Suing negligence, or competition? Apple VS iPod accessory makers

We’ve all got ‘em: docks, earphones, cases, speakers, keyboards – you name it – the iDevice is a virtual swamp for accessory flora. There are loads of great options out there, but according to Apple, a number of products of ‘inferior quality’ have also crept in. So what? Well, Apple being Apple, have attached a couple of strings to the whole thing.

Yes, the iDevice accessory market is lucrative, but entering it requires Apple’s blessing, i.e., licensing. Unblessed items are now targeted by the turtlenecks in Cupertino on the grounds that they both infringe on Apple’s trademarks and “damage Apple’s products”. Apple’s suit cites faulty accessories such as battery chargers that deplete, rather than charge Apple products. Remember, this is the same Apple who are responsible for exploding iPhones and faulty iPhone 4 antennas. I think the real issue, however, is illuminated pretty well over at Bloomberg:

The suit is an example of the tight grip Apple keeps on its products, including approval of accessories and applications. Apple has a program called “Made for iPod” under which manufacturers get a license to sell accessories for devices. Apple collects a royalty of 20 percent to 25 percent from each sale of a licensed accessory, according to Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros. LP in San Francisco.

“If you sell speakers for $100, Apple gets $20 to $25,” said Wu, who has a “buy” rating on Apple shares and doesn’t own them.

From a consumer’s perspective, I don’t get it. If I buy a Made for iPod accessory, I know it will work. I also know it will cost more money. My money can go elsewhere, to knock-off brands or my own DIY work – who cares? Right, poor Apple miss out on 20-25% of their bottom line and the chance to play babysitter for their poor, naive customers.

Taxi Jam in Review – Think You Have What it Takes?

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In the busy streets of large cities such as New York, Paris, and Shanghai, many people rely on the transportation system to get around. When you miss that bus or subway, or if you’re just in a hurry, one of your other options is to take a taxi. Of course, on busy streets a taxi may not be the most efficient method of travel, but at least it comes to you and hopefully, you won’t have to wait too long.

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Pinball Fantasies in Review – Dreaming of mi Amiga

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Back in 1992, Digital Illusions released their second pinball game Pinball Fantasies, on the Commodore Amiga. For many this is still the best pinball game ever created and has been eagerly anticipated ever since Cowboy Rodeo released it’s prequel, Pinball Dreams, on the iPhone a few months back.

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Timeloop Hands-On Preview – ’round the clock

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I have admitted it before and I’ll admit it again: my gaming skills are far from admirable. Add that to inept puzzle-solving abilities, and I am a sad and frustrated lump of a gamer who can barely stretch his digital legs. Fortunately, I thrive on frustration and Connect2Media‘s Timeloop has plenty of it. It is a fun game which places you in the role of Nik, the robotic janitor of a mad-scientist who has just invented the time-machine. As they must, things go astray whilst Nik is cleaning. The result? The professor is trapped and Nik is left with the duty of freeing his boss and recapturing a litter of runaway kittens before time runs out.

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Future Racer to rip into App Store from Indie Developer Assyria Game Studio

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Well, I personally cannot get enough of racing games. Assyria Game Studio‘s first foray into App Store gaming is Future Racer, a game which I dropped in order to write this bit. Part F-Zero, part Star Wars Pod racing, it is a fast and furious hover racing simulation with a graphics engine which pushes the iDevice. The best part though, is that Assyria Game Studio didn’t skimp on music. Techno, trippy, and well-matched to the game’s speed, there may be no need for iTunes playback at all!

We also have a hands-on preview of Future Racer.

For more screenies and Press Literature, hop the gap.

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Kitten Escape in Review – Katnipped!

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For puzzle fans, developer nagisa have rustled up a great addition to the Rush Hour puzzle genre which doesn’t mouse around. At 99 cents, Kitten Escape sports hundreds of levels, an online scoring system, leaderboard and a good set of selection tools at its disposal. So, is there any reason to drop the cat? No, grab it. But, if you want to know why, read the review!

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iPhone’s Little Big Brother: Netbook this Summer?

fat-iphoneRumours of an Apple netbook or tablet have been flying for years, but since 2008, there has been an inordinate amount of hearsay. The latest is from production company Wintek who are reported by the Chinese publication, Commercial Times to be producing touch panels for the forthcoming Apple device.

According to Digitimes, Wintek mentioned that “no shipment schedule has been worked out yet, but shipments are likely to begin in the second half of the year”. What this means for iPhone and iPod Touch users is really no more than smoke until Apple release either product or announcement regarding any netbook or tablet device. However, considering that the newest rumour comes from a manufacturer, some credence can be applicable.

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