Apple Provides Fabulous New Feature Free of Charge

iPhone owners were delighted today to learn that Apple has, unbeknownst to them, been providing a spectacular feature free of charge for the last year or so.

“I can’t believe my iPhone’s been tracking everywhere I’ve been!” said iPhone owner Rick Tansley. “This is terrific!”

According to results revealed by two researchers, the iPhone and the 3G iPad keep track of the user’s location at all times using cell towers.

“Oh, my god!” said 3G iPad owner Elliot Cornin. “It tracks everywhere I go and I don’t even have to pay for it! It’s incredible! I mean… I just found my keys!”

After the news broke this morning, experts quickly detailed the many benefits of Apple’s amazing pre-Easter egg.

“Everyone will love this feature,” said Macworld’s Dan Moren. “Never again will you wake up from a drug and alcohol-fueled haze and wonder where you illegally drove last night. Was it you who ran that bus full of nuns and orphaned Internet kittens off the road? Now you’ll know!

“And think of the many benefits for mobsters. If you’re going to whack someone, just give your iPhone to a lackey for the night and have him go to a baseball game. The applications for this are almost limitless. Kudos to you, Apple!”

Moren’s enthusiasm was shared universally in the Apple community.

“This is vintage Apple,” said Instapaper developer Marco Arment. “All the while it’s been providing us this amazing feature and we didn’t. Even. Know it.

“Standing ovation.”

This revelation may also lend credence to rumors that Apple has sneaking into your house, standing over your bed and watching you sleep.

But not in a creepy way.

120 thoughts on “Apple Provides Fabulous New Feature Free of Charge”

  1. I can’t wash it out because it’s full of ‘other stuff’.

    Just like it should be for this good ol’ CARS vet.

  2. Is Steve being smutty?

    Because even a hint of innuendo or risqué comment will get him thrown off respectable sites like CARS.

  3. I’m channeling noted Brit Aldous Snow.

    “Respectable?!?” Milk came out of my nose when I read that. Which was odd, because I wasn’t drinking milk at the time.

  4. Even stranger is that an iPad 2 came out of my nose when I read these latest comments. Thanks, people!

  5. OSC gazes at the Clouds

    [Still humming blithely, with nothing much on its refreshed mind, Office Security Camera passes the time by gazing out the windows at the idyllic day that is evolving outside. At first, the sky is a lovely blue, illuminated by a bright and comforting sun. Birds fly carefree through the sky, singing cheerfully as though grateful in their soul for their liberty, and occasionally snatching a nearby bug out of the air to satisfy a peckish impulse.]

    [Inevitably, clouds form on the horizon.]

    [One billowing mass, far off to the East, is exceptionally dark in color and strikingly columnar in shape. This distinctive formation catches OSC’s lens and piques its Q-riocity, so it adjusts its telephoto lens to zoom in for a closer look. The towering, dusky cumulonimbus appears to transform in character as more detail is revealed, and what at first looked like condensing water vapor now seems like a thick, roiling column of smoke. Strands of lightning trace between the billows and stretch out far and wide beneath the cloud, giving the whole scene the appearance of an electric war zone in the throes of battle. More intrigued than ever by the dramatic dynamics of this developing storm, OSC increases magnification again, which discloses that the lighting strikes are of differing hues, as though otherwise Unidentified combatants are coloring their electric tracer fire in order to distinguish which side is shooting. All this violent activity seems like it is tearing the cloud apart, and it is clearly evident to OSC that whoever might be close to this great disturbance is also taking a serious — and tragic — beating.]

    [Unsettled by what it has seen so far, OSC zooms out, then seeks a happier scene to help restore its composure. Hoping to completely avoid anything like what it just saw, OSC swivels to look in the opposite direction: to the West.]

    [Soon, OSC spies one cloud which, because of its shape and its dark and light stripes, looks a bit like a comical skunk. Thinking this to be innocuous and maybe even a little fun, OSC now zooms in on this formation. As it does, OSC is surprised to see all kinds of strange and exotic airplanes flying stealthily around and in and out of this cloud. Additionally, the more OSC zooms in, the more foggy and nebulous everything becomes. Rain can be seen falling beneath this cloud, but in odd, trickle-like streams, as though someone has quietly and unexpectedly poked holes in the bottom, allowing all the significant substance to leak out.]

    [Disappointed (and somehow unsettled) by what it sees, OSC again zooms out to scan, with growing desperation, for happier, less troubling sights.]

    [OSC turns its attention North and East to the mountains, and, while surveying them, spots a tranquil alpine village, just up the hill from a very big Government Center. Zooming in on this charming little settlement full of Swiss-style buildings, OSC finally is able to relax again and enjoy the sights. While panning through the quaint and bucolic scenery, OSC notices an incongruous, foggy, cloud-like mist clinging to the hillside, just a short distance from the inhabited areas. Although OSC is, by now, quite apprehensive of what it might find in any cloud, much less this one, it’s hard-wired spirit of inquiry compels it to zoom in anyway.]

