Apple Store Frozen in Time

I stumbled across this pictorial recently. It is of an abandoned (circa 2000) Apple Store in Kuwait that’s just been sitting there. It is very interesting to see how Apple’s design philosophy has changed so much over time. For those of you long time Apple users, like myself, this should be very nostalgic.

Photos by Miskan

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The Bamboo Notebook PC is Here!

Bamboo PC1By Philipp Gollner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Back in 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the Apple I, an early personal computer that consisted of a circuit board in a simple wooden box.

Apple Inc and other computer makers went on to make advanced PCs in metal and plastic casings, but now Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc is finding potential beauty — and sales — in an eco-friendly notebook PC encased in another natural material: bamboo.

The Asus Eco Book, as it’s dubbed, has a case made of laminated bamboo strips available in different shades.

Harvesting bamboo, an abundant, flexible, durable and fast-growing grass, is unlikely to harm the environment as processing wood from trees might, Asustek said, although glues and laminates for shaping and fortifying the material sometimes contain toxins.

The product is still in the prototype stage and engineers are checking to see if bamboo is suitable for laptops, which have to endure extreme conditions while allowing heat from microprocessors and monitors to escape.

The Eco book is a new tack for a company that caters to executives and other high-end users with its calf leather-bound notebooks and faux alligator-skin models.

“Originally we came out with a leather model style-book,” said Cher Chronis, director of marketing communication for Asus Computer International, the Taipei-based company’s U.S. unit.

“It was very popular,” she said. “After that, it was kind of natural for us to experiment with other types of materials, so we decided to go green.”

Asustek says its leather notebooks have not been criticized by animal-rights activists and that the Eco book is not meant to assuage critics.

bamboo pc2 Bamboo PC3

BAMBOO MICE, KEYBOARDS

While just about all big computer makers are taking steps to make technology more environmentally friendly, Asustek is one of the first to unveil a bamboo-encased computer.

Some niche companies geared toward eco-conscious consumers offer bamboo computer mice, keyboards and monitor frames.

“As part of a portfolio of case choices, it makes sense,” said Roger Kay, president of PC market researcher Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc.

“I don’t think the computer is going to go over to wooden casing,” Kay said. “It’s ecological to grow it, but my sense is there’s probably more show than substance to the claim of sustainable manufacturing.”

While plastic casings often contain toxins like polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, the bigger environmental threats come from lead in cathode ray tube monitors

All major manufacturers, such as Hewlett-Packard Co, the world’s largest PC maker, Dell Inc , the No. 2, Apple as well as Asian rivals Lenovo Group Ltd and Acer Inc, have programs to reduce energy consumption, recycle components and reduce hazardous materials in computers.

Consumers and businesses are expected to buy about 260 million PCs this year, a 12 percent jump from 2006’s level, according to market researcher IDC. Growth is being fueled by surging demand for notebook computers.

With so many computers being sold, and an estimated 500 million computers hitting obsolescence in the United States alone in the past 10 years, PC accessory makers are going green, too.

PVC-FREE

Laptop computer case and accessory maker Targus Inc recently introduced its environmentally-friendly Grove laptop cases, made of recyclable plastics, nickel-free hardware and PVC-free material.

Targus teamed up with the Texas-based computer maker last month to sell its cases on Dell’s Web site and will donate a portion of its Dell-sold cases to Dell’s “Plant a tree for me” program, which allows consumers to make donations to plant trees to offset the carbon impact of electricity for running their computers.

Dell and Lenovo plan to eliminate PVC and brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, another potential hazard, from their new products by 2009, and Dell requires its parts suppliers to meet environmental targets such as carbon-emission reductions.

Apple says it plans to eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs from all its products by the end of next year.

The major computer companies including Apple and Dell also have programs to recycle discarded PCs and monitors. By 2010, Apple expects to recycle 19 million pounds of so-called e-waste per year, or about 30 percent of the product weight it sold seven years earlier.

HP said it is on schedule to meet a goal of recycling 1 billion pounds of equipment and supplies by the end of this year.

Asustek, while small compared with HP, Dell and other heavyweights, says its size enables it to design, manufacture, market and distribute PCs on its own, allowing it to get new ideas like the bamboo PC to market faster.

“If it does get to the point where we do find a model that meets all the engineering requirements and allows green computing, we will release it,” the company’s Chronis said. “Everybody loves the Eco book. It’s a beautiful computer.”

