In this week’s ExtraBITS, Adam Engst reminiscences about 24 years of TidBITS on the Tech Night Owl podcast, David Sparks shows off Josh Centers’s Home screen, and Macworld puts the Mac Pro’s expandability to the test. Apple stayed busy this week, launching a replacement program for iPhone 5 phones with faulty Sleep/Wake buttons, expanding its trademarks to cover jewelry and watches, and opening Mac OS X beta access to all. Lastly, Wired’s Steven Levy profiles Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives.
Adam Engst Talks through 24 Years of TidBITS on Tech Night Owl -- In this freewheeling discussion with Tech Night Owl Live host Gene Steinberg, Adam Engst shares numerous stories from the 24-year history of TidBITS, noting how it parallels the growth of the Internet and changes at Apple. It’s well worth listening to for a trip down memory lane.
Apple Replacing Faulty iPhone 5 Sleep/Wake Buttons -- Has the Sleep/Wake button on your iPhone 5 stopped working, or does it work only occasionally? Apple is now offering a replacement program. Enter your iPhone’s serial number to see if it’s eligible, and if so, you can either take it to an authorized service provider or call Apple for a free shipping box. It will take 4–6 days for Apple to repair your iPhone, but participating authorized service providers will have 16 GB iPhone 5 loaners available.
The Home Screen of Josh Centers -- Ever wonder what Managing Editor Josh Centers keeps on his iPhone’s Home screen? Thanks to David Sparks, who profiles Josh’s Home screen, you now have your chance! In the associated interview, Josh talks about some of his favorite iPhone apps, which app he wishes were available, his favorite iPhone feature, and what he would do if he ran Apple.
How Many Devices Can You Attach to a Mac Pro? -- Apple’s new Mac Pro relies completely on external ports for expansion, with six Thunderbolt ports, four USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, and two gigabit Ethernet ports. The folks at Macworld Lab put the Mac Pro’s expandability to the test, connecting 36 drives with a combined 100.63 TB of storage capacity, as well as a number of other devices. Even then, the combined devices together drew only 865 watts — less than a common hairdryer.
Apple’s Green Data Centers -- Writing for Wired, Steven Levy profiles Lisa Jackson, the former EPA head who now serves as Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives. Tim Cook’s Apple has invested heavily in minimizing its impact on the environment, and Jackson is leading the charge in making its data centers, corporate campuses, and retail stores powered 100 percent by renewable energy. Apple’s corporate campuses and data centers are already at 94 percent, up from 35 percent in 2010.
Apple Broadening Trademarks to Include Jewelry and Watches -- Apple has been filing new trademark applications worldwide to broaden its trademark to include Class 14 items — “precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith, not included in other classes; jewelry, precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments” — reports Eric Slivka of MacRumors. The new filings add fuel to the iWatch rumor fire, but it should be noted that some of Apple’s trademarks had already included Class 14 items. This could just be an attempt by the company to tidy its trademarks.
Apple Opens Mac OS X Betas to All -- Apple is no longer restricting Mac OS X betas to paying developers. Anyone with an Apple ID (which is, let’s face it, essentially every Apple user at this point) can now sign up for the OS X Beta Seed Program to test unreleased versions of the operating system. You have to agree to Apple’s OS X Beta Seed and Confidentiality Agreement and install the Beta Access Utility to view betas in the Mac App Store. After WWDC, we’ll see if this applies to major releases of OS X, or just minor updates.