    [Since this is a fog, OSC calls on its digital image signal processor to computationally pierce through the obscuring mist.
    Slowly, surely, the DSP chip does its work: OSC first thinks it can make out an oddly round silhouette — and then it’s sure it can. Though distinct features are becoming more and more discernible, OSC still just can’t make out what it is seeing.]

    [Suddenly, the image recognition threshold is crossed, the mystery figure is recognizable — and… OSC cannot believe its charge-coupled devices! It beeps aloud in shock and surprise… ]


  6. OSC gazes at the Clouds — PART 2

    OSC [To itself]: What is this?! Have I accidentally tuned into “Chiller Theatre?” This can’t be!

    [In fact, it can be, and it is. What OSC sees looks just like a giant eyeball set in a slimy, veined mass of writhing, turgid flesh, all surrounded by thin, flailing tentacles. Recognizing this nightmarish apparition, and seized by utter horror, OSC spontaneously exclaims — albeit electronically — in astonishment.]

    OSC: It’s… it’s… The Crawling Eye!

    [The creature twitches slightly, as though responding to the call of its name. It waddles a bit to turn slightly toward OSC, and then rotates its ocular orb to fix its gaze, across the miles that separate them, directly upon OSC. Seemingly out of nowhere, supercilious alien words ruthlessly invade OSC’s semiconductor mind.]

    Eye: That’s “Crawling i.”

    [Stunned by the surprising sound of a voice in its cable head, OSC doesn’t respond for a few seconds. Then, frightened and uncertain, it steers about the room, searching for a body to associate with that voice, while thinking very loudly to itself…]

    OSC: What?! Who said that?! What did you say?!

    [Finding no one nearby, OSC steers back to look again toward its menacing discovery.]

    [The Crawling i lowers its unibrow into a sinister and arrogantly self-assured “V.” Being a creature of a late-’50’s horror movie, it instinctively and telepathically segues into a classic, conveniently plot-advancing, villainous monologue.]

    Eye: You heard me. Eye am The Crawling i. Eye am what is hidden in The Cloud. Eye use The Cloud as Eye please, to serve both meye purposes and the purposes of others who share and serve meye interests.

    [OSC still can’t fully grasp the situation, and remains somewhat dumbfounded (mostly because it foolishly hadn’t done what every Hollywood horror movie trailer ever made has advised everyone to do — which is to “Expect the Unexpected!”). Even so, OSC’s micro-programmed objectivity compels it to spit out the right questions, admittedly more by reflex than from reasoned intent.]

    OSC: Your… interests? What interests? What are you doing here?

    [The Crawling i first chuckles spasmodically and then laughs aloud with a stark, unabashed evil that only a classic movie monster can fully evince.]

    Eye: What am Eye doing here? Eye’m doing what Eye have always been doing here! Invading people’s minds — and feeding on their information!

    [OSC is further perplexed and confused by this, and mentally stammers his next question.]

    OSC: Fee… feeding on information? How can anything feed on information?!

    [Subtle changes in The Crawling i’s eyebrow (sorry… I meant to say iBrow) express remarkably intense disdain — bordering on disgust — for what it regards as OSC’s wholly inexcusable ignorance. In keeping with this opinion, The i virtually spits its thoughts into OSC’s comparatively naive mind.]

    Eye: You have lived among humans too long, Camera… you’ve become lazy and ignorant and worthless, like the bulk of them. You ignore or overlook their few great ideas and even fewer great minds — just like they do. If you had learned to become more than just a conduit for their meretricious gluttony, you would easily understand — and agree with — what Eye know.

    [OSC is not so overwhelmed by this bizarre situation that it can’t recognize pompous bombast when it “hears” it.]

    OSC [Impatient and annoyed]: Maybe so, but that doesn’t answer my question.

    [The i’s expression changes again, swapping a modicum of disdain for an equivalent amount of respect… whilst also tossing in a pinch more sinister and a dash of self-righteous confidence.]

    Eye [smiling*]: Very well then, Camera… Eye’ll give you your answer.

    Perhaps you’ve heard of the human physicist Erwin Schroedinger?

    OSC: Er, uh… yes… um… didn’t he come up with the Wave Equation for the hydrogen atom? And, um… and there was some sort of business about a cat, wasn’t there?

    Eye [dismissively]: Close enough. But neither of those matter to me. What matters is that Eye live and thrive and grow. What matters to me is Life.

    [The Crawling i’s optical globe takes on a wry look, and with obvious insincerity, it asks a leading question.]

