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Judgement day for Transformers

28 Mar 2012


At last, Sneak has found evidence that the judiciary really is down with the kids. In Hasbro versus Asus, it's round one to the gadget maker, after a judge used his in-depth knowledge of Autobots and Decepticons to swat away the toymaker's claims.

Hasbro had wanted a preliminary injunction, which could have seen Asus banned from flogging its Android-based tablets. Thankfully for gadget-loving Yanks, the judge had never tuned into Cartoon Network expecting to see 30 minutes of a tablet docking with a keyboard – and reasoned most consumers would know which Transformer Prime was which.

“The Autobots are led by the virtuous Optimus Prime character, while the Decepticons follow the powerful Megatron," the judge told the court.

Nevertheless, Optimus Prime and his cohorts are not so easily defeated – a full trial will decide once and for all whether Asus can continue to use the Transformer name.

Hasbro is adamant that a scene from the latest Transformer movie provides the crux of its case against Asus. In it, an Autobot disguises itself as, what else, a Lenovo ThinkPad.

Sneak hasn't seen the movie, having given up on the franchise after the over-the-top explosions and lack of plot in the first two. But if Asus's next shape-shifting tablet is called Dark of the Moon, Sneak might concede Hasbro was on to something.

Apple facing million-dollar suit over store mishap

27 Mar 2012

Apple has long been renowned for the innovative architecture and layout of its retail locations. The minimalist design and glass storefronts have become as familiar with the public as the company's iconic logo.

According to at least one woman and her attorney, however, Apple's retail storefronts are less an archtectural marvel and more of a looming death trap.

The 83 year old resident of Queens, NY claims that Apple was negligent when they erected their Long Island store with a massive glass front. The woman suffered a broken nose when she failed to see the glass wall and walked into a door.

As a result, the woman now believes that Apple owes here roughly $1m in damages. Her lawyer claims that the company's store designs are insensitve to the needs and limitations of older customers.

Such lawsuits have become a favourite passtime here in the US, so it is not much of a surprise that the matter has gained traction and will likely be settled out of court for significantly less than the claim.

That a glass storefront would pose a problem for Apple should hardly be a surprise. After all, the company has long been haunted by its struggles with Windows...

Apple's marketing madness with New iPad brand only serves to confuse

09 Mar 2012

The new Apple iPad

Apple surprised just about everyone on Wednesday by naming its latest iPad, not the iPad 3 or iPad HD as was expected, but just New iPad.

Sneak noted that when asked about the branding by Miguel Helft of Forbes magazine, Apple's chief of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller responded with a throwaway line:

I asked Phil Schiller why the name "new iPad" (and not iPad3, iPadHD). Answer: we don't like to be predictable.
- mhelft (@mhelft) March 7, 2012

Aside from the observations that this won't be the New iPad for long and won't be the last New iPad either it is, to say the least, something of an unfortunate choice by Apple's top executives.

Just imagine for a moment the millions of conversations that will happen in the native habitats of the Apple faithful all over the world: the potted fern festooned and so tastefully decorated, trendy coffee shops that shamelessly peddle overpriced lattes and GMO-laced sweets - the types of places Sneak is never seen.

Sweet, young, lonely potential hookup (SYLPH): "Oh, nice tablet! Is that an iPad?"

Turtleneck-wearing internet surfing twit (TWIST): "Why yes it is. Haven't you seen one?"

SYLPH: "Oh yes, my ex-boyfriend had one years ago, but he never let me use it."

TWIST: "That was the old one. This is the new iPad."

SYLPH: "That was called the iPad too. Is yours a newer model?"

TWIST: "Yes, this is the latest one. It's called just the iPad."

SYLPH: "Oh, I see. So was my ex-boyfriend's. [suspicious] Are you sure this is a new one?"

As you can imagine, this sort of thing isn't going to be helping any Apple fanbois hook up. Sneak imagines, though, that people will call the device the iPad 3 anyway, to help avoid this kind of confusion.

However, for Apple, it's not so simple. What do they do when the next device comes out, call it the Newer iPad? Then what, the Newest iPad? Followed by the Even Newer iPad? Old Steve Jobs would never have painted himself into this corner.

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