(Editing by Brian Moss)

Source: Reuters

The 10 Most Expensive Cell Phones in the World

With all the hoopla surrounding the Iphone (and its fluctuating pricetag) one might might be lulled into thinking that the Iphone is the be-all and end-all in the world cell phones. The truth be told though, the Iphone is more like the Corvette of the cellphone industry, relatively expensive to the average consumer, but in the bigger picture, it’s a cheap horsepower contender and drop in the bucket when compared to these high rolling entrants into the world of cellphones. And yes, the top cellphone contender is more expensive than the Mercedes Maybach, the Ferrari Enzo and the Bugatti Veyron!

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10. Prada phone by LG

Price: $780

Prada phone by LG
The Prada phone by LG just narrowly edged my personal favorite, the Gold Striker Gold 24-carat Iphone to make the list. At just 1.2 cm thick, the Prada phone, like the Iphone, has no buttons and is operated solely by way of the touch screen.

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9. Porsche Cellphone by Sagem

Price: $1,600

Porsche Cellphone by Sagem

Designed by Porsche, but engineered and manufactured by France-based Sagem, the Porsche handset is currently available in Britain, Dubai and other oversees markets. The phone is expected to make its U.S. debut in 2008 possible through Porsche Dealerships.

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8. Mobiado Professional EM

Price: $2,200

Mobiado Professional EM
Made from ebony wood, hard-anodized aluminum and titanium, Nokia driven Mobiado Professional EM handsets are individually unique due to the variations in wood patterning per instrument. It features a 1.3 MP camera, music playback and an FM radio.

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7. Gresso Black Aura Collection

Price: Up to $13,000

Gresso Black Aura Collection

Gresso boastfully claims that its Black Aura cellphones are 200 years old – due to the age of the African Blackwood on each phone’s case. Black Aura series ranges from $6,500 to $13,000 with the most expensive featuring an 18-carat gold front panel.

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6. Diamond Iphone

Price: $41,000

Diamond Iphone
The diamond iPhone boasts an impressive 420 diamonds at a total weight of 5.65 carats set in 18K white or yellow gold. It can also be ordered in white, black or pink sapphires. The phone, by UK blingmeister general Amosu, at a blustering $41,000 is sure to not make any “Will it blend” videos anytime soon.

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5.Vertu Signature

Price: Up to $81,000

Vertu Signature
Vertu, a subsidiary of Nokia, claims that it took expert craftsmen some three years of training to learn to make their phones. This classic, the Vertu Signature, contains 943 diamonds on its bezel and 48 more on its keypad, each set in place by hand in Switzerland.

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4. VIPN Black Diamond Smartphone

Price: $300,000

VIPN Black Diamond Smartphone
The creation of Swiss manufacturer VIPN, the titanium construction known as the “Black Diamond” is a one of a kind actually a 1 of 5 to be exact, and for generously shelling out 300,000 big ones, you get a Quadband phone with WiFi and Bluetooth, a 2 inch 256K TFT screen, 4MP camera, VOIP and 2 huge diamonds.

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3. Bucheron for Vertu Cobra

Price: $310,000

Bucheron for Vertu Cobra
Parisian jeweler House of Bucheron linked up with Nokia subsidiary Vertu on this limited-edition series of eight cobra phones, which include a two-carat pear-cut diamond, a one-carat round diamond, two emerald eyes and 439 rubies totaling 21 carats. Vertu phones also link up to a special concierge service with information about travel, entertainment, restaurants and events. Other Vertu phones sell between $4,350 and $81,000.

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2. The Diamond Crypto Smartphone

Price: $1.3 Million

The Diamond Crypto Smartphone
Designed by diamond encruster extraordinaire Peter Aloisson The Diamond Crypto Smartphone is sometimes quoted as the World’s most expensive cell phone (depending on exchange rates). Russian firm JSC Ancort has developed a Windows CE-based smartphone ready for Aloisson’s bejeweling that employs “powerful encryption technology” to “provide secure protection of information against kidnapping, technological blackmail, financial racketeers and corrupted state officials” — sounds like marketing speak for a password-protected wallet app. Of course, with its $1.3 million price tag and 50 diamonds (10 of which are blue) you might start to have more trouble with mugging than with technological blackmail.

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1. The GoldVish Le Million

Price: $1.45 Million

The GoldVish Le Million
Guinness World Records certifies this GoldVish phone as the most expensive in the world–1 million euros, or about $1.45 million. The odd-shaped device is made out of 18-carat white gold and features 1,800 diamonds totaling 120 carats. A Russian businessman bought Le Million for his wife last September at a luxury goods fair in Cannes, France. Don’t have a spare million for this made-by-request gadget? Geneva-based GoldVish has plenty of expensive phones in its lineup, including models with gold plating and diamond-studded cases.