Apple copied our clock’s design without our permission, says Swiss Federal Railways service

Apple blatantly ripped off the design of an iconic Swiss clock with its new Clock app for iPad, and it didn’t bother seeking permission, according to the Swiss Federal Railways service.

“[The Swiss Federal Railway service] is the sole owner of the trademark and copyright of the railway clock,” the group told a Swiss newspaper. “The railway company will now get in touch with Apple. The aim is a legal, as well as a financial solution. It is not right that [Apple] simply copies the design.”

MacRumors said the famous clock’s image is widely licensed. Watchmaker Mondaine, for instance, sells replicas worldwide, the site said.

(Updated) 9to5Mac says Google has submitted a standalone maps app to Apple for approval, but Jim Dalrymple says that’s not true

An alternative to Apple’s problematic new Maps app might be on the horizon for iOS 6 users. Sources told The Guardian on Thursday that Google is working on a standalone maps app for iOS, and according to 9to5Mac, it’s already been submitted to Apple for approval.

“Google, I hear from roundabout sources, is enjoying the bad press Apple is suffering,” The Guardian’s Charles Arthur said. “The same sources say that Google is preparing a Google Maps app for iOS 6, which will appear in time.”

Assuming, of course, that Apple approves the app, which 9to5Mac said the company has the power (but maybe not the inclination) to do at this very moment.

“We’ve heard that Google has had a separate version of its iOS Maps app for quite awhile, going back years,” 9to5Mac’s Jake Smith wrote. “Additionally, an updated iOS 6 version has been submitted to Apple and is awaiting approval, we’ve learned.”

In a statement to AllThingsD today, Apple defended its new software, saying Maps was a major undertaking and that it will improve with time.

Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.

Update: The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple said late Thursday that Google hasn’t submitted a maps app to Apple for approval.

Reuters: Facebook to begin charging retailers to run Offers

Facebook, whose stock has lost 40 percent of its value since the company’s May IPO, will start charging businesses to send Offers to their followers, the social network told Reuterson Thursday.

Launched earlier this year, Facebook Offers lets retailers send deals to their fans, who can then redeem them at stores. The service is currently free.

Reuters has more:

… in coming weeks Facebook will require merchants to pay at least $5 on related ads to promote each Facebook Offer to a targeted audience of fans and friends of fans. The cost will vary based on the size of a company’s Facebook pages.

Walmart to stop selling Kindle devices

Months after Target decided to stop selling Amazon’s Kindle devices, Walmart said in an internal memo on Wednesday that it’s following suit, presumably for the same reason.

“We have recently made the business decision to not carry Amazon tablets and eReaders beyond our existing inventory and purchase commitments,” Walmart said in the memo, which was leaked to Reuters.

Walmart hasn’t said why it’s yanking Kindles from its shelves, but we suspect the company shares Target’s frustration over a practice called “showrooming” whereby consumers check out products at retailers but order them online.

In a letter to vendors in January, Target executives said, “What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices.”

T-Mobile names new CEO

T-Mobile USA has named John Legere as its new CEO, the company announced on Wednesday. Legere, 54, formerly served as Global Crossing’s CEO, and he’s also worked for Dell and AT&T. He replaces Jim Ailing, who’s acted as T-Mobile’s interim CEO since June. Ailing will return to his CFO post, the company said.

“John is a talented and proven executive who brings a successful track record of leading and operating consumer- and business-focused telecommunications and technology companies,” said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s parent company. “As T-Mobile moves forward with its strategic initiatives to improve its market position, including expanding its network coverage and initiating LTE service, John has obviously the right skillset to lead the business into the future. John’s experience in the telecommunication and technology industries at Global Crossing and Dell will enhance T-Mobile’s ability to deliver superior mobile experiences for our customers as the company continues to strengthen its business. I am delighted to welcome John to T-Mobile and look forward to working with him to make T-Mobile a stronger competitor.”

In a statement, Legere said, “I am thrilled to join T-Mobile and lead the company at such a pivotal time. T-Mobile is taking a number of significant steps to revitalize the business and I look forward to leading our team and partners to accelerate these efforts to become a force in our industry.”

German government advises public to avoid Internet Explorer until bug is fixed

internet explorer German government advises public to avoid Internet Explorer until bug is fixedThe German government recommended on Tuesday that people stop using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer until the company fixes a recently exposed security flaw that makes users vulnerable to attack by hackers.

Microsoft said yesterday that hackers can take advantage of the bug by luring Internet Explorer users to websites where they’ve planted malicious software. Once an unsuspecting user visits one of the sites, hackers can infect and take control of his PC, Microsoft said.

In a Tuesday statement, the German government said, “A fast spreading of the code has to be feared.”

Microsoft said it’s working to secure Internet Explorer, and in the meantime, the company has advised users to install and configure an Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, or EMET. The software is available through Microsoft’s site.

How Apple’s iPhone 5 stacks up against Nokia’s Lumia 920, in terms of dimensions and weight

Nokia Lumia 920 dimensions (inches): 5.13 x 2.79 x 0.42 = 6.011 in³

Apple iPhone 5 dimensions (inches): 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 = 3.37 in³

Nokia Lumia 920 weight: 6.53 oz

Apple iPhone 5 weight: 3.95 oz

Some quick math tells me the Lumia 920 is about 78 percent larger than the iPhone 5, and it’s about 65 percent heavier, too. In my opinion, the disparity highlights the companies’ very different priorities. Whereas Nokia’s focused on shoehorning as much as possible into its flagship smartphone, Apple cares just as much about how you live with its handset as it does about increasing its performance and features, and that means making the iPhone as portable as possible.

