks of a Google Chrome OS tablet. This is Google optimized for iPad and tablet computers. Steve is about to get even angrier.

[Update]: On a related note, Lifehacker shows us how to run the new finger friendly Gmail outside the pad.

How Eric Schmidt Lost His Mistress, His Partner And Steve Jobs

From a piece on Valleywag:

Schmidt’s mobile phone rang on the highway between Reno and Burning Man’s movable city in Black Rock Desert. It was Jobs, angry. The call then dropped; bad signal, middle of nowhere. The disconnect couldn’t be blamed on a flaky iPhone connection: Schmidt had long ago given up on the Apple handset because he couldn’t stand the on-screen keyboard. His wife had tested a prototype, but didn’t care to keep it. Schmidt, we’re told, ended up giving his iPhone to Bohner as a gift.

Schmidt located a convenience store and used a pay phone to call Jobs back. The Apple CEO “shouted” at Schmidt and “railed” at him, furious about his smartphone plans and duplicity, said our source. After all, Schmidt sat on Apple’s board and was supposed to be a partner on the iPhone, providing internet services like maps.

In this increasingly ridiculous feud, I find it important to remember that the Nexus One is simply a phone, one which Google doesn’t even produce but simply deliver software for. How is Google supposed to deliver good mobile software without a platform on which it can install its Voice app? I’m surprised that Jobs is surprised at Google for doing this, and I think his anger betrays his belief that this is a legitimate threat to the dominant iPhone.

Open Letter To Steve Jobs Concerning The HTC Lawsuits

Wil Shipley:

Enforcing patents is wrong. You’ve famously taken and built on ideas from your competitors, as have I, as we should, as great artists do. Why is what HTC has done worse? Whether an idea was patented doesn’t change the morality of copying it, it only changes the ability to sue.

[…]

I always thought of you as a guy who’d say, “Well, copy me if you can, because you’re copying what I did years ago, and what I’m working on now is EVEN cooler!” I like it when competitors copy me because it means they aren’t about to leapfrog me: they’ll always be playing catch-up.

This is, of course, the laser-eyes-lion-riding Wil Shipley who was himself copied by Apple. Which makes this post extra delicious.

Games On The iPad: Here’s A Thought

Yesterday, Apple revealed a much hyped tablet PC, which apparently runs all current iPhone apps right out of the box. With a pixel doubler, if you want it, even.

Unimpressive as that may sound, this holds the potential to alleviate pixel shaders to great effect. Think 3D iPad games which run in hi-res, full detail on the pad, but scale down gracefully to the iPhone by simply turning down the amount of 3D detail. You know, for when you want to take Christmas Whack-A-Mole with you to the bus. I can see it happening.

No Tab Left Behind

With the new Safari 4 beta, Apple is taking a page from the book of Opera and Google Chrome and moving their browser tabs all the way to the top:

Safari_4_tabs

While not an incredibly original idea, it is a good idea and there are a number of reasons why. First of all, it optimizes the amount of vertical real-estate, which—with the upcoming surge in lo-res Netbooks—will matter more than you think. Secondly, it moves an important multi-tasking feature right up to the literal application top, where discoverability is great. Finally, it helps users understand what exactly tabs are: individual content windows with their own unique address-bar and history.

This is clearly a usability improvement, and I’m sure that now Apple has canonized what is (probably) an Opera invention, it’ll make both Mozilla and Internet Explorer scramble to get with the program. So much the better: thanks Apple.

There’s one aspect Mac users will miss out on, though. On Windows systems, when a browser is maximized, tabs that are topmost will fondle the very edges of the screen, an area of extremely valuable realestate. The little secret that makes this top screen edge price go through the roof is the fact that, to reach it, you have only to push your mouse upwards; soon enough your cursor will bump into the edge. When a browser window places its tabs there, that means you only have to worry about left or right to pick your tabs. Not even a shopping cart is left behind in such a system.

Alas, Apple has permanently reserved this top area of the screen for the ubiquitous file menu, which I’m sure a number of people appreciate. Not those who want to get the full flavor of topmost tabs though, they’ll be left out in the cold. Perhaps Apple should place tabs at the bottom of the screen instead? (Oh wait, that’s where The Dock lurks, spring-loaded to pop out when innocent cursors are nearby).