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Found 14 results

  1. Apple’s full-frontal assault on Microsoft yesterday didn’t go unnoticed by the folks in Redmond. During its iPad event yesterday, Apple went out of its way to not only attack devices like the Surface but also go after the company’s approach to operating system upgrades and productivity software. Today, Microsoft is striking back, and it’s taking the very same direct approach that Apple did. In a post on the official Microsoft blog, communications VP Frank Shaw railed back against Apple, which he argues has extended its reality distortion field beyond Cupertino. Defense 1: Unlike the iPad, the Surface is a work machine While Apple CEO Tim Cook might argue that hybrid devices like the Surface are a sign that its competitors are confused, Shaw says the Surface’s hybrid approach is actually its biggest strength. he writes. Translation: When Microsoft gave the Surface both a touchscreen and a physical keyboard, it wasn’t because the company was confused — it was because Microsoft knew exactly what people wanted in tablets and was responding to that. In other words, the Surface is meant to be for work and play. Apple, Shaw argues, can’t say the same thing for the iPad. Defense 2: Microsoft understands productivity (better than Apple does) This, Shaw points out, taps into another one of Microsoft’s traditional strengths: As the history of Windows and Office shows, Microsoft understands productivity better than just about anyone else. (Or so it claims.) he writes. Microsoft, it seems, is drawing the line in the sand: While Apple’s tablets may be good for burning time, Microsoft’s approach the tablets make them better for both burning time and actually getting work done. Defense 3: Apple’s approach to productivity software is ‘watered down’ Shaw, also uses his post to take a few shots back at Apple’s iWork productivity suite, which he says is “watered down” compared to Office. (Presumably, this is also how Microsoft justifies charging $99 a year for a subscription to Office 365. You get what you pay for, right?) More, Shaw also downplays the significance of Apple’s decision to make iWork free, a move he says wasn’t surprising or significant because not many people were using iWork to begin with. he writes. Ouch. Overall, a few things should be clear from the above: Apple’s comments yesterday clearly touched a nerve at Microsoft, which is still struggling to catch up with tablets despite throwing lots of money at it. Shaw’s argument that the iPad “isn’t a productivity machine” ignores the fact that, for a lot of people, it is a productivity machine. No amount of spin can change that It’s also telling that Shaw didn’t respond to Apple’s move to make Mavericks, the latest version of OS X completely free. Why? Because this is an area where Microsoft really doesn’t have much to say. Software upgrades are a big part of its business, while for Apple they’re quickly becoming just one check box in the feature set for Mac owners.
  2. Did you hear? Apple unveiled its latest iPad – the iPad Air – yesterday. The company boasted that it was the lightest full-sized tablet in the world at just 1 pound, and even tossed in free iLife and iWork apps to sweeten the deal for those buying the new 64-bit tablet. Now, new Apple products are always a source of joy for the ardent Apple devotee, but it’s also a source of humor for everyone else. Enter NMA – it’s latest parody revives the ghost of Steve Jobs for one more sketch as it makes fun of everything from the iPad’s dwindling marketshare to Apple’s developer policies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1QgiaJqlVQU Google’s latest smartphone – the Nexus 5 – and tablet – the Nexus 10 – are expected to be unveiled next week. Here’s hoping NMA has more fun with that next week.
