Today in Most Innovative Companies

Daily news of note from our Most Innovative Companies, including Apple, Nokia, and Google.

Steve Jobs


Apple: Most of you probably caught a glimpse during the Oscars of the dozen ways you can hold an iPad, and I’m sure many of you were excited to find out that the tablet will ship April 3, with pre-orders beginning March 12–but don’t worry about getting in line too early. Analysts now estimate that Apple will build 5 million iPads in the first half of 2010–enough iPads for every citizen of Ireland. Wall Street had previously estimated that the iPad would sell between 1 to 5 million units its first year, but it looks like Steve Jobs wants to test those predictions to the max. What do you think? Is Steve overdoing it here? The iPhone only sold 5 million in its first year–do you think it can outmatch that pace?

Nokia: The mobile device giant recently filed a patent for a kinetic energy-charging cell phone that uses an internal “piezoelectric energy harvester” to capture energy from a user’s movements. No word on how much power this will generate, but unless you’re constantly flailing the phone about, I can’t imagine it will harvest too much energy.

Google: The New York Times takes an inside look at Google Translate, learning that Sergey Brin pushed to start the service after receiving a message from a South Korean user that didn’t translate well. The message read, “The sliced raw fish shoes it wishes. Google green onion thing!” Brin could take no more of this gibberish, and decided to pour tons of company resources into Google Translate, mainly so he could receive more accurate praise from adoring foreign fans. As with every automated translator, the NY Times discovers after putting the engines to the test that accuracy varies between its competitors, Babel Fish and Bing–though I do particularly love Babel’s butchering of One Hundred Years of Solitude’s famous first line (“Many years later, in front of the firing squad, colonel Aureliano Buendía had to remember that one behind schedule remote one in which to his he took it father to know the ice.” Márquez at his finest.)

About the author

Austin Carr writes about design and technology for Fast Company magazine.