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Jun 28
Apple patent is for an universal interface for info...

An Apple patent (number 20120166477) for an universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The invention provides convenient access to items of information that are related to various descriptors input by a user, by means of a unitary interface which is capable of accessing information in a variety of locations, through a number of different techniques.

Using a plurality of heuristic algorithms to operate upon information descriptors input by the user, the present invention locates and displays candidate items of information for selection and/or retrieval. Thus, according to Apple, the advantages of a search engine can be exploited, while listing only relevant object candidate items of information.

Here's Apple's sumary of the invention: "The present invention provides convenient access to items of information that are related to various descriptors input by a user, by means of a unitary...

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Jun 28
We'll store over 1/3 of our digital content in...

The desire to share content and to access it on multiple devices will motivate consumers to start storing a third of their digital content in the cloud by 2016, according to Gartner (http://www.gartner.com). The research group says just 7% of consumer content was stored in the cloud in 2011, but this will grow to 36% in 2016.

I'll be among that number. However, I'm not depending solely on "the cloud" to hold my data.

"Historically, consumers have generally stored content on their computers, but as we enter the post-PC era, consumers are using multiple connected devices, the majority of which are equipped with cameras. This is leading to a massive increase in new user-generated content that requires storage," says Shalini Verma, principal research analyst at Gartner. "With the emergence of the personal cloud, this fast-growing consumer digital content will quickly get disaggregated from connected...

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Jun 27
Apple falling behind when it comes to online...

Ben Kepes has an interesting article at "infosec Island (http://macte.ch/wXvqx) dubbed "The Cloud: It's Not About the Cost." The premise of the article is that cloud computing is more about collaboration than cost savings. Apple should take note.

The survey was commissioned by the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps and taken across a range of small and mid-sized businesses. Respondents reported that the ability to collaborate effectively was a stronger driver than the cost issues.

"Data security and end-user privacy were paramount," writes Kepes. "One-quarter of survey respondents in organizations with more than 200 workers listed security and privacy as their primary concerns. These issues were followed by system availability, reliability and service level agreements, which were cited by 17.5 % of respondents. Third on the list was interoperability with existing software, as mentioned by 15% of responding...

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Jun 26
Apple patent is for unlocking devices with a gesture

An Apple patent (number 8209637) for unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, a device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device.

The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture.
The disclosed embodiments relate generally to user interfaces that employ touch-sensitive displays, and more particularly, to...

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Jun 26
Apple granted patent for light sensitive display

Apple has won a patent (number 8207946) from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a light sensitive display. It relates to touch sensitive displays.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Touch sensitive screens ('touch screens') are devices that typically mount over a display such as a cathode ray tube. With a touch screen, a user can select from options displayed on the display's viewing surface by touching the surface adjacent to the desired option, or, in some designs, touching the option directly. Common techniques employed in these devices for detecting the location of a touch include mechanical buttons, crossed beams of infrared light, acoustic surface waves, capacitance sensing, and resistive materials." The inventors are Adiel Abileah and Willem den Boer.

Apple has also been granted:

° Patent number 8207906 for an antenna insert for the iPhone. Circuits, methods, and apparatus for adapters and docking stations that include...

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Jun 26
Viewing of paid video on computers down, but still...

As paid video content becomes more available via different distribution channels, tablet and wireless phone-viewing usage has increased, while computer viewing usage has decreased from 2011, according to the J.D. Power and Associates "2012 U.S. Residential Pay-to-View Study" (http://www.jdpower.com/). But the amount of people who watch TV on their Macs or PCs is still impressive -- and a good argument for my longed-for iMac with built-in TV features.

The study, now in its second year, provides insights concerning attitudes, viewing preferences, behavior patterns, awareness and experiences among pay-to-view customers of the major home television and video service providers in the U.S. The study finds that 18% of customers use tablets for viewing paid video content, making them the most-often-used handheld device, up from 11% in 2011.

Usage by wireless phone customers increases to 16%, up from 14%...

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Jun 25
Demand for tiny tablets to fall, as will prices for...

If Apple is indeed planning an iPad mini, it shouldn't make it too small, based on some new research. In fact, it might be a good idea to just keep the iPad the same size and let those who want a smaller screen go for an iPod touch.

As the tablet market continues to heat up, manufacturers are striving to differentiate next-generation products to compete with the iPad, according to Stephanie Ethier, senior analyst, Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com). Screen size has emerged not only as a key differentiator, but also the leading indicator of different tablet usages.

New data from the research group highlights top tablet usage scenarios based on device screen size and provides market insight based on the different tablet form factors. For example, tablets with smaller form factors in the 3.5-inch to less than 7-inch range best serve entertainment needs that...

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Jun 22
Hey, Apple, open up a store in my end of town

This is a totally selfish column, so feel free to move on if you wish. But I want Apple to open a retail store in my end of Nashville (that would be the north side).