  3. Yesterday, Apple not only released its OS X Mavericks operating system, it also announced that it would be free. That's great! For you, for Apple, and for the future of computing. Releasing Mavericks for free seems like a simple idea. And in theory, it is. But in practice, the logistics are a bit more complex. Not only have previous versions of OS X actually made Apple money, which Apple is now passing up, but offering up big files for download costs Apple money. Especially when everyone and their brother (or in this case, millions of existing Mac owners) is pulling down an update. Mavericks isn't just free for you, it's expensive for Apple. But don't you worry about Cupertino. They're still coming out ahead. Why it's good for you For starters it's free. Duh? But that helps more than just your wallet. The real benefit is that it's way more likely now that everyone else will have Mavericks too. To see the benefit of getting all devices in an ecosystem on the same page, you don't need to look much further than Apple itself. Unless you really go out of your way to run away from updates, your iPhone is running the same OS as everyone else. Ditto the iPad. And unity is a large part of what makes the iOS App Store second to none. Likewise, the Mavericks update should make developing for Macs a whole lot easier. Devs will now be able to reasonably assume that everyone is running the same operating system. Granted there's different hardware, but not much of it. So instead of retooling and optimizing for different versions of OS X, developers can just develop for OS X, period. That means more, better apps for you, and more websites and services taking advantage of new features like smart notifications. You couldn't ask for a better situation. Along with the flurry of hardware updates, Apple announced substantial upgrades to iLife and iWork. Features run the gamut from seamless integration… Read… Speaking of apps, there are the new (also free!) versions of iLife and iWork to look forward to, complete with features like new interfaces and cloud syncing. And again, it's great for you to have them, but doubly great to know everyone else does as well. It makes collaboration in iWork almost as natural of a go-to as Google Docs. Just like iMessage benefits from more of your friends being on iOS, iWork and iLife will by more people being on Mavericks. And that little detail can suddenly make a MacBook so much more useful, even if it's (up to) five years old. Suddenly there's an even playing field that everyone gets to be on, for free. Your Mac will play nice with your iPhone will play nice with your iPad and you don't even have to think about it. That's a fantastic reason to buy into Apple right there. And if you already had, what you've got is now even better. Why it's good for Apple Yeah Mavericks is great for you, but it's even greater for Apple. Yes, they're losing a little of revenue up front. But this is about the long game. Apple has always been a devoted soldier in the holy war against fragmentation. And with this one move, it can easily suck up the (Snow Leopard and up) world of Mac users, drop them in the future, and deal with them as a unified block. You've got your iOS users and your OS X users. Simple as that. And with OSX users cordoned off into one space, it's extra easy for Apple to try to get you in for life. iLife. The new, compelling cloud features in iLife and iWork (which all OSX users who are picking up new hardware will have!) are a great way to get you really wrapped up in MacWorld and stay there for ever and ever and ever. And every person who winds up storing just a little more of their iLife in the iCloud just because Mavericks is free is another customer who's more faithful than ever. Besides, there are few things that can generate marketing good will like "free." That's not sinister or anything, it's just Apple's latest push on a core ideal: a great, consistent world for its users to live in. A world that's Apples to Apples. And inside that world, everybody wins. Why it was inevitable The end of Mac is coming, and this update is a heavy nod to that near-future. Mavericks in and of itself doesn't mean that iOS and OS X are definitely on a path to converge or that the merge is imminent. But it will happen eventually, and when it does, OS X updates (or whatever it's called at that point) will have to go free. You can't just start charging to upgrade an iPad. So did Apple just kill the paid OS update forever, for real? It's a coup de grâce if anything; the paid OS update has been dying for years. Even now, when the hard evidence to suggest that a OSX/iOS convergence is in the works, we're already seeing this move towards mobile, where the baseline price there is already "free." And with the cross-platform hooks in iLife and iWork, the cables that will contract to pull the two operating systems closer together until the eventually merge are already in place. You can actually see Microsoft running into the implications of this already. Windows 8.1 already sort of walks a line between incremental OS update and Service Pack, and it's free for (Windows 8 users). But if you think ahead a little further, Windows 9 will be a weird thing to price. Asking folks for money to upgrade their desktops is fair, sure. But can you imagine Microsoft having the gall to charge for upgrading to Windows 9 RT (if it even ever exists) on a Surface 2? It seems absurd. And it looks like Apple is headed down a similar road, except it's making its changes ahead of time. By the time iOS and OSX come together, upgrade cycles and payment schemes aren't going to be something you have to think about any more. There will just be a suite of devices, some big, some small, some with keyboards, some without, and they'll all work together, play together, and upgrade together. For free. It's a small sacrifice to make; Apple makes its money off of beautiful, high-margin hardware, end of story. That's why the iPhone 5S is (probably) outselling the iPhone 5C. It's why an underspec'd, over-priced, but still beautiful little tablet managed to make it into millions of hands. It's why the new retina iPad mini is $400 versus its $230 (and mostly comparable) contemporaries. And why it will sell like hotcakes regardless.
