A weekly round-up of the biggest stories in technology and digital media.
The big news (that is, the news that has echoed beyond the technology industry) this week is Steve Jobs' resignation as Apple's CEO.
To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community: I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee. As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
Jobs has been on medical leave since January this year; the announcement is a formalisation of the role Tim Cook has been fulfilling for the last 7 months (and also has taken on twice before when Jobs took medical leave in 2006 and 2009.) Jobs' remains an Apple director and employee, and assumes the role of Chairman of Apple's board.
Meanwhile, Apple has removed TV rentals from iTunes. The feature, unveiled as part of the Apple TV relaunch last September, is apparently less popular than buying content;
iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose.
As most of Apple's TV partners are US broadcasters, the impact on the UK's TV market is fairly minimal.
Facebook announced some changes to Facebook's sharing settings, making it clearer to users who can see what, and allowing a greater level of control for users over what is shared to their friends.
You have told us that "who can see this?" could be clearer across Facebook, so we have made changes to make this more visual and straightforward. The main change is moving most of your controls from a settings page to being inline, right next to the posts, photos and tags they affect.
Profile tag review- users can choose to approve or reject photos or posts that tag them before they become visible on their profile to other users.
Content tag review- users can choose to review and approve/reject tags other users add to their photos and posts.
"View profile as"- users have had the ability to see exactly what their profile looks like to other people. The tool has now been given greater prominence and visibility, being brought to the top of their page.
These changes revolve around the way friends can post content about one another – there are no implications for brands' content or activity on the site.
Eric Schmidt's MacTaggart lecture
The high profile MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV festival was given by Google's Eric Schmidt this year – the first time it has been given by someone outside the TV production or broadcast industry. He "held an olive branch out to the TV industry", arguing for less regulation of the industry, and growth through technological innovation;
Why can’t we make the pot bigger? The question we see over and over again is how the internet has displaced some existing and fixed revenue stream, but that’s not how the world works. You build new businesses. The majority of advertising money Google is getting is new money created from new customers of one kind or another … growth is the solution to nearly all societal problems. Television viewership is declining gracefully and that’s bad for all for us. Let’s reverse that, let’s grow it.
(Its worth noting that UK commercial TV viewing actually hit record levels in the first half of 2011.)
He also announced plans to bring Google TV to the UK early next year.
The full text of the lecture is available online.
The Article 29 Working Party, an EU level committee of national data protection regulators stated in a letter that the online advertising code of conduct around behavioural targeting does not comply with new EU regulations.
The dispute revolves around the regulations' aims to make cookies and storage of users' data 'opt-in', while the behavioural targeting guide revolves around a combination of education and an 'opt-out' mechanism.
The Olympic Games have a growing tradition of trialling new TV technologies, and the London 2012 games look set to be no exception. The BBC have talked about plans to trial some new technologies, including 3D TV and 'super hi vision', a high-resolution format said to be "16 times better than HDTV."
The benefits of 'super hi vision' are more interesting for large outdoor screens than regular sized TV screens (for which HDTV usually reaches the limits of the level of detail that the human eye can perceive.)
Roger Mosey, the BBC executive in charge of the corporation's London 2012 coverage said that the BBC led the way, delivering the "first properly televised" Olympic Games when they were hosted in London in 1948., but that the first 3D Olympics would not amount to a "24/7 service" during the Games, partly because it would mean interrupting its HD programming.
"It is fair to say there is a trade-off between 3D and HD," he said. "We don't want to damage the mass audience that watches HD with [too much] 3D, which is viewed by a minority".
A crowd-sourced survey by the BBC examining 3G coverage for the UK has published its results. With 44,000 Android app downloads, and over 1.7 million hours worth of data, the study reveals that of those who able to receive a data connection, 3G reception was only available around 3/4 of the time (compared to operator claims of 90%+ 3G coverage), but that coverage is not uniform.
Unsurprisingly, the problem is particularly prominent in rural areas, but also in certain urban areas, even those close to city centres.