Apple has a retail store in the west side of Music City in the Green Hills Mall. According to the daily newspaper, "The Tennesseean" (http://www.tennessean.com) another is planned for Williamson County, the next county over. When the doors open it will be only the third Apple Store in the state, but the second in Middle Tennessee. (The third one is in Memphis, TN.)

"An Apple Store at the mall in Nashville’s posh Green Hills neighborhood is often crowded with customers," notes "The Tennessean." "A nearby location in Franklin, also an affluent community, could help Apple reach a greater chunk of the demographic drawn to its pricey, pocket-sized inventions."

A little condescending, perhaps. But there's a demographic in the north...

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Jun 21
Apple working on high-speed connector inserts, cable

An Apple patent (number 20120152613) for high-speed connector inserts and cable has popped up at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, high speed connector inserts and cables having improved heat conduction, high strength, and may be manufactured in a reliable manner. One example may provide a connector insert having several paths by which heat may be removed from circuitry in the cable insert. In one example, heat may be removed from one or more circuits by forming a thermal path between a circuit and a shield of the connector insert.

Another path may include one or more pads on a side of an integrated circuit board that are soldered directly to the shield. A braiding surrounding a cable may be soldered or otherwise thermally connected to the shield. Another example may provide a cable having a braiding that includes one or more types of fibers, such as aramid fibers. Another example may provide for increased manufacturability by using a wire comb...

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Jun 21
Apple patent is for Apple TV (and perhaps 'iTV...

Apple has filed a patent (number 20120154268) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for remote control systems that can distinguish stray light sources. It apparently involves the current Apple TV and perhaps the rumored Apple-branded HDTV ("iTV").

Remote control systems that can distinguish predetermined light sources from stray light sources, e.g., environmental light sources and/or reflections are provided. The predetermined light sources can be disposed in asymmetric substantially linear or two-dimensional patterns. The predetermined light sources also can be configured to exhibit signature characteristics. The predetermined light sources also can output light at different signature wavelengths. The predetermined light sources also can emit light polarized in one or more predetermined polarization axes. Remote control systems of the present invention also can include methods for adjusting an allocation of predetermined light sources and/or the technique used to...

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Jun 21
Movie attendance down -- what this could mean for...

If Apple launches its own HDTV (the much-rumored "iTV") it has a chance to not only revolutionize TV viewing IF it can offer a la carte TV programming (with channels being offered as "apps" instead of in "bundles") , but can also capitalize on a disturbing trend at the cinema.

An annual survey by the public relations firm Edelman -- as reported by the "Deadline" site (http://www.deadline.com) -- finds that frequent moviegoing has plummeted among entertainment options for Americans during the past three years. The study shows that TV remains the most-used source of entertainment (45% of Americans frequently turn to it for entertainment, and 58% in the UK), while the Internet continues to creep up in usage (34% of U.S., 27% of UK). 

The real loser, however, was “cinema/movies,” which now rate as a “frequent source of entertainment” among just 3% of U.S. consumers. That's drastically down from 28% in...

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Jun 21
Apple patents involve battery technology, more

Several Apple patents have appeared today at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Following is a summary of each.

Two patents involve battery technology. Patent number 20120153728 is for balancing voltages between battery banks and involves a system that that balances voltages between battery banks. The system includes battery banks, including a first bank and a second bank, and a first capacitor. William C. Athas and Thomas C. Greening are the inventors.

Patent number 20120153898 involves a method and system for charging a series battery. Some embodiments of the present invention provide a system for charging a series battery, wherein the series battery is comprised of a set of banks which are connected in series, so that the same charging current passes through each bank. During the charging process, the system measures a voltage across each bank in the set of banks. The system then compares the measured voltage with a target voltage for each...

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Jun 20
Could an 'iTV" sport a Retina display?

If Apple does indeed release its own HDTV (the rumored "iTV") could it sport a Retina display? That seems likely. The Retina display introduced with the Retina display MacBook Pro is the future of displays at Apple, especially as pricing goes down.

3D televisions haven't been a bust, but haven't sold in the big numbers expected. That should change when 3D TVs that don't require glasses eventually arrive. However, many people believe that ultra-high 3840 × 2160 definition (UD), also known as 4K×2K, will be a meaningful value-added feature on TV sets, according to the NPD DisplaySearch (http://www.displaysearch.com) research group.

4K×2K has four times as many pixels as FHD (1920 × 1080), which is the current prevailing resolution for LCD TV panels. Smart phones and tablets -- and, I'm betting, the Retina display MacBook Pro -- have proven that end users enjoy higher resolution; in fact,...

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Jun 19
Greg's Bite: Microsoft's new tablets,...

By Greg Mills

Famous for pre-launching visionary vaporware products, still way back in the pipeline, that either don't actually launch or have serious flaws that slowly become apparent, Microsoft did it again.  