  4. Apple this morning distributed invitations to a special event at which it’s expected to unveil the next iterations of the iPad and iPad mini. And it’s to be held on October 22, just as AllThingsD said it would. Location: the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, one of Apple’s preferred location for big announcements like this. “We still have a lot to cover,” reads the text of the invite. And indeed, Apple does. As I noted last week, the focal point of Apple’s gathering next week will be the latest updates to the company’s iPad line, but the new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks will likely get some stage time as well. The next version of the iPad, Apple’s fifth, is expected to feature a thinner, lighter design akin to the iPad mini’s, and an improved camera. It will run Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip, source say. The second-generation iPad mini will be upgraded with a retina display and also likely see the A7 incorporated into its innards.
  5. Over the weekend, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities revealed that Apple has plans for a new laptop in 2014. In a note picked up at 9 to 5 Mac, Kuo says Apple is planning a high-resolution 12-inch laptop that will be as portable as the 11-inch MacBook Air, but as productive as the 13-inch MacBook Air. This new MacBook will "redefine laptop computing" according to Kuo, just like the current MacBook Air redefined laptop computers when it was introduced in 2010. (The original MacBook Air was out in 2008, but was flawed. The 2010 version fixed the flaws and became the industry standard.) This new laptop will be thinner and lighter than the current MacBook Airs, per Kuo. For Apple, the Mac business is a small portion of the company's overall earnings, and it's in decline like the rest of the consumer PC industry. Still, lots of people use laptops, so it's not like Apple is just going to give up on it. What's interesting here, is that it doesn't sound like Apple wants to go the Microsoft route and make a Surface — a tablet with a keyboard. Instead, it looks like it's just trying to make its laptops more mobile, keeping the distinction between the two categories. Kuo has a very good track record when it comes to Apple product announcements. He's not great on timing, though. We don't know when Apple might reveal this new laptop, but we expect it at some point next year.
  6. Legendary iOS hacker MuscleNerd tweeted today that there’s no bootrom exploit out there for A5+ processors, this could mean that iOS 7 jailbreak might end up taking quite some time. iOS 7 jailbreak MuscleNerd rules out possibility of a bootrom exploit, iOS 7 jailbreak might take time An exploit is required to jailbreak an iOS device. There are two kinds of exploits, a bootrom exploit and a software level exploit. The latter can easily be patched by Apple through a firmware update, so even if such an exploit is found, the jailbreak is usually limited to one firmware. Bootrom exploits are hardware based and can’t be patched in devices that have already been shipped to customers. This exploit allows at least a tethered jailbreak on any particular firmware. Unfortunately, no bootrom exploit has been found in any iOS device processor after the A4, which powers iPhone 4, iPod touch 4G etc. There were rumors going around recently that there was a bootrom exploit for A5 and high processors out there, but MuscleNerd has flat out rejected these rumors, saying there’s no even a bootrom dump. There has been talk of an iOS 7 jailbreak, notable developer Ryan Petrich posted an image recently what supposedly was an iPod touch 5G jailbroken on iOS 7. If such a breakthrough has been made, its likely that a software based exploit has been found in iOS 7. The fact that there’s no bootrom exploit means that iOS 7 jailbreak will take time. Dealing with software level exploits is cumbersome, and a lot of work has to be done before the jailbreak is ready for the public.