Update: 

I’ve received quite a few emails and tweets from Windows Phone users. The point of the post is simply to show the difference in philosophies between the two companies. One company would rather sacrifice screen size, wireless charging, and NFC to make a thinner and lighter device. The other would rather pack all those features in and add a little more weight and size.

As Apple designer Jony Ive said in the iPhone 5′s promo video, the iPhone is “probably the object that you use most in your life,” so the company “takes changing it really seriously.”

Update 2:

Industrial designer and good friend Don Lehman sent me a picture that puts the sizes of the phones into perspective.

How Apple’s iPhone 5 stacks up against Nokia’s Lumia 920, in terms of dimensions and weight

nokia lumia 920 vs iphone 5 How Apples iPhone 5 stacks up against Nokias Lumia 920, in terms of dimensions and weight

Nokia Lumia 920 dimensions (inches): 5.13 x 2.79 x 0.42 = 6.011 in³

Apple iPhone 5 dimensions (inches): 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 = 3.37 in³

Nokia Lumia 920 weight: 6.53 oz

Apple iPhone 5 weight: 3.95 oz

Some quick math tells me the Lumia 920 is about 78 percent larger than the iPhone 5, and it’s about 65 percent heavier, too. In my opinion, the disparity highlights the companies’ very different priorities. Whereas Nokia’s focused on shoehorning as much as possible into its flagship smartphone, Apple cares just as much about how you live with its handset as it does about increasing its performance and features, and that means making the iPhone as portable as possible.

Update: 

I’ve received quite a few emails and tweets from Windows Phone users. The point of the post is simply to show the difference in philosophies between the two companies. One company would rather sacrifice screen size, wireless charging, and NFC to make a thinner and lighter device. The other would rather pack all those features in and add a little more weight and size.

As Apple designer Jony Ive said in the iPhone 5′s promo video, the iPhone is “probably the object that you use most in your life,” so the company “takes changing it really seriously.”

Update 2:

Industrial designer and good friend Don Lehman sent me a picture that puts the sizes of the phones into perspective.

lumia920 iphone5 How Apples iPhone 5 stacks up against Nokias Lumia 920, in terms of dimensions and weight

The only thing boring about the iPhone 5 is the criticism

Apple’s latest product announcement has left many journalists predictably unimpressed. The iPhone 5 is boring, they say. Or it’s not revolutionary enough. Some have even accused Apple of playing it safe and avoiding risks.

But why must a device take us by surprise and beat us over the head with its novelty? Sure, the first iPhone did those things, but since when is that the recipe for longevity?

The world’s most successful and enduring products aren’t taken back to formula with each new generation. Rather, they’re gradually and deliberately refined. Take Porsche’s 911, for instance, or any Aston Martin or BMW. Or even Rolex’s watches. None has undergone radical changes overnight. Instead, they’ve been improved in subtle but significant ways over time, and they’ve prospered because of it.

bmw 5 series evolution The only thing boring about the iPhone 5 is the criticism

And the same goes for Apple’s iconic iPhone, whose evolution brings to mind the history of BMW’s 5 series. Like those companies, Apple is striving for timelessness and familiarity, and that means avoiding the spontaneity and impulsivity that define lesser companies whose products are quickly forgotten.

Not that Apple has given up on innovation. Consider, for example, the feat of simultaneously expanding a device and cutting its weight. That’s what Apple’s accomplished here. The iPhone 5 is taller and has a bigger screen than its predecessors, but it’s also significantly thinner (7.6 mm vs. 9.3 mm) and lighter (3.95 oz vs. 4.9 oz). That’s rare, and you’d better believe it wasn’t easy to pull off.

Just ask Nokia. The phone maker’s Lumia 920 has a slightly larger screen than the device it replaces (4.5” vs. 4.3”), but it weighs 13.5 percent more, too (6.53 oz vs. 5.65 oz).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the iPhone 5 is perfect, and there are things I wish Apple had paid more attention to. iOS 6, for one. But the idea that the company’s lost its touch or that the iPhone 5’s hardly different is absurd.

Like a watchmaker whose timepieces never go out of style, or a car company whose cars end up in collections, Apple has carefully and methodically improved the iPhone. But make no mistake, the iPhone has been improved.

Nintendo’s Wii U will hit stores on November 18, start at $299.99

Nintendo’s Wii U will make its North American debut on November 18 for $299.99, and it’ll arrive in Europe on November 30, the gaming giant revealed at a press conference on Thursday.

The Wii U will be available in two flavors, Nintendo said. For $299.99, consumers can snatch up a basic version that will include a white, 8GB Wii U console, a gamepad, AC adapters, a sensor bar, and an HDMI cable. Or, if they’ve got an extra $50 burning a hole in their pocket, they can spring for the $349.99 deluxe edition, which, in addition to the basic package’s goodies, will ship with a black, 32GB console, charging cradles, and a free copy of Nintendo Land.