Hopeful that the Windows fan boys would stir up iPad killer anticipation and raise Microsoft's fortunes, CEO Steve Ballmer showed off yet another prototype tablet. Despite declaring Apple's iPad's market a "rounding error sized challenge to Windows," Microsoft now sees that Apple is indeed taking significant business sales away from them and their partners.  

The first thing you notice is that the latest iPad killer is 9 x16 in shape, due to the HDTV format screen. RIM picked that format for their failed PlayBook tablets, as well. Not only is the screen real-estate truncated for uses other than watching video, for reasons only Microsoft can fathom, they plan to release two versions of the Surface tablet that are platform incompatible,...

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Jun 19
Apple patents range from conducting searches to remote...

Several Apple patents have appeared today at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Following is a summary of each.

° Patent number 8205157 involves methods and graphical user interfaces for conducting searches on a portable multifunction device. In accordance with some embodiments, a graphical user interface on a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display includes: an application interface of an application that includes an application interface region with an edge; and a search input area for entering a search query for the application.

° Patent number 8204684 is for adaptive mobile device navigation. Per the patent, adaptive mobile device navigation system, methods, and apparatus provide location information for a mobile device performing location estimation using dead reckoning.

° Patent number 8203094 involves switch assembly instructions. Electronic devices are provided with switch...

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Jun 19
Tablet sales will eclipse those of PCs by 2015

The Yankee Group (http://ww.yankeegroup.com) says that tablets in use in the U.S. will climb from 25 million in 2011 to more than 134 million in 2015, with sales eventually eclipsing those of personal computers.

Of course they will. Tablets are less expensive and serve different functions for the most part. Smartphones will outsell tablets, but that doesn't bode ill for the tablet market. We're talking (no pun intended) apples and oranges.

Currently, iPads represent 51% of all tablets owned in the U.S., leaving all other makers battling for less than half the overall market. Still, almost 25% of respondents who intend to buy a tablet in the next six months say they don’t know what brand they will purchase, which presents huge opportunity for manufacturers looking to grow their base, according to the Yankee Group.

Other findings from the research group's report include:

° The...

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Jun 18
Greg's Bite: Irritations of the Mac Internet...

By Greg Mills

I woke up crabby with a nagging neck ache this morning. I felt like taking it out on someone deserving and, thus, I sat down and wrote this article. 

Being a Mac user certainly insulates us from many of the ongoing frustrations PC users suffer. There are still things in the Mac Internet cosmos that are not as they ought to be, however. Spam, web pages that don't behave, advertising that is uncontrollably in your face, bad actor companies that still go viral, hackers, malware and advertising from he companies that depend on the fear of malware to survive, to name just a few issues, still rankle my nerves.

Since web sites can tell what hardware you are using to surf their pages, they can target you with platform specific advertising. To me, one of the most irritating such ads is the "Mac Cleaner" pop-under. They manage, at least twice a day, to serve me unwanted pop-unders, despite having pop-ups blocked in the Safari preferences,...

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Jun 18
Small cells, Wi-Fi solutions to help offset mobile...

Small cells, Wi-Fi solutions to help offset mobile traffic
The ever increasing amount of mobile traffic is causing some "traffic jams." A new report from Juniper Research (http://www.juniperresearch.com) has found that while the level of data delivered to mobile devices is expected to continue to expand dramatically over the next five years, service providers will offload nearly 60% of traffic in that period.

According to the report, service providers are increasingly seeking to reduce the strain on their network caused by the proliferation of connected smart devices by deploying their own WiFi hotspot networks and offering small cell solutions to end-users.

The report, "Mobile Data Offload & Onload: WiFi & Small Cell Strategies 2012-2016," notes that while small cells were developed primarily to enhance network coverage, service providers are increasingly offering them...

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Jun 15
No Apple love for Mac desktops? Time to license OS X (...

The big disappointment of this week's Apple Worldwide Developer Conference was the lack of love for Mac desktops. Which has led some folks to predict that Apple will abandon its desktop line in favor of nothing but laptops -- which Apple denies.

Neither the Mac Pro nor the iMac was mentioned during the WWDC keynote. The former did receive a very minor update (http://macte.ch/jwtmP) that's been roundly criticized (the phrase "half-assed upgrade" has been seen more than once).

This has prompted one Mac journalist to suggest that Apple once again license the Mac OS X to other hardware venders. Jonny Evans, writing for "Computerworld" says: "As Apple focuses on the mobile segments I'm wondering if it hasn't once again become time for the company to license out its OS and technologies to hand-picked firms in order they produce high-end Mac desktop clones. After all, last time Apple licensed its systems to...

