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Jobs steps down (Apple Talk Weekly)

There was only one Apple story this week, and that was the news that Steve Jobs was stepping down as CEO of the company. In this edition of Apple Talk Weekly, we briefly touch on that, as well as some of the week's rumors. We also answer your questions.

This week marked a massive change at Apple, with co-founder Steve Jobs stepping down from his role as CEO. In his place will be Tim Cook, an Apple veteran who was previously the company's chief operating officer.

Jobs had been on medical leave from the company since January, though he had appeared at the unveiling of the iPad 2, as well as at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Jobs' new role at Apple will be as chairman of the company's board.

Jobs has been at the helm of Apple since 1997, following his return to the company the year before as part of its acquisition of NeXT. He's largely credited with helping to turn Apple from a company on the brink of bankruptcy into the second-most valuable public company in the world, second only to Exxon Mobile, which Apple briefly surpassed earlier this month.

You can read more about the change and what it means to the company, as well as find details about Cook, in some of the coverage linked below.

News links for the week

Jobs steps down as CEO
Citing an inability to continue on as CEO, Jobs resigned from the post he's held since 1997. Along with the announcement of the shift to Cook, Apple posted a personal note from Jobs, saying that Apple's "brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it."

Complete coverage here

Cook awarded 1 million share bonus as new CEO
With Tim Cook taking the reins as CEO of Apple, the company's board awarded him with 1 million shares of company stock. There are strings attached though. Cook has to be with Apple until 2016 to get the first 500,000 shares, and until 2021 to get the rest.

Apple kills off 99-cent TV show rentals
The experiment that was offering rentals of TV shows on iTunes for 99 cents a pop was ended without warning this week. Apple quietly killed off the feature yesterday, with a company representative noting that most consumers were just purchasing TV shows outright.


Apple most profitable retailer per square foot, study says
A study by RetailSails found Apple to be the most profitable brick-and-mortar retailer, beating out Tiffany & Co., Coach, and others. Apple has more than 300 retail stores around the world, most of which are in the United States. How profitable is each square foot in the average Apple store? $5,626.

Earthquake warning system in iOS 5
Apple's yet to be released iOS 5 has a nonadvertised feature, as blog 9to5mac found this week. The OS is able to tap into Japan's earthquake warning system to send out push alerts to users in the event that a quake is detected.

United puts 11,000 iPads in the hands of pilots
In a move to save paper, and thus potentially weight and gas, United is switching to iPads in the cockpit. The carrier is loading the device with Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck interactive flight manuals, and says the weight drop from switching from paper will save the company 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year.

Rumors of the week

Apple's iPhone 4.
Apple's iPhone 4. Apple

An iPhone 5 on Sprint in October?
A report this week by The Wall Street Journal claimed Sprint would be carrying Apple's next iPhone in October. The carrier doesn't currently offer the iPhone, though rival Verizon, which uses similar CDMA networking technology, began carrying the device earlier this year. The reported release timeline matches up with numerous other reports of Apple's iPhone plans, though the Journal is citing anonymous sources on the report. The next day, Apple tracking blog MacTrast reported that U.S. carrier T-Mobile was set to get the device as well, a move that could put the iPhone on all U.S. carriers this fall.

iPhone 5 to be joined by a budget iPhone 4?
Citing anonymous sources, Reuters said this week that Apple plans to launch an 8GB iPhone 4 model "within weeks." The phone would be aimed at developing markets, as well as at cost-conscious buyers. This is the latest in a series of rumors about Apple offering a cheaper iPhone at the same time as a newer model. Apple has traditionally cut the price on the previous generation, and continued to sell it alongside the newer phone.

Proof of iPhone 5 being a world phone?
A purported developer log passed along to TechCrunch this week suggested Apple's next iPhone will sport both a CDMA and GSM antenna, letting it hop on either type of cellular network. The log suggests Apple might be working on a single piece of hardware that consumers could buy no matter what carrier they intended to use it on, making it better for travel. Apple began selling an unlocked version of the iPhone 4 earlier this year.

A new Mac in the family?
Japanese site Macotakara this week reported that Apple was cooking up a new offering to its existing line of Macs. The report is of special interest given that Apple recently pared down its Mac line with the shelving of the plastic unibody MacBook in favor of the entry-level MacBook Air. It's also of interest given the future of the company's desktop line. The Mac Pro, which remains Apple's high-end workstation machine, has remained largely unchanged since the company's transition to an all-metal enclosure.

Patent of the week: The secret screen

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Ever wish you could use your mobile device without someone else seeing what you're up to? That's what a newly unearthed patent application offered up earlier this week. Filed by Apple last February and dubbed "Obfuscating the display of information and removing the obfuscation using a filter," the application describes a system for distorting what's on your device's screen, to keep prying eyes at bay.

The most interesting part of it all? Using a filter to decode what's on screen, such as a pair of glasses.

This works on anything from e-mails to apps, and also details use in multiplayer games, potentially letting two players interact with a title on the same screen, without one another being able to see what his or her competitor is up to. Electronics maker Vizio offered up a similar vision for its television sets at this year's CES.

Reader question of the week

nitin_koooldude asks:

My friend lost his iPod Touch (latest generation), and of course he has "Find my mobile" enabled, but we couldn't trace it when we did the "Find me" thing on the computer. So what do you think we can do to still find the iPod if the "Find my iPhone" account has been deleted, or if the iPod Touch has been jailbroken? If the iPod is switched off or not connected to Wi-Fi, can we still trace it?"

Therein lies one of the weaknesses of Find My iPhone when it comes to using it on a device like the iPod, which doesn't have the kind of always-on connection you get with the iPhone and iPad 3G. Apple's current gadget-tracking service also does not provide a log of the most recent location, since the service only pings when you begin the search and the looked-for device is "online." Whoever found it could have also very well wiped it with their own Apple account, or simply turned the tracking feature off.


If there's any positive bit of news for your friend, it's that we're nearing the time of year when Apple typically refreshes its iPod lineup, and the iPod Touch is a part of that. While the rumor front has been pretty quiet about any major changes, it's probably worth waiting a month or two before replacing it, if your friend can manage.

In the meantime, a good tip--even if you're using Apple's free gadget-tracking service--is to make sure your phone has auto-lock enabled as well as a passcode to keep unwanted finders from getting any personal information off your device.

Apple Talk Weekly is a roundup of some of the week's top Apple-related news and rumors, along with answers to your questions. If you have something Apple-related you want answered in next week's edition, drop me a line using the e-mail link below this post.