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ExtraBITS for 6 August 2012

Thievery figures strongly in our ExtraBITS this week, as David Pogue’s iPhone was stolen and then recovered, and as someone convinced Apple customer service to give up control over Gizmodo writer Mat Honan’s iCloud account. Also this week, we share articles about the likely revenues surrounding the popular Sparrow email client, a TUAW interview about ebooks with Michael Cohen, and the appearance of Hulu Plus on the Apple TV.

David Pogue’s iPhone Stolen and Recovered — New York Times columnist David Pogue’s iPhone went missing while he was taking the Amtrak train home from a television shoot in Philadelphia. After it started reporting its location via Find My iPhone and he tweeted about its loss, the story went viral, with Gizmodo posting frequent updates and street photos of the house where the iPhone was located. By the end of the day, local police had recovered the phone, but anyone hoping for a tense hostage situation or shootout with the thieves was disappointed — the iPhone was found lying in the
grass in the back yard. It’s worth assuming this approach is unlikely to work for those who don’t write for a major metropolitan newspaper or have 1.4 million Twitter followers.

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Gizmodo Writer’s iCloud Account Hacked — Mat Honan of Gizmodo admits he had a seven-character password he had used for years, but that weakness isn’t what led to a villain gaining access to his iCloud account, remote wiping his iOS devices and MacBook, and hijacking his Twitter account. Rather, Honan says the hacker used social engineering to talk Apple customer service into giving up information. That’s a disturbing report, and we will update you as more information becomes available.

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The Sparrow in the Coal Mine — iOS app developer David Barnard of App Cubby has an interesting look at the likely sales numbers behind the Sparrow email client that suggest that too-low prices in the App Store mean that it’s now extremely difficult to earn the necessary amounts of money to fund ongoing development. The better approach? Sell your company (see “Sparrow Bought by Google,” 21 July 2012).

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TUAW Interviews Michael Cohen about iBooks Author — Erica Sadun of TUAW interviews our own Michael E. Cohen about his lengthy history in the world of ebooks and his opinions about iBooks Author, based on his recently released title about the program, “Take Control of iBooks Author.” Michael has fabulous stories, and several make it into this interview.

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Hulu Plus Comes to Apple TV — The Apple TV’s selection of video content just improved, thanks to the addition of the Hulu Plus subscription service. For $7.99 per month, you can now stream “current and classic TV programming on demand from hundreds of content partners.” Apple TV competitors like Roku and smart TVs have supported Hulu for some time, so Apple TV is late to the game, perhaps due to Apple not wanting competition for iTunes Store sales, or because of Hulu not wanting to give Apple a cut of its subscription fees. Apparently, Apple and Hulu have now come to some mutually
beneficial understanding.

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