All-Tech Chat: Apple Vs. Gizmodo

The Apple-backed raid on the home of a Gizmodo blogger, Jason Chen, was comedy fodder for Jon Stewart this week. Omar Gallaga of the Austin American-Statesman updates us on that story and others, in this All Tech Considered grab-bag chat with Robert Siegel.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

I'm Robert Siegel. And it's time now for All Tech Considered.

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SIEGEL: At the end of January, CEO Steve Jobs announced Apple's newest product, the iPad tablet device. And on this program we laughed at the name. We actually did. Well, Mr. Jobs is now laughing all the way to the bank. Jobs announced today that Apple sold over one million iPads in 28 days, which means that roughly one in every three-hundred Americans are showing off the new gadget to jealous friends.

Our resident gearhead Omar Gallaga is here to talk about Apple news, good and bad. Welcome back, Omar.

OMAR GALLAGA: Hi, Robert. How are you doing?

SIEGEL: A million iPads in I guess they used the lunar calendar in California for 28 days.

GALLAGA: There's something about that...

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GALLAGA: Lunar calendar and the iPad, yeah. As much as we may joke about it, they have outpaced the original iPhone in terms of sales. It took about, I believe it was 78 days or so to get to the one million mark with the iPhone. Of course, it's much easier to buy an iPad. You don't have to sign up for a two-year contract with it.

Last Friday the 3G version of this came out. So, a whole new wave of people were buying the iPad on Friday at the Apple store. So far, app sales have been strong, 12 million apps downloaded for the iPad so far, 1.5 million iBooks sold. So the question now is, is that sort of ooh-ah effect of showing someone your iPad and then they run out and buy one going to continue to happen?

SIEGEL: But all of the news about Apple is not good. Theres talk there was a report in the New York Post of a possible anti-trust inquiry from the Federal Trade Commission on the Department of Justice looking into Apple.

GALLAGA: Right. Well, I mean, there's definitely a lot of scrutiny on Apple right now. They have had some harsh words exchanged with Adobe, the company that makes Flash, which is one of the criticisms people have of the iPad is that you can't run Flash on it. Steve Jobs last week posted an open letter about why there's no Flash on the iPhone or the iPad.

Apple is sort of saying, we don't think Adobe Flash is an open format, yet people look at Apple and say, well, we don't think the app store is a very open format and they're getting a lot of scrutiny over what they approve and don't approve. Is that anti-competitive? Is that are they shutting certain developers and companies out of that loop? Some people seem to think so.

SIEGEL: Yes. Here was the big Apple story last week. It involved Gizmodo blogger Jason Chen and his run-in with the law. Chen got his hands on the new iPhone prototype, blogged about it. And when Apple asked for the phone back, Chen complied. Next thing he knew, San Mateo County sheriffs were busting down his door, confiscating his computers and gadgets and supposedly Apple was behind the raid. This upset many Apple devotees such as "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart.

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Mr. JON STEWART (Host): If you want to break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T. For god sakes, they make your amazing phone unusable as a phone.

(Soundbite of cheering)

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: All jokes aside, Omar, give us an update on that story.

GALLAGA: They raided Jason Chen's home, took four computers and I believe a server and now Gizmodo is looking at its legal options and seeing whether this raid was even legal, whether it was called for. Interesting turnaround there, because everyone sort of sympathized with the guy who lost the phone and everyone was sympathizing with Apple to some degree and kind of tut-tutting Gizmodo for having paid for this phone and everything seemed very shady. And now, all of a sudden...

(Soundbite of laughter)

GALLAGA: ...things have kind of turned against Apple and everyone's thinking that Apple is behind this and that they're kind of strong-arming Gizmodo. Apple has always had a very strange relationship with the press, with blogs that alternately fawn over them, but also complain about Apple's veil of secrecy. And I think this is one where Apple may have made a bad move here.

SIEGEL: Omar Gallaga is the technology culture reporter for the Austin American-Statesman. He joins us most Mondays for All Tech Considered. Thank you, Omar.

GALLAGA: Thanks for having me.

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