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Jun 14
Apple patent is for light isolating protective cover

An Apple patent (number 20120148225) for a light isolating protective cover for a small form factor electronic device has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

A portable device has a rear facing camera assembly and a front facing display assembly that includes at least a protective cover layer, a display stack that includes a plurality of display components arranged in a plurality of interconnected layers, the display stack providing an imaging service, and a flat support chassis arranged to provide support for the display stack.

In the described embodiment, a protective cover can wrap around and protect at least the rear portion of the portable device without adversely affecting an image capture process carried out by the rear facing camera assembly. The inventors are Chong Yip Chow. Hongqin Zhang, Shizhe Shen and Michael DiVincent.

Also concerning cameras and mobile devices is new patent number 20120147193, which involves a back panel for a...

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Jun 14
MacBook Air has nothing to fear from latest ultrabooks

It's no surprise, but in a note to clients -- as reported by "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com) -- Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian J. White says latest batch of Windows-based Ultrabooks won't undercut Apple's ultraportable MacBook Air enough on price to win away most consumers.

"Our checks thus far indicate that the price points for the new releases will be well over the $699 price threshold that we deem necessary for this new category to be a big success," White wrote in a note to investors. "... "In our view, if consumers are not getting a significant discount for a Windows-based Ultrabook, they will simply opt for the best and pay $999 for Apple's... MacBook Air."

I think White is right. I mean why would you buy an ultrabook? If you want a compact device for content consumption and a limited amount of work, get an iPad. If you want a compact device for content creation and...

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Jun 14
Apple applies for flat panel display patent

Apple has applied for a patent (number 20120145841) is for a flat panel display including a hinge assembly, such as that in the current generation iMac and the Apple Cinema Display. An apparatus for a flat panel is disclosed.

The apparatus comprises a flat panel assembly and a hinge mechanism coupled to the flat panel assembly. The hinge mechanism is adaptable to an industry standard mount and a non-industry standard mount. A system and method in accordance with the present invention allows for the replacement of a non-VESA standard compatible display mount with a display mount that is compatible with the VESA standard. Utilizing the system and method in accordance with the present invention, such a replacement can be accomplished with minimal effort, and in an efficient manner.

The inventors are John Ternus, Eric Knopf, Sean Corbin, Brett Degner, Danielle De Iuliis, Shin Nishibori, Amy Aimei Han, Michael David Hillman, Daniel Lynn McBroom, Michael David MacBroom and...

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Jun 13
Tech companies shouldn't underestimate the over-...

When it comes to advertising, most tech companies -- including Apple -- want to target the young crowd. Maybe it's time to reconsider and modify those ads a bit.

Grandparents.com, an online resource for grandparents, says research conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project has revealed that, for the first time in Internet history, more than half of all U.S. adults over the age of 65 use the web. The Pew report found that 53% of the over-65 set use the Internet.

In addition, about 70% of web-oriented seniors say they go online every day. What's more, Pew reported that over one-third of seniors on the Internet, age 65 and older, use social networking websites, and 18% do so every day.  

According to Mashable.com, "This is a high number, especially considering 66% of all adult Internet users access social networking sites." 

So companies such as Apple should keep these stats in mind. Hey, we're seeing a virtual geezer revolution. The Beach Boys...

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Jun 12
Apple working on ways to improve videoconferencing

According to a new patent (number 8199249) Apple is working on ways to improve videoconferencing The patent is for image capture using the display device as a light source.

A digital image capture system and method uses a display device to illuminate a target with light for improved image capture under poor lighting conditions. Various characteristics of the flash (e.g., brightness, color, duration, etc.) can be adjusted to improve image capture. Users are provided with feedback (e.g., live video feed, audio and/or visual countdowns, etc.) to assist them in preparing for image capture. The captured images are seamlessly integrated with existing applications (e.g., video conferencing, instant text messaging, etc.).

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Videoconferencing is one of the fastest growing segments of the computer industry. This growth is based in part on affordable digital video cameras. Digital video cameras (e.g., 'WebCams' can be...

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Jun 12
Apple patent is for computers with spring-mounted...

An Apple patent (number 8199477) for portable computers with spring-mounted displays has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. This invention relates to electronic devices and, more particularly, to electronic devices that have displays such as portable computers.

Per the patent, an electronic device housing may contain a display module. The display module may contain layers of material such as a color filter layer and a thin-film transistor layer. These layers of material may be mounted in a display module chassis. A cover glass may cover the display module. The housing may have springs that mate with corresponding holes in the chassis of the display module to hold the display module in place within the housing.

The springs may flex about a flex axis that is perpendicular to a planar rear housing surface and the planar layers of the display module. A disassembly tool may be inserted into a gap between the cover glass and housing sidewalls. When the...

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Jun 12
Apple wins design patents for the iPad, Cinema Display

Apple has been granted several patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, including one (D661693) for the design of the iPad and one (D661305) for the design of the Apple Cinema Display.

