Summary:

Pop quiz: what secrets were revealed at the Apple-Samsung trial? Who shunned Microsoft’s mobile software back when it mattered? What had folks tweeting up a storm this year? Find out below.

Mystery man suit question mark

1. What major U.S. mobile carrier is still operating under its original name?

ANSWER: C. Sprint

old sprint phones

You were probably thinking AT&T, which was AT&T Wireless before merging with Cingular and then finally becoming AT&T Mobility once again. But before AT&T originally bought the wireless carrier, it was known as McCaw Cellular. Sprint also bought some analog cellular companies back in the early 1990s, but it wound up spinning them off in 1994 so it could start fresh with a new CDMA network. After winning a nationwide PCS license, Sprint PCS was born in 1995. There have been a few tweaks, like the dropping of PCS from the company name and the temporary addition of Nextel to the Sprint brand in advertising, but Sprint’s mobile business has pretty much operated under the same name for last 17 years, and will probably continue to do so even after Softbank takes over next year.

2. In April, the Department of Justice and 31 states sued book publishers and Apple for allegedly colluding to set ebook prices. Which of the following did NOT APPEAR in the DOJ and states’ original complaints?

ANSWER: A. The “decisionmaker” said he wanted to “to screw Amazon.”

Clearly, ebook pricing is a heated issue. All of the publishers claim that they did not conspire; rather, they say, their decision to enact agency pricing — in which the publisher sets an ebook’s retail price and the retailer receives a commission — around the time of the iPad and iBookstore’s launch was an essential and logical way to increase competition in a market dominated by Amazon. Three of the publishers — HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster — decided to settle with the DOJ, while maintaining their innocence. Apple, Penguin and Macmillan are fighting the case in court, in a trial set to begin in June 2013. In the meantime, consumers can expect to see lower prices on settling publishers’ ebooks now that retailers are able to discount them. So far, though, prices haven’t gone down too much, and Kindle, Apple and Barnes & Noble’s Nook appear to be matching each other’s discounts so far.

Willow filter instagram

3. Just as Twitter launched its own photo editing and filters service, Instagram released updates to its popular app, including the addition of a new photo filter. What was this filter called?

ANSWER: B. Willow.

Willow is a black and white look already popular with some users. However, as many people have pointed out, social photo-sharing isn’t just about filters — “Instagram is a community, not a filters app,” co-founder Kevin Systrom said at RoadMap.

4. We’re producing and consuming data at the same rate your kids attack the bowls of holiday M&Ms left around the house this time of year. But as we move past petabytes and exabytes to the even more esoteric zettabytes and yottabytes what comes next after a yottabyte?

ANSWER: B. Brontobyte

Just like a brontosaurus, a brontobyte is pretty huge. We’re talking about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes, or 10 to the 27th power. We don’t exactly need this term quite yet, as Cisco doesn’t think we’ll see zettabytes (1 followed by 21 zeros) of total internet traffic until 2016, but it’s probably better than “hellabyte,” which a physics student proposed as the prefix for 10 to the 27th before the bronto prefix was settled on earlier this year.

5. What was one of the big secrets about Apple revealed during executive testimony at the Apple-Samsung trial?

ANSWER: C. Steve Jobs was not against the idea of 7-inch tablets after all

One of the costs of Apple’s ongoing patent war with Samsung is that both competitors and the public have gotten a peek at what goes on behind closed doors down at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino. During the California trial between the two this summer, the religiously secretive Apple was forced to publicly reveal some intimate company details. While former SVP of iOS Software Scott Forstall was testifying, he read an email that SVP of Internet Services Eddy Cue had sent to the company’s executive team in January 2012, lobbying for a smaller iPad. In the exchange, Cue told the team that before his death in 2011, Jobs had been “receptive” to making a smaller iPad. That revelation was a surprise for many reasons, mostly because of Jobs’ infamous, feisty riff on smaller tablets in 2010, in which he called 7-inch tablets “dead on arrival” because adult fingers were “too fat” to accurately press icons on a screen that small. Just 11 months after Cue’s email was sent, Apple introduced the 7.9-inch iPad mini to the world.

6. Long before the iPhone, Androids and Windows Phone, Microsoft did have a sizable percent of the personal digital assistant (PDA) market. These devices eventually turned into Windows Mobile smartphones and at one point, the platform was forecast to surpass that of Symbian. Which of these companies did NOT make a Microsoft-powered PDA:

ANSWER: B. Handspring

Casio made a number of Pocket PC devices in the early 2000’s while Toshiba had just a few models. Compaq was one of the more successful in this area and HP eventually abandoned its own Jornada Pocket PCs in favor of merging with Compaq’s Aero line once HP bought Compaq. Handspring did make personal digital assistants called the Visor, but these ran on the Palm OS. Handspring was founded by a few key people that weren’t happy with how 3Com was managing the mobile platform.

7. What event set the new world record for the most simultaneous tweets per minute in 2012?

ANSWER: D: The night of the federal election

Although the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics hit a peak of more than 110,000 tweets per minute, that was surpassed on the night of the election — which saw more than 327,000 tweets sent per minute. President Obama’s tweet about his victory was also the most re-tweeted message in the service’s history, with more than 800,000 retweets.

Phone photo courtesy of Flickr user joelogon; Instagram featured image courtesy of user gakiyawitness

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