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ExtraBITS for 9 August 2010

The guy in charge of iPhone engineering has left Apple – did he jump or was he pushed? Also this week, we were reading about Apple’s Smart Bicycle patent, Microsoft’s details surrounding Office 2011, and ways of saving money on cellular charges when travelling. Finally, Glenn Fleishman talked about iPhone GPS apps on the MacVoices podcast.

iPhone Executive Leaves Apple — The Wall Street Journal has an article about the departure of Mark Papermaster, Apple’s senior vice president for mobile devices. Although there is much speculation that Papermaster was forced out as a result of the iPhone 4 antenna debacle, he wasn’t part of the iPhone 4 public launch, and others have suggested that Papermaster’s tenure at IBM left him ill-prepared for Apple’s corporate culture under Steve Jobs. He will be replaced by Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of computer engineering.

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Patently Apple Peddles Apple’s “Smart Bicycle” Application — The attentive folks over at Patently Apple have uncovered an application Apple filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a Smart Bicycle System. Patently Apple compares the potential device to the Nike+iPod kit, geared towards cyclists instead of runners. The bicycle system would monitor all sorts of measurements – speed, distance, elevation and so on – all measured with sensors in an iPhone, the bike, or both. The patent – and Patently Apple’s analysis of it – is exquisitely detailed, and worth a look for cycling enthusiasts and
Apple fans alike.

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Microsoft Announces Office for Mac 2011 Details — Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit has revealed details about its forthcoming Office for Mac 2011 suite, which the company says will be released in late October of this year. Office 2011 will be offered in two similarly named editions: “Home and Student 2011” and “Home and Business 2011.” The Home and Student edition costs $119, and includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Messenger. (For an extra $50, Messenger isn’t installed. Just kidding.) If you need Outlook – which replaces Entourage – that’s available in the Home and Business bundle, which will cost $199.
Multi-installation licenses are available, too. Oh, and while Microsoft says there are only two editions, the company also announced a third version: “The Academic Edition” includes all the available Office apps – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Messenger, and Outlook – but costs just $99. It’s limited to higher education students, staff, and faculty, and anyone else who can disguise themselves as such.

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Glenn Fleishman Chats about iPhone Navigation Apps — Glenn Fleishman talks with Chuck Joiner on the MacVoices podcast about the ins and outs of choosing and using an iPhone navigation app for finding your way around.

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Have Cell Phone, Will Travel… Without Going Broke — The New York Times has run a genuinely helpful Practical Traveler column focusing on the smartest ways to use a cell phone when you’re travelling internationally, hopefully without paying usurious fees. iPhone owners in the United States are generally locked into AT&T and its GSM network; that means you can keep using your iPhone when you travel abroad, but you’ll need to pay AT&T (rather generously) for a temporary international plan. The article offers practical tips, like disabling 3G and roaming to avoid incurring insane data charges, and relying on Wi-Fi
instead. (AT&T’s international data plan costs $24.99 for just 20 MB, which I might burn through just checking my email on the first day of vacation.) The column highlights other options, too, such as buying an international cell phone from a company like Telestial or Planet Omni, buying a local SIM card (if your phone is unlocked and you only want to make local calls), or relying on VoIP solutions like Skype.

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