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Gallery of Apple’s First, Misguided Phone Concepts

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German site Fudder got a lot of attention today for posting a set of concepts that frog design created for Apple in the early 1980s for the Snow White project, including the above “PhoneMac” concept that incorporated communication into a flat-panel Mac – before the first Mac ever shipped.

To augment the fun over at Fudder I’ve pulled all of Apple’s phone-related concepts from the wonderful coffee table book Apple Design. They’re all after the jump, and some of them are more compelling than others, to put it mildly.

Apple Files Patent for Backlit Trackpads

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Apple will bring multitouch technology from the iPhone to the mainstream Mac OS X. That much is a foregone conclusion. The technology is too powerful to restrict to just mobile platforms. The only question becomes what multitouch might look like on a full-size computer compared to on an iPhone.

One initial possibility is shown in a patent filing uncovered yesterday for a backlit trackpad that would light up differently based on how many fingers the user applies to the device. In a lot of ways, this is no more than an enhancement to current MacBook and MB Pro trackpads, which are capable of two-finger scrolling, but by highlighting this functionality, Apple could start to drive adoption of the technology. The more people get used to the idea that they should be ready to deliver a variety of interactions, the more ready they’ll be for a wholesale replacement of the mouse or traditional trackpads.

This is an interesting concept, but I would guess this won’t actually come to market exactly as depicted. Patents usually trail implementation a bit these days, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a product based directly on one of these patents ship after the patent approval. Typically, it’s at best a good way to learn about the thinking behind a technology after it ships.

Either way, hope for true multitouch on a laptop is keeping me from upgrading right now. This just sustains my hopes.

Via MacRumors.

Tweaking the iPhone’s Finish

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The iPhone is beautiful. We all know that. But some have wondered about Apple’s decision to include just a little bit of iPod-esque chrome amid all that gorgeous brushed aluminum and black plastic. Rather than whine. Flickr user D.Ballance broke out the Brillo pads and masking tape and started buffing away at those edges. The result? The all-brushed aluminum iPhone you see before you. It’s an update before Apple releases an update! A sure collector’s item for the whole family.
iPhone Brushed on Flickr
Via Digg.

Updated: Parallels Posts, Yanks “Get a Mac” Parody

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Update: Ben Rudolph, Parallels’ spokesman, says the ad’s removal is nothing major:

Nah, just testing out some marketing concepts, getting feedback, etc.  Nothing that sordid. :)

Original post: Remember when the Internet was 89 percent “Get a Mac” parodies? You know, back before bad iPhone parodies were in vogue? Well, that era briefly resumed today as Parallels, makers of virtualization app Parallels Desktop, posted their own “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials. As you might expect, the traditional rivals work together well for the first time ever in the four Parallels parodies.

Then, as suddenly as it arrived, the post vanished. Not only is the official blog linking the files gone, but the videos are clear off of YouTube. You can read the original link at a Google cache, and it’s clear that this was a deliberate PR campaign to start:

Everyone’s seen Apple’s great “I’m a PC. I’m a Mac.” commercials, and you knew it was only a matter of time before we did our own.

We took a different approach than the “official” ads…rather than talking about why PCs and Macs are different and arguing which is better, we decided to show how you can experience the best of both worlds with Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Take a look. They’ll (hopefully) make you laugh:

I’ve written to Parallels to see if Apple is involved with a C&D here. I would be surprised to learn that this isn’t protected as parody – I don’t believe the rules are different if the creator has a commercial interest. Still, a mystery.

Via DownloadSquad.

Apple’s History: A Product Strategy Roadmap

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Too often, we dissect minute details of a company’s everyday actions looking for signs of health or strategy. Unfortunately, quarterly reports and individual actions can be totally misleading. That’s why I’ve created the above map, which charts, near as I can tell, the evolution of Apple’s entire product family from the Apple I to the iPhone. I was inspired to do it by this chronological sort done by Edwin Tofslie that Fake Steve linked to last night. The images involved are of every major design revision, not necessarily model revision, that Apple has made in its 30 year history. So I decided to chart how various products superceded others in Apple’s history, and start to think about new implications.

I’m tired, I haven’t done much thinking, other than to notice that Apple’s four product lines really came together perfectly in 2001, just in time to launch the iPod from a position of strength. The above image is tiny, so head to Scribd to see it in full, especially as a PDF download. There’s a lot to take in, but I’m dying to know what you think. Do my connections make sense? Does a pattern emerge that implies where Apple will go next?

See the full map!

DVD Jon Cracks iPhone Activation…for Windows Only

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Jon Lech Johansen, the 23-year-old who first cracked the CSS encryption screen for DVDs when he was 15, has now discovered a method for activating the iPhone without registering with AT&T at all. With the help of a little Windows application called Phone Activation Server and a few “magic numbers” Jon posted, Apple’s amazing new device wakes up as a touchscreen iPod and WiFi-enabled Internet device — that, of course, can’t make phone calls. With this, I think it’s safe to assume we’ll see an unlocked iPhone running on T-Mobile or one of the European carriers very shortly. I know there’s a lot more to it, but people are really honing in on the secured side of the iPhone now. Still, it would be nice if the cracks were written for Linux and Mac OS X instead of .NET…

Via Apple 2.0

The Three Word iPhone Review – It Fuckin’ Rocks!

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The iPhone is gadget heaven. It really does restore your sense of childlike wonder. I’ve had a blast all weekend running my greasy finger over its glassy surface.

It’s a Crackberry for the masses. Finally, mobile email, messaging and web browsing is fun and easy — how did it take so long?

I’ve had a Treo and cell phone email for years, but never, ever used them — they’re a mess. Now I’m an iPhone text addict — a 41-year-old acting like a teenager.

I bought one on Friday and have been out around town with my kids all weekend. The little angels monopolized it, surfing the web and watching YouTube. They figured it out immediately. I showed them one thing — how to use your fingers to shrink and zoom — that was it. I took some calls, surfed the web and sent some email.

I found it’s not all roses — there’s serious issues using it for work — but in general, we’re true believers.

The Good and The Bad after the jump. Plus camera phone samples.

iPhone Unboxed (Video and Gallery) and Stripped

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This never takes long anymore, does it? The guys at WirelessInfo.com seem to have been the first to film and post an unboxing video of their new iPhone to the Intarwebs, as you can see above. A bit excited, yes?

iFixit, meanwhile, not only posted an unboxing gallery, which you can see here, they took it all the way to the logical conclusion: TOTAL DISASSEMBLY. Do not try this at home, folks. Damn.
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Via Digg and Apple 2.0

Apple’s Demo iPhones Can Place Calls And Leave Caller ID

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As you might expect, Apple has thrown out tons of iPhone demo units so you can get the full experience in the store. As you might not expect, it’s actually capable of placing calls – and Apple isn’t blocking caller ID. How do I know? Because I accidentally called the Hayes Street Grill in San Francisco and hung up in horror. And then leaped back as a return call came in. I answered, of course. I then called my fiancee to capture the number of the phone. I would think this is a bad idea for Apple to have those numbers readily available, but what the heck? The number is 408-398-9220. Please use it responsibly – this can be the new John Appleseed number.