The inventors of the former are Bartley K. Andre, Daniel J. Costner, Daniele De Iulis, Evans Hankey, Richard P. Howarth, Jonathan P. Ive, Steve Jobs, Duncan Robert Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Duoglas Satzger, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer.

The inventors of the latter are Bartley K. Andre, Daniel J. Costner, Daniele De Iulis, Evans Hankey, Richard P. Howarth, Jonathan P. Ive, Duncan Robert Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Duoglas Satzger, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer.

Apple also won patents for the following:

° Patent number 8200986 for a computer related method and apparatus to transmit a logical...

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Jun 12
Some thoughts on the WWDC keynote ...

Needless to say my predictions (http://macte.ch/mGHbx) on what would be unveiled at the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference were off by quite a bit. I was (mostly) right about MacBook Air updates, the apparent demise of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, Mountain Lion details and iOS info.

However, I had predicted a peak at a software development kit for the Apple TV (didn't happen), as well as iMac and Mac Pro updates. There was no mention of the former. And I want my Retina display Mac!

The Mac Pro went from eight cores to 12, but didn't add Thunderbolt or USB 3.0. Really, Apple? You're offering a "pro desktop" that lacks features of the new MacBook Air?

Also ...

° With the incredible Retina display on the new MacBook Pro, it sure would be nice if Apple brought Newsstand and iBookstore to the Mac.

° Retina display options for the current gen MacBook Pros and MacBooks Airs would be...

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Jun 11
More than 1-in-4 mobile users will pay in-store using...

Apple is reportedly working on NFC (near field communications) functionality for the upcoming iPhone. If so, it may be a timely feature addition.

A new report from Juniper Research (http://www.juniperresearch.com) has found that more than 1 in 4 of US and Western European mobile phone users will use their NFC-enabled mobile phone to pay for goods in-store by 2017, compared with less than 2% in 2012.

Worldwide, more NFC payment pilots are being launched and transitioning to full commercial service being spearheaded by both mobile network operators and financial institutions. The Juniper report found that, while mobile retail payment services of all types are growing in popularity, the ability to "tap" an NFC phone against a POS terminal to make a purchase has tremendous user appeal.

For mobile wallet providers and partners, NFC payments also provide new and personalized retail...

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Jun 08
My WWDC predictions

Apple's 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off Monday, and there'll be a keynote at 10 am (Pacific). I'm expecting a big ol' gang of Apple execs to be on hand for the party. So what will they be celebrating?

"9to5Mac" (http://www.9to5Mac.com) says that, in a first, Apple will update four of their five Mac lines. They're probably right. I think we'll see refreshes of the iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and, yes, the Mac Pro. (Sorry, Mac mini, you'll have to wait).

Per my crystal ball, the iMac, MacBook Pro lines and MacBook Air will all get Retina displays. There have been reports that the 13-inch MacBook Pro won't get a Retina Display. I'm going out on a limb here and taking it one step further: I think both the 13-inch and the 17-inch MacBook Pro models will vanish. My guess: Apple's laptop line will include 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs and 15-inch MacBook Pros in a variety of...

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Jun 07
Apple patent is for morphing user interface control...

An Apple patent (number 20120144330) for morphing an user interface control object has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Systems and techniques are disclosed for morphing a first control object in a user-interface into a second control object.

According to some implementations, the first control object is provided for display on a graphical user interface presented on a display of a device. The first control object can be configured to control a parameter of a presentation of media content in response to a first input. An interaction input is received indicating a user interaction with the first control object. In response to the interaction input, the first control object can be morphed into a second control object, replacing the first control object.

A second input can be received, the second input indicating an intention of the user to change a value of the second control object. And, the value of the second control object can be adjusted...

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Jun 07
Who are the 'beleaguered' companies now?

Remember not-so-long-ago when Apple was the "doomed" tech company with a shrinking share of the computer market. Dependent on the Mac, the company was soon to be extinct, according to many pundits.

How the worm has turned. Microsoft still rules the personal computer world with Windows, but Apple is the dominant force in the smartphone and tablet worlds.

The lost enthusiasm for developing smartphone apps is being replaced by a new passion for tablets, according to the Strategy Analytics research group (http://www.strategyanalytics.com). The percentage of developers primarily supporting tablets is growing from 13% last year to 36% next year.

According to the Strategy Analytics report, “App Developer Survey: Developer Attitudes - 1H2012,” when Windows 8 and BlackBerry 10 are released, both
Microsoft and Research in Motion will seek to take advantage of the battleground...

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Jun 07
Apple files for patent for slide show navigation

A new Apple patent (number 20120144297) for slide show navigation has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Per the patent, a slide show, integrated into an email application, displays images such as those included as an attachment to an email message.

