AppleHits Week in Review November 9-15, 2008

Where we Hit on all the important news to keep you up-to-date while the world and the Apple keeps spinning!

The latest news items: iPhone/ iPod Touch firmware update rumored to arrive November 21. Voice recognition search coming to Google Mobile Application for iPhone. Belkin Cable for Easy Migration from PC to Mac. Mark Papermaster; Apple & IBM, Lawsuit & Countersuit. Apple released an Update to its web-browser, Safari for Mac OS X and Windows. And, Mac OS X 10.5.6 update may be nearing release.

iPhone/ iPod Touch firmware update rumored to arrive November 21

Greek site iPhone Hellas is reporting the imminent release of iPhone/iPod Touch firmware upgrade 2.2, claiming it will arrive on November 21st.

The source for this unfounded rumor is said to be an anonymous insider. Gizmodo has lent this report credibility by labeling the greek site “consistently reliable.”

The features expected to arrive with the update that have been part of v2.2 beta and have been tested by developers are:

  • Google search bar occupies its own space on the title bar in Safari
  • The ability to disable spelling auto-correction
  • 461 Japanese emoji icons
  • New language support
  • Line-in audio access for developers through the headphone jack
    New Google maps features

  • Google Street View
  • Google Transit Information – Routes for public transport
  • Walking Directions
  • Location Sharing
    New App Store Features

  • Category Section now shows icons instead of the list
  • ‘Tell a Friend’ and ‘Report a Problem’ links have been added to each Application page
  • Added a rating option when user chooses to delete app from device
  • Direct Podcast downloads to device from iTunes Wifi Music Store

A wishful ‘copy and paste’ function that has not been in any of the beta releases would sure be nice, but alas…we may have to wait longer for that one!

Voice recognition search coming to Google Mobile Application for iPhone


In an expected soon-to-be-released update to the Google Mobile Application for iPhone, an advanced voice recognition feature will be offered. This free application will allow you to make verbal queries, such as “Where is the nearest coffee shop,” which will then forward on your inquiry to Google’s search engine to search for the results.

An interesting feature of this Application is how it uses the built-in accelerometer to automatically prompt the verbal search when you raise the iPhone to your ear.

Accurate recognition of human speech by machines has long been sought after. Some useful applications of this service are: getting restaurant recommendations and driving directions or finding specific contact information on your device.

Google’s service is not the only voice recognition player in the field. Microsoft and Yahoo both offer mobile voice services. The advantage Google has is the ability to store and analyze vast amounts of data and over a period of three to six months that will greatly increase the accuracy of your search.

In addition, Google will draw from the experience and data it obtained from its GOOG-411 service, a speech recognition offering it introduced eight months ago. Google’s goal is to introduce location-based searches which could make it possible to charge higher rates for advertisements from businesses in close proximity.

The application has yet to show up in the App Store. It is presumably awaiting Apple’s review which could take days or months. Keep your eye out for this exciting and free application update!

UPDATE: Google Mobile Application update with voice recognition now available! You can find it HERE.

Belkin Cable for Easy Migration from PC to Mac

Last week, Belkin introduced a new “Switch-to-Mac” Cable that easily transfers your PC files, settings, preferences and more to your new Mac. The Migration Assistant automatically relocates your movies, music, photos, files and internet preferences to seamlessly transition you to your Mac.

The Migration Assistant transfers files and settings from PC to Mac and reports a summary of the transferred content. The transfer occurs at USB 2.0 speeds. It is compatible with Windows XP or Vista and Mac OS X v10.4 and 10.5.

With Mac computers currently selling at 2-3 times over PCs and with a significant future growth potential outlook for the Mac, this handy device looks to be a win-win situation for Belkin and new-to-Mac customers alike!

Mark Papermaster; Apple & IBM, Lawsuit & Countersuit

Apple’s recent hire, Mark Papermaster, was sued by his former employer, IBM, for breach of his non-compete agreement with them. He was ordered by the courts to stop working at Apple. Papermaster, who was to replace Tony Fadell and assume the title of Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering overseeing iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams, had been with IBM for the last 25 years and recently countersued his former employer. His involvement in products at IBM ranged from the PowerPC chip (which involved Apple as well), to more recently, Blade Servers.

Clearly IBM’s intention is not to let a long-time employee with significant trade secrets go quietly into the night, especially to a perceived competitor. Papermaster’s counterclaim hinges on the fact [that IBM and Apple are not significant competitors and] [that is not a counterclaim, that is a defense] that the non-compete clause is unreasonably broad in time because, due to the fast pace of technological advancement, any trade secrets would be deemed obsolete well before the year that is imposed by the contract.

IBM was required to post a $3 million bond to cover costs or lost wages incurred by Mark Papermaster if they do not succeed in this ongoing lawsuit. Why would IBM incur the costs associated with such a case against its former employee? Perhaps IBM wishes to discourage other employees from defecting to the competition or maybe, just maybe, IBM felt it needed to sue in order to protect its intellectual property.  Papermaster, a significant hire for Apple, was to oversee the hardware engineering of one of Apple’s most significant devices that has ushered in a new paradigm of mobile computing. Let’s hope this is resolved to the benefit of all parties involved, including us, the consumer.

Apple released an Update to its web-browser, Safari for Mac OS X and Windows

Safari 3.2 is recommended for all Safari users and is available through Software Update. The update includes the latest security updates, protection from fraudulent phishing websites and better identification of online businesses.

Mac OS X 10.5.6 update may be nearing release

The latest build of the Mac OS X update released to developers has no outstanding issues. This update includes over 90 bug fixes with the following applications receiving attention: MobileMe sync, ColorSync, Printing, AddressBook, iChat, Finder and iCal, among others.

Following Apple’s history of developer release patterns, this update may be heading your way, soon!

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