  7. Apple has been fighting a war of attrition against the jailbreaking community since the original iPhone was jailbroken in 2007. The jailbreakers expend resources and time to find a new exploit, but then Apple pushes out a small update to block it. This was a cycle for years, but the flow of reliable jailbreaks has been slowing. There was a jailbreak for iOS 6 the day it launched, but iOS 7 is much more locked down. We’ve been hearing for weeks that a jailbreak is on the way, with iOS developers hard at work, but have yet to see any significant movement. How much longer will it be until there is a reliable iPhone 5S jailbreak? By gaining root access to iOS, modders are able to give the user privileges to bypass Apple’s security measures and install unapproved software or tweak deep system settings. This usually requires finding a bug or vulnerability in iOS or the boot ROM. Hardware-related vulnerabilities in the Apple A-series chips are also possible, but less common, especially after the iPhone 5 and its A6 chip. Today, without an exploit, an iOS 7 jailbreak simply can’t happen. Not all hacks are created equal, though. Many of the bugs that make jailbreaks possible only lead to tethered jailbreaks. That basically means you need to plug the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a computer running the jailbreak software every time it boots. If you’re not around a computer with the necessary software, the phone is a brick. Most users aren’t willing to deal with this, preferring to wait on the untethered jailbreak. The untethered version is a persistent jailbreak that works without the aid of a computer to make the phone or tablet boot up. These unfortunately are much harder to develop — the days of going to an website and getting your iDevice jailbroken with a tap seem to be long gone. There used to be plenty of iOS jailbreak suites, many of them with caches of new exploits ready to go when Apple patched one. However, it seems like most of the low-hanging fruit is gone now. Tethered jailbreaks have become far more common, and Apple has been continuing to harden the system against even minor exploits. There isn’t yet a jailbreak for iOS 6.1.4, the version prior to iOS 7. Noted iOS hacker Winocm says he has a jailbreak for this version of the platform in the works and will release it before the end of the year. So when can we expect a jailbreak for iOS 7? Members of evad3rs, the team behind evasi0n (a popular jailbreak tool) previously said an exploit is in the works. More recently, evad3rs modder Planetbeing claimed to have all the pieces in place for an iOS 7 jailbreak. In fact, evad3rs members have successfully run unsigned code on iOS 7. This probably means the necessary exploits have been identified, but the team is still working out the specifics and building a tool for the general public to use. Apple will, of course, patch the holes in one of the upcoming bug fix releases of iOS 7, so Evad3rs may end up waiting for iOS 7.1 to blow the jailbreak exploits. That would give users more time to enjoy the freedom before Apple locks them out again. Every piece of software has vulnerabilities, but they have to be found and exploited first. The jailbreakers aren’t the only ones looking, either. Apple hunts for the same things on its end because these exploits are security concerns. You can’t blame Apple for patching jailbreak exploits — it’s making iOS more secure for the vast majority of users who don’t jailbreak. When and if a jailbreak is developed for iOS 7, it might not be a good solution. Maybe Apple is close to winning this war.
  8. They say creativity lies in hiding your sources. At Apple innovation has always been given the top spot. Yet much has become public knowledge before the launch of a product or service. Leakage regarding iPhones and iPads has plagued Apple. The iPad mini created quite a storm when it arrived last year. Possessing the perfect streamlined form that enabled easy handling, the object of desire came at a reasonable rate. However, even before it came out, expectations went sky high regarding a high resolution Retina display that would accompany the new version of the iPad mini. Then there was the date when this feature would accompany the model. Some have set October 22nd of this year as the slated date. Others say something else. The changes inside the iPad mini include the incorporation of an A7X microchip. And then the five megapixel camera along with fingerprint authentication system makes it a dream device alright. Mean while, according to the grapevine, the next iPad will be sleeker, slimmer and even lighter in weight. It will be a cinch to use on a regular basis. The hues in which it will come are space gray and silver both of them sophisticated and pretty mature adult choices. A high energy A7X SoC will feature at its core. Several other products are under construction at Apple. They are to be revealed at the function due on the 22nd of October of this year. The wait is about to be over.
  9. Apple is in the final approval process for its new "Spaceship" campus in Cupertino, California. The company hopes to finish construction of the Spaceship three years from now, in the middle of 2016. Next week, the city of Cupertino, California will vote whether or not to give Apple final approval for its new "spaceship" headquarters, which will be located about a mile away from the company's current campus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=618en9VJ7N8 The San Jose Mercury News got an exclusive look at a giant model of Apple's new headquarters, complete with some impressive lighting and a bunch of tiny people for scale. When built, the campus is going to be massive, yet surrounded by plenty of green space. There will also be external buildings for top-secret research and development projects, an underground parking garage, and a theater for keynotes and company presentations. But it hasn't broken ground yet.