The user can view the slide show without exiting the email application. Slide show navigation controls are provided. An index sheet mode can be activated wherein a number of thumbnails are displayed, allowing easy navigation to any image within the slide show. Transition animations can be provided for clarifying operations such as activating and dismissing the index sheet.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Conventionally, there is no convenient way to browse and view a series of image attachments received via email without leaving that email application. Images can appear inline in the body of the email, but browsing through a series of image attachments is restricted to vertically...

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Jun 06
A company Apple might buy: Lytro

Since Apple has approximately 10 bazillion bucks in the bank, much of it allotted for strategic acquisitions, one company it MIGHT (I'll explain in a moment) make sense for Apple to purchase is Lytro (http:/www.lytro.com). The company has developed a new digital camera technology using sophisticated software algorithms and a special lens that literally allow you to choose the focused point in a picture, after it's already taken.

In Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder was quoted as saying that his desires for the future involved the reinvention of three industries: television, textbooks, and photography. The Apple TV and the rumored 'iTV" cover the former. iBooks and iBooks Author tackle the second. But what of the third industry: photography? Jobs purportedly did met with the CEO of Lytro, though we may never know why.

Last week, "iLounge" released its "New iPad Buyers' Guide." In the announcement (...

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Jun 05
Apple conjuring up 'magic wand' TV remote?

Could this have anything to do with the rumored "iTV" (an Apple-branded HDTV)? An Apple patent (number 8194037) for a has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

An electronic device associated with a remote wand controlling the operations of the electronic device is provided in the patent. The wand may include a motion detection component operative to provide an output reflecting the motion of the wand to the electronic device, such that the movements of a cursor displayed by the electronic device may be related to the output of the motion detection component. The wand may also include an input mechanism operative to receive user inputs.

Using the input mechanism, the wand may detect a user's inputs and direct the electronic device to zoom or scroll displayed objects. The electronic device may display a screen saver by which the user may select particular media items for playback while remaining in the screen saver mode. In some embodiments, the...

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Jun 05
Steve Jobs one of the inventors of media user...

The late Steve Jobs is listed as one of the inventors of a patent (number 8196043) for an user interface for presenting media information that's appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

The invention relates to user interfaces for processing (e.g., generating, storing, transmitting and/or receiving, playing back/displaying, editing, referencing, etc.) media information, such as time-based media data representing video and/or audio. In particular, the present invention provides an interactive digital processing system-controlled graphical user interface that provides functionality for play back or other processing of time-based and still media data.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "In one exemplary method, a graphical representation of a time line for a time-based media is displayed along with a graphical representation of a current time along the graphical representation of the time line. A start graphical indicator and a stop...

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Jun 05
Time to pull the plug on Ping

At last week's "D: All Things Digital" conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook cast some doubt on the future of Ping, the company's "social network for music." Good. It's time Apple killed the failed experiment.

"We tried Ping and the customer voted and said, this isn’t something I want to put a lot of energy into," Cook said. "Some customers love it, but there’s not a huge number that do, so will we kill it? I don’t know. I’ll look at it."

Ping, introduced in iTunes 10 in 2010, lets you post your thoughts and opinions, your favorite albums and songs, the music you’ve downloaded from iTunes, plus view concert listings and tell your friends which concerts you plan to attend. It lets you follow your favorite artists to see what they’re up to, check out photos and videos they’ve posted, see their tour dates and read comments about other artists and albums they’re listening to. You can also create a profile on iTunes to let your friends know who you’re following, what you’re...

| Read more »
Jun 05
Apple patent involves displaying digital images

An Apple patent (number 8194099) for techniques for displaying digital images on a display has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, a set of items from a sequence of items is displayed. The sequence of items includes one or more undisplayed items that do not belong to the set of items. The set of items are displayed, in an arrangement that includes a plurality of lines, in an order that corresponds to the sequence.

In response to user input that selects a particular item from the set of items, it is determined whether the number of lines, in the plurality of lines, that precede the line containing the particular item is less than a first predetermined threshold. If that is the case, a line of undisplayed items that precede the set of items is displayed, while a line of displayed items that follow the particular item is ceased to be displayed.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Digital photographers may use a software...

| Read more »
Jun 05
Apple working on credit card payments from mobile...

Apple is working on further ways to make your iOS devices a "digital wallet," as evidenced by patent number 819554, which has appeared at the U..S. Patent & Trademark Office. It's for a method and system for payment and/or issuance of credits via a mobile device

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "An account of available credit for the user of the mobile device is maintained and authorization to issue credit is generated when a request for credit for the mobile device is received and there is available credit in the account associated with the mobile device equal to or greater than the requested credit. Credit may be sponsored by one or more sponsors and issued to the user, upon authorization, to enable the user to use the mobile device to purchase items, e.g., at a point of sale terminal.

