iFive: Micron Sued, Zuckerberg’s Comic Book, iPad Mini Rumors, Hawaiian Asteroid, British Spy Satellites

Tuesday’s child is full of grace. You’ll be full of satisfaction, once you’ve read the early news, digested:

If you’re reading this on an iPhone in the U.K. then you’re no longer cool. At least that’s what the CoolBrands council says. It’s released the latest installment of Britain’s Coolest Brands index, and the iPhone’s just been knocked off the top spot. It’s been replaced by 007’s favorite type of car, Aston Martin, which also costs in the region of a thousands times as much as an iPhone, so maybe we’re not talking mass appeal here. So is the iPhone really uncool now?


1. Micron Technology, large-scale manufacturer of semiconductors, is being sued by Oracle in federal court for allegedly inflating the price of microchips. Micron’s not the only target though, as Hynix, Samsung, and Infineon are also blamed for price-fixing. The case is complex, because the suit notes five firms, including Micron, agreed to a $1 billion fine for price-fixing but Micron earned an amnesty because it cooperated with the authorities. So Oracle is chasing them independently.

2. Bless Mark Zuckerberg–the guy seems to be socially a bit awkward, and yet the full force of media attention is focused upon him. Now Bluewater Productions, the guys behind comic-book stories on Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, have selected the delectable Zuck for comic immortalization. Apparently the trickiness in crafting the piece revolves around balancing the portrayal of Mark between a naive, caring, charity-donating young journo, and a mean-spirited business type. And making the comic book superhero representation of Mark appear something other than gormless. We’ll have to wait until December, and hand over $7 to find out how well they did.

3. iPad Mini rumors just won’t go away, and they’ve gotten a fresh spin of excitement from analysts at Goldman Sachs. These chaps have heard from “sources” that a new Mini iPad is due in early 2011, smaller and lighter than the current model, sporting a camera (presumably for FaceTime video calling) and with miniUSB connection instead of–or perhaps as well as–the usual 30-pin iPod connector. It’s also a 7-inch screen model, which is right in line with earlier rumors and matches the size many other upcoming tablets will be. GS’s sources say the “7 iPad” isn’t yet ready though, and will surface after we learn about a refreshed 9.7-inch iPad. That places the iPad Mini’s arrival sometime in Q2 2011, right in time to compete with the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

4. Four million miles, that’s how much space we’ve got between us and certain doom in mid-October. This is the gap at closest approach between Earth and a largish asteroid (a 150-footer), just discovered by the University of Hawaii’s Pan STARRS PS1 telescope, and luckily for us it’s the first “potentially hazardous” object the ‘scope has found. This new object could cause untold damage if it impacted Earth, but early calculations of its orbit note that we’re safe for now. PS1 will keep scanning the skies for danger, even though I’m not sure what we’d do if it found anything truly ominous. We’d at least have a little warning–PS1 found this asteroid when it was 20 million miles away.

5. Still in space, Britain has just unveiled plans to launch three mini ground-imaging satellites by 2013. Why should you care about the plans by Surrey Satellite and DMCii? Because the constellation will be owned and operated by the U.K., but it’s a strictly private venture and you can rent the facilities. Which means you’ll have access to almost military-scale imaging at sub-meter resolutions. Spying is no longer the domain of governments alone.

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