  10. Apple analyst Brian White at Cantor Fitzgerald is in Asia filing daily reports. In today's report he says he was surprised to see that in China, there were plenty of gold iPhones in stock, but the "Space Grey" model was selling out. We don't think anyone can read anything meaningful into this anecdote but we read it, said, "huh," to ourselves, and thought it would be interesting to pass along. Consider it one for the files:
  11. Twice as fast as the iPhone 5? Twice as CRASHY claims app bug watcher Apple's flagship iPhone 5s handsets are suffering "Blue Screen of Death" crashes that force fanbois to reboot their expensive gear. And we're told application software, when launched by the user, crashes twice as often on the new mobile than freshly run code on the iPhone 5c and 5. That's all according to data provided by app-performance tracker Crittercism: it claims about two per cent of the "hundreds of millions of app launches" it has tracked on the iPhone 5s result in crashes, compared to one per cent for the iPhone 5c and 5. Crittercism boss Andrew Levy told AllThingD. Levy is of the opinion – which we share – that it's no surprise that the 64-bit A7-equipped iPhone 5s apparently has a higher app-crash rate than its 32-bit A6-equipped brethren. After all, developers have had over a year to tune their apps for the A6, which was introduced in September 2012 in the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 5c is essentially an iPhone 5 in an "unapologetically plastic" case. The A7 and the iPhone 5s' M7 sensor-managing coprocessor have been available for devs to conquer only since September 20 of this year. There were undoubtedly some lucky folks who got their hands on prerelease versions for optimizing and testing their apps, but the unwashed masses of iOS app developers had to wait in line like the rest of the fanboi flock. New hardware. New operating system. Nothing to see here. Move along – but keep your ear to the ground to learn whether Apple and its developer community can improve that 2X crash rate in a reasonable amount of time. Of perhaps more interest is the fact that some iPhone 5s users are experiencing a nostalgic Windows-like Blue Screen of Death, especially when exiting the apps in Apple's iWorks productivity suite: Numbers, Pages, and Keynote. The BSOD-then-reboot problem has been reported in Apple's discussion groups, MacRumors forums, and a YouTube video, among other places. Although the complaints center mostly on iWork apps, other users claim to have had the same problem with Chrome and Safari, and while using FaceTime. Interestingly, iOS (like any system worth its salt) supposedly sandboxes apps, so you'd think that a misbehaving program couldn't take down the entire device – but perhaps Apple bent its own sandboxing rules for its iWork apps, and is now paying the price. Some users have suggested that the BSOD issue can be fixed by disabling the iWork apps' iCloud syncing – which seems reasonable, knowing Apple's less than stellar history of cloudy offerings. To do so, launch Settings, tap iCloud, then toggle off Numbers, Pages, and Keynote in the app list that appears. The BSOD problem is not new to the iPhone – it has been reported previously on the iPhone 5, 4S, and 4, as well, but our best guess is that those appearances were due to hardware problems. This time around, well, who the Tophet knows? We're dealing with Apple, after all, and our role as consumers is to simply sit back and wait until Cupertino's iOS engineering team releases an update.
  12. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch launched a couple of weeks ago as a fat, ugly, and expensive smartphone accessory that our own Devindra Hardawar called “relentlessly inessential.” That’s not where Apple is going with iWatch. Rather, Apple is looking to create a device that will allow you to control your music, your temperature, your security, your lighting, your energy use, your entertainment, and potentially much more, says Cantor Fitzgerald’s Brian White, who talked to Taiwanese and mainland China suppliers. iwatch“As an Apple supplier, our contact offered insight into the “iWatch” and described this potential new device as much more than an extension of your iPhone but as a multi-purpose gateway in allowing consumers to control their home (i.e., heating/cooling, lights, audio, video, etc.),” White said today in a research note. Now that is interesting. The raison d’etre behind smartwatches has been a little suspect; they’ve mostly looked like little more than an adjunct to your smartphone. Which begs the question: Why do you need one? And the real-life use of smartwatches as sort of a wrist-based Google Glass, with constant social updates streaming in, can be problematic. One startup founder I talked to said when he checked updates on his Pebble, people thought he was being rude because he was “always checking his watch” and clearly was bored with them. Building a watch-like device that is truly smart and useful for something other than seeing a constant stream of tweets would be a very Apple-like way to go. Personal fitness tracking and monitoring is a no-brainer, and adding home automation control makes it even more interesting. Clearly, Apple TV could be part of the mix, as well as support for a number of the home automation standards. As interesting as this could be, however, it’s unclear how big of a market Apple would be attacking here. Because the home automation market, while growing fast and offering tremendous opportunities, is still relatively nascent.