"Usage of cellular or mobile telephones is very popular and common. In a typical arrangement for use of a mobile telephone, a user subscribes to a mobile...

| Read more »
Jun 05
Apple patent is for remote slide presentation

An Apple patent (number 8195768) for remote slide presentation has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Techniques for remotely viewing a presentation are disclosed.

In accordance with these techniques, a host device executing a presentation application makes a presentation available over a network. In one embodiment, a remote device receives presentation data corresponding to a currently displayed slide of the presentation. The remote device may then display a representation of the currently displayed slide at the remote location.

Here's Apple's background and summary on the invention: "The present disclosure generally relates to techniques for making a presentation available for remote viewing. For example, the presentation may be made available via a conventional web browser or other application capable of accessing the presentation contents over a network. In one embodiment, a presentation application on a network may include a web server.

... | Read more »
Jun 05
Apple wins design patent for Cinema Display

from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

The inventors are Jody Akana, Bartley K. Andre, Jeremy Batailou, Daniel J. Coster, Daniele De Iulis, Evans Hankey, Richard P. Howarth, Jonathan P. Ive, Duncan Robert Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer.

Apple was also granted the following patents:

Patent number 8196214 is for a method and apparatus enabled by computer (or equivalent) hardware and software for protection of content such as audio and video to be downloaded or streamed over a computer network such as the Internet.

Patent number 8196153 involves techniques for associating device drivers via a device tree are described herein. In one embodiment, a device tree having a hierarchical structure is maintained by a kernel of an operating system.

Patent number 8196393 is for methods, systems, and...

| Read more »
Jun 04
Apple (51%), Samsung (24%) dominate India’s tablet...

Apparently, consumers worldwide understand that you get what you pay for. Despite a series of low-cost media tablet launches in the second half of 2011, Apple’s iPad has managed to maintain its premier position in the Indian market with 51% market share in 2011.

Samsung’s achievement at extending its success in the handset segment to the tablet segment, with its Galaxy Tab, allowed Samsung to occupy the second spot with 24% market share. Indian consumers also showed a strong penchant for RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook after prices were slashed significantly, making it the third largest player with a 10.4% market share.

The presence of ultra-low cost media tablets with non-optimal specifications might ruin the user experience and, in turn, prove to be a dampener for media tablet growth. Although there is lot of buzz in the Indian market, media tablets are yet to demonstrate their value proposition to Indian consumers," says ABI Research analyst Aishwarya Singh.

"...

| Read more »
Jun 01
The Northern Spy: inertia, emotion and greed

By Rick Sutcliffe

The Spy observes with each passing month that business and the economy seem driven, not by stereotypical hard-nosed logic surrounding bottom line considerations, but by inertia, emotion, and untrammeled greed.

This applies to individual enterprises, industry sectors, and whole economies, and is reflected in actual success, stock and bond evaluations, and exchange rates (proxy instruments along with bonds for the equity of nations). Indeed, in the current environment, rhetoric around social agendas or even the general good, sound increasingly hollow, regardless of whether such originates from corporate, union, or political sources (all parties). Pride, self-interest, and a general lack of concern for others have become the hallmarks of our age. So, pardon the Spy if the shoe seems to fit, has cynicism.

Inertia is a good old physics concept that measures the reluctance for change in momentum. The sedentary...

| Read more »
Jun 01
Can/will Apple expand iCloud to include VoIP services...

Microsoft Corp. is working on meshing Skype into its large product portfolio after acquiring the Internet calling service for US$8.5 billion, reports "The New York Times" (http://macte.ch/uh024). The goal is to provide "superior Skype experience on products as various as Windows PCs and Xboxes."

It seems likely, then, that Apple could expand iCloud to include VoIP services. But let me explain. Skype and Vonage are pure VoIP plays. Currently, the only voice/video play that Apple has is through iChat and FaceTime. iChat is powered by AOL's AIM service, so it's not actually in Apple's control. FaceTime is a real digital communication service but it's video/audio with no option for just pure audio. Also, you can only use it when you are on a Wi-Fi network. (Speaking of which, whatever happened to Apple's announced plans to make FaceTime an open industry standard?)

The reason I bring up Vonage is because...

| Read more »
May 31
Apple patent is for computer with illuminable portion...

An Apple patent (number 20120133301) for an active enclosure for a computing device has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It revives an idea mentioned in previous patents for computer hardware that gives feedback depending on the task on which you're working. In fact, the patent even mentions multi-colored iMacs, which apparently references the early incarnation of Apple's all-in-one desktop.

The invention involves a computing device that includes a housing having an illuminable portion. The computing device also includes a light device disposed inside the housing. The light device is configured to illuminate the illuminable portion.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Most computing devices, including portable computers and desktop computers, give feedback to its user via a display screen or speakers. As is generally well known, display screens are used to display textual or graphical information to a user and speakers are used...

| Read more »
May 31
Proposed FCC ruling could allow Apple to become a MVPD

The Federal Communications Commission is eyeing a change in its definition of a "multichannel video programming distributor" that may pave the way for an Apple Internet TV service.