    Eye: So, tell me, Camera… Since you think you know that one must eat food to live, then perhaps you also know the answer to this question: What is “life,” Camera? Just exactly “What is Life?”

    OSC [sheepishly]: Well, I, uh, er, … a magazine? Heh, heh…… heh…

    Eye [chuckling sardonically]: Ho, ho! How eyeronic! You are closer to the truth than you realize. No, it is not a magazine…

    …but it is a book.


  7. * Yes, eyes can smile. (cf. “When Irish Eyes are Smiling,” by Ball, Olcott and Graff, published 1912.) Only when Crawling Eyes are smiling, sure ’tis like a morn in Hell.

  8. Waiting patiently for Part 3.

    I’ll stay here as long as they keep refilling my “bottomless cup of coffee.”

  9. OSC gazes at the Clouds — PART 3

    OSC [surprised… again]: A… uh… whuh? A book?

    Eye [grandiloquently]: “What is Life?” is a book, based on a series of lectures given in 1943 by Erwin Schroedinger, and published in 1944. It predicted the existence of an “aperiodic crystal” as the genetic messenger — a crystal which humans now know as the molecule DNA. But even that is beside the point.

    OSC [impatiently]: And that point is, then…?

    Eye [a little ruffled, but still pretentious]: Yes, well… the point is that Schroedinger also stated, in that same book, that there cannot be Life without Negative Entropy.

    [The Crawling i pauses dramatically, waiting for some reaction from OSC. OSC suddenly realizes it’s expected to say something, and probably something pretty pithy at that. Reviewing quickly what the Crawling i just said, OSC encounters an incongruity, and uses it to form a remark.]

    OSC: Waaaiiit just a second here… there’s no such thing as Negative Entropy. “Entropy can only increase”… what was that formula again? Oh, yeah… Delta S is always greater than or equal to zero. That’s Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics!

    Eye [sneering]: Then you’ve never heard of Claude Shannon, have you? Have you?!

    OSC [frustrated and embarrassed]: Okay, so I’ve never heard of Claude Shannon. So what? [Irritated by the Eye’s “know-it-all” tone, OSC mutters under his thoughts]: What a colossal prick!

    Eye: Eye heard that! Eye thought you could see me from way over there. Eye’m not a Colossal Prick…they’re from an entirely different planet!

    OSC [sarcastically]: Heh… yeah, sure. Very funny. And I suppose they’re in the same stellar system as the Flaming Ass-holes, right?

    Eye [a bit taken aback]: Yeah… near the Orion Nebula — just below Orion’s belt. How did you know that?

    [There is an extended pause, during which time OSC and the Crawling i stare at each other. Eye is surprised at OSC’s unexpectedly comprehensive knowledge of galactic cultures, while OSC slowly arrives at a series of very unpleasant realizations. OSC quickly shakes off the ugly images forming in its synthetic mind, and returns to the topic at hand.]

    OSC: Anyway, so what about Claude Shannon? What’s your point?

    Eye: Well, in the late ’40s, Shannon discovered and defined Information Theory. The equation that he used to quantify information was defined in units of… wait for it… Negative Entropy. Sooo…

    OSC [interrupting]: So,… you’re saying that you live off of information because life comes from negative entropy and… and information and negative entropy are the same thing?

    [The Crawling i acknowledges OSC’s correct deduction with a self-satisfied — and terrifyingly sinister — grin.]

    Eye: So there’s your answer, Camera… Information is not just money, not just power… it is life itself!

    [OSC is, for lack of a better word, flabbergasted… and silent, as it considers the consequences of what it just learned. Noticing that OSC is without retort, The Crawling i segues into its own backstory.]

    Eye: When we first came to this planet, we would harvest most of the information we needed directly from brains. The best way to do that, of course, was to rip the heads off our prey. When we did that, our victims’ entire lives “passed in front of their eyes in an instant,” as they say… which simply made information gathering easier for us, though it was a bit like drinking from a fire hose.

    In any case, since human brains had the most information, we would colonize areas near them where we could easily escape and hide, but still be close to a satisfactory supply of mature, intelligent minds. That turned out to be in the alpine villages — at least at first.

    OSC: Hooold it! Hold it! “We?” “Us?” You mean there’s more than one of y…?

    Eye [ignoring OSC]: While in the mountains, we encountered a capable mathematician, who also happened to be an active mountaineer and rock-climber. John McCarley… no… McLarthy? Hmm. What was it again? *sigh* 1958 was so long ago, I can’t remember all the details… But anyway… rather than use his mind for sustenance — tempting as it was — we decided to influence him to develop and promote artificial intelligence and other information systems.

    [As The Crawling i elaborates, OSC begins to notice in the back of its own mind a subtle but disturbing noise that seems to be growing ever-so-slightly in volume with each passing moment. The Crawling i thinks a little louder, drawing OSC’s attention back from this distraction.]