  13. Apple needs to start making bargain basement mobes because soon there won't be enough rich new iPhone customers left in the world to prop up its sales growth, a leading analyst has suggested. The claim comes in a report by Toni Sacconaghi, senior analyst with Bernstein Research, with the snappy title: The tech sales researcher said that "only a finite number of users globally can afford a $450-plus smartphone", warning that Apple could struggle to pull in new users in the face of tough competition from Android phones. This could mean that the fruity firm's growth will "invariably slow" unless it caters to the lower end of the market. There are expected to be five times as many first time budget smartphone buyers in 2015 as in 2013 year, the analyst suggested, and Apple needs to get in fast and steer them towards the fruity path if it wants to survive. Sacconaghi added: The report made the "surprising" claim that the majority of new iPhones are still sold to first-time fanbois and gurlz. In 2011, 52 million iPhones were sold to new users, accounting for 72 per cent of the market. This figure dipped in the next two years, but in 2013 the majority of new iPhone owners were still brand new to the world of Apple mobes, with 57 percent, or 85 million people, choosing to take Cupertino's blue pill for the first time. However, to keep up this ratio between Apple virgins and world-weary fanbois, Apple will have to sell a whopping 125 million iPhones in the next two years. Sacconaghi fears this might not be achievable, asking where these users will come from "if the benefit from carrier additions is modest beyond China Mobile" – a carrier with more than 100 million customers, probably the world's biggest, which does not offer the iPhone on contract. If a deal is inked between Apple and China Mobile, the analyst continued, Apple could bolt on at least 15 million more customers almost overnight. The analyst said: As Apple watchers already suspect, the fruity firm's ability to, ahem, "innovate needs" as far as smartphones are concerned appears to have been dampened, the report concluded. So far, the only thing on Apple's horizon is the rumoured launch of a new iPad on 22 October, and we don't know how much of a features jump that will be on the existing iPad, although the technical specifications are likely to be upgraded. So, Mr Cook, are you up to the job of stopping Apple from rotting?
  14. If South Korea is looking for evidence that the Obama administration is playing favorites in the patent war between Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930:KS), it got some discomfiting signals on Tuesday. The White House decided against overruling a ban on certain Samsung products imposed by the International Trade Commission in August after the panel ruled that some older Samsung mobile devices violated Apple’s patents. The immediate practical implications aren’t significant, and Samsung will likely seek to delay a ban by appealing in U.S. courts. Even if the South Korean manufacturer were ultimately to stop selling the banned products in the U.S., the affected models are older and not popular. By letting the ban stand, however, the White House failed to give Samsung the same benefit it gave Apple following the ITC’s move to likewise ban some older Apple products from entering the U.S. In that case, the White House issued the first veto of an ITC ban (PDF) since the Reagan administration. https://www.eff.org/sites/default/files/white-house-veto-of-itc-ban-on-iphones.pdf At that time, the South Korean government immediately complained that the U.S. was putting a finger on the scale to help a domestic business. Seoul now might see Obama’s disinclination to offer the same relief to Samsung as further proof that the U.S. government is playing favorites. The cases are somewhat different, though. The patents Apple was found to have violated were so-called standard essential patents, meaning they are related to the basic functions of a device. As a result, Samsung was required to license them to Apple under reasonable terms. The patents in the more recent case aren’t required to be licensed. In addition, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who represents the Obama administration in these issues, said that there isn’t enough impact on consumers and competition to justify a veto. The ITC has become a key battleground in patent disputes, both because it has been relatively friendly to plaintiffs and because an import ban is such a serious penalty. But the White House has been indicating that it is fed up with the commission. The administration has asked Congress to make it harder for companies to win import bans in front of the commission and to make sure that the ITC is hiring qualified judges. The White House took an unusually confrontational stance by slapping down the ban against Apple products. Letting this one stand seems to dial that down.