Apple this week: more blame than biscuits

iPad 3
It's been a rather interesting week for Apple

Running Apple must be a double-edged sword, we reckon.

On the one hand the world's geeks worship you and you've enough cash to buy really nice biscuits, but on the other you keep getting the blame for other people's mistakes.

This week, it's been more blame than biscuits.

First up there was Path, the hotly tipped social-networking app. When it emerged that the app was surreptitiously copying users' entire address books to its servers, the row reached the giddy heights of the US Congress - although asking Apple to explain Path's actions is rather like demanding B&Q takes responsibility when somebody whacks you with a plank of wood.

In fairness the Path debacle does expose a flaw in iOS: where apps using location services have to get your permission to find out anything about you, apps wanting access to your contacts don't.

Apple says that's a violation of its policies: "Apps that collect or transmit a user's contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines," spokesperson Tom Neumayr says - and that it'll provide a software fix to prevent it from happening again.

Path, meanwhile, has said sorry and erased the data from its servers.

Apple has also been getting it in the neck for the behaviour of its subcontractors in China, and this week Tim Cook "hit back" at the suggestion that Apple products weren't assembled in rainbows by unicorns but were, in fact, assembled in factories by unhappy humans. "Our commitment is simple," Cook says:

"Every worker has the right to a fair and safe work environment, free of discrimination, where they can earn competitive wages and they can voice their concerns freely."

Cook has invited the Fair Labor Association to inspect Apple's subcontractors, and recently emailed Apple employees to rebut a New York Times story that alleged unsafe and oppressive working conditions.

Cook's comments came during his keynote speech at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, where he also responded to a question about tablets with a dig at Apple's rivals.

"A cheap product might sell some units," Cook said, but "then they get it home and use it, and the joy is gone... you don't keep remembering 'I got a good deal' because you hate it!" Don't buy him an AndyPad. He won't thank you for it.

While Tim Cook is looking to the future, some Apple watchers are giggling at the past: according to newly declassified FBI files, Steve Jobs was clever, complicated and something of a fibber.

We can't wait for the FBI to declassify some more documents so we can discover that rain is wet, bricks are heavy and that Angelina Jolie is quite good looking.

But it wasn't all bad

Apple, of course, is thinking a lot about tablets because it's gearing up for the launch of the iPad 3, while it also took the opportunity to preview OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion this week.

Amid rumours that it's testing an eight-inch iPad - the launch of which is scoring a low "it's possible" on our trademarked rumour-o-meter because Apple tests all kinds of things all the time without necessarily turning them into shipping products - we're pretty sure that the iPad 3 will be launched on 7 March with a retina display.

A new, quad-core processor is probable but not definite, and if the rumoured 4G/LTE model is incoming then we'd expect a significantly more powerful battery to cope with 4G's notorious thirst.

Here in the UK we'll get the battery but not the radio: at the time of writing, Brits have more chance of connecting via tin cans tied with string than they have of spotting a 4G network in the wild.

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