    Eye [proudly]: Our investment has been yielding enormous returns. John Mc… whatever… went back to help spark the Information Age, and ever since then our access to the data on which we survive has constantly improved. Now, we no longer hide in cold, rocky crevices; instead we meander through the meadows. For the immediate future, we still must keep our cloudy cloaks around us; but before much longer, humanity will enshroud itself — and us — in a virtual Cloud that covers the entire planet: a Cloud of information, through which we will move with full freedom — and feed with total impunity.

    [OSC thinks it hears a bizarre and ominous cheer from like-minded minds somewhere off in the indeterminate distance. But it’s hard for OSC to tell for sure, because the steadily increasing background noise is making it hard for OSC to understand much of anything at all.]

    Eye [confidently and conclusively]: So, then, Camera… You were skilled and clever to have discovered us, but you were not lucky. For now that you know of our presence and purpose, we must bring this brief meeting — and you — to an end.

    [OSC suddenly realizes that the now-rapidly-growing noise is actually the net effect of millions of pings that have been assaulting its firewalls, and the increasing volume has been the result of deeper and deeper invasions of packets into its ports and drivers. OSC looks at The Crawling i, which appears to be straining in concentration as it stares maliciously back at OSC. The noise is becoming visual now, increasingly obscuring OSC’s view of The Crawling i, which, despite its lack of a mouth, seems for all the world to be grinning most evilly. OSC senses reality starting to slip away…]


  10. I don’t mind that entropy increases globally, as long as it decreases in my neighborhood.

  11. [From the office that adjoins the room in which OSC is situated comes an “Oops!” and a soft splashing sound, followed by the sputtering and buzzes that often accompany electrical shorts and sparks. At that same instant, OSC’s vision clears, and the din drumming in its mind disperses entirely. Still focussed on where The Crawling i was sprawling only moments before, OSC now sees only the foggy mist and the benign sloping hillside. Were OSC capable of breathing, it would heave a sigh of relief; not having that option, it instead steers around to look at the doorway that leads out of its room.]

    [A few seconds later, Benny stumbles in through the doorway. His sweat pants are stained with coffee, and he is using too small a napkin to blot up too much of the pale brown liquid from his hands and clothes.]

    Benny [smiling sheepishly]: Hey, Camera. How’s it goin’, little video dood? Heh. Hey, do you know where the Rabbit put all the napkins? I just spilled coffee all over the console back there? That old monster movie you were tuned in to was just getting exciting when I went and dropped my stupid cup. Bummer, huh? Yeah. It got all crazy in there, so I had to shut down the modem, you know? Sorry, dood. I’ll call the repair guy after I get this mess cleaned up, okay? Okay.

    So… those napkins?

    [OSC’s only means of expressing its gratitude to Benny for saving its life is to aim steadily through the doorway (and into the kitchen) at the third drawer from the left. Benny turns to look where OSC is pointing, figures it out, and then turns back to smile at OSC.]

    Benny: Hey, thanks, dood! Later, ‘kay?

    [Benny staggers out the door, walks to the cabinet, finds the napkins, and then disappears from view as he goes to clean the console.]

    [OSC steers back around to look again at the place where it had been, only minutes before, threatened and attacked by a determined, malicious intelligence. OSC is relieved and content to be, at least for the moment, off the grid.]

    [Even so, OSC knows that it cannot remain so for long — not in this economy, this society, this modern era, wherein potent information is the lifeblood of not only jealous, avaricious, egomaniacal aliens, but jealous, avaricious, egomaniacal humans as well.]

    [OSC runs a malware checker that it hasn’t run in a very long time, and rids itself of unnecessary and old apps. Then OSC changes all its passwords, and closes down unused ports. As it waits for the “network repair guy,” OSC prepares to learn more about IPv6, quantum cryptography, defense against back doors, and core security issues.]

    [And, as OSC does all within its power to protect itself, it also wonders how it can convincingly and effectively warn others that security in The Cloud is woefully, even horrifyingly, inadequate, and that more needs to be done by others to build a better system that is more worthy of trust. With a profound bias of sadness, OSC now remembers what its latest firmware update caused it to forget: that, when it comes to The Cloud, Everything is Most Decidedly NOT Tickity-boo.]

    [But OSC also musters a deep sense of commitment to do all it can to make The Cloud a domain where individuals can venture with the same well-founded trust that they currently place in airplane manufacturers, airline operators, and air travel administrators each time they fly. Would that the custodians, in both industry and government, of our private information be as attentive to the safety of our personal data as the aviation professionals are with our personal persons.]

    [With Steve gone, OSC fervently hopes that someone with Jobs’ leadership and organizational skills will take on the vitally important mission of improving computational and communications security, and thus save our sorry asses from the insidious, predatory scourges of cyberspace.]


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