According to "ZDNet" reporter Sean Portnoy, MVPDs to date have been limited to companies like Comcast, DirecTV and Verizon, the commission is mulling whether online companies like Hulu or Netflix could fall under that definition.

An MVPD is a service provider delivering video programming services, usually for a subscription fee (pay TV). These operators currently include cable television (CATV) systems, direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) providers, and wireline video providers including Verizon FiOS as well as AT&T U-verse and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) using IPTV.

The importance of being an MVPD is that such firms have the right to be able to distribute certain programming that they would otherwise have to negotiate separate contracts for, notes Portnoy. The...

| Read more »
May 31
Apple wants to simplify transfer of media status info

Apple has applied for a patent (number 20120137028) involving a method and system for transferring status information between a media player and an accessory.

The method includes determining, by the accessory, when a button event occurs; and transmitting, by the accessory, at least one button status command to the media player, where the one or more button status commands comprise a context-specific button status command and at least one command associated with a particular media type. According to the method and system disclosed herein, the media player and accessory may utilize a plurality of commands in a variety of environments such as within a connector interface system environment to facilitate the transfer of status information.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "A media player stores media assets, such as audio tracks or photos that can be played or displayed on the media player. One example of a media player is the iPod media player,...

| Read more »
May 30
It makes sense for Wal-Mart to sell Macs

There have been rumors floating around that Wal-Mart and/or Target could start selling Macs soon. Some folks say this would dilute Apple's image, especially in the case of Wal-Mart, whose reputation is mainly for cut-throat low pricing. But if Apple wants to grow the Mac market, Wal-Mart may be the best way to go.

I'm not the biggest fan of Wal-Mart. In my hometown of Huntingdon, Tennessee (population: 5,000), it has put the kibosh on many locally owned, mom-and-pop stores. However, if the residents of my hometown want to buy a Mac they have to drive almost 30 miles to a Best Buy in Jackson, Tennessee. There's no Apple retail store in Jackson -- and there never will be in Huntingdon.

In small towns like mine, it would make sense for Apple to have Wal-Mart carry at least a limited selection of Macs. And there are LOTS of small towns like mine all across the U.S. Most have Wal-Marts; fewer have Target stores; none have Apple retail stores.

In April some Target...

| Read more »
May 29
Greg's Bite: new Cyber Nuke discovered

By Greg Mills

The Stuxnet Worm discovered a year ago appears to be the tip of the iceberg in the covert cyber war against Iran, as a newly discovered bit of malware called "Flame" is being uncovered. Some experts think it could be even older than the Stuxnet worm, but the new worm was so so selective, it may have not been detected until now.

The new worm is even more sophisticated than Stuxnet, which infected thousands of computers and then erased itself if it couldn't find a specifically targeted Siemens industrial controller to take over. Flame is much more selective in choosing a host. Experts think less than 400 computers worldwide have been infected and half of them mysteriously are located in Iran. Iran seems to be very unlucky when it comes to computer malware.

Taking the key logger sort of hidden macro to new sophistication, Flame really amounts to a hidden remote terminal sort of access program. Everything that happens on the infected...

| Read more »
May 29
Apple wins patent for iTunes user interface

Apple has been granted a patent (number 8188357) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for the graphical user interface and methods of use thereof in a multimedia player. Think iTunes.

In a portable multimedia device, a method, apparatus, and system for providing user supplied configuration data are described. In one embodiment, a hierarchically ordered graphical user interface is provided. A first order, or home, interface provides a highest order of user selectable items each of which, when selected, results in an automatic transition to a lower order user interface associated with the selected item. In one of the described embodiments, the lower order interface includes other user selectable items associated with the previously selected item from the higher order user interface. The inventors are Jeffrey L. Robbin, Steve Jobs, Timothy Wasko, Greg Christie and Imran Chaudhri.

Several other Apple patents also popped up today at the U.S. Patent & Trademark...

| Read more »
May 29
Consumers slow to embrace cloud services for digital...

I use iCloud, but I'm still not ready to trust all my back-up data to the "cloud." Apparently, I'm not alone.

International research firm Parks Associates (http://www.parkassociates.com) reports that 22% of U.S. broadband households currently would refuse to buy a "cloud copy" of digital media, while almost 30% would require a physical copy in addition to a cloud copy

"Roughly one-quarter of U.S. broadband households are interested in the 'cloud copy' concept, but for now, consumers in general are unwilling to pay a premium for cloud offerings, indicating a market still in its early stages," says Brett Sappington, director, Research, Parks Associates. "Many companies are experimenting with business models around the personal cloud to find the path to profitability."

-- Dennis Sellers

| Read more »
 
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MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on macupdate.... Read more
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